Teenager making family life hell

FIONA - posted on 12/28/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 18 and is at home for christmas from university. She is making my life hell. She refuses to engage in conversation with me and flies off the handle if i try to talk to her. she says she hates me, doesn't love me, doesn't respect me and today said " you are not my mother". This is breaking my heart. She is sweetness and light with her father ( he doesn't do discipline or set boundaries which I believe perpetuates the problem). My daughter has behaved like this for a very long time. During a very heated discussion she told me that she hates me because I discouraged a gap year and then went on holiday with my husband and youngest daughter when she had gone off to university. This was not our main family holiday ...she came on this. She is incessantly jealous of her younger sister who is very easy going and well behaved.
I have read so much about teenagers who exhibit this kind of behaviour and the message is that it is a phase. She has been like this now for approx 10 years, only ever picking out the things that she feels that i have got wrong and not appreciating the other stuff. I am trying really hard to be compassionate towards her but she pushes me away and uses abusive language. I just feel that whatever i do, it is wrong. My husband and friends assure me that i am a good mum but I am starting to question my own parenting.
I sometimes wonder if she might be suffering from depression ( as I have myself) but she seems to have lots of fun with her friends, an active social life and is absolutely delightful and comes across as very well adjusted when she meets new people. People always say what a credit she is to me. It just feels like she is trying to punish me all the time.
I would really welcome any comments from you guys.

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Jodi - posted on 12/28/2013

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She has been like this since she was 8? This is not a phase. Why have you allowed her to behave like this for 10 years? Sure, teenage years come with hormonal challenges, but that is not an excuse for the behaviour. There need to be consequences. What consequences has she had for speaking to you in this manner? What have been her consequences for her behaviour? Writing it off as a "phase" is not addressing the issue.

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Anita - posted on 01/13/2014

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I have a very similar situation to yours. My daughter is what Dr. Dobson call strong willed. I parented alone for years because my husband was busy doing his thing. I asked for collaboration from him but he just wanted to be my daughters friend. There were battles between my husband and I and the eldest daughter delighted in getting her way. Eventually, my husband got the message from me that there needed to changes made, beginning with counseling. I started on my own and we now go as a couple. He knew that he was going to lose me and for good. I went as far as to not engage with my family, vacationed without them and pulled away. We, my husband and I, needed to find a way to get on the same page. The first step was to begin healing with God, the scars and wounds that were left upon my soul. It's an uphill battle, but one that can be climbed. There will be days where you feel like you are sliding right back that mountain, but pull yourself up and start climbing again. Dont let anyone stand in your way. Pray without ceasing, armor up as you are in a war! I'm on the right path, but it is one that is filled with agony, tears and strife. That's how you know you're on the right path. I encourage you to begin today!

FIONA - posted on 12/29/2013

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I agree with you entirely and I have tried to set boundaries and provide consequences. When she was living at home I took away pocket money for abusive language and stopped her from going out on occasions but the behaviour always returned. My husband is in so many ways a fabulous father but is more of a friend to her and avoids confrontation at all costs. He is an extremely intelligent man, hugely successful and highly thought of by everyone that knows him. One aspect of his personality however is that he NEVER gets angry with anyone. In 25 years I have never seen him angry, he has never shouted or experienced confrontation with anyone. This might seem like I am passing the buck but I have tried and tried to get him to understand the importance of boundaries and consequences to know avail. My daughter seems to get a thrill out of getting between us and we only ever argue about her behaviour....but our chats are not really arguments.....I get upset, he listens, I beg for his support and he promises to change and this has been going on for 10 years. You are probably wondering why we didn't seek marriage guidance or family therapy ....I suppose I thought deep down that he couldn't change and that she would grow out of it. I have also had family members suggesting that her behaviour is down to my 'nagging'. All the confrontations have been after i have tried to get her to help around the house, do her homework, revise for her exams, behave in a civilized manner.
She responds with abusive language and tells me to 'get off her case' and 'leave her alone'. Now she is 18 she says' you cannot tell me what to do'. I believe that whilst she is living under our roof she must adhere to house rules like not using her mobile at mealtimes. She continues to do this and gets aggressive when I try to enforce the rule. My husband doesn't think these things are important. He also frequently reminds me that our other daughter is a happy, respectful and easy going child so it can't be our parenting that is wrong. He says' it is just her personality' and 'she will grow out of it' and 'shouting at her is not the answer'. I love my husband dearly but deep down i am very angry and hurt that he allows me to be treated this way...it hurts so much.

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