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Dealing with a 14 Year Old Daughter Who Is a Good Kid but Always Challenging My

My daughter can be very disobedient to me--constantly challenges my authority, seems very negative about school and other things. we do go to counselling, but the progress seems slow. Anyone out there to comiserate?

What can I do next?

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Continue to go to counselling, My oldest daughter is 21, there were times when I truely thought we would not make it to this age. She is trying to establish her idenity that is not linked to you, my daughter was a good kid, though hated high school. Please keep involved with her activities even when she is at her worst, this age is just very hard for both you and her she wants to be an adult but is far from it and yet still wants to be a kid. Feel free to email me, I know how difficult this time is for you.


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This is a very challenging time for her too. Teens struggle with so many things during this time. On your part, you will need plenty of patience, show love, be firm, she may need to be grounded from certain priviledges for you to make your point and discipline her. Even though she won't like it, kids need structure and they need to know there are boundaries and acting out does have its consequences.

Even my daughter that is 19 that I am very proud of now, went through a stage at that age that wasn't something I was happy about, but she managed to mostly stay out of trouble.

Most recently my stepdaughter who is 15 has gone through some trying times as she is maturing. We did our best to provide a home with rules, chores, rewards & discipline, however the downside is that she took the option to go live with her mother, so now all the rules have been thrown out the door because her mother doesn't share our values and morals. We already saw how living with her has negatively impacted her older siblings.

You on the other hand have a big advantage in that you and your husband are still together and can provide her a home with both parents who love her very much, just the fact that you are looking for advice and help through this trying time, shows how much you care about her.

Be very watchful of who she hangs out with as peer influences are VERY strong during this time in her life. Don't forget to praise her when she does things that are good and please you as she needs to know love and acceptance in addition to discipline. Children who don't get approval from their parents will seek it from other places such as friends and boyfriends and that is not always a good thing depending on who they hang out with.

I do hope in the end that you and she will have a strong mother daughter bond and that you will make it through this challenge with the best results.

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Keep believing in your daughter and have confidence in you and your husband's way of rearing her. She is developing her own style and will go through these changes. Remember all your feelings and beliefs when you were her age.

Keep the faith.

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I taught middle school before I had my twins, two years ago. Your daughter is such a prime example of adolescent angst. And I also remember being in her shoes. She is a mess. I hope you acknowledge that without making her feel stupid. I think the pair of you need to go out together, maybe hike Stone Mt. or ride the Silver comet trail or paint pottery. . . she needs you more than she is letting on. She is still such a child but in an almost-adult body. Show her you can still have fun with her and be there for her. Get out of the home enviornment, where most of the conflict occurs; neutral ground. I think it will do both of you good. It's not gonna solve the problem, but I think it will help to reconnect a bit.

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Continue to go to counselling, My oldest daughter is 21, there were times when I truely thought we would not make it to this age. She is trying to establish her idenity that is not linked to you, my daughter was a good kid, though hated high school. Please keep involved with her activities even when she is at her worst, this age is just very hard for both you and her she wants to be an adult but is far from it and yet still wants to be a kid. Feel free to email me, I know how difficult this time is for you.


1 mom found this helpful

I have a 13 yr old son and he is the exact same way. For some reason, once he turned 13 his entire personality changed. We have tried counselors and recently I made his father step in and he went to live with him. This was not easy!! I just don't know why he is so angry. I have spent so much time exhuasting everything to try to make him happpy that I feel that I have neglected everything else around me. I guess my response is you aren't the only one in this boat and adolescence is not easy for any of us. I just am trying to remember how I was at his or her age and I don't remember ever being that angry and defiant.

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I am a new mom, my oldest is almost 4, so my advice comes in the form of memories of how my parents dealt with me. We were overall pretty good kids who weren't involved with "bad kids." Our main misdemeaners were insubordination and fighting amoungst ourselves. My parents did not believe in grounding us from our friends or activities (my mom thought that having friends and dance class, sports, etc made us well rounded). if were were drinking and partying, their punishment would probably have been different, but if we misbehaved, we got work detail. Not regular chores, mind you. It was work. We had a 700 foot long driveway and my mom wanted mulch on one side of it and gravel on the other. She had a dumptruck of each delivered to the house and if we misbehaved, we had to do a stretch of driveway. This entailed shoveling wheelbarrows full of mulch, pushing it up the hill and spreading it out, after weeding and laying that fabric to prevent weeds. The length of mulching depended on the severity of our action. I can assure you, it sucked to do this kind of work. I know I will use this form of punishment on my kids when they get a little older.

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These are tough years.
I remember.
My kids are now 30, 28, and 24.
I have great relationships with each of them....we're truly friends as adults.

I remember the teen years, though.....and what works with one, may not be the best approach with another.

The one thing that I can say, that is ALWAYS good advice, is keep the communication lines open and make sure your daughter knows you love her no matter what. I remember one really tough time with my youngest......there was a wall growing between us, and I was feeling really desperate to break through.....and I remember telling her (and meaning it) that I loved her more than she could know, and she was a "part of my soul." It sounded a little unusual...and caught her by surprize, I think...but she (finally) heard me.

She needs to understand that you're a person with feelings and fears, yourself.....and you love her and will stick by her for all her life, no matter what. She needs to know that you're willing to do whatever it takes to be a true friend to her....that includes doing your best to keep her on the right track. Deep down inside, she probably knows that she can't say that about most of her peers, at this point in her life....although they are loyal enough right now. On the other hand, she's got to learn to be her own person and take responsibility for her own actions and decisions....apart from you. That's the tough part. Knowing how and when and how much to let go.....

Counseling is good. Also, it's good to know who her friends are.....although you can't control who she picks as friends, you can be familar with who they are, and not be a stranger. If you can welcome her friends into your home, and provide a fun/safe place for them to hang out....it's usually a good thing....

Hang in there. She won't be a teenager forever. Just hang on to the relationship during this trying time....

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I remember being 14. It was aweful! It's a very awkward age. It's an inbetween age. You still want to do kid like things, but you feel that you're too "old" and yet you're not quite an adult. I remember the pressure I felt to figure out who I was. Trying to figure out where I fit in. The boys were constantly making sexual comments and asking for "favors". It was overwhelming. I was a good kid, an innocent kid and I was shocked. I wasn't ready to do those things, yet a number of kids my age were, including friends. The daily harrassment wore me down. I wasn't about to give in, but hearing that mess day in and day out from male peers was draining. Also I had some lousy teachers. Especially my advisor who told me I had to accept that I had no Math apptitude. I had been a straight "A" student until her. The school councelors were a joke. No one turned to them for help. I know that things aren't any better for kids today. I didn't talk to my mother because I didn't want to worry her and I thought that I could handle things myself. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to feel grown up and deal with it all by myself. Which wasn't a good thing. I isolated myself and felt alone. I'm just wondering if this could be the case with your daughter.
She may just have a lot to deal with right now and not know how to handle it. She's trying to separate herself from you and gain some freedom, but it's hard. That could be shown through the disobedience. The councelors approach is to help the client discover their own issues and work through them at their own pace. There is a councelor for everyone out there. You might want to try someone else. A different therapist might have an approach that is better for you both. Good luck to you.


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I am a school counselor. Are you doing what the counselor suggests? Counseling will not help if there is no follow through at home. Sometimes parents think just going to the counselor will solve it. Your daughter will need some guidelines with consequences at home.

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Hang tight.. I have a 16 year old who takes the cake. My mother worked for years in a shelter for teens in Dallas. She said the majority of kids seen were ages 13-15. This is when they start to challenge, learn independence, etc.. Reign her in, keep your foot down. It is like going through the toddler years again. But the alien who abducted her will learn you are still in control until she is 18. She once cried out I just would not let her be happy. She went to live with her father for the summer!!! Was the hardest decison I ever had to make. Also, watch her friends, be sure they do not change, and do not let her spend every waking moment with them. That is when my daughter seems to get worse also. My daughter now talks to me, and even calls me just to tell me the news of all the friends!! A good friend of mine once told me to always remember - this to shall pass!!! And girls have all the hormonal stuff to deal with as well as middle school and all of its pressures. She needs you to be firm,the good part is she will be a very independent person!:)

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I have a 15 yr stepson whom I am positive is an alien. I also remember my teenage years and am convinced I was abducted and returned at 20. (My poor mother) Now I am the best of friends with my mother and can not imagine life without her. This is the worst time for her and for you. Your princess of 13 years has turned into the wicked step sister.
Your role is to nurture, guide with love and respect, and be patient. At this age girls really need structure and boundaries. She will hate you for it and remind you everyday how much you are ruining her life, but in the end she will come out with a strong head on her shoulders. (I know I did!!)She will make mistakes, but nothing can replace having loving parents whom she can depend on for support. Never stop telling her how much you love her. Girls also need their Dad's at this age. Dad's involvement will play a major role in her self image.
Also, try not to overeact. Allow her to voice her opinion IN A RESPECTFUL MANNER. If she doesn't like how somehting is done, allow her to come up with a compromise that will be taken under consideration with the understanding that you have the final say. Do not allow her to pit one parent against the other. You and your husband must be a united front.

"Train a child in the way (s)he should go and when (s)he is old (s)he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Hello M., my name is A. and I am a single mother of two girls. I do feel you pain with your daughter. My daughter often does the same thing and we have gone to counseling when her father left. I think you should try and talk to your daughter and try and find out why she does not like school and what is on her mind. Often, kids at school pick at each other for the strangest things and it hurts very deeply. My dauther was getting picked on because we have different last names...took her a while to tell me that. Try and go somewhere with your daughter where you can talk...try you best to stay calm and really listen with judgement. I tell my daughter that she may not always make the right decisions and she will sometimes do things I may not like but never forget I will always be in your corner to support you and whatever it is that is bothering you, we can get through it together...I love you....I do not know what your counseling was for so kind of hard to speak on it. None the less, the most important thing for your daughter to know is that you truly love and will always be there for her.

Good Luck,


I have a challenging stepdaughter (now 16), so maybe I can help.

At this age, they want to assert their independence, yet still need firm boundaries to feel safe. Quite confusing, isn't it! It's a good idea to offer her choices wherever you can - clothing, music, etc. while still setting boundaries for things that you absolutely will not budge on (i.e. don't criticize her music selections, but do insist that she not listen to explicit lyrics). That way she feels like she can be herself and knows you are boss at the same time.

Another thing is to have zero-tolerance for disrespectful behavior - for both of you. If you disrespect her (i.e. 'Why are you wearing THAT to school?), then you can't expect her to show you any. But if you mind your manners and she doesn't, you have to correct her behavior right away and make sure she feels it. I've often sent my stepdaughter to her room and told her she was welcome to come out when her attitude improved. It's not a punishment per se, it's just a real-world lesson: people don't want to be in your presence when you behave poorly and you decide how you want to behave. So when you have made the decision to behave better, I would love to be around you.

As far as disobedience is concerned, I guess you have to expect that and take each instance as it comes. Try to use punishments that 'make sense' as often as possible. For example, if she hides dirty clothes under her bed on wash day, she has to wash and fold her own clothes that week. Missed dinner? Make your own and clean up the kitchen when you are done.

Does that help at all?

You're lucky, you got to enjoy her until she was 14. My daughter started at 12 with the rapid and wild changes in her behavior. We have sought treatment through counseling also and I feel the progress is slow, but at least there is some progress. The best advice our counselor gave me was to just stop arguing with her and take back my authority as the parent. Hope that helps, but I am here if you need to ask any other questions or just want to talk to someone who knows where you are right now. The only other bit of advice I can give is, never count anything out just because you can't believe that your child would be involved in it. Keep your eyes open and your mind open to any possibilities. Not that I think it is more than just an oppositional teenager, but better a little suspicious and aware than blindsided in a big way.

I have a boy and they sometimes seem to be a lot more stubborn. I know it sounds mean, but we put him in time out when he gets meam to us works pretty well. He is our only child, but we put him in a room and he screams and it is very hard, but he comes out and he is another person. If he does it again, back in time out he goes. It is just like potty traing. He has gotten better and he knows there will be punishment if he treats us like that.

you know I was having problems with both of my girls. And NOTHING i done helped. I almost drove myself Crazy trying to figure this out. One night one of my girls was really acting out. I decided before i done something out of my element I will sit here ignore her and not respond to her. At all. this went on for two days. Everytime she asked for something that was not a necessity i pretended not to even acknowledge her presence. I finally found something that worked. When she realized i was hurt by her disrespect she started changing her nasty ways towards me. I also started treating her the way she was treating me. And now we have come to respect each other more. And have an unspoken understanding

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