Why is everything a big secret?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Why is everything a big secret?
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 4:38pm

This is getting REALLY old. My daughter refuses to tell me even the most inconsequential details of what goes on with her. If I ask "What did you guys do last night?" I get "None of you business," "Why do you want to know?" or the ever popular "OMG Mom, would you just drop it?" These are responses I get after one or two polite inquiries, not after an hour of nagging, btw.

Generally, when she refuses to tell me something, I can usually get the details from Facebook or by having a casual conversation with a friend of hers (who's unaware that she tells me nothing). I've never caught her doing anything she shouldn't, so I don't see what the problem is. I don't need to know a detailed play-by-play, I'd just like to know where they were, who they were with... the basic generalities. She doesn't seem to understand why I'm interested in her life (after all she's not interested in mine, so why should I care about hers? lol) For example, she worked as a timekeeper at the school's recent debate tourney. She told me she would be home late, and I told her that was fine. I noticed that she came in around 1:30. The next morning, I asked her about it, and she became angry. (I was merely curious-not accusatory!) Later, I found out it ended around 11 and all the debate kids went to IHOP afterwards, and she gave a friend a ride home and came straight home. Why couldn't she have told me that herself?

Just a few minutes ago, I went upstairs to find her lying down in front of the TV. She asked me to hand her a blanket b/c she


Avatar for coldfingers
Community Leader
Registered: 04-30-2000
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 5:42pm

I don't remember how old your dd is but I know with mine, when she hit that point where she felt she was an 'adult' and it wasn't my business, I point out that it was a matter of acting like a responsible adult to let the people she lived with KNOW where and when.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 6:06pm
I never really had that problem w/ my kids--they are like fountains of info, more so my DD, and she would tell me a lot. But I did find out that sometimes I found out more by not asking, if you get my drift. If she was volunteering info then she would tell me a lot, but if I was asking, sometimes I would get one-word answers. So maybe you could try not asking unless you absolutely have to know something, like try acting uninterested and see if she is more forthcoming. There were a couple of things I did insist on--I had to know whether she was going to be home for dinner cause I didn't want to have to cook if no one was going to be home, and I also had to know if she was staying overnight at a friend's house so I wouldn't be worried--I told her if it was too late to call, she could text me. Of course, this was when she was a senior and had her own car. It seems like your DD's personality is kind of moody where she takes every innocent question and takes it as you are unreasonably butting into her life.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 6:38pm

Some kids just have a bigger need for privacy than others, even when they aren't doing anything that they shouldn't do. But I do have to wonder.... you say you can usually find things out via Facebook or her friends, and you went through her bag when you found out how she did on the chem test. Likely she knows that you're doing these things to find out what is happening in her life, and then, if every time she sees you there are "one or two" questions about her life besides.... she may feel like she's under a microscope.

I have to agree with musiclover - if you act disinterested, stop following her on Facebook, stop going through her bag, and stop digging for information from her friends, she just might be more open about what is going on in her life. By the time my DD got to be a teen, I'd figured out that I find out a whole lot more by not asking questions, keeping my ears open when friends are over, and creating opportunities for them to open up - an hour or so in the car after dark usually is enough to get them talking IF I DIDN'T ASK ANYTHING. If I started asking questions beyond "what do you want for dinner tonight?" they'd clam up so tight I'd never know what was going on with them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 11:13pm
HAha....that's kind of my dilemma, if she'd tell me things, I wouldn't have had to go thru the book bag or spied in other ways. It just feels like the only way I have to know what's going on. Maybe you guys are on to something with the reverse psychology thing. I wonder how long I'll have to feign disinterest before she talks? lol! (that'll be a challenge for me!)
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-2007
Sat, 02-27-2010 - 11:15pm

My ds is 15 and he's been like that for the past 2 years and I'm the one person that he's always been able to talk to.. I even had a long talk w/ him about masterbation and he can't even tell me what happened in school. LOL

He once told me that he doesn't like to share anything about his life.. not that there is even anything to share but our family is so close that he hates that he says one thing and everyone finds out about it.. he really doesn't need his grandmother to know if he kissed a girl or not...

:) Chris
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 3:04am

I always told my mom everything! I even told her when I lost my virginity. (She cried when I told her; I was 19 at the time so that seemed a little ridiculous.) I suppose that is what mystifies me. I wasn't like that, so I don't get it.

She does tell me the business of all her friends though. I'm sure they wouldn't be thrilled to discover that I know what they're doing and who they are doing it with, lol. It was thru one of her friends that I discovered why

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2007
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 9:12am
I really think it's that whole "under the microscope" thing. Maybe your daughter is telling you about her friends so it takes the focus off of her??
I know my son is very uncomfortable being the center of attention (unless it's on an athletic field) and does keep alot to himself which definitely can be a problem when he keeps things bottled up inside. He also knows I have shared stuff with family (certainly nothing personal ) and he doesn't like that either. He, like me, can be very private so I have to respect how he feels and keep our conversations private. I do still try to ask about his life but stop when it's clear he's shared all he wants otherwise I clearly become annoying to him and he shuts down. One thing we have in common is our love of sports and favorite hometown teams. This is one thing we can talk about easily. It's kind of a bonding thing but pretty neutral. Not necessarily about him but has occasionally lead to a few BRIEF conversations about other things happening in his life. Is there anything like that with your daughter? Shopping, favorite TV shows. When my dd was younger she shared alot (much more than she does no at the age 0f 20). Our favorite thing to do was watch a show called "Laguna Beach" (on MTV... lol). We had so many great conversations while watching that stupid show.
Maybe the key is just to talk about anything and hope that maybe she'll open up and then I'd do more listening than asking questions or talking.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2005
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 10:10am
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 10:57am
Thanks guys. Part of the problem undoubtedly stems from the fact that she's an "only". I had two brothers and a sister. My mom was way too busy to ask questions! Perhaps that's why I wanted to tell her things.LoL.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2004
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 3:00pm

None of my kids really ever to the degree you relate acted that way and my DD at 17 was really really not loving me too much. So on occasion she'd blow me off and I was usually suspicious of stuff, it's just my way unfortunately, so she probably could sense my interest as being genuine or just wanting to catch her up to no good.

I sense that you aren't trying any of that with this one so what I'd recommend the next time it happens is a little sit down with miss "leave me alone". For starters I'd tell her exactly what you told us. And make her sit there till she tells you why she feels the least bit entitled to blow you off like you are some lower cast slave that is merely there to serve her. Do your best to remain calm, otherwise it'll become a shouting match which won't result in very much. And then let her know that you'll give her her space, but that you are her FAMILY and you'd like to have a relationship and that does not mean shutting you out of her life.

However,after stating what you'd like, and be sure to tell her what you want
ie: you want a DD who shares her day, good and bad, not every detail, but some things at least.
you want her to ask you about your day etc.
you like hearing and knowing what she likes about life because you love her and that's how love works etc...

Be prepared to hear her say she thinks you spy on her. Tell her you've resorted to some practices that look that way, because she doesn't include you and offer up the possiblility that she contributes in some way to this mess your both in. Ask her how you should go about knowing who she is? If she looks at you like your a complete moron, laugh it off rather than look like she slayed your heart. Cuz you know it will.

And then tell her you'll not take anymore of this "none of your business stuff". If she truly thinks she can treat you with disrespect then she'll have to give up some of the perks that go along with having you for a mother. You get to decide what those are, phone, laundry, tv, car, money, whatever you decide. And until her attitude towards you improves, those things are gone. I bet you'll see her sweeten up a bit.

And then - back off. Give her a lot of room and kind of ignore her a bit. A therapist told me this once when talking about teens. He said we should sometimes back off to the point that they have to come looking for us and make them work at wanting us a little. In other words play hard to get a little. Eventually they'll come around looking for love and affection. And with all that time on your hands suddenly not looking in backpacks, looking at facebook, looking through pockets etc, start a new hobby, go take a class, go to the library, you get my idea?

And last, find something that you and she can do together. I don't know, grab her and take her to the mall, or to movie, or out for an ice cream, or whatever she likes to do. That will create moments for you two to have in common and be able to talk about.

Just my thoughts....hang in there, they mature and become much more loveable after this teen stuff is over.