Post # 1
I have a beautiful 12 years old girl. Me and her dad split up when she was 4 – for a year and a half she stayed with me or her dad every other night. Then i met my now husband and a year after we all moved in together (meaning me, now husband, his son and my daughter). NOT easy..many, many issues with all of us adapting to a full of tension situations, mainly for the kids..we did just fine nevertheless and a little sister for them both was born 5 years ago.
My question: i am afraid all the comings and goings my daghter has made since she was 4 (between our house, her dad’s house and her grandparents’ and aunts’ hosues) has turned her into a very restless teenager, never too long pleased with anything!! When she stayes with her paternal grandmother (whom she adores and is spoiled rotten by), she calls me and cries for me to go and get her..at home, she complains she has nothing to do (which isn’t true!!) and goes from the bedroom to the living room. complaining, bored..now, she went with my parents and her sister to a beautiful camping park, gone to the beach in a stunning island..and my mum called me yesterday saying she had packed and was ready to leave!!! WHAT??????? I was furiouse as they were 300 km away!! My sister had to go down there to pick up my nephew who had behaved really, really bad and she brought my daughter home..i haven’t seen her yet as they arrived after midnight and my husband opened the door for her. ..last year, at the same camping park and after a coupld of days, she cried on the phone and made her father travel to pick her up!! She did it again although we warned her a million times she could not do this anymore!!
What to do??? I cried really hard on my way home, yesterday…i feel terribly and very, very guilty. Did i do this to my daughter? Did i create a girl who’s never happy and satisfied with anything????
Post # 3
@Rivendeler: Maybe she’s not bored, but wants some one-on-one time with someone on a regular basis? It seems like people are doing a lot of sharing, and she may just be looking for some more in-depth interaction from her primary caregiver, whether it’s you or your ex.
Post # 4
I’m with JulesSchnooks on this one. I also think it’s a bad idea to tell her that she can’t come home if she decides to go on a trip, and then let her come home before it’s done. Maybe part of the problem is inconsistency? Now, I’m not saying you should have let her stay out there and be miserable, but when I did things like that when I was a kid my mom just didn’t let me go on future trips for a while. Then we started slowly, like one night at a friends house instead of a week camping. Not sure if that’s the best idea either, but if you’re going to make a threat you have to make sure it’s one you’re able to stick with. Or don’t make the threat at all.
FWIW, I don’t think you “did this to her” though. She’s a teenager and it sounds like she’s had a lot of back and forth in her life and that’s hard on any kid. Not to mention all the normal teenager stuff kids go through. Make an effort to spend some one on one time with her more often and see how it goes from there 🙂 Also, it can’t hurt to ask her what’s going on. She might not know herself what’s going on, but at least she’ll know she can talk to you about it if she wants to. 🙂
Post # 5
Thank you bees..*sigh* i am not inconsistent..but her dad IS. She was saying yesterday she wanted to come and go to her other grandmother and i told her no, she would NOT go to her after she had behaved that way. Well, after talking to her dad about this he started saying “humm,well, maybe it’s best if she does stay with my mum..” It’s been like this all the time!! I am the one who tries and be consistent and he’s the one who says yes to everything !!
Post # 6
Stop giving in to her and picking her up on her whim.
Post # 7
@Cariad: i don’t..i never go and get her when she does a scene and cries she wants to come home after being 2 days with her grandmother. I did not pick her up yesterday BUT i did say to my mum she could come because i know my parents are completely fed up and i don’t want them to have miserable holidays..there are many issues here..
Post # 8
as someone who was a crazy teenager, and who has a 15 year old sister – i need to make one point clear – this IS NOT your fault.
her moving around a lot whilst she was growing up isn’t the reason why she’s behaving like this – she’s behaving like this because she’s a teenager.
she will disagree with everything, even if it means contradicting herself, because she can. she will hate you, and lash out, and shout and scream because that’s just what happens to some girls when they get to that age.
when i was a teenager, i was a grade A student – i didn’t drink, smoke, take drugs – nothing. but it didn’t stop me from screaming the house down whenever i had the chance. my parents thought i was ‘the worst child ever’ and at one point (omg i don’t even want to admit this) i punched my dad in the face.
let me point out now that i’m not a ‘bad person’ – i now have a great job, a good degree and my life is really awesome.
and it’s because of this that my parents have a different view on my teenage sister. my mum has spoken to so many of my sister’s friend’s parents and says *trust me, i’ve been through it before and my eldest turned out fine* and she uses me as an example of how a teenage girl just needs to get her crazy hormones out of her system before returning to normal.
please don’t blame yourself. i’m not going to lie – it may not be pretty for the next 5 years – but this is just her being ‘normal’.
she’ll get over it. maybe when she’s 20.
Post # 9
@Rivendeler: *hugs* Raising kids is hard work. Especially when they’re teens. Having a blended family further complicates things. You know what though? That’s life. 🙂 You can’t control what her dad does, you can just do the best you’re able to when she’s with you. I guess what I’m trying to say is… relax, take a deep breath, know that she loves you, make sure that she knows you love her, and enjoy this crazy, frustrating job of being a mom! I’m sure you’re great at it! 🙂
Post # 10
@lookingglass: Thank you for your input. Please, don’t get me wrong.My daughter is a very educated, polite, responsible (for her age) and loving girl. She worries herself terribly when i am not feeling ok, but that hasn’t stopped her from threating she wouldn’t return home when i didn’t let her go out and have dinner with her schoolfriends, a couple of months ago..sure, i get it, it’s hormones!!!I remember what it was like when i was a teenager myself and in some issues i do think she resembles me. I am just afraid all the comings and goings may have resulted in..not sure what or who.. I will not give in, i am sure of that. Meaning i will not surrender to her threats and will always point her the way i believe is the best for her..until some point, of course.. i am just scared..and feeling responsible..and afraid one day (like now!) i won’t know what to do about it.
Post # 11
@AllTheGoodUsernamesAreTaken: Thanks . Sometimes it’s all we need – a hug and a “it’s going to be fine”
Post # 12
@Rivendeler: you are not responsible *hugs*
something that worked well with me was being given a list of things that were ‘unacceptable’ – things such as
my boyfriend staying later than 11pm
not coming straight home from school unless my parents had approved it.
being back home by a certain time.
i found that one of the hardest things i dealt with was that my parents were as inconsistant as i was, and that confused me even more. why could my boyfriend stay until 11.30 some nights and it not be a problem, but if he left 5 minutes after 11 another night they blew up in my face!
it’s like going back to them being toddlers and saying ‘you can do this, you can’t do this’ and rewarding them when they’re good.
why not have something like that? and if she’s good for a full week she gets to go shopping on Saturday? or have friends over?
obviously she’ll break some of them, and you’ll have to deal with the consequences of that – but it could be good for you to both have rules. that way she feels in control whenever YOU break one.
if you sense a problem will arise (ie camping trip) maybe discuss the outcomes and what will happen if x happens? get her father in on it, too. if she acts up at your house, she should not get ‘let off’ if she goes to his.
you two still need to be a team 🙂
Post # 13
I don’t have any children, however, I am a school psychologist who work with children who are 10-14. Part of it is being a teenager, but something else seems to be going on. Maybe you should ask her why she feels the need to leave places to come home. You said that even when she is in a place where she is getting a lot of attention and is “spoiled” she still wants to come home.
That brings up a red flag that she might have some sort of seperation issues. Especially since she has bounced around from home to home.
At home, you need to get her involved in activities that she enjoys. I do interest survies with children who often complain to their parents about being “bored”, and we try to create a plan to get the child involved in after school/summer activites. In addition, I also try to come up with a schedule for after school that a child can spend time outside of the house doing the acitivity, a time for homework, family time, meal, and bed times. If a child is busy, they rarely complain about being bored.
Has she ever been in counseling? That might be something you need to look into, especially since she seems to be having a difficult time.
Post # 14
One of my daughters wouldn’t dare to try that or break any of ‘the rules’, as she was just that kind of kid who didn’t question anyone’s authority. My second daughter was a completely different kind of kid, who seemed to do EVERYthing she could to get herself in trouble, expecting there’d be no consequences (or anything she thought would be a big deal). She made life miserable starting around age 12 and continuing until she was 20….it didn’t matter to her who said what, and at a certain point she decided that we were ‘equal’ and she had every right to live her life the way she wanted.
Temper tantrums, breaking things deliberately, trashing things she had been given….because she thought no one could tell HER what to do! The crying and screaming jags were unbelievable and I thought she was some alien being for so many years, I thought I’d lose my mind. Was it a cry for attention? Hormones raging? Counceling for her (and all of us) was a weekly war just to get her there, and the resulting chaos gave me an ulcer.
We were told by the first of many therapists that they felt like they were taking our money, because none of our family dynamics seemed to be contributing to her behavior. No divorce, no drugs or alcohol issues in the family…she was just a typical,unhappy teenager trying to assert her independence, but doing it in a destructive way.
Sometimes kids go through a really terrible phase, and its hard not to blame yourself. The best you can hope for, and as long as she doesn’t have any medical or psychological conditions contributing to her behavior, is encourage and support her and know that this too, will pass. She needs some kind of an outlet or ‘job’ or an activity that she can get involved with to keep her busy. Does she take dance or play a sport or have any other interests you can encourage or get her involved with?
Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes there are just no answers and you can only get through it the best you know how. Parenting is a hard job!
Post # 15
@aicila: yes, i believe she has some separation issues. She “managed” the split up between me and her dad amazing well..maybe too well. I believe she only shows what she wants and wears a strong mask almost all the time. I have told my family to give her a break whenever they start bicthing about her ways, because she has had more to deal with then ANY of her cousins. She had to adapt over and over again (though i wasn’t in any relationship that she knew about between her dad and my husband and i even lived away from my family so that she could stay in the same kinder garden and be near her dad, much against my family advise) and i believe she’s a strong girl..but with insecurity issues underneath..she’s terrified about me . Meaning that when i do not feel well and she can tell, she becomes very anxious and nervous. When at school if i was delayed for some reason teachers would tell me she went crazy with anxiety, afraid something might have happened to me. She’s very protective over me and her little sister.
Post # 16
@Rivendeler: I remember when my son turned the magic age of 11. I thought his body had been taken over by an alien being. All the sudden my perfect, charming, sweet, loving little boy turned into a defiant smart-mouthed brat!
I was shocked – until I read up on it, lol.
What your daughter is going through is the normal physical and psychological transition from childhood to young adult. Hormones are crazy at this age! And they start learning to assert their independence. It’s tough on parents, no doubt.
Take a deep breath, be patient, and hang in there. Your “real” daughter will come back to you eventually. My son is now 20 and he’s doing wonderfully! He’s in college, an excellent student, works two jobs and volunteers as a tutor for handicapped kids as well.
Seriously, it will get better. Remember the terrible 2’s? This is the same thing, only in a bigger body. She’ll be just fine and so will you!