My 13 yr old daughter keeps making wrong choices.

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My 13 yr old daughter keeps making wrong choices. In the past she has stolen, drank, smoked cigs. I thought I finally got through to her about 2 months ago, but today I just picked her up from school because she is suspended for fighting a boy a grade younger than her. I tried grounding which never worked so this last time I took everything away from her (door to bedroom, music, computer, makeup) and she had to earn all of her privileges back (talking on the phone, hanging out with friends, later bed time). When we got home today I took everything away again and told her she lost all her privileges too. I just don't know what to do anymore.

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Shidee - posted on 03/17/2011

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My daughter is eleven and she is going through some really dramatic changes too and I talk until I am blue in the face and she continues to do what she wants. I think it's hormones spiriling out of control my daughter just recently got her period so I try to use that as a factor in her behavior but the truth is it is a lot of things so I am getting my daughter counseling before it gets worse. Drugs and drinking are unacceptable and she needs an intervention of some sort let her watch the show scared straight and at 13 I thinkshe has to much freedom I know we want our kids to grow and have fun but not when you are being disrespectful and not getting the important things done that are a priority. I say all that to say parenting definitely does not come with a handbook but you are on the right track and don't give up try counseling or getting her a Big Sister form the BIg Brothers Big Sisters program because maybe she will feel more comfortable expressing how she feels to someone who is not going to "judge" her.

Denise - posted on 03/17/2011

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Hey Michelle, I'm sorry that you're going through so much with your daughter, but what happened in your life that she feels that she has to do grown up things? I agree to take her privileges away is a great way to start, but u have to be stern about it, don't give them back to her so quickly. I am a parent also and I have issues with my step kids and their dad with the fake punishments because he hates to see them look sad and mope around, but u just have to ignore it and stand fast on what u know to be right even if they dont like it. Can I be real with you? I'm not placing blame on you because i dnt know what happened in your life, but for me I have 5 kids ages 20, 18,18,17 & 11 and I chose to raise them alone because i wasnt with the bs from their father but anyway, when they were young I was a parent to them, i didnt care if they didnt like me i knew what the outcome would be if i befriended them at an early age, Now they are pretty much grown and in college and now we are the best of friends because when it was time for parenting i did that, i didnt try to be there friend and now they are adults and they respect me to the fullest, NOW we can be friends. A lot of times parents think that if they are"mean" to their kids they wont love them, and for me that couldnt be further from the truth. although u cant make up for lost time u still have time, try seeing someone and maybe that will help. To this day, my kids tell me that they are glad (now) that I was the way that I was with them, and had I not been who knows where they would've ended up.

Laura - posted on 03/17/2011

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Michelle, be assured that you are handling your daughter's behavior well! What you are doing with the loss of priveleges is spot on as a disciplinary strategy so keep it up! I would add an extra step: use an incentive (or two) on top of earning back her priveleges. These "extras" can be set up as a goal for her to achieve that goes a bit beyond just her routine expected behavior. I suggest having her volunteer someplace or do a job for an elderly neighbor as examples of making positive choices to achieve her goal. When she meets her goal, the reward could be something like a special dinner, a movie, or something that she wants that isn't expensive. This "incentive" method can help to focus on and encourage positive behavior and choices rather than always reacting to negative behaviors. This works right along with the loss of priveleges, it is just another tool that can help re-focus positive choices.

It sounds like your daughter is struggling with some personal issues regarding her father and that her behavior reflects her inability to adequately express her feelings. In other words, she is acting out in inappropriate, negative ways becasue she cannot find appropriate ways to express her anger, frustration, etc about her father. Having her speak with the school councelor is an excellent start given the insurance issue. However, a professional councelor may still be worth the money to have her talk to. A councelor that specializes in adolescent behavior will be able to teach her appropriate coping skills and positive ways to express her emotions. Yes, at her age hormones are no doubt playing a part in all of this and a professional will have the training to be able to sort that out from the truly emotional "stuff". Hope this helps and best of luck!

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Penny - posted on 03/18/2011

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You are doing the right thing ... tough love ! Listen to Dr. Laura for more advise... stay strong and don't cave or you will undo everything so far. I agree with Shidee !

Angelica - posted on 03/18/2011

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ma'am im 19 and I had maked a lot of bad choices, during that stage of life she will going to keep making it until 1 day she would fall so hard that she would stope. all you got to is pray to God to take care of her from no harm cause now she just wants to fit in with the "cool" kids

Mom Of - posted on 03/17/2011

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"Shidee - I would love to get her into counseling problem is my ex will not give me the insurance card for her. I can't get an appointment because I don't have the insurance information. I do however have her talking with a school counselor."

I'm not one to get authorities involved, but I think in that situation, I would call Child Protective Services and tell them that he is denying your daughter care. He has no right to do that.

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011

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Laura, I really like that idea for extra positive actions. I will have to look into it. Thank you again!

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011

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Unfortunately her father only cares about himself. I have tried over the years to explain to him that he needs to be in her life, but it doesn't phase him. The answer I always get is "he's the adult and she will work around him". He will then call her and tell her she needs to change her plans because a certain weekend works for her (just days before the weekend). It's just hard - my ex family has cut off ties with him because he won't get help. His friends have backed off because they know about the things that have happened. When my ex doesn't drink (which is not very often but it does happen) he is a good father, caring, loving but unfortunately you never when that person is around. It's like a Dr Jeckel/Mr Hyde. I tell my daughter her dad loves her he just is sick. She goes through all the emotions mad, sad, anger, distance then after a few weeks she calls him again. I just wish my kids could have a better relationship with there dad. Don't get me wrong their step dad is a wonderful man, loves them and would do anything for them.

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011

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I do talk and listen to my daughter. The principal, myself and my daughter talked as well and the incident was "the two of them were playing around kicking each other. As my daughter stepped off the bus she called the boy a name which he in turned called her the same name. My daughter than punched the boy several times in the chest". On the way home from school I asked my daughter what are the three things you are to say to yourself before you do something. 1. Would I want the done to me? 2. Is this hurting someone? and 3. Is this illegal? Problem was she said "in the heat of the moment I forgot to think about them"

Denise - posted on 03/17/2011

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i agree Louise but in this case since there has been so much going on for years with the family, i think if Michelle could afford counseling then the child might open up more, some people like talking to strangers and opening up because she already knows what mom is going to say so she may need someone that wont judge her because of her past, not to say that u Michelle will grill her but u know what i mean. But u can reassure her that her dad does love her and its just that he is hurt by her choosing the step dad over him. Is it possible for u to talk to him and reason with him and let him know how she feels? or is he still too in his feelings to be reasoned with right now? Bump him seek help, thats what i would do.

Louise - posted on 03/17/2011

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Before you go all heavy handed on her sit her down and ask her to explain why she felt she had no other option but to lash out at a younger child. Listen to her let her tell you what the fight was about. I know we are all against fighting but she must of felt so strongly about what he was doing or saying to lash out. Your daughter is far more likely to open up to you if you listen to her and let her tell you her side of the story first. Tell her you have to punish her but explain to her that you are always here should she want to talk to her. Try and stear her into some mixed sexed clubs like sea cadets or army cadets here she will learn how to make the right decision and have fun doing so. 13 is a really difficult age as you are getting the body of a woman and a mind of a child all very confusing. Give her alot of your time to try and help her she needs you more than you know at the moment.

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011

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Shidee - I would love to get her into counseling problem is my ex will not give me the insurance card for her. I can't get an appointment because I don't have the insurance information. I do however have her talking with a school counselor.

Michelle - posted on 03/17/2011

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Thank you Denise and Shidee - both offer great information and ideas. I guess I should have gone into more detail but I thought I had too much on there already that no one would read it...
When I said that she had smoked cigarette, drank both of those were last year and tried the grounding along with putting a tracker on her computer to watch her closer. The stealing has been an on again of again issue for a long time but became my last draw. It seemed grounding now matter how long it was just wasn't working that is why I went to privileges.
DENISE in regards to "be stern don't give them back to quickly" - that's the thing I wasn't she still didn't have ALL privileges back.
"what happened in her/my life" - her dad is a drunk and I probably stayed with him way to long and since then have remarried. My daughter has told her dad that her step dad is more of a dad than her own. Her father is not very loving or caring unfortunately either. The last time she saw him was Christmas - he is usually to busy (excuse) to see her. Last conversation with her dad was about two weeks ago and him telling her that he was going to beat her step dad up and when my daughter stuck up for her step dad her father became very angry and said he didn't want to see her. That they have never really had a father/daughter relationship and that he didn't love her. I thought she would have acted out then but didn't. Her and I talked alot about the phone call and her step dad reassured her that she is loved very much here.
"being there friend vs. parent" - I'm known as the psycho parent because I have rules and consequences. Her dad is known as the fun one for there are no rules over there and money is just given to you not earned.
I have two children my son who is 17yr lives with my ex. He tried living here but he would not follow the rules and so he went to live with his dad. Bad choice and the two of them got into a night when he was drinking. So our son went to live at my brothers, but there were rules there to so he went back to his dads. But that's a whole other story. But the reason I bring it up is as the kids were growing up and get into trouble. I would ground them and my ex (their father) would let them off right away. When my son wasn't keeping his grades up I wouldn't let him play his sport but yet the ex would go behind me and let him.

Denise - posted on 03/17/2011

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Hi Shidee, I think that is great advice for her, and I wish you much success with your lil lady also.

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