Mother Daughter Relationship - Bonding

Updated on December 08, 2008
S.T. asks from San Antonio, TX
36 answers

I want to just throw in the towel! We are a Christian family of (5) husband, oldest(boy) away at college, 13 year daughter (my challenge) and 7 year (boy) - mom and dad. I know that not all kids are the same even if they grow up in the same home. My daughter and I have never really gotten along ever since she was born. She is a beautiful, intelligent, fun, outgoing, active in church, active in school, sports, cheerleading girl..etc. You name it she excels in it. However, ever since she was born she never really enjoyed my company. She has always been Daddy's girl. During her feedings she didn't even want me to feed her. Her daddy would have to get up and feed her to stop the crying. Sounded cute and funny back then, but as the years have gone by..not funny anymore. When she was about 6 months old I decided to stay home with her for about 2 years. She would yell at me, throw things at me and not want to even play with me. But if Daddy was around...completely different story. I seeked counceling and was told to lock myself away from her when she would get in those moods but that didn't work. She would wake her Dad up in the middle of the night for a glass of water instead of me. She would want her dad to tuck her in bed instead of me..etc. Dad is not the disciplenary - never has never will. His theory seems as 'just give it to her and hush her up.' I am very strong minded (so I thought), very much the disciplenary, run the house, rules, budget, etc. But I still love my kids like crazy. My oldest thinks the world of me and has never been disrespectfull to me (maybe a couple of times during his teenage years), his friends love me and think I'm a 'cool mom'. My youngest and I are very close. He enjoys hanging out with dad but when it comes time to share those special things from school and saying our prayers at night - he wants me. Because of my sons love and respect for me, I know I'm doing a good job raising my children. But my daughter tells me that I am the worse mother, her friends moms are more fun to hang out with, they connect with their daughters, they can have conversations with them, but not her. We took her to counceling years back and it didn't really do anything. We do pray about it, and are go to church regularly and know that God is in control. But her getting up in my face and yelling at me that I cannot make her do anything she does not want to do even if it's dusting or washing dishes she is not going to listen to me. She is just as disrespectful to her dad but it just rolls off him. Not me, I stand up to her. I explain to her how much I love her and how proud I am of all her accomplishments, I spend time with her one on one - movies, dinner, etc. but I have to be careful if I say something that can trigger her. We feel sometimes like we are walking on eggshells around her. I tried not talking to her for about a week and she broke down and told me to please forgive her and that she didn't like that. She said she would rather have me yell and get after her all the time than not talking to her..go figure. Please send me your ideas, advise, hope. I feel we are never going to connect and we'll probably grow up to hate spending the holidays together. She is my only daughter, why can't I have a special relationship with her?

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answers from Houston on

S. T:

I just finished a class called "Raising Kids through Love and Logic". It was fantastic for situations such as this and many others. I highly recommend that you look into it and anyone else for that matter. You can go to their website and they have a special seminar just for teens.

I hope this helps.




answers from San Antonio on

I always loved my mom, but never truly got along with her. I would do anything for and with my dad. Now that I'm older and a mother, we get along just fine. You will just have to give it time. Keep offering, keep spending some time with her even if it isn't the greatest fun. It should get better the older she gets (like out of high school) as long as you don't get bitter, stay patient, and keep the doors of communication open. Even if you had a great relationship before, now is when things would get rocky. Don't expect too much from her right now. All you can do is stay calm, provide plenty of opportunity for girl time, and wait.

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answers from San Antonio on

Hi! I wanted to tell you that my mom interpreted my relationship with her in much the same way you are describing. She felt like I always preferred my father, and all interactions between us were emotionally intense. For me, at a young age I discovered I enjoyed being with my father more. I have a strong personality and he was just easier to be with, less friction. But when I was hurt, or needed someone to trust, I always went to my mother. This became really clear to our family when I was around nine. My dad wanted to go hiking while we were on vacation and I wanted to go anywhere my dad went. The mountain was covered in cactus and before long I realized that every step I took put me in more cactus, but I didn't want to go back down because I knew I would get more hurt. My dad wanted to help me back down the mountain but by that time I was panicked and wouldn't budge until my mother came all the way up the mountain to get me. I knew I could make it back down safely if she was by my side. We all understood on that day that my parents met very different needs of mine. My father was my friend, my mother my trust. Have you seen 2 weeks notice? There is a quote from there that seemed to fit me perfectly. She says, "my mother is the voice inside my head, always pushing me to do better." When I was young that was hard to deal with, but when I moved away, I learned to really treasure the internal compass she had given me. I know now that there is no one in the whole world I can trust like my mother. She is the only person who %100 percent of the time will do what is in MY best interest, even to the detriment of her own. I know when she tells me something I don't want to hear that it's not because she wants something FROM me, it's something she wants FOR me. And just so you know, when I married and bought a house, I bought one down the street from my parents. The bond you are hoping to share with your daughter may already be there, you just need to figure out what needs you meet for her, and be at peace with your role in her life and not try to fulfill a different role. Both are special and very very important.

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answers from Austin on

Just guessing since I do not know your daughter. I suspect she has a huge personality and has a natural charisma. With this comes power, but also comes a lot of insecurities.

Lots of these people are also super sensitive. They do not know why and cannot control their sensitivity. My sister is like this always has been. She is hot and cold with her emotions and feelings. This affects her responses to other people.

Many times because she is so sensitive she thinks others are always judging her because she assumes they are like her. She can think every comment they make is somehow a comment about her. At the same time, she is very sensitive about her own feelings to her close friends and family. She can be devastated when she realizes she unintentionally hurt others.

When she wants to hurt someone she is powerful, but she forgets that sometimes, her words can be powerful even when she does not mean them to come out that way. She will respond with either a defense or break down into a puddle.

Many times, I have to remind her that I am her sister. I will always love her. I am not judging her. I am offering suggestions, or giving my personal opinion or offering to help, because I WANT TO! She has the option of accepting or declining my offers or suggestions, but I tell her it "hurts my feelings" when she assumes, I am trying to make fun of, judge, or tell her she is not living up to some sort of expectation.

Tell your daughter your feelings. Ask her her feelings. Make her feel safe, tell that you will always love her. You may have to tell her this way more than you do your eldest son. Tell her you are proud of her, tell her you miss her, tell her you want to be there when she needs you and promise, promise, you are not judging her.

Hang in there. It is hard to be the mom of a "Superstar". But boy it can really make you proud that she is her own person.

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answers from Houston on

First, I didn't read any of the previous responses b/c I didn't want my own thoughts to get sidetracked.
I am a middle child of 3 girls. I was a daddy's girl as well- the minute Dad walked in I was good as gold. I was just like your daughter growing up. I was always arguing with my mom and compared her to other moms all the time. I got more negative attention b/c that is what my behavior deserved so to say. Let me tell you- keep doing what you are doing. I know it is so frustrating for you and you are tired of the constant bickering. I caused my mom so many headaches and heartaches. However, as soon as I got to college, I realized how lucky I was to have a mom who invested time into me and didn't give in all those times when it would haave made her life a lot easier. I am now 28 and feel closer to my mom than ever before. I think we argued so much b/c we were so much alike- which I would never have admitted growing up. I have a very special relationship with my mom now. I was raised in a Christian household as well and it is a good thing b/c no telling where I would be if I had not been. I know my mom read all the time trying to figure out how to parent me and I know I was always on the top of her prayer request list. I guess what I am trying to say is it will get better for both of you. I know what you mean by talking about it with her- I was easily triggered as well. I don't know what kind of support network you have but my grandmother would always slip it in the converstaions to listen to mom, and always remind me that she was doing what she knows is best. I know I was always aggravated b/c my mom's response was "Because I said so". I think that is some situations it is appropriate but in others it would have been nice if she would have told me why. I hope this helps. I felt the need to respond. I will be prayinhg for you and your daughter. I really mean that.

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answers from Houston on

It's nice to know I'm not the only one. My daughter is almost 15 now. We've never been close UNTIL I started sharing stories from my past with her - things I learned in the process and what the out come was - good or bad. Just as an example, this past year she's had a boyfriend and they've broken up and gotten back together several times. After the second breakup, I told her about a boyfriend I had in High school named Beatle (nickname) and how many times we broke up and got back together and how cute he was....silly things he did to try to get me back....our entire relationship changed. I didn't try to solve her problems and never tried to suggest our circumstance were similar in any way - just let her gleen what she wanted to from it. My daughter is very active in our youth group and I've let all 4 of the women involved with various parts of it know that if there's anything she talks about to please let me know without betraying her confidence. I bring things up by telling stories of stuff that happened to me - even if there was a bad conclusion/consequence because they need to know that too - although I don't give her any ammunition to use against me (say if I did drugs or drank, etc). Once we established a relationship - I took it as a good one once she started telling me things - I explained to her that when she talks back, screams at me, all those nasty little habits I don't like, it's very disrespectful and it will no longer be tolerated. I gave her verses in the Bible about children honoring their parents and what that meant. Then told her what the consequence would be if she did it again - AND FOLLOWED THRU when it happened. I can't say we're like my mom and I are, but I do believe we're on the path to a lifelong bond. I don't harbour any ill feelings about her past behavior, although I have expressed to her my sense of loss over the good times we could have had. I always make certain my compliments and "atta boys" are sincere and specific. Good luck - be patient and kind (even when it's the hardest!!!) I was on my knees with the Lord ALLOT!!!!

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answers from Austin on

Hi S.

I was your daughter! :))))
When I was her age, my mom and I were always going at it. I thought I knew it all and she knew nothing. I was quite a challenge for her. I hurt her many many times. Not physically, I broke her heart many times. She never gave up , no matter how mean I got or how hopeless it seemed.
Through all of our difficult years together, now .....I am in awe of her. She is my biggest hero. I have the utmost respect for her, I've gotten to know her as a woman. The strong powerful woman that she is. And I thank God that she's still around for me to show her I love her .
My message to you is --- hang in there, you are important in her life, regardless of how it looks or feels, she needs you.

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answers from Austin on

Dear S.,
I mostly want to say that it sounds to me that you have really, really tried to show love to your daughter and do the very best for her. I have no idea why she is not responding. And I also do not claim that I know what you should do.
The only thing that stands out to me is that your husband is letting you do all the disciplinary measures. I think this is another case of "If you will do it, I will let you." In other words, if you will discipline, your husband will let you. And all these years you have risen to the task, so, now he is used to you doing it. I am wondering if you should slowly change to not being The Disciplinarian.
Perhaps you could say to him, "All these years I have taken your place; I've taken the lead in this matter. And, my way has not worked with our daughter. I would like to let you handle the discipline with her in whatever manner you deem best. No matter how you handle it, I will be behind you and support your ideas. It may be hard for me to follow through (i.e., keep my mouth shut), but it is my intention to decrease in this area, and allow you to increase."
You will probably have to bite your tongue many times, and even sit on your hands! Learn to say, "Go ask your dad," or, "let me see what your dad has to say about that." And if he gives no answer, say, "We'll just have to wait until your dad decides what to do." And then praise your husband for his great ideas, no matter how you feel about them. Don't give your ideas unless he asks for them, but do not be offended when he doesn't use them. The truth is, your way has not worked with your daughter, and you are looking for new roads to her heart.
In the meantime, keep loving your daughter. The great temptation is to throw up your hands and say "I don't care anymore - just go away and leave me alone!" Spend time with her and keep loving her. I do think it's a good idea, when she speaks disrespectfully to you, to tell her that she can't speak to you in that tone of voice, and she must go to her room and stay there until she figures out what was wrong in her words and attitude, and stay there until she figures out a better way to speak to you. (Even take her meals in there.) That is not necessarily discipline, that is putting up your boundaries about your value and saying that there are bounds over which she cannot step.
When I was a teen, I did not like my mother. I disobeyed her, was deceitful, told her once that I hated her. Then I became a Christian, and got married and had kids, and I found out that my mother is incredibly wonderful. "Incredibly wonderful." I now confide in her, look up to her, and desire to be like her. And when I mention how horrible I was to her when I was a teen, she says, "Oh, you weren't that bad." Believe me, I was that bad, but I love her for "not remembering" how bad I was.
Think about the idea I gave you about the discipline. For me it's just an idea, but for you it's commitment! I pray that the Lord will give you great ideas and that He will work in the heart of your daughter, and that someday soon you two will have an incredible relationship.
It sounds to me like you're a wonderful mother.


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answers from Austin on

I wish I had more time to respond, but briefly: I have a 13 year old daughter (my eldest) and recognize so much that is the same in the situation you described as my own. I think that you may already have a clue as to a way of responding to your daughter's treatment of you from the silent treatment situation, but I think as mom's we think,"Is that the only thing that she's going to respond to? I hate this!" The truth is her behavior won't be like that forever and you won't have to go through it to manipulate her to repent. She will grow up and she does love you (even if she mutters "I hate you" or shows this in how she acts) Here's what I'm taking from your silent treatment incident, since it seemed to work the one time: Quietly tell your daughter what you expect once, then walk away. When it isn't done or she starts to rail on you, take a minute to sit in prayer and leave the problem to God. Usually you will know what to do next, and even if you don't you will be calm enough to deal with it. She will never respect you if you are yelling (I say this knowing my tendency to yell at the drop of a pin.) The next time she wants something, basically tell her that she really disrespected you and you're sorry that you can't grant her request. Don't warn and don't threaten. (boy this is hard for me to do!) Focus on the Family had some good material by Kevin Lehman(spelling?) that goes on further with this idea and was pretty encouraging as far as being determined, in a loving way. Hang in there! There's been moments when I mentally tried to think of someone else to raise my daughter, but God gave her to me and so that means He didn't think anyone else could have done a better job :) You can still love her and honor her even though she's not choosing to do it at the time. Reach for her heart in ways that matter, but don't compromise, give in or allow her behavior to sink you to her level. Hope this helps to strengthen you.

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answers from Corpus Christi on

I have a difficult child also. Please encourage your husband to read these posts. He is not taking his role in the household, as scripture dictates, he is to protect you and raise his children in the way they should go. Caving into her isn't doing that.

Praying does change things, and so does forgiveness. Forgiving yourself, her and dad.

It is difficult but try not to yell when she is out of control. Tell her what is expected of her and the consequences if she doesn't and then stand firm, with dad. It will take a little while but eventually she will do it. With her strong personality it may take longer than most.

Give her choices: Do you want to do the dishes or take out the trash today? That way she feels some control over her life, but she has to do them by a certain time.

Hang in there, these are tough days, but your youngest is watching, will follow in her footsteps if he sees she got away with it.

Praying for you.

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answers from Houston on

Number 1--You are not your daughter's buddy--you are her Mother. As such, she is COMMANDED by God to respect her parents. When she acts the way she does, she is NOT abiding by that commandment, and SHE will have to reap the consequences. I know that you can't get in her face and tell her this sort of thing, but it needs to be communicated to her.

Number 2--Face it, mothers and daughters sometimes don't get along. My daughter absolutely hated everything about me until she had kids of her own. Then she began to realize that I did the best I could with her, and that mothering is not an exact science. There are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to deciding what's right for your child. That's where prayer comes in. I am so happy to say that after 15 years of feuding, we are finally friends. Thank you, Lord!

Number 3--You have already discovered the best way to "handle" your daughter's angry, disrespectful outbursts. Absolutely ignore HER. Something I learned a long time ago in raising a mentally handicapped son: "Any attention given to any behavior (good or bad) is reinforcing of that behavior." That means that even though you may get mad at her for what she says and does, this gives her some kind of positive feedback, and that's what she wants. If you ignore the behavior, she'll be forced to stop it. Create your relationship on YOUR terms. Stop giving her all the power.

Number 4--Bathe everything in prayer. God is faithful. He won't let you down. He'll show you the right path and give you the grace to walk it.

Hope this helps.

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answers from San Antonio on

Wow, S.,

I can just "feel" how very hurt and frustrated you are. I am deeply sorry. Your description almost seems like a classic case of the daughter being closer to the dad and the sons being closer to the mom, which psychologists love to tell us is the case. No doubt there is some truth in this claim even if it is not always this pronounced. Perhaps this predisposition is just genetically stronger in your family. And even though you have never been close to your daughter, I have known of quite a few women who became close to their moms AFTER they reach adulthood and had matured. So hold out your hope!

There are so MANY things that you are doing RIGHT: (1) you recognize that God IS in control; (2) you pray about issues (among other things, I'm sure); (3) your family attends church regularly; (4) have sought professional counseling for both you and your daughter when you recognized that the problem seemed beyond your ability to deal with it internal to the family; (5) you recognize that biological as well as environmental factors contribute to a person's nature (not all children in the home will be the same); (6) you are complimentary of your daughter and acknowledge her talents and accomplishments; and (7) you spend time with her one-on-one. In essence, there is SO MUCH to compliment you on. Just "keep on keeping on" in all of these things.

Here are some areas to ponder/evaluate:

(1) Because you mention imposing a "week of silence" in the relationship and say that your daughter stated that she would rather have you "yell at her that not talk to her" it makes me think that you may raise your voice at her more than you are aware. I believe this is a common pitfall of organized, authoritative people. I, too, am a take charge person and enjoyed a successful career with executive responsibilities. I was actually a "communications major" in college. LOL! But I learned, through marriage counseling, that I was not nearly as good a listener as I had previously thought. Thankfully, I did learn a lot in the sessions and I am a much better listener (and person) today. Before learning to "simply listen" my mind was always evaluating what my husband was saying "as he was saying it" and I was preparing a defense or counterpoint. In fact, he really did not WANT a counterpoint. He just wanted to be heard, in full, without me making a reply or observation. He is "wired" to express ALL of his idea - and in a sequence that is different from the way I would present. He needed to be able to state his views fully in order to not get off-track (unfortunately I am the "queen" of tangents). And, most interesting, I have learned that when I just provide non-verbal acknowledgment (such as eye contact and nodding) I generally learn much MORE about his thoughts and feelings than if I were responding and contributing to our discussion on a point-by-point basis. I also learned that I am theatrical and animated and tend to allow my voice to become a bit strident when I get wound-up in making a point. This was giving my husband the impression that I was angry when I was not angry at all. So, I now listen to my "voice quality and pitch" when we are involved in discussions. By keeping my voice metered and calm, we NEVER get sidetracked into disputes or ill-feelings. Perhaps you could evaluate your own interactions with your daughter and determine the dynamics of the interactions and your voice tone/quality. Once you see what works, then adapt your style to match the approach to which she best responds.

(2) I really don't like to read responses before I reply on Mamasource because I don't want to be influenced by others comments (I feel like when we receive repetitive suggestions or observations though this forum, then it simply reinforces their validity.) However, this time I accidentally ended up in the middle of the reply list and had to scroll up. I noticed some respondents questioned why your husband is not more involved as a disciplinarian. I feel compelled to offer my view that no one (not you, not me...) can make another person into someone or some thing that they are not! I believe it is futile (and frustrating) to attempt to change adults, if an objectionable action or behavior is naturally or has become a part of their "nature." People may "shape up" for a while and alter their actions based on what another person is pressuring them to do, but changes made to please someone else generally revert. [As I believe you would agree, only God can change a person's "nature" when we choose to believe in the work/promises of Christ Jesus.] So, rather than try to change your husband, look for "what works" in the way that he interacts with your daughter. Perhaps you will see something that you have missed that you could adapt into your relationship with her and at least you will appreciate the things he does well.

(3) Perhaps you need to adopt a limited set of formal "rules" for behavior in your household. This means you must set the expectations for what compliance looks like, so that you can take action when a rule is broken. When a rule is broken, there should not be shouting or animated gestures: just remove a privilege that would normally be available (i.e., no iPOD, no cell phone, no computer, no going to the mall, etc.) Don't exclude the boys from the rules just because they do not violate them. Don't exclude you and your husband from the rules because you feel privileged to practice different behaviors. The rules can be quite simple, but should be rules that everyone can/should live by, like:

- Respect each other.
(No yelling; no getting in one another's face; no leaving or engaging in some other activity when someone is talking to you; no cursing -- whatever applies)

- Complete all chores/assignments on time
(This requires assigning regular chores and the times in which they should be completed. This should also apply to completing homework and other regular and time-dependent activities.)

- Love each other.
(I would personally reference scriptures here, like Matthew 22:36-39, Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1-4 or Proverbs 17:6. Then make it part of "family discussions" to read the Bible and know what these scriptures say and how they apply to your lives and household harmony.)

(4) And last, you may just have to practice patience, S.. Situations like these rarely change dramatically over night. But you can pray for things to change as rapidly as possible. I encourage you to pray for your daughter to change her behavior; pray for your husband to provide leadership as the "spiritual head of your household"; pray for your own patience and the ability to see your actions clearly, without bias or hurt; and ultimately, pray for the peace that only Jesus can provide to rest upon your home and all family members every moment of every day. There is a scripture that you can cling to during this time. It is Romans 5:1-5. which says: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." It will be hard, but TRY praising God for this situation and asking Him to show you what he is doing that will ultimately accomplish His will. Persevere in this trial and try to look forward to the character that God is developing in you and in your family members and do not forego the HOPE that the verse promises.

Blessings and peace at this Christmas season,

Matthew 22:36-39 - "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'"

Colossians 3:20 - "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

Ephesians 6:1-4 - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

Proverbs 17:6 - "Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children."

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answers from Austin on

S. -

I cannot tell you how many girlfriends of mine have gone through this with their only daughters - keep the faith - every single one of them reconnected with their daughters after their daughters graduated high school and were starting college. Your daughter is only 13 and that is a hard age - you have to buckle down and keep your stance on what you believe is important, and let all the rest go. Do not give up because it is just that key love which you are giving your daughter - you are the one "heavy" that she counts on - she may not show you EVER but she knows that you love her so much that you make the boundaries, and expect her to follow - this will matter more to her later, unfortunately and this is your test here - that which boys do not give us so much. So, learn from your daughter - she is teaching you much about love that doesn't come easy - don't give up on her just as God does not give up on anyone that is harder to love - think of it this way. Keep your faith and I know this will be worth it - the teen years are few - make them memorable but keep your boundaries and remember the larger picture here - she will only be a teen for a few years, an adult for many! Good luck and hang in there - you can do this!


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answers from Corpus Christi on

My prayers are with you. Do not give up! I can tell by your letter that you know she is worth the trouble that you are going through. Kids really do want discipline. God never said it would be easy!
If she is active in her youth group at church, talk with the leaders and see if they ever deal with having respect for know, the COMMANDMENT that says to honor your father and mother?!
Keep up with your rules and let her know what the consequice will be if she does not follow....reward when you notice that she is doing things your way, even if she is still grumbling...small rewards... then, when things seem better(hopefully), reevaluate your expectations (rules) and maybe you will find some you can change. Listen to her complaints about your rules and see if there might be a compromise in there somewhere.
Talk to her friends moms...see how she is at their house and ask for suggestions. If you find out they are never around when your daughter is there, well, you might have to rethink her going over there...I think you can get the drift of where I am going.
Good luck, keep praying..know that she loves you

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answers from Austin on

Two things - do you know what her "love language" is? As in how she receives love? There is a great book - the Five Love Languages. In a nutshell - some people feel loved when someone spends time with them, some through physical affection, some through gifts, and many other ways. So, if you GIVE love in a certain way, but your daughter RECEIVES love in a different way, she may not feel loved at all.
Also, have you tried talking to her about it? Sitting down and saying - I see we are having these conflicts in our relationship (spell them out). I feel this way about it. I really want to have a close relationship with you. I want to know how you are feeling and what you think would improve our relationship. Make sure she knows you are still going to maintain the rules, though maybe there can be some space made for her needs. Also, make sure the conversation is a safe one - no defensiveness, no blaming. Good luck! I wish you the best.

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answers from Austin on


I've read a lot of the responses and most of them sound like they are filled with wonderful, helpful ideas. Since I'm not the mother of a teen yet I won't even attempt to advise you but I can tell you what happened to me and my opinion about that.

The first thing that came to mind for me, and unfortunately I can't keep to myself on this one, is why won't your husband get more involved on the discipline end? Being a previous teen daughter myself to a father who loved to give and give and give but never punished, my mother and I had a really rough go of it. Teens need boundaries and your daughters not getting them and doesn't respect the ones you're trying to set for her because she doesn't respect you. You may lay down the law but since her father has already won her heart by giving her attention and love that's all she is going to respect. I'd be willing to bet if you both switched rolls on whatever the next discipline situation is, she's a teen you know they'll be one, she will get a good lesson out of it. Have your husband be the disciplinarian and you be the one she can run to and you be the one with the open arms. If he's a loving father and has respect for you he will do this! Other wise he's setting his daughter up for some hard times as an adult woman. What happens now will reflect how she sees things in the future.

My mother and I still don't get along well because she grew to resent me and I learned to resent her at too young of an age and I've always looked at men as doormats. I know that sounds bad and I've had to work really hard to not be that person. After one ruined marriage I finally got the idea that I couldn't treat the men in my life like that. They aren't all pushovers and not all of them are doormats. I truly believe this came from the way I was raised. My dad gave into EVERYTHING I asked him for even with my mother sitting right there saying no. I saw that and I still remember that 30 years later. As I look back as an adult I really wish it would have been different. Deep down in my heart I wanted my dad to be harder on me but I couldn't help but push him as far as he would let me. There was no boundary with him. Only with my mother and in my twisted teenage hormonal mind, she became the enemy. And to this day we still view each other with resentment. And I even resent my dad some for letting me get away with everything. Instead of making me love him more by giving me everything I resent him for causing my mom and I to have such a bad relationship.

Fix it now before it's too late to fix and she grows up with these feelings. They can really have a profound effect on the rest of the relationships in her life. Go to family counseling if this helps but what ever you do you need to get your husband on board NOW or it won't make one difference.

Good luck.

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answers from College Station on

Hi S.,

I have to agree with Jen B. I don't have a daughter, but I do remember what it was like to be that age. I lost my mother when I was 11 and I went through some crazy things. That book captivating is awesome. It really helped me as a woman to understand myself better and what I went through and helped me come to a realization about my identity in christ as a woman. I wish I had read it sooner. Also, it does help if you and your husband shared the disciplene. Talk to him and then talk to your daughter. Pray first with your husband before confronting your daughter. Have faith in God, it will all work out. Neil T. Anderson has a great book called Victory over darkness its realizing the power of your identity in christ.Its awesome read too! Something I read once.
If you think your are beaten-you are.
If you think you dare not-you don't.
If you want to win, but think you can't,
It is almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose-you've lost.
For out of the world we find
That success begins with a fellow's will;
It's all in the state of mind.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or the faster man;
But sooner or later the man that wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
by J.C.Penny
Consider what the world has accomplished just by believing in itself. How more could we accomplish if we really believed in God. Let God guide you and leave all your troubles in his hands, he will help you and your daughter if you let him.
Philippians 4:19

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answers from San Antonio on

We adopted one of our sons when he was 11 years old (he's 14 now.) We went through some of the same things,just for different reasons obviously. S., you have to set the boundaries and your husband has to back you or set them for you himself. (STAND IN AGREEMENT!!) It sounds as if she has been allowed to do this for so long, that it's the standard she has come to expect.

You are trying to reach out to her and you're not getting the response you want, yet you keep trying. (Which as a mother, I understand.) What worked for us, however, was to simply STOP! We old our son how much we love him - and that nothing will take that away... that we will provide everything that he needs, but until he can show us the respect that we deserve, he is on his own in certain areas. Stop washing her clothes - show her how and then let her do it! Stop driving her everywhere - she can stay home for a while! Make her fix her own lunches rather than eatting at school (if she does), etc. Our priviledge (and obligation) it to provide food, BASIC (not designer) clothing and shelter. You already show her your love and you will just need to keep restating this to her during this time. You should not be stepping on egg shells and groveling to her needs and wants. I know this sounds harsh but, as a fellow Christian, God tells each of us that we are to put our priorities in the following order: God, our spouse and then our children. Children are to respect their parents, not parents try to earn their child's respect. There is no way she is going to respect you if she feels she has dominion over you. We did these very things I just suggested with our son and he has made tremendous changes!!!!!! He needed those boundaries to feel secure. We would talk the entire time about how much we love him and that we want him to grow up to be respected and loved by other... and that his behavior was going to cause just the opposite. Pacifiying a child at times is appropriate... but not all of the time! What we create then is a brat. I also talk to my kids about the character that they are developing now. Who and what do they want to be when they grow up?! (Not careers, but what they will stand for/who will they represent? Christ, I would hope?!) I've even had them write essays and then look up scripture to support it. There's a wonderful book called Scripture for Counseling Teens. (Set up by topic) The scripture reinforces who they are in Christ and what is expected of them in order to fulfill all they are meant to be. This will reinforce God's unconditional love for them, but also His expectations.

As parents, we have to lead by example, too. Sounds like the hardest part may be getting your husband to stand the ground with you. Set aside some time to help him understand why this is so important to you. Possibly the two of you could meet with a Christian counselor. It's important that HE shows you the respect, as his wife, by actively supporting you in this!

If it helps you feel better... I am an only child and was a daddy's girl, too. There were certain times that I needed my mom, and I had a feeling of closeness to her, but I always felt closer to my dad. Let's just say that if MY kids EVER talked to me the way I TALKED TO MY MOM... they would be in SO MUCH TROUBLE! I kept doing it though because I knew I could get by with it. I was truly hoping that she would stop me (as weird as that sounds!) One thing I will say, when mom reached her saturation point, dad backed her all the way. That made a world of difference to me as a kid... although my husband and I handle things in a completely different way and have four awesome children. (And, yes, they still get mad at us from time to time, but each of us say we're sorry when it's needed, forgive and keep moving on.) You can do this! Keep praying... God's there for you.

Visit: for scripture verses related to parenting, respecting parents and God's love for each of us. This has helped me so much in the past to get through those days of struggle with our son.

Blessings S.!

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answers from Austin on

Assuming that your daughter does well in school and her relationships with other adults and her friends are fine, then it is just the mother-daughter teen thing. The God factor doesn;t help, doesn't hurt (although praying about it is probably a good idea). You will note that this often happens with Preachers' kids.

Never stop talking to her. That is true rejection.

Accept that you cannot make her do anything. BUT you can make her sorry she didn't. You are still the adult in control. "Here are your chores and her are the consequences of not doing them". Be sure your boys also have chores and consequences, otherwise she will feel picked on. You can even rotate them. My kids had dishes and the kitchen pre dinner clean up the following day. The 3 took turns. No clean up, I didn't start dinner until the dishwasher was loaded/unloaded and sink empty.
Consequences should follow the offense. she has to do her own laundry, don't do it, wear dirty clothes.
Clean the bathroom by 5 PM Saturday. Don't do it, no going out nor having friends in until it is done.
A lot of this is usual teen angst. But she is begging you to be in control- kindly.
Mine always said she was moving out at 18 and not leaving a forwarding address. She lives less than 5 minutes from me now. So take heart. Teen age is not forever and she is suffering as much as you.

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answers from Austin on

Hi S., This is a very tough situation. I have had a lot of trouble with my daughter over the years, but we have always had a strong bond, a connection. I did breastfeed her , as well as my son until they were almost three- o.k. they were three. That helps in the early years. I am also a teacher, a mom and a Grandma and I have faced all different kinds of situations. It seems that your daughter is trying to play you and your husband against each other for affection and it has worked so far. This is not good. You must talk to your husband and work as a team. He needs to stand up to your daughter and not allow her to be disrespectful to you.He needs to back up any disciplinary steps that you take. This will help a lot. I do this with my assistant teacher and the kids know they can't get away with things with one person and not another. It will be a united front. I have done this with my husband at home. It does help that we are both spec. ed. teachers. It seems that your husband must support your decisions with the boys because they have different relationships with you.It also seems that your daughter really does want your love and support because she hates it when you do not speak to her. Try another counselor. Perhaps you could get one recommended from your church, or from her school counselor. A woman counselor would be good for her. Good luck. I had a terrible time with my daughter during her late teens and now that she is 26 we are close again. We dealt with drugs, sex and rock and roll and just made ourselves available to her even when she went to live with this horrible guy who was 29 when she was 18. It really upset us, but we convinced her to go to college adn now she has gone back and will actually graduate in the summer- fingers crossed. Things will improve. Do not lose faith. J. K.



answers from Odessa on

I was one of those daughters who did not have a good relationship with my mom. My dad died when I was 2 so I don't remember him but I've been told that I was a huge daddy's girl. He would have to come home from work during the day just to feed me and put me to bed because I'd have nothing to do with mom. I even called him mama! I've always looked at it as a cycle because my mother didn't get along with hers and grandmother didn't bond with her mother either. I was terrified of having daughters. I wanted nothing but boys because I couldn't bear to inflict the pain I went through on a child. My first born is a boy ..... exactly what I asked for, right? However, he is moody, stubborn, sarcastic ....... all traits I attributed to a female! What a shock it was to learn that he is EXACTLY like me!! He & I are incredibly close and can & do talk about everything and we always have. Everyone can see how close we are.

That brings me to my 2nd child. Since God gave me everything I ask for in my son, I KNEW my next one would be a girl. I was resigned to it. And I was right, my beautiful daughter was born 4 yrs after my son. From the moment she entered this world she cried. and cried and cried. I asked the nurse what on earth was wrong with her. She asked me how I felt giving birth, did it hurt? Well of course it did...I didn't have time to have any pain meds. So she looked at me and said..."So how do you think SHE feels? She's the one that got pushed out of your body." It was an eye opening statement. When we took her home she would have nothing to do with anyone but ME. UGH. I was tired. For 8 months we went through this. No one was allowed to touch her but me. As I was crying to my husband how tired I was, he explained to me that this was God's way making sure I didn't push my daughter away. This was her way of ensuring that I loved her. For 2 yrs I was her favorite play toy. As she grew she saw the connection that my son & I had. And she felt excluded. That I loved him more than her. I didn't, I just couldn't relate to her the same way. As much as my son trusted me and believed my word, she was distant from me in a lot of ways. My son told her once that as she got older that the best friend she could ever have would be me. I guess she believed him because sometime in the 7th grade we connected. I talk to her and she lets me into every corner of her life. She is the other half of my soul and I don't know what my life would be without her in it.

I'm sorry this is so long and I'm not sure I have any hard advice for you except that you stick with it. She may be feeling excluded from the bond you have with the boys and feels that she owes her loyalty & love to dad because he's an "outsider" too. She may think its him & her vs. you & her brothers. Take time to tell her about how excited you were when you found out you were pregnant with her. Tell her of why she is named what she is, that it was chosen especially for her. My daughter loved hearing about what made her so special. What kind of toddler was she. Share your memories of her with her. And never stop talking to her. Patience, love and LOTS of humor will get you through this. Good Luck!



answers from Austin on

Your relationship with your daughter sounds alot like my MOther-in-Law's relationship with my husband's younger brother. M has always gotten along just fine with his dad, but sparks fly between him and his mom. From an outsider's perspective, it always looked to me like M and MIL just communicate in different ways. MIL is very intensely communicative and family-centric, while M is more of a private person. They have always done fine on the phone, and they have a wonderful in-person relationship now that M no longer lives at home. So I'm sorry I can't help with your problem now, except to say that, hopefully, when your daughter finds her own communication comfort zone, this tension between you will ease like it seems to have done for my husband's family.



answers from Austin on

The way I see it, you and yoru husband have successfully let that child split you apart from the get go. You say no, she goes to Dad who gives it to her. So of course she is going to like Daddy more. This is teenage drama and a spoiled little girl. STOP giving in. MAKE your husband stand with you instead of with her!!!!! That is BS. All kids try this mess from the time they are babies, you were not supposed to give in. She will come back to YOU when she has kids. Boys are closer to Mom and girls are closer to Dad. In any teeange girls opinion, Attila the Hun would have made a better Mother. If your teenager hates you, then you must be doing a great job. Keep your chin up and know that she is just being a typical teenage girl and she will calm down eventually. Your husband has to get on YOUR bandwagon to make this work. He is making her cling to him becuase he is the "yes" man. Probably not deliberately, it is just easier to give in.



answers from Austin on

It sounds like you and your husband need to get on the same page where discipline are concerned. It sounds like your daughter is acting a bit entitled and your husband is just giving in to her; which is NOT helping your situation any. Your daughter sounds very much like my 13 yr old daughter. We went to counseling and I learned that I (1) my daughter felt like I was expecting nothing but perfection from her and (2) I'm sometimes hard to approach, so when my daughter was ready to open up and talk I wasn't exactly responsive and (3) my daughter felt threatened by my relationship with her younger sister.

It's still a work in progress, and will take time; but you have to keep setting aside time for your daughter. Just make an offer for a mom/daughter activity and leave it up to her on whether or not to join you. Don't take it away if your daughter is in trouble, take something else away - that was the hardest one for me. Also, think about the consequences for your daughter's actions. When she yells and screams at you, what is your response? It might make her stop and think a bit if you stay calm and simply leave the house. What if you AND your husband refuse to take her somewhere or refust to give her money to do something with friends...what would her reaction be? You AND your husband have to stay a united front with whatever discipline decision has been made. Finally, be prepared for your daughter to act out a bit when she realizes that you're changing the rules. My daughter tried everything she could think of to still get the rise out of me. Stay your ground. It will take time; but I do think things will get better. Best of luck!



answers from San Antonio on

I feel for you. That must be very hard on you, and your whole family. There could be a lot of things going on here, and I would recommend that you and your daughter, the whole family at home if possible, go to a competent family therapist.

Perhaps your daughter is jealous of the extremely close relationship you have with her brothers. She is Daddy's little girl, and that has become important to her self identity. Yet, she probably longs to have a good relationship with you, but she just doesn't know how.

As for respect, have you ever read any of the Love and Logic parenting books by Jim Fay? They are excellent! I think they have one on teenagers also. Your local library or school counselor may have a copy to lend you. I have a challenging child, my 3rd, and even though I had no problems with disciplining his two older siblings, I needed a few pointers in dealing with him. Also, it is very important as one person said that you and your hubby maintain a united front, but you BOTH have to agree on what that front should be. Perhaps he is too easy, but maybe you swing to far the other way to compensate?

She is 13, and the hormones are kicking in big time. That is going to change the way the way she thinks and acts, and it is hard on her figuring out her body. Keep trying to do things together, and do not talk about the past when you are together. Just be in the moment and enjoy what you are doing at that time.



answers from Houston on

Hi S.,
I too had a daughter like yours. Unfortunately it did not get better until she went to college. For some reason I could never do anything right in her eyes. She never wanted her friends to come over always wanted to go to their homes and hang out and loved their moms. When she was at home she would hang out in her room, talk on the phone, be on the computer and never had any desire to come downstairs and hang out with the family. She hated watching TV so she said there was no reason to come downstaris. Now she did not yell in my face and did not tell me that I could not make her do things, so she had respect for me when I asked her to complete chores. It was very difficult to understand her behavior and extremely frustrating. She started changing in her senior year of high school and finally "maturing" somewhat. She comes home now and actually hangs out with us, takes the younger ones shopping, to the movies and seems to be the daughter I had always wanted her to be. A lot of her friends she had in high school she really doesn't hang with much any more as she has made new friends who seem to be very nice, not that the others weren't but they were very stand-offish towards me because I'm sure she talked bad about me to them and they were supporting her. I know she feels guilty now because a few comments have come out about small regrets she has. So just keep hanging in there, and know you can make her do things like chores because you are in control. Just take away what matters to her the most, like her phone, tv, computer and tell her that you are her mother and you deserve respect and her loyalty. You will no longer continue to put up with her bad attitude and she will not get in your face and yell any longer. You will no longer take her places either until she starts appreciating your love for her and your desire to be a good mom to her. And by that I mean she starts treating you with respect by doing what you ask of her without giving you grief and yelling in your face. When she decides to start acting right and helping out and being respectful is when you will start doing things for her again. She may give you a hard time in the beginning, but she will learn that it is better to please you than fight/yell at you and hopefully you two will be closer because it sounds like she is wanting to be disciplined, and it doesn't seem like that is happening. Good luck, be tough, and I hope this helps. Just follow thru with what plan you decide to use. Make sure your husband stands behind you and supports you in every way until you feel the situation is under control. By the way, I have 8 children, 4 girls and 4 boys and if it makes you feel better, the boys have always been easier and happier than the girls. The girls are very hormonal and sassy, and with her being 13, she is definitely going thru the wonderful "teenage" years! Take care!



answers from Beaumont on

Focus on now---you are the mom, and she needs your guidance, the more so if she fights it! If not talking to her is the way to get her attention, do it...if she's rude to you, take away privileges; don't let her hang out with the "fun" moms who are probably allowing age-inappropriate behavior to go on at their homes. Don't slight the youngest child...enjoy your relationship and let your daughter see what a happy relationship looks like. Keep in mind, though, that it's easier to have a thirteen-year-old than to be one, and be loving and firm in your determination to "raise her up in the way she should go."



answers from Austin on

Wow, S., you have a tough one here.
First, 13 is a very tough age. I never knew with my 2 girls who was coming down the stairs in the morning; my sweet little girl, a grown up best friend, or a screaming banshee, or a moody silent person. I was lucky that I usually got one of the first 2.
Second, reading a little between the lines, you may be being a little tough on her. I'm thinking of when she said she would rather have you yelling and getting after her all the time. Ease up some. Say CALMLY what you expect to be done and what the consequences are if it isn't done, then follow through. No yelling, no nagging. (I say this, but it doesn't mean I could always do it either).
Third, please reconsider counseling. Ask at your church if they have someone who can help the two of you understand each other better. You've gotten into a negative cycle with each other, and you, as the adult, need to be the one to break it. Try for a week, being ONLY loving, NOTHING negative. Get your husband involved and tell him you expect him to be the disciplinarian for a while. The world will NOT come to an end if the dishes don't get washed or the dusting done.
I wish you all the best with this. Our relationships with our kids are so important, and you're on the right track trying to improve the one with your daughter.



answers from Houston on

I feel compelled to respond, but I will try to make it short and sweet. I was a VERY difficult child. I hated my mom, the pressure to fit in and be popular/skinny/boys etc... was alot. I stole my mothers credit cards, I ran away from home, I did drugs, I even hit my mother at one point in time. I was a know it all and could not wait to get away from my family! I did not know how to control my anger and I did not understand all the emotions I was having.
Anyway, Im now 40 and my mother is the best friend I have ever had or ever will have. Once I got out on my own and realized I didn't know everything, she was the one I could always count on and was always there for me. She didn't reprimand me when I got pregnant at 19, she didn't tell me how disappointed she was with me when I needed to move back home (3 times) to get back on my feet. She continued to believe in me and show unconditional love and support. Not in a giving in way, but supportive.
Im still a single mom, but I have a successful career in marketing and my 19 year old daughter is a Chemical Engineer major at Texas A&M. My daughter would not be where she is at if it wasn't for the love and support of my mother. Not saying my daughter has not been very difficult at times! When that happens, I always call or e-mail my mom to appologize for the heartache and pain I caused her. She responds by telling me I am the light in her life and for me to never forget that and it was all worth it to get to where we are at today.
It took me a while to realize that and now when I get the chance to take a vacation, the only place I want to be is where my mother is at. I will always be there for her the way she has always been there for me, even when I didn't realize it. Don't give up on her and don't walk away!



answers from Houston on

I agree with a PP suggestion of getting a therapist. You might find out what some of the underlying things are. My mom thinks she has a great relationship with my sister, but my sister thinks she's nuts and doesn't like her at all. She's a good pretender. :) But I'm not.

Well, I don't know you or your daughter, but I can share with you what happened with me and my mom and maybe you'll see one or two similarities, and maybe you won't.

When I was born I was 4 weeks early. They had me in the nursery but I screamed ALL THE TIME! They couldn't do anything with me and I'm sure from the baby's point of view the hospital was a scary and horrible place. They took me to Mom and I stopped crying so they left me with her. When we got home, though, things were different. I never wanted her to hold me, I screamed until she put me down. As it turns out I am touch sensitive (among other things.) This started the chain of resentment. She still holds things against me that I did when I was a toddler!

I am a very sensitive person emotionally and can pick up on negative vibes around me. So although she SAID she loved me and TRIED to get to know me I still pushed her away because she freaked me out. I didn't like the way she smelled (oranges) I didn't like the way she talked. And it just got worse. The more I resisted her the more she resented me the more I resisted her!

Now, I should say that she is a very controlling and manipulative person and she has NO friends. none she spends time with anyway. She is very insecure and needs constant affirmation from others to feel worth. For instance, if she gives you a glass of juice you must say "This is wonderful juice, mom, thank you so much for getting it for me" and mention it again at least one more time before it is finished. Whereas most people accept a simple "thanks!"

I just don't jive well with people like that. And so even as a baby I recognized this serious conflict in personality and combining it with her fear or rejection we just fed off each other.

I really don't think that we will EVER be friends. Honestly, I don't want to be friends with her. She lives on our property and so I have to see her but she will always look at me as her child who must obey and I will always look at her as a needy and insecure woman who thinks she has to control everything and everyone around her.

I'm sorry, wish I could give you more hope. Mom always told me when I get married and have kids I would appreciate her more but I think it just got worse.

OH, I should talk about me and my girls. My oldest is almost 6 and she is very much like me. She is stubborn and independent and wants everything her way. I struggle with liking her. Its really hard! She was born two months early and was in the NICU for a long time and then when she came home, like I was, was very sensory sensitive and screamed all the time, especially when she was tired or when we were in the car or when we were in a store. I couldn't bond with her (who can bond with a baby who cries all the time, doesn't let you sleep or eat or shower...)

#2 daughter was also early and in the NICU. They wouldn't let me nurse her and when I brought her home she completely rejected the breast. She was also on monitors and had to stay in the bedroom ALL THE TIME! so I didn't get a bonding opportunity with her till she was 1 1/2 months old! We never bonded either. She doesn't reject me but she is definitely her father's daughter. She won't let me hold her, she doesn't hug and kiss me, she almost acts like I don't exist. But she LOVES her daddy! and I'm ok with that. Sure, I regret not having a close relationship with my oldest two daughters (will be 6 in Jan and 5 in Feb) but I'm not overly worried about it. If it happens, it happens. When they are in their teens, I don't know what life will be like. I hope they will at least be nice to me, as I homeschool!

S., mom to 4 girls and 1 boy


answers from Houston on

Hey S.,
Sorry to hear you are going through this. First of all I think the best thing is to forgive your daughter for all the hurt she has caused you and any rejection she has shown you. You can just do that in your prayer time with the Lord of course. Next forgive your husband for any way you feel he has contributed to this situation over the years. Doesn't mean you have been perfect or anything, it just gets your heart clear of hurt you have accumulated during this situation. If she does something new, make sure to forgive quickly to keep your heart fresh. And again, of course I am not suggesting not to discipline her but those stinging comments and disrespect have a real way of adding up and continuing to create distance between you two. I know you have prayed your heart out over this, but as you pray just keep asking God how to be her mom, for wisdom in how to raise her to become who he made her to be. Finally, if you can, let go of your need to be close to her and just be the mom she needs. I know that sounds so tough! But God can give you the grace to do it. If she can sense how much she gets to you, she can use her erratic emotions to manipulate you and make you feel like a big meany. I think in her case just focusing on giving her what she needs from you is all you can do. I think you will be friends but maybe not for a while. Oh, one more thought, how was your relationship with your mom? If there were difficulties, then I would pray for all old things to be washed away and just declare a new and healthy relationship for you and your girl. Have you heard of the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge? It is so fabulous and talks about the heart of being a woman and deals a lot with mother daughter relationships. If you can get a copy of it I highly recommend it. Anyway, best wishes to you, and God bless!!



answers from Houston on

So she is 13 and hormones are all the rage. Her friends and everything she sees on TV and magazines influence her to be her own person and parents don't count. She is grown and wants to get to make her own decisions. (These are generalities and I realize may not identify your daughter totally but they do affect her at least some.)

You need to decide how you want things. Every detail. From how the house run, how you are treated, common curtacies (spelling, sorry) among family members, who has what chores, when to be done, how to do, whatever. It is your and your husbands house. It is the kids house too but only secondary to it being your house. You make the rules and they obey or get out. Even at 13 surely she can understand GET OUT. I know that sounds harsh but she wants to play grown-up in her attitude towards you then she can take all the responsibilities of grown-up. Would you continue to make friendship outing arrangements with some other female friend who treats you the way your daughter treats you? Would you invite them over for dinner or go to their house if they spoke to you that way? Probably not. I know she is your daughter but she has a responsibility for this relationship too. You were not given her by God to bully her or to be runover by her. Sure it would have been nice for this to have had some sort of fix earlier but we are not there now. We are here and starting now is all we have to work with.

It's hard for me to feel which is best for you 2. 1, my mom does not believe in parent/child friendships. She has stated many times that we are not friends. She loves us dearly and will do anything for us that she possibly can. But, she is the parent and we are the children. Period. Thats the roles and that sets up the layout of authority. Like it. 2, I have more of a friendship with my girls. I am still the parent and make the rules. They don't challenge me much and usually all goes well. They can and do share with me more than I can share with my mom but I honestly don't think that the respect is there as much. So there it is, parent or friend. Either way she isn't participating in either one of these arrangements.

So you decide how you want to be and just start being that way. The real you. Maybe or maybe not the you that has been. Any changes might really suprise the others but so what. If you don't want to be spoken to disrespectfully then don't allow it. Get that person away from you. Certainly you wouldn't give this person money or buy them presents, or do their laundry or cook their food, or let them sit at your dinner table, or anything. Are you the financial sponsor of badly behaving people? They are ugly to you and don't deserve your time or attention. If she wants in your inner circle then she just might have to try hard to get there or to deserve it. Only speak happy, cheerful, and calmly. There is no argument, just facts. There are certain things you do not allow in your house. Being disrespectful to you is the first thing, acting ugly and throwing fits is the second. Make all rules clear and clean. Bed times. Curfews. Allowed activities. Allowed other people. Computer limits. Phone limits. Texting limits. Girlfriend/Boyfriend limits. How much and type of music. Video games. Whatever. The list is almost limitless. Think it through. Pray. Write it down. Discuss with husband. Pray. Agree. Pray. Inform everyone in a very calm, almost Stepford Wives type calm, family meeting. DO NOT GET UPSET AT ANYTHING. No matter what response you get don't let them find a weakness. Don't let them know there are any buttons to push. Even serve refreshments for the meeting. They might think you are announcing vacation plans because it all looks so pleasant. These aren't just rules for the daughter. They are house rules. They will probably affect your daughter more but so what. It sounds like she is the most out of line of the kids.
My mom is a heavy disciplinarian and I am a slightly less so. Now days you can get in trouble from the police or CPS for the things my mom would do. If you spoke to her disrespectful you might just get slapped across the mouth, and hard, not just a gesture. You certainly weren't willing to try it again. My mom solved the problem the first time it came up. The rules were the rules and as long as you were within the rules there were no problems whatsoever. My mom was not a killjoy or fuddyduddy. She could get quite crazy sometimes: bikini in the snow for pictures, she made us a haunted house once, she could make up great stories to tell in the evenings(somehow the mother figure was always the hero, ha ha). I'm just telling this so you see that the harsh disciplinarian is not just a harsh person or difficult parent. My mom was a very accomplished person and had high expectations that were hard to meet.

For me, I loose my temper some. Kids can push buttons. My biggest problem is being too nice for too long about something and then loosing it all at once cause no-one respects what I said the first several times. I have told them that I do not appreciate having to 'be someone I don't even like' in order to get them to care about what I said. It's not fair. It took me awhile to see that it wasn't helping me or them. I am not the yeller or meany. For the great majority of the time my kids are exceptionally well behaved. They get on each other nerves and are cranky when tired, both natural and expected, but thats when we have problems and since I am also tired that's when I loose it. It ends the otherwise good day on a bad note. I am starting to be the person I want to be and I just laugh in their face when they try old junk. I give them chores and then just observe the outcome. When they want to go to Toys-R-Us or wherever or they ask for something at the checkout at the grocery store I say very syrupy sweet (almost sarcastically)"why I don't believe you did XYZ earlier(or the other day) when I asked you". When they yell at each other I just say "can you two please go outside". The first time they asked me "to do what?". I said,"just go outside, I don't allow yelling in my house". Their mouths fell open. They shut up. I made them go outside and sit on the porch anyway. It's amazing how much less I have to say anything. And I don't have to yell anymore. I am not pushed to be the person I don't even like now.
I hope this helps.

Please don't be mad at me. I have to address the biggest problem here though. Your husband. This can work but will be infinately harder if he isn't participating. You two are a team and should function as one. He is supposed to have your back and you his. If he does not agree to the rules and the discipline then it will be sabotaged. That is the weakness and your daughter will exploit it. I figure that is what she has been doing all along. He should be a disciplinarian in the house too, but maybe he just can't do it, I don't know him or how far you can push to change him. So at the very least can you get him to agree not to interfere with your discipline? She shouldn't be allowed to go to him when she gets an undesirable response from you. He should not give in or change the rules for the moment just because she is throwing a fit, crying, or pouting, or yelling.

On a completely different note. Make sure it is not medical. Get blood work and hormone and enzyme profiles done. Give her a good vitamin everyday and make sure she is asleep from 11-2 because that is when the circadian rhythms work best for good sleep.

Good Luck and God Bless.



answers from Houston on

Gosh S. I really feel for you. From the time my daughter was 12 till she was a senior in high school, she was sub-human. She is 27 now and we are best friends. Most of the time during those years, we did not get along. However, the only times she was bold enough to "get in my face", I was bold enough to slap her jaws. That was enough to get her attention. Disrespect was not an option for her as far as I was concerned. You cannot let her run over you. It isn't the end of the world if she isn't talking to you.

You also have the option to stop some of her extra curricular activities. They ARE optional. She can have her own opinion but "getting in your face and yelling" is not acceptable. You need to get her attention in some way.

I can't tell you how many times my DD has apoligized to me since her son arrived and he is only 6 .... LOL Keep the faith Mom!



answers from Austin on

You need to get Dad to be involved with the discipline. You need to have a united front.

You can take privileges away if she refuses to do housework. My mother took away my sister's make-up and designer clothes and put them in the trunk of her car.

Respect is so important. Maybe try positive reinforcement. Really praise her when she is doing something right. Go out of your way to notice and comment.

Also, have you talked to her friends' mothers? What are they doing that makes them so much cooler than you?

Have you tried getting the youth minister at your church to talk to her about the importance of respecting adults, esp your parents?

There is still hope. She could come around in several years. You may have a truly great relationship when she is an adult. She may look back and know that you loved her.

Don't give up.



answers from Houston on

You will have a beautiful relationship with your daughter when she is grown and she has a kid. She will be able to relate to you as an equal then. Why throw in the towel you have done it for all these years so do not stop being HER MOTHER. There is a lesson at lifeway for the two of you. Ask her to commit 15 minutes a day for 30 days and you the same. The lesson book is called "30-days to getting to really getting to know each other" Do it faithfully and the two of you will be changes FOREVER! The book costs around $30. Your child sounds like a child that likes what you do but I would STOP yeling at her--that means YOU are out of control not her. I have 7 children aged from 21 years to 21 months. My teenagers at 12 have done this lesson and it helped all of them so far and us as parents too. Each child is different-God made them that way!


answers from Austin on

Hi S.:

She sounds angry. Yes, it could be preteen and teenage drama, but you mentioned that she never bonded with you as a small child either. So, it sounds like something happened or has festered to make her become resentful... Maybe its just 'middle child syndrome', but she was much older by the time her youngest brother came along, so that doesn't make sense in regard to her younger years.

Do you want to be friends with her, but only according to your terms, your values, or your preconceived expectations? Maybe she feels like she isn't good enough or that she doesn't measure up (to how you see her brothers?) or always disappoints you regardless of her academic achievements? Maybe she feels like you are more critical of her than her brothers?

You mention you've sought counseling for her. Have you & her considered seeing a relationship counselor instead of seeking counseling just for her? Perhaps if you and her did joint therapy, she might finally feel comfortable enough to open up and criticize/tell you what it is that is pushing her away from you?

By the way, I do think you are a great mom... family dynamics plus each child's particular needs are hard to juggle. I don't mean for my response to sound critical. Please don't interpret it that way. My brother and I were only 19 months apart and he grew up acquiring the impression that I was the "wonder child" and he was the "maverick"... the dark sheep... the disappointment.. the problem child. Even as an adult, he unfortunately has not been able to shake that persona and to me, it is the root of many bad decisions and low opinion of himself.

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