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Advice about 14YO(5 Posts)
I posted a few weeks ago about my DD telling me she hated herself and wasn't happy. I took your advice and we talked and she seemed much happier.
So, a bit of background, me and her dad broke up when she was 18 months old, shes 14 now so she has never known us together, we still speak but only about DD and we both have the same ideas on how to bring her up. However, last weekend she mentioned to me that she was sick of her dad asking who she likes best him or me, this totally blew me away as I never expected him to be that shallow and also to ask such a stupid question to our DD. I told her I'd speak to him but she begged me not to as she would get told off when she next saw him so I've not said anything yet. I just told her to tell him to stop saying it as its not very healthy or to comment 'I like mum best as she doesnt ask me silly questions'.
She stayed at her dads last night and I found out from a mutual friend that my DD was in tears after school as she feels her friends are laughing at her and she seems to need constant attention from people to the point where she is hanging around with the naughtiest boys to feel part of a group. I've not seen her since I found this out so I've not managed to speak face to face to her yet but I did message her this morning tell her to have a good day at school and let her know that I knew what had been going on but I'm not angry I just need to talk to her to see what we can do to make things better for her.
I feel this could be underlying feelings due to her been constantly questioned by her dad, he slaggs off all the bands she likes, he makes constant remarks about her clothes and doesn't like anything she likes and makes it known, he's pushing her into going to see his favourite football team even though she hates football but shes too scared to tell him she doesn't want to go. I really don't know if I should have a word with him or not. I know he's been banned (by his girlfriend) from coming into my house when he's picking her up or dropping her off and Im no longer allowed to go into his either if his girlfriend is there. I know my DD sees all of this and it is obviously having an effect on here.
Any advice would be much appreciated and also sorry for the long message.
I'd have a really blunt conversation with her. Tell her that you are aware he is doing these things and you are concerned that his behaviour is denting her self confidence. That she is old enough to choose how much time she spends with him and if she wants to minimise contact for a while you will support her in this. If not, then you would like to have a gentle word with her dad to ask him to back off.
Meanwhile, do a LOT of confidence building. It's fine to like whatever music you like, wear what you want, hold your own opinions on faith, politics, gender etc. And it's also OK for other people to challenge them. But if people challenge you aggressively or disrespectfully, it's fine to take control of the conversation and say: 'we're all different,' then change the subject (or similar.)
I have a DS who has poor self confidence and I spend a lot of time and energy teaching him how important it is to be your own best friend. To make sure the monologue in your head is as kind and supportive and compassionate as something you'd say to a dear friend. I encourage him to take very good care of himself in lots of ways - physically, mentally, socially - hanging out with a small group of nice people not trying to get in with the cool kids who put him down etc. It is a bit of an uphill battle but I see some of this paying off as his self- worth seems to have improved recently despite some big knockmbacks to his confidence.
Can you help her find a new social group outside school - a youth club or drama group, orchestra or sports team, Scouts or church group - something that has an inbuilt social life that will allow her to define herself in other ways than who likes her at school?
It's so tough being a teenager. And parenting them.
Thanks for the advice, she did tell me that her dad had asked her who she would most like to be me or him, she replied with she wanted to be herself and neither of us which was a very proud moment for me.
She is very much like me as she lives with me, she's my number one and we do lots of things together and I think her dad can see this and is jealous but not enough to actually take her anywhere other than places he wants to go.
I was actually going to look for an out of school activity for her, she has done a few in the past but got bored and left. She loves basketball so I've just booked tickets to take her to her first game next week and if she enjoys it then I'll look into getting her into a club.
You sound like an amazing mum and you DS sounds like my DD. Thank you again for your advice, its nice to know I'm not on my own
How long has he been emotionally abusing her? Because that's what this is.
I've only recently found out but it seems as though its a historic thing that she's just gotten used to but only just mentioned it to me. I'm going to find out more from her when I talk to her later.