What Would You Do in This Situation with Your Teenager?

Updated on July 26, 2012
D.J. asks from Schenectady, NY
26 answers

Social services (CPS) visited for the 1st time for this investigation. They are investigating due to your teenage daughter's arguing at school. The social workers see your daughter arguing with you after you confront her about her behavior in front of them. The social worker scold your teenage daughter for her behavior. Read their dialogue.

DAUGHTER: (staring to the side away from the social workers with an angry face)
SOCIAL WORKER: Look at me when I'm talking to you
DAUGHTER: (ignores)
SOCIAL WORKER: Look at RIGHT NOW! (firm voice without yelling).
DAUGHTER: (continues to ignore)
SOCIAL WORKER: Do you want me to call the police and take you to juvenile detention?
DAUGHTER: (turns around, starts looking at the social workers but pulls faces)
SOCIAL WORKER: Stop pulling me that face
DAUGHTER: (continues to pull face)
SOCIAL WORKER: Drop this attitude RIGHT NOW! (in a firm voice without yelling)
DAUGHTER: (continues to pull faces)
SOCIAL WORKER: You listen to me. If your behavior doesn't stop, we will have serious issues.
DAUGHTER: FINE! (with an angry face not making eye contact with the social workers.
SOCIAL WORKER: Drop the attitude (firm voice without yelling).
DAUGHTER: (continues to look to the side pull faces)
SOCIAL WORKER: RIGHT NOW (firm voice without yelling)!
DAUGHTER: Go sћit on another family's toilet (with an angry face looking to the side not making eye contact)
DAUGHTER: Suck my di¢k
SOCIAL WORKER: You don't talk to me like that (firm voice without yelling).
FATHER: Apologize to the social worker.
DAUGHTER: SORRY! (in a rude way with an angry face)
FATHER: I want a proper apology.
DAUGHTER: (ignores father with an angry face)
FATHER: I want you to look at (social worker's name) and say sorry (firm voice without yelling).

What do you (the parent) do next?

What can I do next?

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answers from Cleveland on

Is this for real? I feel like we are being asked by a kid to help write a screenplay.
CPS does not investigate a family because they have a teenager who is argumentative. Sorry, but that is not reality.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm confused, was the daughter being reprimanded for a CRIMINAL behavior? Why is the social worker threatening to call the police? For rudeness and a bad attitude??

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

There HAS to be something else going on... I have NEVER heard of CPS being called over a teenager being argumentative or rebelling... Isn't that what teenagers DO?

That said, the daughter needs some in-home boot camp to learn respect. She loses the door to her room, along with everything that is non-essential... no cell phone, computer, etc. She also loses privileges... She can't hang out with her friends, go out to eat, etc. except for school and home.

She can earn these things back simply by showing respect to the adults in her life. After a week of behaving, she can have her bedroom door back... She gets everything back as time progresses... BUT if she starts backsliding, she loses everything again and has to start over.

~ETA... I also agree that it would be a good idea to see WHY she is rebelling like this... My answer was written with the assumption that she is just a normal teenager, going through her rebellious period.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dover on

I am puzzled that CPS is called for arguing...doesn't make sense to me. I am further shocked that the social worker threatened to call police due to attitude (didn't know that was against the law). Obviously, this approach isn't working but the SW repeating herself umpteen times wasn't helping. I think the teen may need counseling (maybe the who family) and SW may need to reevaluate her approach.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I'm with Ilovemyboys. Obviously the "I'm in control and you're NOT" approach is not working with this kid. In all likelihood any further punishment will only make her rebel more. She clearly does not care about consequences.

Time to find another way.

(And do social workers REALLY talk to families this way?)


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Great first question...

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

More background would help with the "what would you do" aspect, but regarding the social worker... um.. I am not educated in child development nor psychology and even "I" know that talking to anybody--much less a teen-- with that sort of combative attitude is going to CREATE defiance.

Without knowing what the girl did/said at school, I can only say that I would have told the social worker to back off and not talk to my child like that. It was rude and disrespectful for him/her to DEMAND my child look at them. Looking at someone when they are talking to you is a show of respect, and the social worker didn't sound very deserving, in my opinion.

Now... back to what would I do regarding the teen... don't know. There is ZERO information about any actual offense. Only that they teen behaved like an angry person who was confronted by someone out to prove their dominance.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've never been aware of child protective services getting involved because a teen is argumentative. I don't believe that being rude or disrespectful can get you into juvie, but if they're willing and you want to go that route, you can. Not really enough history given for me to say how I'd proceed. Is your daughter rude and disrespectful to you at home? Why is she behaving this way?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hmmm, your first question?

Assuming this question is real, there is not enough background info to really comment, except that the social worker seems incompetent. S/he obviously doesn't know how to handle teenagers.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

First of all your daughter will not learn respect until she is respected. If a person is not respected, behavior that seems to be respectful is simply parroting.
I think under the circumstances your daughter acting as I would expect her too. CPS has a reputation for ruining families by taking children away. So having CPS called on her for arguing at school she is thinking that they are going to put her in foster care and she won't ever be able to be with her family again. So her reaction is expected.
The social worker was way over the top. I would be calling her supervisor. I would not allow anyone social worker, teacher ect to talk to my child that way. It sounds to me that the social worker has a vendetta.

I recommend that you start your daughter or whole family in a martial arts program. She will learn respect by the way she is treated by the instructors and other students. She will also learn how to release anger and frustration simply by the workout and and the chance to kick and punch a target or bag.

Counseling might help but since she had this experience with the social worker she may not respond well to a counselor and may have the idea that the counselor is 'out to get her'.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Without all the details.... bottom line as far as my opinion....

If you give respect, you get respect. Respect is earned.

There is no respect for any family members in your family. I would get involved in some sort of family program... Per Rev Ruby.. martial arts is very good for this.

Daughter needs a wake up call... as does the entire family.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Well it is obvious that this "control" thing isn't working with her. What isn't clear is what is going on beneath the surface. Anything going on at school? Home?

Has she tried going to counseling alone? That might be your first step, along with not treating her like a small child. She is acting childish and immature yes, but Teenagers do not do well with the "do as I say" thing, especially when it is this bad.

There has to be something going on in her life to make her act out like this. Therapy is my suggestion. It might take a few sessions to open up, but it's important to find out why she is so angry, and it is important for her to go alone, and feel she can open up to someone without feeling forced to.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What does "pull faces" mean?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I really don't know what you do. You can lead a horse to water, but can't make them drink. You can insist on an apology all day long, but you can't force it out of her.

Can't wait to read some of the responses!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Give her a home drug test.
Then make an appointment with a psychologist.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Are you the parent or the social worker? It's hard to say really - what's the history? What's the homelife? Has she seen a counselor? Has the family seen a counselor?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with Jim. Great first question.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would ask the social worker for guidance on handling the issue unless it is apparent at unfit parenting has resulted in this behaviour.....if no gross negligence is involved than the social worked may be able to suggest counsellors for the teen to get to the bottom of the issues that are making her act this way - remember its not the person but their actions that are bad and especially with kids most of the times behaviour like this is a cry for help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

I would suggest the child/worker interview be over and the child send to her room until she learns how to show respect to adults. Even if it takes months of being grounded then so be it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

With a teen like that I think I would have had her take a little trip with the social worker for an attitude adjustment for several days.

Maybe her leaving will give her something to think about.

But the real problem stems from home and no teaching of respect of oneself and others. Teens have attitudes but this is beyond that.

My son at 8 didn't want to listen. So I called the CYFD about a potential issue. I told them that he doesn't like to listen and I wanted him to know where he would go if he didn't listen at home. They told me to come in about a half hour. They had set up a scenario for him and locked him up next to a 15 year old boy who was crying and wanting his momma for about 20 minutes. While he was in lock up, the social worker and I talked about his attitude. Son came into the room about 20 minutes later and social worker lead the interview with him. Son didn't want to talk but the social worker told him that he had to change his ways or he would be visiting the sight again.

We went back home and it is and was the only time that my son asked me to take a bath. "Mom my I pleeeeeze take a bath." A few weeks later he started and I asked him if he wanted to go to his other home and he said no and straightened out. He still talks about it to this day.

Tough love is love. Hang in there. I hope all turns out well.

The other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Personally I think parenting is the hardest job we'll ever do, and I don't judge. With that said I'm not sure if your question pertains to the behavior of your daughter or social worker. After reading the dialogue I have to wonder how your daughter became so nasty ( I know teens in general are difficult, but her comments are awful and disrespectful). How long has she been this rude? If a social worker was called to your house it only stands to reason that this was more than an argument, based on what you said it sounds as though your daughter has a temper and more than words were flying at school. You and her father should take your daughter in your hands and reprogram her attitude, do whatever it takes. Seek help from professionals or give her a dose of her own medicine. I've learned that if YOU (the parent) don't change her, her chances of becoming a decent and respectable person who can take care of herself and not depend on you become slim to none the older she gets. Also take a look at the company she keeps and if they're a bad influence (friends are a reflection is a cliche for a reason) then you make her get rid of them.

Growing up if I ever told an adult to suck it my father would most likely knock all my teeth out, and so would most parents even now. You child needs to learn respect and be disciplined, the only time it's okay to act this way is if someone is hurting you or treating you wrong. Based on the dialogue there was no reason for her to be so crude.

Hope you do the right thing and raise her right, even if it hurts. We want our kids to be decent people and not worry about them when we get older.


answers from Norfolk on

If she's got mental problems and/or a drug problem, she needs a psychologist / medical program to get to the root of her behavioral issues.
Rule out bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc.
If she's just out of control, I might consider a troubled teen boot camp while I (and rest of the family) take some family therapy to better learn how to deal with the situation.



answers from Houston on

Not sure of what's going on, but what does "pull faces" mean? I never heard of that and cannot figure it out from the context.



answers from Washington DC on

Before coming to this conversation there is something much bigger brewing to cause this conversation so it is near impossible to help answer what would I do.
First of all if they were called "just because she was arguing at school" you did not have to talk to them so they could investigate, there is no law against refusing to talk to CPS, except in cases where they call or have the police with them. And in this case I'm sure they did not have them, so why did you even let them in to begin with? Sounds like something you should be handling at home without intervention. There's more to this story though, so I would say the social worker got what was coming to her with the cuss out!



answers from Chicago on

I think that issue is superceded by what will the social worker do? The social worker threatened to call the police which a) did not do and b) said will take her to juvenile detention...it is past what you can do. The SW didn't follow through and there fore it permits the child/teenager to continue bad behavior. One of these people needs to be clear about the consequences and follow through. Seriously this child needs to get some help, therapy and possible meds. If the Father and social worker can get it together and there is available insurance or hospitalization, instead of the police get the child to go a mental health facility. Child is VERY angry about a lot of things which actually might not be real or legitimate but possibly it is a chemical imbalance or mood disaster not based on actual life situations...Sorry will come later-help needed now.

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