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What to do with DD 15 - a bit rambly sorry

(16 Posts)
desertmum Tue 20-Oct-09 07:59:42

My DD is 15, funny, smart, predicted to get As and A*s for GCSE's but just sooo stupid about life. Where we were living before she would sneak out of the house after we had gone to bed to meet up with older kids, drink, smoke, I know she has had sex already, and probably tried a few drugs too. We have now moved and after being grounded initially she went out a few weeks ago with a friend, I laid down the ground rules, no drinking, no smoking, no bars. Turned out she was drinking - vodka and peachschnapps shots - was smoking and was driving round town in some blokes car who I've never heard of. Stupidly she put her pics on facebook . . . So she is now grounded again.

We are now in a bit of a catch-22 situation - she wants to know when she can go out again and I want to know when I can trust her again. ALl her friends have curfews of midnight and later, some as late as 2am, they all drink a lot, one of them suspected she was pregnant a few weeks ago even though she doesn't have a boyfriend.

I have suggested to DD that she invite her friends here - we have a bar/games area under the house, they can watch DVDs, order pizza, play pool, chill out - but that apparently is boring and none of her friends will come - they all want to go into town - where they can drink I guess.

We are new here and I don't know her friends mums so difficult to talk to them about this - they may be happy with their daugthers drinking and having risky sex - who knows ? I am an older mum (50) and wander if I am just totally out of date with what goes on ? I want my daugther to have more self respect. She has had a great life, a good education, all a girl could wish for really.

I am really worried she is going to do something really stupid and ruin her life - she wants to go to university and study law, has plans and ideas. She won't talk to me about anything - and I am trying really really hard to listen and not judge, not say anything bad about her friends behavior, welcome them to our home etc.

But must admit I don't really know what to do anymore. She says I am the worst mum in the world, is embarassed by me, doesn't want to introduce me to her friends, says hurtful things one minute and wants me to take her to the mall the next which is probably fairly typical teenage behavoiur but on top of everything else is too much.

I let her have a drink in the house or if we are out for a meal if she wants - wine or beer, but she doesn't like the taste - only wants breezers, etc. as they don't taste of anything but fruit juice - I hate the person who invented them!!

People who meet her think she is delightful - which of course she is but such a huge worry. What to do ?

Sorry, long and rambly just had to get it off my chest. Am I the only mum in the world who doesn't want their DD drinking, smoking and having sex at 15 ? Sometimes it feels like it - or are the other mums just oblivious ? None of them ever seem to be grounded.

piscesmoon Tue 20-Oct-09 08:25:04

You are not out of date and your aims are what any mum would want for their daughter IMO. I am constantly surprised by the fact that parents wrap in cotton wool and strictly control their DCs but when they get to 14 or 15yrs they let go completely-let them go anywhere at night and actually buy them alcohol!
It is a very difficult one.You have to get the balance right. There was a thread a few days ago with a mother wondering if she should let her 15yr old DS go to a bonfire do with friends because she had never let him out in the evening on his own-I wondered how she had managed to do that without arguments.
I haven't got any answers-I wish I had. She seems to have the 'wrong' friends-I think that I am just lucky in my DSs friends and the fact that most of the parents have similar values. I agree that breezers etc are dire-if they need alcohol to taste sweet they shouldn't be drinking it!
You don't say if she has a father to back you up-if not it is hard on your own.
I would say that it is typical teenage behaviour-mine find me embarrassing. On the other hand you seem to get on well. I would stick in there and keep communicating.
Could you perhaps get her thinking of the university aim and her CV. If she wants to do law it will be very competitive and she will need a good personal statement. Now is the time to think about activities to put on it. Try and get her to do voluntary work,Duke of Edinburgh Award, sport,outside interests,work experience etc. Going out with her friends and getting drunk won't give her much to write about!

sarah293 Tue 20-Oct-09 08:27:05

Message withdrawn

senua Tue 20-Oct-09 08:54:52

Where does she get her money from?

dollyparting Tue 20-Oct-09 09:10:02

It is such a tough age isn't it? It sounds like you have done a lot well, to achieve a balance of gradual independence for your dd, while still trying to instill your personal and family values. It can be so irritating when our dds seem lovely to everyone else, but show another side of themselves to us at home.

It must be particularly tough for your dd if she has moved because she will be trying to establish herself with her new peer group - and I guess that looking cool will involve drinking, smoking etc.

I was similarly worried about dd when she was 15 - she appeared to be in that typical teenage phase where she was rebelling against our controls, but did not have a well developed sense herself of what was risky behaviour.

We were lucky in some ways because she desperately wanted to go to a load of concerts and we used that as something of a bargaining chip e.g. if you are going to go to x concert, I can only be OK with that if I can trust you, and you can only demonstrate that you are trustworthy by coming home on time, coming home sober etc. I do not kid myself that she was never drinking, but at least it was moderated.

We also made (and still are making) a huge effort with her when she is around. So instead of leaving her to it when she watches One Tree Hill, or whatever, I sit with her. We have instigated "snack-time" late in the evening and we deliberately buy treats that she will like to eat, just so that we can be doing something that feels companionable. She seems to appreciate me making her a little prawn sandwich much more than she would appreciate me trying to go on a shopping trip with her.

I have been honest with her about what I worry about, so rather than saying I worry about you drinking, I tell her what my worst fears are about the consequences of her being drunk. I think she now understands more about my anxiety and tries to reassure me.

My dd is now 16, and she does seems to be getting a slightly more sensible head on her. I admit I did breathe a sigh of relief when she got to 16 without an underage pregnancy!

tatt Tue 20-Oct-09 09:12:34

certainly not the only mum who feels like that. I'm lucky that my daughter's friends mostly have strict parents.

My OH's niece is living with friends after falling out with her parents. Being "the worst mum in the world " etc is pretty standard teenage stuff. One of my friends has already been through this and her daughter is now winning prizes for high marks in medicine.

Don't know that I have any magic solutions. But I'd be thinking about inviting her friends to the house myself - they might be perfectly happy to come. Would also be speaking to the other mums, even if it is difficult. Also agree 100% with the idea of finding her other things to do. That should include house things like her ironing and washing to prepare her for when she leaves home. If she doesn't do them she doesn't get lifts/ money/ anything else you provide for her.

Have you tried to talk to her and agree some ground rules that she will accept? She's probably feeling pretty lost after the house move and it's really hard being a teenage girl. She needs soemthing that makes her feel good about herself.

Tortington Tue 20-Oct-09 09:23:31

yeah where does she get her money from?

my 16y o twins have a kerfew of 10pm weeknights 11pm weekends. and its only gone up to 11pm since leaving school

im not here to be their friends - whether they like me or not is inconsequential - a bonus if they do - but hey - i am mum

to the bullshit of " but my other riends get to stay out blah de blah" i simply reply
"i think you shuld find yourself lucky that i care about you and love you more than their mums and dads do"

i wouldn't bend over backwards to accomodate her - she;s fucking lucky she didn't end up dead in a car crash/murdered/gangraped - getting into a strangers car aged 15 - that is insane.

if i get v. angry or if they say something particularly hurtful - i withdraw emotionally. i function - so tea gets cooked

but i don't make light conversation

dd did something the other week - and the next morning i didn't tell her she looked nice for college, i didn't comment on her hair or her clothes. i didn't ask her how her day had been, who she had spoken to, i didn't take an intrest.

it killed her - she gave me a huge hug said she was sorry and asked if i would " be her friend again!"

similarly DS only last monday bunked his very first day at college for his apprenticeship. my BIL has worked v. hard to get him a placement and he let us all down.

did the same thing - took longer - not intrested in his day how he did who he spoke to - plate on table with food removed myself when finished. just didn't entertain him

he came and watched a programme with me and sat next to me - that was his 'sorry'

yes here i am telling you to emotionally manipulate your child. but they forget you have feelings too.

i think 10pm is an addequate kerfew

and dont give her any money - in the real wrld. money is earned. she must get a paperround or something. my kids both did for theirmoney

BertieBotts Tue 20-Oct-09 09:32:14

Dollyparting's suggestion to word it as "I worry about the effects of you drinking, e.g. getting into a car with a drunk driver, putting yourself in a vulnerable situation, making a decision you wouldn't have otherwise, etc" rather than "I am worried about you drinking" is good - the latter is more likely to make her think "Mum is so out of touch, she doesn't understand, I know what I am doing/I am invincible" sort of thing. Sadly enough it took a death in my peer group to make me realise I was not invincible at that age

I think with the catch-22 situation you have, could you graduate it - so for example for the period immediately following her breaking the rules she is grounded and has to help with household chores, if she shows she is responsible at doing that then you could agree she is allowed out but has a fairly early curfew, which gets later the more she shows you can trust her.

I also think planning activities like DoE is a good idea, and part time work when she turns 16! (Then you stop paying for her phone/clothes/toiletries and she will have to manage her own money too which is another responsibility test wink)

desertmum Tue 20-Oct-09 12:27:56

Hi all, she gets an allowance for which she has to help round the house, doing her room, helping make dinner, watering the garden etc. The last time she went out I gave her some money for coffee and the cinema - got spent on booze and fags . . . Since we moved here in July she has gone out with her friends in the evening twice - so I am really really trying to keep control of this, but do realise that if I keep her in forever she will rebel even more. The fact she was in someones car was a huge issue for me, he is apparently her friends boyfriend - who her parents know nothing about .... I am sure they would horrified if they knew - but I don't feel I know them well enough to say anything - and also feel guilty about that as I would want to know if it were my dd.

My husband and I, although together, live in different countries due to his work, we all speak to him every night on Skype but it is harder with just me being here most of the time. She is in ATC (RAF Cadets) and as part of that is doing her Duke of Edinburgh and voluntary work etc. so with that she gets a good CV for uni. Half the kids in cadets however seem to think getting drunk on the weekend is normal.

She is underneath all this a good girl at heart, just misguided and lacking judgement I think.

Will do what you suggested, let her go out with the premise she doesn't drink or smoke, pick her up at her usual curfew despite all the others and see how it goes.

Sorry rambling again - just really wanted to know it's not me being out of touch - dd always says it is just me (which they all say I know) and often it feels that way when I see how all the others behave. But maybe they are wearing blinkers ? I do sometimes wonder if she wants me to pull in the reins as usually I find out what has gone on by her being silly enough to leave her facebook page open on my laptop or showing me photos of her time with her friends. I think she is torn between two worlds - typical teenager - of wanting to be grown up and pull away from us but also not quite ready for that big step; she has taken being grounded again very well - no tantrums, no screaming matches, but has now started to ask if she can go out again. Perhaps it's time to try it again.

Thanks ladies

piscesmoon Tue 20-Oct-09 16:49:16

I think you are doing OK. Unfortunately they have to learn by their own mistakes. I am constantly saying 'you will thank me when you are older' and I believe that they will.
Sometimes it can be a good thing-I used to be quite relieved as a teenager just to be able to say-'I'm not allowed'-it often got me out of something that I was a bit scared of anyway! I think that dollyparting had good advice, with explaining why you worry. I was always being told 'everyone else's parents let them do it' but I have found that not to be the case and they have stopped using it. You are not out of touch. The mess that teenagers can get themselves into makes you wonder why you ever worried about potty training etc!!

sparky68 Tue 20-Oct-09 17:29:13

its hard for us all and i agree with hellmouthcusty, thats how i am with my sons, i am the mother re bonfire thread few days ago, we dont argue bad just have differnt opinions re his the teen and us parents, i dont agree with them coming in the early hrs in the morning, we have a set time and he abides by it, but its hard you trust them but just noone else, they are at the age where their mates do whatever and some parents seem to let their kids go where ever they want to, i surpose its the balance between you have to find, desertmum your daughter comes across as well balanced and an intelligent young lady, its obvious that if her friends stay out late she will want to, and its a lovely idea re everyone coming round but some parents just dont want other kids around,so perhaps the other kids find that wierd, i dont mind my sons having mates etc round, nor having the odd beer etc, indoors,and your not the only mum to feel how you do, it just means you care and any teen is normally embarressed by their parents, , every parent is different with how to do what etc, but i think as long as you talk and try not to shout , so they close ranks, try and make them understand your side and then listen to theirs, hopefully things get better.i may be wrong in the way i do things but everyone is different as i said .

tatt Wed 21-Oct-09 08:50:37

can't stop her making mistakes but you can keep telling her you'll be there to pick up the pieces. Also that you'd rather there weren't any pieces! Have you talked to her about why you're worried and what rules she is setting herself? It does sound like she is asking you to stop some of it by letting you find out.

How do you know her friends have different rules and aren't just ignoring their parents? You can bet your daughter's friends parents are being told that your daughter is allowed to do all these things and if you never speak to them you never find out it's not true.

Have just been reading a book that is a useful reminder of why teenagers have a hard time and need strong self-esteem Queen bees and wannabees

bodycolder Wed 21-Oct-09 08:59:03

I agree with custy here!She is only 15 and could end in tears.My ds is 15 and most nights bar fridays he is at home watching tv or on his computer.If he goes to a party he has to be in at midnight and other times he knows that he is not allowed to just 'hang out' on the streets as he has exams this year.My ds has his friends to stay over here a lot films pizzas cooking(?).Is that a possibility?

piscesmoon Wed 21-Oct-09 19:55:51

Unfortunately OP has an open invitation to come to her house it is her DD who doesn't want to ask them. I agree with bodycolder-mine have to be going somewhere, not hanging around the streets. However, I think I have had it easy because hanging around the streets has never had any appeal and so it hasn't been tested. The choice of friends is always the tricky part-if OP is new to the area her DD obviously needs to make friends-getting her out and about with different activities, widens the circle.

mumonthenet Wed 21-Oct-09 23:28:20

If you give her an allowance, why are you also giving her money when she goes out for coffee and cinema?

Work out an allowance (not too generous) to cover everything she needs, except maybe a winter coat which you agree to buy. Or give her a basic allowance and insist that she gets a Saturday job to top it up.

Do not give her one penny more if she runs out before the end of the month. If she is completely desperate give her a really nasty, dirty, physically demanding chore around the house/garden grin for which she gets paid.

Get to know the other mums as fast as you can...you won't feel so isolated, and you'll probably find others who are really happy to find some solidarity with you. You can be absolutely sure that for every friend that's allowed out late there's another who wasn't.

Tell her this: she wants her grounding lifted, you want to know how she is going to take better care of herself. You love her,and in your opinion she is not taking good care, she is being reckless. Your opinion is the one that counts here because you are the adult - tell her that. Does she understand the concept of risk taking? Tell her many times you love her but to get her grounding lifted she needs to come up with a better strategy than the one she's been using. Put the ball back into her court - getting the grounding lifted is up to her.

RAF Cadets only meet twice a week, can you look around for something additional(with a different set of people) she could do/would like - then somehow make her think that she thought of it herself? If you could do that, keep her really busy, get her a Saturday job, and get her focused on a future goal maybe the hanging out boozing will lose its appeal.

Sorry I'm rambling!

desertmum Sat 24-Oct-09 06:39:46

Thanks for that - I'm actually quite happy and comfortable with how I'm handling this situation and seem to be one step ahead of her most of the time . . . I really wanted to know if I was so out of touch that this was normal - now I know it's not I can carry on with my rules and regs, keep a sharp eye out on her FB, and hopefully keep her safe.
Thanks ladies, feel so much better now, was beginning to doubt myself for a bit, now I'm back on track.

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