13 Year Old Daughter's Behavior

Updated on October 23, 2013
A.W. asks from Euless, TX
14 answers

Hello, My 13 year old daughter is in the 8th grade and has started hanging around with, in my opinion, a rough bunch of girls. She has a bad attitude about everything, very negative, she tells me that she hates me on a regular basis. She comes home from school, goes to her room and shuts the door. If I let her do that then that's the last time we see her until she gets hungry. She doesn't join the family at all...

My husband and I have decided that the less she talks to the people at school the better so we unplugged her internet and we've blocked her phone with parental controls. She can only contact her immediate family in case of an emergency.

My question is...is it a good idea to break off contact with her friends while she's at home? She has been around them all day at school for 7 hours, my husband and I feel that she doesn't need to be around them for 5 or 6 more hours in the evening with internet and texting. Are we right to think this?

Yesterday was the first day we took everything away and she was out of her room a lot more than normal and was actually talking to us. I know we can't take it all away forever and we plan to give it back in small time frames...what do you all think?

Thank you all for your responses so far! I feel much better about our decisions regarding her. To give you a little more insight on my daughter that I hesitated to add earlier...I looked at her Myspace and her archived messages on Yahoo messenger and found that she meets boys at school in various places to 'make out.' I was floored when I read this. She was arranging to meet a boy in the bathroom after school today in the band hall. I talked to her about this this morning before I took her to school and reminded her again about making smart choices and this was not a smart choice.

She sent me a text about an hour ago and said that she's going home with one of her friends, she doesn't care what I think and she's staying as late as she wants. I simply replied and told her that she doesn't have my permission to leave the school with anyone other than me and if she doesn't come out to my car after school I'll go to the school office and have them help me look for her.

I've never had to deal with this before and I'm at the end of my rope, I don't know what to do. My oldest daughter never had this kind of behavior.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

Hi A.,
I feel for you as I taught Middle School for 10 years. The girls at that age are very emotional and are trying to figure out who they are, what group they are part of, etc...

As someone that saw things from the school side, the children that had parents that did keep involved in their lives (even if the child didn't want it) seemed to make it through this period much better. They may be saying they hate you, but that is just normal- part of the bond breaking that needs to happen as they grow up. But the parents that still kept to the rules- eating together everyday, meeting their friends, still having family time, and even daddy-daughter dates (to places the friends won't see you) all really did make a difference.
Please hang in there. It's funny, but at this age when they are the most unloving, is when they really need the most love.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on


I would first like to say that open communication is the key.

But I have to ask...do you know her friends? Have you met allot of them? Do you ask your daughter about them? Do you ask your daughter how she feels about them? Are her grades slipping? Does her personality seem to be changing? (other than the obvious head spinning and lack of enthusiasm) Is she wearing questionable clothing?

Kids tell their parents routinely that they hate their parents (doesn't make it good or right) and when my daughter would say it on occassion...I'd simply tell her that I love her...and then send ehr to her room to think about it for a while. No fight. No question.

I'd talk to your daughter about your concerns. Blatantly removing her priviledges because of preconceived notions wouldn't do you or her any good. And it proves no point.

Tell her you think so and so is a thug (or insert what ever adverb you wish here) tell her that you are concerned for her safety. That you love her no matter who she hangs out with but want her to make good decisions.

Limiting on line time is never a bad idea. taking the cell phone away during certain times at night so that you guys have some family time isn't a bad idea either. But to make a blanket statement that you can't see or talk to so and so or this one or that one without actually talking to their parents...OR TO THEM...isn't fair.

And for the record...one of my good friends in highschool had a mohawk. She was a straight A student. One was gay. He was a sweathart with good parents with Christian values. I try and leave my judgment of a person to one more qualified than I.

Smiles to you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am in agreement with Tamela on this one.

We have wide open lines of communication at our house. Nothing is off limits. Yes, oh yes there have been a few times when my daughter hates me and I ruin her life. I wouldn't be a normal parent if that did not occur!!!

My daughter gets a snack and goes to her room when she gets home from school or whatever activity we have in the afternoon. She needs some down time to chill out. I can appreciate that....

I would not cut her off from everyone. I would be watching for changes in behavior, dress, etc. She needs to be talking to someone and if she is not talking to you, then she will turn more to her friends even with no phone and internet. I don't see the benefit for cutting her off unless she has done something that would deserve that....(drugs, alcohol).

My daughter has a few friends that are not my favorite but I try not to judge that. Who am I to say? There are going to be kids that we are parents don't approve of for some reason or another and the interaction our children have with everyone is a good thing. It is a teaching tool. It is like rough stones smoothing each other out over time.

I'd say open those limes of communication, let your daughter know how much you love her and are there for her. She is going through an emotional rollercoaster right now and she needs to know you are there for her no matter what.

Best wishes....


answers from Dallas on

A., I'm going through the same thing as you. I also have a 13 year old who is driving me crazy. I'm loving all the responses you are getting. Last week there was another mother having a similar situation with her son and texting. This has given me good ideas as well as let me know I'm not alone here. I HATE this age. I know I never caused my mother so much problems at this age.

Anyway, I think you are doing a great job. If your daughter is anything like mine it's very hard to communicate with her, I try so hard, but she has to be in a willing mood. She'll stay in her room and read to avoid coming out and being part of the family. The only good thing is, she's very into our church youth program, she even begs me to take her on Saturday night functions. If it wasn't for church I am scared where she might be. My daughter is very bright and has a snakes tongue, she can lift someone up if she wants to and break them down even faster. It's sometimes hard not to allow their words to affect you, I can't say that I say the right things back to her all the time, but I do try. I have to walk out the room a few times or send her to her room and cool off.

She's my only girl and I just hope the boys aren't as bad. She has made my relationship with GOD a whole lot closer, let me tell you that, I'm praying and praying some more.

God Bless YOU and your HUSBAND, I do know how hard this is...



answers from Pittsburgh on

okay i am a 13 year old myslef and i have had this thing with this boy at my school a few of them and i rly only like one i have dated him for a while now and it is like wow when i was at school and we would sneek around and go to class rooms to make out ya if we get cought we can get into truble but we just want to be liked i guess but u just need to give her space and tell him uyou do care about her and wat she does and how you doint want her to end up makeing a very bad desition and end up prago and if she does heer life will be ruined and she will have alot more respontiblity if she does get prago.....and her telling you that she is going to her friends hows and staying till she wants to and doint care wat you say and still is going no matter wat....she is just trying to scare you and trying to see if you rly do care takeing things away may help but not for long...just at times she does seem like some ppl she hangs with are not some ppl she need to be around but its better then doing drugs and drinking and you are the mom i understand but doint ever tell her youll go to the office it is just wrong ya i am only 13 and it may seem like im telling you wat to do but in not im just trying to help you see i just turned 13 and im only in the 7th grade and yes i do have a bad attitude bout things i do hang with the wrong ppl and i shouldnt make out in school tell my perents things like i do but i still do......yes she may seem like she is fine and just likes her room but sdomething is wrong with her she probly is cutting her wrist or planing her death or talking to the gidence ppl at schooll cause she is scared not say she is just cheack to see if she is .......go look at her wrist and ankles and look throw her room when shes at school look for books like direrys(under cloths in drewers,under one bed,in closet in very tight little places) i just got over this big emp stage and its not good i did drugs and drank its not a good thing to do i know but give her some space tell her you care yes its normal to be like this and say stuff like this i am only 13 but i do no wat she thinks and feelks probly i think alot bout wat i want to do but i doint like wat i wanna do when i kiss boys i wanna have sex with them but doint cause i know its not right she feels like she is hated by u guys cause you may (yell at her alot ) ahe may take that as you doint want her.......if this has helped alittle im very glad but if not i tryed so .......thanks......P.



answers from Dallas on

Oh, I can completely understand! We went through VERY similar issues with our daughter last year when she was 13! It was awful! I truly believed it was largely due to the group she was running with, particularly a boy she liked. Though our older daughter became slightly withdrawn at that age, it was nothing to compare.

Upon a lot of reflection, I realized we had grown away from some of the quality family time we spent together when the girls were younger. I made it a point to really reconnect with my 13 year old by making time to watch a movie or t.v. show with her periodically (we aren't much into t.v.), go shopping, for walks, play more family games, etc. I really saw pretty quick results, and was thrilled by the amount of fun we were having, only to find out it wasn't cool to tell her friends the truth, so she told them she was grounded all the time and we were borderline abusive. She had consequences for bad choices, but loosing out on family time was never a consequence. She wasn't allowed to communicate with the boy, and had limited phone/computer contact with the girls I didn't know well. She was resentful, but I explained she clearly wasn't able to make good choices on her own at that time and as her parent it's my job to keep her safe and help her learn to make good choices.

I'm very relieved to say within 2 weeks of school ending, she was back to herself. She turned 14 over the summer, and we are now closer than we've been in a very long time.

Best of luck, and know this too shall pass.



answers from Dallas on

My 15 year old went through this in middle school. She picked a really bad crowd and they reminded me of that movie Mean Girls. Fortunately, my 14 year old is with a very good group of girls. However, they are very sneaky at this age, and I had to put smart limits on my 14 yr old's phone b/c she was addicted to texting and it was getting out of control.

I think you are doing the right thing. Maybe as she slowly comes out more and behaves better give her some things back. However, I would never let her have internet in her room. I know it is "uncool" but our computers are password protected and they have to ask to use them.

This started when my 15 yr old was 13. The myspace was out of control and when I got her password and checked I (who was by no means a nerd when I was young) was shocked at the visciousness of the kids on there and the sexual content!

Not that we can shelter our kids from everything, but follow your instinct. Maybe let her have 30 minutes of internet time with you in the room each day after she starts having a better attitude.

Hang in there!


answers from Dallas on

I think you are on the right track. I teach high school and have taught middle school (ten years ago). I have two boys, 4 and 11, and a 15 year old foreign exchange student. Your daughter needs you whether she wants you or not. You said that yesterday she was out of her room and talking to you. I think that is a good sign. Parenting is so hard. :-)


answers from Dallas on

I can relate to your 13 year old daughter... as I am sure many of us can.

I think it is very wise to take away extra things like internet, texting... but still allow her to have some contact. The more you take away, the less she feels she has to lose and will just break away more (in my experiance anyways!)

I agree with getting her involved in some sort of extracurricular activity. learn a new craft together, learn to sew or polymer clay, jewelry making, sewing, knitting (it's popular with kids right now) take her to a craft store and pick something out together so she can have something to do, and maybe something for the two of you to do together. Browse www.etsy.com for craft ideas and see if anything on there interests her to learn.

Enroll her in piano or voice lessons, gymnastics, tae kwon do...

Invite her friends over to your home. Make sure she and they can feel comfortable there. Make your home a haven from the world where they can feel invited. It may make a difference in he and her friends' lives. Provide snacks and activities and a warm smile and advice, so you will get to know her friends and in turn, get to know her better too.

Also, always treat her with respect. The more my parents yelled and disrespected me, the worse I got. Had they sat down and treated me with respect and emotion, and not accused me of lying all the time, things may not have gotten so bad.



answers from Dallas on

You have received a lot of great advice...I can only add from experience with my 16 yo ds - the school will not help you look for her if she leaves after school, they cannot give you any information about the friend because of privacy laws....what you CAN do if she goes without your permission is call her in to the police as a runaway and they will help you look for her and the parents where she is can get into trouble as well for harboring a runaway.....it is tough love but is really your only recourse.......remember if you do not call her in as a runaway and she gets into real trouble you can be held accountable as they law holds us responsible for our kid's conduct........good luck....I am having a nightmare with my son and my daughter is doing fine....go figure......



answers from Dallas on

Let me first say that I feel sorry for everything that your family is going through. This has to be a very tough situation. Did you see it coming or see any signs of this kind of behavior? I have a 12 year old son, so I know some of what you are going through. He's a good boy, but I have to help him choose his friends because he thinks everyone is good and unfortunately, that's not the case. He learned after one of his "friends" stole his IPOD.

Now a few suggesstions and my own opinion on kids with cell phones, internet access and too much communication with other kids that have nothing better to do.

Make sure your daughter is involved in some afterschool activities. You didn't mention any in your request. Keeping children busy with sports, music, art etc., will help to eliminate their bordem and their need to be on the phone all evening.

Family dinners should always be with everyone in the house....if everyone is at home. Don't give her an option. We tend to give children too many options these days. These are the times that you can talk to children about their day and offer loving suggesstions and comforting words as well as praise for the good that they are doing.

I don't think Myspace or any social networks online are beneficial to children. They can get into too much trouble and they have far too much freedom it seems.

Texting is "dummying down" our society. As well as not allowing children to learn good communication skills. Children need to learn to communicate with their eyes, with a pencil and paper and with their mouths. What happens on her first job interview?

Don't allow her to make the rules. She's way out of control. You're going to have to have a long hearfelt talk about who the parents are in your household.

I am pretty old school and if my child exhibited that type of behavior, I would take EVERYTHING from her. Including her bedroom door...yes, take the door off the hinges. She has to learn that being in your home is a privilege. She needs to follow the rules and behave like a young lady before she gets anything back. I wouldn't allow her internet access at all without your supervision. Place the computer in the family room so she can't sneak and do what she wants.

I would also go to her school and find out why the children aren't being properly supervised? How does she get away to go "make-out" with a boy?

Also, as her parents you have every right to judge her friend and advise her on who she is allowed to associate with. You didn't give birth to her and raise her just to have someone else take over and instill their values upon her. Yes, make sure you know the parents of all of her friends. That's not just your right, but your JOB as her parent. You have to protect her in every way you can.

Be hard and strong. Tough love works!!!


answers from Philadelphia on

Try doing some research on O.D.D. Oppositional Definace Behavior, also their are programs through mental health that are "family based" that come into the home to work with you and improving the behaviors, and communication barriers and the whole family dynamic in the comfort of your own home. Also, she may need emotional therapy, she may be struggling with things she can't tell you (because doesn't know how to) like depression, fear, anxiety.
My 13 year old is going through very similar things as well. Discipline is always good, just stay consistent. Also, reaffirm that if ever she needs to talk to you, you will make yourself emotionally available to her. One thing that helped my 13 year old daughter open up was me not asking yes or no questions, and telling her some of my fears and what makes me angry, so she knew on some level I could relate to what she was feeling.
Also, I am learning to trust her a little more, to make mistakes as hard as that is for me to do. You may want to say just think about this... how will you feel later? Will your choices benefit you in anyway or are you just doing it to give dad and I the middle finger?
Stay consistent, firm, but always finish with no matter what you say or do we just want you to know that we may not always see eye to eye and agree on what you feel is best for you or the choices that you are making but we do love you!



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is only 7, so my discipline experience is limited to the newborn- 7 yo group; however I do think you're doing the right thing, specially since it's working! she is more talkative and interacting more with the family so that's very positive.
she is only 13 and you and your hubby are the ones who set the rules not her; so it's good that you are nipping it in the bud right now.
I'm interested in seeing what others have to say, but I think you're doing the right thing by being consistent and not backing down.

have a great day and God bless,



answers from Portland on

Did something bad happen to her in some way? Sometimes in this new age of technology- people can say or show things online that can have bad lasting effects on these kids. I am just glad you are showing her you care. Sometimes these kids can test parents - what they really want to feel is protected and secure. --I was glad when my parents would say, "no," sometimes. Especially if I really didn't want to hang out with some user/loser- punk. If the user-losers and punks know that the parents care they will leave them alone so they can stay like the user/loser punk that they are- LOL. Kids need boundries and they will test you. Does she have a hobby or is she into art, music, or something positve to channel the negative stuff in this world? That helps. They need to have their privacy too and once in a while you have to act like you trust them to a certain degree. Kids are impressionable- I am just glad you are doing what you are doing- she will always feel secure and safe with her family. She just doesn't know that yet. Kids are going to hate their parents- if it was up to them they would do whatever feels good at that time and go buck wild -growing up to be self centered, self serving, punks. You're a good parent to do what you are doing. They will mature one day and make good choices due to doing what you are doing. --I know parents that say, "oh I tried this and that, and they need to make mistakes on their own to grow up." And they just sand bag their kid in disfunction so they can be lazy. And their kids always end up in the worse situations and have to learn things -THE HARD WAY... - Well, good luck and I think you are doing a good job. My Dad use to say, "when they say they hate you - you know you are doing a good job." LOL (really, that is in cases like yours.)

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