Out of control teen and Christmas

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Casual scribe

Out of control teen and Christmas

My teenager daughter (almost 16) keeps running away from home, stealing, lying, partying, failing school, and won't attend her therapy lessons. Christmas is coming up and it is my one time of year I get to spoil my girls. My husband and I are thinking of buying our defiant teen only the essentials for Christmas (more undies, socks and a few outfits). It breaks my heart to do this, but I am sick of being taking advantage of. She literally laughs in my face, when I lecture her on why she shouldn't drink alcohol.
Have any other parents done this? Would you as a parent take away their presents if they acted the way my teen does? Or am I being to harsh. Thank you so much for your help.
Parent Community Champion

Re: Out of control teen and Christmas

Hi @Spainh1 


We all love to spoil our children and try to bring joy into their lives.  It makes us feel great to do good things for those we love.  


To my way of thinking, Presents at Christmas are not an entitlement and while not being earned they should be deserved and I get a lot of joy out of giving them.


I like giving nice things to my children and I know my partner is always giving little things to her daughter to show her love.  When she has had to withhold things she would like to give a result of her daughters actions it is increasingly hard for her as that is how my partner shows her love and it makes her feel so good.


The problem is if you put your feelings first, by doing the things that make you feel good and reward bad behavior with presents you will never teach you children about consequences.  


I have and definitely see my partner struggle to put the long goal of helping our children grow and learn about consequences of actions ahead of making our children happy in the short term..


So to answer your question 

I would not give them anything lavish or special for Christmas


I would suggest it is really important to talk to your teen before her Christmas to explain what you are doing for Christmas and why.  The last thing you want is an explosion on Christmas day because she didn't get the latest iGadget she was expecting.


One thing I would say before embarking on this plan, the issues of respect and behavior are not going to be fixed in a day, a week or even a month.  With holding presents at Christmas has to be part of a larger strategy or all you are doing is going to result in a very unhappy Christmas day.

So this would need to be part of a wider strategy on how boundaries are set.




Community Manager

Re: Out of control teen and Christmas

Hi @Spainh1 and thank you for reaching out to our Parents Community!


Setting boundaries and following through on consequences are common stresses we hear from our parents in this community. I can imagine it must have been a hard decision to come to around Christmas and what your daughter will be getting, and I am sure this was a decision that has taken a lot of thought and contemplation Heart 


@PapaBill has provided a really great response! One thing I want to reiterate was this: "I would suggest it is really important to talk to your teen before her Christmas to explain what you are doing for Christmas and why." Young people always want to know why, and this conversation is super important to help them understand boundaries and impacts of behaviour.


Behaviour change takes time, and I agree with Papabill that it may take time after Christmas too. We are hearing how much you love your daughter and want to support her to make good decisions for her life. 


ReachOut had a live discussion on Facebook yesterday that might be really helpful for you too, its all about boundaries. You can find the video here


Check out our community activities calendar for October 2019 here
Casual scribe

Re: Out of control teen and Christmas

I have talked with her and tried to have a heart to heart with her. She screamed at me that I was abusive for not providing her with the things she "wants". I calmly reinstated what I said and told her it was her choice if she got the things she wanted by behaving in the proper manner. She stormed off. It broke my heart so bad but I have to stick to it. I have 4 girls and she is the only one that is verbally abusive towards me and has a bad behaviour.
Parent Community Champion

Re: Out of control teen and Christmas

Hi @Spainh1 


It would be incredibly hard to resist making yourself feel better by giving in to the screaming.

Good on you for putting the long term well being of you daughter first.


I really like how you talk about "wants" and separated that from the "basic needs" parents always need to provide.