Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

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Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hi @Moloko sounds to me like you guys are really working hard on a good family dynamic . Well done . I think it's really important as parents that we reflect on our own behaviour , the only person we can change is ourselves and when we role model respectful interactions when we are angry or frustrated we teach our children how to handle conflict in this way too . It can be hard work though I know ! 

My 17 year old has improved enormously . I try to avoid  battles as much as possible . If she bites back after I have asked her to do something , I don't respond , I wait to see if it gets done , if it doesn't I take away internet - it's great currency . I try not to get down onto her level with arguing as I am still the adult and she is still learning to navigate relationships . 

If I do pick a battle I make sure I am a dog with a bone and always win . I really try to pick my battles there is so much you we can argue about with teens and I don't want my relationship with her to be defined by tension .I would be sad if every time I came to her room to talk to her she would be rolling her eyes and thinking " what the hell does she want now !" 

Re phone : absolutely take it away at night . There is no reason she needs to be on it . At that time she should be reading , sleeping listening to music - not on her phone . We don't pay for credit for either of our two kids and internet is switched off . 

Our two get no internet after 9pm . They have 3 hours between 6-9 for homework and leisure .  And we think that's generous 😉

I would tell her that , you want her to settle down for the evening and that texting friends is a stimulating activity not good for the brain , which now has to wind down . 

She will kick up a huge stink the first night you take it away but she'll get over it . If you and your husband are a united front , you are armed and ready lol 😂 

Its very normal for teens to spend a lot of time in their rooms , don't think it's necessarily a sign she is mentally unwell . At this age they start to distance themselves from family , assert their independence and autonomy and friends become the centre of their world not Mum and Dad 😫 Puberty can be a challenging time !  If she continues to become more withdrawn , then insist she see someone . You will be surprised how she opens up with a qualified counsellor  when she is in the room , if she clicks with them  ( I am a  teen counsellor and we do have ways and means lol ) 

Take care of yourself and keep the lines of communication open . You are doing a great job ! 



Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

hi @Moloko I have been reading this thread, you've been getting such wonderful advice...


I am so glad the new school has started off positively. That must be a huge relief for you and also probably for her!


I have two 13 year olds and a 16 year old (and a 20year old) and they ALL live in their bedrooms on their phones and laptops and come out to eat, shower, go out basically.  I don't like it but I have spoken to enough people and come to realise that it seems to be the "norm" or sorts.


When I start worrying about something my kids are doing, either their lifestyle, habits, attitude etc,...I always try and remember that if they are doing ok in school, can behave like human beings out in the world, and have a couple of interests (like maybe a sport once a week) then I just have to put up with the bits I don't like. It kind of stops me stressing too much. Although as I posted earlier I am struggling with control issues a bit at the moment


About the phone not in the room overnight - I battle with that one too. we make our 13 year olds leave their phone downstairs in lounge room charging overnight, my 16 year old is allowed it in her room. I think that started for her in about year 8. the 13 years olds are in year 7. It is really hard. 


Im finding the kids don't like missing out on the late night conversations that happen between those kids allowed their phones.  And also they don't like having their phone away from them because they seem to feel like part of them are missing!


It may be hard to take that privilege away from her given she has it - but maybe it can be a bargaining tool. Hopefully some other members have some good ideas on this as I struggle myself!





Super frequent scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thanks for your advice.
Setting ph boundaried is going to be a tricky one...she is not going to like it at all no matter how we put it. We went out last night to friends and she didnt want to go because she would have to hand her ph in. She socialised for a bit with her friends but then wanted to go on her ph and withdrew from everyone and sulked when we said no. It worries me how attached she is to her ph at the moment and I worry too if we take it away what she may do....its a tough one 🙁
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hi @Moloko, you've been given some fabulous advice here, and I agree that you're doing a wonderful job in supporting your daughter through some tough issues.


I just picked up something you said in an earlier message about the coaching and wanted to clarify for you. The coaching @Ngaio-RO mentioned is for parents to undertake, not actually for our teens to do. The coaching itself is done independently from our kids, but is a great way of learning extra ways to deal with the issues we are currently facing. The coach could help support you in placing boundaries you would like to set. I've completed the coaching and highly recommend it!  



Super frequent scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thanks for your message. I like the sound of the coaching...how do I get involved in this?
Super contributor

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hi @Moloko


That's very simple! Just click here and it will take you to coaching

It's a wonderful service that has now helped a growing number of parents improve their relationship with their teenager. 

I think you'd get a lot out of it. Smiley Happy 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

hi @Moloko 


I've found that building self-esteem comes by focusing on what is already working in their lives. For example, when you mentioned that your daughter does club sports, dance and now also drama, I'd encourage you to help her keep doing these things. It's the old saying "if something is working - do more of it."  This would extend to also focusing on the great group of friends that she has outside of school. If your daughter can see that she can do things she enjoys, that she has great friends in her life already, it will help remove some of the power from "I have no friends, everyone is mean to me" etc because you have evidence that she does have friends, she can do stuff. 


And I love it that you went and picked her up from school that day she texted you! That's awesome! That would've spoken so much to her about your love and care for her. Sounds like she knows that her family loves and supports her.


Can I just say something about the phone in relation to social media and texting? I know that they might be on their phones a lot - I know mine are. But I think something to consider is helping our kids learn to be in control of their phone By this I mean, helping them to realise that they don't have to respond all the time or straight away to messages, that it might be helpful to put the phone down for a while and to have a break, especially if text conversations need to calm down. By helping our kids know when to respond and how,  gives them a choice and a sense of control and power over their own lives. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thank you. Yes I agree totally around phs etc. These last couple of weeks have I guess been unusual as she has started a new school and made a lot of new friends and they are messaging which is great on one hand as shes making friends but on the other she is a bit too obssessed by it at the moment.

We had a big talk sunday and have established some ph boundaries. The ph has to stay in kitchen at night and ours are in there too. If we are out ph goes in bag..she is not allowed on it. After initial protest she has agreed. It went well first night, but I caught her up to check her ph in the middle of the night last night...not happy about that...she gets that it wasnt ok. Just trying to teach her balance at the moment.

Re the sports. She is still keen on it but have noticed her not wanting to go to sports this week...but I reminded her that part of our condition in letting her change schools is she keep up her grades and sport. Will definitely try and keep her involved.
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thanks for providing the coaching link @Ngaio-RO.


And @AeroGirl, I really like the idea of teaching our kids responsible usage of their phones!

It's such a big issue.


Well done in establishing those boundaries @Moloko. It's not easy and takes grit and persistance! I think you're doing a fabulous job, and agree that I think you'd find the coaching useful. It's often handy to have a few things in our 'tool bag'. Let us know how you go.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hi @Moloko We introduced a 9:30pm phone curfew for my now 17 year old about 9 months ago. This applies on all school nights, as we had a big problem where she could be on the phone all night, which made it near impossible to get her up for school the next day.  At first she hated it and protested strongly about the curfew - even when she wasn't actually on her phone it gave her comfort sleeping with it right next to her.  She would fall asleep holding the phone.  We introduced the curfew because she had a lot of distress in her life at the time, and it was necessary to give her heart and her head a break from all the drama.  She also needs to sleep! My daughter functions better on a minimum 8 hours sleep (tired daughter = grumpy daughter)  


If you plan on taking the phone for any length of time, it might be an idea to have something else to replace it with.  When we took the phone at night, we replaced it with reading or doing puzzle word books so she wasn't left staring at the ceiling - which was a great distraction. At first we started charging the phone in the kitchen, but she would get up to get it.  Now the phone comes with me at night and I charge it in my bedroom. We use to also take the phone for 1 hour in the morning, afternoon and dinner time on weekends, to force her to get up and eat!  Although we don't do this anymore. 


Your daughters friends will still be there in the morning, and if anything happens overnight that she misses out on she can easily catch up on the next day, or it is more likely that it is not critical that she needs to know what is going on every minute of the day.

I understand that our kids communicate and develop friendships via their phones - which is really important, however I agree with @AeroGirl in regards to not letting the phone control them.  If your daughter was talking to friends at school, she probably wouldn't allow someone to interrupt her every minute, but we allow our phones to do just this... My daughter can be having a conversation with someone, then start another conversation with someone else, while in a group chat and getting snapchats, instagram notifications and face book messages all at the same time. I feel it is so important to give kids brains a break from all the noise and stimulation. 


It is not an easy thing to introduce phone boundaries, especially if your daughter is reluctant to give it up, let us know how you go ?