Is My Child’s Behavior Normal?

Updated on May 22, 2019
L.M. asks from Chambersburg, PA
10 answers

My 14 year old daughter seems to be antisocial. She only leaves the house to go to school and seems to have lost interest in all activities other than watching tv and being on her phone. Whenever I suggest she go somewhere with me she says she doesn’t want to. Whenever a friend asks her to hang out, she makes excuses to stay home. She has even asked to attend online school instead of public school. She has some social anxiety and depression issues, could these be causing her antisocial behavior? Is this normal?

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answers from Portland on

Is it typical?

It can be if you have social anxiety and depression. Is she in counseling or being treated?

(Phases, short periods, now and then - and as friend groups go through different dynamics, somewhat typical for all teens. This doesn't sound like that from what you've described).

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answers from Norfolk on

You seem to be giving her a choice.
If she's not choosing well then take away her choice.
Set a limit on screen/phone time and when time is up tv gets turned off and you take custody of her phone/computer/devices/etc.
Oh - and what ever limit you decide on - she has to earn her good times with good behavior (helping out, good attitude, homework and working hard at school) - if she doesn't earn her perks then she gets none.
Screen time is a privilege and not a right.

It's not 'do you want to go shopping with me?' - instead it's 'we are going shopping - be ready to leave in 10 minutes'.
What ever needs doing around the house she needs to help you get it done.
Many hands make light work and then everyone can have fun and/or relax.

There are lots of things in life where 'wanting to' is irrelevant.
Jobs needs to be done, bills have to be paid, meals need to be cooked, diapers need to be changed - wanting to or not doesn't enter into it.

As for antisocial - what teens doesn't go through this stage? at least for a little while.
Everyone is maturing - at different rates - social circles dissolve and reform in different configurations and it can take some time to get ones bearings.
By late middle school and in high school (and again in college) she'll have a bit more confidence.
Just don't let her sit and become self absorbed for long periods of time.
At the very least she needs to do her own laundry and help you with day to day things and that gives you opportunities to talk.

If she's choosing to binge on tv and phone then taking them away helps her.
She doesn't get to retreat into cyber world.
Being out and about with you, helping, engaging - is a big help - and she'll get in the habit of engaging.
How is allowing her to veg out helping her? - it doesn't.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think wanting to watch TV and be on the phone is normal. Not healthy, but common. I think not wanting to go out with a parent is normal. Not healthy, but common.

But refusing to do things with a friend? Wanting to stay home and do online school (which you would have to monitor to ensure compliance) in the absence of human contract in any other way? Those things concern me.

I would discuss this with her doctor and whoever is treating her for her social anxiety and depression. If not one is seeing her for that, why not?

She's 14. She can have an opinion, but she doesn't get to make decisions. Parents do. If you need professional help, get it. Now is the time to take action. This is not going to get better by itself, and letting these feelings continue untreated is likely to make resolution much, much more difficult down the road.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

pretty stereotypical symptoms of depression, aren't they?

have you taken her to a doctor?


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What does she say when you ask her about this?

Yes, social anxiety and depression certainly could be contributing to her behavior, but "anti-social" sounds harsh. I wonder if she is uncomfortable about leaving the house, or if something is going on at school that she is avoiding, or if she is so depressed that she just isn't interested in anything, but only she can tell you these things.

Is she already receiving treatment for the social anxiety and depression? This seems like something to discuss with her therapist?

Try inviting her for any outing with you that you are fairly certain she would enjoy. Insist that she go, for your sake because you miss her company, even if she doesn't want to. See if you can have a good time. If she is absolutely resistant to going, or if she is not able to enjoy herself when she goes, then I would definitely seek professional help if you haven't already.

Ideally, if you know what the problem is, you can better know how to help her. Being an introvert is one thing, but never wanting to see another human being is another.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

You have to ask if this is part of her social anxiety and depression? Red flags are going off like crazy...the HUGE one is wanting to home school!!!

I have a child so deals with social anxiety and spells of typical teen depression. We have a physiologist who sees them on an as needed basis. They are doing well and we don't go for a while...we have an issue and we start up appointments again until they sort it out.

14 is a typical age to withdraw from parents and go into their room to listen to music, draw, read, write, talk with friends on the phone etc and get out their growing pains and figure out who they are and who they want to be...but not in a vacuum of one.

Call the therapist you are using, let them know your concerns, and schedule a session. It isn't normal 14 year old behavior...if I cut of my kids friends is it like cutting of an arm they would freak out and they always want to go out with them...except rollerskating they hate roller skating. Hugs!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think it's concerning that she doesn't want to hang out with her friends and suddenly wants to attend online school. The rest is somewhat typical. I think some counseling might be in order to be sure there isn't something worse going on than typical teenage angst.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Sounds like anxiety and depression to me...perhaps mixed with just being an introvert. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert, but one needs to still be social occasionally and not become a hermit!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Have you spoken with her? Just sit down and talk.. if you feel something is wrong ( and from what you posted sounds like something is going on) get her help. A therapist or counselor.

I have a 14 year old .. he loves to stay in and play fortnight ( eye roll) but never ever would he trade that in for hanging out with friends) so I will say yeh something is going on. ( I can only judge by his behavior)

I wish you lots of luck and get to the bottom of things.


answers from Kalamazoo on

No, not normal. Sounds like depression/anxiety to me - but I'm no doctor!!! Take her to doc asap to be evaluated, then follow whatever they suggest - therapy, meds, tests, etc. Don't let her suffer any longer. Trust me, my daughter is almost 15 and we've been dealing with this for about 2 years. Get her help!!!!!

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