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Old 04-20-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
auburnchick
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OT - Getting Tough with a Teenager Updated 6/18
Ok y'all. I've had it with my 15yo dd. She has been a challenge since she was about 10, but the last couple of years has gone past the point of what is okay as far as her attitude and disrespect. She's basically a good kid...good grades, good friends. But the disrespect...

So, I decided to initiate a BIG change (after discussing with my dh). I suspended her cell phone service today (wait until she turns on her phone after school). She's also going to have to cancel a trip she was going on with a couple of friends after school gets out. No iPod, laptop, or boom box. I'm considering removing her bed from her bedroom as well. No soccer tournament -- her team is in the state playoffs, and even though she can't play (knee surgery in February), she goes to support them -- plus she just got voted as team captain. Plus, no soccer camp later this summer (very important...FSU soccer camp). Plus no friends over or to their houses at a minimum of this summer but indefinitely until her attitude permanently changes.

This could really affect her future soccer career, but I just feel like if you can't even have a normal conversation with your child, without being yelled out or put down (don't start me there), then what kind of parent am I? How am I really preparing her for her life as an adult??

What do you think? I know this seems drastic but she constantly puts me down...about everything, from the clothes I wear to how I talk on the phone. I cannot get through a grocery trip without her berating me the whole time. And she treats my dh even worse. And I see flashes of disrespect when she interacts with her g'parents.

Anyhow, I'm just curious what YOU have done while raising the beings we call teenagers.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:39 PM   #2
cds11
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Wow.. I'm not a parent or anything.. infact, I was a teenager not that long ago... I'm going to wish you the best of luck with this, and do what you've got to do... But don't expect immediate results, there's probably gonna be a lot more resentment from her once she can't use her cell phone, can't go out, can't do anything really.... But hopefully if it's important enough to her, her attitude will change... It could be hard to correct if this has been going on a long time (it sounds like 5 or so years?). Maybe try talking to her about it, how it hurts your feelings and makes you feel bad when she puts you down all the time, or you could also try sending her to counselling to try and figure out why she's acting this way...
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:42 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a difficult time with your kid. I was terrible to my parents when i was growing up.

Sorry I don't have any advice for you...
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cds11
Wow.. I'm not a parent or anything.. infact, I was a teenager not that long ago... I'm going to wish you the best of luck with this, and do what you've got to do... But don't expect immediate results, there's probably gonna be a lot more resentment from her once she can't use her cell phone, can't go out, can't do anything really.... But hopefully if it's important enough to her, her attitude will change... It could be hard to correct if this has been going on a long time (it sounds like 5 or so years?). Maybe try talking to her about it, how it hurts your feelings and makes you feel bad when she puts you down all the time, or you could also try sending her to counselling to try and figure out why she's acting this way...
We've done everything but the counseling. She doesn't really seem to care if what she says hurts my feelings. Crying, yelling, and talking rationally don't help. The thing is that she knows our expectations. She just doesn't care. And soccer has always been the "untouchable" part of her life. She's a very good player, but if she can't function respectfully now, then what will that mean later?

I think until SHE decides to be different, things won't change.

And yes, I know it's going to be hard. But she doesn't know that I'm more stubborn than she is. I can outlast her. Besides, I have y'all and knitting to vent with.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #5
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Dear Nathalie: I can really understand how frustrated, hurt, angry and rejected you feel as a result of your daughter's behavior and attitude towards you.

Is it possible that in your hurt you're feeling as though you don't have any choices other than to take everything away from her? It is so tempting to do!

I would suggest sitting down with her (perhaps again and laying out your expectations and the consequences. You might even want to write/type them out so everyone is clear and there is no chance of misunderstanding. Be specific about the consequences so everyone is really clear.

Then the hard part: You have to follow through with what you've decided the consequences will be. Now, of course she's going to test you and she is going to be livid when you actually enforce the consequences, BUT --- eventually she will start to get it.

The hardest part of parenting is consistancy. It's also really important that the consequence fits the offense as much as possible. For instance: If she treats you with disrespect, the consequence might be that you don't drive her to practice. In the "real world" when you treat other's with disrespect they don't usually try and make your life easier!

I hope this is somewhat helpful. I have two daughters, 24 and 21. The teenage years can be really trying.

I'd suggest two books: How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk And Giving the Love that Heals by Harville Hendrix. Both are very clear and simple in regards to their approach.

I'll keep you in my prayers for strength and courage!
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #6
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Ouch, that sucks. But I do have some advice:

You're right to take away all of her electronics and ground her for the summer. Especially not letting friends into the house.

Setup a curfew.

No movies and no tv. (that will piss her off, especially with the new Jonny Depp and Orlando Bloom movie coming out this year)

Let her keep her bed. Taking that out of her room would just be silly.

If she shapes up and behaves all summer, let her take the soccer camp trip.

Maybe a family outing into the wilderness?

If she doesn't shape up by the school year, all of the rules should stay. No dances, no sports, no electronics, no car, and a 4pm curfew.


I hope that helps. My father and I had similar anger issues toward each other, but for different reasons (he hadn't wanted children, and made it known, and then I was sent to live with him when I was 10 because of my mother's death), but this sounds more like she's being a brat, something my step sister does quite a lot.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #7
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Boy have I BEEN IN YOUR SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have my total and complete sympathy.

My daughter was an absoulte nightmare from the time she was 13 til about 18, I honestly didn't think I would survive it. But I did, she did, we did..... she is 22 now and FINALLY our relationship has become what I had always hoped it would be.

The best advice I can give you is be strong, be firm and try to keep loving her through it. Those that are the most difficult to love are often in need of our love the most.

I would not want to go back to those days for all the money in the world, it was the most hurtful painful time of my life. But she will grow out of it and you will SOMEDAY have a good realtionship with her!!!
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:54 PM   #8
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We didn't have any real trouble until our dd went off to college. She returned home after the first semester and went to work. I had begged, cajoled, argued, yelled whatever about her room as it was not only in the very front of our apartment, but was a total total pig sty. Ater a particularly nasty blowup with her dad and I she screamed at us and stomped out of the house. Her dad took the door off her room. When she returned she threw a fit. Her room opened up into the living room and everyone would be able to see what a pig she was living like, empty soda cans, food, dishes, clothing, you get the idea. She said she had rights to privacy. Dad said "He who makes the gold makes the rules!" Her dad told her she got the door back when she cleaned the room, completely all of it and to my satisfaction. She moved out the next day and never returned home again. She is now almost 30, married and has her own son that is almost 7.

With our son, his biggest uh-oh moment came when he lied to stay overnight at friends, skipped school with a bunch of them and went to Chicago for a concert (Chicago is about 2.5 hours from where our home was) The school called, of course, because there were a dozen kids all friends missing from school. The office was going to let all the kids off once they notified the parents, but Jack said absolutely not. Not only did Jay get zeros for all his classes, so did his all friends because though the other parents were ok with it even though they didn't know, the school felt it was only fair to do to all what one got. He came home, lied to his dad again, and dad dropped the bomb by telling him the school had called! UH-OH! Dad dropped the bomb, grounded for a month, have to ride the school bus (he was a senior) no friends to the house, etc. These were the days before cells, ipods, super computers and the like. He had to go to school and come right home for a whole month. He is now almost 34, married and expecting his first son in just a little over a month. If you asked him what his worst punishment was, he will tell you this story.

With all that being said, we are not supposed to be our kids friends. We are their parents and it is our duty to bring them up to be responsible adults. You need to do what you think is best to get her attention. I applaud you for having the courage to do some very difficult things. Be patient, she will hate you before she loves you again. Stay tough and one day, know that one day, she will thank you for it!
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:58 PM   #9
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You bring up an interesting point. But I really don't think I'm reacting out of hurt. It's more of a thing where we've done things here and there (grounding, etc...), but never done things that were so drastic and meant so much to her. I think once she understands that her actions affect EVERY part of her life, maybe it will "click." And, I plan to stick with it for the long haul...as you said, consistency.

She simply doesn't understand that our actions have consequences. I liken it to what God expects of us when we ultimately answer to Him. He has laid out the consequences, and we choose the outcome. Same thing with her.

I like the "contract" idea and will probably do this so we're all on the same page.

Thanks for the support!
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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Good luck, and I hope it doesn't get any worse.

I know how frustrating it is, I've watched how little respect my brother has for the family and how it destroys relationships and is hurtful.

But I'd take your dd over my not-so-dear brother any day. I won't get into what he's done here, but it makes your dd look like a saint, and I don't want to belittle your situation.

I think you are taking good steps by taking away from her what she most desires. As mentioned, as you said you understood, you MUST follow-through, or you will undermine your position and further undermine her respect. But all punishment with no incentive probably won't work either.

I'd suggest sitting down with her, discussing clearly everything you expect from her, so that she knows what she does to upset you. (My mother likes to get upset that people don't help her with xyz, but doesn't tell us beforehand that she wants help with xyz.) Explain why you are taking away privileges, and emphasize that they are privileges, not rights. (Bed is a right, though. Leave that in her room.) Set a minimum length for the punishments. Once this threshold is reached, good behavior should be rewarded by a gradual relaxation of the punishments. Any infractions will lose those privileges. This shows her that her bad behavior has negative consequences (losing privileges.), and her good behavior has postive consequences (regaining privileges.)

But I'm practically still a kid, myself. So do what you think is right.
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