Subject: Dad needs Help
Question: Hello – I am the father of a 15 year old girl, the love of my life and lately the cause of my insomnia.
In the past year my daughter has transformed into someone I do not
know. She is becoming introverted, she is gaining weight, talking back to me and is failing 9th Grade. She lies incessantly and always has an excuse for everything.
We live in a drug free environment, hard working father and step mom (her mother lives in FL). There is no drama in this house, we do not scream (well lately yes as she is driving me to the brink) My daughter has a soso relationship with her stepmom though much of this is due to her attitude. She has known her stepmom for 9 years know as we have been in a stable and loving relationship.
She is the apple of my eye but for the life of me I can’t comprehend why is is acting out in this way. I have tried grounding, stripping privileges, long talks and we even took at stab at therapy.
Answer: Dear Jose,
First how is what you are doing working for you? Doesn’t sound like it is working well. So, here we go. Try finding things you like about her and complimenting her. You have way more power than you think or that she will ever admit to you having. Your compliments regardless of what she says or does will sink in if you make it a daily habit and are sincere and consistent. Tell her when she does something she likes.
I start with this because when teens are driving us out of our minds it is too easy to get stuck in a negative cycle! Break this cycle first.
Next, it sounds like some one on one time the two of your doing things she likes to do and that won’t kill you to do is something that needs to happen regularly. Like a father/daughter date.
Also, check out my recommended reading list on teens. These are some great reads. Go to my blog and click on the menu item, “Recommended Readings,” then scroll down to the widget on for teens.
Teens are full of hormone fluctuations and socialization that drive parents to a distraction mostly because we are not ready to admit they are growing up and no longer want to be out babies. I know it is hard.
It wouldn’t hurt to go a few rounds with a family therapist either however if you practice the above things I suggest you will notice some big changes in a few weeks! Remember, LISTEN more than you lecture! You sound like a father who wants this relationship to last a lifetime!
M Kay Keller