15 Year Old really scaring us
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.
Ok, we're still battling with the grades. We have told her we'll take her for her driver's permit as soon as she gets caught up on all her missing work and shows us she is on top of her school work. She keeps telling us she can handle. I thought things were going better but then just found out she bombed a history test that she didn't study for. She also did not turn in the packet that was due then. Her teacher will still accept the packet, but she did nothing to get it done all weekend - instead went to a carnival and had friends over. I feel like I keep having the same conversation over and over with her. I'm trying not to instill punishment, like grounding, but there does need to be some consequences for not doing her work, doesn't there? What should they be? I asked her today what happened to the girl who worked so hard and got such good grades first semester? She said she didn't like that girl so she changed her. When I asked what she didn't like about her, she didn't want to talk anymore. She did not have any friends last semester, so that might be the reason. She also says it's my fault she didn't study for her test last week - I did get angry and yell, although I went and apologized later. Well, that's the reason for not studying and doing her work. If this was a one off deal, I'd maybe accept the blame, but this has been going for the last few months. How do we motivate her and get her back on track. What should the consequences be for not turning in work on time and not studying?
I sympathize, I am in a similar situation. I have been devouring Dr Bradleys books and others, have you read When Things Get Crazy with your Teen, by Dr Bradley? Another good one is Positive Discipline for Teens, by Jane Nelsen.
It's sometimes easier to see someone elses predicament, which is why I dare to comment on your situation. My 13 year old got very mouthy and defiant, but we have toned her down some using recommendations from Dr Bradley & others (including a parent support group)
They recommend staying calm always, and using love with firmness. So for example, no way any driver's permit until things are absolutely going fine, no doubts. (I believe 15 year olds do not have adequate brain development to drive, and many hold this opinion).
Kids seem to appreciate firm limits. So taking away the cell phone until grades are up. Dr B also recommends choosing your battles -- hair color is the kid's problem. Going behind your back - not great, but it was only her hair.
You may not get back the lovable child, but eventually you may get back a more mature young woman - she's going through an essential individuation process, separating herself ffom her parents' goals for her.
Consequences: make a list of all the things you supply for her: phone, TV, computer, rides, shopping trips, favorite foods, and consider which of those you want to continue to supply if she's not doing her job - going to school & doing the work.
Last edited by Entlover; 05-14-2010 at 08:13 PM.