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A Dad: Difficult relationship with Teen Daughter


RAVELMO

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Hi I've never needed to ask for advice or help for a family matter before but this is something that is really getting to me.

 

I'm a dad. My daughter is 15 and for the last few years she's been slightly off with me i.e answering snappily or general teen histrionics. I've accepted this as normal behaviour for a teen so it hasn't worried me. But the last six months have been really bad. One evening it suddenly dawned on me that my daughter really hates me. The realisation almost floored me and I think perhaps I'd been blind to it before because perhaps our ego protects us from very hurtful things.

 

I should also add that she has a great relationship with my wife and my wife can do no wrong.

 

My daughter quite often ignores me or when I speak to her reacts angrily as if I've shouted at her.

 

The main thing I needed advice on is this. For a long time I decided the best thing was to give her a wide berth as I seemed to be annoying her whenever I spoke to her. But now I'm wondering if I've made things worse because we now have minimal communication and I wonder if she will now assume I'm being childish and ignoring her. I do try to make an effort to initiate conversation and sometimes depending on her mood she will respond well. But then the following day or later on it is back to normal and she is hostile or ignoring me again.

 

I'm not sure what to do. I could confront her and try to get to the bottom of it but knowing her I think she will not respond well to this approach.

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Im sure she doesn't hate you. I think the bigger issue is the bad behavior went unchecked for too long and now she is accustomed to it and its going to be tough to turn around.

 

She needs a dose of reality of who is the parent and who is the child. But at this point it wont be easy, and you are going have to put off being liked for a while.

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Such behavior is perfectly normal with teenagers and adults. First off and foremost, you must be patient and never give up.

 

I doubt that your daughter hates you. In fact, considering that she is only 15 years old I doubt that she knows what true hatred really is nor the reality of the real world. She has no experiences with real responsibility (such a full-time job or the responsibility of raising a child as you do). As a result you must remember who you are speaking with and not expect her to understand the responsibility or life experiences which you have. At the same time, do not get down to her level and react to her immaturity with immaturity.

 

If your actions are sincere, non malicious, with well intentions then eventually your daughter will realize that you love her.

 

These situations are not easy because there is always two sides to the story. Have you spoken to your wife about her behavior? Why does your daughter get along great with your wife and not you? What does your wife say about it?

 

Good luck; but whatever you do, do not give up.

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Hopefully her attitude will lessen over time. It's hard to pretend everything is fine when your child treats you that way, and I'm not even sure that is the best thing to do. I would suggest meeting with a counselor, talking to them about it & see what they recommend. Ie, specific things you can do to see if it improves the situation. Or possibly see if she could speak with a counselor, if they think she needs it. Whatever you do, don't try to buy her love. If you did, she would probably only be lukewarm to you when you buy her things and flat out rude if you don't, which would likely carry into adulthood. I don't think you are doing that because you didn't say you did. But I would just hate to see you fall into that pattern because it can be really hard when you just want someone to like you. Perhaps you could suggest doing things together sometimes though. A movie or minigolf or something. Nothing over the top, but maybe some activity that you know she likes that you can do together.

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As they hit their teen years, especially girls, they DO get those 'moods'. We need to learn to try and understand this, respect them as they want respect from us, give each other some space, as we'd like at times as well.

 

As YOU are the parent, you should still hold a 'hint/reminder' of this(that ur the parent) now and then- when they can come out of line.. with their 'tude'.

Yes, some kids may come to hold some disrespect/anger towards a parent, but most times, as they 'grow up' and usually by time they're moving out, they actually come to 'appreciate' their parents. (Unless) there were some really rough times- much shouting, abuse etc. involved.

 

Just give her some space, back off if it's not necessary to be in her face.

One thing someone reminded me was that until they are teens we're 'raising' them...after that we're just 'guiding' them.

Good to remember, as they hit their teenage yrs.

 

Just be there.. like you are DAD. At least she's got one around, which I hope someday she will realize and appreciate.

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I have two boys- a 13 year old and an 18 year old.

 

My younger one now has transformed into having an attitude with me- almost like something switched with him and it is impossible to reason with him.

 

My older son is at the other end of it - he has lost the attitude thank goodness and I can have a great 2 way conversation with him!

 

So I am telling you to hang in there and know that this is typical.

 

My younger son is trying to break away and figure out who he is.

 

One very important thing: continue to tell your daughter that you love her! Even if she "rejects" that, she does need to hear it. My younger son ignores me or is grumpy when I say it but my older son has matured enough to be able to respond.

 

Adolescence is tough to go through and it is important for them to understand that your love is constant no matter what their behavior is.

 

Also, when you can, tell her you are proud of her- of her schoolwork, or some other accomplishments in life.

 

Before you know it your daughter will be grown and gone...

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Is there anything that you and your daughter have in common?

 

If you could find something that the both of you enjoy, and use it to spend one-on-one time together, it might open up the doors of communication.

 

I'm not so sure that a confrontation will help.

 

I highly recommend the book "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk" by Mazlish and Faber. It's an oldie but a goodie. My son is only 6 but I've used the tips in the book for overall communication, even with adults. It's a good and easy read and might give you some tools and strategies for addressing your daughter in a way that won't make her go on the defense.

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