I need help!
09-13-2019 01:04 AM
My 14 year old daughter is about to send me to the looney bin.
Back Story: She has been a very mouthy child for as long as I can remember. 'M' is biologically my husband's, but I legally adopted her and her older sister 5 years ago. Neither have any recollection of their birth mother, so I truly don't believe this is what's causing her to go bananas. In addition, my husband and I had our first (and will be our only) biological daughter together 17 months ago and I do feel that in some ways, she resents her new sister because the attention is less on her (but as I previously said, this has been going on for YEARS).
In the recent year, 'M' has gotten to the point where I've almost left my husband because I can not stand being around her and, sometimes, I fear that if provoked enough, I will lay my hands on her. M backtalk's, interrupts all conversations, throws temper tantrums when she doesn't get her way, is very selfish, threatens, yells, cusses, etc. And while she has never skipped school (she about did today), stolen, done drugs, or did anything physical, her mouth is still to the point where I just can't take it anymore.
For example, last night her father and I needed to have a discussion with M and her older sister regarding them needing to pay more attention about picking up after themselves and not leaving me to come home from work to a big mess. Because we both knew M would start to cause problems before the conversation even started, my husband started the conversation with "please, neither one of you interrupt while I'm talking". We didn't directly direct it at M, but to both of them so that she wouldn't feel singled out. Not even 1 minute into the conversation, she starts interrupting, back talking, eye rolling, huffing and puffing. This ultimately dragged our conversation out to nearly an hour and resulted in me taking her phone away from her because of the disrespect. Obviously, this really pissed her off. Immediately, she kept asking for her phone back. Her attitude slowly started to change but I personally wasn't buying into it. Nearing the end of our night (my husband and I go to bed at 8pm since we both have to get up at 4am for work) we decided that M could have her phone back BUT we would shut her internet off for the night. She didn’t like this plan and immediately started back talking AGAIN. So, with that, I kept her phone. Our 17-month-old still sleeps in our room, and M is aware of that. So, she said, “I’m just going to stand outside your room all night causing a ruckus so that the baby keeps waking up and you guys don’t sleep unless you give me my phone back.” That set me off, so, with her phone still in my hand, I threw it on the ground and told her she would NOT be getting it back and that I would not tolerate her threatening me. She left and went to her room. After much discussion with my husband following that, I definitely agreed that I let my temper get the best of me and that we needed to start handling M without yelling or fighting. We make the rules and we don’t owe her a discussion. This morning, she got her phone back WITHOUT internet as she does need it for school. Upon me and my husband leaving for work, M calls me YELLING at me saying I broke her phone and whatnot (I did not). I tell her I love her and that I hope she has a good day and I hang up. I then get the following text: “You broke my phone and the only thing I want is a new one. I am not forgiving anybody till I get a new one. It was already dads old iphone 6s so it’s not like it was any good either. And no I don’t believe you love me you broke my phone and I still don’t have a brand new one after you broke it. Im not grateful or loving to anyone for a broken phone. Im not keeping this piece of crap. If it wasn’t for you I would still have a phone. And I am not going to school now. Its not like I can get punished for doing anything anymore. No phone no ways I can get punished unless your gonna take my coloring books and slam them on the ground.”
What the heck do I do with this kid?! I am at my wits end. Truly!!!! I know that when we get home from work this evening, it’s going to be hell and my goal for myself is to stay totally calm and not get worked up. But I NEED HELP!
Re: I need help!
09-13-2019 12:01 PM
Welcome to ReachOut forums @trpack and thank you for sharing what is going on for you. It sounds like you have been very patient with your daughter despite how frustrating this situation is for you.
No matter who we are, how old we are or what role we hold in the family - being yelled at, cussed at and threatened takes a toll! I can sense from the tone of your post that this is really wearing you thin. Do you have any formal/informal support networks during this difficult time?
I know other parents here have echoed similar struggles with their teens, so know that you are not alone. If you are interested there are some resources on our site on blended families that I think may be relevant to you - you can read on here.
Do any of our wonderful parents have some words of support?
Sending you lots of strength and hope to hear back from you soon.
Re: I need help!
09-13-2019 12:58 PM - edited 09-13-2019 01:19 PM
Ah teenage girls! What a handful. I'm not sure if you've read the Princess Bitchface Syndrome by Michael Carr-Gregg - while some girls have certain traits growing up, they're certainly amplified more during teenage years. It sounds like you and your husband are doing a good job of trying to calmly put boundaries in place during a time of lots of stress.
I wouldn't totally dismiss the adoption stuff. I previously worked for a Post Adoption Support Service and step-parent adoptions do bring unique family dynamics as well as sometimes an extra layer of attachment issues. Nancy Verrier's book "The Primal Wound" captures some of this, although I've found you need to take bits and pieces of it and apply it to your own situation. It may be that your daughter is watching you bond with your young biological child and is being triggered (sometimes even unknowingly). Every adoption begins with loss. It may be worth having a poke around some sites on the net about this stuff or even having a chat with a service like https://www.benevolent.org.au/services-and-programs/list-of-programs/post-adoption-resource-centre-n....
Re: I need help!
09-13-2019 09:13 PM
Thanks for your response. Being adopted myself, I don't totally dismiss the adoption thing. I understand more than most how difficult being adopted is and all the whirlwind of emotions that come with it. I came into M's life when she was still in diapers and have never looked at her like she wasn't mine. The way I treat her now is no different than the way I treated her before my husband and I had the baby. If anything, I try to spend even more time with her.
Last night, for instance, she said she needed gym clothes for school and asked if I'd take her shopping. I told her absolutely. As I pulled into WalMart she through a temper tantrum and said she refused to wear Walmart clothes and would only wear UnderArmor. She straight up said, "I'm to good to wear Walmart." I looked at her totally mortified and told her that she wasn't to good to even wear GoodWill clothes. This whole spoiled and entitled thing is kicking my butt.
I'll definitely take a look at the Princess BitchFace Syndrome!
Re: I need help!
09-13-2019 10:36 PM
Oh~Girls!! You must be so frustated, going home everyday tired after work and still have to face all these. I hated argue, its draining and meaningness.
I am not sure if my advise is relevant as I have 2 boys,
no girl plus my boys are not verbally abusive. So please excuse me and ignore it if you find it irrelevant.
Since I am not good at argue with people so I avoid all meaningness "discussion" with my boys, words like "that mean you don't love me", "now you just don't care" kind of teens speech, whenever my boys get angry and talk to me like that, I don't follow their conversation, I simply point out that I can see he is agitated and angry now, so we cannot discuss anything until he calms down, lets distant ourselves from each other so we will not say things we will regret later. Then its either he goes to his own room or if he doesn't walk away, I will walk away into my room. He did follow me once and I can sense he stand outside my room, but I don't go out until he calm down. Usually it won't take long as there is nobody for him to angry at! Chinese saying "you cannot clap with only 1 hand"
I don't plan to come out with this idea, its just simply I am not good at arguing so I avoid it, but it works for me, my older boy is now 15, his worse year was ~12-13 years old, he is now very reasonable, though he still gets angry every now and then, but no longer those meaningness, provoking speech.
Once again, I don't know if it will work for girls and every family is different.
Re: I need help!
09-14-2019 04:42 PM
Oh dear @trpack I've been to the looney bin and back! It is not a pleasant experience. Firstly, well done coming here and asking for help. You know this is the hardest step. It is also a sign of how much you care. The people we love are the ones who know which buttons to push and how often. If we were chatting face to face you would now hear me muttering something under my breath right now.
I have to rush out but feel I have responded to this type of question so many times now I will have another search for the topics. Only because I know that I would have said it better then than I can right now...you know state of mind and all that jazz.
Here are a couple of posts @PapaBill and I have responded too. I encourage you to have a quick squiz and ask more questions. I will try to come back to this at another time. Otherwise PM me.
Finally, big hugs and sending lots of positive thoughts your way. You're doing a great job. Take care.