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14yr old DD getting into trouble at school(27 Posts)
This is my first post as I’ve only just joined tonight following a tough week with my 14 yr old DD. Over the past 10 months she’s got into quite a bit of low level trouble in school (sent to isolation, phone calls home etc, no exclusions so far thank goodness!) mainly due to her chatting in class, not focusing, answering back etc. She asked to see a counsellor last October so I went to school, who sent me to GP, who said CAHMS wouldn’t see her as she’s not harming herself. Went back to school who said that I would have to apply for counselling but might not hear back so decided to go private. She’s been seeing counsellor fortnightly since then for anxiety/low self esteem and was doing well at the sessions. School have been pretty useless, tried to get appt with SENDCO and still waiting for that 5 weeks on.
This week has been the worst though, Tuesday got a phone call as she was refusing to work in isolation (punishment for an altercation with a boy on Friday) so they were threatening a fixed term exclusion. This got too much for me and I broke down at home in floods of tears and had a big conversation with her about how this was affecting me, worrying all the time about getting calls from school. She was good as gold Weds and Thurs but Friday had an argument with some friends and kicked a glass door panel through at school, which I’ve now got a hefty bill for. Her friends told on her and then she was put in isolation again. She refused to work again and wrote on the cubicle wall so got down to her last warning again.
I’m struggling to know what is causing her to lash out so much at school. We don’t see the anger issues at home (mine or her Dad’s). She’s such a loving girl and it’s heartbreaking to know she’s so angry and can’t control herself at school. We’ve asked her so many times if she’s being bullied or anything and she says not. I took her to the docs a few months ago and they did a blood test which showed a vit D deficiency which she’s got meds for now. I’m so worried that she’s depressed or got anger issues, I just don’t know what to do. She was supposed to finish with her counsellor this week but I’ve asked them to continue weekly to see if she can get to the bottom of it. Just don’t know what else to do, feel so hopeless about it all.
Glad to hear things have settled.
I'd contact school and ask them how they are encouraging this to continue by recognising the effort.
Positive reinforcement shouldn't be underestimated
We’ve had a much better week, she’s not been in trouble (not so much as a warning) at school this week which is very rare. She’s also been much better at home, we’ve talked a lot and spent more time together and think it’s working. I’m sure we’ll have some bad days ahead but this seems to be the way forward for now. 3 more days at school, can’t wait for it to be finished!!
I agree with PPs you sound like a lovely mum and also agree with giving her as much love and support at home as possible as all these changes in her life are happening at once.
I would also look at what situations at school lead to her getting into trouble. What are her friends like? Do they egg her on? Is trying to impress others by misbehaving and to be seen as cool or to get attention?
Same as the others I think you sound a lovely Mum. I would agree to keeping that connection between you and nurturing it. Showing her whatever happens you are there for her and on her side. I know you feel alone and she will almost certainly be feeling alone too. "This too will pass."
I knew the mid teen years were going to be tough but not this much!! I’ll have a look at that book, might get her DF a copy too! Hopefully she’ll have had a good weekend there. Going to spend a lot of time with her this evening just being there. I really appreciate everyone’s advice and comments. So glad I joined this forum, I felt very alone in dealing with this and now I feel like I have an army behind me. Thank you all x
kello - interesting re parents of 14 yr old girls! I have twin girls who are 10 - I'm bloody dreading it!!!
what is coming through here is that you are a REALLY good mum. You are already doing everything that anyone would advise you to do. Netball and running together sound the perfect way to bond.
Have you ever read the book on parenting teenagers called 'get out of my life... but first take me and Alex into town'? I bought it because the title made me laugh but it is so helpful in understanding how the teen brain works. Helped me understand a lot of my own teen behaviour too.
I remember reading a survey of parents that found that the parents of 14 year old girls were the most stressed of all! So maybe that means things can only get better from here!
It's good he listens to you and tries to change. Dd's dad just won't listen to any perceived criticism of him and then throws back comments to me such as 'well at least I'm not hysterical '. Which I can assure you, I'm so not.
Dd also appears happy when she's with them. It's not that her dad shouts, it's more that if she displays any anger, stroppiness, general teenage behaviour, he goes into what we call 'therapy mode' and will try and talk it all out. Which she's hates. So she shuts up and suppresses everything
Then her stepmum tries to get involved, which she hates even more, but can't say, because she knows it will cause problems/hurt her dad. So she shuts up. Again.
It's a bloody minefield that I never, ever anticipated when deciding to have kids!!
That’s a lot to deal with for a hormonal teenager. It’s bad enough coming from a broken home but then her dad is having a new baby and you have a new partner. Same thing happened to me. It’s hard and she will be in angry and frustrated teenage mode and exhibiting behaviours that are not appropriate or healthy as she isn’t sure how to communicate. Looking for attention by the sounds of it but in the wrong way. Your ex and you need to be ensuring she is not now feeling that she is just an add on to your new lives. It’s a tough age anyway. My DD is the same age and has had her own issues!
I can’t imagine how painful it is not to get hugs from her, I’m pretty lucky that she still wants them. Have to pick my moments though! My DD is the same with her dad, she doesn’t tell him how she feels and seems happy when she’s there. But then I get “I don’t want to go to Dad’s” and “he scares me” most weeks. It’s horrible. I know he’s not hurting her at all, he’s a pretty good dad just quite strict and can shout. I’ve spoken to him about how to handle things this week and said that shouting at her will only make things worse. He’s trying to talk to her to understand but I know she won’t really say how she feels. I’m hoping her counsellor works over the summer as I think it’ll help bring out of school and working on her emotions. I’ll have a look for that thread, hopefully some clues as to what to do!
It's good you get hugs! My dd can't bear me to touch her.
I know she loves me but her way of showing it seems to be - talk to mum like shit. As long as i laugh about it and take it as 'banter' and not take it too seriously ie tell her off, our relationship (for that day) remains on track. It's all a bit confusing tbh!
Op have you read up on emotional regulation in teens? I've just read the other thread on here about a 14 yr old not wanting to see her dad. Some v insightful posts on it about how teens learn to regulate their emotions and why some find it hard.
For me, dd (and ds17) have always suppressed their emotions hugely at their dads, all their childhood. It has been a total head fuck for them, and me tbh! These conflicting ways of being are now manifesting themselves as emotional immaturity, anger, risky behaviour and I'm saddened to say, self harm.
My dd has just started counselling but unfortunately the one her dad has found only sees kids in term time, during school hours! Really fucking helpful for someone specialising in adolescent girls, particularly those about to start year 10.....not!!
That’s exactly how I feel. Part of me wants to pull her out for the rest of the term and wrap her in cotton wool! It’s so difficult to know what to do for the best. It’s so helpful to have this forum to ask for help and advice from, hardly any of my friends have teenagers so I’m finding it very hard to know where to turn to. Think she needs my love and support and not any more pressure. They really don’t have it easy these days with social media etc. I hope things get better for you and your DD Pasanda.
This is my daughter!! At school anyway getting into more trouble than ever before. Can also be v rude and aggressive at home too.
I am finding that the more I punish or even talk sternly to her, the worse she becomes. It's like she can't bear my anger and needs me on her side. Hard when you have a voice in your head constantly saying you're a weak parent'
She is also a totally different person at her dads which just confuses it all the more!
I'm taking it day by day atm. Can't wait for the end of term tbh. I feel your pain op.
Thank you LesleyA, that made me tear up a little. I’ve been trying to not beat myself up for being a rubbish mum all week and your comment made me feel a lot better. I’m looking forward to her coming home tomorrow evening for lots of hugs 😊
You sound like a wonderful mum. Aware and caring. If she's open to it hug her a lot and talk about when she was born and the magnitude of her being in your life. Focus on what she is reinforcing that. Ask thd teacher who finds her a treasure to verbally reinforce that to her and other teachers.
She’s had an issue with one of her teachers in the last few months too, he was being really horrible to her and I wasn’t the only parent to complain about him. They’ve eventually moved him out and she has a different teacher (who called me last week to tell me what a treasure to teach she had been that week). I’m not sure what counselling she’s having with her counsellor (I have CBT myself weekly through work) but that does seem to help. They had decided on Thursday that they didn’t need continue but after Friday she changed her mind so I booked another session for next week. I’m hoping the holidays give her a break. She’s crying out for help. We just need to listen more and stop putting the pressure on. It’s quite hard as she doesn’t tell her Dad anything and doesn’t display the behaviours when she’s there so he thinks she’s just misbehaving or playing up for me and school because we’re not tough enough. Hopefully after this week he’ll be more understanding too.
Sounds like cbt would be good for her.
It's based on the idea that experiences drive feelings which drive behaviour.
Cbt helps you unravel why the experiences are causing negative feelings, how you can change this and then change the resultant behaviours.
I would 100% bet your DD isn't enjoying the current status quo? So that begs the question why it's repeating itself and getting worse.
And it's a sad but true fact that once your that student that's drawn attention to yourself you can be punished for "chatting too much" more more heavily than another teen who's "chatting too much". You are seen as a repeat offender who doesn't deserve a chance. What does that do to self esteem?
Will she have new teachers in September? A fresh start may be just what she needs. School also need to put in place time out strategies for her and things to work towards - with very clear boundaries of when consequences will be applied.
My ds had a issue with a teacher. He could do NOTHING right in her lesson and she even told me she held him accountable for half of any trouble in her classroom because he's socially immature and his writing is illegible (he has asd and CP ).
He was moved to another teacher and 6 months later predicted 3 grades higher in gcse and moved up again to top set. His whole attitude to school changed too because his sole focus wasn't on what would happen in her lesson.
Unfortunately because he was so on edge in her class he did backchat her or respond in an aggressive tone which in her mind validated her opinion of him.
He has her again this year and went up to her first lesson and said "I'm now predicted a 7+ in science and you'll see I can and will learn" I think it's really helped him feeling the power shift that it's been proved it's not him unable or unwilling to learn because another teacher made him progress from below to above expectations.
It sounds like she's got lots to deal with at the moment. Also, remember 14 year old girls can be really really nasty and your daughter may be reluctant to tell you if girls are being horrible to her. It can be a difficult age. Obviously she needs to know her behaviour isn't acceptable but just be there for her and keep talking and listening as it sounds like you are. Hopefully the summer break will help
I’ve been reflecting on the week today and I think you have a really good point there. I laid down the law after the incident on Tuesday and punished her at home but her behaviour only got much worse at school culminating with the incident on Friday.
I think because she was feeling under so much pressure to be good it was really stressful for her. I think backing off and just being there for her along with the counselling is the best idea at the moment. I’m going to go into school on Monday and speak to the pastoral team.
Going against the brain here I don't punish ds for behaviours at school. It's not helpful. He also has anxiety related to his autism and his behaviour is because he isn't managing the environment.
If he needs a consequence at home there is no argument - and I strongly believe it's because he gets his needs met at home.
Any punishment at home for school made him worse at school afterwards - like he blamed school.
He moved schools and has an EHCP now and is doing amazingly.
You can't punish a MH condition out of somebody. All it serves to do is increase their MH difficulties and increase the behaviours - which you've seen by her steady decline.
Thank you, that’s really helpful. I just want to understand why she’s struggling so much. There’s been a lot of changes in her life in the last 6 months (new baby on the way for her Dad & Stepmum - she’s been an only child until now) and I’ve started a relationship after being on my own for 8 years. I think it’s a lot to take in for her, even when she gets on really well with my new partner and her stepmum. I think I do need to spend more time with her (I only get weekdays currently), we started netball together a few months ago and running this week. Hopefully that will help.
Usually keeping really firm on the boundaries (kids can get involved in too much too young) and also increasing the warmth and time spent with both parents (assuming neither parent is abusive) will sort it. If she is going to counseling also be prepared to listen to any changes suggested to how you do things (this would help your dd feel really listened to and it's not about being attacked). Find stuff to bond over - a TV show, sport, beauty, geeky board games, anything - and tell her you expect better of her at school and you want her to think before she acts. That you know it will take time but you want to see progress. Hope she is ok.
She’s not fought against any of it, just hands her phone over when we ask. She’s quiet and tearful most of the time. She can get a bit lippy at times but nothing major and I don’t see the anger very often. Never to the point of hitting out or breaking things.
D623 How has your Dd reacted to your sanctions? Obviously she won't be happy but have you witnessed any of the 'school behaviour' at home?
I’m hoping she gets through the next 8 days at school with no more dramas but I’m not holding my breath! She seems so sad and lost, it’s horrible to watch. We’ve limited her time on her phone and I’ve shut down all her social media for the weekend. She’s also got to pay me back for the damages bill, she’s doing two weeks work in the holidays which just about pays for it. Feel awful making her pay but I can’t let her think it’s ok to lash out and break things with no consequences.
I’m worried it’s more than usual teenage hormones as it’s steadily getting worse and been going on for about 10 months now.