Support for Mom's with Teenage Girls

Updated on February 28, 2008
N.M. asks from Edmonds, WA
5 answers

I have a 14 year old daughter wanting to grow up too fast and she has such a negative attitude for everything.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your advice, I do have her in counseling but that isn't going well. I am also in counseling and seems to be helping me. Thank you again.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

I know what you mean...I have a 13 year old daughter (and a 6 year old daughter who now thinks she's 13). While we don't have some of the challenges you have, my daughter too has a very negative, sassy attitude. For my daughter, she seems to be much happier and more pleasant when she's involved and busy doing her music and sports. When she spends too much time texting or IMing on the computer, she gets pretty mean.

Have you tried getting her involved in sports or any other activities she might have interest in? It's not too late for her to reverse her bad decisions and get back on track.

Hang in there, talk to and listen to your daughter. It's not that she doesn't want to be with YOU, but you are the one who is there for her and you have to do both sides of the parenting, and that is a hard job. She loves you. She is, however, a teenage girl. Most of them don't like the person putting limits on their lives. She will outgrow this, probably soon. In the mean time, listen to her and be there for her. I know a great teen counselor if you're interested. (I'm absolutely NOT suggesting she needs it, sometimes it's just helpful to have someone else to talk to! That goes for you, too! :-) )

I hope some peace will come to you and your daughter very soon!



answers from Seattle on

Wow, Nancy - what a tough spot to be in. I don't have any daughters of my own but my step-daughter came to live with us when she was right about that same age and it was quite a challenge for all of us.

I guess a few thoughts come to mind that I hope might help -

Try not to feel guilty about it, but understand that the big changes in her life were not of her choosing so she is grieiving. To her it probably feels something like the death of a loved one and she is feeling sad, angry and powerless.

Some things to consider that might help:

First of all try to find a way to talk with her - especially to listen to her and her feelings. Ask her what she would like her life to be, what activities or situation does she think would make her happy. Have her visualize what her perfect world would be like. Try to give her some feeling of control of her life back by thinking of ways to help get her involved with an activity that she's interested in.

If you haven't already, explain patiently and lovingly why you needed to make the changes you made in your life and that you are sorry that she feels her life was impacted negatively. Tell her you love her no matter what and that understand that she feels angry, sad and powerless and that you want to do what you can to help her work through this but that it isn't possible to go back to the life she lost.

If possible, try to find an activity you can do TOGETHER to have fun and rebuild your relationship. Ideally something on a regular basis. Something involving physical exercise would be the best to help her (and you) relieve stress - a dancing class, running together, aerobics, swimming, going to the gym, bike riding, hiking, horsebackriding etc.

There are all sorts of charitable organizations that need volunteers or hold events that you could sign up for work on together.

But consider anything (within reason) that she'd like to do even if it's just going out to lunch, dinner, renting a movie and eating pizza or getting a pedicure together.

There will probably be ups and downs and drama but keep working on it and you'll get through this together!

Best wishes,




answers from Seattle on

I have a 17 year old and her attitude comes and goes. She makes good decisions for herself but gets embroiled in her friends bad decisions. My sister-in-law gave me the best advice which I started when my kids were younger than yours but might work for you. She said that she kept her kids so busy doing the activities that they love that they didn't have time to get into trouble. My other sister in law didn't follow that rule and her 14 year old got pregnant. Find out what activities she wants to try out or pursue and get her involved. She will meet new people who are motivated and driven to succeed at something. You will sacrifice your time significantly and it is exhausting. She won't appreciate that you have no life right now but she will later when she looks back. As a single mom you will face other trials because you are the only bread winner but you have to establish a car pooling relationship immediately and if her dad doesn't want her moving in then maybe he can buck up for her activities. My daughter joined the Seattle Girls Choir and within the first month we were carpooling with another family (the mom didn't work outside the home and I did). It won't cure everything but it might give you piece of mind.




answers from Seattle on

Im not at that age with my boys yet, but i would have to say the both of you and her alone see a counselor. I went to one for different reasons and it realy helped. If you need her # write me back and i will give it to you. She is far from you but i think she said she has an office south from the marysvill area. Im not sure about the advice im about to give but... Is her step dad a guy you could trust helping you raise her? Would he be willing? If he could "do" it would it be best? You may need alittle of that help. Im not sure what to say. I wish you the best of luck!!!!!!!



answers from Seattle on

I know how painful it is to deal with a child who is acting out and behaves as if she hates you. I used to wonder, what happened to my happy, beautiful little girl. The good news is that she is back now, but it was a long, hard road for both of us.

Children often act out when families go through divorce. One kid expresses all the anger, frustration and grief the whole family is experiencing. It's like they can't help it. Someone has to be the release valve on the pressure cooker of the family system in distress.

Go to a really good family systems therapist with your daughter ASAP. I went through a similar divorce situation years ago, and my 12 year old daughter had a very tough time. She did well in school, but was very difficult at home, bullied younger siblings, and made some poor choices.

I didn't have the right kind of professional support back then (good family systems therapist), and it took 6-10 years before she mellowed out, and more years after that of therapy and relationship mending to heal the distress she went through at the time of divorce. Today she is a very smart, kind, wonderful young woman, and has made many positive changes, AND she is still working on pieces of it.

There is also a dynamic in families that occurs when a child dies, as in the case of your 2 year old, Lorisa. (Two of my babies died.) The children on either side of her will unconsciously try to fill Lorisa's place in the family. This is a burden they take on unknowingly, and it is not their's to carry. A good therapist can help bring this hidden dynamic to light, and elicit resources within the family for a healthy resolution for everyone.

If your daughter absolutely refuses to go to the counselor with you, then go by yourself. You need and deserve the help you want to navigate these rough waters. Receiving help for yourself strengthens you as a mother, and therefor strengthens your daughter and entire family. At some point she may be willing to go to counseling with you. If possible, bring the entire family into session with you. A world of healing is possible if you know where to look.

You have been wise to seek advice from the Mamasource forum. Keep loving your daughter and yourself through the hard times. I wish you well, my friend! K. H

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