What’s normal for an almost 15 YO

(16 Posts)
NorthernSpirit Sun 31-May-20 14:26:35

I don’t have children of my own, but I do have 2 step children.

The oldest (a girl) is almost 15.

Can I get some advice on if this is normal teenage behaviour - I was bought to to be very independent from a young age and was quite mature for my age so I don’t know if this is normal behaviour, so would appreciate your thoughts from those with kids this age.

• She doesn’t get dressed unless you tell her to
• Has only just started to remember to brush her own teeth
• Won’t shower unless you tell her to. And even then, unless you tell her to wash her hair when she’s in there she’ll ‘forget’
• Very routine driven and to a degree risk adverse
• Can’t hold any sort of conversation with adults. Only yes, no, don’t know answers. Never asks any questions herself or engages in conversation
• Wears the same clothes everyday. I’ve just spotted she’s had the same top on for 5 days
• Has a wardrobe full of lovely new clothes (that she chose) but wears the same scruffy top & leggings everyday.
• Can’t do any basic jobs around the house. To be fair, she does nothing at mums. Even a simple task like stripping her bed (which she’s been shown many times) can’t be done without reminding her what to do
• Absolutely no eye contact when chatting to me, her dad, anyone but her brother. Just looks down and plays with her fingers while giving yes, no, don’t know answers.

The list could go on.....

I’m really concerned for her that there could be more going on.

Her dad has asked if there’s anything going on at school - she says no.

She does have a very domineering and controlling mother. And I do worry about her self esteem. But could there be more to this? Or am I worrying unnecessarily?

Thanks, appreciate any advice.

OP’s posts: |
acocadochocolate Sun 31-May-20 14:30:39

Depressed? I have a 15 yo and she is nothing like that. Although my friend's 15yo, who is very spoilt, is similar. I have often wondered if she is depressed too. Her dad is an alcoholic, which can't help.

Pinkblueberry Sun 31-May-20 14:33:31

It doesn’t sound normal to me at all, except for the avoidance of chores or not asking questions/engaging in conversation questions to a certain degree. I would be worried too, she doesn’t sound happy and like you say maybe her confidence is low. The lack of self care isn’t a good sign.

NorthernSpirit Sun 31-May-20 14:47:15

Thanks both. That’s what I was thinking.

Her mum and dad won’t entertain anything is wrong. But it’s getting worse and I’m getting concerned for her.

Her dad tried to chat to her yesterday and she just cried for 30 mins and said she didn’t know what was wrong. She’s really withdrawn. We just had lunch as she didn’t mutter one word. Just ate then went off, stuck her earphones on and she s watching something on her phone.

It’s the lack of care & hygiene I struggle with. She had her period this week and just doesn’t think that she needs to shower. She got upset when I told her to go back up and shower. Doesn’t wash her face at night.

Thanks for the advice, appreciate that.

OP’s posts: |
Sunshineandflipflops Sun 31-May-20 15:19:42

My dad is also 14 and a lot of the behaviours you have mentioned sound very familiar. I a, not worried about her though. She lacks confidence outside of her comfort zone but has friends and interests.
I slow have to ask her and her 12 yr old brother to shower every day as they would happily do days otherwise. She does change her clothes every day though...to the point where barely worn clothes go in the washing basket because it's easier than putting them away angry

She can talk for hours with her friends but is embarrassingly quiet with adults. Not very independent and no desire to be. But she is awesome and I wouldn't change her for the world (apart from the clothes thing).

I think it's easy to compare children with each other but unless there is anything worrying to the point of her health or wellbeing suffering then she will probably mature in her own time.

I was terrible shy and dependant when I was young but once I got to around 16 my confidence grew and going to uni helped even more.

Sunshineandflipflops Sun 31-May-20 15:20:18

*dd, not dad!

Pinkblueberry Sun 31-May-20 15:23:07

Her dad tried to chat to her yesterday and she just cried for 30 mins and said she didn’t know what was wrong. She’s really withdrawn.

That’s so sad - for her to react that way there must be something wrong. Was she like this before lockdown? I would get in touch with her school to see if they’d noticed anything before breaking up. I would also get in touch with a health professional because as a PP said the things you describe could be a sign of depression, it definitely sounds like her mental health is not in a good place.
Just to add - not that I want to alarm you - you mentioned about wearing scruffy top and leggings rather than her new clothes (which I presume are new summer clothes). Is she hiding her skin? Because I would be concerned about self harming - I’ve done it myself so it easily comes to mind for me.


LockdownLucie Sun 31-May-20 15:30:11

I have a 15 year old DD who displays many of the behaviours you describe (see thread from a few days ago) and we are worried about her. She now has sightly more showers and wears different clothes now during lockdown its PJ’s and a dressing gown, skinny jeans and a hoodie, or skinny jeans, t shirt and dressing gown (yes even today in this heat)!!! Her stock responses are ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘ok’ and ‘fine’ but similarly she struggles to hold a conversation.
She has on rare occasions helped me tidy up
and can make a good job, but she isn’t interested and now either ignores me or spends 30 seconds on something and disappears back to her dark messy bedroom and phone.
She has been slightly better this weekend as she has joined in a couple of family quizzes and we ordered a badminton set and she has played this and actually smiled and looked happy.

Milicentbystander72 Sun 31-May-20 15:39:05

I have a dd15.

She did go through a phase at around 13 of crying for no apparent reason. She used to be a very confident younger child, always wanting to go against the crowd. However when secondary school and puberty hit she became very self conscious.
I always brought her up from an early age to be sociable and chat and he friendly to people. Since being a teen this has gone by the wayside and she often clams up in general conversation, especially with adults that aren't me or her dad. She adores it if any of her teachers single her out for praise. It's upsetting to me because I (naturally) think she has a lot to offer if only she'd believed in herself a bit more. I always thought I'd done a good job in creating confident children. I didn't factor in the teen years!
Having said that, she's very studious and chatty and funny when in her comfort zone.
While she shuns make-up and most clothes her friends wear she is interested in showering, hair washing and strips her bed and keeps her room clean.

Back to you OP, I would be worried. She sounds very unhappy and lacking self esteem. I know a few teens who are having online sessions with counsellors for depression and anxiety. They are finding it helpful.
Would her dad perhaps agree to research?

mastertomsmum Sun 31-May-20 15:51:17

Hmm they are all different. The hair and showering thing would be bog standard for a boy.

They get a bit grumpy and less communicative as teens, but it varies from child to child how much this happens.

Regarding chores - I passionately believe the allocation of chores to be a terrible idea. If they want to help then give them something to do but don’t allocate tasks to them. No one tells me to do the washing or my DH to clean we decided on it in a mutual way and I don’t think kids have any responsibility to do jobs. Now, asking them if they want to acquire the life skills prior to uni etc., that’s fine. My DS loves to cook for us, fur example.

NorthernSpirit Tue 02-Jun-20 09:27:07

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post.

The kids went back home yesterday after spending 6 nights, 7 days with us. I my DSD wash basket their were 1 pair of leggings, 2 tee shits & 3 pairs of knickers with holes in. She has a full draw of underwear I should add. So in 7 days (while on her period).

I’ve tried to chat to my OH but it’s erupted into a massive argument. I firmly believe a 15 YO should know they need to know wear clean underwear everyday. Everyone I bring up the subject I’m accused of picking on her.

I’ve had enough and am going to leave her useless parents to deal with it.

OP’s posts: |
NorthernSpirit Tue 02-Jun-20 09:28:05

Sorry for the typos! You get my gist...,,

OP’s posts: |
Howmanysleepsnow Tue 02-Jun-20 09:35:05

My ds is the same age. He showers daily (for ages!), doesn’t like/ want routine and can talk (endlessly) to adults (when he chooses to leave his room/ bed) but is otherwise similar and needs prompting to do everything. He’s not tearful though and I just put it down to teenage apathy.
Dd 13 on the other hand is nothing like this, but has a recent tendency to become tearful without knowing why. I’m guessing hormones but she’s generally happy otherwise.

LadyFuschia Tue 02-Jun-20 09:36:17

I think you are right to take an interest but you are restricted in what you can do. I would focus on being someone who offers her consistency and shows an interest in her. Is there anything you could do with her? If she washed her hair can you braid it? Or just involve her in the jobs that you need to do? If she is feeling low then someone who always gives her a smile is important. Try to notice when she does do the things you want: ‘oh you put that nice top on, how lovely you look’ rather than ‘thank god you changed!’ And just accept that for now she still needs reminders about self care & hygiene. Give them without judgement, empathise. Treat her as you might a friend living with you who reached the same state - look to work with her and not do things to her. Perhaps signpost her to something like a helpline or a website. She will notice you noticing which on it’s own may be helpful.

NorthernSpirit Tue 02-Jun-20 11:27:33

Thanks @LadyFuschia really good advice. Appreciate that.

OP’s posts: |
LadyFuschia Tue 02-Jun-20 11:49:03

To be fair you sound like someone who has the potential to be a very meaningful person for her but it might be in the small things rather than parenting per se. I still remember those adults who talked to me kindly, took an interest, assumed I was worth being interested in, who didn’t tell me what to do or talk down at me, when sometimes it felt like my parents did. I see it in my daughter’s reaction to her young aunts who cheerlead her and can be enthusiastic in a way that I would embarrass her if I did it!! Sometimes nurture and positivity can disappear from teenagers life, and often they do reject it from parents but can accept it from another.
Good luck, I hope she gains confidence and smiles soon.

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