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17 year old daughter struggling socially

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17 year old daughter struggling socially

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17 year old daughter struggling socially

I’m struggling with my daughter at the moment she is 17, she is having a difficult time socially at the moment. So she has been up and down with her moods, tonight she is crying in her room, won’t eat dinner and told me she doesn’t want to talk. My daughter has had lots of ups and downs, often bullied during primary years, friends that end up doing the wrong thing to her, so many things, basically if anything would go wrong it has gone wrong for her as a kid in school. Fast forward to year 11 and she struggles to maintain friendships because she always feels like friends are going to leave her, she worries no one will ever want to be her friend.

She has always been pretty good at school education wise but this year she is not doing so well but she is still trying.

I’m sorry this sounds like ramble, it’s because I don’t know where to start.


Firstly I wanted to know is 17 to old to be having moodiness? For example Saturday morning she was happy Saturday night upset irritated, Sunday angry and annoyed Monday sad but happy and we had laughs, today crying and not talking, is this normal?

Also I struggle to see my way through this, I worry constantly she will have problems as an adult, and that I have done something wrong as a parent, how do I stop feeling like this? 

Im terrible at just leaving her be, I worry so much, I find lots of random reasons to go to her room, I’m surprised she doesn’t throw a cup at me ha ha, it would annoy me if someone did it to me but I just worry so much. How do I cut off from worrying so much about her?

secondly is it normal for a 17 year old to struggle with friendships?

she has had some counseling this year over her worries and these helped, the psychologist said she has no real issues just worries, teenage things so I don’t think it’s mental health related.

Any advice please, any hints or tips, anyone else have a daughter like this?




Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: 17 year old daughter struggling socially

hi @hermum76 


I am sorry to hear your daughter is having such a tough time.  Being a teenage girl seems a very tough gig these days.  Unfortunately I can only offer perspective of someone looking in having my own ex-teenage and a parterner with a teenage daughter.


We all have up and down the concern is when these start to impact our lives.   In my experience I have seen the teens in my life go through mood swings in a single day and day to day.  What would help you work out if this is normal is to ask her how she is feeling and why.   This can be difficult as teens are notoriously bad communicators especially with parents.  Even when the communicate sometimes they don't really understand what is upsetting them. 


If she has a good reason to be upset (i.e. something upsetting happening) then that is quite normal.  If she is having significant mood swings for no reason she might need to consult a doctor for a physiological reason.  Teens bodies go through wild changes and while they may not be still growing on the outside, inside in the brain they are still developing.


It is natural to look at any situation and ask "What could I have done better".  When it is something as important as being a good parent we are even more likely to be our own worse critics. 


It is good you are reflecting at your on behaviour.  It is a fine line between being caring and being down right annoying parent to a teen.  I can assure you every parent I know who cares tries to spend more time talking and trying to be with their teen than the teen likes.


My suggestion is to concentrate on reducing quantity and increase quality of interactions.  This is hard.  Parents need to change along with their teens as they grow and that is even harder for us who want to just protect them the way we did when they were little.  Unfortunately we cant and trying to just stiffles their growth and can lead to them getting upset with their over bearing parent.


I find scheduling interactions helps my teens not get frustrated with there dear old dad.

We eat as a family.. booking times to do house chores together.. book family outings etc.

I normally get a bout 5 minutes impromoute time before I see the back of teen disappearing into their room otherwise.. and I don't even both to follow as the attitude if I dare to interrupt them in their room could be cut with a knife.


I love my kids as I am sure you do and letting them grow up and spend more time alone is not only tough but makes me a little sad (I never would admit to that of course being a Male!!) so I imagine doing it will be even tougher for a caring mum!


p.s.  you never stop worrying about your kids.. you are a parent.. it is your job.. what you need to do is not let that worry turn in to behaviours that stifle our children's growth in to young healthy independant adults.



Star contributor

Re: 17 year old daughter struggling socially

Hi @hermum76,


How are you going this week? @PapaBill has offered some amazing insights as a fellow parent, what are your thoughts after reading the response here? One thing that really sticks out for me, is the validation that what your daughter is going through is completely understandable for a teen, and that the fact you are reaching out for support shows how much love you have for your daughter! Heart


Being a teen is tough and it sounds like your daughter has had a really hard time with friendships. Are the school aware of the difficult time she has had making and sustaining friendships?


Teen years are turbulent years for friendships, where teens are still learning and shaping who they are and where they fit with others- for many people this continues well into young adulthood. One thing I have seen working with young people for a while now is that they eventually find where they are comfortable and where they have a sense of belonging with others. For many young people, this happens after school when there is a wider group of people, where there is more opportunity to meet people of similar interests, and where the group dynamics of high school don't have as much of an impact. 


Does your daughter have any interests/hobbies? 


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