(Closed) Please help! Need some advice on 13 year old daughter.

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Family therapy stat.  There are some major dynamic issues that may be related to your separation from her father that are making her a tougher than usual teenager to deal with.  I also suspect that your younger son has a different father so there is likely a stepfamily dynamic as well.  Constant negative reinforcement is not going to solve this issue because she likely believes she is less loved by you and your ex even though you both are showing her you love her by placing limits on her behavior.

The faster you get into family therapy, the better.  This is something that will require the whole family to figure out together.

Post # 4
47445 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

My philosophy is that consequences have to be much more immediate. On the day they didn’t do the chores, why on earth would you spend the evening doing cleaning, doing laundry and everything that was supposed to have been done during the day ? I would have mde the girls get up off their derrieres and do the chores.

I would sit down with the daughter who knocked the hole in the wall and work out a repayment schedule. We would decide together on a list of chores to be done to compensate me for the money to fix the wall.

I also think you and her Dad need to be 100% united in your approach to discipline.

I would still take her on vacation next week, but only after the chore list had been agreed upon and after we had a talk about my expectations of her behavior while we are on vacation. I think cancelling at this late date would be unfair, unless you had previously said you were going to do that as a consequence of her behavior.

I would be careful about painting the younger girl as a saint. She didn’t do her chores either and obviously was also playing tag iin the house against your instructions.

Have you had any family counselling? I am concerned that at this age she is very vulnerable to heading down the track of really bad behavior if she continues to act out.






Post # 5
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

First and foremost, I feel for you so ((( BIG HUGS )))

Pre-Teens & Teens are tough years at times… and once a child has pushed the boundaries, it is very hard to rein them back in


And if you don’t do it now… not only will it get worse, there is the chance that you’ll NEVER get the control back as a Parent

Kids without adequate supervision get into a downward spiral because they don’t have the common sense and world knowledge to see right from wrong, and are EASILY led astray

Even the best kids, have issues in their teenage years… and get into situations they cannot handle (how much trouble depends on the kid, the environment, and the Parent)

My best advice as a Parent who has been down this road is that altho they may be 13 on paper, and LEGALLY ALLOWED to stay alone, they really shouldn’t be unsupervised for a whole day (many consecutive hours) each.and.every.day


They need some sort of supervision… they need to have more going on than just “hanging out” at home all summer long

You should look into Day Camps that they can attend.  There are all kinds, find the type of activities they are interested in… or something that might challenge them

IF spending that kind of money isn’t possible, then look at getting them out of the house & volunteering, or helping out another Mother with young children (either for Pay or not) as a Mother’s Helper

And altho I am all in favour of kids doing chores, helping out around the house… they should not be the “replacement” in the equation just because they happen to be home for Summer Holidays (I assume that someone else does these chores when the kids are at school the rest of the year)

Tough Love is TOUGH

And for many families the Teenage Years are the hardest… so you may have to change your priorities to get the best out of those years for your kids

My Ex-Hubby and I tag teamed during those years… one went to work early, and came home early (7 to 3, home by 4) … the other went to work late and came home late (9 to 5, home by 6)

I changed jobs… I worked flex time at my regular job, and added a second job, so I could afford more time with them, and also have the funds I needed to see they were “busy” with sports, camps, ORGANIZED activities with supervision when I wasn’t available.

It all starts with talking back… being disrespectful.  Beyond that, trust me, you don’t want to see that side of the coin !!

(Vandalism – Drugs – Alcohol – Sex)… Sh!t that can effect their WHOLE adult lives

You ONLY HAVE 5 to 7 years (11 to 18) be sure and make em count !!

Hope this helps,


Post # 9
4845 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I agree with PP’s advice on family therapy.

I would also take away all priveleges. If they can’t do their chores because the TV and tablets are too much of a distraction, away they go. 

As for the hole in the wall, she gets to learn how to patch drywall and pay for the repair. 

If they can’t be trusted to be home alone, maybe look into hiring a baby sitter. Possiby someone who is a bit of a hard ass. Someone they can’t push around. 

Post # 10
1222 posts
Bumble bee

First of all, I agree with the pp that when they didn’t do chores, you should not have done the chores for them. You should have made them stop what they were doing then and there to do their chores, and possibly even extra for not doing them when they were told.

Secondly, if your daughter acts like this, why does she have access to tablets, video games, phones, etc? If I acted like this consistently, my room would have been stripped of everything but a mattress and enough clothes for a week at school. I’d be grounded not until I could do one thing nice, but until I completely learned my lesson the hard way that my behavior was in no way okay. Electronics are a privledge- one that she has not earned by her behavior. I also don’t like the idea of not making her go to a summer camp because there’s not one she likes- either she can pick one, or you and her father can choose one for her. Simple as that. Giving her any leeway obviously isn’t helping, because she sees it as a right. Take it all away, and once she starts earning privledges back she will be grateful for them.

I also agree with the pp who says it’s time for some real tough love. I have seen what happens when kids are allowed to get away with anything. My siblings were parented like that. All 3 had issues at teens and only 1 managed to make anything of himself later in life. My sister used to run away a lot and was extremely promiscuous from the age of 13. Now, she has 2 kids she really doesn’t want and issues with popping pills. My brother was literally handed everything on a silver platter. He was never taught how to get along with people because my mom babied him. He was once put in bootcamp for hitting my dad in the back with a chair and at that point it was too late. Today, he is in his thirties, with 2 kids he can’t take care of (one he isn’t allowed to see by court order because of domestic violence charges against the mother), no car or place of his own, and anger problems so bad even my mom can’t stand to be around him.

I, on the other hand, was primarily raised by my dad, with boundaries. As I got older, I was allowed more privledges and rights BECAUSE I had been a good kid. I was a straight-A student, participated in a multitude of after school clubs, and went on to go to college on scholarship.

My point is that no matter how badly you want to be able to let her have everything, you have to make her earn it. You have to make her do things she doesn’t necessarily want to. You have to establish that *you* are the parent and *you* are in charge now before it’s too late.

Post # 12
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Yikes and yikes! Definetly family therapy is in order. Your older daughter is acting out because she feels unloved and feels like she has no where to go. you are tossing her around like a pinball at her most crucial time in her life. OF course she is acting out and does not respect YOU! I would not want to be with you either if i had MY mother toss me around because i was a DIFFICULT child. so what is so special about the younger one that gets the privilage of living with you while the other is shunned out? and instead of taking her on vacation to promote mother daughter bonding you just dont want to take her? Think how you would feel in that situation. AND ON THE chores thing,,, SHES 13!!! what kid wants to do chores at 13??? especially durring summer time?? If all shes getting is negatives from you, then she will rebel even more. SAME thing will happen with your younger daughter if you dont change. and they judge you and your actions and kids can and will lose respect for their parents. AND remeber if you dont fix it now, i know plenty of people who HATE their parents because of what they did to them when they were younger. FAMILy therapy STAT.




Post # 11
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

double post

Post # 15
5950 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

View original reply
@mrskisstobe:  …there is nothing more terrifying and dangerous than a 13 year old girl, and keeping one in a tolerable state where they’re actually nice to be around is a complicated and difficult dance, even for the most fearless and strong of us…..

You’ve listed a lot of incidents and scenarios where bad things happened, where bad behavior is exhibited, what I don’t see in the post and feel might be your problem is that you have no power over here…at least, you feel that way and that’s just wrong….I understand that the living situation is complicated, but you have to remember that you own everything she calls hers.

I’d sit down with her, and tell her that I love her so very much, and that will never change, but I hate the choices she makes and as a direct reaction to her actions, some things are going to change….

Since she’s shown that she can’t be trusted alone during the day, she’ll be volunteering at local pet shelters, rest homes and food banks as well as helping out the older members of your family who are home and could use the company and assistance….it will do her good on both levels.

Back talk, attitude, lying and general unpleasantness will not be tolerated in any way shape or form, at this point you remind her that anything and everything she holds dear can be taken away in the blink of an eye…a 13 year old does not need a cell phone, a tablet, a facebook profile, expensive clothes, makeup or any other damn thing she might own….and she’ll push you, but you have to be fearless…take it away and lock it up, donate it, sell it…anything to show her that all these things are privilges and those are enjoyed by people who do what they’re supposed to.

Chores are mandatory, her room must be picked up, her bed made and clothes in the hamper, every day she does, she earns her allowance, she gets to keep enjoying all the wonderful things around her in your home.

Catch her doing things right, compliment those moments when she’s the shining young woman who’s filled with love and compassion and is a delight to be around.

Listen to her….but don’t seek her out….you’d be surprised what I learned while I was busy cooking dinner or soaking in a bubble bath…and the reason I heard what I heard was because I listened, I didn’t offer advice or instruction and we could laugh and have fun.

Either way….you can do this, just keep trying, don’t give up and make sure her father straightens out! 

Post # 16
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012


View original reply
@mrskisstobe:  Honestly, I couldn’t afford to change jobs either… and I didn’t exactly treasure the crazy hours I worked in my second job… late nights during the week or early morning on the weekends (my Ex / then Spouse watched the kids)

BUT hey, I knew where my priorities in life lie

It wasn’t with a job… jobs come and go.  Careers change.  You have 40+ years to work.

Kids are kids once… and the window of opportunity is short… they are you’re kids FOREVER no matter how they turn out

Don’t give yourself a lifetime of regret & heartache

Stop making excuses… YOU are the adult here… so YOU are the one who has to do the heavy lifting and make the major change

You want your kids to turn out to be well adjusted adults… then it is TOTALLY UP TO YOU

(You were volunteering at a camp at her age, because someone sowed the seed in your mind that the world is BIGGER than just you… that in order for the world to be a better place it isn’t all gimme gimme gimme… you have to give back too)

You grew up with the right types of values, obviously you need to make the effort to pass that stuff onto your own kids.

I feel sorry for your daughter… she might not be litterally being bounced around as someone else suggested, but she is encountering a bumpy road emotionally.

That needs to be evened out for her.

Family Therapy (where EVERYONE in the family is counselled… You, Kids, Ex Hubby, New Partners etc) is going to help…

BUT counselling cannot be done in a vacuum, at the end of the day, you have to all live together… and get along (and put into practice the principles that are presented in therapy)

Tough Love is tough… but it needs to happen.

You cannot make her life one big punishment (taking away all her stuff, AND her opportunities to bond with her Mom & Dad)… BUT you can come up with an equation that makes sense with the help of a trained Family Therapist (look for someone who specializes in extended family dynamics and has EXTENSIVE experience with Teenagers)

Hang in there… it is stressful for sure, but you can make it work


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