You are here

Advice for dealing with teenage daughter

Naturelover's picture

Hi everyone,

I have three kids, a boy who is 21 and two girls, 16 and 11. I have had my 16 yrold living with her dad for the past two months as she does not want to be a part of our family. She shows this by being dismissive to everyone and not being a part of the family. Part of that is her personality - she is just like her dad, very introverted. doesn't like to talk seriously, wants to be on her own as much as possible. I am trying to find a way to help her develop relationships, improve my relationship with her and , ultimately, get her back to the house with us all. My son was so much easier during these teen years - this is my first experience with a girl - any help/advice would be appreciated. I want to get her to a place where she and everyone else is comfortable and that she is a normal part of our family. I don't know if that will ever happen. As I said, she is more content on her own. I can't sacrifice everyone else's sanity for her but I want her with me and I want to have her in my life. Thank you for any advice you can offer


beebeel's picture

Introverts aren't rude. Introverts are still polite and understand that they aren't going to be 100 percent "comfortable" all the time. Introverts can have perfectly lively conversations with their families. This isn't a personality trait. It's a behavorial thing. 

Imdone21's picture

I have no advice for you. I'm sorry you are dealing with that. I have a 14 year old son who is incredibly immature for his age at times and at others very mature. I've been told that he is rude and disrespectful and I just haven't been able to get his head on straight. Hopefully, she comes around. 

fourbrats's picture

what you mean by not wanting to be part of the family. I have two kids who are content to be on their own 90% of the time. They are a lot of fun when they are in the mood to be in a group but generally they are happier reading, creating, etc all by themselves. I spent most of my childhood and teen years reading, even at family events. Generally speaking I always let them be. I actually find my two who are very social to be more exhausting. 

Disrespect or being rude is different. Disrespect is not tolerated in my home, even once the kids are adults. And the kids always had responsbilities and chores, I just didn't do "forced family time" with my kids. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

A couple of questions:

1.) Why does she HAVE to live with you? To make you more comfortable? I've mentioned this to you before: you have allowed others to behave in such a way that makes YOU comfortable, even if it hurts other people. This sounds very similar.

2.) Why do you attribute her dismissiveness to her introvertedness? My brother is one step above recluse in his introvertedness. However, on the occasions that he is around family, he is polite, engages in conversation, participates in games, etc. Now, he can only do this for a few hours and only wants to a few times a year. We respect that for him and invite him to everything, realizing he likely won't show (and tell/show him it's okay to say no).

Being dismissive isn't a trait of being an introvert. That is a trait of being rude. There is a way of telling folks "thank you for engaging with me, but I am not comfortable/don't have the energy to reciprocate right now". Not wanting to participate isn't the problem; it's the attitude by which that message is delivered.

3.) Have you talked to your daughter about how to include her in a way that makes her comfortable? If everyone in the family is extroverted except her (and I'm assuming that she actually is introverted but hasn't been taught how to communicate effectively with others), then folks are going to have to include activities she will participate in (e.g. movie night, smaller groups, shorter activities) or be okay with her not participating when she POLITELY declines.

Sending your DD to her dad for two months wasn't going to magically make this all better. Your ex may do a better job of teaching her how to be an introvert in multi-vert world and living with him may be a better solution than living with you. If you're still struggling, I recommend parenting classes and counseling for both you and DD (individually and together) to figure out how to proceed with your relationship.

Lndsy747's picture

Wow just read through your previous posts are you sure your marriage is even salvageable at this point? If not let it go and focus on your daughter.

Personally if my SO's family trashed me and then they just forgave their family and carried on a relationship without me being involved that would be a nail in the coffin for me. 

Thefatherismyfamily's picture

Why don't you just live your own life and quit trying to control how they are and to each other? Do your own thing like your career and hobbies and friends?  And if they get in your face just say "huh? What's going on?" Why do you have to monitor introverted daughter and overly emotional husband? Just live your life. So daughter doesn't want to come over. Great. Husband is having a hissy fit because stepkids didn't say hello. So? Tell them you have a yoga class, sorry.

my SD used to throw fits all the time. I stopped spending time with her. My husbands cousin tried to start shit with me and my relationship. I blocked her. MIL tried to start gossip.  I said "huh? What are you talking about?" Let that crap roll off your back and focus on you. They will beg for your time.

still learning's picture

It's a rough time with all the changes and hormones, add divorce dynamics and it's pretty confusing for kids.  I wish I could go back and just enjoy the person my daughter was as a teen rather than trying to mold her into what I wanted her to be.  She was my first, very rebellious to my conservative rules. She also chose to live with dad who let her do whatever and was a completely hands off parent.  

My advice is to remember that this time will pass quickly.  She will be an adult soon and will get to choose whether or not she wants a relationship with you. Now is the time to set the foundation of a good relationship for the future. Listen to her, whatever she wants to talk about. Be available when she needs you.  Even though she's acting tough and distant she still needs her mama.  


tog redux's picture

Why can't she stay with her father if she's happier there? Of course, she shouldn't be rude to anyone, but perhaps his home is quieter, with less drama, and that meets her needs?  As an introvert myself, I can't stand noise, drama, stress in my home - I need peace and quiet to thrive.

She's 16, let her stay where she wants to stay, and work on your relationship from afar.

ESMOD's picture

I think it's ok to chalk some of it up to her being a "moody teen"  Not every kid will deal with that stage the same way... perhaps she is more like her dad.. and perhaps she feels she is being put down or forced to do or act in ways that aren't natural and being made to feel like she is wrong for not wanting to participate in the family.

I remember at 16 I did not participate in the family beyond a few meals a week.  I had friends, after school sports.. jobs at the base restaurant and school work itself.  We didn't do family game nights or much of any of those kinds of group activities.. I guess partly because my dad was somewhat of an introvert.. we did have the occasional family meal when I was that age.. but since I worked a lot of evenings.. those were fairly rare for me. 

That age is a natural time for kids to be more on their own.. discover who they are in their own circle of friends etc...

Now, there is the posibility she is suffereing from some depression and the rudeness is just a reflection of her pain.. but unless someone has a bit more of a sit down and empathetic talk with her.. not sure that it will be apparent.

She may just feel overwhelmedby the expectations of fitting in... it's just a tough time.