Intolerable situation for all

Avatar for chyndra2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Intolerable situation for all
11
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 8:43am
Hi everyone,

I used to visit this board often in the past, and I've always received lots of valuable advice and support...This post is very long, however, I would really appreciate it if some of you would take the time to really read it, since everything that I am writing is important...and I desperately need help.

My problem is my 13yrd old daughter...we've reached a horrible point and I don't know how to fix it, and least of all, how it happened. I've always been an over-indulging parent, giving in to every little whim, just to keep everyone happy. I've been the type of mom that feeds the neighbourhood kids, drives everyone everywhere, and ask for nothing in return. My dd is extremely disrespectful and rude towards me. I am appalled at the way she talks to me. No matter what I say, she usually answers rudely or sarcastically. I usually let it slide, I figure it's an age thing...she tells me I'm mean to her, and that I treat her horribly...and that she has no intention of changing towards me until I start being nice to her...I honestly have no clue what she wants me to do..I do everything for her, I buy her things we can barely afford just so I don't hear her scream and call me mean...Yesterday morning, I asked her if she would join me and her 10 yr old brother for church services next week ( my husband rarely joins us because he works, and my daughter never joins us because she likes to sleep, and I let her...).. She replied angrily and looked down at me and said, "No way...why would I want to...excuse me mother, I have better things to do". Her tone was so hostile, as it usually is, and it just left me feeling stupid and worthless...As the day went on, I knew she had plans to meet an old childhood friend, that I've known since she was three....This girl has practically grown up here, I 've always liked this girl, and I was happy that they still keep in touch every now and then...When it was time for her to go to her friend's house, I simply asked my dd, "when are you going to K's house?"...she replied very angrily "I'm not...I don't feel like going, okay?" (again, with a nasty tone)...I didn't react to her uncalled-for rudeness, so I just said. "fine, I just thought she was waiting for you..and it would be good for you guys to catch up." , to which she screamed back " Stop telling me how to live my life". My husband, having heard her scream at me, came down and asked, "what's going on?"..."Nothing, I replied.." and I left it at that...

A few minutes later, she left the house, and went to meet her friend afterall...The two of them came back to our house, and I was happy to see this girl whom I haven't seen in a while...I said " Hi K., how's everything, how's school..." just the usual small-talk...she barely answered me.... I was in the kitchen, I took some ice-cream for myself, and I offered it to them as well., and I asked if they wanted something to drink..K shook her head no, and my dd angrily said " what's your problem, mother, we can take things on our own, okay, just leave us alone, we don't need anything from you."..she rolled her eyes, looked at her friend with this look that said " You see what I have to put up with?" ... I had no clue why she had the angry outburst in front of her friend...all I did was offer ice-cream....lately, she always goes out of her way to make me look bad in front of her friends...Anyway, they left the kitchen, hung out for a few hours in the family room by themselves, and I never even saw her friend leave...I was wondering why this friend that I've known for years, would leave without even saying goodbye...So I just casually said to my dd " Oh, K left...I'm curious, why do you go out of your way to make me look like this horrible interfering mom, when all I did was offer some ice-cream?..." She replied," Because, you're mean...I told her you and dad don't like her...so now she's uncomfortable being in the same room as you, okay?". I was shocked...why in the world would she make up a story like that? Her dad and I have always liked K, nothing could be further from the truth...I felt so bad... How could my dd say such horrible things about me, things that aren't even true? What is she trying to accomplish? I started arguing with her about it, I was mad and I felt so betrayed...So, finally she says, " You know what Mom, I don't regret telling K what I did, because you're just DISGUSTING, and I hate you so much"... I was stunned, I said " how can you say that to me?" and she looked right at me, and said " Easy, because you are disgusting and I do hate you"...

Anyway, I've just had it...I'm so fed up with all this...if she's not asking for money or to be driven somewhere, all I get is the type of behaviour I described. I feel so hurt and betrayed, and above-all, worthless. Please, I need some advice, and I need to know, how others would handle this...Thank you.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 9:11am

Hi Chyndra - I guess I'm a bit confused as to why you would let anyone, especially a child, treat you so horribly.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 11:09am
I agree very much with jlsjjsmom and would ask another question, chyndra: if your dd came to you and said everything that you wrote about in this post, but this time it's your dd who has a friend who treats her the way your dd treats you and you respond to your dd, what would your advice to your dd be? Would you tell her that what her friend is doing is wrong but yes, keep giving and giving to her friend anyway? I seriously doubt it. I phrased it this way b/c sometimes we can do things for our kids that we won't do for ourselves, so maybe you will see more clearly how to change this if you think about it in terms of what you would tell your dd.

What image does 'spoilt' give to you? It denotes something gone bad ... and in the case of 'people', unlimited giving - in the face of thanklessness, ingratitude, spitefulness, meanness, disrespectfulness - does not breed a change for the better; it merely breeds more disrespect, manipulation and control in the wrong hands. Why does she do these things? Because she *can*. She has learned that she can say or do anything to you and she will still get whatever she wants. She's learned that if she screams and says you're mean, you will feel bad and capitulate and give her what she wants... she has learned that it is SHE, not you, who is in control.

I understand that if your nature is a giving one, that it is very hard to conceive of the idea of love being anything but giving ... but human nature is such that people *need* limits in order to feel secure. Limits ALSO outline love. Even Biblically, limits are provided for our own benefit. Every person needs to learn how to draw boundaries, how to enforce those boundaries in their own lives for their own selves, as well as for the other person's sake. "Turn the other cheek" does not mean 'go ahead and whack it'. It means not to allow the other person's offense to create an offense inside of yourself against the other person. A person isn't expected to 'tolerate sin' either. They are expected to put a stop to a sinful act being levelled against them, but without rancour or malice involved. i.e. if Boy A confronts Boy B on the playground, taunting, challenging, and then flies off and throws a punch, Boy B isn't expected to just stand there. Boy B is within his rights to do what he needs to do to intercept that punch and put an end to the fight. NOt in such a way he beats the daylights out of Boy A; just enough to put a STOP to it. He 'turns the other cheek' when he steps away and walks away without carrying Boy A's offensiveness within his heart so that resentment, anger, malice, a need for revenge ends up growing inside of him. He's in CONTROL of himself, and of the situation.

When a person loves another person, a natural off-shoot to that love is a desire to please, to put the other person's well being and what makes them happy as a priority in one's life - to want to do things that bring their loved one pleasure, to look out for their well being. If a person does too much of this, what is the end result? It's feeling like one is being taken advantage of, not being appreciated and eventually resentful: "No matter what I do, it's never enough". Looking after our own selves is important too. Respecting our own selves, and drawing our OWN boundaries for others to respect and abide by, is of great importance.

Like jlsjjsmom said, undoing 12 yrs' worth of behaviour won't happen overnight. It needs also to start within your own mind: that she does not have the right to treat you in this manner. That it is not good for you OR HER for her to be allowed to treat you this way. It doesn't teach her how to respect what she has, be thankful for what she has; develop relationships in her life that are a two-way street of give and take. First you need to believe that this is wrong for HER ALSO before your actions will become consistent enough to effect the desired change.

YOUR respect must also be earned, just as she will learn that she has to earn other people's respect. The rest of the world is not going to lie down and let her treat them the way she treats you and let her get away with it. If she treated a friend, co-worker, boss, teacher this way, there would be swift repercussions.

Put into place certain things. One, rides to where she wants to go don't happen if she's mouthed off to you. Two, if she speaks disrespectfully to you in front of a friend, you call her on it RIGHT THEN AND THERE, irregardless of how it'll make HER feel with her friend standing there. You state clearly, 'That's enough. I asked if you would like ice cream. You either respond politely or keep your mouth closed." She tells her friend lies? Make her pick up the phone or email her friend - with you standing right there watching - and apologize to her friend for saying something so blatantly untrue. She refuses? She's grounded till she does it. She says, "I hate you"? You respond, "You don't have to love me; you have to obey me." She says you're mean? You tell her fine; then you'll at least give her more of a reason to feel that way & she will learn what doing without rides, or extra help you usually do is like. She wants something new and says you're mean if you say no, you can't afford it? Walk away, right straight out of the store without allowing her to engage you further even if she comes screaming after you or stands there screaming after you or anything else. She apologizes and asks for it again? Tell her that you appreciate her apology but it didn't change your financial status and if and when you can afford it, you will think it over. She wants things that she doesn't "need"? Give her ways to earn them, by doing extra chores. She balks? Well, end of subject. Don't stand there when she is berating you and allow her to make you feel bad, or like you have to defend yourself - she has NO RIGHT TO DO THAT. If you can't make her stop, walk away, go to your room, or whatever room you can go into and lock the door behind you and do not respond.

All relationships should be based upon a mutual respect and mutual accountability. In the case of parent/child, the accountability for each to one another is not the same for both. The child's accountability to the parent is with the parent in authority. The parent's accountability to the child is to do with things like keeping your word; telling your child the truth; not allowing negative behaviours such as drugs and alcoholism affect the child's life; it is NOT being accountable to the child as a child is accountable to the parent for their actions.

It's OK, chyndra to put your foot down. It's more than that. It's vitally important. For your sake, and her sake. And, as jlsjjsmom said, it will take time and she WILL respond to these changes with INCREASED opposition. But it will NOT last forever. You need to stand your ground and believe in what you're doing. What you've been doing so far is obviously not working; so then how you respond to her is the only thing you have in your power to truly control, so you need to change what you are doing to effect a change in her.

Good luck!!

Avatar for heartsandroses2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 11:09am
Hi Chyndra,

Pam's advice was great. I'd like to add some other thoughts as well. You really do need to reform your relationship with your dd.

It's very important for you to remember that YOU are her PARENT. It's OKAY if you piss her off, disagree with her or say NO to her requests for anything other than her basic needs. There is no book that says that in order to keep the peace in your home, you need to bow down to her every whim. I have found that so many parents desperately try to be their child's friend and/or confidante, they walk on eggshells, afraid to 'upset' thier kid at the risk of hurting themselves - that's not really very healthy. Your role as her parent is to teach her responsibility, respect, humility, compassion, empathy, among many other things. It's okay for her to be disappointed and let down once in a while and it's more than okay and very healthy for you to place your needs before hers. When's the last time she did something for YOU? Does she has household chores? Is she required to help prepare dinner or set the table? Is she in charge taking care of the family pet? These may seem like small responsiblities, but you need to start somewhere in holding this young lady accountable for her place in the family. Being a family is like a team effort and everyone is responsible to one another. Mom is not the doormat, Dad is not the referee, and the kids are not simply boarders. I strongly suggest you seek counseling for yourself so that you can be an effective parent for your dd - you will BOTH benefit from learning that parenting is like being a leader - you MUST lead your dd, teach her, guide her, and help her to become an independent, responsible adult.

Granted, part of her behavior may be typical of 13-18 y/o's but that doesn't make it tolerable or acceptable in anyway. There are many behaviors that are typical of our kids as they develop, but not all of them are okay and excusable. Your dd is treating you worse than a servant, and that's not okay - do something about it today. First, make a plan, get counseling, etc. THEN, once you have a plan in place, with the cooperation and agreement of your DH to help carry it out, sit down with DD, ignore all interruptions, and let her know that things are about to change. Explain to her in detail which behaviors will NOT be tolerated and which behaviors WILL be expected. Write it down, in contract form, and make sure she has her own copy. Detail those specific behaviors as well as the consequences and be sure to explain those as well. And give her chores - weekly or daily - that she MUST carry out BEFORE she is allowed any privileges. I have done the 'contract' thing with my dd's and the added emphasis really spells it all out for them - they respond better and more predictably when they know what you expect and what will be tolerated and what the consequences will be. -- VERY IMPORTANT!

Hugs and good luck~

Avatar for chyndra2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 8:52am
Thank you to all who replied - your words were a real wake-up call... I printed all your replies, and I re-read them over and over, and I plan to do so today as well, and for as long as it takes to really absorb everything...Obviously, I have to be the first to change, and then my dd will (hopefully) follow. In the mean time,, it's really hard....trying to haul a 13 yrd old out of bed to get her to go to church, is easier said than done - imagine the screaming and yelling that I will have to go through in the morning...so, I will have to start with small steps...and I will have to get counseling, for our sake...I've known for a long time that we are headed downhill, but, I was just hoping that things would somehow turn around and she would start behaving. (I know, I sound delusional...). What makes some kids be so mean towards their parents? I remember a few years ago, there was this talk show with Maury Povich, and he often had teens on the show, who were sent to "boot camp", to learn how to respect their moms...I remember seeing the moms on the show, crying, and in pain, because their kids (usually daughters) were so rude and disrespectful..I thought it was just a dumb show, where people were putting on acts...well, I feel like one of those moms today...and I feel just as dumb for having a 13yr old speak to me that way...

I will start looking for a counselor today...no more putting things off...Thank You.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2003
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 11:06am
I'm new to this board and so glad I found it! I wanted to let you know that you are not alone, first of all. The advice here from others is so great, but I also wanted to let you know when you start this process, your DD is likely going to do everything in her power to make you feel like a piece of dirt (and she already has). I'm going through a similar situation now, in which my 15yo DD is pretty much ignoring me, doesn't want to interact, acting angry toward me. It hurts so, so much, and as much as you hurt now, you likely will hurt even worse when you start the wheels of change because your DD is going to resist with every fiber of her being. So counseling is going to give you the support you need and the objectivity you need. I recently got a book titled "Teens in Turmoil" and that opened my eyes to a lot of things, where they're coming from, and why. I know when I treat others badly, it's because I'm under stress or feeling badly about myself. It's all about me and where I am. I think your DD is crying out for help and this is her way. She sounds extremely angry. It will only get worse if you don't do something now. Change begins with the parent, not the child.

Anyway, this is to let you know you're not alone, and even when you feel you can't handle her anger anymore (when you start to change things), you'll need to hang in there and not give in to her or she'll have learned she can indeed manipulate you. I hurt so much sometimes, but I just go in the bathroom and cry my eyes out, then I talk to my DH or a good friend, and I get the support I need. But it's not easy, that's for sure. I think deep inside she wants your love, your guidance, your discipline, and a good relationship with you...not a best friend but a parent relationship. Keep us posted on how things go. I'm sure many of us will learn a lot from you as well.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 3:10pm
I have a son who is like this too - 17 year old disrespectful at times. Other times he can be a good son. I think if you come down on this girl hard you're going to get more than you can handle. Change doesn't have to be abrupt - I've worked with him over a period of time and he has gotten better. He still has relapses, but they seem fewer and farther between. They are right about sticking to your guns, but it's exhausting when you have a full time job and my dh and I also have a 2 year old to keep up with. I like my old boss's saying that you should be able to ship them off when they are 13 and not let them come back until they have a civil word in their mouths! He's raised 4 kids, and as far as I know they all are doing fine. You know one thing that nobody's mentioned in your post is what a very experienced counselor told me. He said that them growing up and wanting to be independent of us means we've actually done something right - that we've given them the courage to want to be on their own. Also, that they will grow away from us until they are around 25, then they will "come back to us". I think some of these posts have been way too harsh on you, you are trying to correct her and just hang in there the best you can and realize that none of us are perfect parents. You're going through what I'm going through right now, though - don't keep giving her what you have because it isn't good for any of you, plus you can't afford it just like I can't - just stop some and that is the easy part of all this! Good luck and hang in there!

P.S. Don't be afraid to get mad at her and tell her to 'shut up'. I did that with my son yesterday morning when I had had absolutely enough of his smart alecness. And you know what? Some of my hard work paid off and he did actually shut up and at least listen to what I had to say. And boy does it feel good to release some of that anger and they deserve it when they are being nasty. Try it. I bet you'll like it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-13-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 10:21pm
they don't have the emotion i would have selected which is: I UNDERSTAND!!!!1

I have a 15 year old son who sounds exactly like your girl. it's a terrible thing when your child- the same one you love more than anything; would give your life for, care for. feed, clothe, worry, cook, clean, chauffeur, spoil, and do everything in the world for treats you like dirt. we are at a place right now (again) where we (my husband and I) don't know WHAT to do. The ideal thing would be to send him to a long-term residential treatment program FAR FAR away until he learns how to behave in a socially accecptable manner: however, after thouroughly researching the matter have found it to be financially impossible. boo. he is currently attending school at a behavior modification program outside the district, which for some reason after 10 hellish years in public school, we just learned existed this past january. he is improving in the program where he is babysat all day by an experienced staff who scores his behavior every 10 minutes. even a slight infraction such as neglecting to raise your hand will result in loss of points. anyway...the school thing has been a major issue since day one of kindergarten, and at long last is beginning to improve. I'm so happy for the faculty. If only they would come home with him. he goes out of his way to be oppositional, argumentative, rude, ungrateful, verbally abusive, uncooperative, defiant, disagreeable, and just plain mean; all the while demanding better accommodations and insisting on more meaningless priviledges he doesn't deserve. my husband refers to this type of irrational thinking as "grandiose feelings of entitlement". he's not even a shrink and has mamaged to hit the nail firmly on the head-something millions of dollars of pschotherapy was unable to uncover. anyway, i sure wish i could say something to help. the only thing i can think of is to know that you're not alone. cut the girl off at the knees until she can see and appreciate all you do for her. she'll notice when it discontinues. we've removed everything from the childs room except bed and clothes. we let him read is all. no t.v., phone, video games, computer, bike, skateboard, rollerblades, no treats (pop etc.), visitors, meals with the family, NOTHING until he gets it together. if he can't be nice, he has to stay in his room (shoot, when i was his age i would've been out the window. fortunatly, his mouth is bigger than his balls.) this has been going on since the first of october and is getting results. the theory is that he has to earn his priviledges back through acceptable behavior. i don't even care if he fakes it. he simply can't go on giving us ulcers. who the hell does he think he is anyway? he has no reason to be so hateful to us. like you, we are extremely good to that boy and don't deserve-and refuse to be treated this way. we just have to hang in there until he believes that. he's beginning to get the picture. other than that, remember that she's a child and doesn't have the right to mistreat you. i know it seems harsh. you love them and take exceptional care of them and somehow have created a monster. how could someone not appreciat all that? i sure wish i had, or ever did, someone doing all for me that i do for him. it doesn't make sense. not much about him does. so we pretty much had to take back the power and not allow him to disrupt our lives anymore. i have an awful feeling he's going to be in that room until he dies a very bored, old man, but that's going to have to be up to him. it's his choice. he can decide to be indignant in his room forever, or behave like a productive member of the family. maybe you can impress this upon your little angel before she gets as old as mine and even worse! isn't that a mind-boggling horrifying thought! gotta rest up for tomorrows battles! good-night
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Wed, 10-15-2003 - 7:57am
You ask what makes kids ask this way....well, I'm convinced they aren't born disrespectful, defiant, rude, oppositional people. But I truly believe it starts very young when parents don't take a firm stand with the terrible twos or whatever. Parents always must believe they are the parents and leaders of the family...and that means saying no and meaning it, at least as often as saying yes. Saying no to all the "I wants" that a child can deluge us with is really hard, but I'm convinced that saying no, meaning it, and sticking to it no matter how much of a fit the child throws, and not accepting the fit as "I know you're upset honey" is vital in raising a healthy respectful adult. My DD is 12 and has started heading toward some of the behavior you mention, even though we've always demanded that she treat members of the family at least as well as she treats her friends - I think she's just testing to see how far she can go. The answer is not very far...I am the parent, I provide what you have here, and I deserve the respect that comes with that role. If you as the DD are not ready to give me that, then you can go to your room (no tv, video games, computer there) until you're ready to join the family and treat us with the same respect we try to give you. Kids aren't born knowing how to treat other people with respect, they need to be taught by their parents from a young age what that means. To me, it means that parents need to treat their children with respect to their feelings from day one - not accepting their behavior when it's inappropriate, but respecting the feelings that foster that behavior. "I know you're angry with me, but you may not treat me that way, either you show a little more respect or you can cool down in your room until you can." The parents who call their kids names, berate them both privately and publicly, or fall prey to the pre-schooler temper tantrum in the store when their "I wants" are met with a no are more likely to end up with an oppositional teenager. Not every oppositional teen comes from the background that I described, but I've seen too many of them that do...it's awfully easy to see the cause and effect.

So what to do now? Take back the control...no matter how defiant your DD becomes, you have to remember that YOU are the parent, YOU are the leader of the family, and YOU are responsible for deciding what is acceptable behavior in your home and what is not. And just like you would be jobless in a heartbeat if you treated your boss the way your daughter treats you, your DD will find herself privilage-less when she treats you disrespectfully. Let her know ahead of time that these are the new rules of the household. Believe it or not, kids like rules, they know what to expect when things are consistent. We have raised our 3 bio kids very conservatively, with high expectations for their behavior and big consequences when they don't meet those expectations. Our oldest DS who is now 19, has had a lifelong friend who spent 2-3 years of his life as a really messed up, defiant, oppositional juvenile delinquent. S was kicked out of the house because of his choices and behavior and came to us at 17, full well knowing just how we ran our household and how strict and "mean" we could be. It wasn't easy, but withiin 6 months of living here his behavior changed in a HUGE way, even his bio family couldn't believe how much he changed. Today he is the kind of 19 y/o that any mom would be proud of...spent sr yr of HS on high honors, worked a part time job the whole time, is currently taking a full credit load at our community college and working nearly full time, recently was promoted at his job. I'll admit, he changed because he *wanted* to change, but he knew full well when he moved in here what was going to be expected, and that he'd be going from no expectations to some pretty high ones, but he has blossomed in a big way with rules and guidelines.

I hope things go well for you, hang in there. YOU are the mom, and it's about time DD recognizes this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2003
Wed, 10-15-2003 - 3:55pm
Chyndra,

I would like to share a memory from childhood. When I was about 11 or so, my 14 year old brother was mouthing off to our mother. Our father, who was in the house, stepped into the room and backed my startled brother into a corner. With his rigid forefinger pressed into my brother's chest, he growled "listen son. She may be your mother, but she's also MY WIFE, and NO ONE speaks to my wife that way!" And none of us ever did again.

My point is that your husband also needs to take a firm stand, and to protect your position and authority in your home.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2003
Thu, 10-16-2003 - 11:06am
Chyndra I feel for you. I was at that point with my 17 year old daughter. It's the hardest thing to deal with after all you have done for them. My situation was different but this is what I did. It hurts and I had many sleepless nights but now I can say that my daughter is finally doing well in school and even tells me that she loves me. You have to get tough! The hardest part is saying no to DD and then hearing the yelling from her. You have to remember that they think their friends always have it better than they do. They all go through this what I call the ugly stage where they want to test you every step of the way and if they get away with it they continue to do it. You should start to set some type of limits for her. Set your own limits also you pick when you drive her somewhere and stop buying everything. Remember she will rant and rave even when you do what she wants so what I'm saying is make her life miserable also. My daughter had a drug and friend problem. When she was on the drugs she was so unreasonalbe and demanding let alone nasty. Every time my daughter opened her mouth I felt the knife go right through my heart. I'm not saying that DD is on drugs but look into everything. I became the super snooper. My daughter still doesn't know how I found out some information but it did help. Go slow at first but stick to your guns. I'm here for you and good luck.

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