May 30, 2012,
D.B. asks from Eastlake, CO on May 29, 2012
13 Year Old. Ugh.
13 year old daughter. Need I say more? It's as if an alarm went off in her head the day she turned 13 telling her to start acting like a ^#&$^@#$!*. Though she doesn't have issues with school or boyfriends, the "I don't give a darn" attitude and the "Whatever" nasty attitude with all her family members is about to put me over the edge. No amount of lecturing makes a difference. She just comes back even nastier. We've taken away the phone (which she barely uses anyway), computer, her e-reader, to no effect other that making her even meaner while the stuff is gone. Then she forgets about the stuff, never asks for it back (she'll just grab a real book instead) and continues where we left off. Quality time we spend as a family is met with continued eye rolling, and any discussions we try to have are met with the same. I am so. fed. up. by this. Any advice as to how I can make it through 5 more years of this? Anyone know of any good boarding schools?
C.M. answers from Lincoln on May 30, 2012
I have a 13 yr old son, and whoever said boys don't have mood swings is wrong! Haha! He has had this same problem, and the last time it got to that point, I took boxes, clean everything, and I mean everything, other than clothes and his bed, out of his room. I gave him chores to do, and he would come home from school and do homework, have a specified amount of relaxation time and do chores, supper, bath, bed. Weekends were the same. Any attitude issues got met with a reminder that he was working to earn his stuff back and that the attitude would make this go on longer. It has worked :) Now when he starts getting an attitude, I remind him that he can go back to having nothing if he would like to continue and that puts an end to it. I got this idea from a friend who had a daughter with the same problem you are describing. Hope you get some good ideas to help you!
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J.K. answers from Phoenix on May 29, 2012
Yep...LOL Just know that this too shall pass...LOL Keep taking away stuff and you might want to put her in the corner. Sounds silly but when my son was 14, i was desperate! He back talked like crazy and was driving me crazy. I would ground him and take things away but he didn't seem to care. So I made him stand in the corner for 14 minutes and even set the timer. That really made a difference!! His younger siblings were all amazed which made it worse. LOL He's now 18 and he's the best!! My 17 year old daughter also outgrew that stage. Hang in there!!
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S.T. answers from New York on May 29, 2012
My DD is almost 16, my son almost 13. We've been there - and on some days we still are. There will be days when nothing will work other than to tell youchild she needs to spend time alone and out of your face. But she's doing what she's supposed to do - trying to push back on the boundaires to test and see if you're still going to keep the boundaries in place. She's going to try to separate herself from you to become her own person. She will seem to reject everything about you and that does not feel good. Don't take it personally - she's trying to figure out what to believe and who to be like. Believe it or not , she will come around if you don't freak out.
Teens like to think, and like to make you think that they don't want to have anything to do with you. They don't want to go on family vacations, they don't want to sit at the dinner table, or go to movies as a family, etc. But they do. They also want you to say no. When my daughter was 14 she asked to go to a party. I didn't know the people whose house it was at. I didn't know many of the kids (our high schoold kids come from 2 different middle schools so there were 1200 kids from another school we didn't know at the time). I told her she couldn't go unless I got the mom's phone number so I could call and make sure there would be parental supervision, etc. At the end of the day when we learned she didn't even know the kid holding the party and she was not allowed to go - I asked her if, deep down, wasn't she kind of relieved that we wouldn't allow her to go? Her answer: "well, deep, deep, way deep down I am kinda happy you won't let me go".
At age 14 we went on a family vacation at a lake where there was no cell-phone reception (we didn't plan that but - YAY!) she and her 11 yr old brother complained most of the first day about not being able to text friends, etc. At the end of the vacation, as we drove away, they both said it was the best vacation they were ever on and it was kind of nice to not have cell phone contact.
Teens don't want you around when you want to be around - they will complain. But like a baby crying, you get used to it and can ignore it eventually and when you're in the kitchen doing something, or on the couch watching TV don't be surprised if she shows up and begins asking questions, or telling you about something that happened during the day. Encourage them to talk through their issues, ask questions that make htem think and come to their own conclusions. You will be surprised when you hear your ideas & values coming out of their mouths. ;o)
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T.S. answers from San Francisco on May 29, 2012
My youngest just turned 13 today, yay!
(insert sarcasm here)
My other daughter is 16 so I know exactly what you're going through.
My best advice? Lower your expectations, and cut her some slack. I know that's easier said than done but unless you want to be locked in a daily power struggle for the next five years that's what you need to do.
Do you remember that age? It's such a frustrating time. You are no longer a little kid but you feel like all the adults treat you like one. You DON'T want to spend time with your parents but they make you do it anyway. And to top it off you are often insecure and scared about growing up, bodily changes, friendships, school and all of that stuff.
So give her some space. I don't mean for you to let her walk all over you, just pick your battles and do your best to ignore some of the smaller infractions, like the eye rolling. And try to spend some one on one time with her. I have found my daughters to be much more pleasant and even talkative and open with me when it's just the two of us.
Fasten your seat belt mama, it's a long and bumpy ride :(
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D.P. answers from Detroit on May 29, 2012
I remember those years. I was always angry. I asked my mom how she dealt with it. She said "I prayed that you make it to your 20s in 1 piece". We all know it will eventually get easier, in the meantime, all I can give you is cyber ((((HUGS)))) and a "hang in there" mama.
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N.G. answers from Dallas on May 29, 2012
I remember being 13-14, mostly because I was what I would consider to be above-average on the 'moody spectrum'. As an adult, I can remember getting a lot of judgment from my parents for my moods, and not a whole lot of (like, zero) questions asking me what might be going on with me. Instead, the constant judgments had me feeling like a completely crappy person, which spiraled me into a depression that lasted for years to come, and depleted any relationship that I would have with my parents for my remaining years at home with them.
My advice, because I remember this age particularly well as being a defining time in my life, is to talk to her like a person, and not to treat her as some toxic teenager that has taken over your sweet girl's body. She is who she is, and she needs to know that you will love her for that reason and that reason only, nothing else required.
I have always had problems with hormones. I know now, as an adult, that probably what was causing my moods was my hormones. My periods were always irregular, I had horrible acne, and as an adult, I cannot tolerate ovulation at all. It makes me completely unable to function. I also have bipolar II which remained undiagnosed until age 28 (I don't think that was a factor at age 13 though, but look into the hormones).
Any number of things could be going on with her, or nothing at all, it could be a completely normal change she's going through. But whatever it is, let her know that your unending love is absolutely unconditional. Be willing to ask her questions. See past the "new" attitude and see that she's dealing with SO much.
Take a breath, hug your daughter. This WILL pass. Make sure she doesn't resent you when it does.
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B.C. answers from Norfolk on May 29, 2012
I'm so sorry.
Some teens are tougher than others.
I've been very fortunate in that our son is 13 and so far he has been easy.
I pray the trend continues but you just never know what will happen.
My Mom dealt with my sister and me with hard physical labor.
Unfortunately nothing worked well on my sister (she's a brat to this day and puberty was over 35 years ago).
I mowed the lawn (no riding mower, it was a push gas powered mower), and totally dug out garden beds (complete with pick axe, shovel and wheel barrel).
I got the blisters and achy muscles but I also grew some beautiful roses and I actually fell in love with gardening and it's a hobby that stuck with me.
If your girl doesn't 'need' her electronics, then don't worry about giving them back.
They are not her currency.
Reading (a real book) is great - keep an eye on what she's reading.
Make her laundry her problem - start doing less for her since she doesn't seem to appreciate it.
Tell her she has to be at least as civil to family members as she would to strangers and if she REALLY can't stand living at home with the family, then it's not too soon for her to begin planning her exit for when she turns 18.
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S.R. answers from Milwaukee on May 29, 2012
Been there done that. Taking away electronics did work with one child but not the other. Some days I want to rip my hair out. The things you are taking away aren't making a difference so you should try another approach. I think at this age they just want to be left alone and are annoyed by the rest of the family. When she acts like that tell her she has dishes that night every time until it stops. If you send her to her room she'll be more than willing. This way she is still out by the family and hopefully will want to stop doing dishes. She has to learn that it is unacceptable behavior around your family and that it won't be tolerated. Good luck and hang in there mama!
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D.F. answers from Boston on May 29, 2012
Nothing like a little yard work or volunteering at the food pantry all day. Works wonders on kids.
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L.A. answers from Lincoln on May 30, 2012
It sounds like you are describing what we have been going through with my 14 year old daughter over the last year, and my 11 year old daughter is developing it too! I can't say that I know it all yet, I am still learning, but I have definitely learned some key points. First, I have figured out that while they act and feel unloveable, what they really need most is LOVE! Take all the opportunities you can to give her a hug or a kiss. Continue to tuck her in at night even though she doesn't act like she needs it anymore because she does need it! When they hole up in their room, keep inviting them to watch the family movie or whatever together, but if they choose to not to, let it go. Spend one on one time when they are ready to talk and listen, empathize, don't judge! But you can take advantage of some teachable moments by relating what she shares to someone you knew and how they handled it. AVOID the word "you" when you do this, or it comes out like a lecture and that you don't trust her! For instance, "That happened to a girl named Jane I went to school with and this is what she did" or "Some people would handle it like this..." Secondly, give some leash of trust where you can. Pick your battles, let the little disrespectful things go unnoticed and just stick to the hard and fast rules. If rules are broken, let them suffer the consequences from outside sources like school when possible and avoid saying "I told you so". If consequences must come from home, know her currency. My oldest daughter's currency also is not her stuff or allowance, but it is her social life! Therefore, a consequence might be you can't go to the teen center this Friday. Be specific, don't use the word grounded, and be careful to not be unreasonable. Obviously, you don't want to keep them from some milestone event that they will forever hate you for! It is far from over for us, but I do see a more responsible charming young woman emerging! Remember the most important thing is to show your love! Hang in there!
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