tammyl's picture

my 16 year old daughter and I fight constantly

Our daughter is 16 years old. She is a very good kid. She gets excellent grades and is very involved in many leadership clubs in her school. We couldn't ask for a better behaved child. But for some reason no matter what I say to her she turns it into an arguement. Constantly rolling her eyes at me or slamming her door on me when I ask her for help.  It seems like no matter what I say to her she takes it the wrong way yells at me and then slams her bedroom door and we don't see her until the next day.  Is this normal behavior Do we have hope of it ending someday? My husband says that I need to pick my battles.  I feel like I'm the mom and she shouldn't talk to me the way she does. It's driving me crazy and the rest of the family because we are always arguing.

gail's picture

My boy was being disrespectful, it started about 2 years ago, when he was 14.  I kept waiting for my husband to say something like "you don't treat your mother that way," because that's what I remember happening in my own childhood, and I'm pretty sure that disrespect toward my mother-in-law would have been dealt with immediately.  Well, it never happened.  Finally, one day at dinner I calmly picked up the boy's plate (he'd just said something mildly negative about the food,) and said, "when you learn to show respect for me, I will be happy to have you eat in this house."  I dumped his food in the garbage and cleared the rest of the food from the table, put it away.  Then I sat down and finished my dinner.  (I just asked him if he remembered this, he does.)  I continued doing this every time he was rude about my cooking.  At other times in the day, when he showed disrespect, I would "model" appropriate behavior, for example, "excuse me" when he said "MOVE", and I would be obstructive--you know, passive resistance-- until he was respectful in his behavior.   We also had a couple of  discussions in our family meeting (every week) about what things are not acceptable in our family.  Rolling ones' eyes at an authority figure (parent, teacher, police) would be a great example of unacceptable behavior.  As would slamming a door, unless there were a wolf coming through it. 

  Argument?  well, kids do need to develop their reasoning skills.  I picked this up from a Boys' Town manual that I found at the library and we talked about it in our family meeting.  When an authority figure gives you a command, the proper response is "Yes sir," or Yes ma'am".   First say that.  Then, if you believe that the person doesn't have all the information they need in the situation, you say "Excuse me, may I say something?"  If the situation is not urgent, a wise authority figure will agree.  Then you tell the person the additional information, like "I have 20 minutes of research for my homework assignment.  I would like to finish that before I shovel the walk." or "I think I broke my collarbone." 

  This formal dialogue is really useful when you are first addressing the disrespect.  Now, for my and my boy, it is a very informal, mutually respectful dynamic.  We have a lot of fun. 

Kathy1's picture

I have a 17 year old son and can totally relate to everything turning into an argument.  Teenage issues are so dramatic and they don't think clearly or rationally.  And it doesn't seem to matter how smart or successful they are in school or work.  I've learned (finally!) not to argue back.  If I don't bite, the situation gets diffused.  It's very hard to do, but amazingly effective. One other suggestion I have for the door slamming issue is taking the door off the hinges.  The last thing they want is to loose their privacy, but if they can't respect the home they live in or the people in it, they shouldn't get the privlege of privacy.  The door can be off for a week or so and when you put it back on, I bet you won't have a door slammer anymore.  I hope this helps.  Teenagers.... Ahhhh!  :)

bittersweet's picture

LOL, my 13 yo daughter has been without a door for several weeks because when there's an argument she runs in her room and locks the door and then talks crap from behind the locked door. I found it was easier to remove the whole door than the lock. She's not very happy about it. I have told her when things improve that she can have it back. I have also had a problem with disrespect, we are in the south but just moved here a few years ago and my 13 yo has had problems with the custom of saying sir/maam. I find now that when I'm really angry with her I require her to say yes maam and she hates it. Most of the time we have good informal communication but the past few weeks she has been making everything into something and being very resistant.

debbie47's picture

My daughter is 13 & she is getting worst & worst . She acts like I am the worst mom around .Me & her Dad always is the taxi for her friends, gives her friends money because she tells them we will pay there way skating.Never does a thing to help out .Treats me awful in front of her friends also.Hits me - pushes me - cusses all the time .Slam doors also I am not sure what to do.Sometimes I feel like just getting my own place & see how she does than , maybe she would like that.Always telling me she hates me
Guess we all have kids like this in some way or another

callie's picture

At some point, you have to let go emotionally. She's being mean to you, then pull back. Don't go further into the fight, just walk away. Don't say anything else. Just walk.

In a way, we condition ourselves and others to fight with us. You go up the stairs, knock on door and she knows it's going to be bad. In other words, she's prejudged the situation and hasn't given it a chance.

So try this. Don't say anything to her except hi and bye when she's in a snit. Don't let her think she can be rude to you and still get her way.

When my son gets impossible, I've learned to walk away. I've even went out the door calmy, walked up the street and believe me... he got the message. You can't be rude to me and expect me to give you what you want. This translates into adulthood too: you can't be rude to others and expect them to hire you, befriend you, give you responsibilities.

MelissaV's picture

I guess I was raised differently, but if I talked back to either of my parents in the tone my 16 yr old daughter uses or said some of the things that she says I would've picked myself up off the floor. I just have a problem with the whole "walking away and not speaking to her" idea because in a way that's letting her get away with this awful behavior. We do not,however,use force or hit our children or spank as was done to us, had we done this, but I think there's got to be immediate consequences or at least a halt in conversation or the argument or whatever, and she needs to be repremanded. I must now follow this with an admission. This doesn't work or eleviate the problem either but I feel a little better verbalizing my feelings to her. Her and I used to be best friends. We went everywhere together and could talk about anything and I just don't know or understand what or when it all went so wrong but I'm very grateful to know I am not alone out here on this. I was starting to think she had morphed into an alien. She too makes almost all A's, is in sports, is very social and doesn't drink or smoke (no,really) and so i guess I just need to thank God for this but don't we all want a perfect child? LOL

gardenguru's picture

About age 14, my very jovial son started yelling at me or calling me names when he didn't get what he wanted. I fell into yelling back, but that only made matters worse and upsets the whole family. I started using the 'say it once and walk away' tactic. Basically I say, "You've earned yourself a chore." Beforehand, I had explained to my children that if they "loudly" talk back to me and especially if they use choice names, they earn a chore. Not a simple chore, but one that takes at least 20 minutes. Think washing the car, weeding, sweeping out the garage... Something that helps out the family since they upset the smooth rhythm of the family. You have to be tough and not allow them privileges (internet, car, friends) until they get the chore done.

Don't give your kids everything they want. Once our kids turned about 11-12, if they wanted something extra, we started having them pay half. Once they had jobs (paper routes, babysitting, lawn mowing), they paid for all their toiletries, makeup, friend's birthday gifts...

Beck-ie's picture

Your husband is right. Pick your battles carefully.

Sometimes these problems are caused by drugs. It is always good to really know what is going on with your kid. Find out how to track her computer history. Find out her social web sites-is she on facebook. If she is you can start following her there and you will get a good idea if there are other issues going on. If things worry you, go further. You can hire help finding out what she is up to on the computer.

If this is just normal teenage angst then...
Quietly keep track of her menses, that likely will make both of you more argumentative. Women living together get on the same schedule.

Do something fun with your daughter. Does she have a favorite restaurant? Is there a sale at a store she likes- invite her to shop with a set budget, or for a specific item you know she needs. Or invite her to do a favorite activity.

After you have had a few 'dates' talk to her when you are out at dinner somewhere. She is much less likely to make a scene in public and she can't lock herself in her room.

Good luck.

Natchat's picture
My daughter is 16, gets the world and treats me horrid, but only when dads there help x
Ann45's picture
I am sorry to hear that about your daughter. I am a 45 year old mother of 2 kids my daughter is 16 and my son is 12. I just got a divorce of 12 years. Now everything is good with me and my kids until one day my daughter went to work and did not come home. You can image how I feel. Stay out all night, I did everything to find her. I have to call the police to help me find her. But the next day around 10 am she came home scare after founding out that I can the police. Now she is a great kid she dance for the school, we go to church together, we talk as well. Never did anything like this before. So what I think it is is this they are growing up and trying to found they way in life. I would love for my kid to grow up like I did but things are so different now then when we grow up. Keep talking to her no matter what we only have 3 to 4 years before they are gone. Hope this help and I will pray for you as well.