Single Mom - Control issues

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2009
Single Mom - Control issues
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 1:21am

Hi Everyone,

I haven't been on here in a while but could use your help.  My daughter's going to be 16 in a few months.  I feel this huge separation between us.  There are so many things I want to say to her but I am sick of the faces, sick of the attitude every time I try to.  I am a single mom trying to do her best.  I want her to have more responsibilities but think it's just quicker and easier if I just do it myself and I don't have to deal with asking her to do it 5 times the looks, etc.  I can't be alone in this.  

She spends way too much time on the computer and I am not thrilled with her best friend of choice, it's bringing her down.  If I try to talk to her about it, she becomes so defensive and I am the bad one....I am always the enemy...I'm so tired of it.   She is doing very well in school and I let a lot go because of that.  I feel like a whimp on the outside and a tyrant on the inside and need that balance.  Never had a problem before teen years!!!  

Yesterday, I hit bottom.  I hardly spoke and you know was fine with her, didn't hardly notice it.  I felt really down and out, but this morning I told her to take the sheets off her bed to be washed and no attitude.  

I know there has to be more out there feeling like me.  I miss my child, I want to give her the freedom she needs but not exceed that.  We have always been close and I know in a few years she will be off to college and I need to have her prepared for that....responsibility wise.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2009
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 7:21am
Thank you for sharing. I feel your pain. Dd is 17, working driving and doing very well in school,
But has no time for housework. How could she. These are tough years.
Do you ever go out a week night without her. It helps me get away for a bit.

Maybe take her for a drive. I find my girls talk if they can't get away from me.

Good luck.
Write back.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2009
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 7:36am
Aw, thank you so much for your reply! I have been working on a little list today, little things like taking the garbage out in the's on the way to the bus. Other tasks I think she's capable of but so appreciate your reply. I do love long drives...always told everyone that because you're confined and forced to talk....IF they could part with the IPod! :-) Will let you know how it goes. Thanks again!
Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 9:07am
I think one of the biggest things with kids is ownership; we found that out as scout leaders. So I'd suggest sitting down with her and instead of dictating chores, lay out what all has to be done and work on a list together of what's hers and when she needs to complete (before computer time, after homework; whatever you two come up with that works for both). I have a feeling she may be more reasonable in setting these this way. And then set up a coffee date or nails date or something like that regularly as well so she knows it's not just about chores; it's just about how you maintain the house AND have fun together. Best of luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 10:21am

I can tell you that girls do tend to have more of an attitude towards mothers than boys.  I really didn't have as much with my son as I did w/ my DD--however, it does go away as they get older, right about the time they are ready to go to college and are getting nicer, ironically.  I know I don't really give my 17 yr old son that many chores to do.  In the summer, he does mow the lawn and instead of having to nag him like I did in the past, now he'll actually notice that the lawn needs to be mowed & just do it.  That's a nice change.  He also does his own laundry.  But he has 7 classes, 2 of them are AP and he works part time (although it hasn't been too much lately, only 8 hrs. a week).  I would rather that he focus on his school work.

I think you have to figure out what is the problem that you would like solved the most here--is it helping with chores or is it really that you feel that you're not close, don't like her friend, etc.  The chores are probably the easiest part--I think doing their own laundry is really good since if they ignore it, they have to suffer the consequences of not having clean clothes.  Taking the garbage out is not a big deal but like a lot of kids, she might be flighty and trying to remember what she has to bring to school.  Maybe you could get her to help out with dinner or even cook one night a week.  At least she should be putting her dishes in the dishwasher or helping you clean up after.  I do agree that you have to have your own interests so you're not too focused on her--when you back off a little, they seem to come to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2009
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 1:16pm

Hi Sue, it's exactly what I did tonight except for the making a date part.  Thank you!  It worked out well!

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 10:15pm

 <<<I want her to have more responsibilities but think it's just quicker and easier if I just do it myself and I don't have to deal with asking her to do it 5 times the looks, etc.>>>  Congratulations Mom.  She's trained YOU well.  She figured out that if she pulls a face, gives you attitide, or does a crappy job, BINGO, YOU do the job!!!  Kids have been doing this from immemorial, but in a multi-adult house there's usually someone to say, "Hold on a minute!  Can't you see what she's doing?"

Samre with the computer time, and the questionable friend.  <<<If I try to talk to her about it, she becomes so defensive and I am the bad one....I am always the enemy...I'm so tired of it.   She is doing very well in school and I let a lot go>>>

Time to take back the reins.  Like others have said, sit down and work out a division of labor.  Tell her  "We BOTH live here.  We BOTH have to take care of the place.  We BOTH have to cook.  We BOTH have to clean."  If she pouts, then you say, "OK these are the chores I've picked for you."   And as Music said, give her chores that affect HER if they aren't done.  If she doesn't do her laundry, she wears dirty clothes, and sleeps on smelly sheets.  If she doesn't make her lunch, or start dinner, she goes hungry.  If she gives you attitude, and is a pill, they you do NOT drive her to her friend's house, give her pocket money, or take her to the mall.  The hard part will be NOT just doing it yourself and NOT giving in.  You have to be strong, and let her be at the effect of the natural consequenses of her actions.

As for the computer, there is no law saying you must let her be on it continually.  Give her a set amount of time on the 'puter, and then pull the plug.  Take the tablets and notebooks and smart phones AWAY, and lock em up till it's time for them again.  Let her scream.  YOU'RE THE BOSS.

As for the friend, we never forbade friends.  What we DID do was say, you can see that person, but ONLY at this house.  That way, you can supervise them.  And make sure you do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2009
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 1:48am
Thank you for your advice. We did sit down and had a long drawn out talk. It went very well.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2009
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 1:54am
Hi Deb! So sorry about your husband. It's not easy, I know. You sound like me yesterday. When my daughter comes home from school, it's the best time, she loves telling me about her day...she's open and happy and that's when I started to talk to her yesterday. She agreed with everything I said. I am more the nuturer, care taker, not the disciplinarian, but that has to change and she is now more open to it. "Now that she's getting older, less responsibile, she's pulling away from me. She's too cool for me. Everything is an issue, a fight, a problem." I know this feeling! I think this comes with the teen territory, but as hard as it is for a single parent, we've got to keep the communication open and let them know what we see as parents and what has to change for their benefit as well as ours. I hope it works out for you as well!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2012
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 10:01am

I'm glad you were able to have a discussion with your daughter.  Were you able to lay out some expectations for her, that you could both agree on?

Young people her age are at an interesting phase in life.  They are trying so hard to find their own identity, and it can be hard in a world that puts so much pressure on them.  Unfortunately, their exertion of independence often manifests itself in defiant and sometimes disrespectful ways at home.  I know it can be hard to deal with, but understanding where she is coming at from a developmental level can make a world of difference.

I'm not sure how you interact with her on a daily basis outside of the frustrating things, but I do think it's also important to let her know how proud you are of her accomplishments (you mentioned her success in school, for example) so that she doesn't feel like she's only being criticized.  Teenagers can be filled with self-doubt at this age, so it is good to remind her of all the things she does well!

Good luck - and I hope you can get through this phase with her!