17 Year Old Daughter Doesn't Do Anything Ever, Very Moody Angry

Updated on September 16, 2016
K.L. asks from Virginia Beach, VA
26 answers

My 17 year old daughter is a senior in high school. She goes to school, she comes home, she plays on her phone. I've been telling her for months to get an after school job, I've even went as far as to help her apply, but she won't apply unless I'm sitting in her face. It's like she has absolutely no motivation to do anything at all. She now thinks that because school has started back up that she shouldn't have to do chores around the house. Her room is a pigsty, not like regular messy but overboard to the point of you can't even walk in there messy. And no amount of talking to her will get her to realize that something needs to be done. She thinks that I'm too harsh and that I don't understand her life and how hard everything is. But the point is she's going to be an adult here in a few months and how is she going to live life if she won't work, and she can't even do something simple like clean her room. I just need some ideas of what to do. And taking away her phone and electronics does no good, tried it, doesn't work.

Everyone is asking about the phone. The reason for her having the phone is because she takes care of her little sisters while my husband and I work, sometimes for a few hours sometimes a few minutes, sometimes all day. We do not have a house phone. So her phone is a way for her to communicate in case of an emergency at the house, etc... It is also a way to communicate when she is at school, because it does have a locator on it, and it has come in handy when the school has sent me emails saying she's not at school and I've been able to pull it up and it's shown that she really is at school.

That's my other issue. She's probably not going to college, unless she goes to community college first. She's not getting a regular diploma, and she's in a special program this year. But she doesn't go out. No friends, no parties, no football games, no dances. No one comes over. She doesn't go anywhere. She doesn't ask to go anywhere. I MADE her go get her permit a few months ago and again MADE her go out driving one time and she refuses to try again. She doesn't hang out at the mall. She doesn't do anything. She literally goes to school, comes home, watches her sisters till my husband or I get home, then she goes to her room, and that's it. Nothing. She does nothing at all. This can't be healthy for her.

Update: The deal was over the summer that I would pay her to watch her sisters all summer long with the condition that she got a real job when the school year started. Which my paying her would provide for all of her back to school needs. Which I kept up my end of the bargain. I paid her the weekly pay, plus a bonus if I came home to a clean house, which she would do, again she would not clean her room. And no she has never had to give up school activities for watching her sisters. That would never be allowed. We have always had back up plans if she had any activities that she wanted to do, as long as she gives at least a week's notice of said activities, so I could enlist said back ups. So her watching her sisters does not interfere with her social life and honestly she only watches them for maybe 15 minutes a day until someone is home during the school year. Now I have went into her room quite a few times and helped her go through everything, sort through everything, and I mean hours and hours of going through stuff, getting it totally organized, everything in it's place, labeled, the whole nine, even painted it in colors that would appeal to her to make it the way she would like it, to only turn around a week later and it's a wreck. And even she has said she can't explain why she can't keep it clean. Or why the organizing doesn't work, when she's the one that has helped set it up.

What can I do next?

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Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

She sounds miserable, like she's already given up on life. Even kids who don't have jobs or do sports or get good grades at least have a friend or two.
I think she needs to see a doctor and a therapist, because she's probably depressed, and I think family therapy would be a good idea too.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

It sounds like she is depressed. You should send her to a teen therapist. If you don't, she will not be ready to leave home, ever.

As far as her room is concerned, close the door and ignore it. It's not a battle worth fighting. Dealing with her depression is far more important.

I don't think that you should be providing her with a smart phone. She doesn't need that - only one that calls and accepts calls. She shouldn't have a smart phone until she gets a job and pays for it on her own. I know that's tough, but that is what I would do.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

um.....going to community college 'first' IS going to college. it's an excellent, affordable, sensible option for an awful lot of us.

beyond that, this girl sounds severely, severely depressed. no friends, no plans, no ambition, no social life, no desire to even get her driver's license?

the school is contacting you saying she's not there, and you take a phone locator app as gospel? it hasn't occurred to you that she could be putting the phone in a desk or locker and heading out somewhere? have you followed up on that at all?

i agree with you. this is not healthy.

get her some help right away. this young woman needs counseling, and fast.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

This makes me so sad. Your daughter is depressed. Please get her help asap!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I'm concerned about the part where the school sends you emails saying she's not at school, yet you locate her phone and you deduce that she's at school. Really? Is it possible she's leaving her phone on, in a locker, or giving it to a pal for a period of time while she ducks out? Next time you get that email, go down to the school. A phone can be left at any place, any time. It proves nothing. I can take my phone and put it nearly anywhere and sure, someone who is trying to locate me can say "look, her phone says she's at ____". I think you're being incredibly naive about that. The school physically takes attendance of faces and bodies, not phones.

Then, you say she needs the phone. Ok. Get her a phone that simply takes and makes calls. An old-fashioned flip phone. You're paying the phone bill, right? I get it, that we want kids to be able to reach someone in an emergency. But that means a phone call. She doesn't need the internet. And clearly, she doesn't deserve the privilege of a phone she can be on all evening.

I suggest that she needs counseling, and that you do, too. The reason you do is because you have a daughter who is in trouble, who is in turmoil, who is depressed. I have gotten counseling about how to deal with my daughter (you can read my posts to see the multitude of problems she faces) and it takes help to learn how to help a child with needs. It gives you tools, and it helps your child learn accountability, and it helps a professional recognize when a child is in trouble. Please contact a therapist who counsels adolescents, and ask for help for yourself in dealing with your daughter, so that she can become a responsible healthy young woman.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I didn't know how to answer earlier but now have read your updates.

Has she ever just seen a counselor? Like someone to talk to? And then you can go in for your own session with the counselor to see where you can help her?

She sounds depressed or needing some help. If she never goes out, doesn't hang out with friends, no interest in any of that - I'd be concerned. Sometimes talking to mom or dad is the last thing they want to do.

One of my teens was in a rough patch - and stressed. He saw a counselor a few times, I did too (separate days), and although they don't share what they've talked about (confidentiality - at least that's how ours works), they can advise you on what you can do to help.

I also gained lots of insight about my kid. I was frustrated. I felt like I was failing him. It was really helpful.

All in all, I think combined we had about 6 sessions. It was well worth it.

A messy room is one thing. My messy teen doesn't get a drive to a friend's house if his room isn't tidied up (by tidied I mean just not total chaos). We do immediate consequences - or rather, if you want us to do you a favor, do the bare minimum otherwise don't even bother to ask.

But sounds like you've tried that. I think a therapist (there are those who specialize in teens) might be worthwhile.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Pick your battles. I don't think her room matters, in the scheme of things. More problematic is the fact that she doesn't seem to do anything, have any goals or have any friends. Has she been to therapy? Has she been this way her whole life, or is this something new? If she's always been this way, this should have been addressed much earlier. If it's new, maybe she's depressed.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Not doing chores, not apply to work, not having a social life is a sign that your daughter needs psychological help. She will never do those things until she feels alive with a goal for her future. Nagging only makes the situation worse. She needs to talk with a counselor who understands depression and teens.

If you haven't talked with her school counselor about this, start there. You mentioned she is not getting a regular diploma. Why is that? Does she have learning challenges, developmental delays or any of the other conditions that make learning difficult? If so, is she getting support at school? If she has any disability related to learning, she is struggling. She may have learned over time that she doesn't fit in with typical kids and has given up.

What was her early life like? Did she have friends and success in school? Was home life more relaxed than stressful? Is being at home now pleasant for everyone but her?

Do you share fun activities with her? A popcorn night watching a movie together, going out for a walk? It sounds like you're overwhelmed and frustrated and have developed a pattern of nagging and seeing no improvement. Your daughter is glum and stays in her room. It's easy for a parent to be discouraged. It's easier to focus on rules than finding out what your daughter needs.

I suggest you not try to get her to do chores or clean her room. I suggest family dinner together. Make it mandatory. Perhaps have her help plan a menu and help cook. Make activities fun. Make dinner calm and relaxed. Ignore her attitude for now. Tell her as many as you can the good things she does and how much you love her. I'm guessing you're not able to do that now.

I suggest that helping her to organize things in her room, didn't help because that is not what she's able to continue doing. She may also feel that she can't meet your expectations. Talk about how she wants her room to look like. Then work with her to have that room. My only criteria for rooms has been I need to see the floor and no dirty dishes in the room. My daughter goes one step further. No eating in the bedrooms. I would allow simple snacks for a teen but still have her eat meals with the family. That family time during which everyone participates in pleasant conversation is very important. Doesn't have to be during meals. If not at meals, plan a way to make that happen sometime during the day.

I urge you to get professional help for your daughter. She is in serious emotional trouble.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

ETA2: Since you've added even more information, it seems more apparent that you should seek some therapy and professional help for your daughter. Isolating this much with no interest in outside life is not healthy for her. I am absolutely not diagnosing, but these are certainly signs you should not ignore. She really sounds lost and overwhelmed with no idea how to help herself, so as the parent, while you still can, you should step in and see that she gets the help she needs.

ETA: Based on your latest update, it sounds like you need to help your daughter by getting the proper professionals involved to help her now and to map a plan for her post graduation. She sounds lost and without direction, without friends, without any support. That is sad, and she may not have the resources to pull herself out of this without outside help.

Involve the school counselors to ensure that there is a realistic plan with realistic goals for her for this school year and for what she wants to do after graduation so that your daughter feels she has a future to look forward to. I would also suggest counseling for her. She seems isolated, lacking in social experience, confidence, and social supports, so how is she supposed to go out into the world and get a job without the necessary social tools to do so?

You mention that she is angry and moody. Maybe she has a hard time managing these emotions and learning how to channel them into appropriate outlets. Find a therapist who can help her with this and who will link her to appropriate social supports that she will need to succeed. It would be so sad to hear from you years down the road that she is living the same way she is now. Please find people who can help her.


There is information missing here that would have been helpful to know, like how long has this been happening? Was there a time when she was more responsible for cleaning her room and helping with chores? Had you previously had a good relationship with her? How well do you talk with each other?

I'm also assuming (hoping) you are not ignoring any possible mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety) or adjustment issues (major changes in her life like a break-up with a boyfriend, a loss of a major friendship).

If mental health issues are ruled out, you have to ask yourself, how did you get here? What would happen if you stopped picking up her dirty laundry and washing her clothes? What about shutting off service to her phone until she begins to pay for part of it?

Reading your additional information about her being responsible for her siblings, I have to ask, does she get any credit for this? Do you pay her at all? Give her special privileges like the use of your car in exchange for her babysitting? Has she had to forgo school sports and her own activities/interests because she's been required to watch her sisters? If so, maybe she is angry about this, and there is certainly some justification for her feelings if she's been the sole caregiver for her siblings for years to the detriment of her own social life. I'm NOT saying this excuses her from keeping her room clean or getting a job, but I think you should think about the possibility that she is showing her resentment through her uncooperative behavior.

I'm sorry if I'm assuming here. I can only go from what little is available here at this time. Maybe you'll add more later, but it just sounds like you've had her basically watching her little sisters, and now that they may be old enough to stay at home alone, you want her to get a job. She may be resentful that she's had to miss high school activities, and now that you don't need her, you're telling her to go get another job.

The whole phone thing doesn't make sense to me. If you want her to get an after school job, then she won't be there to watch her sisters. So, her needing the phone for the purpose of watching them doesn't hold water. Plenty of kids have had jobs without having a phone, so if you don't need her to watch her sisters, and you want her to get a job, you could make her phone privileges conditional on her getting a job and paying for part of the cost.

BUT, you should also work on your relationship and communication with her. Hear her out. It sounds like there is some breakdown in the relationship. You have to put positive things into a relationship in order to foster cooperative behavior.

Find out what she's thinking and feeling. What does she want to do in her last year of high school? Perhaps there are some activities she would like to be involved in, but because she hasn't been previously, she doesn't know how to become involved. Help her engage in things that will be helpful to her socially and academically. What plans does she have for her future beyond high school? College? Vocational school?

By allowing her to not do chores and not keep up after her room for so long, you've actually reinforced this behavior. Now that she's on the verge of adulthood, it's kind of hard to come in and demand that she do these things she hasn't been made to do as a younger child and teen. Again, this is where the mutual respect based on a strong relationship comes in. Work to build your relationship with your daughter, and I bet you will find her becoming more cooperative.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

She will indeed be 18 soon, so I suggest some real-life consequences. For example, perhaps it's time to remove her phone from your family plan, and tell her that if she wants to continue to have phone service, she needs to find a way to pay for it herself. So, she either gets a job or she doesn't have a phone.

It's time for her to do her own laundry as well. If she wants to wear clean clothes, she'll do it. If she doesn't do laundry, she won't have clean clothes to wear, because you are no longer doing her laundry.

I would step away from the room cleaning issue. That doesn't directly affect you, it is just a power struggle. Close the door and ignore it.

ETA: Ok, I wrote that before your SWH. Based on your additions, it sounds like your daughter may be depressed or something similar. A major symptom of depression is the inability to motivate yourself. My previous response was for a healthy teen who is moving towards independence, and going through the normal growing pains of being independent. Your teen doesn't sound healthy. She sounds like she needs an appointment with a therapist and a doctor. Please make an appointment for her, then take her. Don't tell her to make an appointment; again, inability to motivate yourself is a symptom of depression and anxiety, and it can be really hard for someone with these symptoms to go through the steps to get treatment. She needs your help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My daughter will be 17 in a couple weeks. So I totally get it. I'm not making mine get a job because school doesn't come easy for her and I want her to focus on that so I can't help with that.

But I will try to help with the bedroom. I let my kids really veg over the summer so everything kind of went to hell in a handbag, especially their rooms. So once school started again, I told them to clean them. My son did a pretty good job on his but my daughters was WAY worse and she just kept saying, OK MOM and then did nothing. So I started a countdown. I told her she had until next Friday to get it done or she was losing her tablet. She got about 1/2 of it done so she lost her tablet. I told her she wouldn't get it back until it was done. Clearly she didn't care because another week went by without her doing it. So then I told her she had another week and if it wasn't done I would also take her phone, even during school! Well, that motivated her some. But long story short, she lost her phone and tablet for another 4 days until it was clean to my standard. So maybe try that with your daughter. (You said it doesn't work but how did she get it back if her room isn't clean? Mine didn't have hers for a couple weeks until she KNEW I was serious and was not giving it back. So don't give in, that's the problem, your daughter knows you are not doing what you say you will.)

I have had for a long time a chore chart on the fridge for the 2 kids but I'm pretty slack on it. However, I just recently started to really enforce it because I decided it really was for the better to have the kids consistently clean every day. Its simply easier to keep up with it then to ignore it for 3 months then try to clean, it's too much and overwhelming then. So once her room is clean (offer to help her too), put something in place so it doesn't get out of control again.

My kids get home from school, have a snack, do homework then the chore listed on the chart. If they do NOT do it by 4pm, then they lose all electronics for the night. It's easy to enforce and gets them to understand they just need to do it. They are old enough to read so there is no arguing. I hope this helps you, don't give up, YOU are the parent and you just don't let her get away with it. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Please update with information regarding: how long has she been like this?
What are her grades like? Was she always like this in school? Did she ever have friends? Has she gotten counseling before? What was your relationship like with her before she started her senior year? How do you give her credit for watching her sibs?

Is there a history of alcohol or drug use?

I would be concerned as to why she is isolating herself so much.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

She's isolating. That's a sign of depression. I feel your pain because my 17 year old battles depression too, and we also have times we struggle with getting her out of her room. It is SO frustrating! Not being able to apply for a job could be anxiety and low self-esteem. You said she tells you that you don't understand how hard her life is, she sounds overwhelmed. To those parents who think it's as simple as taking away the phone, that's not the answer. She may be upset initially, but If she's depressed, she'll simply sleep, "rest" or find a TV, computer. I would find a recommendation for a therapist because she needs help. DBT therapy is helpful, even if she isn't participating in any harmful behaviors.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with Suz T. This is depression of some sort, all the way. Counseling is needed ASAP.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It seems the main problem is not her room, maybe self-esteem or something similar that take away her enthusiasm to do things, or make her scared to do them.
She needs social life and interests to care about. Maybe she need to start to little simple things, sport (hoping it will let her appreciate more herself), some course, ...before a real job. Room is a mirror of herself, only cleaning the mirror won't really change and motivate her. I agree she needs discipline and consequences but she needs to enjoy life too, to prove herself she is able to have a more adult life, step by step. So I would set consequences and be strict with them, at the same time I would talk a lot with her trying to undestand her wishes and fears and gently push her on new interests and social activities.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

EDIT: Based on your updates, I have to say that I'm concerned that your daughter has no social life, no friends, no activities. I would have intervened in this a long time ago. I don't think forcing her to do anything is going to work. If she is so isolated, is moody, is angry and does nothing (no energy, no pleasure in life), then I think she needs an evaluation for depression or anxiety. Please contact the doctor.

Original answer:

Can you say more about how long this has gone on, and why taking away her phone didn't work? How long did you take the phone for? And how is it that she has it back if she didn't do what she is supposed to? Did she nag you into it, and you caved? Was it too much of a hassle for you? Then it's about you, and she has no incentive to learn/change.

She's 17. If she's in a mood, that's one thing. If she's always been this way and you've just reached the end of your patience, that's another thing. If she has never had much responsibility, it's late in the game to teach it.

Absent depression, I'd say she's in that selfish "I hate my life/parents" phase that a lot of kids get when they are faced with heading out on their own. I don't know what her plans are (college? job?), but she's probably scared or apprehensive. So she's making it your fault. She may cling to her cherished senior year friends/routines because she's afraid to leave them behind.

So what you do is say, "Your room is your responsibility. I will not say another word about it, and I will not do anything about it. If it's a mess and you're happy, fine. If you're unhappy, it's up to you to do something about it." Shut the door and don't give it another thought. If she can't find stuff, it's not your problem. Set that out as a condition up front. She is now, 100%, in charge of her own laundry, ironing, folding, cleaning. If her clothes are washed, she's either wearing dirty stuff or she will, on her own, realize that something needs to be done (namely, a load or six of wash). You give her the adult freedom to take care of her own business. She doesn't want your involvement, fine. She's off the hook for general chores for the betterment of the entire family, and solely in charge of her own corner of the world: her clothing, her wash, her room, her meals, her packing of lunches.

You are paying her phone bill and her internet bill, I presume. Set a date by when you will stop doing that. She can get a job, or she can give up the items. Why does she NEED a phone? Seriously - think about that? Is it a convenience for you to know when to pick her up? Then stop picking her up. Don't make this about your convenience - otherwise, she has you over a barrel. Do NOT give in to teenage whining - did you give in to toddler whining? Set firm dates by when you will turn over her adult responsibilities to HER, and DO NOT BACK DOWN! It has to be HER choice to do or to do without.

Is she going to college? Has she done her applications/essays? Sometimes they do the essays as part of English class, but you can let her be in charge of it. If she doesn't do them, she doesn't go away to school. She can go to the community college if she wants to, or she can go into the workforce. If her life is just so hard that she cannot manage it, then you can agree to pay for a counselor or a life coach, but not to bail her out.

If she is like this because you have bailed her out for her whole life, then you need to accept your role in it, and you need to get her a life coach to help her identify her own wishes/goals and develop a plan to reach them. She cannot continue to be handicapped by lack of skills.

I think you have to really focus on what's important to you. To me, it's not important that a kid's room be clean - it's important that kids can manage their own schedule and set priorities (their own priorities, sure) without me bailing them out as if they are 5 or 9 or 12. It's important that a kid have skills to be in the adult world, not that the room be cleaned for YOU. Let them clean it so they can function without your involvement whatsoever. They learn really fast if you don't then cave in, yell about how much you now have to do, and go clean and do all that laundry.

Stop getting her up for school (if she's late, she can explain it to the principal when she checks in). Stop making her lunches (if she's hungry, she can pack it the night before or get up 5 minutes early or spent 5 fewer minutes in front of the mirror - and don't give her lunch money). Stop the laundry. Stop the arguing - that's the main thing - she can't fight if you don't get sucked into it.

The only place I draw the line is food residue and the resulting mold or bugs in the bedroom. In that case, I would go in and put everything (yes, everything) in trash bags and put it in the garage. She can go through it at her leisure and clean before things come back in the house. You'd be surprised how fast kids learn if people hold them accountable.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

She sounds depressed. I would reach out to a local therapist or counselor that can work with your daughter on her emotions and provide a safe outlet for her to express herself.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Is your daughter planning on going to college? If so she should be super busy now writing essays and filling out applications. If she is not going to college and she doesn't participate in after school activities then take her to businesses so she can fill out job applications. Once she gets a job she will be busy.

My daughter's room could get unbelievably messy. Now she's in college and her dorm room is incredibly neat. I honestly didn't know she had it in her.😉

In any event, this is really your last year with your daughter before she will most likely go to college. If I were you I would pick my battles and let her room slide in order to maintain a peaceful home. If it is really that awful, tell her she must cleanup before she goes out on Friday or Saturday night. I would think that would motivate her.

Just saw your edit...
I would strongly encourage her to get involved in an after school activity. My girls are involved in theatre and my experience is that theatre kids tend to be a really nice group of kids that are motivated and tend to do well in school too. If that's not her thing she could do stage crew, band, year book committee, environmental club, sports etc.

If your daughter is depressed, perhaps take her to a counselor. This is no way for a 17 yo to live.

Also, does she have friends she texts? I would definitely not take her phone away. This could be her only social outlet.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

She sounds like she needs help with direction and motivation. How are her grades in school? If she is struggling there at all I would check in and see what you can do with the school and if they have seen any of the same symptoms there; ie. not completing work, not being able to organize her things or her writing assignments, not spending time with friends. You then will want to get her to her doctor and a possible evaluation for depression, anxiety or ADHD. She might have something going on that is making her avoid things. At home, she needs a routine and a schedule that you help her with after work. She needs help with a daily list of things to do. Once they are complete, she can have her phone for a little while in the evening. Everything that seems overwhelming to her needs to be broken down into very small steps. Maybe one day she removes all garbage from her room, or only cleans off one surface. Then she can do something else the next day.

I tell you, as a kid who also couldn't keep my room clean, it's not as easy as you think for people who don't have a natural ability to process through the routine of cleaning. Especially since it's even harder if you let it go too long and it gets really messy. Be positive and even help her each day for 10 minutes until it's all clean, then help each day to keep it up. Eventually it will be easy for her to do the steps herself. I wish my mother had taught me how to clean my room, rather than just nagging me to do it. I had no idea how to start. Sounds dumb, but it's true. Plus my brain shuts off once it's really bad. I still get that way unless I'm able to keep up. In your daughter's case, it sounds like she could use a coach to help her stay on track. Get her out for daily exercise with you or at least a few days a week. Walk as a family each evening to get her mood up a little and get her out. It really sounds like she needs some help and support. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

She doesn't need a phone.
Take it away - stop paying for it - no data plan.
She can use a land line for her baby sitting job(s).
She gets a phone again when she has a job and is paying for it herself.
She is the only one who's going to make that possible - do NOT help her with this.
Tell her she's got this year to work things out and she NEEDS to work on her exit plan because she's NOT going to be living at home doing nothing forever.
Even if she's not doing nothing - it's practice for living on her own and out from under your roof.
She's going to need to be working on a degree/certificate or working and paying you (or an apartments) rent.

Empty her room.
She gets a bed, a lamp, a dresser and a clock (and a closet).
Anything that doesn't fit in her available storage space doesn't belong in there.
Has she always had these issues?
At 17, she's still a minor and you should have her evaluated.
Depression, learning disability, what ever - it needs to be addressed so she can function in the world and make her way in it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I don't think there is much you can do at this point. Sorry

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well, taking the electronics didn't work because you gave them back!!!! Take the darned phone - she will be fine. If her teachers mark her absent erroneously, then it will be up to her to meet with the teacher and remind her of things they did in class and that she was there. No mom to her rescue! That's part of the problem - you are rescuing her. Don't. Let her take care of things, or not, and suffer the consequences or reap the rewards, whatever the case may be. That's how life works - you get out what you put in!

If my child's room looked like that, I would give one final warning that tomorrow EVERYTHING on the floor goes into the trash - and then DO IT!!!! Talk is cheap and apparently your talk carries no weight at all. Stop talking and start acting!

Get a land line if you have to - one with basic service for under $10 per month. It will make local calls and call 911. She doesn't need any more than that!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Her room is her room. Shut the door. Let her live in her space the way she wants it.

I took everything from my daughter's room when she was young. Only left the bed. She got used to not having anything so she stopped caring about possessions, completely. So she grew up to not be bothered if she didn't have a home or other things. She learned to not care. Now she keeps an immaculate house. She didn't have a clean one though, not until she was in her 30's.

If there are roaches or mice in there due to food rotting away then intervene by NOT letting her take dishes in her room.

Taking away electronics makes no difference to our girl either. Even if I had found a job after school at this same age I would have been fired shortly after starting. Some people aren't ready to face the world and are comfortable being in their room alone.

She goes to school at least 8 hours per day, interacts with her siblings for a few minutes, then I'm sure she doesn't get her food taken to her in her room and slid under the door so she has to be interacting with family for at least a couple of hours a day.

She sounds normal to me. Not a Type A person but not unhealthy. Let her go.

When it's time for graduation hopefully she'll have matured some and will be looking forward to getting on a campus and being on her own. Pay her tuition, room, food, books, etc...then see how it goes. Some jr colleges have dorms, put her in one. Let her get a taste of life without mom or dad or kid siblings around. Her peers will be her biggest incentive to change.

It will help her to be out on her own in college.


answers from Boston on

She might have senioritis. Its when they are seniors and suddenly they think they are adults and don't have to answer to anyone. I'd sit her down and have a chit chat about how adults have rights but they also have responsibilities. If she does indeed want to be treated like an adult then she had to take on the responsibilities.

First I'd switch off the service for her phone unless she gets a job and ponies up the money for it. She can earn the right to use wifi by cleaning her room and doing her laundry. Here's the kicker. DON'T BACK DOWN. No phone unless she pays for it. Your problem is that you took it away but obviously you gave it back. She knows that you'll blow up and then back down. DON'T BACK DOWN.



answers from New York on

Anything that is not put away, you can put in garbage bags while she is at school and store somewhere. If she can't put her things away, maybe she has too many things!! (Exactly what items are "the mess" - clothes? food wrappers?)

And as for the phone, I agree with osohapi - why does she have access to a phone at all if you are so upset with her? Try taking it away until you are no longer upset with her.


I read your latest updates.

In one place you say that she watches her sisters "sometimes all day", then later you say she watches them "maybe 15 minutes each day". Have you *really* thought about how much time she spends watching her sisters? Maybe you should be paying her more?

What is her "special diploma"? Does it require extra homework? Maybe she is stressed about that?

Please do not assume that her phone being at school means that SHE is at school. She could be, for example, leaving her phone at school while she walks away to get involved in drugs or anything else.

As for her room, it still sounds like she has too much stuff. What is all the stuff you help her organize in her room? Her clothes?


answers from Washington DC on

welcome to mamapedia.

Your daughter needs a counselor or therapist. A 17 year old that doesn't have friends or go out is NOT healthy nor is it normal.

Her room? Ask her if she likes cockroaches and rats? If so - fine - YOU don't so the room MUST be picked up. Set a time that it must be done by and make the consequences for not doing it steep - unfortunately - that would be taking away her phone.

Stop yelling. Stop nagging. Start enacting consequences for her not following directions. Stop making excuses for her. Stop giving her an excuse - she's in an extended program.

Your daughter needs help. Get her to a mental health professional ASAP.

good luck!

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