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Lifesgood

How to survive parenting a teen daughter

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kadoodle
1 hour ago, Lifesgood said:

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

Maybe I need some professional help. 😢

You can’t serve from an empty cup.

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Not Escapin Xmas

Sounds really tough OP. 


thinking back to what I was like at that age, I just didn’t want to listen to my parents AT ALL or speak to them about anything. I’m wondering if there is an aunt or someone that she can hang out with and talk to?

or boarding school. That definitely would have sorted me out! I so wanted to be an adult and responsible for my own life.

and yes absolutely get some counselling for you! Why the hell not? Why should you have to suffer while everyone lose gets support? No reason at all. Make an appointment stat! Do you have a good psych? Or need a recommendation?

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Prancer is coming

Getting help can also be about learning some parenting skills for difficult to parent kids or to feel confident in what you are doing and not get sucked into their emotions or loosen boundaries.  And of course the chance to offload and seek support.  
 

I think it sends a positive message to your daughter too. If she has been sent to counselling and the like, she may well be getting a message that she is the problem.  Whereas everyone getting along and living harmonious is everyone’s problem.  She may see you as taking some ownership oF the issue and wanting to sort it out, which also shows her you value her.  Family mediation could also be useful.

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liveworkplay
Posted (edited)

I am going through it for the third time with my youngest. All I can say having essentially come out the other side alive twice now is, as hard as it is, try not to get angry, yell and react. You need to be their safe space.  Certainly call them on their bad behavior and manners but also, after an incident, try and talk or just be there for them. My now 14 year old (who went though early puberty so I was dealing with this stuff  from when she was 8!!!) actually apologised to me the other day for being such a b**ch for the last few years. When she was at her worst, I would just try and be calm and rational. She would rant and rave and slam doors and be rude. But afterwards, although she would not apologise, she would always come up, give me a hug and say sorry. I  would just say thank you. I also tried to keep the lines of communication open so she knew she could come to me with her concerns and I wouldn't judge. She now talks to me about everything...including her friends concerns to get advice on how to help them. She'd turning into a great kid. My eldest was a milder version, she was pretty easy really. My third is turning into a mixture of both. One minute she is all happy and lovely, the next a screaming banshee who just has to get the last word. 
 

I t does end, it will get better but what you do now will effect your relationship going forward so try and be calm, consistent and there for them.

 

ETA: my eldest has sever anxiety and sees a psychologist and is medicated, Middle child has seen a psychologist but is using her coping strategies without support atm and youngest has a  diagnosed sensory issue which we are trying to get help for atm. 

Edited by liveworkplay
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blimkybill
13 hours ago, Baily said:

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 

I agree with every word of this. 

Parenting a teen is a real change from parenting a younger child. It is a time to give up on having full control of what they do and how they behave. I am not saying not having any limits. But you can no longer expect compliance at the same level you do with younger children. The moodiness and hyper sensitivity is a real thing, they over react constantly. Then regret it themselves but won't tell you. They are over sensitive to criticism and take every criticism deeply to heart. But they strongly feel the need to assert themselves and not "give in" to you. 

I agree also with those who say try to remain calm in the face of bad behaviour. Bad behaviour is pretty universal among teens, it's not your fault, you have not raised a monster. I used to say to myself 'nature is doing this to help them make the break and leave the nest".  So staying calm, getting through bad moments by giving space and taking your own space,  and finding ways to reduce control while maintaining reasonable boundaries. 

And yes getting help for yourself too, not because you have a mental health issue but because there are strategies you can learn, and one fantastic strategy is just talking about the misery of it to someone else who gets it. 

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FiveAus

I had two boys, then two girls.  The boys in no way prepared me for the girls. Had I known what I was in for, I'd have chosen to not have any children. It was that bad.

My eldest daughter got started at about 12 and hit her stride around 15 then moved out when she was 18.  Every time my phone rang and it was her, I'd get heart palpitations thinking she wanted to move back home.

My younger daughter is almost 5 years younger than her sister, so she was just getting started when the first one moved out. She wasn't too bad until she turned 16 then I went through a few years of hell with her before she moved out when she was 18.

In both cases, they didn't like my rules, which weren't that strict.

I have no advice except take a day for yourself, here and there, go somewhere nice and just forget about it for a few hours. It was hell. I have zero desire to ever do it again, and given a choice, I'd have opted out first time around.

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Karlee99
On 30/6/2020 at 6:04 AM, IamzFeralz said:

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).  

This is my daughter all over - she is now 22, but we had a tumultuous 10 years or so. I have no advice, I just did what I had to do to get through it. Once she hit 18 or so I stopped making excuses for her and pulled her up each and every time on her crappy behaviour and, while it still took a time, she is now quite a joy to be around and will recognise her bratty behaviour and has really tried to change for the better. I tried to ignore it, tried to excuse it, blamed myself for it, but I found being completely blunt with her was the best option in the long run.

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suzyr

I am parenting my 16 year old daughter.  Her dad and my husband is working in Romania and has been there since March.  So it is just us.  We do have our moments and I definately don't know how or what I am doing most of the time.  My wise husband (who is 18,000km away) told me the other day when I was tearing my hair out that she is just trying to find her place in the world.  Which I guess is very true.  We were all teenagers once...all we can do  is love them, bite our tongues a lot and we will get there...and yes I guess they are just trying to find where they fit in in the world.  Hang in there!!

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*bucket*

We had a truly awful time with DD. I was counting the days until she turned 18 and all the things that were illegal suddenly became legal and so much less enticing (and she wasn't my responsibility in quite the same way either). Before that, she dropped out of school, got involved in a really nasty relationship (police involved), tattoos, piercings, an Implanon when she was too, too young, but better than the alternative. I would never want to go through the 12-18 years again, and am so very relieved my third was another boy. But DD is 20 now and lovely - she mostly stays at her boyfriends but she calls me all the time and we get on really well. She admits now she put us through hell! It was all worth it. Hang in there.

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Lifesgood

Thanks everyone for sharing your wisdom and advice, its been really helpful.

Can I ask you wise people a specific question about current behaviour? DD is on school hols and goes back next week. DH and I are WFH. If she doesn't have a specific activity planned for a day (such as today) DD spends all day lying around in the lounge room on her phone, obsessing over her favourite pop star, snapping her friends, watching TikToks or occasionally a TV show. Yesterday she literally spent 10+ hours either on her phone or chromebook while DH and I worked. I finally took her phone off her at 8pm with a lot of difficulty.  DH and I have to really steel ourselves to approach her about putting her devices away, she completely loses the plot whenever we do and we have become increasingly hesitant to approach her as we are so worn down by the arguments and meltdowns that ensue. 

How would you deal with this?

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FiveAus
3 hours ago, Lifesgood said:

Thanks everyone for sharing your wisdom and advice, its been really helpful.

Can I ask you wise people a specific question about current behaviour? DD is on school hols and goes back next week. DH and I are WFH. If she doesn't have a specific activity planned for a day (such as today) DD spends all day lying around in the lounge room on her phone, obsessing over her favourite pop star, snapping her friends, watching TikToks or occasionally a TV show. Yesterday she literally spent 10+ hours either on her phone or chromebook while DH and I worked. I finally took her phone off her at 8pm with a lot of difficulty.  DH and I have to really steel ourselves to approach her about putting her devices away, she completely loses the plot whenever we do and we have become increasingly hesitant to approach her as we are so worn down by the arguments and meltdowns that ensue. 

How would you deal with this?

OK, my advice might be very different to the next persons, but for what it's worth, here goes.

Pick your battles. She's on holidays, does it really matter? I would insist on meals being eaten at the table with no devices. If you need to speak to her, insist she locks it and puts it down for the entire conversation.  But when she's doing her own thing, spending her school holidays doing what she wants to do, is 10 hours on electronic devices really that much different to 10 hours watching a TV, or 10 hours reading a book (as a kid, I'd easily have spent 10 hours reading if I could).

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BusbyWilkes
10 minutes ago, FiveAus said:

OK, my advice might be very different to the next persons, but for what it's worth, here goes.

Pick your battles. She's on holidays, does it really matter? I would insist on meals being eaten at the table with no devices. If you need to speak to her, insist she locks it and puts it down for the entire conversation.  But when she's doing her own thing, spending her school holidays doing what she wants to do, is 10 hours on electronic devices really that much different to 10 hours watching a TV, or 10 hours reading a book (as a kid, I'd easily have spent 10 hours reading if I could).

I agree with this. After taking a hard line when they were younger, we are now trying to pick our battles (works better with one child than the other!)
 

If it were everyday of holidays, I may feel differently. But if she is catching up with friends and/or doing activities on other days, I think it’s fine. I would be impressed that she’s on the lounge room floor and not in her bed! 
 

We also have no devices at table and put the device down when being spoken to rule. I would just let her know at the start of day that, because it’s holidays, she can chill for the day with her device. But that at dinner/at 8pm (etc, whatever time you choose), you will ask for the device and she needs to hand it over/put it on charge in a common area. Not doing so will result in decreased access to the device the next day.

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seayork2002

Today and Monday DS12 is/will be home mostly on his PlayStation/Ipad the rest of the time these holidays he has been doing things so we are letting him have this.

Some days DH and I and other adults we know do this so we are happy allowing him to do this.

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born.a.girl

I agree with the no devices at the dinner table. 

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coolbreeze
On 14/07/2020 at 7:30 PM, Baily said:

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 

This is true.

Give her space and have some main rules but don’t ride her all the time.

Mine were :

be kind always,

don’t  be a pushover to please the crowd and stay your special self,

your a smart girl, use your intelligence wisely, both emotionally and academically.

This is what I think.

Don't sweat  the small stuff. A clothing choice, an extra earring, hair experiments, a rolled eye when asked to do something. Don’t get bogged down in a  Million rules, teenagers have good and bad days. Geez they have good and bad hours. 
Don’t tolerate rudeness, but also give them space to be alone away from you a lot. There’s a reasons why teenagers love their rooms. It gives them space to figure it out and make sense. Don’t take it personally.

I always check in on my teenager in her room . “You ok, any gossip, what’s new?” Sometimes I get “nah” sometimes she’s on for the chat. “Mum, what do you think?” Keep it light so they don’t get all weirded out by your serious tone. They tell you heaps when they know you can share a laugh.

Expect and indeed anticipate them to get it wrong sometimes. To make poor choices and to disappoint you at times. Keep those line of communication open so you can head somethings of at the pass and discuss frankly and calmly the things they really messed up on. Work on a plan on how to do better next time. Sometimes the falls are the best learning experience and you are their safety net. Be proud of them when they are doing well and congratulate small wins. 

Love and protect them like the little ones they once were but understand that they  starting to spread their wings and have their own feelings ,ideas and dreams. Sometimes I look at at my 16 year old, proud and bemused at the women she is awkwardly  growing into, sometimes I feel sad and nostalgic when I think of the child she once was. It’s a strange age, for both parents and children.

Give and take. Always listen and if you don’t agree, suggest other options in away that’s it’s a two way conversation. Your both growing into this together. Often my daughter  says thinks I think are quite ridiculous, I never shut her down but might say something like “yes that could work, maybe you could try this too?” Steer them in the right direction but be open to their ideas.
Often being the parent of a teenager I feel like a fisherwomen out at sea on a tiny boat, my daughter a bright fish on a line. Slowly the line reels in and out, give and take, negotiating, wins and losses, a safety net, a dance, eyes on the bigger picture, the last years of the safety net before their  off into the world ,a fully fledged adult. A bittersweet time. Sun setting on childhood but excitement at seeing them grow.

Like all the years before, these will go in a blink of the eye. Hang in for the ride.

Cb

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Kreme

DD has only just turned 14 so I don’t pretend to be an expert. But I echo the advice of PP who say not to sweat the small stuff. If she’s obviously stressed and unhappy that is not the time to ask her to do chores, however small they appear to you. If you turn it into a battle of wills it will not end well. Teens never give in.

My DD spends time in her room alone and like a PP I just pop in occasionally and tell her something funny or check in on plansL or ask after a friend. I also offer to drop her off and pick her up from places. That time in the car is when I find out a lot. When we are together I try to model being tolerant and open minded. I present both sides of the argument even when I firmly believe in one or the other. And I encourage her to make uo her own mind. I think those critical thinking skills are important for her future. 

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suzyr
23 hours ago, Lifesgood said:

Thanks everyone for sharing your wisdom and advice, its been really helpful.

Can I ask you wise people a specific question about current behaviour? DD is on school hols and goes back next week. DH and I are WFH. If she doesn't have a specific activity planned for a day (such as today) DD spends all day lying around in the lounge room on her phone, obsessing over her favourite pop star, snapping her friends, watching TikToks or occasionally a TV show. Yesterday she literally spent 10+ hours either on her phone or chromebook while DH and I worked. I finally took her phone off her at 8pm with a lot of difficulty.  DH and I have to really steel ourselves to approach her about putting her devices away, she completely loses the plot whenever we do and we have become increasingly hesitant to approach her as we are so worn down by the arguments and meltdowns that ensue. 

How would you deal with this?

I would just let it go.  My 16 year old daughter is the same.  Look,  school has been really challenging this year with remote learning.  My daughter luckily is still working at her part time job at Subway.  This year has been so stressful and un nerving for us all....it must be just terrifying for the kids.  I don't begrudge my daughter just vegging out on her phone, computer whatever.  It is what it is.  I am choosing my battles at the moment.  I have to to just survive this challenge in the world at the moment.

 

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Soontobegran

Late to this one but I did have 4 teen girls for many years and the saying 'this too will pass' is true but it is hard to live through.

Ensuring they all worked part time from the moment they were 14 years and 9 months was a big thing in our house, it was non negotiable.

Not sweating the small stuff with regards to fashion, make up and friends was important too.

We were very honest with them when it came to letting them know just how much their behaviour was impacting us and the harmony within the house and we did have punishments in terms of loss of privileges which we adhered to strongly.

We did however tell them daily that we loved them through their awfulness.

It's a tough gig and I am pretty glad I am well through those years.

Good luck OP.

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Freddie'sMum

I think 10 hours a day on a screen / device is too much.  However, this year has been total custard and if she only has a few days left of the school holidays, then I would let it go.  When the next lot of school  holidays roll around, beforehand have a chat about not spending quite so much time on devices, set a limit that you feel happy with and tell her "OK, we have decided that you can have X amount of time on various screens but then you need to do something else".  Be prepared for her not to agree with you but I personally believe that too much screen time is not good for teens.  Our 12 year old DD - if she has spent hours on her phone watching youtube etc - when eventually I prise the phone from her hand - her behaviour immediately afterwards is just rotten.  Absolutely awful behaviour and I am damned if I am going to be the subject of bad behaviour because she has spent hours on a freaking screen.

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blimkybill

I agree with picking your battles. Perhaps for the things that matter to you, you could try collaborative problem solving with her. Find a time when she is feeling OK, then say you want to work out some issues together. Present the issue from your perspective (eg" too much screen time is not good for your physical and mental health and we see it making you more moody and withdrawn and it also stops you doing the jobs which we'd really like you to help with"), and ask her what she thinks of the issue and what solutions she may have. Then come up with a plan you can both agree on, rather than imposing one unilaterally.

Of course she may not live up to her side of the plan, but through doing the collaborative process she feels heard and her growing autonomy as a person is recognised. Leading to better relationships with any luck. 

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Lifesgood

Thanks again everyone. I'm reading all your wise words and they are keeping me sane and mostly on track with DD. 

I swing from being worried that there is something very wrong with her mental health and reading your replies in here and telling myself this is all relatively normal. Its hard being so uncertain. She is seeing a psychologist but maybe I need to get her in with a psychiatrist as well.

Yesterday she felt unwell all day - dizzy, light-headed, nauseous, lethargic - and ended up in bed at 4pm. She then slept until 4am this morning. I am almost certain it was mild carbon monoxide poisoning after she spent most of the last two days in the lounge room with the gas fire on and often with the door closed. So we have made a few changes today! She is still on her phone and being teenagery but she has been more pleasant at times and has done a couple of chores I asked her to do. Couldn't get her out of the house for a short walk though.

Tomorrow she is going out with a friend to do a physical outdoor activity, Sunday she has soccer and then we have a catch up with my brother's family. Back to school on Monday and hopefully more normality.

Happy Friday everyone, and thank you again. Please keep telling me about your teens / almost teens and how you managed, its so helpful.

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can'tstayaway

Glad things have somewhat improved. 
 

We are currently in a good patch with our teen DD and DH keeps congratulating us on surviving. I tell him to not get too comfortable because it will dip again. Just use this moment to catch our breath, look up before the next phase. Sigh. 
 

Re the phone use, I’m with the others about picking your battles and not sweating the small stuff. I do have some non negotiables which she understands (but needs regular reminding). 
 

Last year, I used the iPhone’s restrictions to limit the total number of hours she could use the phone for each day and a time limit for apps like Insta. I then didn’t have to police it each day and she had a choice of how she used her allocated time. 

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Lifesgood

I might have to work out the time restriction function on the iPhone. Just had a tug-o-war with DD to get her to put her phone away. The rule is 9pm so she has at least an hour before bedtime with no screens. We have this battle over and over and over again. She argues about it every time and asks again why we are being so unreasonable.  She has sleep problems and even the GP has explained to her about screens and sleep disturbances. So I’ve confiscated her phone and told her she isn’t having it at all tomorrow because she has just put us all through hell simply to get her to stop using her phone at the regular time. DS 9 was in tears about the disruption and is worried the family is being torn apart and DD will leave (she has left the house a few times at night when she has had a melt down over things like this - never goes far). It’s really upsetting for him as well. So sick of it.

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Prancer is coming
Posted (edited)

We have a phone in my room rule by 7.  It used to be 8-8:30 but DD was caught messaging in the middle of the night (against the riles) so it has been moved back.  I was quite strict in screens. This shifted a lot in COVID 19 and I do think she benefitted from being connected with friends through the internet.  I am working towards pulling things back in.  We do talk about if you want to enjoy a patch on screens and sit around watching tv, you need to do exercise and some jobs.  I do try and make an effort to do something with her (like a game or puzzle) and if all else fails, she lives to cook so I buy choc chips!

 

I would say it is normal for a teen trying to establish independence to spend a lot of time in her room.  But I would also trust your gut if you are concerned about her mental health.  We have taken our teen on a short holiday and she carried on about not wanting to go and being boring, which made her sound so indulged and spoilt.  She did admit at one point thst she is actually having fun...

 

eta, DD has an old phone that is really slow and reliant on the family wifi.  Her school lap top is controlled by us and only works in school hours and she needs permission outside of school hours.  If there is fuss over the rules and she does not have it in my room on time, it goes away for a few days.  I have also taken the school laptop when she did the wrong thing, she used the shared ones at school for a few days and I told her I was very happy to explain my reasons why to the teacher if needed, which she would have been mortified about.

Edited by Prancer is coming

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can'tstayaway
8 minutes ago, Lifesgood said:

I might have to work out the time restriction function on the iPhone. Just had a tug-o-war with DD to get her to put her phone away.

Oh, I hated when it became physical. It’s why I started to use the restrictions on the iPhone.
 

I initially made the mistake of allowing a snooze type option so DD could choose the ‘remind me in 5mins’ button. She didn’t let on for about 2 weeks and accidentally dobbed herself in 😂   

Then she worked out the passcode (pretty simple, I used my own because I’m terrible with remembering) so that didn’t work either 😂 

I finally worked it out together with DH. And the little so and so then decided to voluntarily hand her phone over to us for the Christmas school holidays because she felt she needed a break from social media.  
 

Gah!  They’re such contradictions. 

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