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13 year old will not come out of room or communicate

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13 year old will not come out of room or communicate


13 year old will not come out of room or communicate

My husband passed away 2 years ago. He was an alcoholic.  My 13 year old daughter has struggled since (understandably).   She is angry and has started to get physical with me when she doesn't get her way.  She fights me on everything.  She blames me for everything.  I realize she has much to work through however she will not attend counseling.  She is bigger than me so there is no "making her" go.  She lives on her phone.  I cut the cellular service to it but if there is wifi she can access certain apps.  She is beyond disrespectful.  She makes zero effort and I'm truly frustrated.  I am an extremely patient person.  She refuses to go to school.  She is chatting with kids online that clearly are not a good influence.  I don't know what to do.  She barely comes out of her room - maybe once or twice to use the bathroom which isn't healthy.  I've thought about wilderness type programs or therapeutic boarding school.  She is an amazing, brilliant, beautiful child.  I know she has a lot of hurt and don't know how to help.  Does anyone have any experience with something like this? 

Prolific scribe

Re: 13 year old will not come out of room or communicate

I'm sorry to read that you and your daughter are going through such a difficult time @carm0612 and I'm sure some of our members will have gone through something similiar and will be able to offer their advice / support.


I guess this is particularly complex as you have grief and anger mixed with adolescence which is challeging enough on its own. Do you think your daughter would be open to going to chat to a counsellor or psychologist, either as a family or by herself?  

Active scribe

Re: 13 year old will not come out of room or communicate

Hi @carm0612

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband and the loss your daughter is having to cope with by losing her dad. I too lost my husband, suddenly in an accident, my 3 children were very young at the time. I understand how hard all this must be for you, trying to get through your own grief at the same time as trying to do the best for your daughter.

I applaud you for reaching out for support. It's never easy doing this parenting gig, and it's even tougher on your own.


There are a number of things I would suggest.

Firstly, have you spoken to her school? By law, she is not allowed to not go to school, unless she is enrolled in a home school or distance education program. So, my suggestion would be to ask for support from her school. They will have a councillor, and they may even be able to talk to her for you, explaining the consequences if she refuses to go to school. This takes it away from you being the "baddy". They are the ones that will be implementing the to speak. Maybe then you can be seen as being on her side, looking for a compromise of returning to school gradually, at the same time as completing some school work at home with you? Maybe? And hopefully if she feels you are trying to support her, without forcing her, it might be a start to bridging the gap between you that you feel is there at the moment.

I think your idea of getting out into nature is a good idea, especially if it means there is no internet for a few days. Could you maybe go camping together somewhere? Or like you said, maybe a camp specifically for her? Maybe that could be something else you could ask her school councillor about, they may know of something?


The other thing I wanted to ask is, do you have any family support? Is there anyone supporting you? Parents, siblings, close friends?

Maybe it might be good for both you and your daughter to have some 'timeout'. Could she go and stay with someone? Is there anyone she would want to go to have time with? Grandparents, uncle/aunt? Maybe a break might provide you with the 'reset button' you need for you to start things on a different footing with her when she comes home?


My overall advice is to be consistent, firm and fair, emphasising that you love and care about her as your bottom line. Provide her with choices, options of what she can do, that way, she has some say and some control but the options you give her (or the school) are ones that will work for you both.

And don't be afraid to remind her that you lost him too and you are also going through a lot. Sometimes our teenagers need to be reminded that things aren't easy for us either. Maybe going with an approach of "we're both sad and it's not easy, but we need to be there for each other".


I hope some of this helps. Keep us posted and continue to come back for support here as you need.

Take care of you.