Completely unmotivated 14 year old girl!

Catherine - posted on 08/28/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Please give me some advice. I have 2 children I thought I was bringing up the same way, hopefully respectful, kind, understanding , self disciplined. Both are girls, one is 11 one is 14. I seperated from their father 4 years ago and we have since divorced both he and I have been a in a new relationship for over 3 years. We do not get on and cannot communicate, we live in france and have done for 5 years. Both girls are supposed to stay with their dad every other weekend and half of all school holidays (as laid out in the court order) he lives 1 minute round the corner from me. The 14 year old fell out with his other half and for the past 4 months has refused to stay with him ever since, the 11 year old dutifully goes, even when she does not have a good time there still returns without a fuss. OK background over.... My 14 year old is totally demotivated, not just a pain but... No work ethic, seems to find it really hard to understand that people work for their money, that a gift is something to be treasured, to be grateful even. It has only become a problem in the last 2-3 years. Example: 11 year old was given 100€ for bithday from me and 80€ from her father because she was saving towards an IPAD she had been saving for ages, my brother, her uncle, gave her the final 200€ for working and saving so hard, I run a busy bed and breakfast and pay her 5€ per hour for helping out. My brother offered my eldest daughter the same deal, he would give her 200€ once she had saved and worked for whatever it was she wanted. OMG toys out the pram or what... "how do you expect me to save that sort of money" " I have friends and a life you know, just coz.... never goes out and is prepared to work why is it fair that I miss out?" "I cant save, I just walk through the shops with my pocket money and see all the things I just have to buy!!" etc etc etc. OkSo I explain it all to her calmly. BUT she truly does not seem to understand. I seem to come across this issue time and time again. I also dont understand why its my fault. The gift was nothing to do with me. I have offered her work in the B&B even summer changeovers for a company my friend runs. No Point she says I just cannot save!! Her father even agrees with her, he said to me how unfair it is that the uncle favours one over the other. When the argument started my 11 year old said Oh mum thats just Daddy talking. But how can I make her see. Most of her friends are 16 and 17 (which by the way is quite the norm in France) they have all had jobs and some of them have their own income and go shopping etc etc. I thought I taught her how to budget and manage money. Now she just says "I dont care!!" If I withdraw pocket money for whatever reason she just gets it from her friends or boyfriend. I have tried to strike a middle balance and (except until the age of 11) we have had a truly tough love hate relationship. I don't know where to go with this. She is in her final year before Lycee and so takes her Brevet, I have offered her 400€ if she passes with an AB or better. She just shrugged, laughed and said well thats a year away and a monkey could pass their Brevet. Please????

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Jennifer - posted on 09/04/2012

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I don't think it should be optional to work at the B & B, I think it should be mandatory. I would not allow her to step out of the house and do anything fun without having responsibilities around the house. I would not offer her ANY money for passing exams or getting good grades. That is an area that she needs to feel her own internal motivation for or you will have issues when she gets to college. For kids there should be an expectation that they are going to try hard and get the best grades they are capable of. That is their "job" as a teen. She should not believe that money is going to follow because of this. I wouldn't too much about how she spends her money, luckily there are natural consequences to money. If she spends it all then she is without and when something nice comes along she will not be able to afford it. You just have to make sure you don't have other family members giving her what she wants so she feels not real internal urgency to save.

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Alison - posted on 09/05/2012

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I don't know anything about france, but are there any programs for a kid that age? i am having the same problem with my 15 year old. I am putting him in the Boys and Girls club. It's structured and he has to do homework for the first hour he is there. He is not happy about it, but I am not going to let him call the shots because he has done nothing to change the issues we are having. I have given him every opportunity and he won't take it. This should be interesting. I wish you the best of luck.

Silvia Aquije - posted on 09/04/2012

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Sorry but I think the atmosphere she breathes is "money, money, money" and that's the way she understands life right now. It's very hard when we live in such a metalized environment. She must know that money is not an objective or goal it's only a mean to meet your needs, it doesn't have importance isolated, it's useful to provide you and your beloved family of goods. All the fashion things you can buy makes you lose time in your life to be happy (contradictory, isn't it?)because you waste time and money in things that will be in the trash can in some period of time.

Let your child look for more ambitious goals like helping other people or making great projects with their friends. Be careful because it's very common to reach to a level in which there's no more motivation and teens think in drugs or a messed life (you know what I mean).Pray God a lot, and show her love, love, and love.With affection,Silvia(from Perú, sorry my bad english)

Sara - posted on 09/02/2012

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Ok, every child is different. I have five and they are like chalk and cheese, which is good, the world would be boring if they are all the same. Your daughter is at an age where she needs to rebel so keep giving her boundaries to rebel against ( I know hard work) but it is subconsciously telling her how much you care. At the moment friends are suppose to be more important then family. She is probably having a lot of issues regarding yours and your partners separation. It's not until you get to your teens that you start understanding relationships and you apply these to your parents. Her lack of concern towards monetary things could be a causal affect to her feelings of you and your ex's 'lack of concern towards her, otherwise why separate?', teens point of view, you don't care about me why should I care about anything. Try and have a sympathetic caring talk about anything other than what is bothering you to try and build her trust up. Talk about her friends, her ambitions, her enjoyments, movies anything to build up a friendship. I hope this helps.

Sally - posted on 08/30/2012

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You can't "make" her see. She's going to have to figure it out for herself and it's probably going to be unpleasant for every one.

If you were doing so, stop just giving her stuff. You can't control what others give her, but at least she'll have one responsible adult in her life. You meet her needs and provide holiday presents and she has to cover the rest. When she whines that her sister has more and better things than she does, say "Your sister worked for it." and walk away. When she complains that she can't do that tell her that she will when she wants it badly enough and leave it at that. She'll probably be absolutely horrible to you. Ignore it even though it hurts and try very hard to never let her see how much it hurts. Just "You can have the nice things when you work for them." and "You'll work for it when you want it enough."

If a court order says she needs certain times with her dad, you drop her off at those times and don't let her into your house until those times are up. Keeping her there is his problem, but if you let her not go, you could get in trouble for violating the court order.

If she can't pass her tests, she will severely limit her future opportunities. It will be very hard for you to watch her do it, but there isn't a whole lot you can realistically do about it. You can't take the test for her, and even if you could, it would just make her life harder still later on.

It's hard to watch our kids screw up. It's hard to know they are hurting their futures and causing problems for others and there isn't much you can do about it. Be the best parent you can be and hope that it will work out in the end. Ultimately, it's up to her.

Good luck

Kelly - posted on 08/29/2012

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Catherine,



I'm so sorry you're going through this. You're not alone. So many parents are having this issue as well these days. I don't know if you've tried counseling or not, but that might be a good starting point. One thing (if they have this in France) that is a possibility is to enroll her into a type of school where she has to do everything for herself. All of the students there have to take care of the home they're living in. No, don't worry. It's these are not kids who have problems that have sent them in and out of juvenile detention centers that your kid would be with. These are children who lack motivation to do things such as taking their dirty plate to the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, etc. They learn basic life skills in taking care of themselves (hygiene, perhaps for some if they don't brush their hair, teeth, or shower much), sweeping floors, picking up a house (whether or not they "did it"), and their rooms. They will also be educated in the fashion of science, math, etc., but, the life skills play a part as well.



I hope this helps and is not more confusing.

Catherine - posted on 08/29/2012

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TV is not important, she never watches it, computer similar, her mobile phone is broken and I am not getting her another, I stopped topping it up months ago, I have stopped giving lifts, but she just gets a euro or whatever from her friends for the bus, she has shed loads of friends and is out with them most of the time. I have tried grounding, she just walks, has become a battle. I have tried to flip it, stop fighting battles that I know cannot win and at least when she does go out now I know where she is and which friends I need to contact to get hold of her but it seems the only thing that grabs her is her friends and the here and now, she cannot see beyond tomorrow and I am getting really concerned about it.

Chaya - posted on 08/28/2012

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Tell her to motivate her or you'll do it for her. Following through may be a problem, get creative. I'd bribe her. You may watch television for an hour if you (pick responsibility)

The other thing you may wish to try is to take stuff away from her until she gets motivated to earn it back, repeat as necessary

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