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My 12yo is awful to me and shows no remorse.

14 replies

NCForDaughterQuestion · 12/02/2020 08:21

Really hoping for some advice. I feel I'm at the point of giving up on even trying to discipline my daughter; I wonder if it might be less tiresome just to let her carry on treating me badly and count down the days until I can ask her to move out! Awful thought, of course, but at the moment i really, really don't like her.

She's happy at school. She's nice and polite around other people. It's only me she treats badly. She's an only child and I've always been a lone parent. She's never met her dad (but we've always spoke openly about him and she has expressed no desire to track him down so I don't think her behaviour has anything to do with that) and we only see extended family at Christmas time due to living far away. It's pretty much always just been me and her so I can understand the feeling of getting fed up of each other 12 years later!

She calls me names on a daily basis - ugly cow, fat loser, tramp, lazy (I'm none of these things! I'm active, fit, healthy and take pride in my home but she's started to give me a complex!)

She doesn't do anything around the house and when i ask her to, for example, put her dishes in the sink she will SLAM them in the sink and say things like, for god's sake, do you ever stop nagging? Why don't you do it yourself if you're so bothered?

She will mimic me in an unflattering way when I'm on the phone to someone, she will roll her eyes whenever I'm speaking, she will call me stupid if she hasn't explained something properly and I don't understand.

I spend my evenings doing housework. She gets home half an hour before I do on school days and the house is again a tip: she leaves her clothes scattered around various rooms, rubbish from loads of food she's eaten in 30 minutes since returning home (yogurt pots and spoons on my couch.carpet, banana skins, orange peel etc - healthy stuff so it's not as if I can remove snacks). She leaves dirty tissues lying around, leaves taps on, doesn't close doors behind her (we live in a very old cottage and doors need to be closed to retain heat in rooms).

She used to be very intelligent and in top sets at primary school. This year is her first at secondary and parents' night was a shock. She is failing class tests that I didn't even know about, she isn't doing homework (she doesn't tell me about it), she chats to friends in class and is constantly being told off by teachers and getting moved because she is disrupting others. She's struggling in her middle set class. Since hearing this, teachers have now kindly started emailing me about upcoming homework and tests (though not consistently so there are still some I'm not always made aware of). I have set up a timetable for home for my daughter to revise through the week with me so I can support her and get her up to speed with where she should be but she HATES it. She gets even more abusive and tells me first years at secondary doesn't even matter and i'm forcing her to do work she doesn't have to do. She has no ambition for a future career and just isn't motivated to do well. She refuses to join any of the lunchtime supportive study or extra curricular clubs which might help her with her classes as she says they're only for 'losers'.

I have tried so many things since August to discipline her: banning electronics, going on strike, stopping pocket money, making her stay in her room and not allowed to be in my company, giving her a list of chores, asking my sister to speak with her, stopping her from going on sleepovers and days out with her friends. Anytime I implement these 'punishments' she throws a bit of a fit then goes ahead and silently accepts them. I tell her they will continue until she apologises and i believe she's sorry. But she shows no remorse. She says that she'll say sorry but it doesn't mean she is sorry. She's just so stubborn! She will go on like this for days even weeks.

And of course I've also tried sitting down and talking to her about how she is making me feel. But she just doesn't listen!

It's the emotionless/lack of remorse responses that get me. She just doesn't seem to care that she's hurting my feeling and always argues that she is justified in talking to me badly because i make her do it with my nagging and stupidity.

I'm worried she's going to go really far down the road and become absolutely uncontrollable. We've now not been speaking for two days due to her latest tirade of screaming and abuse which resulted in me telling her to stay away from me until she can treat me like a human being. She said she'll need to stay away from me forever then as I'll never be human! She's just gone off to school telling shouting the first thing she's said to me since yesterday: "Hope you have a crappy morning off!" and slammed the door.

Her swearing is another thing that is awful and something she can control as she only does it around me and not her teachers or friends' parents.

Her group of friends are so nice and doing well at school. And my daughter is a different girl around them. It's me that seems to be the instigator of her nastiness.

Sorry for the ramble but I'd be grateful for any help/advice I've realised that punishments which go on for days and days have no impact on her - she stops remembering why she is being punished. Things have to be instant and permanent to have an impact but then does that give her chance to redeem herself?

OP posts:
Aswellaslocal · 12/02/2020 08:29

Have you read Get Out of My Life: but first take me and Alex into town? It helped me realise It wasn’t just my teen

happytoday73 · 12/02/2020 08:38

Your situation sounds horrible.. It can't continue... For your mental health this needs to stop....
So she can behave well with other people..therefore she is capable of doing so with you.
You don't mention her dad.. Is he on the scene at all? Can he help?
If not ask school /school nurse for help. What does your sister think?
Truthfully is it all her or the dynamic of you both together?

Whynosnowyet · 12/02/2020 08:41

I hope you aren't doing her washing and cooking op? Or paying for her phone...

BuckingFrolics · 12/02/2020 08:48

Understandably your post is about yourself in relation to her. Have you thought about her perspective in relation to you? Instead of telling her about how she is "making you feel", have you asked her calmly how you are "making her feel"? About what her fears and lives are? About what she'd like to change in your family as she is growing up? Your post of course focuses on the negatives, as you are in pain, but there is no pleasure in her, no fun, no connection, no love, coming across from you. Have you in your tight knit pair, been over reliant on her, are you happy in yourself? Does she come home to a mother who is generous, kind, interested in her, or one who tuts and scowls and criticises?

I'm not speaking from a holier than thou place, I struggled hugely with my DC at that age. And looking back, with several years of therapy, I see I was not consistently that mother. My needs my irritations my pain was too visible in the family, and contributed to the emotional "climate" at home.

BuckingFrolics · 12/02/2020 08:48

Her loves, not lives.

Ohnoherewego62 · 12/02/2020 08:56

Stop doing for her what she can do for herself. With teens, you have to be one million steps ahead.

Is there a chance she may be getting bullied or something has happened? Have a chat about that then get the tough love tactics out your bag of tricks.

Chores not completed means she cant go out to see friends until they are done.

Work with the school to find out what you can do to get her back on track.

Remove gadgets until she has tidied her room or completed what she needs to do. If she doesnt tidy it, then she doesnt get her phone back.

Stop paying for these items also if the behaviour continues.

She can make her own food should she wish to do so.

If she can control round others, then she's being an idiot. Having said that, they hurt those closest to them.

Sending you Wine and Flowers

TreeClimbingCat · 12/02/2020 09:02

I think the quote that was on Netflix's Sex Education season 2 was the most poignant when the single mother said

"I am your main care-giver and yet I get the worst of you."

Would your daughter be willing to sit down and have a grown up conversation about how you can both move forward from here because it sounds like she is unhappy too.

For me, I am old school, hard core. I would take her key. If she makes so much mess when she is in the house alone then she can't be left alone. Can she attend a homework club at school? And yes my best friend did this with her daughter when she was bringing back randoms she had met in town on her way home from school Shock

When my eldest spoke to me like shit I told him that if this was a relationship he would be dumped and removed from my life because no-one speaks to me like that with contempt and disgust. I have also filmed him when he was at his worst so he could see his behaviour toward me. At school he was a complete delight, so this was just for me. He didn't treat any of his friends like that and we talked about why he felt he could do that to me.

They are relying on you to be the one immovable force in their life and I agree reading Get Out of my Life, But First.. book is helpful.

wejammin · 12/02/2020 09:10

My DS is only 8, he has ASD/PDA and at the moment has limited insight into the consequences of his behaviour towards me - and it is me, everyone else gets the best of him, in the main.

I really benefitted from the approach in Ross Greene's book The explosive child

The premise is to figure out what is behind the behaviour (anxiety, stress, poor functioning skills) rather than reactively punishing the results of the behaviour.
It means letting things go at first and working on issues one at a time. You will feel like you're being too soft but honestly will develop your connection and communication so much.

There's also a great Facebook group to go with the book called "The B Team".

I hope you can figure it out. I know how you feel.

Enb76 · 12/02/2020 09:14

When did this start? She seems very angry with you and I wonder why and how that started - it might not necessarily be anything you did, it might be something external that she's blaming you for. It might have happened a long time ago. When I was horrid to my mother it because I was utterly miserable and full of self-loathing but I was fine at school - your daughter is not fine at school.

I would suggest that you find her someone to talk to.

Pegsinarow · 12/02/2020 09:15

You are not alone op Flowers

The difference between primary and secondary school seems significant. Is she feeling stressed (academically) and mucking around to distract from that? Or is she bright and isn't being stretched enough and is taking advantage? Or is it coincidence that hormones hit at the same time?

And get hold of a copy of "Untangled" by Lisa Damour which I found very helpful.

I totally understand why you feel like giving up but they need us to "hold on to the end of the role" during this stage while they thrash about while they change from child to adult. It's often those who are most attached to their parents who find this transition the most challenging and kick off the most as a result.

Come over to the "holding on to the end of the role" threads on the teenagers board , and start reading thread one. There is some good advice on there. Then join us on thread four if you would like to vent.

Above all, don't give up (however tempting this seems!) but also try and change your parenting a little. Step back a bit, try not to take the verbal onslaughts personally (their brains are going through huge change and aren't fully formed until 23/24 yrs old) but do remove yourself when she is being rude and insulting, don't get drawn in to long battles, quietly challenge some of the worst insults and repeat your expectations about civility and kindness when she is in a calmer mood, pick your battles, tell her you love her lots (teens default position seems to be that everyone is against them) and most importantly, don't be drawn too far down the rabbit hole of negativity, take time out for yourself to make yourself happy , take up a new hobby, get support from friends, model self confidence and self respect. And don't do what I did and get beaten down and depressed by all the negativity, which then resulted in more negativity from DD, which became a vicious cycle. Make sure - whatever happens - you keep communicating and doing pleasurable things every week or so like taking her out to lunch or coffee. And give her things to do which are slightly challenging and outside of her skills set ie give her a taste of adult responsibilities. Start each day afresh if you can.
Finally, drink Gin. Flowers

Very helpfully, there are parents on the "holding on to the end of the rope" threads who have been through it and are more or less out the other side so rest assured that "this too shall pass".

Iggly · 12/02/2020 09:16

She’s still only a child. My concern from reading your post is that you’re really thinking about you and only you. And you’re attributing her actions and behaviour as if she is an adult which she isn’t.

Why on earth the two day silent treatment? That’s ridiculous.

What’s the reason for telling her about you and your feelings? What about hers?

I think you have some emotional needs to be met and need emotional support. Absolutely. But you cannot expect that from your daughter. It’s your job to meet her emotional needs as you’re her parent. So that means listening to her.

And get yourself some help separately.

Also cleaning every evening? When do you have time for just relaxing? Housework every evening sounds excessive.

As for the punishments - fair enough she has punishments but insisting on apologies and showing remorse. That’s a bit over the top. She may well be feeling remorse inside but what are you after? I think the punishment for behaviour is enough.

RickOShay · 12/02/2020 09:28

Flowers for you. This is so so difficult.
Agree with @BuckingFrolics and @Pegsinarow.
My 17yo dd has never met her bio dad, who left me when I was 5 months pregnant never to be seen again. Her teenage years have been absolutely horrendous.
If it’s any comfort I married an old friend when she was 3.5 and had two boys. So I think you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I broke down to the school one day, and got support in the form of Early Help, who were amazing, she saved me, she saw me and saved me and my family.
Stand firm. She loves you. You will get through this.Flowers

Hepsibar · 12/02/2020 10:03

This sounds like my DD in terms of the way she treated me until about 16 and then just occasionally but was always dedicated to her school work and also my DS followed in tracks but less dedicated to school work ... but pulled himself together schoolwise midway thru Y10. Both have grown up to be lovely empathetic young people and at uni. Reassurances like this dont help while you are living thru it but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Here are some thoughts
*Would not worry about remorse if she does it that's v positive.
*I used to think to myself when my DD said cruel things she was really saying them about herself ... and we have now had conversations about teens doing this and she sort of agrees.
*The change from v structured primary school to many rooms, teachers, subjects can be hard - is she on the autistic spectrum?
*Are there any fun things you do together?
*At one point, I had to speak partly by text to my daughter because of the verbal onslaught. I would always say I loved her in the text. It did work quite well ... year 8 and 9 I think.
*Try and identify the good things and let her know you've spotted them. Tell her by text, verbally, thank her and how proud you are.
*Suprised the school doesnt have a computerised online homework system you can access to check things out.
*You'd be surprised how many other parents are going thru this but we all keep schtum!
*Are there other children in her classes who dont do their homework and have parents who dont enforce and she is railing ... and trying to keep in with the crowd. Is she worried about bullying?
*Is she trying to go out with boys - sexual relationships etc (maybe a bit older) and it's all too much
*No mobile phones after bedtime was the rule in our house which brought hours of tantrums everyday. If I was to do this again, would restrict it til after homework done and after food.
*I think you should speak to the school because this is not unique and they may have some suggested strategies and also some counselling available they can access ... this was a real turning point for my DS who had the most marvellous person talk to him and all of us. I once remember had a flat tyre in the pouring rain and he went bananas and I was advised how to handle it.
*You may want to speak to the GP, I did this and he asked if he would speak to DD and we never took it up. How I regretted that, it's ok now but could have been v helpful.
*Can you in moments of calmness talk about the world and different aspects and how the good things in her character ... it's hard when they are being horrible ... but with my DD I used to talk about loyalty, determination etc (desperately trying to identify something) so she knew I knew her good qualities and so on.
*Can you keep an ABC diary (what happened before, during, after) and you might find it's not quite so "all the time" as it feels and gives you a chance to reflect your role in calming and coaching better behaviour and you might be able to identify some triggers or trends.

Good luck. xx

Pegsinarow · 15/02/2020 20:55

Great post Hepsibar

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