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Looking for some advice on situation with my DD

(102 Posts)
Campaspe Sat 08-Jun-19 16:29:43

This is my first GN post as I'm a MNetter, but I really wanted some advice about being a mum to my 12 yo DD. She is an only child, and all of her life, I have cossetted her and she has been the most important thing in mine and DH's life. We've had high hopes for her academically and have brought her up to be polite and kind (at least, we've tried). However, at 12 (nearly 13) the hormones are kicking in, puberty is well under way and everything about our erstwhile lovely and loving relationship seems to be under threat. DD is surly, moody and lazy. She isn't appreciative of all that is done for her, and is difficult to talk to as she knows best and is incredibly self-centred. All normal, I suppose, but I'm struggling to cope with the loss of my lovely little girl and I'm worried about coping with the next few years. I find myself panicking about how DD will get a job if she doesn't pass exams, and if she'll ever mature a bit and take some responsibility. This is where I'm looking for some advice from mums and grans who've been through it. How do I cope? How do I mourn the loss of my DD? How do I make a new role for myself as parent of a teenager when I'm fat, tired, menopausal and emotional? What is worth arguing about and what isn't? Why on earth don't kids come with an instruction booklet...?! And breathe...

Grateful for any advice and support on how to weather this midlife period and get DD and me through it. Thank you in advance.

paddyann Sat 08-Jun-19 16:40:47

If its of any help my daughter admits she was the teenager from only lasted a few years but we were at breaking point with her .I well remember catching her climbing out of an upstairs window to go to a party when she was 14! SHE called the socail work department who told ME she was old enough to make her own didn't happen.By the time she was 17 we had her back,kind, thoughtful a girl to be proud of.Now she's got teens of her own and she says all the nonsense she put us through will be great experience for ehr own .They are all different you can only do your best and pray...oh and answer her questions honestly.We devised a system of if she wanted to do something we weren't sure about we'd tell her to come back to us after we'd discussed it,By that time she had usually changed her mind.Good luck ,its only temporary

Franbern Sat 08-Jun-19 16:56:03

My eldest daughter went through a dreadful teenage latter years. Ran away rather than take her school exams, got into all sorts of problems. Harder as she was an 'older' teenager, which meant I had no authority over her.
Two years of hell, then she became very ill (auto-immune illness), and I just brought her back to the family home. I paid for her take one A level externally, and she went through a serious operation.
Amazingly she eventually turned her life around so much. Now- as she nears her 50th birthday, she is in a very good and highly responsible job, has a lovely house, and has brought up by herself her gorgeous daughter (who is the middle of GCSE's).
My daughter says herself that she very much hopes that her daughter will not be anything like she was as a teenager - but (to my mind), if she turns out anything as good as her Mother, does not matter about those few, difficult years.
Stick with her, your lovely daughter will return in good time - just continue loving her and being there for her.

GillT57 Sat 08-Jun-19 17:05:02

Oh it is hard sometimes, but we all come out the other side of it! Just one little thing you said: she is not appreciative of all that is done for her, and is difficult to talk to as she knows best and is incredibly self-centred . Do not expect thanks or gratitude, you do things for your DD because you want to, not for the thanks. Just make friends with other parents of children of the same age, just as you do when they are babies and you don't know what to do, share experiences, laugh, drink gin. Don't mourn your little girl, welcome your teenager, she will grow up into an adult you will like to spend time with. Just grit your teeth!

sodapop Sat 08-Jun-19 17:10:47

I think a great proportion of Gransnetters have been through the 'teenager from hell' situation with their children and grandchildren.. It's a shock to the system when your normally loving and happy child morphs into a Kevin clone. Continue to love and support her but make sure you have boundaries in place too. Choose your battles, some things are not worth fighting over. It's not personal however much it seems that way, this too will pass.
Good luck Campaspe

fizzers Sat 08-Jun-19 17:12:23

My daughter was hell between the ages of 12 - 16, she wished me dead many times, because I refused to let her do what she wanted to do, my friend's daughter called Childline and made a load of lies up thinking if she went into care she would be able to do as she wanted.... that backfired.... Being surly and moody and know it all is par for the course.

Luckily both our daughters came out the other side and grew into mature responsible adults and good mothers.

All you can do really is hang in there and weather the storm and stick to your guns, if you say no, mean no and follow it through, if you say no to something be sure to back it up with a reasonable reason why, likewise if you want her to do something (eg clean her room etc) and she refuses or gives an attitude then make sure she knows there will be consequences...

Good Luck xx

Buffybee Sat 08-Jun-19 17:24:27

My daughter has twin girls and I remember she came to me tearing her hair out when they reached 12/13 as they had changed overnight, from the cute, sunny, obedient little things she adored, to snarling, surly, horrors, stomping round the house and having "hissing cat" arguments with each other.
Pushing the boundaries, wanting to go places, stay out late "coz everyone else is".
I reminded her how I treated her.
I ignored the rudeness and carried on conversing with her in calm, even tones, while sometimes asking her if everything was ok and giving her a hug and kiss on top of her head.
When she wanted to push boundaries, I always told her that of course she can "go there, stay out late, etc. if she wants to" BUT, I wouldn't, because of A B & C scarey reasons, but of course, its up to you sweetheart, I know you can look after yourself.
She would quite often come back later and tell me that she wasn't going to the party or whatever anymore.
When I reminded my daughter, she said, "Oh God, Yes I remember that, is that what you were doing? Telling me to go, please myself, then scaring the s--t out of me"?
Yes sweetheart, exactly!!!!!
She tried it with her two and amazingly, it worked again, 80% of the time.
As others have mentioned, by the age of 16/17 you get your Darling Girl back again! 😉

Elvive Sat 08-Jun-19 17:34:01

I guess the word " cossetted" stands out to me.

And other words mourn/loss.

Consider talking to a professional about your feelings.

KatyK Sat 08-Jun-19 17:36:41

Yes 12 is definitely 'the age'. When our DD got to 12 she began plastering her face with make up, trying to be older than she was, it started to be problematic. It all worked out in the end as I'm sure it will for you. She now has her own 19 year old and has gone through similar stuff. I'm sure your daughter will settle down. It's normal.

BlueBelle Sat 08-Jun-19 18:09:10

I remember my boss saying to me ‘my daughter went to bed one night an angel and came down the next day the devil incarnate’
Yes it’s all normal and will get worse before it gets better which is when they leave home 😂😂
I must admit the thought of a ‘cosseted’ only child whose parents think the sun shines out of ...doesn’t sound the best so you might fall harder than others who may have two or three in this category Certainly not the time to wring your hands worrying about future jobs take it bit by bit You ve got parties and boyfriends to get over before you worry about exams and jobs
Chin up most of them come out the other side OK

PamelaJ1 Sat 08-Jun-19 18:10:24

Just remember that nothing you do will be right.
BUT, generally, they turn out to be lovely again.

GabriellaG54 Sat 08-Jun-19 18:30:56

My children got weekend and holiday jobs on farms from their mid teens (13/14) onwards so they weren't under our eyes as ghey lived in, they got paid, they had someone else to answer to and came home bright-eyed, with a sense of achievement and responsibility and a decent bank balance. They certainly looked happy and healthy too.

GabriellaG54 Sat 08-Jun-19 18:31:45

ghey they

Luckygirl Sat 08-Jun-19 18:42:35

It is a challenge - I had 3 DDs.

- firstly you have to love her and tell her so. However much of a pain she is she does need to know you both love her, here, now, just as she is. You are allowed to let her know that you do not like her current behaviour, but that, whatever she does, you love her and trust her. You have loved the person that you have created; but your influence is about to wane and she will become her own person; she will recreate herself as a young adult.

- you had a "lovely" DD, and that loveliness is still there. You may have to dig deep to find it.

- your lives have centred around her - you need to expand your own lives and interests so that she knows she is not the centre of your universe - you need to relieve her of that heavy burden. It is a responsibility beyond the abilities of one so young.

- the old adage "pick your battles" is a sound one. I decided that the battles worth getting into related to taking drugs, getting pregnant very young, being cruel to others. And nothing else mattered: weird clothes, green hair, rooms that were so untidy that they stank etc.

- and that leads me onto her room - it is her space, so you must keep out. If it is a tip, then so be it. But she needs to know that you respect her space and her right to treat it as she wishes. Don't rail at her for mess on the floor - it is her own mess and she must make her own decisions about it.

- academically I think you have to have no expectations, no nagging about homework - you are just providing ammunition for her to give you hell. One of my DDs was not at all impressed with school and saw it as a total waste of her life. But - she knew she had to have some bits of paper in order not to finish up sweeping the streets so she did just enough but no more. Sounded fair enough to me - I left her to it.

- there will be times when you fear for her safety; but the phrase "I am a bit concerned about this because of X, Y, Z, but I trust you to make the right decision" can sometimes be a good one. But there are times when they actually want you to say no to something because it frightens them and they need you to be the excuse to say it - they will give you hell, but deep down they are heaving a sigh of relief.

- you will face much more difficult time soon....sorry! My biggest worry was when they were being driven to or from some event by young men whom I hardly knew. I got them all driving themselves asap, as I knew them and trusted them more!

You are at that moment when the slow painful process of letting go is starting - handle this well and she will be a young woman of whom you can be proud.

Urmstongran Sat 08-Jun-19 18:51:27

Does your daughter like a sport? Our girls played netball for a club, school and at county level. All that practising, exercise, matches, tournaments etc kept them (and us!) busy but it was good to see them active, disciplined and happy! Tired girls, not too many late nights (although still had a social life) and it gave them fun whilst the hormones were raging. Bored teenagers will look for something otherwise!

pinkquartz Sat 08-Jun-19 18:58:17

I think there is a clue in that you say she is the most important thing in your life and your DH life.
that is a terrible burden to put on another person.
She has to find out her own identity and what she wants her life to be.
If she is being told that she owed you big time you will get nothing but trouble.

You need to give her space. She will drive you nuts because that is what happens to most mother and daughter relationships.
It doesn't mean she doesn't love you nor does it mean she is a bad person.

Stop cossetting her, let her breathe and also let her know you love her and understand she has to find her own way.

i went through hell with my daughter who I had always been close to. i didn't understand to back off.
Because you are her mum she has to separate herself from you and she won't understand this herself. but it needs to happen.

You cope by having a life that contains things in it for you. Your relationships, hobbies, work. You have a life separate.
She will grow and in time she may well be close again. I hope so. Just remember she does love you but this is her transition time. She is not there to make your mid life better. That is for you to deal with. And you will.

SueDonim Sat 08-Jun-19 19:00:58

Great advice here already! I'd emphasis not sweating the small stuff with her and also not crossing bridges before you get to them. I really wouldn't worry today about exams she won't be taking for three or four years.

You can't change your teeenager but you can change your responses to her - I wish someone had told me that when the first of my brood reached their teens!

I haven't used this book as it came out too late for me but many friends have sworn by it so it may be worth a read.

Gonegirl Sat 08-Jun-19 19:09:08

When both of my daughters were around that age I had my son. They were both too busy being second mums to the baby to give me any trouble at all. So, there's your

EllanVannin Sat 08-Jun-19 19:10:40

Yes, there's one surly moody madam in the family. My GGD who has just turned 13. What a brat ! My GD ( her mother, was the same )
I'm afraid GD will just have to ride the storm like others have to do and hope for the best.

Gonegirl Sat 08-Jun-19 19:11:50

To be honest, I think the thing is to be friends with your daughters from the word go. So maybe you've got some catching up to do. And menopause or not, you need to forget about you. She is still your daughter and you are still her mum.

MamaCaz Sat 08-Jun-19 19:20:05

I only had sons, so my input is rather limited, but based on my own adolescence, plus hindsight, what pinkquartz said makes a whole lot of sense!

Elvive Sat 08-Jun-19 19:23:39

You are not her friend you are her parent. You are entitled to some respect in your own home.

Do not under any circumstances forget about you or your health.

A young woman is observing and you are modeling boundaries and self care.

Septimia Sat 08-Jun-19 19:24:12

As said above, what you're experiencing with your daughter is really quite normal and there's lots of good advice already been given. It does help, I think, with children of any age, to know that others are experiencing the same thing, or have done.

One piece of advice I'd give is this. I was an only child and my mum frequently said to me 'Look after yourself, you're all we've got". Unfair pressure!! I understood later how she felt as I only had one child, but I told him to look after himself for himself and so that he would have a long time to enjoy life.

Gonegirl Sat 08-Jun-19 19:24:42

You can be a friend and a parent.

Gonegirl Sat 08-Jun-19 19:25:04

that was to Elvive.