I'm feeling like a bad mum!

(6 Posts)
mummyneedssupport Mon 02-Jun-14 17:43:14

My 13 year old is well developed and since she left primary school has turned into an amazing young lady in many ways but in others....argh!!!!!

There are several issues, both with her and with the family unit: When she goes out she turns her phone off, is never home at the right time and when I have to track her down it ruins my night as my tummy is in knots until she gets home safely..and then she says she wants MORE freedom! I have tried talking to a couple of friends with similar aged daughters, who are well behaved, return when it is still daylight and unfortunately seem rather smug when they tell me!

I have tried enforcing boundaries which she ignores, I have taken away her phone, so she will borrow a friends, I have switched off the internet but she doesn't seem to care.....I have withdrawn money but she borrows from friends...I have grounded her but she will climb out of the window...the list goes on.

At the moment she is doing well at school and I have brought her up in a calm and loving environment.

BUT.....I am building up to splitting up with her stress-head dad who has taken me for granted for far too long, buys our daughter's affections and has been known to say he ' never wanted kids'....So I am being brave and have met someone else and I now know my husband has too...which is good as he would never be able to live on his own and has threatened me for the last two years with notions of suicide etc if I left him....but now he has the chance of someone else taking over the 'house wife duties' he is stronger and more likely to move on.

How do I move forward and minimise the effect her dad moving out will have on her without sending her even more off the rails? I can't stay in a loveless marriage for the sake of the kids..it's not fair on anyone, especially as we are now living in the same house but seeing other people ( in secret).

So any advice would be great. Thanks! Even writing all this down has made me feel better! x

adeucalione Mon 02-Jun-14 18:29:42

It sounds like you are in the process of dealing with two enormously stressful situations - the breakdown of your marriage and the increasingly intolerable behaviour of your DD.

First of all I think you are absolutely right to be taking your DDs behaviour seriously. I teach and see so many parents who dismiss this sort of behaviour at 13yo (as normal, as unimportant because they're still doing well at school, as a phase) and live to regret it when they've got more serious issues on their hands a couple of years later.

If the thing your DD cares most about is seeing her friends then surely grounding her is the most effective punishment for switching her phone off or coming back late? Explain your concerns for her safety, and the consequences for not complying, before going zero tolerance. Will your DH support you in this, for your DDs sake?

When you say that you can't ground her because she will go out of a window, can this be dealt with? Ideally you want her to see that you are happy for her to go out, and that keeping her phone on, and returning punctually is fair exchange. But in the meantime you may have to be vigilant.

Regarding your separation I think others may have better advice, but you both need to be giving her a consistent message - she's loved, it's not her fault, you both respect each other, her welfare will always be paramount and you are in absolute agreement in terms of boundaries.

mummyneedssupport Mon 02-Jun-14 19:36:29

Thankyou for your support. I feel better knowing that I am probably doing all the right things. I always tell her that I love her unconditionally and that she can talk to me about anything....I'm hoping this is just a phase and she won't keep trying to play us off against each other like she is at the moment...where DH always gives in. I will have to be firmer and hopefully more respect will follow.

i lost my mum 5 years ago and always wish she was here for DD to talk to and to help guide her. Life is unkind sometimes.

I am a very calm and patient person...and I hope in the long run...it will all pay off.

I think the next 12 months will be testing.

Any more advice is gratefully received. I want my mum back! But at least this site proves that nobody need feel alone in their situations.
thankyou x

heyday Tue 03-Jun-14 10:13:43

This all sounds rather complicated and young people are very astute and will pick up on the fragmented relationships at home. Sounds like you are still living together so what stance is her dad taking about her staying out late? Teenage years can be a real nightmare and she is only just starting hers so there could be many more turbulent years ahead yet. Could you sit down with her and agree on some sort of time table that is acceptable to both parties ie agree on a time together that is acceptable for her to be home by and if she sticks to it then she can perhaps earn extra pocket money or some other such reward. She needs you now, greatly, and she is going to tests you to your limits. Not sure how you plan to take on board another relationship at the moment as you have the separation to deal with along with your daughters challenging behaviour. Try and keep the doors of communication open, try to have some special mother-daughter time together and try to find some way whereby her dad can have some serious input into her growing up years in a positive way. Tell her you will consider letting her have more freedom when she can show some responsibility, and she can prove that she can come home on time (give it take ten minutes or so). I honestly feel that her seeing her mum and dad split up and both having new partners from the outset will cause her enormous stress at this very difficult age. I know you are both entitled to your own lives but this could be the catalyst for her going seriously off the rails. Not saying don't do it but am saying that this is very likely to be really tough for her to deal with.

mummyneedssupport Tue 03-Jun-14 23:18:00

I agree that any new relationships need to be handled very carefully...but equally, in a couple of years I want her to see what a true partnership should be. She has seen her parents sleep in separate rooms for many years....seen her dad come home drunk on too many occasions....and seen her mum get upset by the lack of love shown towards her by him. I don't see that as setting a good 'relationship' example to her.
I'm always trying to spend time with her. I finally caved in last year and we got a dog....and walking her has been my saviour, although it's mostly alone. So when I am with the dog in the evening, she comes downstairs to snuggle her...and this often facilitates conversations etc.
I will sit down with her and draw up a kind of 'mutual respect contract'...and will reward her for sticking to it. DH hardly has any influence over her....time and time he gives in.
As time goes on...I'll need to draw up a contract with him too.
DD is my priority...I do need a life myself, but this will only become official when the time is right for her.

I was a really good teen....so all this has come as a bit of a steep learning curve and I am beginning to realise that I couldn't have been a better mum! I hope in time, and when she matures, she will tell me too.

Thanks for your thoughtful advice. I'll sleep on it tonight and try and encourage DH to support me in a more structured approach in defining DD's boundaries.

Charlotteamanda1 Wed 04-Jun-14 07:34:41

Lots is going on.
I think your husband is being psychologically abusive. Playing with your mind with his words. Let the marriage end as soon as you can. Please read about psychological abuse in domestic abuse and see if he fits the profile.
Second - your daughters behaviour is prob hormones mixed with the stress of home life - she will have picked up on it.

Hormones in teenagers range from acting like angels to being down right awful. Some feel anger like they have never felt before. Some feel the need to push boundaries to the limit. Mind did, and is now a lovely young adult.

Punishment - simply if you take something away or stop them doing an activity all they feel is hatred towards you. Yes you need to set boundaries. Consiquences never worked for mine.
Write down why what she does is unacceptable how it makes you feel. Also write about your love for her. Don't write you do this and that. Let her read it alone. This will give her time to think about what you have said. She may reply or not but it will have gone in. Don't ask for a reply.
And just ride the storm.

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