Ignoring bad behaviour from teenager

Mrs Susan - posted on 12/02/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My teenage daughter of 14 years old is driving us mad. Her behaviour at home is awful , we have taken her mobile of her and pocket money off her. These are due to restart on Monday but only if she does some chores around the house. At the moment she does nothing apart from upset everyone, nothing seems to work, I have tried nasty, tried being nice, tried being upset but she is not bothered. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Sam - posted on 12/02/2010

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There is something obviously bothering her. Since not much info was given in your statement, I have a few questions. Did you sit down and talk to her? How strict is your household? Is she doing well in school? The reason I ask this is because sometimes we, as parents, think that we are always right and the child is wrong. That our way of living is as such the child "is living under my house, you have to follow my rules". Your daughter has an opinion, a personality and a "mind of her own". I don't disagree with appropriate mesures of discipline when disrespect is shown, but I think getting to the heart of the matter is of the utmost importance. Keeping those lines of communication open are key. Not judging her and being critical about certain things like maybe the clothes she wears or the music she listens to. Pick your battles. If there are restrictions put on everything that she does, you are more than likely going to find yourself banging your head up against the wall instead of talking to her face to face. Listen to what she is saying to you, don't speak....then, takes a bit of time away to consider what she has said, then go back to her and tell her it is her time to listen. If this doesn't work, then maybe start a mother/daughter journal. Write something to her, ask her for a reply and leave it in her room. Sometimes, this opens the door just enough to feel the winds of change.

Even though my daughter and I talk, I have one of these journals and she uses it when she has something to discuss with me but thinks it might upset me. We have discussed a bad grade on a test, we have discussed boys....she's told me that she didn't like me snapping at her for not picking up her clothes as to where I replied WHY I snapped... reading it instead of hearing me repeat it over and over got the message through and she (most of the time) picks up her clothes.

I hope this helps. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, but I do know that once I looked at the way I was reacting toward her and tweeked my manner around her, she responded positively. And believe me, I am not known as the "good cop" in my house..;)

Beverly - posted on 12/04/2010

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hi Susan, sorry to hear about this, sounds difficult, but I also agree that Theresa's "method" is way too harsh. Being a mother of a teenage boy who "taking his things away" doesn't work, it becomes nerve wracking. But I totally agree with Sam. Something is bothering her. Take her out to lunch just the 2 of you or your husband if that's who she's closer to, and let her know that you are very concerned about her. That you love her and it's hurting you to be going through this, that it's not her normal behavior and is there something she would like to talk about. Tell her that you don't like how things are going and that you don't want to be at war with her and you want to find a solution. Tell her that for the moment, you will suspend her phone and shopping or any other luxeries b/c of the disrespect she has shown but that would like to resolve this. It worked with my son. He apologized and voiced what was going on and we were able to talk about it. I hope everything goes well.

Sam - posted on 12/03/2010

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Hi Susan...
I can truly understand the frustration and hurt you must be going through right now. Being a flexible parent myself, I wonder if I have spoiled my children rotten?? All teens will think that any grounding is too much grounding...I remember going through that myself. I "hated" my mother. The fact that she was the one "in-control" of my life...but I in fact loved her dearly, i just knew what buttons to push to get what I wanted.

I will be completely honest with you and I don't intend to hurt your feelings, so please, bare with me. How could you NOT know if you are going to see your 14 year old daughter until Sunday?? Unless the friend (and please tell me it is a girl friend!) lives 500 miles away, I would be driving her to that friends house and picking her up at an agreed upon time.

I understand you are fed up but please don't give up on her. If she doesn't talk to you, then maybe not talking to her too is a possibility however, her actions have a reaction, which means not giving her money, not buying her anything anymore, not allowing her the freedom of coming and going as she pleases. Baby steps....and instead of having her go away for the weekend to a friends house (cause this really isn't a learn lesson for her), have her go to another family member's house, like an aunt or uncle.

She seems to be so used to getting her own way, that punishments are lost on her. SILENCE IS GOLDEN. If you always respond to her or just stay silent for one day, then she is a wise, wise girl that knows the name of the game and is playing all her cards right. You need to turn this game around. Do something that she would never expect you do to, be silent.
As for your son, he will test the waters. And never, for one moment think that you should treat your children the same.....they are very different therefore need different treatment from both you and your husband.

These are just my opinions. I don't want to be harsh, but I don't want to see you give up not only on your daughter but also on yourself as a parent. You obviously care about her enough to reach out and ask for advise!

let me know how things go, mmk!! xox Sam

Shellyann - posted on 12/02/2010

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As a parent our first respond to our kids bad behaviour or not donig their chores is to take things away from them but as a mother of 3 that method don't work for all kids. I have a 16yr, 14yr and a 10yr old that I give birth to but trust me when I say all thouhg they are alike in someways they are all different in others. In the past I would yell at the kids telling them that I was going to take things away or not let them go out with friends & family when their behaviour was not what it should be or when they didn't do their chores,and I at time would do what I said I was going to do but for the most part I didn't I was just making idle threats and they knew it. So first I would say if you said that your going to perform some kind of punishment act on it. Second I agree with Pam 100% because even thouhg they are kids they are also human and are dealing with way more than we had to at their age. There is two ways we behave when something is bothering us we either lash out or just keep it all in, and it is the same with our kids. About a few years go I started something close to what Pam dose with her daughter, I don't have a journal for them to write in but I do is at the end of the year I sit with my kids one at a time not together cause remember is said that they are alike but also diffrenet. What I do is I would ask them to tell me what or how I can do or react to them when it comes to getting them to what I ask and beleive me it's the one time of the year that they really enjoy tell me what they think of me and the how I should go about getting them to do what I would like to done. It was really an eye opener for me when I heard some of what they had to say and even though I still yell from time to time I really don't have to for the most part,and yes at times I still have to ground them or take things away. So agree with Pam when she says that communication is key because when we as adults thinks our kids are the problem sometime we are creating the problem. But every child, situation, and family is different so might for me or for Pam may or may not work for you. Whatever you decide to do or not do just don't give up on your daughter.

Tammy - posted on 01/29/2013

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i am a single mother i have a son still at home i aslo have tw o older daughters that have familys of thier own now they are all three seven years apart my son hates school i battle with him every day he is so discreptful his father is in his life but lives in a another state he dont talk to him about this he to is hard to deal with it makes me look like the bad one my son should be in the 8 grade but failed twice he just dont care please help !

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Holly - posted on 12/15/2010

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Teenagers are so hard to figure out! It is hard to believe that we as adults were once one of them! I have a 13 year old daughter and she gets really snotty, she over reacts at her brothers messing around with her and seems to be angry constantly. I too do the same things you have said you do with your daughter but it doesn't really help. I don't have much else for leverage because I don't give my kids money to just have for no reason and she doesn't hang out with friends outside of the house very much. But you HAVE to do something right?! I find my daughter softens up when I pay one on one attention to her. We have done a suprise manicure...She had a horrible attitude when we got there, but by the time we left, she was bubbly and excited. In our family, these things are very special and unusual though, so if your daugher has everything she wants, she might not appreciate it as much. Another thing, and I know it is a bit on the ridiculous side, but I find my kids open up if I TEXT them (or better yet, they text me first)! And trust me, I have 3 teenagers and find this is a good way to start a conversation. They will say things in text they wouldn't say to your face and it takes the emotion out of it so it is harder to get mad and start yelling or saying hurtful things to each other. More than often, our conversations soften and I can go lay on her bed with her and we start hanging out. Just being together. Of course this isn't all of the time, but I have learned to really hold on to the nice times we have together and remind her of how much I love her even when I get a glare in return. I also do lots of hugs even if they say ewwww. and just little pats when I pass them. Any little attention they love.

Debbie - posted on 12/10/2010

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Your right. They are our children and we love them unconditionally!!! They are suppose to come to us with anything. Now, I know I would not go to my mom with much, but times have changed and communication is much more open now, thank God!

Anne Marie - posted on 12/10/2010

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I like the suggestions for open communication. One thing I have said to my teens and I have put in other posts is that "you are a teenager, you will go places you should never have gone, done things you should never have done, trust people you should never have trusted. I was a teenager once too. I just want you to know you can always come to me with anything" This tells them that you will be open to hear (and as stated in another post BE OPEN to hear anything) bite your tongue. You don't have to agree with what they have done but be there to help them through the consequences of their decisions. Be there for support of what is to come. If they hear the above quote then that tells them you are prepared to hear it all without judgment and condescending retaliations. They are our children and we love them unconditionally, they need to know that. So many of their relationships at this time of their lives are conditional. My daughter is 16, I still can't do most things right, but she does talk to me a some. Usually about courses she wants to take but my support of these courses has helped her to understand I want what she wants. My son is 19 and we have a fairly decent relationship,his girlfriend takes over now but he is spreading his wings. He opened up to me lots with the above statement. My daughter still holds back but I won't give up hope, she is responsible and I am told very respectful when she is out with other families.

Amy - posted on 12/10/2010

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Negative reinforcement is not necessarily the best way to encourage positive behavior from a teenager. Although certain negative behavior should be directly addressed with strict discipline such as breaking curfew, cutting classes, stealing, etc., very often bad behavior is a plea for attention. Even negative attention is, indeed, attention. There are two vital steps that must occur together in order to extinct bad behavior: ignoring the negative (if it is appropriate, as previously outlined); and praising/rewarding positive behavior every time it occurs. The latter is the most critical step that most parents simply do not enforce. We all like to punish the bad but very rarely do we like to reward the good! By ignoring the bad behavior (which means do not respond to it at all) then vocally praising and tangibly rewarding the good behavior then you teach her that positive behavior has more value than negative behavior. By doing this you essentially train your teen to value the positive attention more than the negative attention. But you must be consistent in your efforts and remember that it takes time.

Donna - posted on 12/10/2010

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Hey Susan, just a thought: Don't ban Christmas, just ban store bought Christmas presents? or give just one!! And then, presents like a date with Mum for soda? How 'bout you all go and visit old people in a home, or do dishes at a shelter on Christmas EVE. They'd love the support. My daughter (my 15yr old moody one, asked me what i wanted for Christmas! WOW I nearly fell over! Money means less to me than my family spending time together, so i replied "a family walk on the beach!"
I used to ask my daughter for help too, now I realise that when I do, she will realise that I;m not in control and she can win me over with her bad behaviour. Start getting help from elsewhere, and even if your'e not, give her the impression that you know exactly what to do, and FOLLOW through. All the best!! Donna

Donna - posted on 12/10/2010

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I really like your advice Sam. My 15yr old fits your description Susan. It' such a hard time for them and us. I've started changing the way i talk too. I also overheard he saying "if mum would just stop "telling" me to clean my room, i would do it, but because she tells me to, I won't do it!" Defiance is where they're at. So I start giving different instructions. Instead of "Go and clean your room!" I say, yes you can stay up late and watch that if you've tidied your room" I'm trying to put the responsablity onto to my daughter.She says she has no choices, so I'm giving her some. Then I HAVE to follow through. I've been really bad at this in the past, not wanting to upset my daughter!! Not anymore, I'll be her friend in 10 yrs time, right now I'm her parent!!! If she hates me, I'm obviously doing my job. So long as she still shows that love as well I know everything is going to be ok. She craves constant messages of acceptance for views and opinions and herself as a person. Doesn't mean i have to accept her habits and behaviour! Susan, all the best, it's the hardest job in the world and we need to tap into all the support networks we can get. I've just gone on-line and bought a great book on teens. Libraries are a great place to look too! When people ask what I'm up to, I say I'm working full-time while studying. I'm reading and researching and learning about the best way to deal with my teen and her tween twin siblings!!! My latest project: developing a whanau (family) code of practice that we all agree on! Hope this helps??!!! P.S. I really enjoy this group of parents and the help you share!! thankyou! x

Kelly - posted on 12/08/2010

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Remember hormones and how difficult it is to be a teenager, I have found that listening gets me a much further than talking. I agree even if she is driving you crazy this is no time to let her run loose - let her know you are on to her and you are on her side -- the behavior isn't working and you still care for her -- how about that... isn't that what a parent is for?

Sandra - posted on 12/08/2010

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I am just wondering.... but what exactly is it that she does that makes her so bad? Besides not doing her chores?! Come on! We are talking about a teenager! Mine is 13 and it takes her forever to do what I ask her to do... and so do all the others I know! What do you expect from her? Mine has an attitude all the time and she does not "function" as I wish most of the time... but I wanted a child, not a dog! Try to compromise on things and I am sure it will all get better! Talk to her. Even if it doesn`t seem like she listens, most of the time something will stick!
Good luck! It will all get better =)

Karol - posted on 12/07/2010

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I agree about communication. I have two great almost adult girls and one challenge boy. My suggestion is take her out to dinner alone. Talk about you and things that you may have done as a child that your not so proud of. It makes you look human and lets her understand that you have had your share of issues then see if you can get her to talk. But above all DO NOT JUDGE.bite your tongue if you have to but let her say what she has to say. Treat it as if it was a friends daughter. Ask her what SHE needs to help her not be so crabby. Tell her what you are gonna try to do rather than tell her what YOU want her to do. Above all let her know, no matter what, you will always be there for her.

Debbie - posted on 12/07/2010

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I would definetly not give back anything you have taken from her until her attitude changes. Stick to your guns.

Sam - posted on 12/06/2010

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Absolutely Beverly....it is important too to know and understand that if you are willing to open those lines of communication, you need to swallow a big pill and be ready for her to tell you something that you really may not have wanted to hear in the first place. very important to breathe....DEEP....and listen....don't speak....dont give up...it will get better :-)

Martha - posted on 12/03/2010

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i have a 14 yr old,and taking her things away work,but u have to be firm with her,and let her know ur the boss.

S Detray - posted on 12/03/2010

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14 years old is a really rough time hormone wise, and unfortunately for many of us mothers too who start or in the middle of premenapause.. It makes a big difference. Of course I would not believe that at the time. Take a deep breath, make a list of the rules you want to inforce and live with. At the same time ask your daughter to make a list of priveledges she would like to have and what rules she thinks she can live buy... These are written list. Take a day or two to do them..perhaps a week but it helps to have them done before thursday so you can sit down and discuss.. swap papers and discuss .. no yelling.. taking turns..perhaps with a stop watch limit one rule or priveledge at a time for discussion. You might be surprised at what she comes up with. Then too remember kids need parents, they want friends always but they know deep down they need parents and limits, responsibilities. We all pretty much know what we don't like but sometimes it is really difficult naming what we want. When I had this discussion with my boys.. the eldest is now 19 it was a learning experience for both of us. I keep reminding myself that my children are on loan to me from my heavenly father. They are his but my earthly responsability it kinda changes my motherly point of view into protector/guider/informer instead of drill sergent/law inforcer. Rules made by both of you are far easier for the children to really feel obligated to follow and remorse when they dont.

Angie - posted on 12/03/2010

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Since she's not living up to her responsibilites, she shouldn't get her things back. She needs to learn to be respectful and to be honest, I'm not sure exactly how to do that. I do know that you made a consequence for her actions and you cannot back down from them even a little big..

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/03/2010

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Ok, having read thru all of this, I, too am wondering a couple of things. See, I had the same issue with my son at 14, and it got to the point where I did the ulitmatum "You live by my rules or there's the door". Which prompted him to start packing! His father was FURIOUS with me for pushing it that far.

So, my question to you, Susan, is this. If your daughter says that you and Dad always yell at her and never listen, have you considered what your normal response to her is? Do you start calmly and then lose patience with her easily, so that it seems that you are "yelling" at her? The only reason I ask is that I found that to be part of my problem with my son. I would try my hardest to stay calm and patient, but all it would take would be one word in a snotty tone of voice, or one (what I took to be) disrespectful. I would let that get to me, and I'd start getting louder. At times I wondered if the only way he even heard me was if I was yelling.

Long story short, that day that he started packing, his Dad came to me and said "if my son leaves, I will be extremely upset". I went to his room, (he didn't want me there). I grabbed him and hugged him, and told him that we needed to reach an agreement. We needed to calmly sit down and reach a midway point that both of us would be happy with, since at 14, he really didn't have a choice of moving out. I realized that I was not always the most patient person in the world, and I was letting my "mom" status get to my head. I forgot that my children are people and have feelings as well. I also forgot that my children are very capable of having an adult conversation, if I'd just give them a chance!

My son and I sat down and talked. There were a couple of times that I had to take a deep breath and hold my tongue. Dad was a mediator. When the boy started to get that attitude that I hated, Dad would curb him. When I started getting to the yelling point, Dad would curb me. I realized that day that I needed to be less of a dictator and more of a governor. I need to govern my kid's actions, without retaining total control as they grow older.

Sam's got a great suggestion with the SILENCE IS GOLDEN. When I can't find a way to communicate with my sons, I tell them I'm going to need a minute to get my head straight so we can talk. I am AMAZED at how well this is going! I have a more open relationship with both of my sons. My oldest, who will be 17 next year, is turning into a very respectable young man, well mannered, and appreciated by his peers and coworkers. He is completing homework, and starting to spread his wings.

I can't say it would have been the same if I hadn't taken a step back and really evaluated the situation. I know it is hard to do, when you're in the heat of the situation, but I'd really recommend you sit down with your husband first, and discuss things! Ask each other the same questions I've asked you, and if you can say "yes" to any, you really need to have a CALM talk with your daughter. Make it a neutral setting, maybe a lunch date with her, or just sitting in a park. Ok, so it's a bit nippy out, but you get the idea. Take it away from the house, because the house will bring up the bad feelings easier. (besides, a quiet public place will prompt a quiet discussion). But you need to remember your daughter is growing up, and testing you. You need to find a way to stay firm, but loving, and try to keep your cool.

I wish you the very best. I know that feeling of despair that happens when you think you are trying your hardest, and you feel like you are running against a brick wall. My prayers are with you and your precious daughter.

Mrs Susan - posted on 12/03/2010

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Thanks for that advice. I didn't know what to do but at least I am being to realise all along that she doesn't deserve anything at the moment. My husband this morning mentioned Christmas I just want to cancel it.How can you give presents to a badly behaved 14 year old I cannot. I will let you know how I go on .

Mrs Susan - posted on 12/03/2010

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Talking to her doesn't work anymore. We are not strict parents in fact flexible and my daughter has everything. I also have a 12 year old son treated exactly the same but he has his moments nothing like my daughter though. My daughter has a big bedroom my son has the box room. Her wallldrobe is bulging with clothes, she has lots of make-up and all the normal girly things but its not enough. When I talked to her all she said was that myself and her Dad shouted all the time at her and she couldn't talk to us.

I asked her what she would do if she was a mother of a 14 year old daughter who was not behaving. Her reply was she didn't know.

Although my daughter told us that as parents we were in the wrong for grounding her all the time and taking her mobile off her.

I have written a letter to her expressing how I feel and telling her how much we love her and have asked for her help.butnothing. I am sick of trying to cope and end up going round in circles stressing myself out. Communication has broken down I didn't speak to her this morning I am fed up of her completely. I am only human and have got to he end of my tether. My daughter has been invited to stop at her mates tonight and I am sure will not see her until Sunday. Perhaps I may be able to get some well earned sleep whilst she is away.Thanks for the advice.

Wendy - posted on 12/02/2010

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just had to say i have 2 daughters and one is 21 the other 14.....lol.....omg i know where you are coming from...i agree with Sam i disagree with Theresa's post hard ass response will only cause hard ass reaction from a teenager trying to find herself and her way..... just my opinion ...good luck

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