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… :grrr:

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.

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…

:hug: 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. :verysad:

Sorry I don’t have any advice for you… :hug:

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. :muah: :hug:

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!

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.

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!!!

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!

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!

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. :hug:

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. :heart:

I myself do not have teenage children, but I do have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

Consistency was mentioned earlier and I could not agree more. Children are a lot smarter than many adults give them credit for and they pick up on things like inconsistency, etc. They know just how to push mom and dad’s buttons and they also know how far they can push. You have to push harder.

There have been many times my daughter has not listened to my husband or me or has been defiant and no matter how badly you want to cave in once you say something like no tv, or no toys/computer, whatever, you just cannot. Children must know they do not make the rules, parents make the rules. However, a parent must also know how to pick and choose their battles. If a parent punishes a child too much, the child won’t care anymore; they will remain defiant because they will feel they will get in trouble no matter what they do. On the flip side, if you don’t punish enough, the child will know they can get away with almost anything and will go as far as they can. It’s a very delicate balance.

One thing mentioned that I disagree with, however, is a parent should not be a friend to their child/children. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. I feel parents should be their child/children’s BEST friend and always make sure they let their children know they can come to mom and/or dad with anything. The last thing any parent wants or should do is to build barriers between them and their kids. It’s not good for the kids and definitely not good for the parents. Not only should a parent make their child feel secure in coming to them with anything, it’s equally important to let your child know how much you love them. Teenage years are hard. There is usually a lot of pressure with school, friends, grades, school activities and while to most adults, that may pale in comparison to adult life, for a teenager, it can be quite stressful. Teenagers are still figuring out who they are and it can be a confusing, stressful time in a teens life. I know I wasn’t always a perfect child, but I was nowhere near a bad child either. I was a teenager and my parents understood that. I did have rules, but I also had freedom. I was allowed to make mistakes and for the minor mistakes, I was not punished; my parents gave me room to learn from my mistakes. My parents have always been my best friends, I know I can go to them with anything and I could even when I was a kid. They always left the doors of communication open and never punished me over little things. I strive to be the type of parents my mom and dad are; I have always known they love me, even when they would get mad at me. And, they never left a “fight.” They would make 100% sure there was resolution; that I understood why I was being punished and always ended any argument with a kiss and hug and I love you.

Honestly, I think you are in the right in the decisions you have made in regards to your child’s punishment. Kids need to know there will be consequences to negative actions, just as an adult would face consequences to negative actions, whether it be at work or in general. I think most important of all though is to let your daughter know, calmly, even if it’s in a note you write to her and have her read with you sitting right there, how badly she has hurt you and how badly she makes you feel. Also let her know you love her; she is your child and you would do anything for her, but her actions are way out of line and in order for you to respect her feelings and needs, she must respect yours in return.

I wish you luck in your situation and hope there is a positive resolution for all of you.

I have been in your shoes, and have never felt a pain like the kind I suffered when my 15 year old son was going through the same thing. Most of the time he wouldn’t even speak to us, and when he did he was rude and disrespectful. I would go into his room at night while he was asleep to give him a kiss. (Aren’t I just pathetic?) But his grades were good, and most importantly, his friends were good.

For whatever reason, some teenagers just have to go through this thing, whatever it is, and you have to maintain your rules, but choose your battles, and love her, love her, love her.

My daughter is 11, and her father has her for summer visitation, and some times during the school year.

I have found out through my daughter that my ex has beaten on his new wife, and scared my daughter and her stepsister so bad that they have to call his mother to come help them. NOw, having said that, I was quite amazed when she have the courage to tell me this, cause she thought I would be mad at her.

Which I wasnt, of course. I was heartbroken that at such a young age, she has to deal with that crap from her own father…so I told her that I was proud of her for trusting me and DH enough to tell us this.

I think my point is, Im sure that someday, my oldest will rebel against us, and Ill be in your shoes. And Ive already made thoughts and ideas as to how to work through it. So far, the worst punishment shes had is a weekend of grounding.

TBH, I would let her go to the summer camp. As the captain, I would say its important. But not the championship. And I would leave her bed, but take her door off the hinges. If she cant respect you as she should, than she doesnt deserve to have the door.

And my mom used to do this to us…if there was disrespect, one of our treasured possession went to another sibling for a parental determined amount of time. Although, this was in the day when it was Walkmans, and books. No iPods, or cell phones.

Other than that, Im not sure what else to offer, except a great big hug! :hug:

In my honest opinion i think you are over reacting.
Ig in every other way she is a good kid,but it is just a question of her manners and her respect then you should make sure that you don’t end up treating her like a bad kid.

Certainly you have to do somthing but you have to make sure the punishment fits the crime. If she had been drinking, staying out all the time, skipping school etc, then certainly, grounding removal of cell phone etc is warented, but in a case where it is just and issue of respect (and please dont think the ‘just’ meen i am miinimilising the issue of respect becaus i dont meen to) then perhaps you have to start showing her what the effects of disrespect are.

For example i whent through a phase of being disrespectful with my fammily (as do all teenagers lets face it) she grounded me, took away my tv, talked to me shouted at me all sorts. But only when she quitee deliberatly stopped showing me respect did it get though. I was not grounded for a time, and during that tme, if i asked for somthing i would get a rude answer, my dinner might not always be cooked for me, anything i did got no acknowledgment and so on. At first i could ignore it, but after a short while i realised how horrible it was to be treated in such a way and apologised to my mum and got my act together.

Praise your daughter for the areas she is good in (i.e. schhol, and soccer) but don’t give her ANYTHING when it comes to her attitude. dont be angry, dont be sad dont ignore it just dont give her the respect she hasnt earnt.

I’m still a teenager myself, 18, so I think that makes it easier for me to see the situation from both sides. First, off, I definitely agree that if you feel it’s necessary, you must do something. When you do lay down the law, however, make sure you tell her exactly what and why you’re doing it. I also agree with some of the other posters that there should be rewards for good behavior. Perhaps a complete lack of priviledges for one week, and then, if she was well behaved, give her back one reward, maybe tv or something, and see how that goes for another week. If she reverts back, then back to no priviledges again. I would allow the camp if her behavior improves because if she’s that good at soccer, it could mean a full college scholarship later down the road.

I just want to say goodluck and I think your doing the right thing. My mum had this problem with my sister. It was hell for the whole household. My stepdad wanted to go down your route, but my mother wanted softly softly. My sister is 22, and a horrible young woman. She has few friends and no boyfriend. I haven’t spoke to her in a year, and she only contacts my mum when she wants money. Stick at it. It will be better for her, better for your family, and I’m sure when she’s an adult she’ll thank for it.

I was coming here to post something very similar. I feel for you, those years can be really hard on both the child as well as the parents.

I was a troublesome teenager between ages 16-18. The issues were different but the attitude was the same. In my case it wasn’t disrespect, it was either withdrawal or fighting. And again in my case, anything I perceived as drastic punishment made me so mad it only made me behave worse. I figured since they were punishing me anyway I might as well “earn” it. Once, my dad removed the lock from my door because I constantly stomped away into my room and locked it. It didn’t make me spend more time in the living room, I spent it all outside with my friends.
It’s been 10 years now (I’m 28 ) and my parents and I have a wonderful relationship. As soon as I moved out of home, my attitude changed completly sigh

I don’t know if I have a single point to make. I don’t have children so I can only speak from the perspective of the kid, having been there.
It is very important to have authority over your child, to make it known you’re the one making the rules, but not so harshly that it seems easier to walk away and be “free”.
The cell phone, friends visiting, ipod, laptop, boom box - all this I agree with. But I’m not sure about taking away from her what she might consider her “escape” - football. I wouldn’t leave her with no way out. Just enough so she is without luxuries.

I hope she grows out of it soon and wish you good luck in the meantime. Take care!

You are doing the right thing I was awful to my mom as a teenager and I’ll tell you why, because I could be! I took out all my bad moods on her and every other thing you could imagine if she would have laid down the law and let me know who was the boss I think things would have gone smoother for all of us in my house.These are the important years ones I wish I could get back so that I could do everything different, she will regret treating you this way one day too.

I have absolutely no experience with adolescents (except for having been one many, many years ago), but I have to say that the above approach makes sense to me. As a teenager, it took me a long time to realize that my Mom’s feelings were hurt when I teased her about her weight. I don’t know why, but I guess I just thought she was immune to such things. I think it’s possible that your daughter is similarly clueless about how much she hurts you. Rather than taking away her privileges (which may just make her more angry and rebellious) maybe a healthy dose of enlightenment would do some good.

I think I agree with most of the punishment but would not going to soccer camp really affect a future soccer career for her? You might not get the positive affect you’re hoping for if you’re taking away her future dreams.