How do I punish my 14 year old daughter?

Sarah - posted on 04/04/2012 ( 222 moms have responded )

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My daughter has already had everything taken away from her. The only things she has left in her room are her bed, bookshelf (with no books) a few hair accessories, half of her clothes and a few pieces of jewelery. She continues to lie, steal and be disrespectful to me and her step-father. She is also in counseling and seeing a psychiatrist. I am at my wits end with her. I need any advice I can get at this point, please help me :(

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Meme - posted on 04/04/2012

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What do you and your daughter do together? Do you bake or cook together? Do you sit down together and discuss what she has read? You don't mention doing anything together...it is important to have that one on one time...could you do crafts together? Jewerly making? Sewing? Make a collage?

The more she gets punished the more attention she gets correct? Therefore you need to give her positive attention by doing things with her!

I've been threw this and once I started taking time out for my daughter and teaching her to craft,sew,cook,bake she turned around in 3 months time...she was like a different person with-in a year...although I was a single mom raising 5 daughters...and my x-husband would not have anything to do with me or his daughters and that is why she acted out...

Please do try this ...it won't be easy at first but it does get easier...

[deleted account]

First and foremost, I want to say, hey you're a good mom. You're doing more for your kid than a lot of parents will. You're doing your best to teach her good behavior. Believe me, I KNOW how it feels to feel as if you're failing somehow as a parent- as if you're doing your best and your kid is STILL out of control. I know, because I've been there and done that. so ((hugs))

I have one 15yo who makes me absolutely nuts- but we've already been through the whole scenario with her and come out relatively ok. She's a good kid who has her days when she drives me nuts still, but we've gotten through the worst of it- we've come to a mutual understanding and respect. And I have a 12 year old I'm homeschooling because he got kicked out of school. Expelled in the 5th grade... That's got to be some kind of record. So I hear you, believe me. And I don't claim to have all the answers, not at ALL- What I'm going to tell you is just what I've found works from my own experience, and has made my house less of a war zone, to the point it actually feels like a home again.



So...then on to the advice, from my own time in the trenches: Ok well, I guess the way to put this is- what you're doing is obviously not working. Your daughter may feel as if she has nothing else to lose. Your husband may feel as if he needs to put his foot down, to keep control. But- this is not about control, or at least, it shouldn't be. The truth is, she's 14. you can't control her. The sooner you recognize that fact, the more chance you all have of coming out of this with sanity- and relationships- intact. I know, it's a radical concept. Parents are "supposed" to control our kids, right? Nope. Our job is not to control our kids. Our job is to teach them to control themselves, and to become productive members of society.



Ok so, that said, it's time you and your husband have a sit-down and talk about your goals in this relationship. Presumably, your goal is to grow into a mutually respectful, trusting relationship with your daughter as she moves into adulthood, one in which everyone treats each other decently. That would mean that no lying goes on, that we all speak to one another in polite tones, and that stealing doesn't happen because, after all, that's not treating one another decently.



This step is absolutely critical- because step families are complicated. You've got a child and a man who both may feel as if they're in competition for your affection. It's important that your husband respects you and follows your lead- because you need to remove that element of competition that leads to the resentment. YOU, as her mom, need to be the lead disciplinarian. That might mean your husband will have to bite his tongue about some of the "small stuff" that you choose to let go on. That will mess with his need for control, but he needs to recognize the big picture and realize this isn't all about him- this is about building a family together... which, in the end, will make you ALL happier. He needs to keep this in perspective- you have maybe 4 more years, and she'll be moving on with her life, hopefully growing up and going to college etc, but he has to live with you after that, so it's in his best interest to put some real effort into this.



First, your daughter, like all kids, needs emotional security. Part of the conflict she's going through is thinking she's "grown", but still being a child in that she still needs to know Mom is going to look out for her. To that end, you may need to create some limits on the punishments. She needs to know, for example, that she is not going to get kicked out of her home. She may need to know that, no matter what, she will always have a bed. (taking her mattress would be unreasonable). She needs to know she lives in a civilized home where she will be treated with respect due to a human being. Period.



In that, you need to teach by example. Make a pact between you and your husband that you will act like adults- speaking in mature tones, not screaming, not name-calling or manipulating. (yeah this is tough when faced with an emotionally volatile situation, especially when she may be yelling, getting all dramatic and lying to you. REALLY tough. But worth it in the long run. If she raises her voice, just very calmly tell her you can't talk to her when she's shouting and end the conversation. HARD, I know, but it's the only way to avoid losing your temper yourself. Make it clear that you will only talk to her when she speaks respectfully- and make sure you're returning the favor by speaking respectfully, too and actually listening to her. Let her talk- let her finish what she's saying, before responding. You'll be surprised how it takes the drama out of a conversation if she feels listened to, even if you still don't agree with what she actually says or give in to what she wants.)



However, you're doing the right thing by removing privileges- because she also needs to know that some things are absolute- like she has a mattress, clothes to wear, and a home- but some things are privileges that her parents give her- like books. Those things are earned, in part, by good behavior. Respect needs to go both ways. If she respects you, her life will get better. That's an important lesson for her to learn too, because it goes forward into real life- if she acts like a productive citizen, she'll have a good job, which brings luxuries she wants, and avoid the negative consequences of things like lying and stealing- like losing a job or even getting arrested.



One tip about the books- is it worth it to take them entirely? You may be creating more work for yourself by not allowing her to experience natural consequences. If she stays up all night reading, she will have to suffer the consequence of being tired at school the next day. If she ignores her chores to read, then she should lose some other privilege- like an allowance. The trick here is to teach her to limit her own reading, rather than placing huge restrictions on her and creating all this work for yourself. A rule of thumb with things like this- if the consequence of her action isn't dangerous, allow her to suffer it.



I hope this helps a little, at least to start... I guess the point of my answer is- your attitude is going to be 90% of whether or not this works out for you. If you go into this thinking to manage and control your daughter, you're in for an all-out war that nobody wins. If you go in with the attitude that you want her to learn to be a successful human being because you love her, you're going to have a chance at pulling your family out of the disrespect/punishment cycle.



Some excellent books that absolutely saved my sanity with my two are "You Can't Make Me! (But I Can Be Persuaded)", by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, and "Boundaries With Kids" by Dr.s Cloud and Townsend. Both books give some great advice on discipline vs punishment and how important relationship is in these interactions.



Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Mary

Connie - posted on 04/05/2012

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1. A child will not hear you unless they KNOW that you care.

2. For every negative a child hears, they need to hear 10 positives to maintain a positive self-image.



Not only does she need to spend one-on-one time doing fun things with you, but also with your husband. If he has discipline over her, then she needs to know that he has a caring interest in her well being. This time should not be a reward, but rather just bonding time. Touch is an instant bonding. Hug her, even if she resists. Place a hand on her or hold her hand when talking positively. Sit closely when talking. You'd be surprised by the connection you will both feel, especially as I imagine you stand opposite each other with arms crossed most of the time these days. Discipline means, literally, "To Teach." It sounds as if you are trying to stop behavior through punishment, rather than teaching the behaviors you desire through discipline. What would be your ideal situation with your daughter? What can you do to get to that point? Maybe spending some time helping those less fortunate or children would help her have a better self-image and a sense of worth and purpose and a greater appreciation for what she does have. Possibly she is going through stuff at school that she isn't relaying and it's causing stress and rebellion. I doubt she is seeing the positives in her life at this point. Maybe introduce her to a gratitude journal where she has to write down something positive she sees about her life or the world on a daily basis. Maybe you could start it out with a positive message about her from both you and your husband and any siblings/family members that she would have to refer to when the going gets rough, especially as she likes to read. I do like the previous ideas of taking her to the police station for a shock and awe experience if she is stealing. I also agree with giving her a level of responsibility where she can earn immediate rewards and get immediate praise and positive feedback. A soul must be nourished with love and acceptance if it is to thrive. Been there and done that, so I know what you are going through. The teen years are tough. Mine are 7 years in the Navy and the other just graduated college. You can't necessarily change her or her attitude, but you can change yours and see if it makes a difference. Be calm. Be consistent. Let her know the consequences are due to HER decisions, not you or your husband, and that she has choices to make and must live with the results. Love and acceptance of the person doesn't mean approval of their choices and actions. Make sure to focus on the choices when speaking negatively and not the person. Remember the little girl and imagine the woman she will be, and remember that this too shall pass. Best of luck!!

Iridescent - posted on 04/04/2012

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A huge problem with kids is being too strict. Has it been routine to punish for poor behavior, and leave good behavior alone? It's hard now that she's 14, but you can still start to reward good behavior and simply let some battles lie, not because they're fine or accepted, but because she's craving the attention they bring her and if she doesn't get that, the behavior stops (or reduces).

[deleted account]

I am/was EXACTLY in your shoes.. but with a mature 11 yr old. Reading is 'her thing'. :) We are all in therapy too... ( dealing with issues from me being sick). The thing that has helped the most... so so simple. individual time!!!There are times at night when everyone is asleep, or getting ready for bed.. I will 'pop-in' and we will talk for a while. Other times, I am cooking, but I ask her opinion on what else to make, and she helps with that. There are other times ( on weekends) that everyone is asleep .. her & I sneak to Sonic, and she gets to choose a little snack of some sort. We do nothing.. just sit there & chat. Of course, a child being a child, she has still tried to push her luck & manipulate.. BUT, I deal with it accordingly, and we continue forward. I never realized how many things were so hard on her and that she was really begging for my attention. Perfect??.. nah..not even close. But we are so much more at peace now! When we have a bit of that time together, I see the difference in how she behaves, and in how we interact with each other. Many things are bothering my daughter, but I guess the time with me reassures her and lets her know that we r here for her. That she is not alone, and we will all be ok.

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Angela - posted on 01/04/2013

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spend time with her
im confused, so your quite cross because she is at home reading books?

Don - posted on 01/03/2013

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Begin by treating her like an adult, if they wants to behave that way. Rules are to be obeyed in any situation. Homes have rules to be obeyed. If they are not, then, as a parent, you should begin by explaining the hard consequences of adult life. If the rules are not welcome by all members, then adult love should be shown. Also, the pre-adult legal consequences should be explained because parents do have rights. Rules are made to be followed. When adulthood is finally reached, the police department has a perfect answer to those who can't except rules.
That's my 2 cents. right or wrong....

Erica - posted on 11/22/2012

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Why not improve your relationship with her instead of punish her. If parent and early adolescent have a good relationship, the child will not defy or disobey in the early years and may not in the late years. If she disobeys parental discretion and gets into trouble, maybe she will respect your judgment a little more. You should indicate, not necessarily saying it in words that she will be out of your site most of the time and therefore will comply because of the values you instilled in her, not because you can watch her like a helicopter at all times.

Aileen - posted on 11/21/2012

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I was just wondering if you found a system that works for you yet because I am going through the same exact thing with my 14yr old. In her case she blames her step dad but I know even with out hi around she would still be the same. She sees a therapist but it doesn't seem to be working. I don't know what else to do. I hope you have found a way to get through to her and if so pls share. Thanks

Jennifer - posted on 07/27/2012

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Thank you for your feed back. I know how this litle girl feels and I wouldnt have commented otherwise. I was that little girl and to a point I still am. I hope this family especially the mother and daughter stick together. I read some other post and I absolutely think that the step father is a bigger issue than the child. I hope at this point he has backed off. Mothers know how to nurture their children and step fathers really have to be careful about interupting that bond. If he keeps driving a wedge between their relationship it will be hard for this family to survive. my step father still acts like a child and I am grown now with my own daughter. Hell will freeze over before i let him to treat her like he treated me. Hes done it a few times with comments and I dont put up with it.

Chaya - posted on 07/27/2012

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You could also have her help you cook, good bonding time and a cooking lesson too. One thing I did when my daughter was late elementary to middle school, was that I told her she had to cook,she chose the recipe, she did the cooking. You could end up with the next Alton Brown

Chaya - posted on 07/24/2012

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If she's under psychiatric care, she has a diagnosis, treat it, don't punish it. Chances are it's rubbish.
Why are you denying the child books? That's one thing she can do that is beneficial.
If she needs a psyciatric facility, get her into one.
I don't really know what is causing this, look into that, if it's abuse, resolve it, treat it, don't punish it.
It sounds to me that there's been a trauma, it's up to you to find out what.

Ramona - posted on 06/20/2012

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I agree with other posters, reward the good behavior, extra trips to library or bookstore money. Also, give chores for misdeeds. I tell my kids all the time, "Keep mouthing off, I have more chores!" They shut their mouths pretty darn fast. I also have them write apology letters with what they have done wrong, why it was wrong, what commandments were broken, etc....

Guadalupe - posted on 06/19/2012

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Chances are she'll have to decide when she wants to quit acting like that. Obviously taking stuff away doesn't work. And if you take anything that's special to her she will just get more disrespectful. Your husband needs to stay out of it.

Priscilla - posted on 05/16/2012

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Have you tried giving her incentives? I try to take a small issue and give an incentive like having a friend over to stay. If she can follow the rule I give her an incentive. You have to start with small issues and don't make the incentive to hard to achieve. I've also been told that you should give a child 5 positive comments to 1 negative comment. Believe me I know you are so angry with the way they disrespect you and it is hard to find any positive but just something as simple as 'thanks for putting your bag in your room, putting the rubbish in the bin, closing the door etc'. As an incentive if they follow through you could give 1 minimal thing back to her and tell her that it is a priviledge to get the item back but that if she can't continue to have that particular positive behaviour and can be taken. I give three warnings and tell them with the first warning what the consequence will be and if they haven't complied then that consequence is followed through, but keep it short so you don't have try to keep the consequence going for too long or they will wear you down until you give in. Good luck, let me know how you go.

Robin Jane - posted on 05/15/2012

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I went through the same thing. It was horrible, It came to the point when I just kept saying to her ( I can`t wait until you grow out of this teenage phase).
I took many opportunities to read sentences from child behavior books to her ie: ( Look here ! it says that kids at your age sometimes do ...) When she started to notice that I wasn`t getting mad, anymore but understanding her behavior and including her in on it, she started to ease up a little bit .
I used alot of humor in times that weren`t very funny, but I was determined not to let her know she was getting to me. Any rudeness from her would be quickly cut off by me changing the subject and acting as if I totally didn`t hear a thing...
These behaviors are very common in kids at this age group. stealing, piercings, tattooing, skipping school, smoking, drinking....more common than not. Some parents are just luckier than others to have the other kind of 14 year olds . lol,lol
They will grow out of it, soon. It seems to last forever about only a year or so.
The worst thing I learned not to do was...not to let her leave the house no matter how bad it can get in the heat of a negative interaction. It is easier to just let her leave for awhile to get rid of the negativity, but stick to your guns, stand in front of the door if you have to, punish her by keeping her in the house ( not allowed to hang out with friends) she`ll soon get the message.
And mention to your husband not to fight back with her. good luck ,I hope I helped.

Jodi - posted on 05/14/2012

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14 is a really tough time, and this world is NOT the world you and I navigated the age of 14 in. In addition to adolescent brains developing, sexual identity cementing, societal expectations rising (academic, parental, religious, etc.), friendships are fraying and changing, body image is an issue, and we are living in a time where life is instantly attainable, capable of being judged and rejected, and where negative information put out there on the web is a forever kind of thing (not like slambooks of days ago).

Contention, lies, and lack of respect usually come from an adolescent's frustration from not being seen and heard for who she is, who she wants to be, and who she isn't. You and your spouse have expectations of your daughter, You should, however, have you shared them with her? Have you permitted her to have a real conversation about your expectations and her perceived abilities to meet or not meet those expectations? Have you given her a forum to share her personal concerns about who she sees herself as and who you see her as? Communication forms the basis of all powerful relationships, as your child matures into a young adult your approach to communication must transform to accommodate that transformation.

Start the transformation with a foundation shift toward Mutual Respect ~ not the typical you respect me and I'll respect you, rather You, as a parent respect your child (refuse to engage in juvenile behavior, screaming, yelling, etc.) and You, as the parent respect yourself! This will permit you to have conversations instead of screaming matches, supportive, honest dialogue, instead of lies.

Good luck and godspeed - www.theconsciousmoment.com

User - posted on 05/11/2012

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Honestly i think you really need to do the punishing yourself not your husband. Hes not her father. And im speaking from experience as my step father was the reason for most of my rebellion. I think you should sit down with her and be gentle and warm and loving to her and ask her what her reasoning is for her miss behavior but dont be harsh with her. Try spending One on One time with her, I mean its really hard to give good advice when we dont know what her miss behavior is.

Mariah - posted on 04/08/2012

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You Know take books is not something that you should take away because reading is very important. If she lie to to you and your Husband then there has to be a reason. I mean if your going to punish for tell you the true a teen will lie. I think you should let her know that tell you that true about something she did wrong is better then lie and that her she not going to get in as much trouble if she tell the truth . That something I learn when I was little and that what I teach my 5 year old son. kids learn from what they see from there parents or other people in there life. I don't really think take things a way is working.



I don't think take things a ways is really helping so I think you need to stop. What she has been lie about? how do you know she lying about it? I agree that you should you punish her for stealing because sealing is very very wrong. I Think punishment there would be take away allowance if she get one. As far as disrespect you and her step father is sadly just the age she in. In no reason is that an accuse for her disrespect her parents.



I suggest you should sit down with her and see what going on. Mean there maybe something going on in school with friends or teachers or other people that are part of her life. I know that behavior can have do with something that going on in her life.



I would also suggesting parting for teens. Any behavior can be fixed. remember how hard it was for you when teen gril and ask your mom for advise what she did.



I hope this help. I remember how hard it was being a teenager.

Tracy - posted on 04/08/2012

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In the book "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman, it explains what language works best for individuals. I would suggest reading this book to find clues of what your daughter's love language is and work within that one.

Rohaiza - posted on 04/08/2012

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I have 2 teens and a tween and day by day I see them trying to assert themselves, a natural thing for teens, I guess. While I was never whipped or hit as a child, my mom (quite old school) would use a short but exquisitely painful pinch on the arm or nearest limb if we misbehaved. This would happen if 'the glare' failed to work. Don't get me wrong, my hubby and I have a good relationship with our kids and we talk about everything but they know that punishment is also part of the dynamic if they choose to misbehave. I've taken away internet access, nintendo games etc. I have even destroyed a couple of their gadgets to make my point and I tell them, better I do that than hit them for doing certain irresponsible things that made my heart literally stop. It does not help that children are quite fearless nowadays. It sounds like your daughter is desperately crying out for attention from you. Maybe a private mom and daughter getaway trip somewhere may help...without your spouse...and talk honestly to her, even if it galls you after everything she has done. Even adults have to swallow some pride when dealing with kids sometimes. Cajole her into telling you what her deep fears, resentment and insecurities are. 14 year olds don't have enough life experience to justify such deeply rooted angst unless they had a particularly turbulent childhood. It isn't easy....I keep reminding myself that love and kindness are better solutions in the long run although children have to learn there are certain boundaries they should not cross. I wish you all the best and pray that your daughter will come around.

Kathryn - posted on 04/08/2012

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Sarah, It is difficult to get a pat answer.

I can tell you I have lived what you explained. My daughter seemed like her life was grounded cause she would always break one rule or another. She adapted and didnt seem to care. My daughter is now 18 and I barely see her. I can tell you what I would do hind site.

Best advise I can give.

Get on the same page as your husband. (sorry but the step-father will always seem the enemy and she will rebel more if you don't)

Be consistent. Write the rules down so there isn't any confusion. And the consequences.

Quick consequences or even natural consequences. Allow her to feel the choices she makes. That may be the hardest one. Us Moms always want to make things better and intervene. Be their for her through those consequences.

Have FUN with just her. Get to know what she enjoys. What are her fears in life. Talk with her, be with her.

Does she participate in extra curricular school activities?

READ "Have a new teenager by Friday" It is a VERY helpful book.



Don't be her friend. BE HER MOM



Let her breath.



My daughter was passively defiant. Wonderful personality Bright Bubbly.



You can not turn back time

I wish you the best

Jenn - posted on 04/08/2012

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Try the opposite. Give her a reward system to work towards. For example, if you can do A, B, & C this week, you can go to the movies on Friday night with a friend. My 15 year old is "dying" to get a nose piercing. She can get it this summer if she gets A's, B's, and no more then 1 C this semester.

Adrianne - posted on 04/08/2012

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Disagree. I was never a hitter. At 14, my daughter mouthed off very disrespectfully. I hauled off and slapped her thigh with all my might. I popped a few veins in my fingers and left my handprint on her leg, I hit her so hard.



Because I was not a hitter, it got the intended attention. Shocked and incredulous, she said, "You hit me!"



I responded, "Yeah, and if you ever talk to me that way again, I'll knock you into next month! I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it, too!"



NEVER in the 16 years since, has she ever been so fresh, again.



Sometimes a good belt works but only if it's not in your everyday repetoire.

Katherine - posted on 04/08/2012

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If you had whipped me at 14 it would have been the end of any relationship then or future. Seriously. It would have been the last conversation we ever had. Discipline is about teaching. If you have lost the control that far that you have to smack your teenager to get a response, you have lost it much earlier in the relationship. There is some small room for physical discipline with a child too young for reasoning, but no justification for it with an older child.

Jennett - posted on 04/08/2012

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Please don't take this as being judgmental, because I'm not in your position; however, a HUGE red flag went up when I read: "My husband seems to have a problem with me spending any kind of quality time with the kids." It sounds like your husband might be too strict with your daughter out of his own jealousy, and that your daughter might be rebelling to being disciplined by her step-father. Again, I'm not being judgmental, just trying to read between the lines, perhaps. I agree with previous comments about you needing to have quality time with your kids. Otherwise, it is always going to be an "us vs. them" scenario with the adults and kids. Best wishes, hun.

Grace - posted on 04/08/2012

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Build a relationship. It's kind of like courting. Plan regular time just for the two of you. Work on a project, volunteer together, take a fun class together, choose a book you can both read and talk over, have a girl's movie night, there are normal emotional upheavals in a young teen's life and this is compounded when there are changes in the family make-up. Kids need both quantities of time and quality time. When you spend time with her one-on-one doing something fun you say she is valuable and important to you without using words. Be sure to also use words to affirm the positive qualities you see in her. She doesn't need things, she needs you.

Sarah - posted on 04/08/2012

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Have u ever whipped her some kids needs discipline have you asked her y she act like thst

Michelle - posted on 04/08/2012

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Take it easy! She obviously needs some attention, how long have you and your fellar been together?, is it a jealousy thing. Sit down with her have a really good talk to her, she's at the age where she is going to rebel anyway. Show her you love her you have trust in her, she's probably feeling left out. Taking all that away won't help. I did the same thing it just pushes them further away from you. You need to change your attitude for her to change hers.

Cindy - posted on 04/08/2012

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Sara not sure you got this from me already but just remove her bedroom door it works

Rosemarie - posted on 04/08/2012

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I think the problem lies with her step dad punishing her according to your post. You said you let a few things go but he can't. I don't know your family dynamics but the punishment should come from you. You also have to choose your battles. It will never be 100%. I have 4 daughters all teens and they are good kids. I choose my battles. Stealing and disrespect are not tolerated here. I give them freedom but i am constantly on my

guard where they are going and who they are with. They need a destination to go out. I wont let them hang out in the streets. The minute one of my girls talk down to me I tell them I am your mother and you need to talk to me with dignity and respect. You also have to do the same to her. If you are divorced or widowed she could be missing her dad or simply testing you. Good luck!

Cindy - posted on 04/08/2012

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Take her bedroom door off it worked for me. Then when she does better put it back on.

Michelle - posted on 04/08/2012

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I would say if she doesn't have much left in her room to take then it's not working & you may as well put it all back. There is obviously more serious problems going on if she is seeing professional help so I suggest asking them. You need to try & get the trust back in the relationship (both sides). At home I choose to ignore the obvious teenage horemonal we all do it attitude & pick the more serious issues to make my point! Can I ask if in the past you have been quite soft on her & this is all new or maybe too strict? If you are too strict they really do end up thinking I'm going to be punished so I may as well go all out.....



Good luck & keep going with the outside help, you obviously love her very much & have to trust it will get better but it wont happen over night :-)

Adrianne - posted on 04/08/2012

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15 years ago, my daughter was the prototypical drama queen ... ugly, wormy, larvae thing, demanding, critical, acting out. She too, mother and step father and all the requisite problems of a "blended" family. Without going into the minutae, counseling didn't work, she'd refuse to go. It came to a head in the middle of one night, she had decided she was "bi-polar" (an act of defiance and call for attention). I dragged her out to the mental emergency room, figuratively if not literally kicking and screaming. Long story short, at the clinic, they offered her pills, a place to stay and respite from the situation at home. Unsaid was the accusation of "you poor thing with this witchy demanding mother" but it was the elephant in the room.



Of course, given this new "power" she tried to blackmail and extort by threatening to sign herself in for treatment.



It was a war of wills. That's the thing about girls different from boys. Boys somehow always put their mothers on a pedastal, girls are born "having your number," being females themselves.



And she was smarter than me. This I knew from almost the moment of her birth. And it is very hard to raise a kid born smarter than you.



ANYWAY, the ultimatum came. She would only go home if "I" would "this, this, this and that." The same bones of contention that are all different based on the kid but all the same, the power play, the need for independence, the right to be self destructive.



...OR, she would (show me, hurt me, display her new found power), and stay there.



Will tell you, it was the hardest and scariest moment in my life. To relent was to lose her forever, and on the path she was on, let her lose herself forever, too.



To leave her there, repugnant, horrific and would mean "the fight would go on."



But I made my decision and told her plainly, "We all fight our demons, mental illness is a personal choice. You want to go the "crazy" route, you are on your own. You want me and my help, if you want your mother, I will help you fight the demons. But if you stay here, I am done with you. I am getting up and walking thru the door. It's your decision. You can follow me or stay. And if you stay, consider me gone from your life."



I got up. My heart was pounding. I was scared ***less.



She followed me. (Relief, hidden but welcome).



That was the day she began her return from teenage witch. It opened to the doors of communication and trust, I had called her bluff; she needed her mother, she had to admit it, once admitted, go with it. We started talking about the demons, self worth, self love, SELF RESPECT.



It marked the beginning of a commitment to becoming all she could be and not a self absorbed egotist and drama queen.



On her own, she went out and got a little job. She worked hard. Her work was recognized. This affirmed her value"in the outside world" for her, something she did on her own. THIS affirmation, outside her peer group was what she sorely needed.



And she worked hard to get more approval from the outside. With each approval came more self assuredness and confidence.



Each "victory" led to more challenges taken on. And she metamorphesized from ugly, larvae, wormy thing into a beautiful butterfly.



Today, she is married mother of two, having attained her Bacholers Magna cum laude and Masters Summa cum laude, in biology/chemistry and now in the doctoral program in Princeton on full scholarship.



After 3 years of college, she came to me and said, "Mom, I thank God every day that you are my mother. If it werent' for you, I'd probably be rolling in the gutter, a destroyed life,I see now how self destructive I was."



But then, I always said that God sent her to me because no other mother would let her live. There were moments I could truly understand why some species mothers' eat their young.



I can only advise you this. Hang tight. Do NOT let go. You need to address the emotional issues and help her put them in place. The smarter ones are the harder ones because they are intellectually, light years ahead of themselves but can only be chronologically their real age's emotional and experiential level. But draw your line and do not let her cross it. Threaten, I did. "I will chain you to the bed til your 21!"



She is challenging your authority and you must not let her win. She simply is not mature enough, emotionally stable or equipped enough to make the "final decisions."



Do NOT be afraid to draw the line. That's why God invented mothers. It's much to hard a job for anyone else.



Good luck.

Ann - posted on 04/08/2012

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If your husband has issues with you spending time with the most important people in your life, YOUR KIDs, get rid of him and enjoy your life and children. I'd bet money that he is the underlying reason for her sadness. Husbands come and go but you will never get the precious time with your children back!! Life is short!!

Natelege - posted on 04/08/2012

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It may be time to back off & wait for her to hit rock bottom. Teenagers don't know that there are worse things that can happen than getting in trouble w mom & dad. Disrespect & lies won't let her get or keep a job. Point out how her behaviors will affect her in the long term in life & that's why she needs to learn how to do better... Ultimately she's 14 and there's little you can do to make her see reality clearly. You may have to just throw up your hands & just require good grades but not battle w her on anything else. Every child is different and a little taste of freedom / responsibility will make her see you & step dad as adults and not tyrants trying to get her to bend to your will... Just a thought

Katie - posted on 04/08/2012

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Stop punishing her. Call her on it, but don't punish. Love her unconditionally. Talk to her when you are no longer angry. She has to decide to stop this behavior.

Katherine - posted on 04/08/2012

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So, I don't know what bad things she is doing, but natural consequences and teaching will go a lot farther at this age in general. In other words, if she stays up all night let her, but she still has to get up in the morning at the same time. If she doesn't get up on time, don't panic to get her to school on time, let her be late, allow the school to discipline as they choose. If she doesn't get her homework done, the grades are really her responsibility. You need to encourage her to be more of an adult, since she is getting towards adulthood.



Clearly punishing isn't working at all, so you need a different way of doing things...time to teach instead of punish.



Check out the book, "Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days", I think he has some really, really good ideas for switching the dynamic in your household.



And probably your husband needs to back off unless she really views him as a true parent (I am a stepmother, it is a fine line)

Jennifer - posted on 04/08/2012

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She is fourteen and vulnerable. She has issues within herself. Maybe, and I don't know this, but maybe she is resentful because she has a step-dad and in some strange way she feels perhaps a bit jealous of his claim on you. Maybe she still loves her natural Dad and feels resentful that someone else has "taken his place" even though he may not have been the best Dad in the world. Fourteen years is an extremely volatile time when all her hormones are kicking in, on top of everything else and maybe she is getting trouble at school and hiding it from you.

The fact she is under councelling means she is obviously in a great turmoil. She needs all the love in the world, not condemnation or stuff taken away. She needs huge reassurance that your love her more than anything in the world. You are old enough and wise enough to understand. She is still your "baby" and will be so until you die. We are mums - this is our job - make her feel special. She may not trust you at first but this is the only option you have I feel. Good luck - and love.

Caroline - posted on 04/08/2012

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I am no professional and claim to have no answers! but as a child I slammed my door every time I wanted my own way. Eventually my father told me if I slammed it one more time he would take it off. Clearly as I knew best I ignored him and stormed off slamming the door. When I came home from school the next day my door was in the garage. It was surprising just how much I disliked not having it there. From then on the threat of it being taken off if I did not tow the line for any reason was enough to make me at least think twice about causing a family argument! I know it sounds a little odd but it does make it clear you are the parent and ultimately you are in control. No-One likes sleeping or sitting in a goldfish bowl but if your daughter refuses to behave then perhaps a short sharp shock is not such a bad idea? No idea what her psychiatrist would say to it but it did me no harm!

Tsitsi Nicole - posted on 04/08/2012

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Tough one,try and give her time and get to the bottom of what is bothering her..................

Tsitsi Nicole - posted on 04/08/2012

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Tough one,try and give her time and get to the bottom of what is bothering her..................

Louise - posted on 04/08/2012

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Family counseling might help. My daughter was like this; have hope, she is now in her early 40s, we have been best friends for the past 15 years and I am always her "go to" person. I never believed it would happen. Don't stop her from reading, she will always resent it.

Danette - posted on 04/08/2012

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I think it's wonderful that you care enough to ask, because a lot of parents these days just give up. I have the same problem with competition between husband and kids. My husband wanted me to drop everything when he was home and the girls were expected to do their own thing. They were starting to fight amongst themselves, constantly, because they weren't getting what they needed from me. It was like being between a rock and a hard place. It's hard, but I eventually started to really put my foot down with him - we were going to have family time and I was going to spend time with them individually and that was it. Period. He whined, but the kids were behaving so much better that it was totally worth it. (He got over it very quickly.) It's all about feeling unconditionally loved, that no matter what happens you love them AND like them, especially in the teen years, when it can feel to them like nobody else does. GOOD LUCK!!

Savita - posted on 04/08/2012

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Hi

well i have the same problem as you,i have twin girls of 14 and i am having a hell of a time with one of them,steals,can hardly have my purse around at home,its geting sick and even if i punish her,it goes on and on all over again with her, i am also very tired and dont know what to do ,to make her change.

Joyce - posted on 04/08/2012

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I work in an inner city high school and see that all the time....she is trying to communicate with you....I need your attention...even if it is negative. She sounds like she wants to spend time with you...when she isn't getting it, she acts up. Taking away books and other creative activities leaves a void...which in time will be filled with something unhealthy! I would rather have a child in their room reading, beading and making barbie clothes than having nothing to do. Maybe you control the books....chore first, read second...sort of like what we do when they are toddlers.



I could go on...but maybe check out the amount of positive time she is getting from you.

Deana - posted on 04/08/2012

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I think your husband is the problem! Who tells a mom they cant have one on one time with her kids?!?! Your her parent and he was lucky you picked him to be a part of you and your children lives, being a single mom of a soon to be 18 year old girl I NEVER let a man come between us and you shouldn't either. I'm sorry but it sounds to me like he is jealous of your time with your kids and that as an adult is WRONG in so many ways! does the counsiling know he limits your time with her? I'm sure they would agree its wrong also!

Karen - posted on 04/08/2012

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i have the same problem with my 14 year old. we had to switch her counsler because the counsler was causing part of the problem. my daughter is also very manipulative and can talk her way out of anything. Basically what was going on was instead of working though the reasons behind her behavior and correcting it. she was lowing my child to blame everyone else for her behavior and making punishment really hard due to the fact that she would tell my daughter everthing i was doing was wrong and she needed to tell me that. its getting better with the new counsler. we start family counciling next week maybe you should look into that. good luck.

Sue - posted on 04/08/2012

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I would say be pateint, back off a little give her a little space and try not too judge her. I think perhaps she is struggling a little. I don't have the full in's and out's of what's going on but I usually leave my daughter for a while to calm down before confrounting her these day's co's over time I have realised that she expects me to go off on one. So I leave it then wait till she thinks that it's blown over then usually when we are on our own or in the car I try to talk to her asking general questions until I find the conversation gets round to one of our issues. I'm past shouting I explain that I love her and want to support her but I am not able to be a good parent unless I understand what is upsetting her. I usually say I am a little disapointed with her actions but understand that being a teenager is really difficult. I reassure her that things are difficult and you have to make choices, sometimes you do the right thing and sometimes you make a chioce that feels right at the time, but when you look at it the day after it has become the wrong one. I encourage my 14yr old daughter to come and talk to me about it, explain I might kick off initially co's I am shocked, but say once I am over ranting and remember what I used to do.If she is honest with me I will do my very best to help her, but I do stress that she must be honest . Yes it's wrong that she has stollen but honesty and trust mean more. My daughter is head strong, gobby.I found punishing her was only punishing me.I usually pop in and do girl time at bed times and try to chat but it's hard you have to persiver.

Kristin - posted on 04/08/2012

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Take her out of school one day and try to have a fun day with her. Talk to her and see if she will tell YOU what is bothering her instead of strangers. Try to remember what it was like to be 14! Have patience and make sure she knows you love her and make sure you tell her! Good luck!

Vickie - posted on 04/08/2012

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Remove her bedroom door...do not allow her to stay in her room all day. Have her spend her time where you are and she may only go to her room to sleep. Seems like you all need bonding time. Spend as much time with her and you husband and any brothers or sistes. She will hate it but do not give up. Keep your family close.

Tasneem - posted on 04/08/2012

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Is she scared of goin to a hostel n living away fr u..if yes then tell her u r planning to keep her in the boarding school as u had Enuf of her nonsense.c if tht works.

Rebecca - posted on 04/08/2012

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A lot of very good suggestions so far :)

You didn't mention how long you and your husband have been married. Could there be some resentment felt by your daughter? I ask because in my first marriage I had a step-daughter and step-son. Both really great kids! His daughter started stealing from our house, but we felt it was just her acting out on her emotions. With a lot of understanding, on my and her fathers part, we worked through it without a lot of "noise". I don't want to say we didn't discipline, we just didn't turn it into a fight.

As for my own daughter, she would read all night if I let her. And I do on weekends or holidays when she doesn't have school. In fact if she's grounded books are one of the few things I will let her have. My daughter and I have a number of things in common. Books being one. We take mother/daughter trips to the library to pick out books. Mother/daughter luncheons. Bike ride or hike together. We both love animals, dogs, cats, horses. We have pets, but even if we didn't we can volunteer at the local animal shelter. We have a horse that I'm teaching her to train. Regardless of her behavior I still continue to do these things with her. If I took these activities away that would leave her all the time in the world to come up with undesirable things to do. I'm keeping her busy doing things we both like to do and she knows I'm here if she needs me.

I have to say that my parents giving me outlets to direct my energy kept me out of a lot of trouble as a teen. My passion was dogs, training and showing. By the time I was 17 I had bred, trained and shown my first pup to Grand Show Champion. Her mother and father I had shown to champion and her father I trained through several levels of field trials to become champion.

Find your daughter's passion and help her realize it! Best of luck!

Mariya - posted on 04/08/2012

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Your attitude must not be so much aggressive to your daughter. Look iam from a society very different from yours but as a daughter and as a mother I know one thing that a kid needs the presence of both of her parents, and ofcourse step father can never be a replacement of the actual one. I dont know about the attitude of ur husband towards her, but if she knows that he is her step father the iam 100 percent sure she hasnot accepted this relation. Look children needs attention in anyways and young this age you must be herd rend not her mother. I must say, just look for her father, she needs him now and try to have a chat between them. Whatever your relations are with ur ex-husband, he is otherwise father of ur daughter. You must discuss with him her behavior and i hope with his company you will definitely feel some positive changes in her personality. Good luck

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