9 answers

Seeking Advice - Minneapolis,MN

I am looking for advice on managing the behavior of my daughter's friends. How does one handle dismissive behavior? They are 12-13 years old. There are several girls who ignore me when I address them and a couple who text constantly during visits and activities. Help! I can hardly stand to be around them.

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Wow, what an eye-opener. My kids are small (2&3) so I appreciate the post to understand what's ahead. Thanks!

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Sounds like maybe they don't really want to be there...how are the visits arranged? Did your daughter invite them over or did their parents call you and arrange a "playdate"? How is your relationship with your daughter? If it is rocky, maybe she is telling them about arguments with you, or other faults and they don't respect you because of what she has shared. Maybe they don't respect you simply because they are disrespectful teens in general. If any of the above are true, maybe it is better for them not to come over! Next time it happens, tell them while they are under your watch, they have to answer to you. You make the rules for your household. If they cannot be respectful of your household and follow your rules and expectations then they will not be allowed to come over in the future. I would say each time it happens, they should not be able to come over for a week. Or two, depending on how often they come over to begin with. And absolutely no cells phones should be allowed! I can't imagine how your daughter feels when she has her friends over and they are talking with other friends instead of her. I remember once when I was 8 or 9 and I was visiting a friend, she called another friend while I was sitting in the same room and made plans to go over to her house [without me] and basically made it clear that I would have to leave for this to be accomplished. I was crushed. If they are not really spending time with your daughter because they are caught up in their text conversations, what is the point of them being there?

1 mom found this helpful

Oh hun, I'm right there with you! My son is 17 and my daughter is 14 and I've gone through this with both of my kids, most recently my daughter, who thankfully, has disengaged herself from these particular friends.

First off, talk with your daughter about it. Let her know what you expect of her friends while there and tell her that if they can't abide by your rules, then they won't be welcome at your home anymore. Don't tell her she can't hang out with them, it is her decision (she goes to school with them after all) and by denying her it will only encourage her to stick with them. Also be sure you have a long talk about self respect! She is the one who allows them to act this way around her and sees no problem with it....it's how things are these days and she won't know any different unless you tell her....it's up to you to teach her how to comand respect from others, how to show that she respects herself as a means of comanding respect from others too. This is what I had to do with my daughter, more than once and about more than one subject. By doing this, even when she didn't really want to hear it, she learned how to be. I would casually point out things to her and where it would lead, but leave it to her to deal with it.

My daughter found out the truth of things the hard way and told me that she felt stupid for not listening to me, that she saw it coming on her own and still kept hoping it would be different....my reply to her was that it was hard for me to sit back and watch it happen, but that some things just have to be learned the hard way, it's the only way to learn it, that's why they call it the "School of Hard Knocks" and that sometimes, we hold on to the hope that we are wrong for far longer than we should. I then got her a 'memory jar' at her request, and let her burn everything that these girls gave to her and put the ashes in the jar, so that she would remember what they'd done, how poorly they had treated her, so that when she looked at it, she could remember how it was and not to allow it to happen again.

Talk (two way) to your daughter about your concerns and why, what you expect of her friends and let her pass it on to them. If it continues, be sure to talk to them in a respectful but firm manner on what you expect of them also. Let them know that you aren't trying to be a witch about it, but......and go from there. Talk to them as an adult to an adult, they will respond much better than if you talk down to them or treat them as a child....they are young and inexperienced and on the brink of adulthood and we were there once too.... Ask them to look at it from their own point of view, how would they feel if someone did this to them or their mother, etc. If they are rude or disrespectful in any way, make it clear to them that while you won't keep them from hanging out with your daughter, you will limit them from coming to your home and your daughter to theirs if it continues....she is still your daughter after all and you are looking out for her best interests as her mother. In all of this, show them the respect you expect to get in return, it does make all the difference! As an adult, it is up to us to set the example, not just stand and spout things at them. Believe it or not, they will learn from you on how to be too. And yes, I have banned some kids from my home and made it difficult for my daughter (and son) to hang out with them after school hours, but when I see them, I am always polite and respectful, keeping in mind my childrens feelings in the matter and holding my tongue....you are at a difficult stage with your daughter, but by being the way you want her to be, by showing her the example and by talking to her openly and honestly and not with anger or as a teacher, you will gain her respect and trust and keep the lines of communication open at all times during the most important years of her life...good luck to you hun!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, what an eye-opener. My kids are small (2&3) so I appreciate the post to understand what's ahead. Thanks!

I have the same problem with my daughter and her friends. It's like I am from another planet or something. I think it's just that they don't know how to talk to the parents at this age. I remember when I was that age and my Mom would want to be in our conversations. It was wierd. It's a stage they are going through and the texting is really annoying - I agree with you. If they are being disrespectful then I would have a talk with them and make sure they understand they are in your house and tell them they won't be allowed to come over if it continues. You mentioned dismissive behavior but not sure what that all entails. I try to come up with something I have in common or share stores when I was at their age to open up conversations. I am 20 years old than my daugther so we have a lot of the tastes (as much as I can with a teenager) so it makes me a little bit more comfortable talking to 12/13 year olds where I don't feel ancient but still the boundaries have to be set in your own house and your daughter and her friends must learn respect.

Easy! If they do not follow the rules that you apply to your own family when they are over then they should not be allowed in your home until they decide to do so. That should send a clear message that you are not going to be controlled by any child! Especially one that isn't yours. Good luck!

I feel for you, I have had sons,and I thank GOD every day for giving me boys, because I was once a teenage girl- and remember how hateful, spiteful and inconsiderate, emotional, we used to be- And now can see that in my 15 year old granddaughter. What I do with the boys- who can also be disrespectful if not taught otherwise- I demand from them the same respect I demand of my own- while they are in my home. You can't do much outside of your home- and if you try to break the girls apart- 9 times out of 10 it will backfire on you. Call them on their behavior while they are in your home- honestly with kids and parents these days, they may not realize this is something they are doing- or may do it at home and is acceptable. When I hear inappropriate language or conversation with the boys- I will tell them, we do not talk like that in our house, and if you continue you will have to leave. Thank you, and it usually clears it up

you need to set some serious boundaries-and tell them their behavior is unacceptable-and if it continues they wont be allowed to come over until they can show proper respect-tell your daughter-that her friends will no longer be allowed over until they can show proper respect-so she needs to have a chat with her friends or its gonna be a long lonely summer without them.i went thru the same with both my kids-no cell phones though-good luck

I would say the texting is perhaps just common behavior--my sibs in law are much younger than my husband and I, and they text constantly. It is not nearly as rude, for them, as it is for you to witness it, even if it seems they are ignoring your child. Their school SHOULD be prohibiting this, and I think it's an uphill battle on that front. On the other hand, ignoring YOU as the authority figure in your home is completely unacceptable. If you know the parents, I would perhaps address it with them and see where that gets you. If it is too uncomfortable, or you don't know the parents well (or the parents have lost control of their children, and you know it), I think it's perfectly appropriate to say, "our house, our rules" and say to the girls, not listening to me is not an option. It is polite to respond when I speak to you, and when you are here, I expect you to respect my authority. This, to me, doesn't mean interacting with them (they ARE preteens and you ARE a mom) socially, but they definitely ought to respect you in terms of food, boundaries, rules, etc. Depending on your daughter's maturity and willingness, this is even something you could broach through her: your friends are not allowed to behave this way, do you want to talk to them or should I? good luck...

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