Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

teenage DGD probs

(31 Posts)
Madmartha Tue 01-Mar-16 09:24:33

Our 15yr old DGD has lived with us for 8yrs following domestic violence at home. DH and I count ourselves really lucky to have had 8 years of fab fun and laughter and travel with her. Lately she's been hyper critical of me to my face about all sorts of things - what I eat, print off, say etc and often refuses point blank to do small things I've asked. She's taking one of her GCSEs this year so a bit of pressure there but gets on fine with revision with no asking and no hassle. Has very few friends and never asks them home, we have a modern home with wide screen etc and lead busy active lives but she always comes first. She's won awards, plays in school band, school ambassador etc but currently has a rigid routine of 2 hourly gym visits and will only eat 'healthy' food. I can see us teetering on the edge of eating problems and really don't want DH and me to go there ever again - we spent years in the early 90s supporting my DD through bulimia and anorexia. Anyone with similar probs?

trisher Tue 01-Mar-16 11:44:18

I've no experience of teenage girls Madmartha apart from being one once. I do remember I was very stroppy and disagreed with anything that was said to me! It sounds as if you have given you DGD a great home and loving support, maybe she is just testing things. I hope things go well for all of you. I believe there is more support now for anyone with an eating disorder so hopefully even if this is the case you will mange better than in the 90s. Good luck flowers

Madmartha Tue 01-Mar-16 15:30:08

Thanks Trisher, very re-assuring, just what I needed smile

Luckygirl Tue 01-Mar-16 16:43:20

Well it sounds as if she has been a very lucky girl to have had your love and devotion for so many years and to be doing so well. Pat on the back for you.

I would say that it is important not to draw attention to her eating habits unless the spectre of anorexia is unavoidable. I am sure you know more about that from your personal experience. If she is eating a normal quantity of healthy food then that is good. Personally I think 2 hours a day (is it every day?) in the gym is too much, but it may be what young people do now. It can be addictive and take over their lives to the detriment of other activities - one to be tactfully watched I think, but not commented on.

I had 3 girls and they do get to a point where they think Mum (or whoever is in charge) is a bit of a bore and an embarrassment, so please don't take the criticisms to heart too much. They all had brief stroppy phases. And as for my own stroppy phase - the less said the better!!

When my DDs were being a bit stroppy there were usually two things that were behind it: one was a boy whom they fancied who did not reciprocate their ardour; the other was bitchiness (or a sort of sub-liminal bullying) from other girls - sadly it did seem to be rife at about the age of 15.

It is also a very difficult time for them, especially now, when the demands of their peers to be sexually active or aware, and the prevalence of texted porn are pushing them in directions that they are scared of, but cannot admit this.

It may of course be that there has been some comment about the fact that you are an older "Mum." Teenage girls can be so cruel.

Just be there for her and take the insults on the chin! - but serious rudeness should not be tolerated.

Good luck!

cornergran Tue 01-Mar-16 18:30:09

Sadly I think this is behaviour within the 'normal' range for her age group. Agree with other comments, try not to make too much of the eating but keep a watchful eye, if needed there is advice out there for you and lots of support. Many senior schools have a welfare provision now, a counsellor or a nurse who can support and is used to the over focus teenage girls, boys as well come to that, have on body image and food. I imagine you are extra concerned because of your past experiences. Teenage girls are very hurtful of each other about appearance and yes, it can trigger an eating disorder, but it doesn't always and this may just pass by. Please don't let her get into the habit of thinking she can say anything to you and you won't react, as Luckygirl has said, serious rudeness just shouldn't be tolerated but the odd comment and accompanied eye rolling (if she does that) is better ignored. It is hard work and she is so lucky you have been there to care for her. I'm sure she won't forget the fun and the love she had had, teenage years are so momentous, the hormones have a lot to answer for. I do hope the future is good for you all and send flowers and also cupcake - it sounds as if you need them right now, with perhaps some wine as well.

ninathenana Tue 01-Mar-16 18:41:29

All very sound advice and proof that this site is full of caring thoughtful people.
🏆 for GN

Iam64 Tue 01-Mar-16 19:33:38

I do believe the only thing worse than being a teenage girl, is to be the mother or main carer for a teenage girl. I read something when mine were a similar age to your granddaughter Madmartha, that referred to the 'invisible audience' that teenage girls imagine are watching their every move, as well as every move made by their mum/dad/gran. One of mine would only leave the house with her father if she'd chosen his clothes. Yes, he is a tad eccentric but in her mid teens she was so anxious one of her friends or someone in the invisible audience would see his garb and somehow turn that into her being hopeless.
We all laugh about that now but at the time all we could do was bite our tongues and not get into an unnecessary row. The same daughter was also a gymnast and ken on healthy eating. This is over 15 years ago and I believe the pressure about eating disorders has got even worse.
Try not to worry, aim for positives and avoid a row unless its absolutely necessary. One of mine once pushed and pushed to go to a club in town ( no alcohol night for 16 years and above) she was 15 but the youngest in her year so all her pals had hit 16 and were going. It took me a while to read between the lines and eventually I asked her if she wanted to be able to tell her friends I was over protective and she wasn't allowed to go. A brief nod of the head and I said firmly - nope you can't go. She said thanks mum.
All the very best, she is so lucky to have you

Luckygirl Tue 01-Mar-16 22:13:49

I had a bright (and I mean bright!) pink faux fur jacket when my DDs were in their teens and generally they thought it was great - but when I turned up at a parents evening in it..............! Bad move mother! grin

Jomarie Tue 01-Mar-16 22:32:06

It's a minefield. Good luck to all who tread it is what I say. grin

Madmartha Wed 02-Mar-16 14:50:43

Thanks everyone, much appreciated, great advice & comments smile

Crafting Wed 02-Mar-16 21:53:29

I have a teenage DGD who is younger than yours madm. She has always been a wonderfully loving, caring, happy and sensible child. She still is all these things but her mum has said she had times now when she is difficult to deal with. We have never seen this behaviour ourselves but I think perhaps your DGD is just going through that teenage phase. Sounds as though you are great grandparents and she is lucky to have you. Believe me my DGD is an absolute angel and if she can be difficult to deal with at times then so can any other teenager. Hope things improve soon

obieone Thu 03-Mar-16 09:57:03

She could well be teetering on the edge of eating problems.
She sounds like she is doing what someone I know did.
The girl thought all fats were bad so tried to cut them out. She didnt realise that to eat healthily, it involved eating those fats and other things besides.

Anither thing I heard. To be a perfectionist isnt perfection. [said by a doctor]
hope this helps

marylane1996 Fri 24-Feb-17 10:22:52

I dont now what to do about my beloved granddaughter we have always been close and i did expect a change as she got to 18. Now she has a flat and boyfriend i havent seen her since Xmas and get the odd text arranging to meet up and then cancelling the day before without a valid reason.I am on my own since my husband died many years ago and dont expect to be a main feature in her life but advice please anyone

Chattybarbara Fri 24-Feb-17 10:39:56

She is probably just as fond of you as ever but she has other priorities in her life now learning to be an adult - just stay in touch but don't expect reliability!! Like it or not, our grown up DGGs have their own lives to lead and we just have to be there for them if they need us.

Jayanna9040 Fri 24-Feb-17 10:50:49

I don't think I'd worry about the criticism and general stroppiness too much f things are still going well at school. Just a thought about the eating. Joe Wicks "Lean in 15" is the current fit fanatic bible and actually it is very sensible and nutrition well explained eg why cutting fats isn't good. Maybe get a copy and cook from that for her?

tanith Fri 24-Feb-17 11:20:14

marylane1996 don't worry its mostly the same the World over with Grandchildren from the age of 15 up to the time they settle down or start families of their own, we only saw/heard from them at birthdays or Christmas they have far more interesting lives than to remember to keep in contact with us oldies grin but she will come back at some stage just be patient and nothing stopping you contacting her with the odd text/phonecall now and then. Be sure she still loves you..

Starlady Fri 24-Feb-17 13:20:39

Sounds like you have a teenager in your home, Madmartha! Lol! Agree mostly with all previous advice.

But you know the signs of anorexia, however, having gone through it with your dd. So if you really think that's what's going on, please begin to get her help right away. However, due to your past experience, you may be too quick to jump to that conclusion. So unless you're sure, a wait-and-watch policy may be best with very little commentary as others have said.

You might let he know that you expect her to respect your choices for food, clothes, etc. just as she wants you to respect hers.

She has been very lucky to have you and dh and I'm sure down deep she knows it. In a few years, she will probably be your lovely gd again. Don't worry!

Starlady Fri 24-Feb-17 13:24:51

Maryjane, I don't think you should worry either. I know you miss gd but she is busy with her new love now. I would let her know you prefer to know in advance if plans are to be cancelled and not last minute. You might not see a change right away, but she will likely think about it. Always have a Plan B in mind for the day in case she flakes out.

Starlady Fri 24-Feb-17 13:26:15

Btw, I think changing plans last minute is very rude, but I would chalk that up to youth for now and the challenges of adjusting to adulthood.

hildajenniJ Fri 24-Feb-17 13:39:34

I had a friend who told me, when my DD turned 13, to lock her in a cupboard and not let her out until she was 17! 😀 She's just at the age when hormones, peer pressure, school exams are all working against her. My daughter used to shout, sulk, say really hurtful things and slam doors. They all come good eventually. You just have to ride the rollercoaster until she comes through it. My DD went to uni. got a degree in Anthropology, and is now a wonderful wife and mother to four children. I'm very proud of her. So keep up the good work and don't worry too much.

BlueBelle Fri 24-Feb-17 14:39:49

Mine who lives near me is coming up to 14 I rarely do anything right now She can be wonderful one moment and turn on a postage stamp I think I aggravate her by breathing The other day we went out together and all was going rather well, too well as it culminated in Nan why do you have a pink bag with hearts on at your age don't you think it's time you bought a new one no says me I like it well that was it downhill all the way ...I think she is desperate not to stand out as different she rarely brings people home unlike her older brother who would have the whole class sleep over If I m with her when she goes to meet friends she asks me to not be with her when they meet or even acknowledge her if we were shock horror to pass each other in the street when I answered my phone on the train I was 'shouting' if I have a joke with anyone standing near me in a queue she shrinks into the background soooo embarrassed She is also on a no meat no fat no bread no butter eating regime will just eat plain pasta or crackers or fruit
I really think it's a normal phase I just let her get on with it at first it really hurt but now I take it all with a pinch of salt I remember years ago my boss said her 13 year old went up the stairs to bed an anglel and came down the next day a devil
Everyone else outside the home say nothing but praise and she's a good girl at studying etc .....she ll be fine

stillaliveandkicking Fri 24-Feb-17 17:59:43

Sisters both had girls, they were hard work! I had a boy, much easier to deal with. Both girls cut themselves, went on freaky diets, ran away, got drunk from the age of 14. However they are now in their late 20's and fantastic adults.

It also seems like your Grand Daughter had an awful early life, poor mite. My nieces came from very stable homes.

All sounds totally normal behaviour and the best bit of advice I could give is "don't sweat the small stuff" ignore, ignore ignore.

Good luck OP.

Maggiemaybe Fri 24-Feb-17 18:33:20

Oh Lord you have my sympathy, all mums and grandmas of teenage girls. I was a horror, completely irrational, critical and scornful of my parents (mum particularly) and not slow to let them know how superior I was. I can remember my mum saying I would drive her to the local mental hospital (as they were called then). The thing is, I knew I was being horrible and unreasonable, but my hormones just swept all reason in front of them. I got my comeuppance with DD1 (that particular apple didn't fall far from the tree!), who was just as ornery and supercilious - it's amazing we had any doors left, the way she used to bang them!

But then, I had a reprieve - DD2 was lovely, and sailed through her teenage years with a sunny smile on her face (making up for being a non-sleeping, constantly crying baby!). And DS just grunted at us for a couple of years.

They all emerged from the teenage years balanced, happy and caring young adults. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, OP! The positive is that she wouldn't behave like this if she wasn't settled, secure and totally sure of your love for her. flowers

marylane1996 Sat 25-Feb-17 08:24:03

thank you all for your encouragement re my granddaughter. I am spending days looking through photos of when we went out loads of places but know this is unhealthy. That was then and now I have to get on with my life. My daughter is the main problem I fear as I havent seen her in 2 years. She makes a point of being out when I am arriving to see my grandson and my wonderful son in law keeps out of it and says well at least you get to see him but once a month is such a long time to wait . He is ten and we have one and a half hours to play catch up. My daughter has mental health problems and is on prozac but will stay in bed rather than see me. My grandson is going for major surgery mid March and I know she will prevent me from going to visit at Alder Hey as she doesnt want to see me as she believes things from the past which are not true. Any support you wonderful ladies would be so appreciated as naturally i am worried to bits about him

Nana3 Sat 25-Feb-17 09:34:24

I wonder how madmartha is getting on , it's nearly a year since her OP.
I am sorry to hear of your continuing problems marylane you sound very unhappy. Is your daughter your only child? I'm wondering how she is with others in the family and if you have anyone to talk to.
I think the ward staff will let you know how your DGS is if you ring the hospital. I hope all goes well for him.
My best wishes.