08-24-2022 11:10 AM
My daughter is 13.5 and I'm struggling with her a lot. She spends all her time in her room and only comes out for dinner, and sometimes to grudgingly do chores. She's started refusing to participate in any family activities including weekly movie-night (I've tried letting her choose the movie but she says she just doesn't want to be with us). I've always had a reasonable relationship with her and I thought of myself as quite approachable, I don't go off the deep end over things and tend to try talk things out with her. But she is refusing to talk to me about anything and just walks away and shuts her door in my face when I try to discuss anything.
For example we had parent-teacher meetings last night and she has slipped from an A average to getting Ds and one teacher showed me an assessment where she had drawn pictures all over the sheet, and written things like "I already know this, do you think I'm stupid?" in the answer boxes. When we got home she asked if she was in trouble and I said no, but that I did want to talk to her about why she had behaved like that and what I could do to help. She groaned and said she hated me trying to be involved and didn't want to listen to a lecture, went to her room and refused to let me in. I backed off because I didn't want to force my way and create another issue to deal with before getting calm, and finding some advice!
She is still so young and I really want to try find the best way to deal with things before she gets older and has more dangerous opportunities.
08-24-2022 04:52 PM
Welcome to our online community!
It sounds like the changes in your daughter’s behaviour and your relationships must be a challenging and confusing time for you. I understand how concerned you must be for her and by reaching out for some support shows how much you care about your daughter and want to help her.
I understand your concerns, it sounds like you have been really supportive of her with both school and trying to accommodate family activities so that she will join. It’s also great to hear that you haven’t been pushing it and have been respecting her boundaries. I was wondering if you have you tried speaking to her about your concerns or asked her why she hasn’t wanted to participate in these activities? Have you noticed if your daughter has been more withdrawn with friends and in other situations or mostly at home?
You mentioned that you met with the school yesterday, has her teacher raised any concerns prior to your parent teacher meeting? Is there an opportunity for you to speak with her teacher or the school about your concerns and see if they can provide any ongoing support such as a school counsellor. It might also be helpful to meet with a GP for a general check-up and to see if they can offer any support or referrals if needed.
I have included an article about effective communication with teenagers that provides some information along with things to try and tips to support your daughter. I also wanted to let you know that ReachOut has an online one-on-one support service for parents.
I just wanted to remind you that you’re doing a great job and from what you’ve shared I can tell how supportive you have been for her and how much you care about her. She’s very lucky to have such a caring and supportive mother!
08-27-2022 11:11 AM
Thanks for the reply and the article!
Yes I've tried to talk to her about her withdrawal from us but she just shrugs and says she wants to do her own thing. This is why I haven't pushed it or tried to force her because I know it's important for her to develop her independence towards friends and away from me. She still seems to be very connected to her friends, she talks about them regularly and they text all the time. She often plays video games with them online too so I don't think she has been withdrawing from them too.
And yes her teacher did raise concerns before the interview, he sent me an email strongly urging me to make sure I could attend the interview as he was worried about her behaviour and wanted to make sure he got to talk to me. He mostly said he knew she had a lot more potential than she was showing and wanted to work with me to make sure she didn't continue as she was. She's apparently been quite rude in class (sounds like a continuation of the stuff she wrote on her assessment) and encouraging other students to join in with her too.
She's always been a VERY headstrong kid. And she's been through some stuff too. I'm divorced from her Dad (and we shared custody 70/30 since she was 5) who she has always had a very strained relationship with as he can be quite controlling which doesn't go well with her headstrong personality. Then nearly 2 years ago he told her he didn't know how to make her happy and said she could live with me full-time, and just relinquished his custody of her. She was very angry but also devastated as well, although she wouldn't admit that now. I worry that I have spent years overcompensating for his harsh methods by being quite lax with her myself and that now she thinks she doesn't ever have to listen to me at all. I also worry that she has built this wall up around herself to try protect herself and that she won't even let me in anymore
08-27-2022 03:04 PM
3 weeks ago - last edited 3 weeks ago by Taylor-RO
3 weeks ago - last edited 3 weeks ago by Courtney-RO
Thanks for sharing your story with us. You raise an interesting point about children wanting to feel understood. You’re exactly right in saying that! A lot of the time people are wanting to be heard and validated by those supporting them. It can be difficult to stop ourselves from jumping into solution mode though, especially when it comes to our own children.
It’s also really great that you found mentorship to be helpful for your son. We don’t allow members to share links to other websites as per our community guidelines, so unfortunately I have removed the link from your post.
You mentioned that this experience was quite a scary situation for you, and understandably so. It is really difficult when you want to help someone but they aren’t listening. Is there anything that helped you navigate this part of the journey as a parent?