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Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hey @Moloko, I've been thinking about you and wondering how things have been going with you and your daughter? I hope things have improved, but I know the road's full of potholes, so please reach out if there's any support we can offer you. 

Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter


So sorry it has taken me so long to reply. The last 6 months have been up and downSmiley Happy

Our daughter seems to have settled in at school, she doesn't like school but she goes and has found some subjects she is really enjoying. She still wants to be with her friends but seeing as she cannot she has settled and made some friendships with people in her class which is great.

Her grades are all over the place but she assures us she is trying and we can see this in the classes she likes. Her reports are not amazing but they are not worrying either. I think she is doing the bare minimum she has to and is doing ok, if she actually studied and tried she would be doing even better.

She has agreed to get help with her anxiety and is seeing someone each week. I think it is helping. She is taking away some insightful information and even though she protests about going she goes every week and she knows it is her choice. I am really proud of her for making this decision to go. I have learnt to not push her for information about her sessions. If she wants to talk about them she will and if she doesn't thats ok too. Some weeks she will talk to me about her session and other weeks she says nothing.

She still is struggling with friendships. She can be confrontational and defensive and it can cause trouble/arguments in her friend group....also social media! wow! there is no hiding on there is there, kids today seem to screen shot your message and send it on. She is learning to filter what she says a bit but sometimes she speaks before the thinks and this can cause dramas, but to be honest there seems to always be dramas in this age group and this friend group. 

I have learn't to step back a lot this year and allow her to manage herself and her school work and friendships. This has been pretty hard to do but has worked out really well and our relationship is stronger. I have been listening more and just stepping back and giving her some of the independence she craves. I let her know I do this because I trust her and trust the decisions she makes and she has been pretty honest about things and will ask us rather than go behind our backs. I think its very important to give an independent child independence but still have those's a hard balance to find. We have to just trust we have given her the right tools and she will make the right decisions and if she makes a mistake we will always be there to help and support her.

We hardly fight these days which is great. I see my daughter as such a kind and smart and gorgeous person and it pains me that she struggles still with friendships and girls can be so immature and nasty at this age and like the drama. We have shared a few tears over friendships this week. I am not sure that her friends are the right friends for her, there always seems to be one of the group that is on the outs. When my daughter stuffs up by saying something she shouldnt have she is turned on by the girls but its ok for them to say nasty stuff about her. It breaks my heart and you want to step in but these are her lessons to learn about friendships and how to manage them.

I have learned that when you guys say make sure you look after yourself - you need to do this! I have had anxiety issues this year that I have never experienced before. It's knocked me down big time but I have been making sure I get the right help and do the things I need to do to keep strong.

I hope all is well with you taokat.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hey @Moloko, never a need to apologise! I'm so glad you've taken the time you needed and I felt so much relief for you reading your post. I know how things can be up and down, but it sounds like the ups are more common than the downs, and that your relationship with your daughter is really strong - that in itself can be a game changer for us! Thank you so much for the update and for sharing what is working for you. Your love for your daughter just shines through and you've reminded me that I need to take a step back and not allow my fears or worries interfere with how I parent - something I've struggled with lately.


Friendships can be so troublesome can't they? My daughter has the same issues - she doesn't always have a filter on what she says! It's also heartbreaking knowing their friends aren't good for them. I can only hope that things will settle with age and maturity and I hope the same for your daughter too. Listening without getting involved as a mum is hard, but as you say, friendships are something our kids need to learn to manage - and with our independent kids I'm sure that's what they want for themselves too. 


I'm so happy to hear you've been benefiting from support for yourself. It really does make a difference and keeps us better able to manage overall. It's so taxing in more ways than one and I find getting the right help allows me to maintain hope and the belief that I've got this!


You're doing a fabulous job and your daughter is so lucky to have such a caring, patient and insightful mum Heart



Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thanks again for your message of support.
Things are still going ok. Our daughter is still not a fan of school but goes every day. Grades are still all over the place and she does the bare minimum that she has to. Is very frustrating because I know she is capable of much more but if I try and talk about putting more effort in to her school work she flips out and gets incredibly defensive. I try and avoid this battle.

Her friends group still seems to be full of rediculous drama....something new every week. They dont seem to support each other very much which my daughter is starting to notice more and it's frustrating her. I try my hardest to not voice any opinions on her friends as she will immediately jump in to defend them....just trying to listen when she talks and support her....I have been talking about how good friends build you up, not tear you down and good friends support you and you support them, if you argue you talk about it, apologise if needed and move on. I just want her to surround herself with people that get her, love her for who she is and celebrate each others achievements and successes...its a tough age for them. Friendships and choosing the right friends will be a challenging journey for her I think but I think even in just the last year she has learned a lot about friendships and she is starting to realise what qualities are important to her in a friend and she is learning to be a better friend.

She has decided to not go to counseling any more. We have left this decision up to her as we cant force her to go or she will dig her heels in. She has said shes not gaining anything from it and doesn't like talking about her problems and adults dont give good advice....ha! I'm thinking she is putting up her defensive walls because shes not hearing what she wants to hear. I dont think shes open to hearing advice and solutions at the moment...but hopefully she may come back to it when shes ready. Some days I am so proud of some of the insights she has regarding life and friendships and then some days I ask where the heck did I go wrong😂

I am incredibly lucky to have such an incredibly supportive group of friends around me.

How are things going with your daughter?
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

It’s lovely to hear from you @Moloko and it sounds like things are generally going well which is great. 


Choosing the battles is a big one isn’t it! My daughter’s not studying at all at the moment and she becomes very defensive as well if I raise the issue, so instead I talk about choices and the responsibility we must own for our choices and the outcomes. We can’t force them at this age, but I feel with that, my daughter needs to be aware about cause and effect. 

We can only hope that when things align for our girls that they’ll find the motivation to fulfill their potential.


Friendships are so tough at this age and I know what you mean about not wanting to place judgement on her friends. I love the way you’re dealing with it and talking about what a good friend is. It’s such an important life lesson and fantastic that your daughter has begun realising for herself. It’s a great lesson about relationships in general I think. 


My daughter wouldn’t see a counsellor for years but got to a stage where she decided she wanted to, so hopefully your daughter will come around to that as well. She may very well feel she’s not understood or as you say, not ready to hear what she’s being told. We saw numerous counsellors all to no avail, and then funnily enough my daughter chose to go back to the first counsellor she’d seen. It’s never too late and possibly for now your daughter’s at capacity for self help intake with lessons she’s currently learning. 


I had a laugh at your comment about being proud of your daughter’s insight at times, and at others wondering where you went wrong! I can totally relate to that! How can there be such a huge gap between the two sometimes??! 😂 These years are baffling sometimes! 


I’m so glad you have wonderful supportive friends, it makes such a difference to how we manage. Keeps us sane! 


My daughter’s had some tough struggles recently and things are up and down. She seems to be doing well and then things can change in an instant. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster but she’s learning every day. Thank you for asking 😊 


I’ll keep in touch, and in the meantime thinking of you and hoping your daughter continues moving forward Heart

Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

I thought I would touch base and update and seek advice.
Things in general are going ok with our daughter.

After talks with school and our daughter we allowed her to move class to be with her peers. We weighed everything up and all agreed that she would keep continuing on fighting us all to be moved and possibly sabotaging her education to get moved so we agreed upon a trial period to see how she went. There were strict conditions on her move and it's been a few months now and we can say at this stage it was the right move. She is happier, more engaged in school and achieving better. She's enjoying being with her friends and actually is happy to go to school and really likes her class. Teachers have had positive things to say which is great.

We are still having our boundary struggles....she pushes like no other kid I know, I feel emotionally exhausted most days to be honest and feel like the worst parent. I constantly feel like I have failed her as a parent....especially when you hear other parents speak of how wonderful their teens are and seem to be breezing through the teen years easily. I ask myself where have I gone wrong in my parenting.
Her emotions are all over the place, and I know these years are very difficult for teens emotionally. She has expressed she feels depressed and asked to see our Dr, I took her and she has been referred to a counsellor but I'm not sure how successful it will be. If you don't say what she wants to hear, she disengages and find fault. I think she was expecting medication or a quick fix.

Her friends seem to have constant dramas going on which I think plays a part in her emotions. But what can you do? You can't pick their friends for them. I try to just listen and not give opinions on her friends, there just always seems to be some kind of drama going on within her friend group.

Some days she is such a wonderful person and makes me so proud but other times I find myself really not liking being around her much as she is able to upset and hurt me like no other...and I find I then feel emotionally exhausted.

I've always been pretty proud of her decisions online, she has never posted inappropriate photos, but lately she again has been trying to push the boundaries on instagram. She asked for approval to post a pic which I respect that she actually asked me. I thought the pic was not appropriate and said that I didn't agree with her posting it and tried to explain why, she flipped out, blocked me and posted it anyhow. Teens seem to have more than 1 account and although she didn't post it to her main account she still posted it on her other account with fewer followers against my wishes....I'm so incredibly disappointed and not sure how I should respond. I'm quite embarrassed she posted it. She's aware of my feelings but doesn't seem to care, shes even said she doesn't care about my opinion and will do what she likes and she did. This is the first time she has blatantly gone against me and I'm quite hurt. She is in such a hurry to grow up it scares me. She seems to have lost some of the self respect I really admired in breaks my heart and the next few years really worry me. I know I need to stay strong for her as even though she protests, she needs boundaries.

I find myself not talking about my struggles with friends because I just don't want their judgement and I find they have a lack of understanding how challenging and exhausting it is to parent an incredibly strong willed teen.

Am I overreacting? Any advice? Do I need to be harder on her or will that just make her rebel more? I feel like I'm floundering most of the time.
Community Manager

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hi @Moloko it's fantastic that you've seen such growth and change regarding your daughter and school. This is a hard time I think for any parent with boundaries, particularly with social media and friendships. I think just remember that when other parents talk about how wonderful their teens are, I would say that they may be sharing the highlights rather than the struggles. Try not to get to caught up by this Heart


With regards to boundaries, have you talked about clear consequences for your daughter when she moves outside of them? If not maybe sit down and talk to her about what she thinks the consequences should be?

Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Thank you for your reply. I totally agree re boundaries and social media. It's such a different time to when we grew up, I can only imagine the pressures social media puts on our kids today.

In regards to talking with my daughter, its actually quite difficult to have a conversation with her at the moment without her yelling at me and telling me to get out of her room. She can be quite disrespectful and Its impacting the whole family and I am struggling a lot. I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of this yr, so some days I just do not have anything left to have those battles, it completely exhausts me emotionally. Sometimes I will just message her what I want to say because then she wont get defensive and yell and scream at me because I'm not telling her what she wants to hear, I hope she reads what I say and hopefully takes it in and thinks on it.

After the struggles she went through last year and self harming I think we walked on egg shells around her and were not as firm with boundaries and consequences as we would normally have been because we feared that she would self harm again...I think that's where I feel we probably went wrong and her behaviour is partly a result of this.

I agree re other parents, you are right, we only hear the highlights and I'm sure every parent has their struggles but I do see most of my friends daughters the same age doing ok and genuinely nice kids and they have great relationships and spend time together, our daughter is mostly a good person but she has changed so much over this last year and doesnt want to spend any time with us and makes any trips we go on extremely difficult because we have taken her away from her friends. I try to stop myself comparing but it is hard sometimes.
Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

Hey @Moloko,


You're right in that it can be hard to stop comparing ourselves to others. Do you ever share your struggles or advice with these other parents? 


From reading through your thread, I can tell you are a wonderful parent to your daughter. Messaging your daughter can definitely be a great alternative when having a verbal conversation is a struggle. You mentioned that it's impacting the whole family, have you spoken to them about how your daughter has been affecting them?

Prolific scribe

Re: Having struggles with my 13yr old daughter

And then you get those lovely days which we are having at the moment, where they are happy and settled and gorgeous and engaging...and I am reminded of all the things I love about my daughter. ♥️
I find I dont have conversations with the parents who seem to be breezing through the teens as their advice is usually not applicable to my daughter and I honestly feel a bit judged. I do how ever talk with friends who keep it real and tell it like it is about their kids and struggles, I've found we are not alone in our teen struggles and it's great to listen and be able to offload with like minded people going through the same struggles......its helped a lot, so as they say, find your tribe as you will help each other get through these challenging years.

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