Parenting advice to a mother of 14 year old daughter
Q. Describe your child
A. She’s smart, funny, beautiful, an only child- she slightly overweight, outspoken and shy at the same time hot tempered, basically thoughtful and kind-she lies a lot and always in trouble for something or other, messy in her personal habits.
Q.Describe the situation, where you need advice.
A.She does poor in school, is smart mouthed with her parents but not others, she busted my lip with a cell phone yesterday because she was mad , she won’t clean up after herself or do her homework.
Q.How much time during a day do you communicate with your child?
Q.How good is your child? On a scale of 1-10, 10 is very good.
Q.How honest is your child?
Q.How kind are you to your child?
Q.How fair are you to your child?
Here is an analysis from the limited information you gave us.
Your point is clear: you want your daughter to be nice, successful, and confident with herself, so that she would let you live a peaceful life. But she doesn’t. Why? Does she want to make your life complicated? I don’t think so.
If we were able to listen to your daughter’s side, we might end up with a different story. She feels insecure and therefore doesn’t have what it takes for developing her talents in full. This insecurity doesn’t mean physical or financial. It means, she doesn’t feel loved enough because she knows she is not good enough for her parents. Also she knows that her parents don’t trust her. She believes her parents think that she is a liar, though it seems that nobody is really interested in the reason why she has to lie. The reason is that she is not secure. Nobody believes her!
“We don’t believe in children not because they are bad, but they become bad because we don’t believe in them.” S.Soloveychik
If you feel the same way you would be desperate too. Especially if someone constantly reminds you of your failures.
As teenagers, children are tormented by their helplessness, their imperfections. In fact their souls strive to pursue high ideals. They ony trust people who don’t judge them, don’t nag them constantly but accept them, those who love them. Unfortunately, if teenagers don’t have such people around, they struggle to merely survive, trying to defend their fragile dignities from tactless attacks by adults. Therefore they enter the power struggle with adults. But there is no winner in power struggles between parents and their children. Both lose.
The situation you described is the result of the so-called evil tunnel: someone began encroaching on another person’s dignity; the other person responded the same way: usually saying something nasty back. The first side, being indignant, continued attacking and the battle continued until it reached the final point. In your case it is a split lip. What to do? Who must stop the evil tunnel? – The person who is mature enough to stop it. The person who loves more.
1. Forgive your daughter, for the sake of her goodness, for the gift you were once blessed with 14 years ago. Imagine, inside of her soul she suffers too. She’s mistaken, but you’ve mistaken too. Find exactly where you did wrong. Accept it and then it will be easier to forgive your daughter.
2. Think of how you can help her with her “silly” problems (poor study, overweight, not confident with other people). For her – these problems are not silly, they are terrible, they are serious. Ask her about them, when she feels like talking.
3. Leave her alone (for a while). You will be surprised that your child can cope with her life, if she were given respect.
4. Don’t focus on chores. Life isn’t all about them. Chores, being neat, and other good habits, if not acquired in earlier ages, are not possible to be taught during adolescence. One of the laws of parenting says that chores are the worst and thankless things in our relationship with teenagers. If you still insist you run the risk of ruining your relationship with your child. But you would like to have a good relationship with your grown up daughter in a few years from now, wouldn’t you?