lisa33's picture

Teenage Daughter

I just found this board and I'm hoping I could get some advice.

I have a 17 year old daughter who I have always been very close to up until the teenage years. She was always very family oriented and always wanted to spend time with her father and I and her brother. I knew that when she became a teenager this would change and I was prepared for it. But what I wasn't prepared for was the disrespect and constant challenging. My daughter was a straight A student who always excelled in school, very organized and responsible and never needed to be reprimanded for her behaviour at home or school. At 15 I started to see small changes in her and I knew alot of this was typical teenage issues - friends, boys, being populare, etc. She's always been very mature and knew that this would pass.

A little over a year ago things really started to fall apart. Her grades in school began to drop, suddenly there were D's and F's and when we talked about it she would only get upset with her father and I because we would bring it to her attention. She started going out more with friends as well during this time, so when we would ground her she would completely freak out. These outbursts were not things I was used to, I had never seen this side of her and I started to question if whether she was using drugs or alchol. This was obviously not the case and so we attributed it to being a teenager and the fact that school was getting harder. Our relationship began to really suffer during this time. I can't stress how close my daughter and I have always been. We were literally best friends and never did a thing without each other. We always had so much fun together, being silly and making each other laugh. I knew there would come a time when she would feel too grown up for this so I just appreciated the relationship we had at the moment.

However, I never dreamed things would get so bad. About a year ago, after seeing her become very rude with people around her, and her lack of patience, I began to call her out on her behavior and decided I wasn't going to let her continue to treat people the way she was beginning to. She was being very rude to some family members, especially to her father and I and to her brother. Everytime I reprimanded her she would just lash out with back talk or she felt she had to explain why I was wrong. Keep in mind, because we were so close, I always let her be very expressive with her opinions (though she was never disrespectful), I just always let her know that she had a voice and her opinion mattered.

But it got to a point where it was all just back talk. It was as though suddenly she was a different person. We would talk about it and she be back to her old self for a few days. But suddenly she couldn't stand the site or voice of her father and I. It was usually one or the other who she didn't like at any particular moment. During this time she was still not performing well in school.

About 4 months ago, she met a boy and had her first boyfriend I knew this could only make things worse. Fortunately when this boy came into her life, we were getting along and she was happy. It was almost the end of the school year and I know she was happy about that as well.

After a couple of weeks though, she felt that having a boyfriend entitled her to a more independent life. She wanted a later curfew, she wanted to be on the phone until 3 or 4am, things started to get rough again. Her boyfriend is actually a very nice kid. However, her father has always been very strict and though he wasn't thrilled when he found out she had a boyfriend, he dealt with it rather well.

But eventually she began removing herself from her family again. She would come home from school go straight to her room and stay there until dinner. Eat, take a shower and then straight to her room. She prefers to not interact with any of us and wants to be in her own world. Doesn't want to be called out on her grades at school, or when she disrespects us. Just today she went to church with her father and she became angry with him and walked out of church. My husband was both furious and heartbroken. There are many small incidents I've left out that have occurred that are similar to this. But today I feel she really crossed the line. She cried all afternoon, which broke my heart, but I can't keep letting her get away with this. My daughter had decided last year that she didn't want to go away to college, she said she wasn't ready to leave home and wanted to stay home with us. She said she would miss us too much and why go away when we had 2 very good schools within 30 minutes of where we lived. She decided she would go to one of these schools.

For the past 3 months her tune has changed and she has said she was thinking of going away, she said this was the only we would be able to get along. She basically said she's going away to school to get away from us. I am heartbroken over this. She has acknowledged her behavior and she's seen were she in wrong in how she is treating us, but she is not willing to make a change. She basically says this is who she is. I have no problem with her going away to college for a good education I've encouraged her to try to get into a good school, but to have her tell me that the only reason she's leaving is to get away from me is more than I can deal with. I feel that I must be a horrible mother if my daughter can't live with me anymore. I feel that I have lost my little girl and she was replaced with someone I don't recognize. On the rare occasion when she does go anywhere with us, I feel her absence and I miss her so much. I am so depressed about this and I don't know if maybe I'm wrong here. But she has completely excluded us from her life, I know this is typical of teenagers, but I also know that they eventually come around.

If anyone has dealt with this and can shed some light, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you,

2xstepmom's picture

This is a very difficult and complex issue which I have been through.

First, as soon as you can you should have your daughter assessed for possible depression or other mental health issue. Also, start family therapy to find out what might be going on with her emotionally.

What you describe seems far outside normal "teenaged" behavior. It sounds like she is trying to alienate you and your husband and succeeding. She is keeping your family in chaos, but is miserable while doing so. The reasons for her behavior need to be addressed.

As far as her going away to college goes, if you were OK with her going away to school before, then there is no reason for you to be so heartbroken now. Maybe some space and distance will help improve your relationship. My now 25 y/o daughter left home under unfavorable circumstances, with her controlling and abusive (and thank God) ex-b/f. She was out of the house for nearly 4 years and I only wish it had been to go to college. When she came back home, it was with a completely different attitude. She is loving, helpful, kind, considerate and says she needed the time away to grow up and appreciate her family. Your daughter going away to college may be just what your family needs.