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Old 10-28-2004, 02:36 PM   #1
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Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Hey Gang You've been so helpful to me lately and at Goody's house it seems to be coming in threes as they say

We had a little bit of a crisis sneaking up on us on the homefront. Having 2 teenage girls has been quite a challenge lately and although this may belong on the parenting post I fell we may have better luck here with people we have grown to trust. I know there's a variety of ages here...some who can remember being a teenager themselves and some that can't but who have had the experience of going through perhaps what Tom & I are at this time.

Over the past few weeks we have gotten into what I would consider volitile situations with our 16 year old daughter. She's been working alot of hours (around 15-25 weekly) balancing it with school, friends, family, driver's Ed and SAT preparation as well as a boyfriend. Our rule of thumb is it's ok to have the job if you can keep up with your grades and family duties. She continues to do honor roll grades in school but the issue of making money and saving for a car have taken over. She barely keeps up with household responsibilities which I consider to be minimal (eg:keeping up her room, bringing laundry down and sharing Kitchen cleanup after meals with her sister) without being told more that 5 or 6 times and then becoming disrespectful to family members. She has progressed to using words that I couldn't even repeat and refusing to do any of her responsibilities saying that she is not a slave and is too tired from work and shouldn't have to. We have sat down on numerous occasions to explain to her that the hours she is working have become too much for her to balance & that something has to give in order for her to relieve some of the stress. She has rudely stated that the only stress she has is at home, we are ruining her life, that she can't wait to move out and that I'm a crybaby who wants to be the center of attention when she has brought me to tears with all of the hurtful things I hear lately.

Last week Tom acted on something which turned our home into a nightmare!! She called me a F******* B**** and Tom went for the soap in the mouth as he forwarned her. Of course she fought him and kicked him where it counts, and scratched his face....he went to restrain her as she continued lunging for him. I physically got between them and our younger daughter screamed to stop hurting her sister. I grabbed my older daughter and hugged her tightly leading her to a couch...she fought me but I reassurred her that I was holding onto her tight only to help her calm down. Her face was beat red and she was huffing & puffing and as soon as she calmed down she ran for her room. I did tell my husband that the soap in the mouth was not the way to go and that her offensive words needed some type of action but that she was too old for that one. His forehead was bleeding and I tended to that and then went to speak to both my daughters. I told my oldest that things were getting out of hand in terms of her behavior to the point that she was affecting the entire family. I told her that I thought it was the amount of hours and that she was stressed and tired and that whether she knew it or not we as her parents saw how it was affecting her. She screamed that I wanted to take the only good thing in her life away...I told her I thought she should cut the hours, not entirely give up the job. Seems that both my daughters got together and said that Tom & I were abusive & didn't want to live with us anymore. I explained that what just occured was not abusive...it was scary for all of us...that Tom was only restraining and that the only physical injury that occurred was on his face. I told them both to take little time and we would talk as a family in a few hours.

We did and ironed things out...until I got a call from a social worker at my younger daughters school. I told her what had occurred and how my daughter was frightened by it and I thought she was ok after we talked & that I would talk to her further when she got home. And I did.

A few days go by and my older daughter pulls her cursing then going to the sink & pouring dishwashing detergent into her mouth & swishing it around....stating how she punished herself. She then refuses to do her responsibilities for the day & I tell her she cannot talk or see friends, use TV, or have any kind of fun until they are done. Dinner comes...she refuses to eat and since she didn't, refuses to clean up. Tom tells her to do so she mouths off again...the youngest says she hates living here and wants to leave...we tell her there are guidlines & responsibilities in our home & if her or her sister wish to live here she & her sister must obey them. She packs up & says she doesn't want to stay and we say if she leaves don't come back until she is ready to live by our rules of respect & the few responsiblies we have. She walks out...our older daughter continues stating that she wants to live anywhere but here (at this point I am welcoming the idea and would love to get her into a shelter) I call my next door neighbor to ask if she can take my oldest for a few weeks....we sit down and set up some guidelines so that it doesn't seem like a vacation. She's there only working 6 hours/wk, goes to & from school, cleans up and does household duties etc. She left & let out a scream of excitement that she made sure we heard and she has been there for the past few days. Our younger daughter ended up at a friends house around the corner whose mom couldn't hold onto her because of work & activities going on. she's back with us and grounded from most of her priveleges for leaving. I am torn as to whether I did the right thing. My friend is extremely supportive and making the experience like boot camp and I am a little relieved but not sure I am doing the right thing. I felt like crawling in a hole at first but realized that if things remained the same around here they would only get worse. I figure my daughter seeing that there are rules & rsponsiblities in other households would open her eyes up a little. On the other hadn I thought that she may think that when things go wrong at home jsut go next door although both me & my neighbor have said this is a one time deal to help her deal with her issues. What do you think....sorry for the lengthy post but I really could use your advice....Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 10-28-2004 at 06:19 PM.

 
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:34 PM   #2
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Hi Goody
This is exactly why I have dogs,,,,
Man o' man,,,,I don't know what to tell you. When I was a teenager I did teenager things and probably did some things my mother would have had a heart attack over, but I never called her names or treated her disrespectfully. Never. To this very day my mother and I are very close and I would seriously mame and wound anyone that hurt her.
Kids can be so crappy to their parent's these days. They just don't respect their parent's like we used to.
You did the right thing except I don't think the soap in the mouth was a good idea for a 16 yr old, though my mother probably would have done it to me if I said words like that to her.
I honestly don't have any advice for you cause I don't have kids, but I feel for you and what you're going through. You can always lock her in the attic until she's 25!

 
Old 10-28-2004, 08:56 PM   #3
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Goody-
You have been so supportive through my difficult time...I'm so sorry to hear what YOU are going through. She called you a cry baby and a F****** B****???!!!!??

She is WAY out of line. Let me tell you that I had the worst experience as a teenager living at my parents house. I was very awful to my parents, similar to how your daughters are treating you. Now I never called them names like that because they would have beat me, but then I would have threatened to call the cops. I never talked to them. I never did the simple things they asked of me. The more they grounded me the worse I got. They put me in counseling and did everything they could. What they didn't know is that I was sexually active, smoking pot, using LSD and drinking. I was so alone in my mind and so depressed, BUT it only showed in anger. My parents didn't realize I was depressed because they didn't see me sad, but rather this awful evil angry teenager.

I don't have any advice on how you could make things better. Other than throw them in a treatment center. Trust me, THAT will scare them straight!

But I do want to tell you that it gets better. I have such an awesome relationship with my parents now. I love them and seee them nearly every week. This coming from someone who did or threatened to runaway on a regular basis. I love my mom and dad and am so sorry for how I treated them. I was hurting and they "didn't understand me"...you do however need to see if anything is causing your daugher's behavior. At this point you should search her room for drugs, and as bad as this sounds look for a journal. Sounds like she is crying out for help..I know I was when I acted liek that. They both will be SO different when they get older...this isn't forvever...hang in there. Hope I helped some.

 
Old 10-28-2004, 10:52 PM   #4
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part 1

Hi Goody,

I am so sorry...I know I already said a lot of what I had to say on your other thread, but please don't let this get you down too much. Most of what I have to say is about the mistakes I think parents make in general raising teenagers....unfortunately, I don't know enough about your parenting approach to offer what I hope would be useful advice. My general sense about kids who want to run away is--it's not the kid, it's the parent. My friends who respected their parents' approach to raising them sometimes got frustrated, but never wanted to leave. That was much more common with kids who felt they were being ruled by a dictator-like parent(s), to the point where they would do anything just to get away, to be allowed to be themselves and grow up, to mature on their own terms, to gain responsibility and independence on their own, because their parents were unwilling to let them experience these changes for themselves, without strict guidelines.

I think a lot of times parents treat teenagers like children (like your husband tried to with the soap--I agree with your girls that physical punishment of any kind is unacceptable once the kids are grown up enough to understand responsibility and reason. It's one thing for small children incapable of understanding right from wrong, but it's patronizing and insulting for a teenager to receive such treatment when he/she really wants their parents to recognize their blossoming autonomy and maturity). The thing is, kids are smarter that you think. Physical punishment does not lead to obedience, the way it would if you whipped a horse, but in children it creates anger, hostility, repressed violence, and teaches that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict. That is why so many kids who grow up with violence become violent to their peers while young and then take it out on their families, creating a dangerous hurtful cycle fueled by ignorance.

No matter how bad things get, they will always get worse if parents respond with physical punishment. I was a very bad teenager in some ways, but my mom responded in a way that kept me under control. She quickly discovered that I was partying, drinking, and having sex, but did not freak out and try to forbid me from all of that, driving a huge wedge between us and eroding all my respect for her. Instead, she realized that I was starting to become an adult, and I was going to do certain things because I wanted to, regardless of her efforts to stop me. So she sat me down and said, honey, I love you and admire you more than anyone in the world. I know you are a brilliant woman who will succeed in this world, and I trust you to make your own adult decisions and run your own life. I don't know if that would work for every teenager, as I was extremely mature, independent, and self-reliant, with a strong sense of responsibility and self-esteem. But my mom said, I respect that you are becoming an adult and need to make your own decisions, but please agree to these terms and please don't shut me out completely because I love you and want the best for you; I know you'll make your own mistakes but please hear my advice so you don't make stupid mistakes you could have easily avoided. She said: "I know you don't want to talk to me about sex, you're responsible enough to protect yourself and make your own choices, but if you ever get pregnant, please come to me before making any final decisions. Also, don't ride on a motorcycle, NEVER drive drunk and don't smoke cigarettes." And miraculously as it seems, I never have and never would do any of these things, but I know many friends who wish their parents would have given them such important but limited guidelines instead of giving them no rules at all or smothering them with way too many rules.

Amazingly enough, since my mom conceded what I felt I deserved, I felt a responsibility not to let her down on those terms (which I knew were ultimately in my best interest anyway). My friends always partied hard and smoked, but I refused to get involved with cigarettes because I knew it would wreck havoc on my looks, bank account, and health. Same with drunk driving (what a horrible, potentially life-destroying decision!!), riding motorcycles, and I have always been very vigilant about avoiding pregnancy and STDs. My mom taught me that I was smart and responsible and that I had the responsibility to protect my own body: I took that to mean I can do what I want as long as I'm responsible. I've had a lot of sexual experience, with many different guys, but mainly within serious monogamous relationships. I loved every minute of it and I wouldn't take anything back--it was wonderful to experiment and learn as much as possible while I was young and desirable (well, hopefully I'm not washed up at 22) while also respecting myself enough to be safe. Now that I've met the man of my dreams, I'm thankful for my younger years and for my mom encouraging me to be myself (I guess I've always had a strong urge toward sex) while protecting my body, my health, and my fertility. I know enough now to know that he can make me happy in every way for the rest of my life, something I might not be sure of without extensive sexual and relationship experience. And I don't smoke, I've never gotten in any serious trouble while drunk or with drugs. Maybe partied my way through college, but I came out with an excellent academic record, a promising future in my dream career, and a wonderful partner to share it all with.

I really owe all this ALL to my mom. Almost all of my friends' parents either completely stood back and enabled their kids to do anything they pleased, with drinking, drugs, and sex, or tried to rule them like some sort of totalitarian dictator. Few parents treated their kids as quasi-adults, giving them a large degree of independence but still trying to steer them right, to deter them from big mistakes and allow them to assert themselves, have a great time, without getting in over their heads and having to give up on their dreams. My mom made this work because she was ALWAYS there for me, telling me she loved me, she was proud of me, she believed in me. This gave me the self-confidence and imbued a sense of responsibility that made me always look out for myself. I'd have fun, but not too much, or dangerous fun, because I had nothing to rebel against, nothing but support except if I broke my mom's few simple rules (which I never even considered, out of fear for the unknown but probably horrible consequences).

I had one other friend whose parents' took a similar approach, and he turned out to be amazingly brilliant, well-rounded, happy, and sociable. The parents who took the overly leniant approach ended up with kids who weren't really self-motivated, who didn't care much about anything except the next source of a high, but who did turn out to be responsible and intelligent, in good careers, just not all that close to their parents. The kids of parents who took the authoritarian approach, as most do, whether for religious reasons or just following "tradition," fared worst by far. Their kids spent high school doing everything they could to aggravate their parents, even if it wasn't something they particularly wanted to so. Then at college, they drank obscene amounts of liquor as fast as possible and did no work whatsoever. In contrast to parents who taught that alcohol was okay in moderation and let high school students have a glass with dinner, those kids whose parents did everything in their power to keep them away from alcohol drank, drank, and drank, as if they were trying to make up for every time their parents hadn't allowed them to drink. On top of numerous cases of alcohol poisoning, kids with this kind of parents soon found they were poorly adapted to function independently after living for so long in a totalitarian household. Without someone telling them when to go to school, when to do homework, and when to eat, they had tremendous trouble motivating themselves to attend and do work for their courses, often resulting in terrible or failing grades. These kids were completely lost--all they wanted to do was rebel, and they had no internal restraints teaching them lessons of responsibility and moderation. Where other kids would drink to have fun, they would drink to pass out. Where other kids would stop partying to study, without having their parents around, these kids would never pick up their books. They were literally set adrift, because they had been treated as children for 18 years, as people to be ordered around and micro-managed. Unlike their peers whose parents had accepted their growing maturity and tried to teach responsibility along with independence, allowing them to tackle classes, social pressures, and financial responsibility on their own with some help from their parents, children of authoritarian parents were completely unprepared to live away from home and to function in any way on their own. They were so alienated and frustrated from their parents' restrictive, black and white way of seeing things, that they couldn't even ask their parents for help even when they needed it most desperately.

 
Old 10-28-2004, 10:55 PM   #5
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

continued:

My point here is, to all parents (I doubt Goody, and many others, fall cleanly into any one category) is don't try to keep your kids perpetual children. As they grow up, accept that they are moving toward adulthood and maturity and help them along. Allow them to make their own decisions and their own mistakes, and they in turn will respect these concessions enough to trust and adhere to any wise advice you provide. Yes, high-school kids are still kids because they are living under their parents' roof, but parents who treat them like kids at 17 are setting their kids up to become aimlessly rebellious and hopelessly irresponsible. They never had a chance to test their independence while under the safe, watchful protection of their parents, who considered them children who should always answer to an authoritarian parent. So without any guidance and support in making the transition from child to young adult, kids with totalitarian parents are, from everything I've seen, CONSISTENTLY at a terrible disadvantage--far more likely to overindulge in everything because they were never allowed to experiment and test their limits with anything. Trust your kids--they know their parents have some lessons to impart, and they're willing to listen as long as they are also allowed to make their own decisions. Burden them with rule after rule, and they'll never be able to make it on their own. Gently coach them through the teenage years, and they will gain the independence, maturity, and responsibility to thrive once they leave the nest.

Anyway, Goody, I know this probably doesn't relate all that much to your situation. I know you're an amazing, loving mom, and I'm sure your kids will turn out great. I do think you have an awesome opportunity to make it much easier for them to become responsible, driven adults with a strong sense of right and wrong, self-respect, self-esteem, and independence, along with empowerment, feeling that they are well-equipped to make their own decisions and determine the course of their lives. These were some of the best gifts my mom ever gave me, though I know my teenage years were horrible for her. But she remained selfless, put me first, let me go when she needed to so that I could thrive when forced to live on my own, and also tried to keep our lines of respect and communication open so I would benefit from her caution and wisdom. I am so proud of my mom, and I know she is incredibly proud of me today. More important than any form of parenting is the relationship you maintain with your children, and by loving them enough to respect them as maturing adults, you earn their love and respect forever. Trying to dictate every aspect of their lives or paying no attention to what they do will erode the love and respect they feel for you--the friends I have with such parents currently lack even 1% of the closeness, love, and trust I share with my amazing, beautiful mother. (I love you Mom )

Good night,
Stacy

 
Old 10-29-2004, 05:48 AM   #6
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

IT seems to me that she is taking that event of kicking Tom and calling you that bad name to punish herself into the future. From what you expressed about her and I may have not read this but I am guessing this was her first time to act like this.

If this was a first time thing then its going to effect her for sometime. She knows what she did wrong and by taking the soap or not eating she feels that she has to prove something to you guys. I may be going against the grain here on some posters but I beleive punishment will only make it worse.

Its not a bad thing to talk to a councelor about this but its hard raising teen girls or even teens in general. Overall, she seems to be a great person with studies and handling time. She has a lot of pressure though and maybe she is doing to much. Its good to keep a teen busy but some jobs can be demanding. What does she do for work?

As I said though before about not punishing her, it may be the only key to get through this drought. I say that because if this was a first time thing she sees her wrong doing and she is hurt inside and doesn't know what to do at this point. She thinks by not eating, drinking soap, ect will even things out and try to make it ok.

She has to realize that we all do stupid things then regret it afterwards. I don't know you family like you do so I am not going to tell you how to take care of her but I figured I add in my thoughts. I havn't bothered to read the other post yet because I wanted to post what I see first. There is a communication barrier here and I do think someone needs to break it. I do think you and Tom should talk to her about this in a calm manor. Explain to her that we all make mistakes and you just want to start out things new and on the right foot. My mom has done this many times to me after fights and to me it eased alot because we were all on a clean slate.

 
Old 10-29-2004, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Hi, Goody

I read through Stacy’s "doctorial thesis" above and must say she is dead-on right. I wish I could say that was how we handled all of our kids but it wasn’t. With our oldest daughter, I did as Tom did with the soap with the same great results. We gradually changed our ways and actually had a fairly good experience with our youngest. Now as grandparents it is very easy to see that we were way too slow to support our teenagers’ changing needs. I differ with Stacy’s mom on only one point… I still ride a motorcycle. …born to be wild…

It is soooo normal for parents to see their teenagers as children rather than as maturing adults. They will always be our babies. But in all honesty, once they reach puberty we have lost control of them. By treating them as children, we risk alienating them and losing any influence over them. Once parents finally realize that, it becomes much easier to change their childrearing habits.

I like the idea of negotiating a family contract between the adults and teenagers. That gives everyone the opportunity to air their concerns and allows the parents to make “enlightened” decisions to promote harmony. Household chores are always a big problem. Instead of assigning each teenager a list of household tasks, define a pool of tasks and let them negotiate amongst themselves (several times per year) which ones they will do. Let them work out swaps when they have scheduling conflicts.

Expect better results but not miracles.

 
Old 10-31-2004, 06:33 PM   #8
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Hey...everyone Thanks for your posts....they mean so much to me. It has been 5 days since my daughter has moved next door. It's pure agony having her away but Tom & I feel that it is in her best interest to be away from us in order to work through her issues that she can't do here with us. Our neighbor and I speak daily for over an hour to discuss progress which doesn't seem to be much right now. She seems to think she's on vacation but my neighbor is doing a wonderful job of talking about some of the issues that she is going thorugh and may be making some headway that Tom & I haven't been able to do in the past. When she is over there she is sharing in family responsibilities that are so much more than we expect in our home. She has cut down her hours as part of the agreement to be able to remain with their family. I guess I am disappointed that she is doing things there without a fight, attitude, cursing, and all the nonsense that she gives us here. My neighbor reassures me that she is only doing so because if she doesn't cooperate then she's out the door back to us. I don't know if I'm quite comforted by that but I have to say life has been quite peaceful around here. Tom and I agree that we miss her like crazy but we are not at all missing the daily emotional turmoil she has brought into our household for sometime now. It's almost like a poison that has infiltrated our family and we have been working with our younger daughter while our older one is outside the home. It hasn't been an easy task...but little by little we are realizing that when our older daughter returns things have to change.

We've come up with a mathematical equation that may help in the change..."positive + positive= postitive and negative + negative = negative" We've translated it to be you do positive things with a positive attitude and you get more priveleges and ok's to what you want (within reason). You don't do your responsibilities and have a negative attitude you won't be getting what you want. It's a fairly simple way of living and will allow them to have control over their destiny.

I was also impressed with Stacy's theories on parenting....however I have to say from firsthand experience that I came from an extremely authoritative and dictator parented household and turned out to be what I believe a great adult. I went off to college and didn't go wild or refuse to open the books, experiment with drugs or alcohol or any of the stuff that you described. In fact, I worked 15 years as a Pediatric nurse, had 1 brother graduate from West Point who now is VP of a major bank and another brother who is a regional manager of the Post office in charge of 20 or more postmasters. None of us ever experimented with drugs, alcohol or even smoked cigarettes in our teenage /college years. We were not sexually active until our mid twenties so personally Stacy's theory does not apply to me. When I became a parent I definitely altered my parenting style from how I was raised....and believe I am one that is parenting in a open manner keeping in mind that it is my goal to guide my daughters into the roles of responsible, caring and successful adults. My 16 year old has worked a job since she was 15, can go do things with friends as long as I know who she's with and that parents will be home, and as long as her household responsibilities are done. However, I refuse to allow her any privelege when she mouths off or approaches me in a disrespectful way. So most of the time she feels like she doesn't get to do things is 95% because of her attitude rather than me not allowing her to. I'm hoping that she will come to that realization while she is living next door.

What is positive in all this is that friends and relatives always comment on how respectful our daughters are and how wonderful they are as guests. Teachers at school always say what a pleasure it is to have them in their class (Tom & I often look at each other wondering if they are speaking about the same kids) I just don't understand how other people can get the respect that we deserve and we get treated in such as awful way. I know that what counts the most is how they are in the world....but Tom & I are saddened that we don't see it in our home. I mean we have 2 girls threatening to turn us in to social services for not allowing them to do as they please. And they have run away 5 times between thetwo....how humiliating that can be

Eightball....this has been going on for years....since she was 12. We went to therapy and we were told to select our battles carefully and we have found that to be helpful. My daughter is very angry and I fell as if the amount of hours she is working is mostly the cause of it. I want her to come to that realization herself....she sees me as taking away something if I were to demand her to cut her hours. If she were to decide to do this on her own it would be not only the mature thing to do but also teach her to compromise. Her working so many hours is cutting into her social life, family life and tiring her to the point that whenever anything goes wrong and friends aren't availabel she projects the blame on me or Tom rather than realize that she would be more available for htese things if she would just work less hours.

Sounds so simple....and yet in the teenage mind it is oh so complicated. Thanks for all the insight...we really appreciate it....Goody

 
Old 10-31-2004, 08:25 PM   #9
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Goody-
I hope that having your oldest daughter at your neighbor's will help. Sounds like it is already creating a better enviornment for you, your husband, and youngest daughter. I've always heard "people treat the ones they love the worst sometimes". You and Tom will always be their family so they take that for granted. Their friends, teachers, and even the neighbor can cut them out of their life. Family is stable and they know that they will never loose you or Tom's love. I'm worried about your daughter's anger because as I posted earlier when I was a teen, I was an angry teen to my parents BUT horribly depressed on the inside. Anger and depression are very similar. She maybe dealing with alot of emotions that come out to you only in anger. In counseling has the counselor ever discussed with you what is going on with your daughter?

 
Old 11-01-2004, 06:03 AM   #10
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Quote:
Originally Posted by goody2shuz

Eightball....this has been going on for years....since she was 12. We went to therapy and we were told to select our battles carefully and we have found that to be helpful. My daughter is very angry and I fell as if the amount of hours she is working is mostly the cause of it. I want her to come to that realization herself....she sees me as taking away something if I were to demand her to cut her hours. If she were to decide to do this on her own it would be not only the mature thing to do but also teach her to compromise. Her working so many hours is cutting into her social life, family life and tiring her to the point that whenever anything goes wrong and friends aren't availabel she projects the blame on me or Tom rather than realize that she would be more available for htese things if she would just work less hours.

When my sister hit 13/14 she was an animal. I know every family and every teen is different but many act the same in some ways. My dad has always said when she grows up then all of that would be forgotton and she would more act like a best friend rather than someone that knows it all and try to be independant. You know he was right....She is now 24 and she will be builing a house right next store to my family and she talks to then for endless hours a day. I can't remember the last time they fought. ..lol They did lay down the law to her but gave some independence still durning that rough time.

I feel what you have mapped out is great. Eventually she willl come around and mature some and realize the respect that you guys had for her while trying to keep her in line. Cutting her hours at work is not a bad thing but try it out and see what happens. If you notice no change then maybe allow her to work it out and let her find a way to become comfortable and manage her own time.

You and Tom seem to be very great parents and I am not here to tell you how to parent since I am not one myself. My only asset out of this is I just got out of the teen years a few years ago. I have mature some and now close with my parents.

 
Old 11-01-2004, 06:10 AM   #11
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Quote:
Originally Posted by elatedgiraffe
Goody- I'm worried about your daughter's anger because as I posted earlier when I was a teen, I was an angry teen to my parents BUT horribly depressed on the inside. Anger and depression are very similar. She maybe dealing with alot of emotions that come out to you only in anger. In counseling has the counselor ever discussed with you what is going on with your daughter?
I am worried as well, EG, about my daughter's anger. We are no longer in counseling but feel it may be necessary to go again if her being out of the household doesn't help. I have told her many times that she seems to be quite unhappy and she claims it is only when she is at home (which by the way is very hurtful for a parent to hear) I know now that most of the things she says are things that my friends say are similar to what they are hearing in their homes. So...it could be normal but I just hate to our family subjected to it on a daily basis.

My neighbor is making some headway in having her consider counseling. Before she moved over there and I suggested it she stated, "I am not going to talk about any of my problems with a stranger...you can waste your money but I am not going to say a thing if I go." When my neighbor suggested she see someone she asked, "Who's side do you think the counselor will take?" This shows me that she thinks it's a win or lose situation when actally it should be a win/win situation between us. To some degree she wants to here from somebody else that she is entitled to say & do the things she has been doing at home with a counselors seal of approval

Anyway...I am concerned about how quickly professionals hand out the antidepressants and don't want to put my daughter in that sort of situation. Not that it would have me avoid counseling but I really need to find a good one that I can completely trust. And that is hard to find. When I suggested to my daughter that she may need an antidepressant she told me to get it for her but she would not go to a doctor to get it. I told her there was no way she could get a perscription without being evaluated first. So her telling my neighbor that her friend suggested family counseling and asking her what she thought about it is certainly some progress on her part.

My neighbor just called and decided together it may be in our daughter's best interest to make a counseling appointment for around the time she is due home or perhaps even before hand. That way we will have some professional support to assist us in the transition of getting her home. I am a little disappointed that my daughter has not at this point expressed an interest in coming home before the time frame that has been alotted. Tom & I just don't want her to think that every time she has issues that she can leave the home to stay with a friend....we've made it quite clear that this is a one time deal....but I do fear that she is seeing it differently. Well that seems to be where it's at....wish I could say we have our daughter back....that would be the best news to report.....Goody

 
Old 11-01-2004, 01:35 PM   #12
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Cool Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Goody,

A few things come to mind.

First you need to determine if your daughter is dealing with something physically, emotionally or both that is causing her mood swings.

Physically:
Has your daughter been seen recently for a physical examination?
  • She should be checked to make sure that her thyroid is functioning properly (blood test).
  • She may be experiencing symptoms akin to pre (or peri) menopause/hormonal imbalance, since she presumably has started menstruating(another blood test).
  • If she’s sexually active and on the wrong birth control pill, that can cause extreme mood swings. FYI that at age sixteen, she should already have her own OBGYN – in addition to her primary doctor. She may feel more comfortable speaking with a female primary or OBGYN about any medical concerns, questions, or symptoms.
  • Sleep deprivation can cause mood swings.
  • Depression can cause mood swings, and extreme anger.
    Everyone has a difference stance on pharmacological intervention. True anti-depressants will ONLY work if a person is truly depressed. "True" depression can be treated with anti-depressants because most people who are experiencing a "true" depression are not getting enough of the certain chemicals the body produces. These chemicals reside in the brain. Anti-depressants work by slowly introducing the missing chemical into the brain - they need to build up, which is why this type of medication takes weeks or months to fully take effect. If a person who is not truly depressed takes an anti-depressant, they will see no effect on their mood because they have enough of the chemical in their brain already. Sometimes it takes a trial of a few medications to find the one that works the best.

    I am a firm believer in trying other methods for treating depression first, and then trying medication. Medication is an excellent tool and has a great place in society, but I believe that sometimes (sometimes) it is relied upon as the easier way around something.

Emotionally:
In addition, from an emotional standpoint, you need to find a way to open the door a little wider so that she feels she can talk to you. It doesn't matter whether or not you ARE there for here, the point is, she probably feels that you aren't.

Just going by your posts, I do not think you would be able to approach your daughter in a family setting or go into her room to hold a conversation without it getting overly emotional. There has been a lot of familial conflict, so it would probably be beneficial to talk with your daughter in a neutral place, with an airy approach.

My suggestion would be to inform your daughter that you are picking her up for a lunch date. Just you and her. Mom and Daughter. If this means her playing hooky from an afternoon at work/school, so be it. Tell her that you won a Gift Certificate and you thought it'd be great for her and you to use it up - yes, go out and buy one. Your offer to use the Gift Certifcate with HER says you value her.

It should be a nice place, something where just the two of you can go and lounge over a classy lunch. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be something other than diner/fast food.

Tell her that you are craving a "Girls Afternoon Out with your daughter", and thought lunch would be just the thing (you pay). Telling her that you wants Girls Afternoon Out with HER means that you see her as an equal. Yes, even though she's sixteen.

You pick the place. You are not tell her what to wear. Give her two days of the week to pick from, and let her select the day.

This lunch will have a purpose, but you don't need to let her know that. All she needs to know is that you just want to have lunch with her.

During lunch, treat her more as your friend than as your 16-year old daughter. Be friendly, outgoing, sparkly, but don't be "Mom". The goal here is an adult, calm conversation with a girl who is feeling anything but adult, but is trying to be one.

Order an appetizer and share it (subliminal bonding).

Your body language should be relaxed. Lean into the conversation but don't overtake the table. Keep your arms uncrossed. Maybe sit back with one hand on your glass. Be attentive but not concerned. Talk casually, slowly - fast talking usually suggests emotional involvement (people talk fast when they are upset).

When the appetizer comes, dig in. With your mouth a little full (you want to be relate-able and easy to talk to, so let your Mom guard down a little), tell her (EXAMPLE) a 'horror' story of your own when you were sixteen. Let her know about the time you (swore up a storm/got into it with your mother or father/had your mouth washed/ etc.). You need to let her know that it's okay to be testing the waters and that you and Dad still love her. The purpose here is to let her know it's okay to talk about the family and outside things that may be upsetting her so much. You may want to bring up trying or challenging personal time that you experienced at her age (sex, boys, money, family). A little sharing on your part may go a long way - your sharing/confiding to her says your TRUST her. Use discretion in your experiences.

Keep it light - sometimes you can get a point across better with humor and love, than with lecture and concern.

Your goal of this conversation is to let her know that you are still her Mom, but that you understand how dang hard it is to be sixteen. Remember, her issues are that of a sixteen year old. Let her talk and DON'T react if she tells you something that makes you upset. She needs to be able to know that she CAN trust and confide in you.

She may or may not want to talk about things as it pertains to her mood. It's okay if she doesn't. You can tell her that it's okay if she has something bothering her that she doesn't want to talk about - but that you would just like to know if there is something on her mind that causing her some worry.

Would the lunch be something that you would consider?

Some might say that your daughter just needs a smack or two. Or that she needs to be the child and you the parent, or that she's just spoiled, or, or, or.

However, just by your posts, it's apparent that there has already been "physical reasoning" on some level, and it went very badly. Going by your posts, your daughter's anger seems to go more deeply than early stage rebellion. I think it's important to be kinder. Some people would look at this suggestion as "bending over backwards", but it's clear your daughter is very unhappy and as the parent, you know that sometimes a different approach is sometimes beneficial when you've tried the "usual" ways to resolve conflict.

I think you will be able to open more doors with love-love-love than with forceful parenting. Parents are SPECIAL people - it takes a special patience to deal with a child who is very passionate/emotionally reactive.

I think counseling would be a good option - even if your daughter chooses not to go, you and your spouse should. Don't bring that up during lunch however. More on that later.

See how lunch goes. Please post back.

 
Old 11-01-2004, 02:07 PM   #13
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Wowwwweeee.....You are truly gifted, I really mean that I have been watching your posts and see tht you definitely have great insight and a layperson yet almost professional approach to issues on this board. What you have to say makes an awful lot of sense...however I need to get back to you when I'm not pressed for time. I have my youth group meeting any time now...so I will post further later but meanwhile thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I knew I could count on you to hold my hand through this....Goody

 
Old 11-01-2004, 08:07 PM   #14
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Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wowwwweeee
Would the lunch be something that you would consider?
I think counseling would be a good option - even if your daughter chooses not to go, you and your spouse should. Don't bring that up during lunch however. More on that later.

See how lunch goes. Please post back.
Wowwwweee....I absolutely LOVE the lunch idea

My only concern is that Tom & I feel that we need a baby step of some sort from our daughter in terms of some sort of intiative on her part that she is aware that her behavior lately has been hurtful to our family. You have to remember from my initial post that she said some very hurtful things to me as well as Tom. The words she used and behavior displayed were so full of anger and hate towards us....I don't expect her to take them back but at least offer some type of remorse for having said such terrible things. This wasn't a one time thing....this has been going on for some time now and in the past it's been me that's apporached her in order to work things out. I feel it's time for her to own up to it and at least take some type of baby step towards reconciliation with us. She has been saying to my neighbor things like, "My mom always asks me to apologize for cursing and saying the mean things I say to her" and my neighbor says, "Why do you even wait for your mom to ask for an apology when it is only right that you do so without being asked to. If you hurt someone...you should apologize!!" I spoke with my mom and as much as I want to call my daughter home she has advised me to let her take the first step for once and not deny her the privelege of doing so this time. It's a week tomorrow and I have not spoken to her....waiting for that first step is pure agony but I have to agree that she does need to take it....just a little action or word that shows me that she has given some thought about why she is not where she belongs right now. I need it but I feel she needs it even more. And I do feel that she needs to talk things out with a counselor to assist her in finding some coping mechanisms to utilize when back with her family. I have a few calls in to a few social workers and my neighbor & I agree that since she has verbalized an interest in talking to someone that we'd line up something in the next few days that may even assist her in doing what she needs to do to get herself back here with us. We let her know that we want her back whenever she feels ready even if it is before the two week time frame. And the counseling may help guide her through that process. Neutral ground right now seems to be at my neighbor's house. I feel starting counseling from that end won't pose as much a threat and that Tom & I will join her when SHE feels ready for us to.

As for the lunch....it's something I can't wait to do. But I think the baby steps need to be taken before we can get there. It's like the prodigal son....as the father I am ready to celebrate her return....she just has to find her way back home to me and I am waiting with a heavy heart until her return....Goody

PS....I really can't thank you enough for the time you spent in your post to me. Your advice is sooooo wonderful and I intend to have that lunch real soon and can't wait to keep you posted with all the details. Your support and insight are a gift to me....thanks again

Last edited by goody2shuz; 11-01-2004 at 08:11 PM.

 
Old 11-02-2004, 06:39 AM   #15
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Cool Re: Meanagers....Will We Survive????

Hi Goody,

I agree that at age sixteen, a child understands right from wrong, and knows when s/he is stretching the appropriate boundaries within the context of the family. I will point out a few things that I picked up, only going by your posts.

You state that you want to see some sort of initiative that your daughter is remorseful for her behaviors/words. In an earlier post, you stated that on one occasion, she washed her own mouth out, AND she has spoken to your neighbor about the fact that an apology is expected. These two observations suggest that she is remorseful, even if she has not expressed a verbal apology or acknowledgement to you and Dad. Of course she knows her behavior is unacceptable – however, right now Goody, she may be too angry (inside) to cope with her angry feelings, the guilt she feels from her behavior AND guilt she might be feeling from the temporary relief she feels when she screams it all out – and the stress of having to “make it right” after she was verbally hurtful (she knows). It’s not unrealistic to expect an apology, but at this point, you may have to just be “gracious Mom and Dad” and hug her hard and let her know that you know she loves you very much, that you forgive her TOTALLY, and “we’re going to figure out a plan together to alleviate some of the feelings in the house that are making things so difficult for us to work together better as a family”. You and Dad may want to apologize to her separately for adding to the family stress in any way. Again, it’s not about bowing down or giving in, this is not a power-struggle (YOU are her parents), but as parents, you need to make it better as best as you can. I’m sure Dad is as appalled by the chain of events (especially getting into a physical scuffle with her – unacceptable behavior for a Dad).

Again, there is no “excuse” to act out in such a manner, but the majority of teens will have a difficult time containing themselves when under pressure (real or imagined) at some period in their teen-to-adult years. This can be doubly hard for teenagers on so many levels – they want their independence, but they are bound by “house rules” and a conscious awareness of their dependency on their parents. They want to be treated as adults, but don’t always follow-up on their responsibilities; they can’t stand to be reminded of what to do and how to do it, and they don’t react in an adult manner (especially to criticisms and when things don’t go their way), even though they might be telling you that they ARE adults and are already engaging in adult things. They love their parents, yet want to be free of the apron strings, and probably even wish at times that they didn’t have parents – and then feel guilty from that. Every kid wants to be a good kid at home, but sometimes that gets in the way, especially when dealing with things like peer pressure (for example). Add to that the outside influences, everything from sex, drugs, rebellious ideas, having to meet curfews, being or not being “popular” (well liked and accepted) – which is one VERY IMPORTANT area in itself for teenagers (fitting in is so important ). Your daughter is dealing with a lot. Again, no excuse for such poor behavior at home, but it sounds like she is a simmering emotional pot, and it doesn’t take much for her top to blow.

So, in terms of expecting something from your daughter right now, I wouldn’t. That’s not to say that you don’t deserve respect and an apology – you do (as does she). But I think focus right now should be more on how you and your spouse are going to choose to react to this situation and family conflict when it comes back up. That’s why I suggested counseling for you and your spouse, without your daughter. You both need to find a way to not be so reactionary to the bad mouthing and tempers that surround this escalated situation. It’s understandable that as parents you've reached your boiling point, and out of frustration and anger, raise your voice, punish, or accuse. And I’m sure that’s part of your daughter’s family issues. You’ve all got to figure out another way to relate that’s respectful and manageable for all members of the family. Unfortunately, as the parents, this responsibility will fall more right now on your shoulders than on your daughters.

I think it’s fair to make a pact on ALL sides that there is to be no yelling or physical influence (stop the mouth washing - she’s too old for that). Right now, her venting consists of verbally lashing out. Not the greatest, but better than drugging or hitting or stealing. If you want to give your daughter a time limit, let her go off at the mouth for 10 minutes. Let her get it out, vent, and rant (she probably will be vulgar and hurtful - THAT's her anger). Then at the end of 10 minutes, grab her, hug her, and tell her that you hear what she is saying. She may need some time to calm down, as will you and Dad. Then grab her and Dad and go for a brisk walk. It’s important that she understands that despite her internal pain, and the fact that she feels Mom and Dad are attributing to it, that the family is a united front. You don’t have to pretend that there isn’t conflict, but try to always end a conflict on a calmer note. Calming, not pacifying. No-one likes to be placated to, not even sixteen year olds.

It’s foolish to let silence go on between your family, meaning waiting for her to come to you. She’s being stubborn and childish. That’s why it’s important for you to remain the Mom and Dad during times of conflict (caring but firm). You should be seeing your daughter EVERY DAY.

I don’t agree with your daughter living with someone other than her family. It’s understandable that her outbursts and family conflict overall really make everyone feel that time away or apart is best, but “family is family”. You cannot work on family issues with a member of your family not living in your household. You are giving the impression that it’s okay to walk away in times of family crisis. As family, you all need to figure out a way to work together. As parents, you need to figure out a better way to relate to your daughter and emotionally cope with her outbursts – that’s where counseling comes in. Mom and Dad may need some private counseling too – stress affects parents, and how Mom and Dad do or don’t relate to each other is something children pick up on. A teenager need structure whether they like it or not – and a teenager needs her parents.

You and Dad need to find a way to talk to your daughter without all this tension. Some of this tension MAY come from the family unit and how it’s currently functioning, or stress between Mom and Dad, or sibling stress, and some of this tension may be just your daughter and her issues. But it needs to be dealt with within the family. My opinion only.

Reach out TODAY. Don’t let this go on any more. Grab your daughter for lunch. Let her know that you and Dad love her. Let her know that part of loving someone is understanding them and working out the bumps. Make that counseling appointment for you and Dad, and for your daughter. Get your daughter that physical examination.

Also, an observation: you spent a lot of time of these Boards giving advice to other people. You should be focusing on fixing your own familial personal struggle – this is where your energy should be invested right now! No offense meant here Goody; but I think you know that.

Remember, YOU and DAD are only human too. So you are going to feel and react to tension, just like your daughter, but in a different way. Go easy on yourself (and your daughter) when you feel like your methods are failing, but ALWAYS keep trying. Never give up on family.

Wishing you a good day. xo

Last edited by Wowwwweeee; 11-02-2004 at 08:37 AM.

 
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