I feel like I don't know my teenage daughter at all anymore

Jane - posted on 12/06/2008 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Six months ago I thought I was so lucky to have a teenage daughter that I got on so well with.

I trusted her in all ways etc but that has all changed in the last couple of months.

She is only 13 & I got a call for me to go to her school to have the news broken to me that she thought she was pregnant! I was so shocked at the time I just didn't know which way to turn, especially as she hardly ever went out & certainly wasn't the sort of child that was out roaming the streets until all hours, so as you can imagine, I just didn't see this coming at all.

As if this wasn't a shock & bad enough, it just gets worse.

Thankfully, she wasn't pregnant but has obviously been behaving in such a way to think that she could be.

Two days later, I get another call from her school.

Could I please go & remove her from the school as she was drunk!

I just didn't believe what I was hearing but it did explain where the bottle of wine had gone (that I had treated myself to the previous evening but not opened) out of the fridge.

Once again, I was mortified by her behaviour & it turns out she was really upset about not being pregnant & thought she would dull the pain by stealing the wine & taking it to school!

This is a child that doesn't do anything to help around the house unless she is forced to & can't even pick up a wet bath towel off the floor behind herself so how on earth she thought she could look after a baby is totally beyond me.

Everything has just gone downhill from there really. Never a day goes by now when she isn't in trouble at school for either bunking off of lessons or when she does bother to go into a lesson, when she has had enough or is asked to actually do any work, she just gets up & walks out. After yet another meeting with her year head last week (which she got up & walked out of half way through then was missing until about 8pm that night, after which she turned up at her Dad's house) she is so, so close to being excluded which I think will just make matters worse but on the plus side, at least I would know where she was at all times so she couldn't be smoking & drinking & stealing etc.

I can never believe anything she says anymore as its all just lies anyway. She has lied to me so much recently I feel devastated to be honest.

And its not just the lying, she thinks nothing of stealing which really hurts me as one thing I just cannot tolerate is people who steal.

I feel like she just has no respect for me or anyone else at the moment & I really don't know how to deal with it.

I have tried the nice approach & talked to her, I have taken her mobile phone off of her & the tv etc out of her bedroom but she really doesn't seem to care which is heartbreaking as she just hasn't been bought up to lie & steal without even thinking about it like she does.

I can't ever leave any money anywhere around the house, it has to be kept in a locked tin & I have to make sure I have the keys on me at all times.

It really feels like I'm living in my own home with a total stranger who cannot be trusted at all & its really not pleasant.

She has now started spending a lot of time around her Dad's house (who she didn't speak to or see for nearly a year & said she didn't want anything more to do with him) & even that hurts as Ive always been there for her & like I mentioned earlier, we used to get along so well & it feels like she is just throwing everything back in my face & behaving like a spoilt brat to be honest.

Anyway, if anyone is having the same sort of problems with their teenager behaving like someone you don't know at all or can just offer any advice as to how is the best approach for dealing with all this then I really would be grateful as it's tearing me apart & I feel like I have failed her in some way to have made her lose all respect & be so hostile towards me now.

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Kim - posted on 12/07/2008

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Hi Jane, I'm so sorry to hear of these problems with your daughter. I have three daughters myself, 25, 17 and 15. I was a child of divorced parents myself, and in someways it sounds like your daughter is lashing out for some sort of attention bad or otherwise. Running to dads gets to you and I'm sure she does whatever she figures will get to dad too. I've found the most startling thing to a teen sometimes is to be complete calm, completely resolved and let them know this is it for you......tell her what your boundaries and rules are and tell her she can live with dad until she can respect you and your rules. Tough love sometimes really is what they want even when it seems the exact opposite. Try to avoid crying, yelling or even long heartfelt talks....this gives them the attention in a negative way. Tell her when she has positive things going on you'd be happy to pay attention to those things but these behaviors just aren't something you accept.

Not to make my suggestion sound simple and absolute....nothing with teens is! Perhaps her pediatrician or a counselor could help.

I wish you the best!

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Jamie - posted on 01/18/2009

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Well i 'm not going through that right now even though i do have a teen, but I did go through that when i was a teen and mayb me telling you som e of the reason why i did might help you, Is ther any reason for why she would be mad at you ? that would be making her act out like this ? Or what is the reasoning for why she wasnt in her dads life, i know my dad wasnt in my life for a long time and i used to be angry and like some ppl you redel against that , and shes gonna take it out on you because you are the only person who is there for her and always around, i son't think shes meaning too do it but she must have some kind of anger problems inside her and she has no no one too let them out on, that i can see where your coming from cause my teen does that too me since her dad isnt in her life, you said she just recently got involved in being around her dad and it might be to get back at you, teens wrok in strage ways, have you ever brought her to councling, cause i can promise you that girl is very anygry about something and she doesnt know how to let it out and thats why she's doing whats she's doing, and the wanting to be pregnant , you mentioned she got caught drinking because she was upset since she wasnt that should of been your 1st sign right there , shes depresses about something, shes angry, i'm 32 and i have been through the roped back and forth ttrust me please i know what im talking about get her in too councling and see whats going on in her head if she to this day is continuing to act out, or it will gt worse trust me i know...

Allison - posted on 01/18/2009

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I know how you feel also to a certain extent. My daughter turned 14 in October and started high school this year. She has tried smoking but thank god did not like it. She had her first drunk on New Years Eve, or that I know of anyway. It's like a switch goes off when they turn a certain age and the evil child appears for a few years. I figured the terrible twos were bad. I would take those any day over raising a teenager. They lie to you, treat you like dirt unless it benefits them, then they are nice to you. They used to talk to you all the time, and now talk to you only if they have to. I can't wait until it is all over. My son I had no problems with. He is turning 17. I guess all we can do is wait it out as it will all end eventually.

Julie - posted on 01/18/2009

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Love her, and let her know how much. No conditions, or if's, or but's. Try and think of some way you can have fun and enjoy each others company. Be there for her. She'll grow out of it. Look for the good and you'll find it. Encourage the positives.

Naiyana - posted on 01/17/2009

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MY daughter started the same way at 12. Now she is 16 and it's gotton to the point that I have a keyless entry lock on my bedroom door. Since 12, these have been our scare...pregnancy, drunk at school, caught with tobacco,running away to spend the night with her boyfriend, says she has smoked pot. I can't help much but I can tell you that for me. what I thought was bad at 13 got worse. She has been hospitalized now 3 times due to thoughts of suicide. I too was close to her until for what ever reason she withdrew. I am a strict parent, maybe too strict. I always knew the where, when, how and who she was with. That is until these past few years. She has discovered that the police do nothing but bring her back if she gets caught running away. It got to the point that she had no freedom or any fun what so ever. It was so bad that she stopped caring because to her there wasn't much I could do to her anyways. She sees a couple of specialists to help her but it doesn't seem to help. She is now on three different medications due to depression,anger and lack of self control. My beautiful sweet girl in a moments notice will with no warning turn into a little demon spitting out venom at everyone in sight. In the past three years, we lost a lot in our home. I too am confused as to how this could all be. The things I held so highly in my personal values are making me dislike my own child, and that makes me feel like a rotton mom. When this all started, I over looked it and thought she would get over it. PLEASE do not do that. Take care of it with help from therapists or anybody who is an expert. It almost tore my family apart trying to do it on our own the first year.  Knowing what I know now, I would have gotton over the "where did I go wrong"  part of my worries and fully concentrated on my daughter. We are getting better but it's been 3 long years. Good Luck to you. You'll need it. It won't be easy and you'll feel so alone, but get help and you'll get better.

[deleted account]

Sound like me as a teenager, I was calling for help I had been molested and dod not onw who  to tell, try getting her to counsling she is calling for help. Mabe not for the same thing I had happen but somthing is bothering her. Good luck

Leona - posted on 01/16/2009

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I don't know if I can offer any suggestions of help, but I can offer some support. My daughter and I are being pulled apart because lying and arguing also. I feel like I have to walk around on egg shells all the time because I never know when she is going to fly off the handle, or get upset with me. I have taken her cell phone, and the use of our land line away from her, but she would sneak using the phones anyway if whe found them. I took them all to work with me a couple of days. I know my co-workers thought I had lost my mind, but I didn't know what else to do. I don't feel that my daughter respects anything I say to her, and does pretty much whatever she wants when it is convenient for her. I know I'm not the only one who's child is this way. I blame part of it on society, and her dead beat father and step-fathers and of course myself. I hope things will only get better, I don'tk now if they can get much worse without having horrible results.

Pati - posted on 01/13/2009

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I feel for you! The first thing that comes to mind is drugs. I hate to think of any kid using, but if she is drinking she might be doing other things as well. I would try some real tough love.  I had all kinds of spy wear to track my tween and caught her in a big lie. I went on a business trip and she changed her plans and the parent that was to watch her never even called me.  I came home she was not there but my nephew said he saw her and she was acting real spaced. I went on line and found her messages planning this party she was going to.



When she got home I was waiting in the driveway she looked hung over and I confronted her, and she lied. So I held back on my natural instinct to go ballistic and I asked her over the next few days what happened and she continued to lie. To me this was worse than her sneaking out to drink at 14. So after the week passed I brought out the printed conversation and asked her again what she was up to then I handed it to her. I then let her know that she was grounded unconditionally for 6 months and if there was any further behavior like this she was going to be moving to a rehab in Ohio or some other obscure location far away.  I got drug test kits from a online store and she had to pee in a cup whenever I told her to even though I had her in lock down. The tests covered 6 types of drugs and they have one for tobacco as well. I got them all cause I did not know what she might be into. 



 The first few weeks were hell. She cried and when I was alone I cried. She lost everything, except books and me and some board games which we started playing after she gave up on hating me for the rest of her life. We spent time cooking and doing laundry talking and she read when I worked on the my business. She got new chores and re learned how to pick up after herself and how to stop being so lazy, wet towels were a problem here too.  I would take her to a movie but in a different town so as not to run into her old friends.   I am a single parent who works form home so it was not easy to deal with. I drove her to school and walked her to class the first day and after that I was there to get her at the office. She was only allowed to go to cheer practice and I was there watching.



About 6 weeks into this a few of her friends got busted and their parents let them off right away so they themselves could go out, that’s when she came to me and said thank you for caring enough about me to give up your life. I was shocked! she said she realized that her friends did not get in trouble cause their parents were to into themselves to carry out a punishment or to care if their kids were screwing up and possibly ruining their lives forever. I love my daughter more than anything, and I was impressed that she would feel that way about punishment, but the 6 month restriction stayed in place. She was not grounded for drinking ( to be honest I give her so much credit for not getting completely strung out on drugs but that’s another story) she was grounded for lying. That was my point, we all screw up and some times we do things that we should not do, but in order to help her with anything I need to know the whole truth.  I have always been open with her on a age appropriate need to know level, and I believe in positive reinforcement.



 If her dad is not on the same page of reinforcing the no drinking/drugs/sex at 14 then you may have some issues dealing with that. I would look at counseling, however she may get real defensive and counseling only works when they want it. They may have some teen group meetings around you, talking with their peers in a controlled setting is a great way for her to come to terms with her self and her feelings.  When my kid finally got her life back, she had no life. She had no friends because I pulled some of them and she chose to stop hanging out with some others. she joined a cheer gym out side of school and started making new friends that were more into going to college than going to a party.  It will be tough but you may need to change her surroundings and her friends and her school in the process of saving her.

Tracy - posted on 01/12/2009

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First I have to say I feel horrible for you, it must be so frustrating to feel so broken by someone you love so deeply. Second, I love Shawn's advice, and it is right on target with what a therapist recommended, all you are required to provide is food, clothes, and shelter. Strip her room and she needs to earn everything like TV time, phone, computer or video games. I would also highly recommend therapy for her. She is lashing out and probably playing you and your ex. Try to find a cognitive therapist, they are wonderful and help kids stop seeing things so black and white, they also can get to the heart of your daughters troubles and give you some skills on dealing with her. God bless you honey and hang in there.

Connie - posted on 01/11/2009

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Is there anyway you and her dad can get on the same page with her..even family counselling.  I think it's so important for the parents to come to an agreement and be able to communicate at times like this.  Teens go through these awkward phases, hopefully you'll get your daughter back SOON rather than later.  Stay strong, be strict, tough love, you are the parent not the friend.  If she hates you now, I guarantee she'll appreciate you later.  (I went thru the same stuff w/my poor mom and now she's my best friend)

Theresa - posted on 01/11/2009

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I know how it feels, to a certain degree. I have a daughter that will be 14 in May.This school year has really changed her. Just an example. I got a phone call from the school, she had got a friend to write her a note to excuss her from acouple of classes and signed my name to it..But her friend spelt my name wrong.hehe. Anyways now she has a in-school suspention. I know it could be worse on my part, and I am sure this is just the beginning. But I am doing it all alone, sometimes I would like to kick her butt

Sheli - posted on 01/11/2009

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So, as I read this my first thought was "is she involved in drugs"? I have a cousin who has aways been actively involved in Scouts, youth group at church, and doing things with his family. He was a straight A student and very respectful...He turned 15, got a job and over a period of two months he had an abrupt change of personality....started talking back, "pretended to go to school" but went out partying instead..and come to find out he was using drugs. His parents are devestated as they are very ACTIVE and PRESENT in their childrens lives....my heart goes out to you...good luck.

Linda - posted on 12/17/2008

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I agree with shawn these days parents want to be friends and that doesnt work I dont know if they should fear us though my daughters theacher has told her kids have rights and they may in the fact of being beatin but we are resoponsible for all there actions until they are adults and the only rite they have is to ask perrmission!! Hang in there eventually she will become an adult and have her own issues with her kids and realize you werent so bad.

Shawn - posted on 12/11/2008

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Oh, honey! Bless your heart. My oldest is 13 and she is terrified of me...not because I beat her hit her, but because she has been convinced over several years of hard core, no nonsense strict living that I am not her friend and have no interest in being her friend. She is a good student, however, she was taking her frustrations out at school last year. She was back talking her teachers and storming out, starting fights with other girls and when I found out from her teachers that this was going on, I cleaned her room out! I mean, all she had was a bed and a desk - she eventually earned that stuff back and got it straight that I don't play and I'm not wasting my time yelling...just go pack up your stuff and stick it my closet until further notice. She started school this year, and had the nerve to let her grades go below a B...I snatched her from school SO fast and now she is home schooled. She is miserable and misses her friends and feels isolated because she's not allowed to go out during the week and she isn't allowed to use the phone or the internet until the weekend as well.



I guess my point is, you do what you gotta do...I hate to say it like this, but sometimes a good old fashioned spanking is in need. And if you don't want to do that, maybe you need to surprise her and collar her up and talk real close to her face and dare her to move until you've had your say...and be prepared to react if she does move. If all goes well, she'll think you've lost your mind and try to do better. But you have to make her understand that there are no negotiations and what you say is law.



She may think that staying with her Dad is an option, because he may be a chump and a pushover...been there, done that. Have a conversation with him and if he is more interested in being her "favorite" than her father, let it play out however it has to. She may decide to live there, if he lets her...that's okay too. As long as she understands that coming back home with a baby or a drug/alcohol habit is an option. I know it sucks, but I was a nightmare teenager and my parents should have kicked my a**, but they hung in there and I turned out pretty damned good. The best part is that I honestly know that my kids will never give me problems if I stick to what I know best...being a mother and not a friend. I have no interest in being their friends, we are not equals, we are not peers and they don't have enough experience or information to hang out with me on a personal level...I am here to listen with an open mind and teach them how to survive in the world and make the MOST out of life. Just my opinion, of course. But I feel for YOU!

Jane - posted on 12/10/2008

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Huge Thanks to both of you for your very wise words. It does help to get others opinions etc I think as very often, when your in the situation yourself, you just can't see a way out of it.

I will certainly be taking note of all that you have both said.

Many Thanks again & I will keep you posted!

Donna - posted on 12/09/2008

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Hi Jane, reading your story just breaks my heart. The first thing that came to my mind, is she using drugs? The sudden behavior changes sound a lot like it. We went through much the same with my brother and didnt know until many years later what was happening. Early intervention is key and hopefully her father is supportive. My daughter went through a very angry period and went to a therapist that really helped her a lot. She had several sessions alone and then we went to some together. We got through it and things are better now. Hang in there and let her know that you may not like her behavior but you will always love her.

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