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My Daughter Doesn't Listen

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My Daughter Doesn't Listen

I am a pretty young mother. I got pregnant with my first daughter when I was 20 and she is now 17. I had a lot of unresolved trauma and I'll have to admit, I did not raise her the right way. I was angry a lot and hit her and yelled, but I never beat her. Although, my daughter would argue with me and said I left bruises, I digress. She grew up angry and distant and it had just made me not want to be involved with her anymore. Things have been very tense with her and she has ran away numerous times with her boyfriend.

Now, my husband has given her everything. He is not her biological father, but he buys her things, puts a roof over her head, feeds her, etc etc. I think he is a very good dad to her. My daughter seems to think otherwise. My husband has a no tolerance policy for her bullsh** and this caused a great rift between them. I'll admit, he is a bit aggressive sometimes. He'll hit her and yell at her but only when she is being a brat. Otherwise, he leaves her alone. But they had a squabble the other day which led to her getting physically hurt and my husband said some things I'm sure he didn't mean. This led to my daughter completely refusing to do chores and lie in her bed all day. When my hubby gets mad he gives her the silent treatment for about a week or so, but this got him so upset that he had to confront her.

He told her, "You have to earn yourself a place back in this family. You want to stay after you're 18? Do what we tell you and we won't have an issue." I'm not sure why, but this struck a chord with her. She started crying. She still refused and I'm honestly lost at what to do. I don't feel bad for her, she needs to grow up and pull her weight in the house regardless of what happened. But I'm tired of doing the dishes when it's supposed to be her job. What do I do?
Prolific scribe

Re: My Daughter Doesn't Listen

Hey @concernedmother, thank you so much for sharing your story with the forums. It sounds like you and your family are a really difficult situation at the moment, and I can hear that the tensions are extremely high at the moment. 

I am a bit concerned about the violence that you've mentioned that's been happening to your daughter. It's really important for a growing teen to have a safe and supportive environment to come home to. Not having this can really damage a child's sense of safety and security, and it can in turn lead to them having long term mental health issues in the future. I was wondering if you have spoken to your husband about this, and changing his behaviour around physical aggression?

It also sounds like your daughter is struggling a bit emotionally at the moment as well, and not coming out of her room could be a response to being depressed, stress, or her own trauma. It could be a good idea for her to be able to access some mental health services - are there any available for you in your area?

I also wanted to check in with how you're feeling currently - it sounds like your having an extremely stressful time at the moment, and I can imagine that trying to keep the peace between your child and your partner would be extremely exhausting - do you have anyone you can talk to or lean on for support at the moment?

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: My Daughter Doesn't Listen

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Hi  @concernedmother,

You and I could go out for coffee and have a bit to talk about. I have a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter. Neither of them are doing their chores. Our son is generally pretty chatty and we have him set up on a computer in our loungeroom and while he might listen to music with head phones and zone out a bit, he's generally part of what's going on. He's more into gaming and isn't into the party scene. However, our daugher has jumped ahead of herself and is hanging out with kids in our son's year and going to parties and walking around til all hours of the night and keeps ignoring and lying to us. She'd also been almost completely withdrawn from us for about 3 months and I felt like we'd lost her. She often stayed at a friend's house as well. It sent a pretty clear message that she didn't want to be with us and I have to admit I was pretty heartbroken but kept it in. When someone withdraws like this, it's hard to know how to respond. It's tempting to start jumping up and down and do your block and resort to some of those behaviours from "the good old days". The two things which come to mind there are about the parent "putting their foot down" and this somehow makes you a good parent with everything under control. The other saying was "While you're living under our roof, you'll live by our rules". This worked once upon a time when kids respected their parents and seemed to do what was expected of them by and large. These kind of ultimatums don't seem to work anymore. At least, they don't work in our household. My daughter has a friends who is homeless and he really seems to lead the life living at a tent at the beach and her gets free wifi at the surf club and can charge his phone at Maccas. This all seems like a idyllic lifestyle in many ways and doesn't help our efforts to instill discipline and order. 

So, instead of going in all heavy-weight, I've been working more towards building connection. Starting small. I stopped asking the kids to do their chores for awhile as it was pointless and just trying to get her to open up. She's now talking to me more about things. We've been out for coffee and shopping and her friend likes me which is good. I drive them around and have made it clear I'm available. Some local youth got into a nasty car accident recently and I don't want her or her friends caught out like that. 

It is hard to maintain my own boundaries with this approach. However, that's where we're headed now by putting some ground rules together with some consequences which we've work out with her. The other thing which we're trying to do and I encourage you on as well is to notice when they do something good. Positive reinforcement on the good they do is far more powerful than commenting on the negative. 

I'd try to build some connections with your daughter and find something that you like to do together. Perhaps at first keep them short and sweet but try to ensure they go well. 

I understand how tempers can fray and things can escalate when you're frustrated but getting physical when anyone is angry could lead to serious regrets and good people can make mistakes and do things which go against their core values. If any of you find yourselves getting hot under the collar, try to take a few deep breaths, walk away. 

I'm not sure how to get the kids to do their chores. My husband has mentioned reinstituting the star chart. Their pocket money goes direct into their accounts but I've thought about addressing that and giving them a basic amount and they need to earn the rest and make sure they earn it. 

Christmas is coming up and so maybe you can think of something special to do. 

I hope this helps and it might help to read some of the posts I've made over the last couple of days as we've had a lot to deal with ourselves.

Best wishes,


Casual scribe

Re: My Daughter Doesn't Listen


My girl is only two, but as a daughter who has distance with my mom, I know how your daughter feel. My mom never hit me when I was small, but she yelled at me when i did not understand a math exercise, When I got any problem, or argue with someone, she will blame on me, saying that I should not do this, do that, while the only thing i wanted was that she was willing to listen to me, not judging me. I grew up keeping distant with her, and not tell her my problems anymore, tho I love her.


What I want to tell you is, what you did in the past make her insecure, and you need to take her belief back, start by making her feel safe. You and your husband need to make her understand that, no matter what happen to her, no matter what she does, your house is always welcoming her, if anything bad happens, you are always here to help her. Maybe I think differently from you, but I think parent responsibility does not last till the child is 18, but forever. 


I hope it helps. 

Casual scribe

Re: My Daughter Doesn't Listen

I'm a pretty young mother as well; I mess up as a mother over and over again but at the end of the day I'm still your mother. I raised you and if I couldn't, it was because I couldn't and you needed to be in a better place because I did not want to strain you along. There's a difference between discipline and abuse, now it becomes discipline when you're not explaining to her what she done wrong while you disciplined her, there is a difference if you're taking your anger out on her, there is a difference when you're child is stuck in the dark as to why it is she was getting disciplined that's when it becomes abuse because you're not teaching her a lesson.
Apologize to your child everyday for everything you did wrong, let them know you know you did wrong but you still need to demand your respect as a parent or she will run all over you. She should not get rewarded for being disrespectful at any cause even by her father that's also sending mixed signals.


Re: My Daughter Doesn't Listen

Hello @wilsonava112 , thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about what you have been through with your daughter, that must have been so difficult. It sounds like you have a really positive attitude towards parenting and the words that you have shared are really supportive Smiley Happy