17 Year Old Daughter Who Is Lazy and a Big Slob and Antisocial

Updated on March 13, 2013
L.L. asks from Baldwinsville, NY
14 answers

I have a 17 year old daughter, she is a good student..not great but good. She has been accepted into a great college 3 hours away. .i have tried to get her to apply for scholarships she doesnt do anything about it. Just says she will take student loans out.
In the last 2 years she has become antisocial. She has no boyfriend. Says she doesnt care about boys......she has very very few girlfriends. Does nothing on weekends...doesnt go to the malls or movies or anything...she has a part time job at a mcdonalds but thats about all she does. She complains when she has to work 4 hours on a saturday that she is too tired to do anythin.....comes home afterschool and sleeps because she stays up til midnight or later. Not doing much.
She says she is reading or writing or surfing hte net
her room is a disgusting pigstye.i dont know what is clean or dirty.she has dishes in her room with moldy food. I have tried for years to get her to pick up her room..we have ww3 fights about it. I have cleaned her room so many times i am sick and tired of it.
I truly am at my wits end i dont know what to do anymore
she is going to college in 5 months how is she going to be there..i am sick to my stomach worried about her mental health being. I understand that highschool is hard now a days but college is even harder.
I took her to her dr last week right before we went we had a big huge fight about her attitude. We even continued the fight into the drs office. The dr was going to prescribe her a antidepressant she said she doesnt want to take them and isnt going to. She said she is just fine and happy to be alone and in her disgusting bedroom
she said that she isnt depressed but i think she has every symptom except she still does well in school.

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So What Happened?

thank you to all the SUPPORTIVE responses, to the UNSUPPORTIVE ACCUSATORY responses, BITE ME. i do not call my daughter the names that i used in this posting. well to be honest i do call her a slob sometimes because well she is . We have sat down and had a very refreshing and enjoyable and eye opening conversation based upon some of the responses that i received. I think that i wasnt aware of some of the stress that she was under and vice versa.
she said that she is going to "work" on keeping her room acceptable. she said that she she is aware of how she is going to have to behave in college. she says she has to put on her "big girl undies" in college lol...she said that she plans on being alot more outgoing in college. she said that her senior year in highschool has been stressful and too much drama with people so she'd rather stay away from the drama.she said that she talks to her friends in school and on line all the time but she just doesnt want to deal with the drama. cant say i blame her for that..i told her that highschool is supposed to be for memories..she said she is going to make all her good memories about college .she is ready to be grown up and not deal with stupid highschool drama.
so i guess i will back off and see how it all goes. thanks to all again for te supportive comments

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answers from Chicago on

Generally when people don't care about their appearance, hygeine, or cleanliness of their living space, they are depressed. You're going to have to try a different angle to get her some treatment. She could be getting bullied or something else could be going on. And calling her a lazy antisocial slob isn't going to help matters.

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answers from Portland on

I urge you to take her to the doctor for a complete physical exam. I also think that she's probably depressed but she may have some medical condition that is sapping her energy.

While there, talk with the doctor and her about an anti-depressant but don't mention this possibility with her now. Focus on finding out if she's healthy.

And I urge you to stop calling her lazy and a slob, not even to other people, but especially not to her. When you think it you'll also treat her as if she is that. I suggest that some of her behavior is the result of living down to your judgment of her. Unconsciouly or perhaps consciously she feels that there is not incentive to act differently. She probably feels like "what's the point? I'm lazy, a slob and everyone knows I'm anti-social. Who would want to be around me?"

I suggest that you also sit down with her and her father if he lives with you and all 3 of you together talk about what it takes to keep a house presentable. Be calm, non-accusatory and elicit her in put. Try to understand or at least accept her point of view. Do not argue. Together decide on a basic plan for getting her room cleaned up. One of the rules would be to always take dishes and uneaten food to the kitchen. Then every night help her do that while remaining good natured. If this doesn't work, then say no food in the bed room. Decide with her, if possible,what the consequence will be if she doesn't obey. Another basic rule would be to have everything picked up so that the floor is visible.

I know you have all sorts of frustration and anger built up. Put that aside. Start fresh.

I suggest that you start with you cleaning her room so that you really are starting out fresh. Along this line, my daughter didn't keep her room clean at that age. She did remove dishes and food but she threw everything on the floor and all surfaces were over flowing with clutter. She also worked at McDonald's and we made a deal that I would clean her room and she would pay me for doing it. This was 18 or so years ago and I charged $10-15.

Build in some incentives for following the rules. I might start by taking away the TV and other electronics from her room if that's where she is staying up doing at night. Then let her earn them back a bit at a time. Try to make the plan with her.

This situation may have gone on too long to now work. If so, get started with family counseling so that all of you can learn how to get along with each other.

Remember it takes two to argue. Never, ever argue with a child. They will always win. Leave the room when she starts to argue telling her you'll talk about it when you're both calm.

Also, I agree with Dawn. I suggest that you be proactive regarding scholarships and loans. You find out what she needs to do to apply and then either do it for her or help her do it.

You can call her school and ask to speak with a guidance counselor who will tell you how to go about getting scholarships and loans.

Later: Iwant to tell you that what I've suggested is a process and will take weeks/months to see much improvement, It's taken 2 years to get here. It'll take time to change it. Take care of yourself so that you can have patience. If you continue to be frustrated/anger go to counseling for you so that you can feel better.

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answers from Portland on

What you need from life right now and what your daughter needs, as a 17yo on the verge of adulthood, are entirely different things, unfortunately. And also fortunately, because if you realize that and make an effort to bridge the gap, you will both come out richer for the experience.

I married my daughter's stepfather when she was around 11-12, and as responsible and loving as he tried to be toward her, she had no idea, as a child, how to accommodate the avalanche of changes, from divorce, and single life, and remarriage, and relocation, ON TOP OF the hormonal and brain changes, on top of life in general and social issues at school. Whether or not her room was clean became a highly-charged power struggle between stepdad and stepdaughter. Wow, was that hard for all of us for awhile.

It ended up being good for our whole family after we got it all untangled, which didn't get to happen until she was finally away at college. Then suddenly she had HER OWN REASONS for wanting her dorm room clean. Once she had an agenda that excited her, the teenage ennui faded away. And she was able to appreciate her step-dad. She just couldn't do it until she could do it.

It will serve you well not to use such labels on your daughter. You know the effect that labels have had on you, right? You might find some practical advice in the teen version of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Really good advice on making high-quality communication possible. I wish I had known about this book when my daughter was a teen.

Wishing your family well. By the way, my daughter has educated herself into a successful career and is a loving, admirable and responsible mother of a 7yo son. She keeps a more orderly house than me and her stepdad do (but in high school, you couldn't see her floor, either). We supported her goals, and she did the work. Willingly!

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answers from Miami on

L., I want to tell you that there are a lot of teens who have pigstyes for rooms. Your daughter isn't the only one.

Also, your daughter isn't the only student who doesn't look for scholarships. Lots of kids don't know the first place to look. They also don't have any understanding of what it means to take out a student loan. She is not unusual in this, really and truly.

Did you fill out a FASFA form? I hope you did - they run out of funds since it's first come first served... If you have financial need, they should give her some help. Also, with her good grades, did she get any merit scholarships?

Around June or July, the housing people will send info out to her to fill out, and most likely it will include a questionnaire that asks what kind of roommate she will likely be. They try to determine this in order to place people together more successfully. In other words, they try hard not to put a slob with a neatnick. Your daughter will learn a TON when she gets her first roommate. She will have a Resident Assistant (RA) who will mediate if they cannot work things out. And it won't be YOU doing it. She will deal with someone other than MOM much better.

She will also find friends in school as she grows and matures. There will be no one there to fight with and as long as she is studying, she will be fine.

She is a sullen teen now. They are sometimes like this, mom. Let her figure this out on her own, take out her student loans, and let her go off to school. Try to be as upbeat as you can. It will help. Go shopping with her for her dorm room stuff, hug her, tell her good luck and let her learn this on her own. If she calls you later in the semester and says she is sad, recommend that she go to student health and talk to them. You can tell her that they understand everything that a college student goes through and that they have good advice. Sit back and try not to interfere. Just "be there" for her to talk to, like a shoulder or sounding board.

You can't make her take anti-depressants right now. Ride this out with her.

Good luck,

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answers from Washington DC on

Could her depression be due to name calling and denigration?

btw, Welcome to Mamapedia! This is a very difficult situation for your first question!

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answers from Washington DC on

She could be depressed or have other issues, like low thyroid. If she refuses medication, consider taking her to a therapist. Behavior modification may be what she needs.

FWIW, we had to prod and drag our senior into applying for scholarships for her tuition, too. At one point we didn't think she was actually going to GO to any of the schools that accepted her. So some of it may be not wanting to go away. It was like a switch turned off and we were dragging her into the college process. DH said either she started applying to schools or she started looking for work and paid rent post HS.

Is she an introvert? That can be a factor. Dealing with people at work may indeed tire her out enormously, especially if she does any sort of sales or customer service work. Add that to any other stress she has and it's kind of a recipe for conflict and low energy.

As far as how she handles things at school - hopefully better, but so long as she keeps up her grades and doesn't get kicked off campus, try to let her fly. Let the fights about the room be between her and her roommate.

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answers from Portland on

I think Marda and Dawn both had excellent answers for you.

I'll try to keep it succinct; the only thing I can think to suggest is family counseling and counseling for both of you separately. You both need some support and the fact that this has gone on for as long as it has is pretty sad. Two years is a long time to have dropped out of society and having friends. I

It's pretty depressing to not have friends. I can understand her reticence to take medication; it may seem to her that you are trying to 'fix' her without taking the trouble to examine what's going on beneath her situation. It does sound like you don't like her very much. It's difficult to hide our contempt from our children. She really needs help, but from my experience some of these types of problems are exacerbated by the whole family situation. In short, her troubles don't exist in a vacuum. Her interactions with you-- and her perception of your opinion/feelings regarding her-- are deeply, profoundly informative to her and reflect back to her a sense of *who* she is.

Is she the disgusting, lazy slob of a daughter, or a kid who really needs mom to pitch in and help her out of her hole? If you are only intent of fixing HER, and not how you relate to her, you won't make nearly as much progress.

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answers from Seattle on

I embedded my Teen years in my brain. For the pure fact I would some day have my own children, and not make some of the mistakes I made and where my mom and pop seemed to lack.

My early teen years I was a dancer. I was in the studio 6 days a week. So I did not get out much in my spare time. I normally saved what little I did have for homework or hanging out with my best friend(who was almost as involved with her soccer as I was Ballet).

I was a loner at school, even with a best friend. I still was a wall flower. She had her own group of friends and I just tagged along. Every now and I would find someone that was worth a little time and changes things up.

I had stuff from my child hood that were not easy memories to carry around for a kid my age. My dad was a severe alcoholic, when I was growing up which messed with my head big time. I was never physically abused, mentally abuses or neglected in any way. He just drank alot.

This disconnected me from people at an early age. I would play the part of the sullen teenager. I did not fit in at home, did not really fit in at school.

It sounds like she could be depressed. She is right, you can not make her take the medications. She may be 17 and that still makes her a minor, but it is her body and she can decide what gets put into it to most extent.

There are positive ways to stay involved or become involved in that distant life. Maybe instead of ''prying''(which is most likely what she thinks you are doing).....You take her on a daughter date, but leave all the hard stuff out. Ask her what her top three favorite things to do near you guys are. Then make a date day. Go do one of those things each week or as you can afford. She may push back and say no at first. That is ok. Just keep at it.

Is it possible she could have Agoraphobia? Or Social Anxiety? It could be that school is majorly stressful, harsh and overwhelming for her. Why would she then want to go spend time out in bigger not as secure mall, movie theater or where else a 17 year old might do?

As for the working and the laziness. My mom grew to tolerate my room. Even to this day by bed room looks like my closet exploded. If I have my clothes hanging up my ADHD brain would literally not be able to focus on the fact I need to get dressed.

So, is a messy room annoying for you? Yes.

Cup half Full: Start telling her if she wants NEW clothes she must hang ALL of her clothes up where they belong. OR you will be cruising the racks at your local ''Thrift Shop''........''Popping Tags''.

She also must keep food, dishes and trash from collecting. Nothing is nastier then have week old plates growing sciences labs,,,,,,,,All stuck under the clothes all over the floor.

Could she be working more? This will depend on what your state laws are on time worked by a minor. When I was that age I could not work any more than 20 hours per week. Plus had to have the school sign off.

Cup half full: When she turns 18 yrs, draft a rental agreement and make her pay whatever seems suitable for you. Dont tell her, but put that money aside and have that become her secret savings account that you can some day give her back for being able to prove she is almost an adult(I understand she would be 18....but 18 is like being an adult with training wheels). You can even break the rent into different monthly bills so she has to learn responsibility.

If you can not get her to put more effort into her life, then tell her that in order to be a functional person in your house hold X amount of things will be expected of her. If she does not make the effort, take the computer or whatever means life to her away.

Is it possibly she is getting bullied at school? Or had anything majorly embarrassing happen to her, that maybe she has not mentioned(I know how would you know, goes back to the date day).

College.....touch base on this....I had two things required of me once turning 18, I had a job. Or if I did not have a job I would HAVE to be in school. I choose them both for about one whole quarter. Then I realized I was wasting my parents money, not knowing what I wanted to go to school to do. I took on a second job to help my self out alot more. I only sort of came close to having to pay rent.

My guess would be something is going on st school. That is just my cyber gut kicking in.

Depression is serious. I can totally take over someone's rational thinking. It may only be the difference of her maturing out of High School. I remembering breathing a sigh of relief once I got to college(my short exp.). People were real. you did not have to worry about cliques, popularity or drama. The only place I could think of that would maybe echo HS is if she were in a dorm.

I will keep you in my thoughts.

It can not be easy watching your baby go through this. If we could only block them from all the bad.

When ever I am dealing with a group of student activists(after Occupy Wall Street I became a protest organizer, I dealt with many different causes since then, student marches and walk outs over new grading system), I leave the kids with this bit of advice...''It gets better'' meaning life gets better and the people get real(to some extent)(The slogan is actually a Campaign started by Dan Savage in support of teens in general but more to give LGBT youth community hope towards one day being accepted..but for now all we can say is..''It gets better''.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Have her thyroid tested. Mom used to call me lazy and I would come home and take a nap every day after school. I didn't get diagnosed with thyroid disease until I was around 25, but I think I had it starting around age 15. I truly think my self esteem would have been higher if I'd been tested earlier.

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answers from Chicago on

Sounds like depression to me. Did she say why she didn't want to take an antidepressant?

I was talking to a friend a few years ago and she mentioned that "Zoloft changed her life" and I think that hits the nail on the head. I've been on Zoloft for years and it has done wonders for me, I didn't think I was depressed either but agreed to try it at my doctor's suggestion when I went in for inability to focus and just a general lack of energy. I thought I was just worn out which made me feel antisocial, and I didn't have "depressive" thoughts so much as I just didn't care about anything. I didn't sit around crying or thinking about death, and anyone that knew me at the time would laugh if you told them I was depressed. But, zoloft "woke me up". You can argue whether it was depression or this or that, but the fact is that zoloft made it better.

Depression expresses itself in a lot of different ways, but if she isn't willing to at least try an antidepressant there isn't much you can do.

Good luck, I hope you can find a way to break through to her.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think you need to listen to her, if she's telling you she's not depressed. Lots of kids are slobs. If she does well in school, that's a good sign.

She is going to college in 5 months. Until then, take the dirty dishes out of her room, and let the rest of it be a mess. It's not worth the fight. Just make sure she understands that she will be paying off her own student loans, since she can't be bothered to work harder or look for scholarships.

It's not a good thing, but many kids stay up late and don't get enough sleep, so your daughter isn't unusual in that regard.

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answers from New London on

My heart goes out to you. I know how hard is it having a teen. And, yes, it is true that many teens do not clean their rooms.

I agree that she should have her thyroid checked. Also, do a full blood work. Is her vitamin D super low? I would hate to see her so quickly diagnosed w/ depression if it isn't. One of my long-time friends has a daughter who has anxiety and inattentive ADD. This child could have passed as having depression. She did not need meds, but, alot of therapy.

If you fight she will continue to do that-- She will only continue to argue to get the last word in. It is probably like a habit now. She is shut down, and, therefore she will want to get the last word in and not have to deal with cleaning her room, etc... I would take the suggestion to go to an experienced counselor who works with teens and their families.

Was she bullied 2 years ago? Did something take place 2 yrs ago w/ friends?

As somebody who has taught parenting classes (not w/ parents of teens)...Read the book Peg rec !

Parenting a teen is so difficult !!! She will appreciate all that you have done when she has to do it herself---the laundry, etc...

Keep us posted

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answers from Appleton on

I am not sure what is wrong but something is going on with her. While she is still a minor you as her parent can sign her into a mental facility for a psych evaluation. I recommend this for her. Once she is 18 you will have a much more difficult time doing this.

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answers from New York on

There may be some depression there, but it is probably hormonal and situational (big scary changes on the horizon). I find it interesting that you call her lazy for being tired after a 4 hour shift of filling orders in less than 3 minutes or whatever the rule is in McDonald's world. Technically she's been working all week at school only to have to work on her "day off" you say she's getting good grades so she is clearly doing her regular full time job of classes and homework well (if not amazingly)- can you blame her for being tired? I'm a part time employee and raising two little kids and I can tell you my bedroom is he last thing I worry about cleaning - (seemingly the kitchen after that) and it sounds like she has a lot going on too. Lower your expectations of the room mom - in 5 months it's not your problem - it's her roommates. :) Enjoy your time with your kid and help her with the journey into adulthood. Guide her and you may find she might come to you with problems rather than pushing you away. Good luck to you both.


There may be some depression there, but it is probably hormonal and situational (big scary changes on the horizon). I find it interesting that you call her lazy for being tired after a 4 hour shift of filling orders in less than 3 minutes or whatever the rule is in McDonald's world. Technically she's been working all week at school only to have to work on her "day off" you say she's getting good grades so she is clearly doing her regular full time job of classes and homework well (if not amazingly)- can you blame her for being tired? I'm a part time employee and raising two little kids and I can tell you my bedroom is he last thing I worry about cleaning - (seemingly the kitchen after that) and it sounds like she has a lot going on too. Lower your expectations of the room mom - in 5 months it's not your problem - it's her roommates. :) Enjoy your time with your kid and help her with the journey into adulthood. Guide her and you may find she might come to you with problems rather than pushing you away. Good luck to you both.

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