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trouble with teens
February 2, 2004
9:03 pm
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Anonymous
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please help me i'm desperate!! i am a 36 year old mother of two. my husband and i are at the end of our rope with our daughter, who will be 14 in march. she has had 3 f's on her report card since the 2nd quarter of 7th grade and is in the 3rd quarter of 8th grade with the same 3 f's!!! we have tried almost everything we know to try. including grounding, yelling, threatening, taking away all privileges, giving more privileges, making her share a room with her younger brother...... nothing works!! and i'm ashamed to admit this, but i have hit her in anger several times....it isn't phasing her. she doesn't seem to care that she's going to fail. she is sarcastic and hateful most of the time.. but i'm the problem. because i let her push my buttons, and then i lose control.. and she see's me doing just that, but pushes harder!!and i'm supposed to be the adult. i know what i'm doing to her, and i still do it. i can't tell you how many times she says she hates me and wishes i would die.. and i feel she has every right to say it to me, because i do hit her in anger. i am the world's worst mom... ever!!! but is there hope before i lose her forever?? she already doesn't want anything to do with me and it breaks my heart. we used to be so close!! help me please

February 2, 2004
9:08 pm
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strengthishere
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There is a book out there for girls by the same writer of "In the Meantime" I'll try and find the name of it. It helps women with their self-esteem. She obviously has self-esteem issues to deal with. I think that getting the both of you into counselling right away will help. Also there are so many parenting teenagers courses out there. Go to http://www.google.com and type in parenting teenagers and find something in your area. I hope this helps. I think it's time to reach her because something terrible may have happened to her and that is her way of dealing with it. If you can't talk to her then maybe your husband can or a good friend of the family that is close to her but the key here is to reach her and see if anything happened. I'll say a prayer for you and your daughter and I'm sure you'll get lots of help on this site.

February 2, 2004
9:12 pm
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Anonymous
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thank you for your advice. i've never done this before and didn't expect a response so quickly!! it makes sense to have someone else talk to her and i actually have tried that, but she gets angry for telling others about her business because she thinks i'm just trying to embarass her! i can't win!

February 2, 2004
9:24 pm
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Squeezles
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Do you talk to her? Spend time with her? Do you know what's going on in her life? Is she depressed? Has something happened to her at school? Have you set up some meetings with her teachers to discuss her school progress?

I'm not a parent so I don't have the answers on how to directly deal with this, but as that Year 8 kid about 12 years ago, I do know that belittling and shaming will not get her to do what ultimately YOU want. You need to be able to talk to her at HER level. Find out who she is and what she's about. What does she want out of life?

And for what it's worth my Mum says that I was basically a 'bitch' around the age of 13, but that (apparently) I grew out of it. It could just be that provobial 'phase' but since she is failing classes and potentially damaging her future some sort of action needs to be taken, but it seems to me she's angry or depressed about something and your actions are just pushing her deeper into herself, rather than helping to solve the problem.

February 2, 2004
10:00 pm
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Zinnie
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What subjects is she failing? Is this a change from before?

Is there a possibility that she is having trouble that she is not telling you about.

She does not have the right to tell you she hates you... sorry, just not right. I'm not for beating a child - but I will say that yes, I was spanked as a kid. Not beaten but spanked.

Also, when you are dealing with her, are you sticking to your guns? And do you and your husband back each other?

Z.

February 2, 2004
10:39 pm
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themis
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Gee that is a real remember when! My daughter and I have a wonderful relationship for the most part but grade 7 and part of 8 were Hell! I certainly didn't like her and questioned if I even loved her. You can get to the "other side" of this. That sure doesn't help in the moment. Sometimes the only comfort that can be had, is the knowing that you're not alone.

February 2, 2004
11:03 pm
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Zinnie
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Perhaps she can start her own thread with Lisset - Lisset if you don't mind counseling a person... see, you are growing - a role model!

February 2, 2004
11:34 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi Lisset,

I meant - perhaps you and the daughter could talk.

Z.

February 3, 2004
1:03 am
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free
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Worlds Caring mom:

I changed your name- do you like it? you are not the worlds worst mom. If you were, you'd be drinking away your sorrows and blowing everything off in a stupor- letting your husband mnolest her etc. Or you simply wouldn't care. Or this or that. You wouldn't be reaching out to find help. You do this because you care.

Many a times I have told my students (I'm a high school teacher) that the reson their parents flipped out ( some do when the kids do stupid stuff-they do some really stupid stuff) is because they care and they don't know what to do. The time to really be concerned is if you do something and your parents don't want to hear about it. Then, ya got a real problem.

I don't have all the answers for you. I wish I did, but I'm struggling with my own 13 year old-controlled from outerspace- daughter.

Oh, there have been times I wanted to just smack my daughter. Don't do that. It sounds simple. When you feel that coming on, leave. Go outside for a short walk, to the garden, for a cigarette (if ya smoke), to the shower. She is pushing those buttons because in those moments when you lose it, she is controlling you, she feels powerful. She does not want to win, but is driven to try. Think to yourself "this child will not control me, if I am to have any control over her."

Just today I said to my daughter "the answer is no, and I will not enter into a protracted argument with you" knowing full well she would have no clue as to the vocabulary I used, but the message became clear when she continued to argue and I just said "my answer is no." She gave up. Was kinda cool.

I'm struggling too. Setting boundaries and limits is tough. It really is and ya gotta have a teenager who pushes and pushes and pushes to get a grasp on just how tough.

Do not hit your daughter anymore. You will likely be arrested if the police come, and she could be pulled from your home if a report is filed and substantiated. She is too old to hit. In California, spanking is permitted with an open hand on the rear end with clothes on, and that's it. Any other form of corporal punishment constitutes child abuse. At the age of 11 corporal punishment becomes questionable. I'm not trying to frighten you, but think you need to know this. Your daughter could really gain the upper hand- she could really win. But we all know, that she wouldn't win. She'd lose more than she'd ever bargained for.

It's not just about being the adult. Your daughter is not in control of her emotions and is crossing lines. Not because you're a bad mom, not because she's a bad kid, but because that's what teenagers do. You staying in control of yourself can teach her that she can too. And she needs to learn that. You can teach her that by modeling.

No need to tell her that you will not hit her anymore. She will just push to see what is that you WILL do. Just don't hit, scream, call names.

My daughter pushed and pushed one night. Calmly I told her, you will go to your room within the next ten minutes or you lose your music. She stared at me. 10 minutes passed. I will pack up your room tomorrow and you will have only half of your stuff. She told me I wouldn't do that because I wouldn't have time. You will lose your door. She stayed on the couch. Then I told her I'm going to take a shower and go to bed. You have lost enough for one night.

And the next day I left work early and did everything I said I'd do. She was flabbergasted. Her siblings were too. I told her two weeks and circled a date on the calendar to get her things back. They were all at my fiance's. She started going off. I took a pen and circled the next day. And then the next. And told her we could do this until the calendar runs out for the month and then I'll just donate to charity. She stopped. Everytime she crossed a line I warned her, and then if she crossed again, I circled the next day. It took her almost two months to get her stuff back.

I dunno. This worked for me. This one time.

Something to think about. Warn, and then follow through, deliberately, calmly, and with the explanation that she made a choice. She can do whatever she chooses, and all choices have consequences, both good and bad.

Write her little notes. I love you notes. "you're beautiful, special, smart, and I love you." "I'm proud to be your mom." " How lucky I am that God granted me a daughter like you." " I love my little girl who is growing into a beautiful woman." things like that. Maybe once a week. On her bed. On her dresser. In her lunch. In her backpack. On her pillow. On the kitchen counter.

Know that she is attempting to engage any power struggle available because she knows she can win if you engage it. She is right. But what she can't see is what she loses by winning. don't engage it by respecting her choices to accept the consequences that you inform her of. I'm constantly reminding myself that controlling my daughter happens when I do not lose control of myself.

Talk to her about grades. Education is the great equalizer. People will judge her by the color of her skin, how she dresses, her name, her income, where she lives, her sex, anything they can. Because that's what people do to gain the upper edge. But ya can't gain it over education. It gives us the power to overcome these judgements. I tell my kids, a C or below means I get in yor business (and I have). Call the teachers. Go meet with them (and take her with you). Ask for weekly progress reports. Ask to see homework. Tests. Stop the punishment for poor grades. Get in her business about it. That is a natural consequence because it is your job as a parent ya tell her. It's your job to help her find out what is causing her to struggle. She won't want your help, and after a while she'll come to realize that not getting your help and deep concern means managing it on her own. Ya tell her things like you have to try your best to help her kuz it's your job and all you can do is your best. You can't make her learn anything or pass her classes, but you have to try to help her. Calmy, deliberately, consistently. It's a process I assure you. And war will break out. Never fire and dodge the bullets with grace (ha! that was good!)

Hang in there. Good moms ask for help. Just like you.

free

February 3, 2004
6:54 pm
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Anonymous
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thank you all for your comments!! I now know i'm not alone. and i needed to hear someone tell me that hitting her is wrong, because as long as she and i are the only ones who know i act that way.... well it's like looking at yourself through someone else's eyes. and it helped.. a lot. i am ready to try all of your ideas and put myself to the test. i'm not going to look for an argument with her, it wouldn't be hard! but i feel more prepared!! i am thinking of letting her talk on here to ya'll, but i needed something for me. and i don't want her to try and use this against me! however i think if she sees that there are others going through this it may hit home with her.

February 3, 2004
9:49 pm
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sosos
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My daughter is 14...it is utter hell. This stupid age hit of course at the worst possible time. After moving, divorce, etc. If she's not being a mouthy, bossy, brat, she's acting like my mother!!! Right now, all we have is each other, and she's pushing that away. Her grades are poor, I thought last year it was because it was a new school and with the move and all, but this year has been no better. I don't know what to tell you, maybe I'm here to read and listen and learn myself. My friend said she fought with her daughter every single morning before school for her entire high school years, NOW? She is married with 7 year old twins and sees her mom almost everyday and talk on the phone, etc. They have a great relationship. I hate to think I'll have to wait that long. I truly believe it is definitely the age! Good luck to you and I'll be peaking in for some help here of my own. Just know you are not alone.

February 3, 2004
10:15 pm
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Squeezles
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Hey, it's hard to remain calm when your buttons are getting pushed. You're only human. It's OK to feel hurt, angry, frustrated, disappointed etc etc. It really is. But the key is how you DEAL with those emotions. Hitting your daughter is NOT the answer and I know you know that, but you can relearn new ways of behaving. It's HARD, but it is do-able.

What works for me is to try and recognise the things that make me irritated and frustrated and also work out the physiological signs that indicate that I'm getting to that point. Once you identify that, you can say to yourself "This situation is really bugging me, but is it really worthwhile saying/doing anything about it now when I'm feeling this way?" Usually it isn't worth it because it just makes the situation 10x worse. You are much better dealing with problems when you aren't at the point where you're overwrought and really not thinking straight. If you feel your buttons getting pushed, take a very deep breath, count to 10, exhale and if you think it's necessary perhaps walk away for a minute or otherwise remove yourself from the situation (if leaving the house isn't appopriate, escape to the bathroom or something). Take some time out and think about the situation and THEN deal with it. I've been working on doing this for the last few months and most of the time it works for me. I've also discovered that most of the times that I do express my anger it's over petty things that really weren't worthy getting annoyed over and in fact just made the situation worse because instead of me being annoyed with someone, I now have THEM annoyed with me TOO!

Good luck, it's wonderful that you're prepared to work on this. It just shows how much you do love your daughter.

February 3, 2004
10:27 pm
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silk
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Have you considered family counseling?

February 4, 2004
3:35 am
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Zinnie
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Hee hee Silk - you beat me to my suggestion!

Again Mom, I would look at everything. Have her friends changed?

I know that age can be a stinker. I married my first husband and his oldest daughter was 12 at the time. Oh... the teen years - were rough to a degree. She was ultimately a good kid and never caused us any trouble like this, but she was moody! The only time her Mother even half way said something to her Father or I cross ways was when our daughter became "boy crazy!"

We were getting ready to leave on vacation with the kids, and I can't remember exactly what happened between her and her Mom; but, when we went to pick up the kids to go to the airport we were waiting on our daughter who although she had a closet and two dresser's of cloths now had nothing to wear... Anyway, her Mom said "I hope you have a good time - she has discovered boys - and it is now YOUR problem! I can relax for 10 days!"

But, I really would encourage you to look into family counseling and the reasons why she is acting like this. Again, I would look at everything, not just her reaction to you.

Love,

Zinnie

February 4, 2004
1:08 pm
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Hi,,you're not the world's worst mom,,,,she just thinks you are!!! I really, truly feel for you. When I was 13 to 15 or so, I despised my mother!!! And I'm sure she wasn't too fond of me either,,LOL..I was awful!!!

Then when my now 28-year-old daughter was that age, she and I despised each other. But she did have some problems with school, started smoking, running away!! It was really bad. She disappear, and I'd find out where she was and haul her back only to have her go again. Finally, I had to turn to the authorities. I took her to counseling when all of this first started, but it just didn't help. I went with her, her dad went,,,but she was hell-bent on doing exactly as she pleased.

Now I have a daughter who just turned 17. We've always gotten along pretty well, although she thinks I'm a goober and rolls her eyes a lot over things I ask her. She and I just have a better relationship than I do with my oldest

I wish I could be of more help but just know that there are others who know EXACTLY what you're going through!!!! I hope you get a good counseler. Have you tried talking to her school's guidance counseler? Do you know her friends' moms? They can be a wealth of information for you. Good luck!! W.

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