Teenager's Bad Attitude During Family Weekend Vacation-consequences?

Updated on October 04, 2017
K.C. asks from Tampa, FL
19 answers

What sort of consequence, if any, would you suggest for a 15 year old-almost 16 girl who had a real bad attitude during a family weekend out of state? We were away for some family business but also wanted to do something fun. We set aside a day to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame which all of us wanted to do. Unfortunately, my daughter had pretty much been sullen and quiet the day before and pretty much on the drive to the hall. It wasn't that time of the month, so that wasn't an issue. We asked if she was sick as the night before she had a bit of a stomach ache, but that day she said she was feeling fine. We offered to get her meds if she needed, but she said not needed. Finally, after my husband was trying to goof around and get her to smile, she did a little, but then sunk back into her mood. She and her sister were talking and having some fun, but she was just miserable around us. Finally my husband got really irritated and basically decided not to do the hall and stormed off. The kids walked through and I waited in the lobby. My daughter finally came over and apologized to me. Her apology to my husband later that night wasn't as sincere sounding, though, and he thinks she should have a consequence for her bad attitude. Personally, I was pretty irritated with her myself as we talked to her prior to going away to make sure she has her attitude in check because she is fairly notorious in getting very self absorbed and not especially understanding when it comes to others needs. So we tried to address it before we left to help her know what was to be expected from her (have fun, communicate needs, etc). My husband storming off, I know wasn't the best thing to do, but he did it. Now he is just angry, probably at me, probably at himself, and just frustrated with our daughter. He is set on dealing out a punishment otherwise, he doesn't think she will ever get it that the bad attitude is just not allowed. Granted, he knows she's a teenager and that's how they are, he just lets it get to him. Our younger daughter "gets it" and doesn't seem to have this type of issue (though she is not perfect, lol) so it's tough, because her attitude is better, husband tends to act more gracious and happy around her than the older one. We are probably going to give a consequence, just not sure what. Thanks for reading.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. I read each and every one and some made me laugh, some gave me serious pause for thought, and some I will tuck away for future reference. My husband and daughter went out to dinner and talked about the weekend. In the end, they are both more at peace with each other and seem happier. He apologized as well. The I-Pad is going away as well as the cell phone (except for school use) for a little while. Though most of you advised not to "punish" we went with a consequence. I shared some of these ideas with hubby and next time I expect we will both handle it differently and hopefully better from a parent standpoint. Oh, and for those of you who were confused about the activity, it was actually my daughter who wanted to do the BHOF. :) Thanks again.

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answers from Boise on

Eh I wouldn't punish her for not feeling good. sheesh. She said she was sorry.


Eh I wouldn't punish her for not feeling good. sheesh. She said she was sorry.

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answers from Anchorage on

The cell phone was exactly what I was going to suggest. Yes she is allowed to feel her emotions but when she gets inconsiderate and ruins everyone else's good time she does need a consequent so she can learn to be considerate of others.

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answers from New York on

So, your husband wants to punish a child for having "baditude" after he acted like a jerk, too? Hmmmmm....

Things that aren't allowed at my house: name calling, swearing, hitting, stealing, lying. I would never try to govern someone's attitude as long as they were not actively interfering in the activity by doing one of the things that are not allowed as listed above.

I think the most alarming statement is "he doesn't think she will ever get it that the bad attitude is just not allowed." Holy sh**. Add to the fact that your husband acted like a child when he didn't get his way of making her have a better attitude, and all I can say is just "wow."

Finally, why is your husband mad at YOU? It is bad enough he is ticked at his daughter for having feelings, but how did you end up in trouble as well? You said "Now he is angry, probably at me . . ."

Both you and your husband need a serious reality check - my guess is she must be the oldest, poor thing.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What was "expected of her" was to "have fun"??!! That's ridiculous! Forced fun - that is an oxymoron, lol!

People are allowed to have bad moods. What people are NOT supposed to do is use the bad mood as an excuse to storm off and hide without communicating. Let's see, who did that...oh yes, YOUR HUSBAND!

Your husband owes the family an apology.

You said yourself that your daughter was being nice to her younger sister - that's plenty! Consider the day a win, with teenagers!!

(Oh and - analyzing whether or not your daughter is having her period? Yuck. In many ways, yuck. News flash - women can have moods without it being connected to menstruation!)

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hmm, so when your husband doesn't get to control the behavior of people around him, he stomps off with a bad attitude and ruins everyone's day. And you wonder where your daughter learned this behavior? Teens are supposed to be moody, what's his excuse?

I think you need to let this go. And next time, handle it differently. If she is being moody, tell her that she can wait in the car (or in her room if you are at home) until she is in a better mood while the rest of you continue with the plans for the day. She can rejoin the family when she's ready to be pleasant to everyone. Otherwise, don't acknowledge her behavior.

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answers from Norfolk on

Dictating peoples feelings seems to be an effort doomed to failure.
So your daughter is moody sometimes - who isn't?
You talked about it - made sure there was nothing anyone could do.
That should have been end of story.
But NOooo!
Your husband has to throw a tantrum.
He's an adult - what's his excuse?
Sometimes the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
So if Hubby gets pissed over a teenagers moods - he needs to take a good long look in a mirror - put his big boy pants on and try acting like an actual grown up.
He wants consequences?
HE is the one who NEEDS the consequences.
How about he takes daughter out to dinner so they can talk and enjoy themselves and he can apologize for acting like a jackass.
If he can model the behavior he'd like to see - maybe daughter can manage to be a little less moody sometimes.

The more I think about it the more it seems to me your whole family has an anger management /communication problem.
Maybe the whole family could stand some therapy to work on it.
That sounds like a consequence that everybody could use and it would go a long way to actually solving something.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

An attitude is something we can't really control. We may feel down, for no apparent reason. We may feel a strong dislike for a task, or a person. We may feel really peaceful even when things are crazy around us. An attitude can be affected by certain things, in the environment (a gloomy rainy day for example), by the people around us, by diseases or disorders, by hormones, or by medications. Punishing someone for his or her attitude makes no sense whatsoever.

What does make sense is learning or teaching how to deal with the attitude. That is what we can control. A person may be having a bad day, but that doesn't allow him or her to smash things, curse at loved ones, or ruin everyone's day. It certainly doesn't allow a grown man to try to get a teen who's feeling down to get goofy and smile and then stomp off when it doesn't work.

If your daughter was simply being sullen and quiet, a better way to handle it would have been to just give her some space. If she was kicking one of your other kids or using bullying tactics to harm one of your family members, that should have been addressed immediately.

I suggest that you learn to say "honey, it seems like you just need some time to be quiet, maybe listen to soothing music, or just close your eyes and rest. When you're ready, join the family, ok? It's acceptable to just need some time, as long as you're not being rude to anyone."

Being expected to have fun is just inappropriate parenting. Your daughter may not understand why she's feeling blue, and being expected to be able to communicate needs is unreasonable. Again, she should be expected to behave in a basic polite manner. That is what should be expected.

You need to step up and help her understand that there are times when she may be feeling down, and help her learn some coping techniques. Breathing exercises, closing her eyes for a few minutes, some Yoga or similar soothing activity are examples. Teach her that in some circumstances she must overcome feeling sullen. For example, when visiting great-aunt Edna in the nursing home. A basic level of politeness, a smile, sitting with the family while great-auntie tells the same story she tells every time, etc, is expected.

But to make those same demands when it's simply a museum visit, or time to eat supper, or to demand that a person manipulates his or her attitude to match everyone around him or her, is simply unreasonable.

My daughter is a young adult, and she is definitely in very poor health, and also has anxiety and depression. Sometimes she just needs to be quiet and left alone. Is it what we would prefer? Of course not. But she's dealing with issues that we don't have, and we need to respect that as long as she's safe and not causing any harm to anyone or anything, it's ok to be quiet with her thoughts.

Your daughter needs compassion, not consequences. She needs to know that she's allowed to be quiet, to retreat within herself as long as it's reasonable (not months spent alone in a dark room, but just a few hours of quiet), and that her personality and feelings will be respected. She needs to learn that it's ok, as long as she's behaving in a reasonably polite manner out of respect for others around her who may be enjoying themselves.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My first instinct when I read this was to say she could wait in lobby, while the rest of you had gone through the hall of fame. That's how we would have handled it. We've been in that situation and that worked.
Attitude is something I find needs to be addressed at the time. Having a consequence now seems kind of odd (to me anyhow).
I can't help but notice that perhaps your daughter takes after your husband (moods?) and they are both moodier than yourself and your other daughter. That's the case here. Often the moody one irritates the more moody parent.
With my moody one - it's on them to get sleep and be well fed (mine is awful if does not eat well) - I don't make sure they are feeling ok, that's on them at this age. Different if ill, but teens are notorious for not getting enough rest of eating well balanced diet - all of which can really affect a moody kid.

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answers from Houston on

I wouldn't give a consequence. You shouldn't be punished for how you feel. Although admittedly how you feel shouldn't drag others down or ruin a shared experience which is really where the whole thing came off the rails.

Since both your daughter and your husband didn't do so well on this front (feeling how they felt but negatively impacting the rest of the family), I'd have a family sit down. Talk about how a family treats each (respect, kindness, patience, etc.) and then explain while we are entitled to our feelings, we cannot ruin an experience for others or drag others down. Instead when you are feeling in a bad mood, you should admit you don't feel well, need food, need a bit of alone time/space or need to talk, etc. Communicating is the best way to handle being in a bad mood and gracefully letting those around you know you might need just a dose extra of patience and understanding.

I am a moody person. I understand how your husband wound up where he did. It is easy to say 'well, he's the adult so he just need to act like one' but that is not helpful. When I act like a moody jerk and inflict it on my family, I feel like the worst mother and wife who wants to fall into a giant black hole. However, I keep trying not to be said moody jerk and I keep talking to my family. I apologize when I falter; I fully own all of my mistakes and I also talk about how I plan on doing better next time. It can be hard to just ignore bad behavior. I work a stressful job and like all people there are ups and downs in life which can make it hard to be the "adult" I am. These are excuses for my decisions but they are also reasons I lash out. It doesn't make me right or excuse my bad behavior but I keep trying to do better and to correct my failings. I sincerely work on doing a better job, setting a better example for my family and striving to be a better person. Living with people is a messy business and we should give each other the compassion to be humans in all our faulted glory.

My opinion is that communication goes the distance in avoiding these family meltdowns but also in picking yourselves back up after a meltdown happens. Good luck and may the next family outing be better.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Uh...no. Your husband is being a giant baby. Hmmmm I wonder where your daughter could possibly get the foul mood and tantruming from? Tell him to get over himself and move on. He's the one who ruined the day and as the adult, he should be able to better control himself.

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answers from Boston on

I agree that your husband is modeling exactly the behavior he condemns in your daughter. And she's seeing that she's not treated the same as her sister. Yes, it's a chicken and egg thing, and it's hard to know "who started it" but still, it's not working.

I would have done several things with her. First of all, I'd stop giving rudeness a pass because someone has her period. It's as if you would have allowed it if she'd actually had her period. Needing meds for cramps or needing extra rest room stops is one thing, but being in a crappy mood and using menstruation as an excuse to be rude to others is something else again.

If she didn't want to go to the Hall of Fame, I'd give her 2 options: stay in the motel (with some entertainment and a good book, but no access to a lot of paid movies you can't afford or don't approve of, by the way), or I'd let her sit in the HOF lobby while the rest of the family went and enjoyed the exhibits. I wouldn't pay for tickets for someone who didn't want to go and I wouldn't force her, but I also wouldn't have deprived others of the chance to go because one teen is in a bad mood.

I don't think you can level a consequence at this point, but the fact that you took her aside beforehand and set standards for her behavior, and then didn't follow through is more of a problem. You've let her know that the only consequence for failing to be a cooperative family member is that Dad will get pissed off and walk off - thereby inflicting his mood on the family, just what she does. I think you need a plan for the next time, and a good sit-down saying that there will not be another opportunity for her to ruin a family outing. The problem with isolating teens and leaving them alone and unsupervised gives them the idea that being sullen is going to get them what they want - a chance to be alone followed by a chance to mope around that you left without them. I do think that financial realities are things kids this age need to learn, in preparation for the real world and for college, but knowing that money gets spent on things and then there's not a lot of money left for some other choice is an important life lesson.

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answers from Dallas on

Thanks for sharing that
Responses have been in the context of she was in a bad mood.
From what you wrote and what you're asking doesn't sound like a bad mood
She didn't sincerely apologize for being in a bad mood
You're her mom - i'm just going from what you wrote

My daughter does the attitude thing - super self centered lol she's unaware of when she turns it on and off
to illustrate
One of my favorite quotes (fitting for this topic)
When Deadpool(movie) meets Negasonic teenage Warhead

He's mocking her and says with lots of teenage girl attitude

"I'm a teenage girl! -(attitude hair toss while walking)
I'd rather be anywhere but here
I'm all about long sullen silences followed by mean comments followed by more silences!
So what's it going to be long sullen silence or mean comment?"

It's like i have my daughters number now
i just ask her now - long silence or mean comment? - reality sinks back in and she gets she has a choice and the impact on others it has and that's what i hear u wanting her to learn

So take her phone away for a day - said with a smile or nothing but more importantly
i'd have a conversation with her to where she see's it
and going forward I'd play with her and ask her the question
What's it going to be - long sullen silence or mean comment?? ;)
hopefully she laughs
and then can powerfully choose to go with or not -

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

So what consequence will your husband get? He behaved equally bratty.

My kids are adults. My oldest, girl, did this as well. We ignored it. Went on with our activities. If she wanted to be miserable, that was her choice, my choice was to have fun.

I wonder if "everyone" really wanted to do this activity or was it dad? Regardless, ya'll could have ignored her but your husband reacted like a brat and stormed off.

So take the phone away for a day. But your husband needs to get himself under control as well. If not, he should lose his phone for a day as well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

"my husband got really irritated and basically decided not to do the hall and stormed off. The kids walked through and I waited in the lobby. "

The core problem here isn't your daughter. Your husband stormed off? You sat in the lobby? Why did you not go in with your kids?

Do you not see that the behaviors of the adults were overblown and lack maturity? If the parents don't behaving in a way that models how people handle things with grace, you can't reasonably expect that your offspring behave any better.

Until you and your husband fix yourselves, you don't have what it takes to raise a low-drama teen. No punishments - learn something and grow together. To start, your husband owes all of you an apology for his bad attitude and behavior.

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answers from Santa Fe on

My teen son gets sullen like this on family outings now and then. We all totally ignore him and enjoy our day. He is a home body and would often rather stay home. He eventually snaps out of it. As he has gotten older his moods are not as severe and he snaps out of it much faster. I have found that if I treat him with empathy and some hugs and understanding words he responds well. I personally would not punish her. I have had times when I am in a terrible mood and I can't snap out of it even though I want to. It's a hard thing to do. Now if she was being mean and rude and saying disrespectful things even when told to stop I would have said if you are disrespectful one more time you are grounded from the phone for the rest of the day (or whatever punishment you want). PS - Wow, your husband acted really immature! He would NOT like having my stubborn son as his kid because we have had this happen so many times.

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answers from Springfield on

It sounds like you and your husband were really bothered by her mood and that really affected your moods and your day. Your daughters went to the museum and had a great time. What stopped you and your husband from doing the same?

The rough day was actually not so much about your daughter and her mood or attitude as it was about how you responded to it. Reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior whenever you can. It worked when your daughters were little, and it will work again as teens.

Your husband rewards your younger daughter for having what he deems a "good attitude." Try rewarding your older daughter when she has a good attitude and showing less attention when she has a "bad attitude."

Your husband did a really nice job of showing everyone how not to behave (and how not to have a good attitude) by storming off. If he wants a sincere apology from her for her behavior, he should begin by offering a sincere apology for his bad behavior.

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answers from Springfield on

there is no need to have a consequence for being in a bad mood. that is just unnecessary in my mind.
i suggest you get into family counseling to get your husband to be more accepting of how others feel. not everyone can be happy go lucky every day. especially not a teenager.
i understand that one persons bad mood can ruin a vacation, but instead of blowing up and storming off (which makes things worse) the proper way to handle her mood would be to ignore it... its not like she was cursing you out, or being violent.
you can talk to her to find out if she knows the cause of the mood, and help her thru it, or chalk it up to teenager hormones and see if her dr has solutions for easing moodiness.

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with the others. Your daughter doesn't need to be punished for being in a bad mood. I think your husband on the other hand needs a time out for being a bully to your daughter. He's the one throwing the fit not her. She may not hurt and need meds but if she was feeling bad the night before she may still not quite feel herself. With my boys if they are acting like that it's fine as long as they are not being disrespectful to others. What you are describing is not disrespect.

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answers from Miami on

Well, having had teens already (though not girls), this is my opinion. Your husband needs to stop giving in to his sullen teen(s) and do exactly what he wants on these family outings. He should ignore their hormones. He shouldn't have left the Hall. He should have spent exactly how much time that he wanted to. And you should have stayed with him and not waited in the lobby.

What he doesn't "get" is that by leaving, he gave her exactly what she wanted. Now she has every reason to act like it again to get out of what she doesn't want with the family. Ignoring her would have been better. When she has a good attitude, THAT'S when you pay attention to her.

What else does she do that is so irritating? Is she on her phone 24/7? If she's doing that instead of being with the family, then collect the phone at 8:00 every night. If she screams about it, just turn off the phone temporarily with the phone company. Tell her that until she stops with the attitude, she has no phone. If your husband is bound and determined to give her a consequence for her behavior during the vacation, the next time she wants to go somewhere with a friend, he can tell her no because of her behavior with the family. If she wants to have fun with friends, she can act nice to her family. And no more discussion about it.

He is not going to "fix her sullen attitude" just by expecting it. Teens' hormones are awful. But he can refuse to get in a fight with her about it. Just have expectations and give consequences that fit the situations. Having certain limits, like phone and computer, is good. Refuse to engage in arguments, and she'll eventually come around.

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