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Lifesgood

How to survive parenting a teen daughter

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Lifesgood

Calling all EBers who have parented a teenage daughter - please give me your best survival tips! :pray:

DD is 14 and has hit full blown teen mode - surly, angry, rude, lazy, messy, all the teen adjectives. All traces of sweetness, kindness or general likeability have vanished.

DH and I are tearing our hair out. Life has become so unpleasant that there is barely any joy in anyone’s day in our house. It’s so sad. 
She has been to the GP for tests and has a few health issues (physical and mental) which we are addressing but what I need is advice on how to live day to day without feeling like all the joy has been sucked out of the world.

How did you survive your teen? What can we do to make life more bearable?

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Jersey Caramel

No advice but will be following.  My friend is currently going through hell with her 15yo DS. I am absolutely dreading having 3 teens in the house over the next decade (our eldest is 12). 

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Expelliarmus

I got nothing. I am just waiting for the storm to pass.

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can'tstayaway

Another who is following. 
 

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Silvers

Have you read “The letter your teenager can’t write you” about hanging on to the end of the rope?  I find this comforting if we’re having a tough day.

My teens aren’t too bad but they do have their moments.  I am very firm on boundaries, being respectful and let natural consequences occur.  I bite my tongue several times a day and encourage them with their interests/seeing friends etc.  A part time job is also great if possible to get a taste of the real world.

 

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Prancer is coming
Posted (edited)

My DD is about to turn 14.  I don’t feel in the position to give advice given there may be worse to come, but she has always been challenging.   But I m watching the train wreck interaction between my DH and DD and do have some pointers.  So either take or leave them as I am new in my journey.

Try to find a positive interaction with them.  Say something nice in the morning or you/they get home of an evening.  Try to clean slate whatever interaction you had previously.  Don’t they say 3 positive comments to every negative, but this is way too hard!  Is there something fun you can do together?  Watch a funny movie, watch a tv show you both like (or show interest in what they like, go out for ice cream.  Try not to let the previous behaviour go stop you from doing anything nice together as otherwise you will never interact!

Expect a default answer of no.  They may just need time to come around and the no may change.  Or they feel they have to disagree.  My kid will yell and tell me my advice is terrible and she is ignoring it.  Yet sometimes, and she certainly will not tell me, she has actually listened.

If it is at the point where you are both yelling at each other and caught in your own views, going in with it and yelling more does not really help.  You are the adult and don’t need to engage in back and forth yelling.  You can state consequences at the beginning and apply as needed rather then trying to get her to see or agree with your views.

You can hear them and apologise without needing to agree.  I often say stuff like i can see you feel your other siblings are favoured and feel it is unfair.  I am sorry you feel like that.  It does not give them lots to argue with and if you focus on how wrong they are and they don’t understand how good they have it and how annoying their behaviour is to the rest of the family, more screaming arguments will occur.  They will not see your reason.  

ETA - keep them busy with extracurricular activities.  If there is something they enjoy and want to do, sign them up!  No such thing as over scheduling.  They certainly won’t go if they don’t want to, hopefully exercise creates happy hormones and just having them out of the house and doing something they enjoy might improve everyone’s moods.

Hang on in there!

Edited by Prancer is coming
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VVV
Posted (edited)

I don’t have experience of parenting a teen but I sure do have experience of being an angry and out of control one. When I think back to that time I think all I really wanted was for someone to really listen to me and hear me non judgementally, and to help me make sense of my place in the world. I think all you can do is keep communication open, keep supporting and keep loving as much as you can!

Edited by VVV
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Gudrun

Make sure she knows you're on her side.   Some good suggestions above will do that.

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IamzFeralz

I think it’s important to remember it does not last forever.  Many girls of that age are going through massive hormonal changes.  

My DD was a lot like your at 14 but now at 17, she is very different.  She can look back now and comment on what a “brat” she was (her words).  

What I found helped was to keep talking.  Find an area that you are both interested in and keep the lines of communication open.  For my DD and I we loved to debate with each other about current affairs (like on EB ha ha!).  It had a flow on effect in that she opened up in general too and she confided more.  I started to understand her better and appreciate her qualities.  

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JustBeige

Great suggestions by Prancer. 

I think also, remember to tell them they are loved and valued and that you really are proud of the adult they are becoming.  Lots and lots of random cuddles as well. 

We used to have conversations about debriefing if something stressful is happening. 

One boundary I stayed firm on was how they spoke to me. If they were in a bad mood they were encouraged to go hide in their room for half an hour or so. 

Also watch their diet. People who get constipated get cranky. 

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doubledelight

I currently have SDD 15, DD14 and DS14 at home - life is certainly interesting.  The first thing I did was hang a white board which has everyones life captured on it.  Both DDs now have a part time job so all shifts are on the board.  The chore roster is there so no arguing about whose turn it is to do what - although that doesn't completely eliminate the "I do more, you always pick on me" argument".  Any appointments/commitments/sport are also captured on there so everyone is aware of their responsibillities.

I also think it's important to get her to examine why she is feeling/reacting the way she is.  Sometimes this means a discussion after the event.  The other thing I'm big on is allowing them to sit in the emotion and feel the way they do at a given time and to acknowledge that. "I'm sorry that you feel sad/angry/unseen that can be difficult".  Humor can also be used to diffuse a situation, like "Would you like cheese with that whine?"

We also eat dinner together as a family every night at the table.  Since the kids were little we've always had a discussion on 1 thing you learned, 1 thing that annoyed you, 1 thing you enjoyed and 1 thing you are looking forward to the next day.  As they've gotten older we've also included a discussion on something relevant that happened either globally or in our community so it might be COVID or George Floyd or Clean Up Australia Day.

I think having some time away from each other can be positive but also doing one on one things with a parent, even if it is a movie or even coffee out just the two of you.

If all else fails I just count the days until I can legally run away from home and not be charged with abandonment

 

Oh and wine, LOTS OF WINE.

 

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frazzle

One boundary I stayed firm on was how they spoke to me. If they were in a bad mood they were encouraged to go hide in their room for half an hour or so. 

 

Agree totally with this. Being polite is not negotiable - and if it is breached they are asked to remove themselves. Unfortunately my other half disagrees and regularly WWIII breaks out when he takes her on after she has been rude or is really heightened. It is very much like going back to the three year old tanties - let it blow, get them to remove themselves to cool down, at the end when they are rational a VERY short discussion on taking a breath to try and stop it happening again.

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Lifesgood
8 hours ago, Silvers said:

Have you read “The letter your teenager can’t write you” about hanging on to the end of the rope?  I find this comforting if we’re having a tough day.

My teens aren’t too bad but they do have their moments.  I am very firm on boundaries, being respectful and let natural consequences occur.  I bite my tongue several times a day and encourage them with their interests/seeing friends etc.  A part time job is also great if possible to get a taste of the real world.

 

Oh thank you for that letter recommendation! I just read it and it made me teary. I will get DH to read it too.

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Squeekums The Elf

Marking my spot, dd is 10 and not far off all this

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71Cath

The mood swings do my head in.  One minute, I'm a great mum, the next I am the worst in the world.  I try to do something she wants to do (at the moment we are watching Big Brother together) - it gives us something to chat about that isn't school (a fraught subject).

Its so tiring though, and I'm divorced so no partner to hand off to, or just to roll my eyes with.

I take some comfort that teachers/grandparents/other adults tell me how lovely she is :)

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Freddie'sMum

Chocolate.  Chocolate is your friend and also to the teenager girls (I am not sure about teenage boys and their need for chocolate).  The other week our DD#1 (age 15) had invited 2 other girls over to do a homework project and I just fed and watered them (chocolate) and let them get on with it.  More seriously, I think making sure they have something to do is good - so a sports / hobby / interest / part time job - just something to occupy their time.  With our kids I found a sport they could both play (hockey) and they both love it.  It gets them out of the house and running around.  

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Lifesgood

Thanks everyone for your advice and ideas, it has given me lots of basics to start with. I feel calmer and more prepared simply by reading what you have all posted.

Some of this we already do - I drink lots of wine and we all eat plenty of chocolate. 😁 DD plays soccer, it is her anchor - she loves it.

We had a better afternoon today. The mornings are gruesome.

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FuzzyChocolateToes

This is our house too right now.  😶 The mood swings are very challenging.

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Chelli

I have three DD's - 21, 17 and 15. We've been navigating teenage girls for a while. There is such good advice upthread - I particularly agree with keep them busy! Find something they enjoy and encourage completely. 

Encourage them with their efforts - kids need validation more at this age than when they were little in my experience. Be their soft place to fall - they are more likely to communicate when they are hurting if you withhold judgement, but also be prepared that they may not want to talk to you. Give them space. 

I enjoy their friends, so it's nice to be the house that the kids want to hang out at. 

Be prepared for them to withdraw a little (or a lot) from you. They are figuring things out, and that takes time and space - try not to take that personally. DD21 did it suddenly and I took it personally. 

I agree with a PP about the way they speak to you - they still need boundaries and I won't put up with being disrespected. Be prepared for them to have opinions that may be different to how they used to think - that one shocked me. Every now and again, you will be reminded of their inner child. Last week a tearful DD needed to be picked up from school after a memorial service was held for a classmate who recently passed away. I found her curled up on her bed with her teddy bear watching an old movie she used to watch as a child. 

We have our moments where we all clash, but I love the way that they think, their awakening of things like political issues and their empathy for what happens in their friends' lives, and seeing them discover who they are and where they want to go in life. Hang in there!

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Lifesgood

I feel like giving up and running away. Yesterday was a good day, DD and I went shopping to get her a few things and had a nice few hours together. Then last night it all went to pieces and she ended up fighting with us at 11pm. She says she didn't sleep all night as a result - I believe her. DH and I only got a few hours. She has been lying on the loungeroom floor under a blanket on her phone all day. She was asked to do a couple of small chores and refused, so we have confiscated her phone. She has had a complete meltdown, telling me what a terrible mother I am (yes, I think I am messing this up badly), how we don't understand her at all (agree with that!), we want her to be unhappy etc etc.

I just haven't got the emotional and mental strength to cope and feel so unequipped to be her parent. F*** this.

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kadoodle

I’d be calling in the professionals, @Lifesgood. A fresh set of eyes on the situation is worth its weight in little green frogs.

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Lifesgood
1 minute ago, kadoodle said:

I’d be calling in the professionals, @Lifesgood. A fresh set of eyes on the situation is worth its weight in little green frogs.

Already doing that kadoodle. She is seeing a psychologist and our GP, plus the school counsellor.

Maybe I need some professional help. 😢

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Baily

Make sure she always know she can talk to you about anything.

When she is emotional give her space.  You might be surprised how often she comes to you once she has calmed down.  

Remember she is feeling vulnerable, confused, usually self doubt.  Often they haven’t worked out who they are.

Also the teenage years are a time where you both move in different ways, her on a path to adulthood and you giving your little girl more space/freedom.  I’m pretty sure that why nature makes teenagers so turbulent. 

Have chores but be flexible if it’s a ‘bad day’ 

Remind her how special she is.

Before you know it she will be grown up. 
 

Good luck 

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Lifesgood

Thanks Baily, they are wise words.

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No Drama Please
28 minutes ago, Lifesgood said:

Maybe I need some professional help. 😢

I’m always running round trying to figure out what the kids need but I’m going to see a psych for myself now, it’s easy to put yourself last on the list that you forget it’s just as important to get someone to help you as well.

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