14 year old daughter is out of control

Tesha - posted on 05/18/2015 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My 14 year old has mood swings that are ridiculous. Enough to put me in a dark place. Literally thinking of shaking her silly and more. I wouldn't.... But OMG she would deserve a slap across the face. For example: tonight she waits until the last minute to work on her algebra homework. I'm trying to help her but she acts fricken crazy... Spazzing.... Hyper ventilating. "I don't get it.... My brain doesn't work! I'm so stupid!! Why am I so stupid?" Over and over and over again. I don't get the math, so I, as the great mother, turn to google and find out how the hell to simplify a stupid expression. I figured it out and went to show her. Now she is acting tired and like she is high or drunk. (She isn't either). "I'm tired mom. I want to go to bed". Grrrrrrrrrrr then she is hungry and then refuses to eat the dinner made and the. Goes upstairs and starts freaking out that she ant find her phone. Screaming "you took it! Give it back". I go upstairs and I'm thinking "omg crazy... It's right fricken here on your desk"... But I just pick it up and show her it's right there. NOW for the last hour... She has been overly crying loud and yelling I hate you (by this moment phone is in my possession) and I wish I wasn't born and I want to be adopted by a family who cares (we do... But apparently not good enough?) and not to mention other not so nice stuff. Is this normal? Will this end? A therapist told her she was a normal teenager. Really? Friday she has an appt with her pediatrician. I can't take much more of this. I have 3 other kids who are younger. What do I do? Why is she like this? Her dad and I are diforced since she was 4 and I have been with my bf for over 10 years. She was never abused, never went through any crazy stuff growing up, no bf's, no abuse, maybe bitchy little friend fights is the biggest or close friends moving away. She also refuses to do anything and we all feel like we walk on egg shells. I'm at the point where I put my foot down, I am verbally and emotionally abused by her for hours. Her siblings have listen to it and it's embarrassing. I feel hopeless :(

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Nicole - posted on 05/23/2015

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Tesha, your post made we laugh. Our daughters must have been separated at birth! They even use exactly the same phrases - and tactics for getting and keeping our attention. It does my head in and I know exactly how crazy it makes you feel and how the whole household suffers. I call them her "tanties" because it is JUST like a toddler tantrum, only louder. (I don't call them that in her presence, of course!). This is how I handle it now (on my good mother days) and I have seen some improvement - fewer episodes, shorter duration.
1) SLEEP. When she is tired, i see more frequent and longer tanties. Encourage sleep. I take her ipad and phone away each night at a set time. If I forget, she will play games/read/Instagram until midnight.
2) HOMEWORK this is often the precursor to tanties in my house. She forgot, started to late and is too tired to do it, then wants help, attacks helper (verbally) and .... Tantie City. Set fair and firm rules for homework completion times/bed time, and stick to them. Make her go to bed and face the consequences of not having completed the work. Expect huge tanties the first few times you do this, but she will get it eventually. Email the subject teacher so she knows whats happening and makes sure that there IS a consequence (even if just a comment that the work is late). This is the age to let them crash and burn a few times on homework, so that they learn the lessons about work before it really counts academically.
3) WALK AWAY. On my good days, I am able to be calm and authoritative without shouting and her "drama llama" sessions are shorter. I say " I can't talk to you while you are behaving like this. When you have calmed down, I will help you/talk to you/help you sort it out." and walk away. Leave the room if I can. She always continues her rant, and will follow me around the house to keep it going. Like a stuck record, i keep saying "I can't talk to you when you are behaving like this. Please go away until you have calmed down." After a period of time spent railing at me ("but I need help now", "you don't love me!", "you love *sibling* more" , "but I'm HUNGRY!", flailing on the couch/bed/floor of whatever room I am in) , she gives up and goes into her bed and cries etc but does eventually calm down. Then go in and have a cuddle. She may start up again, and if she does ... Walk away again. Repeat until insane. It does work, when I can do it. Sometimes I can't and start shouting back and get into that horrendous cycle of threats, confiscation, more threats, grounding etc. Never.Good.Must.Stay.Calm.
4. CAPITALIZE ON THE GOOD TIMES Grab those periods when she is delightful and share some good time together. Lots of praise, love and laughs. Do something together that she likes, even if it means dinner is toasted cheese. Ask her what she thinks sparks the tanties. Try to get her onboard with bedtime/sleep routine. If nothing else, it gives you good memories to fix on while you chant "I can't talk to you while you behave like this."

You are not alone. Unless your daughter is like this all the time (seek help if she is), sleep, love and firm refusal to be drawn into the tantie should help (oh, and a glass of wine for you on the really bad nights!).

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Raye - posted on 05/21/2015

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My 10 y/o step daughter is getting bad mood swings. She cries and yells about how everything is unfair and says she wants to run away. She tries to blame everything on her younger brother, and get him in trouble. I can only image that this will get worse once she starts her period and gets more hormonal. I'm not looking forward to it. But all that you're describing does seem pretty normal. Different kids act differently. Some are not as bad, and some are crazy monsters.

It might help if she has a set schedule of when homework will be completed, when supper time is, when she can talk to her friends or whatever. It will be more work for you to keep on top of her and make sure she doing what she's supposed to, but it might help her stay focused. Let her know that arguing will not change homework time, just extend it, and she has the CHOICE to do it and get it out of the way, or pitch a fit and prolong her agony. Try not to let it show if it bothers you or is disruptive to the rest of the family, because that may make her whine and complain more.

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