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Daughter hates rules, wants to be treated like an adult...convince me not to give up?

and she is 16, a junior. She has told me she disagrees with much of my parenting and the rules that go along with that. She wants adult privileges, like going out without my checking where and with whom, hanging out with boyfriend at his house where as we've found out, they can go up in his bedroom, which we have told her is not acceptable, and also, basically spending this summer reading and relaxing, sleeping in, napping when she's tired, going on FB and texting, and probably time w/bf. She is 16, is putting up roadblocks to getting her license (ack, more rules!!), and a summer job (rules!!), which she needs in order to pay for her "dates" (which we encourage rather than one on one stuff) to the mall, bowling, movies, etc. and for a car, insurance, college etc. My Dh suggested she take a college course at the local community college...she balked at that, too. Her girlfriends are getting their licenses, jobs, are all college bound, and aren't involved w/boys much. One girls parents won't even let her go to the mall!! My DD wants to go to college, but then she acts so irresponsible by not taking the steps to get there. We cannot foot the bill for her lifestyle (we both lost our jobs 2 years ago, are both working, but making less...I have 3 jobs!) and she needs to get merit based scholarships as much as possible....she is a great student, teachers love her, but in all other aspects, lazy. The boyfriend is clearly upset that she cannot spend enough time with him, especially on his turf, and makes her even more demanding about our limits...she is always OK until she talks w/bf. He is very sensitive/insecure, gets upset when she is not in touch and really wants to be w/her all the time...he has no job or license, and his Dad will do whatever the boy wants. And honestly, it seems as though he will break up w/her if he cannot get enough time w/her on his terms. The boys she chooses to date are always the outside influence getting her to push us and tell her we are treating her like a child or whatever. She hates rules and hates being thought of as a teen...but that is what she is, and is lately testing us beyond belief. I have asked Dad to step in more, since I'm getting worn down...and sick of her trying to get me to feel sorry for her...and enable her. My DH is less apt to fall for her tactics. She has many wonderful qualities and abilities (music, writing, academics, martial arts) and we are always reminding her of that and encouraging her to do good things. Get out in the real world and take some responsibility! What are some ideas to light a fire under her???

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:39 AM on May. 1, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Answers (23)
  • Dont give up. Most teens go through this. I am on teen #3 honestly hes been easy but the previous two were just omg. I stopped buying them things. Period. I told them if they wanted anything from clothes to money to go out with friends they had to work. They ended up going without for around 2 months and got jobs. They were expected to pay 100% of expenses for awhile, once I knew they were holding their jobs I helped them again.
    I also had a saying I asked them often. "What is a teenager?"....."A non adult". Oh they hated it, but I was right. They were not adults and therefore had no choice but to listen or I would threaten them with a group home, or whatever else I could. Of course I would not have done it lol, but they didnt know it.
    As for the bf, let it go. He will break up with her. She has to learn what men to choose and which not to.

    Answer by gemgem at 9:44 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • Oh one more piece of advice on the BF. My dd had one and our rules were they were more than welcome to date on our terms. I knew she would do it anyway and would rather know what was up then not. He could come to every family BBQ, party, dinners on weekends, movies with us etc. She could date him as long as he came to the door, and also talked to us one on one regularly about his intentions. My dd took this over not being able to see him at all. They are now married with two kids.

    Answer by gemgem at 9:45 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • I would tell her that if she wants to be treated as an adult then she needs to start acting like one. If she wants more privileges then she needs to show you that she is responsible enough to handle them. That means that she needs to follow the rules of the house, get a job, and spend her money in the appropriate manner as well as paying for her insurance and gas once she gets a license. Having a license is a PRIVILEGE not a right. Being treated as an adult is a PRIVILEGE that must be earned along with trust. I wish you luck.

    Answer by coala at 9:50 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • You have two years left, hang in there tightly. Tell her she is still a child and regardless how mature she thinks she is, she is still a teenager who's frontal lobe has not finished growing yet. Tell her you don't care what SHE thinks the rules should be...her opinions of what the rules should be like don't matter at all. She is a child & will try at anything to get her way. She needs a mom who stands firm in her ways & does not budge.

    She knows you're her mother & that you have a soft spot for her & she is working that hard core. stop having any sympathy for her (unless it's really necessary). Stick to your rules & try as hard as you can to put up with it. Let her know that you would be a terrible mother if you just let her do what she wants. If she does no comply with you, then keep taking rights away until she does.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 9:54 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • You are the parent. She is the child. So she will have to learn to live with the rules until she is able to make it on her own. I would probably give her less freedom and not more as long as she behaves the way she is now. The outside influence she allows is evidence she can't stand on principles herself, so you will have to continue to do it for her.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:58 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • I have noticed with my bfs' kids that if everybody is in a tyrant, asking them if they want to bake cookies or turn their mind into different way of thinking. She will be more apt to talk if all are busy. The talk will have to consist of you ( the parent) talking about your past as a teenager and how you used to feel. Etc.

    Answer by shannon979 at 9:58 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • Giving up is the once thing you can never do, tell her that she can change the rules when she has a home of her very own but that for now these are yours, but giving her some more freedoms as she gets older, she is also very smart she is manipulating your weak side.

    Answer by older at 10:00 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • UGH! I have two teens of my own, and I feel for you! Do NOT give up! In fact, you can turn this all back around on her - she wants to be treated like an adult?? Fine - point out to her that adults are surrounded by rules all over the place - work, the law, etc. And that TRUE, RESPONSIBLE adults who DESERVE privileges FOLLOW those rules. That if she is TRULY adult, then she should respect that this is your house, and that she needs to be respectful of it and the rules that you have. That once she can show you that she has the maturity to truly act like an adult, then you will feel more comfortable giving her more adult privileges - however, as long as you are legally and morally responsible for her, some things just won't happen. Also, maybe try pointing out to her that as long as she acts like a child, you will treat her like one.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:12 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • cont

    As far as the college and everything goes, needing to work towards it, sometimes I think that teens get sort of frozen in place - there are SO many possibilities out there that they freeze and refuse to make a choice, or do what they need to do to work towards it. It's almost like hiding their heads in the sand with a healthy dose of "if I ignore it, it will go away / not happen". Point out to her that whether she chooses to prepare for it or not, the grownup world is rapidly approaching - and you want her to have as many choices available as possible, so don't shoot herself in the foot now. Also - don't be afraid to work towards those choices - because just because you start down a path (college, major, etc), doesn't mean you can't change your mind.

    But good luck - I know you probably already know all this stuff,but sometimes I think it's good to hear it and get support from other parents of teens :-)

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:16 AM on May. 1, 2011

  • Frist of all i must say you are one heck of a good mother!! If i was you i would scare her by telling her if she waunts to be treated like a grown up then be more respostable for her actoins tell her that she has 1 month to get a job & go to college or she"s out of house !!ect.. show her what life really is like......

    Answer by sassy21176 at 10:20 AM on May. 1, 2011

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