dealing with anger and disrespect..

Avatar for winter2007
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2006
dealing with anger and disrespect..
6
Sun, 07-11-2010 - 2:08am

So I have a 13 year old..she is an only child. Academically she has no issues, but ever since the dreaded teen years hit, she has displayed moodiness and anger. Ok..I can say that is just teen being teen. But here is my problem. Her dad has been very authoritarian at times..and he is also prone to anger. He has displayed some verbal/emotional abuse mainly my way..so obviously I feel my dd's anger has something to do with the role model she has had.

Anyway..so now my situation is..I am planning to finally go ahead with divorce and today I told her. Again it is no surprise as she knows things have been tension ridden at home given H's unpredictable behavior. But today when I told her about my intentions to leave, she started being very rude and offensive to me. Told me to 'shut up', started to lunge at me, almost threw herself at me. I stayed calm and said that she is being disrespectful. She talked back saying I dont respect you anyway. If you go, you will never see me again. You are selfish, you are bad, when I tried to explain some of the reasons (in a delicate way rather than call out H's abuse)..I just said..daddy has some issues of anger and this is not the way things should be and it would be good for us to be in a tension-free home. She started to lash at me. Said she hates me and worse things that bordered on her almost being abusive to me.

In fact then she threatened I am really bad for doing this and she will never see me and when she is alone with her Dad, there is NO problem and I am the cause. I was so taken aback. I then said to her to calm down and watch how she talks and that she was disrespectful. I really think she has learned some of the behavior from dad..And I also said..you are behaving like your dad here and you are having issues with anger and rude behavior.

Anyway..so here is my question. How do I deal with this rude behavior? Almost abusive on her part. Started to throw herself at me. She has had some episode of talking back at school too. Please help..she does not want therapy says..I NEED to go to therapy..I said I am..then she said I believe in stupid things they talk and read books. Now all of these are exactly how my H talks..

Any ideas on how to deal with her.

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Registered: 06-18-2010
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 9:38am

Welcome to the board.

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Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 3:07pm

You're her mother and she is still young enough that you can make her go to therapy. You can't make her talk, of course, but a good therapist will eventually be able to draw her out. She needs counseling, so don't let this go.


All kids of divorcing parents have anger about it. That's normal. But the way she expresses her anger is the result of her father's bad example. You should call her on that each and every time. She doesn't know any other way to express anger because the example she had was so bad, and all kids think their parents are normal, even if they're not healthy. But you can start telling her that it's not appropriate to yell at you and that you will listen only when she uses a calm tone, such as the one you're using. (Yeah, I know, easier said than done!)


Thinking your parents are stupid is also part of some teens' normal behavior. My son would never dare call me stupid, but I know sometimes he thinks it, just by the way he explains things to me!

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Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 3:22pm

I know it must be difficult to be going through your own emotional rollercoaster and have to deal with a teenager too! All I can say is that it might take a few years to really get better and you are going to need all your patience and all your parenting skills to deal with it. Kudos to you for seeing a therapist. I did that during my divorce and afterwards while dealing with one dd's issues and it truly helped (at least, it helped me stay sane, lol!).


So, to begin with, I wouldn't talk to her about the reasons for the divorce. JMHO, and I don't know if others would disagree, but really, the divorce is about the arrangement between you and dh. OF COURSE it affects your dd and has a huge impact on her - just as it would if she went away to bording school or you or dh took a job where you had to live out of town, or you were in the military and deployed...

Avatar for winter2007
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Registered: 06-17-2006
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 8:06pm

Thank you ..yes I did not mean that she was almost abusive..but just very angry..agree wrong choice of word. I did not want to say too much about him but she wanted to know why I am leaving and I have been sugar coating so much that I feel she needs to hear a bit. She has gone back/forth with him too ..I know I need to have the firm say here..and set limits. Maybe I did not do a good job at enforcing them. Right now, she is looking at me as the bad guy who is taking her from this lifestyle. She has repeatedly said she doesn't want therapy. I am just scared I initiate divorce and she goes ahead with staying with dad full time..I know I am getting rattled and she knows it. Again thank you so much for all your advice.

Ashmama, cl-arryl - thank you both as well. You have all given me a lot to think about. I am mainly now worried about that she will carry through her thing about never wanting to see me again. I know this is a teenager speaking..I just have to be strong and see this through. I had therapist lined for her few times but she refused to go.

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Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 07-13-2010 - 11:02am

I also agree that she needs therapy. I mean, do you consult her w/ whether she thinks she needs a dr's appt? I don't know how you get her there if she refuses to go--maybe you have to not tell her where you are going, I know that sounds horrible, but maybe you could even get someone who would come to the house. I know that's unusual, but when my ex & his DD were going through some issues that involved Social Services, they required them to have counseling and the counselor came to the house. But I think she was paid for by the state & she was a social work student.

I think you also need to tell her that it isn't going to be up to her whether or not she sees you. That it will be up to you & dad & if you can't agree, the court will decide. Frankly I think it will make her more relieved that she doesn't have to pick who she lives w/ or visits--you tell her that just because you are getting divorce, she still has 2 parents & she will alternate spending time w/ both of you. I also agree about not saying too much about why you are getting divorced. You don't really have to justify it to her. You could just say that you & DH don't get along. If she spends more time alone w/ dad & he really is a jerk, she'll get the picture w/o you having to say it. I actually think she's lashing out at you because she's upset & afraid and you can take it--if she gets angry at dad, what would he do? Start yelling at her?

Avatar for winter2007
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Registered: 06-17-2006
Tue, 07-13-2010 - 4:50pm
hi musiclover..thanks for your reply..some good tips here..I am waiting for a summer class to be over for dd in 2 more weeks before approaching the topic again. I think as everyone said, I shouldn't take her remarks personally and do what is right. I am going to look for therapist again starting august..when she will have more time after this program is over.