Teen "I don't care attitude" WHAT TO DO?

Michele - posted on 01/07/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I have a 15 year old daughter who doesn't seem to care about anything. No matter what her dad and I try, we can't seem to get through to her to importance of personal responsibility. She has no empathy, is mean, disrespectful, rude, selfish and an emotional drain on the entire family. We have tried making written contracts with her so that expectations and consequenses are clearly defined. These contracts she signs, but then ignores. We are consistant with our discipline. This means nothing. She has been given responsibilities to try to get her to understand the importance of being self reliant,responsible, kind to others, and an integral part of the family, but that has done no good. She either doesn't do them, or does them just enough to "get by". It is not only with the family she is difficult. She has no friends, states her teachers don't like her, and has been in trouble at school for being verbally abusive. She had her phone taken away for breaking the rules and sexting. We took the computer away because she was going to sites and made a facebook account against our expressed wishes. She has braces, but refuses to take care of them and now has severe gum disease. She lies, and falls back on "I don't know" responses. She removes herself from the family and when asked to join us, she will reluctantly do so, then intentionally do something that causes hurt or breaks a rule, upsetting everyone. Just last night she got out of the shower (she was only in there for 5 minutes), I asked her if she was going to blow dry her hair. That it looks so much better in the morning when she does. She looked right at me rolled her eyes and walked out of the room. I calmly waited for her to return, she did not. I had her dad ask her to come back down stairs and join us. She came into the room and said with attitude "WHAT"? I calmly said, I asked you a question and I would like an answer. She rolled her eyes and gave me a look like I was the dirt under her shoe. I looked to my husband he said, answer your mom. She crossed her arms, and refused to speak. I calmly said, I would like you to blow dry your hair. It looks so much better in the morning when you do. She immediately got mad, face turned red and she clenched her jaw. I said, why are you acting this way? She said because I don't want to blow dry my hair. I said, ok, then don't. But what has made this an issue is that you completely ignored me and now we are both angry. You have a right to your opinion, and to express it without attitude. She chicken necked me and said I DON'T WANT TO BLOW DRY MY HAIR". there I said it. I knew if I said that you would make me do it anyway. I said, that's not fair, it's your hair, you do what you want, but I will not allow you to be disrespectful and ignore me. She left the room and went to bed. I looked to my husband and asked what he thought we should do. Response.....pick your battles, you know whatever you ask her to do she won't do it. So why bother? How do I get through this? I am getting to the point that I don't want to speak to her, I don't want to have anything to do with her, I don't want to see her. Everything is a battle! She is so mean to me and her little sister that I constantly feel that there must be a demon inside her! Even my youngest daughter will tell her to not be so mean. If i try to hug her, she pulls away. If I say something positive or give her a compliment, she immediately does something negative to bring hardship on everyone around her. When I ask her if she would like to do something with me she refuses. I feel like I am having to constantly protect my youngest daughter and myself from her and make excuses to friends and family due to her being hurtful and mean. She seems to get some weird sense of pleasure out of hurting others and causing turmoil. If she does something nice, it is only because she wants something. We have done everything we know to do. We have had her in counseling, and she refuses to speak. We have tried to talk with her not "to" her. We have tried journaling. (she kees losing it). I am at wits end! HELP!!!

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Nicole - posted on 01/08/2013

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Ok, I totally feel your pain. You can't control your daughter, and that totally sucks. All I can suggest is that you use a version of the "treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen" mantra. If your daughter is ignored and her behaviour is not rewarded with your attention it may eventually lessen. It will probably escalate at first as she is used to receiving attention for her bad behaviour, and that will be confronting. Just treat her like her behaviour is on a par with that of a toddler chucking a tantrum, you may chew your tongue through resisting your natural need to react but it will pay off in the end. Cut off any financial assistance. You are the adult, you have the power, stop forgetting that.

Michele - posted on 01/09/2013

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Thank you Nicole. We have tried that too, unfortunately without success. I just feel that I am being mean all the time. She is not our only child, she has four older siblings, and yes we went through the "teen" phase with them, but she is so different! You can't shame her, you can't reward positive behavior and ignore negative behavior with any success, it's like we are in a vicous circle of negativity that is sucking everyone in the family down with her. When we try to have a family meeting to address issues, she refuses to speak, bulls up, and when another in the family is being talked to concerning issues, she grins and says inappropriate things. We don't want to control our children, or their behavior, we just want to teach them what it means to be responsible, caring, and how to get along with others.

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Michele - posted on 01/11/2013

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Sharon, thank you so much for your words! I have been doing some research and just yesterday ran upon Asperger information. The more I read, the more I could see that maybe this is something she has, thus can't really help what she is doing. When I showed my husband he didn't seem interested. He keep saying she is just being a teen. when I pointed out she has always been like this, and I thought she would grow out of it as she learned self responsibility. So now I have to decide do I follow up with a neurologist and see if this is what she has and I am expecting more than she is capable? When I asked him what he thought he said she has had tests done while in counseling, and if she had it they would have diagnosed her with it then. She was diagnosed with anti social behavior, ADD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), lacking impulse control, and has been on many meds that didn't seem to help much. When I look back and read the Asperger info, I wonder if the counselors misdiagnosed her and we did her a dis-service. Like you, I have felt so tense, upset and angry that I have had to hold my tongue and not hit her. My husband says, maybe she needs a shock factor, maybe you do need to slap her. I just can't do that! Though when I think back of my childhood, if I had acted as she does, I wouldn't have any teeth now! Mymom and dad would have slapped me silly! I am just so worried that when she leaves home to make her way in the world, she can't make it! No one would keep her in a job when she only half-ass does things and has an "I don't care" attitude. No one would want to have a relationship with someone who is hurtful and difficult. I even said to my husband I am afraid if we don't do something she will be living at homoe until she is 40 because no one else can deal with her! I love my daughter, maybe too much, because if I didn't care I could just walk away, ignore what is going on and count the days until she is 18 and I can send her on her merry way!

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I feel what you are going through Michele because we also have a 15year daughter who is very simular to your's. Our daughter lies and tries to come between my husband and myself by saying but mum said or dad said but its not working for her because him and I are pretty well are on the same page. The thing that is different firsty our daughter has Aspergers but she could control it more if she tried, she is on very light medication which is suppose to help her think before she opens her mouth. Doe'sn't really work though. She tends to go to school ok and the teachers seem to love her but when she is home well all hell breaks loose you ask her something and its NO or I don't want to do this, we take her computer time away from her and she sai's I don't care we take her Ipod or her phone and she sai's the same. Yesterday I gave in and asked her would she like to go to the movies then a swim and she said yes well an hour later she hadn't even had breakfast and I said Im going in aout 15minutes and she complained about her hair I said it looks nice the way it is and she gives me this look of what would you know!!, she is so vain yet she doesn't see it. I tell her that she is pretty and doesn't need all that makeup on her face but she turns around gives me the look again and tells me the kids think that she is only pretty if she has makeup on. It must be like betting because I can never ever win and thats what our house is like. Its almost like a war zone here at times with her chucking tantrums and screaming and yelling right in your face that at times I have to clench my whole body because I want to hit her (which I never do) but that's the way you get. Many times I myself wish I was somewhere else I have even got to the point where I feel I hate her for what she puts me through. I know that we are told to pick our battles but does it have to be something nearly every single day and over the least little thing. My daughter has had councilling but tends to tell the person whatever they want to hear so to me even that is usless. You are lucky in one way because your family can see what she is like whereas our daughter saves it all up just for me and her dad, although my friend that I grew up with has seen her in action and was really shocked. The phycharist told us once that this is her and she won't get any better, so what do we do with out children. If it wasn't for my husband I think I would have run away years ago, as I myself find her so hard that it hurts, and like you sometimes I hate looking at her or seeing her because its like what next is going to come out of her mouth . Yes I too try and hug my daughter but I often feel her pull away. It makes you wonder what they are going to be like once they finish school and leave home, are they going to cope. Yet at present I can't look that far as Im living from day to day. My husband tells me to pick my battles but does the battles have to be so constant. So Michele I know exactly where you are coming from, even though I must say my daughter doesn't seem to be quite as bad at least ours will come out now and again and say I love you or Im sorry yet the Im sorry is always because someone else started it, or she wants something. So hey what can I say but keep me informed we may be able to help each other. Sharon

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