Grieving the loss of relationship with 15 yr old daughter

PP - posted on 06/05/2016 ( 11 moms have responded )

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Hello!

I am really struggling with these teen years. My daughter is basically a good kid, but since she started high school it's like a switch went off and I have no idea who this person is anynore,

My daughter, recently 15, was a gifted ballet student with aspirations of become a professional dancer. Within two months of starting high school, she decided to suddenly quit. This was after 11 years of serious study and only very recently having returned from a prestigious summer program (with schomarship) and her deeming this "was her life!" She left her dance company contract early to try out for cheer and decided that was her "new life". We fought about her decision a lot, but i couldn't force her to continue ballet.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I couldn't even enjoy her new endevaor as a cheerleader. She was used to my undying support with ballet, but I was so mad at how she quit, I couldn't fake being happy about it, and it really impacted our relationship.

All of this combined with how much she has changed (she dropped all of her old friends and hangs our with an entirely new group, listens to derogatory music, and has said she basically wants me out of her life) has me heartbroken. She is my only child and we were incredibly close. I know its normal for her to pull away, but so many changes at once mixed with the fact she resents me for how I (probably badly) handled her leaving something she was so talented in, has me reeling. I know people say get into what she likes, but how can I when I don't approve of who she is becoming?

By the way, she is no longer in cheer because her grades were so bad this year she is no longer eligible. So on top of that, besides going to summer shcool as a consequence, she now has nothing to do but hang out with friends. And that is ALL she cares about.

Will she ever return?
Will we get through this without permanently destroying our once close relationship?
Am I at fault for not being "unconditional" enough?

Thanks in advance for listening.

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Juni - posted on 06/08/2016

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It is sad to know that our daughter chooses something that completely different from her original passion after meeting with new friends/ new community. When I dealt with my teen daughter, I learned that in order for her to succeed, I have to let her make her own decision and live with the consequences from that decision. Of course after I told her all pros and cons to her choice. Also teen is a stage of life where they learn about separation and individuation. Maybe this link helpful to your situation http://bit.ly/1OcV6w4. I "lost" my daughter for a couple of years. I knew that I could not put her in a bubble forever. She needed to learn to live in her real world without having me around her all the time. I began couching her instead of doing things for her. With lots of prayer, I believed that she was in God's care. I let her having her own pace. Thank God, she now returns to me. And our relationship starts a new again and it is better than before. Don't worry to let go your daughter just a little bit. Make sure to maintain an open communication with her. Especially when you have started a good relationship with her since the beginning, she will come back to you. You are a loving and caring mom. She knows that even though she doesn't express it to you. Lift up a lot of prayer for her protection and wisdom. And for yourself too. I will pray for you

Tania - posted on 06/05/2016

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I can empathize somewhat, though issues with my girl have been going on for a couple of years now. She used to seem bright and happy and very sociable. ..now at fifteen she often grunts like a teen boy, wants nothing to do with her 'friends' outside of school and refuses many of the things she used to enjoy (cheer, swimming etc). Her 'saving grace' is possibly thar she still pulls good grades, as she still seems keen on academics, but I worry sometimes that she'll never come out of her 'cave'. I don't know what you can do about your girl except just hang on for the ride...that's about what I am doing right now ....
One thing I HAVE found useful is occasionally taking her out for lunch by herself (she has two siblings ) and talking about nothing in particular. That seems to have kept a bit of the relationship going :-).

Big hugs...hopefully we'll both make it through. And the kids themselves, of course! ☺

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Patricia - posted on 06/07/2016

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I'm sorry you experiencing such a loss of relationship, in addition to watching your daughter 'slide down a negative path'. A book that I would really recommend is Boundaries with Teens http://bit.ly/1WZ2egL . This book really gives good guidance and direction with all unfamiliar and discouraging behaviors our teens can exhibit.
You are the parent, and it is out of love for her that you should consistently maintain boundaries and expectations in order for certain privileges to be obtained (like hanging out with friends when not in school.. if she's got lots of free time in summer, finding a job is a great option).
As far as 'unconditional'.. our love DOES need to be unconditional, and it can be SO VERY hard to give that kind of love. I have 5 children (ages 18-24), and there were times when I would hear certain teenagers cars driving up, that I would desperately pray, "God, please help me to be happy to see them." I would have to fight my own negative attitude, so they knew they 'as a person' are always accepted and loved by me, but their behavior is open to my parental correction. I have lots of other teen resources if you're interested.. just let me know :D

[deleted account]

ps - one last thing Tania, as adults we are all entitled to our opinions, and as adults we all need to respect that. I am not here for debates. I am not here to defend my culture.I am here to get various perspectives from other moms and also provide my own feedback based on my beliefs and parenting experiences. My feedback is not something I need to explain or defend, unless I have unintentionally offended the OP. If the OP (original poster) doesnt like my advice then they don't have to take it.

[deleted account]

Tania. what country are you talking about? I'm asking because Circle of Moms is based in California USA I believe?

Tania - posted on 06/07/2016

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PS Sara, the child I am referring to in my case is the third of my children, so yes, I am quite used to parenting my children, thank you. I just have to be smarter with this one....and therapy is not part of our culture except in extreme cases, so yes I genuinely wonder about its efficacy for normal teens, which this girl sounds like. It sometimes seems to me from what I read that Americans trot off to the therapist at the drop of a hat, thus pathologizing relatively normal (though painful to parents!) behavior.

PP good luck, hope it all gets better for you soon. You might try reading Nigel Latta's book 'Read this before your teen drives you mad!'. It helped me relax a little ☺.

Tania - posted on 06/07/2016

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You're right, of course, Sara. It's the therapy thing I wonder about. Personally for my daughter I would remove her from her school if I really felt her crowd of friends were a problem. Therapy would only be an option if she agreed to go, for three reasons. ...firstly because I am not physically able to drag her there, should she be unwilling to go, secondly because I would not be paying what is probably a horrendous fee if she then refused to talk, and thirdly (and most importantly) I don't even know if we HAVE private therapists (we are bound to somewhere....). Anyway therapy is only any good for the willing, regardless of their age.You'd be better off getting Grandma, Aunty or the school guidance counselor to have a chat with the girl.

Ann - posted on 06/07/2016

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Hello PP. First, I want to say that my heart goes out to you. As a parent of a soon-to-be 15-year old, I can understand what you are going through. Teens years can be very difficult because they are trying to find where they fit in the world and is easily influenced by their peers. Is there a reason why she cut her ties with her old friends? Are they (new and old friends) going to the same school? Sometimes it seems more "cool" to hang out with the kids who are the most defiant. It's quite obvious that the new friends are a major influence on her new life choices and not doing well in school. It also makes me wonder is she involved with a guy. I do hope that you do exercise some really tough love. I do pray that she see that it's not worth the life change and the ways of her new schoolmates are not worth it. Here are a couple of articles I was reading recently that I believe will help give you some guidance. http://bit.ly/1VKfztH

While this article may not apply to your teen, I thought this would also be helpful. http://bit.ly/1ZuMBgv Don't give up! Where there is life there is hope.

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Tania, sometimes you have to be the parent. Even if your 15 year old doesnt want to do something (like therapy) , as parents we need to be parents and make them go anyway. We are not their friends. we are their patents. Regarding her new friend group, yes it is normal to a point but it depends on who the new friends are. it sounds like there is also an issue with falling grades and
other changes. When you put it all together, it is concerning.

Tania - posted on 06/07/2016

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Seeing a therapist must be an American thing. Wonder how you would get a teen there if they didn't want to go. ..not saying that this teen wouldn't, just genuinely wondering. I'm sure my kid would just dig her toes in and refuse to present herself.

Am not sure that switching friendship groups is unusual either. Sad, but not unusual. It's just about finding their way IMHO. However if therapy is normal up there I guess it wouldn't hurt for one to chat with her.

[deleted account]

these sudden changes, particularly the
new friend group and the dropping grades, are really concerning. please discuss the matter with her pediatrician and ask for a referral to a therapist who specializes in teens. these are red flags. As for the dance to cheer change , you have a right to be disappointed because I am sure you have also placed much of your time and efforts into her dancing. Still, it isn't unusual for a teen girl to want to do cheer because of social pressure to be popular. What bothers me are all the other changes. how were her grades before??

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