Is More Servere Punishment Needed?

Updated on May 16, 2008
S.Y. asks from Milwaukee, WI
34 answers

My daughter is 13 years old and seems to be the class clown in her English class. She is has not been doing her work, in class or at home and she dancing, talking with her classmates and not listening to her instructor at all. All the girls in her "group" have not passed this pass marking period, she claims she just didn't get what was going on. She has excellent grades otherwise. I have taken away her phone, tv, computer and music privilages. But, there is a loop hole with this; I leave for work before she does and return home after, I am not sure if she is doing these things at this time or not. I have also been told she is suppose to call herself talking to a 16 year old boy/man. He is living his life as a man, not a boy. I am on the verge of getting her the shot. I don't want to take any chances. I have talked to her about this and the dangers of it also. Can someboday please give me some advise.

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So What Happened?

Going bk over what I previously wrote. My daughter DID make it to school, I followed up with all her instructors (phone and emails), the school bus was late. So now I can finish saying thks to everyone for all the advice and concern I have taken it all to heart and followed through to some websites. As I was attempting to say, she has been moved from her friends and doing much better. We have continued our talks about what is appropriate and aspected of and for her. My daughter can be silly at time but usually when needed she is responsible. My daughter attends a school for the gifted. I have come to relize she was having trouble and no one was listening, myself and every other adult involved in her life included. She had never had trouble with a subject before that after a little struggle she did not graps. No one was listening, she couldn't get it, she acted out. I LEARNED THIS LESSON THE HARD WAY. Unfortunately so did she, because of her acting out and not even trying to get something done, she has dropped from a B+ to a C average. This is not sitting well with her. She is now doing her work, they are now on poetry, something she likes. As far as the "boyfriend" think, this one is taken care of though my guards are not down. I am looking into some after school programs for her and finding a veterianrian's office she can volunteer at, she wants to be a Veterianrian. I am hoping these things will help.

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S., I do have teenagers and I know what a struggle they can be. I think you have gotten some great advise and I just wanted to add something. If you go from being a lenient parent to strict mom overnight you are going to start having problems with running away. She is not going to know how to properly handle the situation so her fight or flight response will kick in. You both should go to family counseling. You will learn how to implement the advise that you are given and she will learn the proper way to respond to it. As a spritual coach I have seen it happen over and over. Life is like a baby mobile. If you hit one of the hanging toys it will eventually balance back out. You need to change both parts at once in order to create a new balance or it will go back to the same thing, but worse. I don't know where you live but there are great clinics all over the Twin Cities that do work on a sliding fee scale. If you would like I could get you a couple of recommendations. [email protected]____.com

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T.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Is it possible, she's not understanding the subject. Possibly she needs a tutor. Sometimes when kids don't get what's going on, they act out like that. Just a thought.

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

Well we all the know the only thing that 16 yr.old boy is interested in is sex. I know alot of my friends lost their virginities in middle school-freshman year around age14. So the likely hood of your daughter becoming sexually active if not already is really high. If you can get her on birthcontrol or the depo shot and have lots of conversations on sex.

2nd When you take away her things you really have to take them away like lock them up somewhere, take the house phone to work with you. Hmmm when I was a teen and grounded I totally did whatever I wanted after school before my dad got home. Kids are sneaky I was very sneaky.... I would pretend to go babysit or pretend to take my baby brother or our dog for a walk and go over to my 17 year old boyfriends house.

Find her loopholes, be one step ahead of her.

Put your foot down hard.

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N.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Sounds like she has a couple of big issues going on here. One, she has more than likely begun a "performance career" to cope with peer pressure. She's obviously trying to get acceptance and approval from her peers both female and male at the expense of her academic career. Unfortunately, this click probably has a pecking order and it sounds like the only spot left in the "group" is as "court jester."

She's obviously still to emotionally immature to see how this behavior will negatively impact her in the next 2-3 years. She needs to understand from now until her Junior year in High School is "do or die" academically speaking. I don't know how involved you are in her day to day school work, but I think it is imperative that you make your presence known at school, and schedule a meeting in person if possible, with her English teacher and all of her teachers, to come up with ways to help her improve her grades before the year is out and to distance her from her so-called friends during class.

If this were earlier in the school year, I would even go so far as to have her switched to a different class period for the same class if possible, so that she won't be tempted to be distracted.

I would also encourage you to make your daughter show you her school work for ALL of her subjects every night. Help her if she needs it. If you feel you can not trust her to tell you what her daily assignments should be, get a teacher's syllabus for each class so you know what her daily assignments are, and what she learns each day. Do not let her go to bed until you check off her assignments each night. If you find her struggling academically, and you discover it might be more than an issue of her applying herself, now you will have a starting point for getting the appropriate academic help she needs and before its too late.

As for this "group" or "friend" issue, if all or some of these "friends" are in any of her classes other than English, I'd suspect this is a common theme in all subjects, but for whatever reason, her teachers aren't reporting anything to you. Once again, getting to know her teachers will put them on notice and let them know you're involved in her academci welfare. If you don't have time for one on one meetings, regular phonecalls can be just as effective. Besides, if you make your daughter and her teachers accountable by being involved in her day to day assignments, she'll be less likely to fool around in class, knowing that she'll have you (the provider of her food and creature comforts) to report to, and teachers will be less likely to let her get away with it.

You're right that there is no way to find out if she's keeping her word and staying out trouble while you're at work. I'd guess with an older boyfriend, he's probably been to the house without you're knowing it. Or, she may not even be coming home afterschool like she is supposed to. Plain and simple she's proven she's not mature enough to be on her own without adult guidance. And its clear she has too much freedom and freetime on her hands. To remedy this, I'd first and foremost work on the boyfriend issue. I personally think she's too young for a relationship let alone with an older boy. Her focus should be on academics if she has any aspirations of doing more with her life than being someone's "girlfriend" or "momma".

I'm from the school of thought that strict parental involvement and open communication are the best prevention of teen pregnancy. I think relying on contraceptives to help control a youngster is the "easy way out" of parental responsibility and the quickest way to invite to unwanted trouble.

IMO taking your daughter to the doctor to get contraceptives is the same giving her the green light to get into sexual experimentation. This solution doesn't protect against disease, nor does it protect her from the mental stress that relationships too young can cause, it does not ensure she will perform academically, nor will it ensure that she will stay out of trouble at school or away from home.

You also risk sending her the message that relationships at this stage of the game are equally as important as academics. In reality, her being allowed to be in a relationship this young can only have one certain outcome, no academic future. With time, if you allow her to indulge in a boyfriend, she will put all of her energies into this person and less and less into her own needs. Now is HER time to become the person she's meant to be, and the time for you to reap the satisfaction of helping to develop into that person. It would be a shame to allow some boy to rob this from her, and YOU. In short, forget the shot, and get rid of the boy. Especially one who is too old for her. You're asking for trouble. If necessary, call his parents,or confront him. Tell him you have expectations and that official dating is not a possibility. Only supervised visits if any. If he's the trouble you seem to imply, perhaps more serious action is needed. Maybe threats of a meeting with a police liason from school if he's real trouble? Without more information, I have no better advice except to forbid his presence in her life!!

In this situation, I'd forbid any dating until she's much much older. If you pay the bills, you can forbid dating and effectively enforce this by not making "creature comforts" so easily available. Make her earn her keep and give her chores around the house if she wants a new jacket, shoes, or video game. Until she's old enough to get a job, she should be expected to do chores around the house and make herself useful. She will not respect you or value anything you give her if you don't help to her to understand that in life if you want good things, you have to work for them, and if she wants to coexist happily under your roof, she's going to have to respect your rules and value-system.

Instead get tough on her, talk to her about expectations and consequences. If necessary, maybe its time to talk to her about who she chooses to make friends with and most especially about boys since this goes hand in hand, and set her straight on expectations. Tell her what age you will allow dating. Limit exposure to boys to parent chaperoned group only situations.

If she has male friends, don't allow her to hang out with them until you've had a chance to communicate with the parents of the boy and the boy about expectations. And as I mentioned already, in parent chaperoned situations.

The same expectation should go for new female friends too. It is not a crime to "help" her select friends, and for you to get to know them and their parents. You are her mother out for her best interest. She may not like it, but This way you will have a network of parents who hopefully will help you watch out for your daughter and vice versa. If they won't help, then you don't want your daughter hanging out with their kids. Invite these potential friends to your house on weekends, and make yourself present. Get involved in her activities and with her friends. Do not make the mistake of leaving her to her own devices.

Bottom line I think She still needs supervision and probably until she's much older and has proven that she can be responsible and trusted. I'd suggest finding a way to keep her occupied or "chaperoned" until you get home from work.

It sounds like resources may be a challenge, but I'd strongly encourage you to see if there is an afterschool tutuoring program offered at your daughter's school or within your school district and get her enrolled immediately.

Since it is the end of the school year, availability of district run programs might be slim. Don't forget community ed programs in your area as well, while not free, they're very affordable. There are also similar afterschool programs sponsored by area churches also often free or low cost, run by teacher/tutor volunteers that do the same thing.

If you can't find an afterschool program that is geared academically, get her involved in volunteerism for an hour or two afterschool, she is not too young to put in some constructively spent hours helping out younger kids at a church-run daycare/afterschool program herself.

Last but not least, it is not too late to get her enrolled in intramural/ community sports, arts, dance and music programs. These programs are also very affordable, and run all year round. Perhaps this would also be a great option to keep her out of trouble for a few hours until you get home.

Whether she needs the academic support an afterschool tutoring program would provide or not, or whether she's interested in "volunteering" or not, these are all free/low cost solutions to your soon to get worst problem...all of which will encourage her to be accountable, learn skills that will help her in the future, and possibily keep her out of trouble if she's in an environment with people who care until you are able to be with her.

If this is not an option, I'd consider enlisting a grandparent, or a responsible adult you can trust to help "chaperone" her after school. Maybe a friend from church, a community role-model? This person should be someone who can enforce rules, but not undermine your authority or values. I know this is a big challenge, but I think you're already thinking correctly. Go with your gut, and hopefully some of these ideas can help.

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P.S.

answers from Lincoln on

Hi S.! I have no real advice to give to you, I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a good job, what you are able to do, and you need to hear a few encouraging words. You ARE doing what you can do, any more punishment will really turn her off to you and send her to her 'friend'. Let her realize that her use of her cellphone, the computer, her music, TV, are all privileges, not her right, too many teens especially forget that. He is not a real friend to her, but she doesn't want to hear that. You just have to keep on being accepting of her and just keep on 'boring' her with: you need to do your homework, you need to clean your room, you need to try harder with your grades, etc. And be there for her; don't give her permission to do what she wants to do. She is afraid of the responsibilities of parenthood, but sometimes they (teens) think that it won't, couldn't happen to them. She is only 13. I have a 15 year old and so far she listens and has her goals in front of her so that she can see what she shouldn't do. Ask your daughter what her goals are, then ask how her 'friend' fits in. Try to do this on the spur of the moment, like it isn't stressing you. Let her realize that living the real life depends on how she does growing up, grades, friends, trust. Good luck.

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R.L.

answers from Davenport on

Dear S.,

Sometimes taking away things is not the answer, but giving things instead, it sounds like she is crying our for attention, maybe she is missing you or someone in her family. Try giving her some special time where you can do something together, and tell her you understand that 13yr olds some time act unresponsible, but it will only hurt her and she will have to accept the fall out from acting this way in school. hope this helps I am a mom of four, and been through this too.

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A.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

Punishment stops working when enforcement isn't available. With no way to follow through while you are at work, you are creating more worry for yourself, which sounds harmful to you.

There is a way to WIN with teens, which requires a willingness to let go of some of the small stuff on your part. The TV can easily be given away... the phone can be disconnected....

However, you will still have a 13 year old who isn't WINNING WITH you. Somewhere in there is a young woman who wants to know what is right and what is wrong.

Your health insurance covers mental health and counseling. It is time for her to have a counselor/therapist ~ someone for her to be accountable to. Therapists these days who work specifically with children and teens are remarkable. Sessions will be both individual and joint (with both of you). With this strategy, you can both WIN by setting up expectations that you can both agree to and stick to. The therapist will help teach her to hold HERSELF accountable so that you are not the only one doing the work.

In the short run, while her school performance and class disruption can be handled by the teacher, YOU can get some backbone and request that the principal move her to a different class.

If your daughter knew that there was a REAL threat of moving to a different class she would automatically cooperate.

I have a 13 year old and a 20 year old. I have always been clear that my expectation is that they get to 18 smart, drug-free and not pregnant. I am a VERY loving mom but I also have VERY high expectations which I enforce by simply letting them know that if they don't meet my expectations I'll be happy to move them to a different school where they can. (I do this, as well, in a loving way).

Believe me S., children want and need limits, but they also want and need a way to WIN with the adults in their lives. You need more tools in your toolbox so that when you are not at home, your daughter can be focused on mutually beneficial outcomes. Get to therapy now... you will not regret it.

If your insurance doesn't cover therapy, call the United Way. They have FREE or almost free counseling services in almost every town.

Good luck~

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D.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Why on earth do you get her everything she wants? The message that she hears through this is that her desires and whims are more important than anyone else's needs.

Ask the teacher, school to separate these girls in the future. Tell your daughter about your health issues if you haven't already and ask her to help you keep better control on them by being more responsible. As for the boy, if you forbid her to talk with him you will make it more compelling to her to keep it up. I would try to get her to talk with you about him. Get her to start to trust you as a mentor so you can get inside her head. Sometimes kids will be the class clown to cover up and divert attention from a real issue, like dyslexia or an inability to read. If you can get her to open up with you, you might find out what is at the bottom of it.

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T.M.

answers from Des Moines on

If you can take a couple of hours off of work you could try going to school with her during the class she's acting up in. My cousin tried that with her teenager that was skipping school, and it got her to stop till the next year. I would discourage the shot though, because that would make her more likely to want to have sex if she hasn't yet, because she wouldn't have to worry about getting pregnant as much. When I was a teenager the reason I didn't have sex until I was 18 was, because I knew my parents would be mad if I got pregnant while I was still a teenager.

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

The punishment needs to fit the crime. Yes, taking away those things is a good idea. But, are you insisting and checking on weather her homework is done. Maybe the priveliges come back when she gets it done each day. She needs some motivation for getting the schoolwork done. Sorry that this stress is taking a toll on you. Check out some parenting messages on www.eaglebrookchurch.com and also www.loveandlogic.com A couple of great resources. Best of luck to you.

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C.

answers from Minneapolis on

S.-
Fabulous job switching her class! As a former high school English teacher, I know the difference that change can make. The control a group can have on your child is powerful, and the best thing you can do is shut that situation down. The best thing you can do is get a support system at her school--check in with her teachers as often as you can, meet with her guidance counselor or other intervention staff, and let her know that she is being watched on your behalf by as many staff members as possible. Teachers and support staff will do so much to help a child from falling to a place where they can't recover. As for her burgeoning dating/sexual life, you are doing the right thing as you talk to her about her goals and aspirations. Let her know that becoming/being sexually active can and will force her to put her life on hold. She has her whole adult life to be a woman and to be in relationships, but her childhood/adolescence is a brief time, and the choices she makes with her child/adolescent mind will effect the remainder of her life. Should she really be making adult decisions when she is less than prepared? Encourage her to wait to deal with things, to follow the natural chronology of life, so that she has the maturity and insight to make the right decisions when that time comes. Other than that, love her fiercely, and let her know that you love her enough, (even though I am sure you are fed up with her sometimes) to give her consequences and boundaries. Middle school and high school kids need their parents as much as, if not more than, infants and toddlers. Stay strong, and good luck!

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Y.O.

answers from Milwaukee on

S.,
It sounds to me like you are taking all the right actions, i know it is hard and we want our children to do what we tell them to do but in reality they are gonna do what they wanna do it is the only way they are gonna learn. I am a single mom of 2 a 17 year old and an 11 year old. I am kind of going through the same thing you are with my 17 year old. class clown, wanna know everything can't tell him nothing and i am to the point now where i just have to back off pray about it and leave in the Lords hand. I am sickly also, I have lupus and the stress flares me up really bad. I have talk to him time and time again. I have had his uncles and my pastor to talk to him but it just don't help. My suggestion to you is Keep doing what you are doing. continue to keep her things away from her lock it up in your room. If you don't have the kind of room you can lock go and buy one they are not expensive and lock it up. That's one of the problems with these kids we give them everything they want even if half the time they don't deserve it. Stick to the punishment. She will come around.

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J.P.

answers from Waterloo on

Talk to her teacher about what she is doing also to help with the class clown business and her grades and tell her that you want to work together to solve this issue.
I do think you need to have a long talk with her - which I am sure you have done! Asking what is wrong, how you can help and explain that you are there - however that is great in theory but the bottom line is she is now a teenager and communication is sometimes difficult, at best! Try this approach......Ask her to choose her punishment and before she decides explain some ground rules. She has to set the punishment with the crime and she has to stick with her own punishment. Many times we found our boys choose a more severe punishment than we would have just b/c they knew we had expected them to be serious. We followed through with it, that is your biggest thing. Follow through and don't give in!
Sometime to consider, tell her you will be hiring a babysitter if she can't act responsibly and DO IT! This may mean she isn't going to get a new pair of jeans or go out for supper but then you can explain - I don't have the money I have to hire a babysitter for you because you can't act responsibly!
Just remember that your friendship with her will come later in life, right now you are just a parent making the best choices you can to protect her (and you may have to remind her of that! :-))
Good Luck! And remember that no matter how great we parent, kids make choices and those choices DO NOT reflect bad parenting - it reflects bad choices by the child!

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C.D.

answers from La Crosse on

I suggest that you arrange for her to not be spending time at home alone without you. This is a very dangerous thing to be allowing a 13 year-old girl to do. She is at a very vulnerable age, especially considering the fact that she has been spending time with a 16 year-old boy. I don't agree with getting her "the shot" because 1. there is not proof it is entirely safe and 2. it does not prevent: pregnancy AIDS/HIV or syphillis. I think you are taking a good step in the right direction by taking away her privileges, you just need to be on the same page with her regarding who exactly is the boss here. You are. You are the adult, she is the child. Remind her of this often. It is your job to set limits with her and be far less concerned with getting her "just about everything she wants" as you put it. Getting her what she wants is for the holidays. The more you try to please her, the less in control you will be.

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R.W.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi S., You probably already found the answer to your question but just in case I will recommend finding a childcare for 12+ y/o or a trusted family memeber or friend to care for your daughter during the time she is alone after school. If she wants to act like a baby, then treat her like one.

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L.M.

answers from Green Bay on

I have three older children (21, 19, and 15) and a baby (3 mos). Our youngest daughter is almost 15, and the oldest daughter 19.

It isn't just about not getting pregnant. You need to reinforce that sexual activity brings with it other potential consequences - some that may destroy her ability to have children in the future, some that may be painful, and others that may stay with her for the rest of her life and make it difficult to have a healthy, sexual relationship. Birth control for girls is great for not getting pregnant, but it doesn't do a thing to prevent STDs and THAT'S probably more important to prevent than anything else. That can only be accomplished through abstinence or the use of a condom. Make sure she understands that if she's going to take chances with the rest of her life that the boy/man ought to at least care enough to try to prevent an STD. If he doesn't care about that then he's not worth it.

You say you don't want to take any chances. That's great, but it's your daughter that has to feel that way as well. In the end, thanks to society, it's completely up to her - not you - and all you can do is give advice and hope she takes it. I don't like it, but that's the way it is.

When my oldest was telling me about a relationship she was in (one that was not good at all) I kept telling her "I don't care what HE wants, I want to know what YOU want" in order to make it clear that SHE came first, not her relationships. Try to stress that she is most important in your discussions about sex and relationships, and that you care about her and her emotional/physical health more than whether she is sexually active or not.

As far as the rest, I agree with most of the comments here. Don't *give* her everything she wants, let her *earn* them by helping out around the house, getting good grades, whatever. Make sure she understands that just as you have responsibilities to her and the household, SHE has them as well. Hiring a babysitter, new school, etc...are all good options in my opinion.

L.

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L.J.

answers from Des Moines on

I am a mother of 15, 13, 8 year old girls and 5 yr old boy. I have always been open with the 2 older ones about sex and getting on the pill or shot. Have you asked her if there has been any type of temptation for sex? If so ask her if you can make an appt. for a OB/GYN and explain what to expect if that is what she chooses.

As far as the acting out in class and not doing homework I have my girls do homework immediately after school and ask to see the work she has done. Sometimes they say it is done and left at school. This is where i contact the teacher for updates on work.

Question on the class clown is she possibly tring to impress someone in that class that is not in any of her other classes since it is only in that class that she acts out? There is a possiblity she is not comfortable with the teacher or even the subject. If it is discomfort with the teacher and am sorry I have no advise. If it is the subject check to see if they have peer tutors that can help her out. (not a close friend they get distracted)

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H.H.

answers from Eau Claire on

Well I think you have the communication thing down, but if you are wondering if she is following your rules about the compute..just go into her account, push her favorites box, hit the history button, and see if she has been to any sites that day..it will often say today. If she has then you know she is not following her grounding. As for the boy I would nip that in the bud as quickly as possible. He is 16 and she is 13..too much of an age gap right now..plus different schools too right?

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D.E.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

To be honest, she sounds like a normal teenager to me. We've all been down that road. I goofed off my freshman year. Became more interested in 'older' boys....the whole 9 yards. My grades sank. My parents came to the school and asked if I could do extra credit and meet with the teacher in the morning before school. I HAD to do it. It was not a choice. If I didn't, I would be driven to the teacher's HOUSE on saturday ( and how would THAT look to my friends?) So, I did, my grades came up fairly quickly . I was also dating an older guy at the time (4 years older). I have to say, he wasn't any different than the ones my age. He pushed less for physical affection than the boys my age did. After much begging and pleading, I was allowed to see him...at my parents house or out, but THEY had to be present...yeah, double dating with the parents. But it worked. He got on the band wagon with lecturing me about my grades and that was all it took. I got it together. We broke up eventually, but are still friends 17 years later! I don't know the boy/man she is with, but maybe if you got him on your side of things and showed him respect, he would help you out.

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R.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Getting her everthing she wants may be the problem. My children had to earn privilages and extras by behaving in an appropriate manner. your daughter is in control not you. take command even if ti meas taking you vacation or sick tome to visit you daughters school unannounced as far as your daughter knows. I warned my children that if they did not behave in school I would go to school with them and spend the day observing their behavior and have concersations with their teacher. I did spend 2 days with one son and one day with the other. Then I let them know that I could show up any day. there were no more problems. I am now a teacher of 7-9th graders. I have advised many parents to do the same. Some have done just that. Guess what their children immediately behaved. No more problems. your concern if for your daughter that she grow up to be a responsible adult. you need to show her what a responsible adult does when a child is irrisponsible.

you don't have to take things away you need to quit giving her things. Do not use the thins as rewards "bribes" They can be gifts for special occasions. She should have responsibilites at home that can earn her spending money. It doesn't have to be cash in hand but a simple event you attend together because she has done her share.

I know this is rambly but I am sure you get the message.
Best wishes. I will pray for you and your daughter that you will together find the answeres to solve this problem.

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S.Z.

answers from La Crosse on

Hi S.!

I'm 58 and happened to get on this site and receive the messages. I usually don't respond - but my heart goes out to both of you. I just have a few thoughts.... as a girl gets into the teen years, the validation of a father's love is so important to them. (been there - when I was a teen and come from a broken home.) Is there a 'father' image for her? Also, is there a program in the school to help her with her English - tutoring, after school class, etc.? My grandson had problems and he's going to 'night' school to help him with the class. (he lives in San Diego) Also, there are differences in teachers and the way they teach. Perhaps the presentation of the lessons is not easily understood?

Just some thoughts.. I think you restricting things is good too, but also to look at the whole picture and really listen to her. I'm not a psycologist by any means, but like I said - I can identify to a certain degree and when I see shows, etc. on tv and these young girls have taken a slippery slope path - I want to scream......."where are the fathers????"

Take care, S.,
Sandee

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J.C.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi S. - you have a very good question. I would like to give a few quick thoughts before I get back to caring for my children. It sounds like she needs firm but loving guidance. Girls desperately crave the attention of males and if there is not a strong man in her life like an uncle, priest or pastor, I'd recommend that you go WITH HER to a time with one of those men and ask for guidance. Also, I personally believe 13 is too young for a phone - but if you want to continue, you should check the calling records to know when she is using it and whom she is calling. We take the phone away from our 17 yr. old at 10pm each night so that he doesn't get late calls and we check the calls and messages. We have a password on the computer so that nobody can sign on without my permission. I haven't done this yet but you can program your cable box to shut off at a certain time and block stations. Hope that these ideas help. One last thought - getting your daughter "everything she wants" is not a goal. Giving her what she "needs" - love and firm direction is what she needs. Don't give up hope!

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S.R.

answers from Davenport on

I have a 15 year old daughter and can relate to what you are saying. My daughter went through something similar when she was 13. As for the class room behavior; since it is only happening in one class her acting up may be in response to those particular group dynamics. She may not connect well with that teacher, or there may be kids who are influencing her. Since it's close to the end of the school year, you might just need to get through the year. But, if your school year has a way to go (i.e. you have year round school) you could request to change her out of the class.
As for the boy, my daughter was sneaking around seeing a 16 year old sophomore during her 8th grade year. Suffice it to say that the situation did not go well. We banned her from several friends and severely shortened her leash. Once the boy took advantage of her and she realized that's what he was doing she was more cooperative. She finally figured it out and has been doing great ever since. But, it was VERY stressful. It's even harder, I'm sure, if you're a single mom. Is there a neighbor or relative she could stay with when you are working? Too much unsupervised time at this age can be really bad. They think they're older than they are. I guess this doesn't hold a lot of advice, but keep the lines of communication open and let her know she can trust you to be there for her when things go bad, because they probably will. Good luck - I know this is really tough!

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A.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

Not sure if more severe punishment is needed, but if you aren't absolutely sure that she is following your rules while you are gone, there are certain things that you can do. First off, you can remember what station you leave the tv's on, and even how loud you leave them. Chances are, if she is watching tv when you are gone, she won't remember to put them back the way they were. If you are nervous that her boyfriend is calling the house, you can have the phone company block his incoming number, and also any private/blocked numbers. If you are worried about her making phone calls, then take all the phones out of the house. Only put one cordless phone in an area that would be convenient to you, and then take the handset when you go to work. I know that might sound harsh, but if you are considering getting her the shot, you are already thinking about big problems that she might get herself into. I would also recommend telling her that she cannot see that boy anymore. No matter how a boy that age acts, usually, it is not appropriate for a 13 yr old to be dating a 16 yr old. There is just too much difference in those ages. Put your foot down now, or you could be in trouble later.

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K.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would say you need to find out what is really going on with her what does she really need from you I think she is trying to get attention. Find a positive thing you can do together so she feels important. It is not always providing things. We need to know how important we are.How can you and your daughter feel more valuable?

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K.E.

answers from St. Cloud on

S.,

I have found the parenting program Love and Logic to be of great help. They have parenting advice for kids of all walks of life, behaviors, and personalities. They have a website and a 1-800 number you can call and talk with a real person. They have helped me out of many jams. There parenting technique puts the problem into the childs hands in a loving way. The problem becomes the "bad" guy and not you. I'm not sure how I would have made it through life without these techniques. I was at my wits end when I was introduced to this way a of parenting. I cried alot and felt like a failure. Now..... I love parenting and I have fun doing it!!! I have great reports from the kids's teachers. The website is loveandlogic.com. I know they would be great help.

My suggestion would be to hire someone to be at home with your child while your at work. Someone who can enforce the rules you have set. The kicker for your child will be for her to pay for it. She will have to pay for her care until her behavior from school has changed, and the sitter is no long needed. I would tell her that you love her so much but your current health situation will not allow you to worry about her. So until she can prove to be responsible she will have a babysitter. If she says she won't pay for the sitter. Tell her not to worry, you will be happy to take care of it. Then you find enough of her "currency" -her favorites like phone, tv, radio etc.... and pawn them off to cover the sitter, that will give her time to buy her stuff back if she chooses. I know if your tough now... you will have it easier later. We can't let our kids take us down. They need us to be strong. I'm not sure how to handle the boyfriend situation love and logic will be able to give advice there. I do know that eliminating the opportunity will help. Find an older adult to watch her after school until you get home. By the time she does her homework and a few chores you may need done.... you will be home from work and you can enjoy your evening together. I would thank her for taking care of the house and do something fun in the evening after dinner. Hopefully it won't take long for her to realize that it isn't difficult to be responsible and it can be a lot of fun being with mom. Doing fun things after the chores and homework are done will help open up the lines of communication too. It is simple as soon as her behavior is changed life can go back to normal. Kids are smart it won't take her long to realize that being good makes life a lot more fun.

I hope this helps some. Good luck!

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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't have teenagers yet, but I think the first thing you need to do is stop getting her "almost everything she wants." Can she babysit or something to earn cash for the extras and the privileges? Second, can you find a neighbor, friend or relative to supervise her when you're at work, especially after school? What about an afternoon activity or program to take up some of that time? I have read that the majority of teen sex takes place in those hours after school and before the parents get home from work. If English is the only class where she has this behavior and poor grades maybe you need to do a little more investigation to find out why it's English--is it the kids in the class with her, is it something to do with the teacher, does she have particular difficulties with that subject? Is there a teacher or school counselor you can enlist to help you work on this? Good luck!

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K.H.

answers from Sioux Falls on

I sympathize with you. I have a 14 year old son who has challenged me as a parent for the last two years. I tried everything but nothing seemed to make our relationship any better. I was on line one day doing some research for another project that I was working on and found a parenting program that seemed like it might have the answers. The program is called "The Total Transformation Program" by James Lehman- www.thetotaltransformation.com , 1-800-460-2235. It has 7 cds and a couple DVD programs. I learned so much from it. How I was handling situations, putting too much emotion into my sons reactions, but mostly how I hadn't defined rules,boundaries and expectations properly. This program has been a life saver for me. My stress levels are down and my son is actually motivated to be a better person. The program was worth the investment. If you have any questions let me know. I would be more than happy to help you out. Parenting is fun isn't it? Have a great day!

K.

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B.W.

answers from Milwaukee on

Is she an only child? It sounds like she has too much time on her hands to goof off while you work. Is she in any activities? My daughter and son have both recently tried to pull the "I don't get it" in one of their classes and we set up extra help for them with a teacher we know....there's no excuse.
13 is too old for a babysitter before you get home but is there anyone you can ask to check in on her unannounced? I had my 11 year old "babysit" for my 14 year old and his girlfriend when we couldn't be home one night so I got all the details of what went on from my little "babysitter"!

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A.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

13 is a little old for punishment. If you think she is thinking about sex already, she is almost a woman and deserves honesty and respect. I have a problem sometimes thinking my teenage daughter is dishonest, but that's because my mom treated me that way. I am embarrassed at times to find out my suspicions were totally unfounded. Don't let your fear for your daughter's future ruin your relationship. Maybe her teacher doesn't know how to reach her, maybe she feels it's more important to be funny than to be good at English.

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T.C.

answers from Lincoln on

You asked if more severe punishment is needed. You can't really enforce no tv and computer if you aren't there for a few hours each week day. Don't punish more, spend more time with her. If I know 13 year olds, and I do, she will consider that more of a punishment than anything else (at first) then who knows? She might start to open up about what is going on in that class, i.e. the instructor reminds her of someone she's mad at... there's a boy in there she's performing clownish acts for... peer pressure from the other girls... And yes you should get her the shot! I used to teach high school and middle school. You should be talking to her about the dangers of STD's. I read last week online (either newsweek or time) that 1 in 4 girls has an STD.

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G.

answers from Minneapolis on

Quit getting her everything thing she want Vs what she nneds. Sounds like she is really taking advantage of you. Sorry this seems so harsh, but been there and done that before. Many times less is better. She needs to learn that she is not entitled to the extras. They are privilages and she needs to earn them. My daughter did the same thing and I should have stopped doing it, Now I am raising( have adopted her first child) she did not marry the father and now she has another one which was taken from her from social services. I would hate to see your daughter a mother before she is able to support the child. The grandparents more often then not end up taking the little ones. This is called tough love. Good luck Let people how things turn out- I will be praying for you!

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T.Z.

answers from Green Bay on

I am also a single mom (age 40) and have 4 kids (15,13,11,9) and the youngest is the only boy. I know it isn't easy being the best mom you know how. You hope you are making all teh right choices and decisions based on what you know. Give yourself credit for allyou have tried to do this far.

I think the question isn't "Is more severe punishment needed?" It is "What is My (being the mom)next part in being a role model and parent who is trying her best and can only do what I can do with what I ahve and waht I know?"

I will say that for ME I ahve to be the example. I have explained why I make some of the choices I make for me and why there are certain limits and boundries I set for them. I have explained to that when I reference this to you it is mostly for my oldest daughter who is 15 and is in public school for the first time, she had always been in a Christian Day School. There are so many things out there that I could be worried about and some I still worry about but, I have learned that the more I take away the more she will and has rebelled. Yes there are limits adn concequences. For me and with my kids, the concequence has to be as close to the bad action. So for my daughter in her English (Advanced English)class too, wasn't doing to good an F, she is an A student!! I was shocked to see that grade and then had to talk with her as to why. There was a bit of arguring and frustration on both parts adn nothing came out of it. No solution. I just told her that I know that the grading system in schools are man made not God made and I know that she is smart enough and I can't make her do it but the grades will go with her for the rest of her life. I try to encourage and know mostly that I have to let it go. They will have to make their beds and lay in it too. I remind her that there is a time for goofing off (lunch time is a good time).

I hope that helped a bit. You only can show you care and talk about the importance for school and to reasure her that God is still with her NO MATTER WHAT. We ahve free will.

that brings me to talk aboput dating. I know this part is the hardest. My girls don't ahve a dad that hleps mold and shape them with positive anything. He isn't a bad guy. But I know from experience that coming from a divorced family that yearned for a man to love me. I searched in the wrong ways. I have had to share that at the appropiate time with my 15 year old. I told her right out that most girls from broken homes (especially those whos dads don't spend much time with them) will think that a realtionship that is not pure is ok, cuz they will be loved finally by a man. Do you know waht I am saying? What I have really encouranged adn stressed with my oldest is that I won't let her date till she is 16 and the reason I use is that once she can show the maturity and responsibility than she would be able to handle a realtionship with maturity and responsibility. Now I am not so sure i 100% believe that but it sounds good and makes sence. The last thing ist hat I tell her that the only kind of boy friend to have is a best friend. So to go out and be friends with guys. Tehn you will know them well and can make good judgements about them.

Good luck and GOd bless

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B.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi,I am B. S.

Make her earn every thing that she has. At this point she is very spoiled. Our son (he was also on a very distructive path)when he was 23 got drunk and wreck my husbands truck. He did 7 or 8 thousand dollars of damage. My husband is in the automobile field and was able to get the parts and work done for around $4,500.00 dollars. But he made our son pay every penny. Our son was amased that he was able to pay it off within 2 months. That was a turning point for him.

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