Im on a Roller Coaster with My TEEN!

Updated on March 03, 2011
C.R. asks from Fort Worth, TX
12 answers

I am a mother of 3 children ages 15, 4, 2. I have always heard to put your seat belt on when your child reaches their teen years.........but no one told me I would be on a roller coaster!!! I have seen a dramatic change in my 15 year old since she started high school. I dont even know where to begin. She has begun to lie to me, hide things, and has a "I dont care attitude". I'm went from being her favorite person in the world to being the 1 person that is ruining her life- in her words. I feel like Im losing my daughter. She is in some trouble now and I have taken her phone away for lying and I have her under strict supervision because I dont trust her right now. Im also really looking for ways to keep my teen busy and focused on things other than her social life at school and her PHONE! We do go to church every Sunday and Wednesday and she is in youth. Just wanted to get some advise from other mothers out there that have been through this. Help!

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answers from Dallas on

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I have 3 children as well. A 19 year old dtr, 7 year old dtr and a 17 month old son. I just got off the rollercoaster ride with my 19 year old. And I am getting prepared for the ride that is coming with the next two. What you are decribing is not unusual. They are trying to become independent and because of this they are going to buck all rules and limitations. All of the sudden, we become their enemies (except for when they need something). They believe they deserve to have all this privacy and that they are grown. They may feel they are all grown up but as we all know that isn't the case. My daughter did the same things yours is. While it is frustrating for us moms and extremely tiring, it is very normal. She will need to learn that there are rules and that she needs to realize that certain things are privileges and not her rights. I would continue to try to talk to her. Find some common interest that the two of you have and concentrate on that with her. She's going to have to earn your trust again and that is going to take time. If you feel she needs counseling pursue that. I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that she's into drugs but always keep that in mind as well. One thing I learned which was helpful was the fact that our brains is the last thing to finish developing. The brain doesn't completely develop until your mid 20's and the last things to develop is logic and reasoning. A teenager is simply incapable of logical reasoning. What makes sense to us, doesn't make sense to her at this time. Teenages live in the here and now, they don't think much farther than that. Stay tough mom. She will eventually realize that what you are doing is out of love. She may hate you now, but later she will love you so much more for it.

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answers from New York on

Okay, I am 25, so my teen years arent that too far behind me. When I was a young teen, I started getting into my friends, and my mother just became irritating. I know she didnt have any mal intent, but it was just a thing where I wanted my own identity away from her. I wanted to see who I could be apart from her. I no longer wanted to share anything with her, and just wanted to be left alone. If I were you, I would just just back off alittle and try to be there for her when she needs you. Obviously, hold down the house rules and if she disobeys you or becomes disrespectful, then she needs to consequences (grounded, or whatever). Keep her in youth group, because thats a great influence. Maybe make some time for just her and you once a week that you can do together. Like every Sunday, you two make the famnily breakfast together, or every friday night, you two watch a movie together, or just a TV show, something you two can share and look forward to it. Try to open up conversation if you can, but if you cant, dont force it. I wish my mom made time for me when I was a teenager. THe best I got was when she occasionaly took me shopping with her. We dont have the best relationship now.. she still irritates me. lol.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 15, and her freshman year was very stressful: starting high school, more difficult classes, the whole social scene, exposure to and participation in drinking, lying, etc. During that year she missed out on a lot of activities with her church group because of conflicts with tutoring that always seemed to come up on Sunday and Wednesday nights. When things got to the breaking point, we decided it was more important for her to be with the positive influence of her peer group from church and made sure that tutoring would not be a conflict. People may scoff, but satan has a sneaky way of getting in and trying to separate us from God, and sometimes we don't even realize it. Who would ever think that tutoring would have anything to do with satan? But he used it to take my daughter away from her accountability partners in her youth group.

We reminded our daughter that she would soon be old enough for drivers ed and then her drivers license and a car. Those are things that require us to trust her, so we let her know none of that would happen if she continued to make bad choices/lie/be disrespectful. My husband and I let her know that we love her enough to take the situation very seriously. Many parents don't take it seriously. Mine pretty much looked the other way, and I feel so fortunate that I didn't suffer some severe consequences for my poor choices.

My daughter soon realized who her real friends are, and she took it upon herself to write and sign a contract saying she won't drink, won't ride in a car with people who've been drinking, or put herself in a position where she feels forced/tempted to drink.

Her attitude has been so much better since then, and so has mine. It's not uncommon for my daughter to stay home and spend time with us instead of feeling like she has to be out with friends all weekend. Maybe those are the nights that there are parties she wants to avoid; I don't know and it doesn't matter because I'm proud she's making the choice for herself. We still have our ups and downs, but it's nothing like before; I'm praying that this is setting up a strong foundation for her college years.

Sorry to go on so long, but I wanted you to know you're not alone. With the time and energy required for your younger children, I know it's probably stressful to go through this with your daughter. You must feel like she's old enough to not need you as much as the little ones do, but she just needs you in a different way. Find opportunities to give her genuine praise so she doesn't feel like you're against her. That was really hard for us at a time when we felt like our daughter was doing everything wrong, but it made a difference and showed her we love her no matter what. I'm praying for you & your family : )

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answers from Appleton on

You are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area look into the Martial Arts programs Chuck Norris put in place in several schools in your area. The progam has proven results for troubled kids. The name is now Kick Start, formally Kick Drugs Out of America, corp. offices in Houston.
I agree that going to church isn't going to fix this. If she hasn't gotten the message now, she won't probably for a few years. The thing about many churches is the message from the pulpit is a good one but the unspoken message in the hallways and bathrooms, gossip, backbiting and judgements from the other "good God-fearing" members is often louder than the preachers message.

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answers from New York on

This sounds pretty extreme... I will say this and get slammed, but that's okay... is she involved in drugs or in a bad relationship? Seriously, attending church is somewhat irrelevant to this question b/c the #1 warning sign that a child is involved in drugs/alcohol or an abusive relationship is a marked and sudden change in behavior.

I would consider having a conversation with her guidance counselor to find out more about these "friends" and what kinds of activities they are associated with. If she's in school all day long and that is the "source" of the behavior change you won't be able to change that with distraction.

You need to get to the "cause" and go from there- and this isn't about starting HS b/c most teens don't do this.

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answers from Dallas on

Welcome to being a mom of a teen.

I have a 16 yr old. I will say that she went through a very moody, attitude type time during 15. Her grades never faltered, she never lied, etc but for a while there, her dad and I were the meanest people in the world. Just breathing would set off her mood.

Hang in there. Things are MUCH MUCH better now. I never ever go to bed without telling her I love her nor does she walk out that door to school without hearing me say it. Don't worry if she does not say it back....teens NEED to hear it and NEED to know you are there to back them up no matter what. Even when they are little devils.

Our daughter is VERY involved at school and I do believe the school activities have helped her maintain her good grades etc. She is captian of the cheer squad and per UIL rules, grades and behavior has to be higher than par or she gets replaced. Same with Orchestra. She would die if she lost first chair for her violin.

Who are her friends? My daughter had one friend who is TOXIC. We could not wait until that friendship ended last year, however, they are not friends at all and it has been tough with this girl who is also on the cheer squad.

Girls are MEAN. Be there and communicate and let her vent with you whenever she tries to.

We have mostly good days now and she now considers me an ally. We respect each other. I will say that when she got her driver license and car, things improved dramatically as far her thriving on responsibility, etc.

Best wishes...

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answers from Washington DC on

First she still needs you, she also needs to know that you respect her as a young lady and that you are in charge.
Sometimes the hardest lessons are those they have to learn themselves, she may fail, she may steal form Walmart, she may get drunk. Be ready for the fall, and be there to pick her up.

Is she sexually active? Get her on birth control.

Sit on her bed at night and just talk, or on Saturday morning

Let her know how you need her to help---Mary, today I need you to do the dishes, take out the trash and clean the cat box by 7pm.

When she does your bidding THANK HER, and compliment her on a job well done.

Say please, they do hear respect and manners even though they themselves don't use them.

Have consequences for misbehavior, we took everything away from our son, we also reversed his lock on his room.
Other moms on here have taken off doors to their rooms

MAke dinner together a priority

Get her involved in something to let out her frustrations or that is just hers, mine is on the swim team, maybe horseback riding lessons, karate, art lessons, photo journalist classes through the park district, Something she really likes

The Y is doing their lifeguard classes right now.

Take her to the mall, the library, the book store, get a mani, pedi, Do some things with her that are just for the two of you, no babies. Have dad take her to a movie

Be firm. You are still the parent and she still has to live by your rules.

In a few years it will all be over and she will become human again. And you wont; be the devil anymore.
My 22 yo son actually calls me just to talk. :o) I ruined his life too, many times.

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answers from Cumberland on

Isn't it amazing how easy it is to take care of the little ones when the oldest becomes one of those mystifying teen types? The teens these days are dealing with so much coming at them all at once-I frankly don't know how they do it. The pressure society puts on them to be thin, to be sexy, to have all these possessions-cars, phones, things you stick in your ear. Seriously-we didn't deal with that so much. Try compassion -first. Then if you have to-get ugly. Remember-they can smell fear. Oh, and-you don't have to be their friend-

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answers from Dallas on

I have been thru those things with my girls. My youngest is 15 also. Just hang on and pray for her daily. She is a teenager and those are ways that teens act. You have to know that teens do not use the rational side of their brains until they reach early 20's, literally. Don't be discouraged. You can get thru it. Take one day at a time. She will come around.


answers from New York on

I have a 12 year old, sometimes she has these ups and downs, and the " I don't care actitud", the rolling eyes, the "sigh", the "you don't understand" etc.
Many times I get it. She is tired.
My daughter just saw me typing this. On the good side she gave me her point of view, lol.
She feels that everybody expects so much from her (the teachers, her family, her friends) she told me that she doesn't thing I had this much stress at her age.
I actually don't remember if I had this much stress or not, I also know that I expect a lot from her but she always surprise me with more. I think she expect more from her then anybody else and she fights her self about that.
She wants to be smart, she wants to be beautiful, she wants to be popular. It doesn't matter how many times I tell her she is all that and more, sometimes she doesn't see it. They are changing from kids to grown ups and they wanted the change to be fast.
Having activities outside school is good for them, it helps their self-esteme (word?) it reminds them they are capable and good.
However it can be a 2 sides thing. They can become tired and overwhelm.
Is a hard time this in-between ages (kids to teens) for them and for us. Is hard to give them enough freedom and still hold them when they fall when all they can do is do things their way because "they are ready", sigh.
Sorry I am going on and on, I was trying to figure it out but I really can't, all I know is that I remember that I use to hate my mom when teen, and use to blame her for many things (I can't even remember which ones, lol) but today she is a great friend and I can see that she meant well.
I think what make that happen was the love in between us and that she just kept trying to communicate with me even if most of the times I didn't want to hear.


answers from Dallas on

My girls are 16 and 2.
Our 16 yr old is turning 17 this month and we have a good relationship. Alot of mothers ask how I do it; well first of all we've always had great communication. I show an interest in all that she does and she knows that she can always come to mom with exciting news, school issues or problems without receiving harsh judgment. Many teens feel that their parents would not understand what they are going through but if you can identify with the pressures of getting good grades, staying fashionable, being in the proper social groups, dealing with crazy girl issues, boys, and teachers they feel make their life hell...your teen will confide everything in you. I have never strictly punished our teen; whenver she had a problem we'd either sit down and discuss it over brownies. I always make sure to have time alone with my teen from going to movies, shopping, getting nails done, taking a spin class or just walking around the pond feeding ducks. I always make certain to remember her friends names and what they like; I keep up to date on what's going on. If you want them to listen to you; they need to know you truly hear them. Many of my daughter's friends come to me when they have issues and I will talk to them and also tell them to confide in their own mother because she too will understand.

Its never too late to reach your teen; its still early on and you can get her back to the girl you use to know. Start by taking her out to her favorite restaurant and having a pleasant non-judgment/non-confrontal talk with her. The conversation will be friendly and completely understanding. Let her talk to you about anything she wants; even if she says something you don't like. Just remain calm and cool; and keep discussing whatever she wants and try to relate to it. Everything will be okay, just keep trying to reach your daughter with being understanding and soon enough she will hear you and trust you to tell you everything that's going on in "girl world".



answers from Dallas on

I am SO feeling your pain, anguish, frustration and confusion. I just posted last week about my 16 year old daughter having very similar behaviors -- her grades are in the toilet, she doesn't care, she lies all the time about her school assignments even though I can easily check, etc. We've taken away her phone, her computer, etc. and trust is nonexistent. What's driving her behavior is different, though -- while your daughter is focused on the social aspect of school, my daughter absolutely hates the whole high school experience because she doesn't at all relate to what most teenagers are into and this has set her apart as being "different" and she feels ostracized (thankfully no overt bullying going on, but still the other teens classify her as different and so she is essentially a loner).

So I have no words of wisdom because my husband and I are still at a loss (although at least yesterday we got her to open up a bit more about how she's feeling). I'm investigating alternative school options and considering therapy (probably wouldnt' work for your daughter since she likes the social aspect of school). And I'm essentially micro-managing her (which she hates!) -- tracking her grades daily and staying in contact with her teachers. I'd love to see we've seen some signs of better behavior -- but no, not yet. But we're going to keep plugging away . . .

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