I really could use some advice here. I thought the terrible twos were the most difficult years in terms of parenting, however, I don't know if I'll make it through these teenage years. I have 2 teenage daughters who I love dearly. We've certainly had our ups & downs....one is 13 and the other just turned 16 and is very far from being "sweet"
When she was 12 or 13 we actually attended some therapy sessions due to her outbursts of anger directed towards me on a daily basis that at times brought me to tears. She fought every guideline there was from movies she wanted to watch, having boyfriends, doing homework....you name it & everything became an issue. AFter a few sessions we came to the agreement that we needed to choose our battles and decide which one was most important to enforce and let others slide (this was the therapists suggestion and sorta went against my principles as a parent but I went with the advice to a certain extent) Anyway....our daughter got her first job a year ago when she was 15 and progressed to working sometimes up to 30 hours weekly during the school year. She took the job seriously to the point that letting her boss down would be the end of the world (can't be a minute late, can't call in sick, can't switch with someone else to accommodate family plans etc) We kept a watch on her schoolwork and told her that as long as her grades didn't slip and she was able to balance a job & school it was okay. When finals & regents exams approached we insisted that she limit her hours to no more than 15/week. She worked 40 hours throughout the summer and has banked most of her earnings towards her first car supplemented by her father and I on her 16th birthday.
We prepared her prior to going back to school this year that it was her Junior year of High School in which she would have SAT's and other priorities to focus on and that her hours would have to be limited in order to balance things. We got into arguments where she would be scheduled to work when other things were taking place and she would refuse to confront her boss because she was afraid she would get fired not giving him eniugh hours. I spoke with her boss telling him that school comes first and that my daughter wouldn't be working as many hours this year as last and he told me he would work it out with my daughter. I told him on a weerk to week basis she would tell him what days she would be available and that for the most part weekends would be out for the most part because we have a summerhome 30 minutes away that we would be using as a family and she would let him know on a weekly basis if she could work that given weekend.
My husband & I informed our daughter that this month for the most part do not schedule weekends because the weather is nice and we'd be spending it at the summer house. She also has Driver's Ed which cost us $400 every Thursday which she begged us to enroll in with her friends. Her focus in life is to get her car & to be on the road ASAP. We have told her that driving is a big responsibility & that she would have to show us that she is responsible enough to drive a car before we actually would feel comfortable having her buy her car & put it on the road & that just because one is a certain age does one earn that privelege.
Well...our daughter came home monday & informed me that she was working Mon,tuesday fri, sat & sun this week. I questioned her as to why she was scheduled on the weekend when she knew we had plans. It has turned into WWIII around here ever since. I calmly told her she would need to talk to her boss (or that I would once again) which she refuses and blatently states, "I'm scheduled and have to work and that's it I can't talk to my boss or I'll get fired...he just fired my friend and I don't want to get fired!!!" I explained that we had our plans and weren't going to change them and that the responsible thing would be to find someone to cover for her and if she couldn't to tell her boss she couldn't work. Each day since I have followed up to see what has transformed...and arguments have ensued to the point she has said "I hate living here, I can't wait to leave, and I don't even like coming home to this house anymore and when I can't wait to get my car so that I can just leave!!!" When I was brought to tears the other day she said to me "Stop being such a crybaby....you think it's gonna make me give a damn but it won't!!!" These are just a sample of the volatile remarks I am getting. She keeps saying..."Don't talk to me...I'm all stressed out and there is no way I'm not working...I'm staying here & working this weekend" My husband intervened and said that she better have off or he would talk to her boss explaining to her that the longer she waits the better the chances she would get fired leaving it until the last minute so that he couldn't get coverage. Well last night our daughter wnet through another of her TTT's (teenage temper tantrums) of slamming doors throwing things in her room and upon the 3rd time of slamming her bedroom door & fearing damage my husband warned her that the next time he would remove it and sure enough when the 4th time came almost immediately he acted upon it and proceeded to do so. My daughter stormed downstairs shouting "you're ruining my life you stupid f***ing b***** and proceeded for the door (a runaway exit which she has done in the past & we've spoken about) and I stated loudly that I didn't deserve the disrespect she had been giving me the past few days and that if she left it would certainly show me that she was not responsible enough to work let alone have the keys to the car and that she wouldn't be driving for a while and to think really hard before she decided to let the door hit her in the behind!!! Well she took the runaway exit....my husband behind her demanding to come back and apologize and be ready for a bar full of soap in the mouth!!! She ran faster and 5 minutes later I was on the phone with her best friends mother where she had run to in the past giving her a warning & asking her to not allow my daughter refuge this time...to call & we'd be by to pick her up. I spent time on the phone expalining a little bit of what went on and 5 minutes later I heard footsteps upstairs knowing that my daughter had snuck through the attic stairway & back into the house. I told my daughter that she ought to calm down & that we would talk about this tomorrow & that perhaps she need some thinking time. Meanwhile, hubby went up & spoke to her despite my saying we need a cooling down period which ended us in an argument which so happened to give our daughter great peasure!!! She came down to say goodnight and tried to get back into the mode of speaking her mind saying, "you don't understand...I need the hours to save for my car and buy Sam a birthday gift etc...." I told her that I knew all along that she purposely scheduled herself & that she ignored what we asked of her & that she would have to take the consequences of her actions either by speaking to her boss or finding coverage" As she continued to argue I told her that I thought we had enough for a day & that we would speak further the next day.
I'm so sorry to have gotten into this at such length.....as I write I don't know of a better way that this could be handled and I lost a night of sleep from the entire thing. I know I'm handling it okay....I do believe in compromise but this time I feel I can't because the tyrant will see it as a message that she can pull things like this and get away with it. There is a good chance she'll lose her job which means everything to her right now...but I still feel that hubby & I should follow through and not give in and let her work this weekend which will disrupt our plans. What do you all think????
Also...I told hubby that when we talk to her tonite that she is not to drive with either one of us for 2 weeks after her behavior and running like she did. He thinks this is too harsh whereas I don't. Help me out here....if it were up to me I'd like to take her out of drivers ed and make her pay for the next session for all she's put me through this week. I deserve better
Thanks for anything you can share in support....I really feel that these 'meanager' years are the worst ....Goody
Hi Goody! I feel so sorry for you. I WAS your teenage daughter. Reading your post was like reading my high school life story.
There are so many battles going on here...Do you put your foot down and have a miserable girl in your house? Do you ease up and fel like you've "lost"?
Kids of all ages work with "currency". Be it money or their favorite things. Right now your daughter's main currency is her car and the right to drive. If her attitude is sooo bad and sooo not what you want from her, then you need to take away those $400 a week lessons. And all talk of being able to drive is over for now. If she wants these things as badly as you know she does, and you treat her like an adult for acting responsibly with work, etc. she will work with you to get what she wants. But it probably will not be pretty at first.
I know she holds the "getting fired" thing over your head a lot. It is a great excuse for her and a good way to make you feel bad. ie, if you make her do certain things, she will lose her job and then her world falls apart. Guess what, she can't blame all of her problems on you for the rest of her life. She knew when she took the job that school stuff had to come first. I say this...as long as school is going well and she is treating you with respect at home, let her work. I know that you want to do family things, and you can to a point. But it's also time to start letting go a bit. She's 16. She sounds like a smart girl. She needs some space and a chance to start making her own life choices. She's got great work ethic. I say reward her responsibility. I would say to her, here's the deal...you keep your grades up and treat our family with respect, I will respect you and let you work when you want. I think that it will start to make your relationship better. She will be getting what she wants (while learning to be responsible) , which makes her happy, which makes her like you more, which means she'll want to spend more time with you.
Teenagers can say the meanest things in the world. I did. Many many years later I still feel bad for all of the awful things I said to my mother including insults, swear words, I hate you (more times than I can count), I can't wait to leave. I only said it because I was mad and felt bad, therefore I wanted to make her feel bad. Women work with emotions...including teenagers. Your daughter doesn't hate you...she hates that she feels like an adult but has to abide by your rules. She hates that she can't do everything that she wants, she hates that her hormones are out of control. If she hated you so much she would have run out of that house and never came back. The fact that she snuck right back in is a good sign. And of course she says she can't wait to leave...most teenagers can't wait to leave. It doesn't mean that she can't wait to never see you again, it means that she (like all teens) can't wait to be out in the world making their own decisions.
I also think that you and your hubby need to have a talk and get on the same page about discipline. Come up with some set guidelines, that way no matter who is talking to your daughter, she is going to hear the same message. Its confusing to her why one parent acts one way and the other is different. She will use this to pit the two of you against eachother. I think that he needs to toughen up a bit. Two weeks of not driving...that's nothing. I was literally grounded for 4 months once becasue I kept messing up. But I also think that he should not threaten with violence, ie, bar of soap in the mouth. That will do nothing. And honestly, to a teenager, that sounds pretty dumb...what is she, 5 years old?
I had a rough time as a teen. But my parents stayed consistant and I got through the phase. I love them very much for all that they did for me, no matter how much I hated it at the time. And I bet your daughter will too. I always told myself to remeber what it was like to be a teen, so that some day I could hopefully relate a little bit better to my kids. Life really can be miserable when you are a teenager. I don't know how much, if any, of this will help, but I hope some of it does. Good luck! You guys will survive.
Boy...I apologize guys..geeeeez I really needed to vent. Went back to delete this post...don't know how to in the edit mode. If there is a moderator around to do so please delete my post....I feel better just having pounded at the keyboard and don't need to subject these wonderful boarders to my all too lengthy post. Thanks...Goody
Kiera...Thanks sooooo very much for your response!!! As you can see by my 2nd post, that was posted even before I received yours, I was ashamed at how lengthy & desperate it all sounded until I read your response.
So...you actually were my daughter years ago...hard to believe from your beautiful supportive post. It makes me feel better knowing that the job I take so seriously of raising two responsible, respectful, sensitive, & loving beings can be successfully done no matter how crazy a time it may all seem to be at this time for me!!
Your post was absolutely amazing....it felt as if Dr. Phil (who happens to be a favorite of mine) took me into his arms & allowed me a soft place to fall. I read it a second time to my mom and Kiera, I am now hysterically laughing as I go over the events and actually seriously contemplating following one of my lifelong dreams of writing a book....I'll find lots of material to write about from these past 5 years and entitle it "The Meanager Years....A Perimenopausal's Guide to Survival" The dedication will read "To my firstborn daughter who will be certain to collect her percentage of proceeds and to Kiera who held my hand gently in my moment of need"
As I was sharing the events of last night with my mom....I was in stitches describing my hubby calmly going up the stairs with his hammer & dismembering her door!!! And when she eventually returned home I calmly explained to her that running out into the darkness can be a very dangerous thing and that she could get hurt. Her response was, "I already did when I ran into a tree!!!" I didn't laugh at the time but only said, "Serves you right...it was the hand if God leading you back home...the same home you say you can't wait to get out of!!!"
And the funniest thing I am laughing about today is that my daughter is working on he Gold Award in Girl Scouts in which she plans & implements something that will be a permanent change that betters her community. Her idea is to have the Bagel store owner, whom she works for, agree to supply bagels (that normally would be thrown away) to various Teenage Shelters in our community. Well last night our daughter claimed that she was running away from an abusive father and from me who abuses her too. Knowing that this is not in the least bit true, she went on to mention a time that I had pulled her by the hair of the head when she was 5 years old and still remembers. I pointed out that if I were going to lay a hand on her that it would certainly happened over the past few days and to be very careful about crying abuse because a teacher or any adult that hears it has an obligation to report it and then we'll have social services knocking on our door taking her away (which at the time I would gladly welcome) and she'd be placed in a teenage shelter eating the very bagels supplied by the store she used to work for!!!! I was to the point not even cracking a smile at the time but today as I shared it with my mom, I was roaring in laughter as was she!!!!!
So what do you think Kiera.....is it worth a shot??? Will my book have a chance of making the best seller list? Seriously, though, thanks for your kind words of support...I will always remember you bringing laughter to what seemed like a nightmare at the time.....Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-23-2004 at 10:17 AM.
You are too sweet. I am so glad that I could make you feel better. As for your book...go for it, you have millions of potential readers who would relate. ANd I love the title...Get it on Oprah's book club and make a million dollars Follow that dream momma! I only hope that I can follow my own advice once my kids hit the teen years. If it's true that what you do to your parents comes back three fold I am in HUGE trouble. You'll see my kids on America's Most Wanted in a few years...lol