Thursday, July 29, 2010

Teen daughter

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness
10                       10                           10             10

Comment: Thanks for the great reply. I can look at the situation in a different way now. I am lucky.


Subject: Daughter

Question: Hello, how are you doing? I am the father of two daughters. One is 13 and the other one will be 17 next month. My youngest daughter and I are very close. When ever I go anywhere she wants to go and when we are home she stays in the room most of the time with me her mom and myself. Now my oldest daughter stays on the phone and computer chatting all the time.

The only time she comes around is when she wants something. We have tried to get her to be with us when we play games but she has no intrest. The few times that she has joined us her attitude makes the games not enjoyable. When we go anywhere she doesn't want to go unless it is to go to the mall or somewhere she wants to go. My baby girl is always thoughtful and very polite. I don't care what I do for my oldest daughter she will not think you have done anything special for her and most of the time will not even say thank you.

Now that you have a little background I want to ask your feelings on this problem I have. I work second shift so I get off at 11PM. When I came home last night as usual my oldest girl is on the computer. She opened the door and before I could get in the door she gave me a hug. I figured something was up because I can walk past her when I get home and she will not even speak.

When i went to the bedroom she came in there and asked if I would pick her up from school at 12 tomorrow. I knew it was something. I told her to call me to make sure I am up. I didn't go to bed until about 6am this morning. Her mom was up getting ready for work when I was going to bed. When I woke up I saw a note that she left my oldest daughter telling her that I didn't go to bed until 6am and not to call and wake me up but to call her dad and see if he would pick her up. I looked at the phone and it was off and when I went through the caller id my oldest daughter called at 11:45am.

I don't know what to think of this or how to react to this. I mean how selfish can a person be. The bad thing is that they do not even have to go to school tomorrow and Friday. Yesterday she woke me up at 7am and asked if I would take her to school at 10am. i did and no thank you or anything. I can not really say much because her mom doesn't seem to see anything wrong with her attitude. I love her but I am getting tired of having to deal with this situation. I don't know what to do.

I would like to know your thoughts on this situation.

Thank you

Answer: Okay first of all let's talk about the difference between 13 and 17. Your 13 year old is just entering the adolescent stage. Your 17 year old is nearly an adult. The two are different because they are different in ages. They are bound to act differently and expecting either to act like the other is unrealistic.

Next, teens have two major developmental tasks to complete as teens (their brains are working on developmental issues appropriate for their ages). The first is to learn to socialize. They first learn to socialize with the same sex, boys with boys and girls with girls....remember when the two sexes didn't really play together? Then they move onto learning how to relate to the opposite sex and boys and girls start to mix things up more and more.

Their other developmental tasks is to separate from their parents. They do this by creating distance, socializing with their friends and pulling away. Of course you need to continue to have family activities just don't expect them to be happy about as to them you are interfering with their new upcoming life.

As for her attitude. There is NOTHING you can ever do to change someone else's attitude. You will only create anger, resentment and hostility. What you can do is to change how you respond to her. She doesn't say thank you or respond in a grateful manner to your going out of your way then don't go out of your way. Let her know you don't mind doing things for her however you also expect her to say thank you and show some appreciation. She of course will respond negatively to it and that is fine. Then the next time she asks say no I need to take care of myself and I need my sleep. Overdoing creates indulgent children. The short story is just say no! Saying no in a respectful manner will allow you to take care of yourself first and teach her that taking someone for granted is not okay. Not a bad lesson to learn about life and other people.

As for your wife you don't need her to agree with you or see things your way to take care of yourself.

As for asking how selfish she can be? You need to drop these types of words. Children are selfish it is how their brains are wired. From her perspective she is only taking care of herself and she can however not at someone else's expense or by demanding. You will teach her this by simply refusing to participate. Go to bed and get your sleep, she is 17 and I am sure she can work her transportation issues out for herself.

You don't mention any other issues so I can only assume you know how fortunate you are to have two daughters and your only complaint is her attitude. I am very glad you are not dealing with substance abuse issues, delinquency or other serious issues with your daughters. Please remember to be grateful to this and enjoy these years they won't last and they will begone shortly! Get some more sleep and ENJOY!

Take care,

M Kay Keller

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