04-23-2010, 10:21 AM
My daughter who just turned 15 has become someone we don't know. She regularly tells us how she doesn't like being part of our family. She is upset that we make her do work around the house to earn money and that we care about her grades. She has recently gone from A's and B's to D's and F's. She is not doing homework and when she does pass it homework it looks like she randomly guessed at the answers. When her grades first started to slip, we sat down and talked to her and she promised she would get her act together and do better. When that didn't happen, we worked out a deal where she had to give us her cell phone (which is her life line) when she her homework and after she brought her homework to us to be checked she could have it back. She readily agreed. But we also said if this didn't work we'd have to look at taking her cell phone away altogether and possibly grounding. Well, she still was not turning in homework, doing classwork, etc. so we did have to take the cell phone away. I told her it was up to her to decide when she would get it back. As soon as she could prove to us she was taking her school work seriously she could get it back. Ever since then, she has vacillated between being extremely angry with us and threatening not to do any school work, to somewhat seeming like she wants to do better at school. She seems to be making small attempts, but last night spent the whole night backing up her ipod and did not do her math homework. When I dropped her off at school, she said "I want my cell phone back". I'm floored - why doesn't she just do her homework? We know there are some deeper issues going on, but haven't quite figured them out yet. One, may be a friend problem. She is a freshman at a public high school, having come from a small private school. She did not know many kids and it has taken her a while to make friends. Her "best friend" is a total under achiever, admittedly has parents that don't care about her (which my daughter thinks is great), spends a lot of time at my house and does nothing to help my daughter clean the table after dinner, do dishes, etc. We have said nothing to my daughter about our thoughts on her friend - I am trying to to like her, but having a very difficult time. Earlier this week, after having taken her cell phone away, my daughter was in a very good mood and asked to walk to her friend's house after her homework was done. I said sure. Well, what she ended up doing was dying her hair while she was there. I don't have a problem with the hair per se, but she had asked earlier in the week if I would take her Walgreens to get hair dye and I said no because I felt she had to get her grades under control before she earned priveledges like that. So, she took matters in her hands and did it herself behind my back. When I first found out - it's kind of hard to hide your hair for long - she was very contrite and seemed a little guilty which I took as a good sign. It was in the morning before school so I let her know I was not happy with her going behind my back and we'd talk about when she got home. Well, by the time I picked her up, she had changed from a contrite child to a defiant child. It was her hair after all and I had no right to tell her what to do. I tried to tell her that I didn't have a problem with the hair but it was going behind my back. She told me once again how she hated our family, that she felt no guilt or remorse about what she had done, was glad she had done and would not hesitate to go behind my back again. I tried to give her the trust talk, i.e. shattered window, etc, but she was not impressed. In the end, we ended up OK - I told her instead of punishing her - keeping her phone even longer, grounding her etc, I wanted to work with her to come up with ways she could take on more responsibility and prove to us that she is ready for more freedom. I tried to impress upon her that if she wanted to be treated more as a grown up, she had to start acting that way. We are trying to come up something substantial for this weekend. I suggested she help out at the rummage sale at church but she will have nothing to do with that. I'm not sure if we'll come to agreement. I don't feel like I can let her off scott free for the going behind my back incident. Any help or suggestions for all of the above would be appreciated. We are very concerned about her behavior and are unsure where this is going to lead us.