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Emotionally Immature Teen

Posted by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM
  • 27 Replies

Hello Ladies,

I'm seeking out your advice because aside from praying, nothing else has seemed to work. For starters, we are a blended family, which consists of me, my husband, our son, and my daughter from my 1st marriage.  We have been a blended family since 2001, so my daughter was 5 when we married. Thus, it's not like it's a new relationship. My daughter is 17, will be 18 in a few days.  After living with her Dad for about 5 years (schools were better in his area), she came to live with us (2 years ago) because she and her dad and stepmother were not getting along, in part, due to her behavior.  Being self centered, she is only concerned with how things affect her, never considering that her actions or lack thereof have an affect on other people. Because she does not have a driver's license (not mature or responsible enough to have them), she requires me or a friend of hers to drive her around.  When she needs to go somewhere, she makes the plans without consulting with me and just assumes that I'll stop what I'm doing (working) to take her.  She works, but only because she wants spending money. As for her responsibilities at home, I have to check behind her to make sure she does them. And when she does do them, they're usually "half-a$$ed."  Is it not common sense that when I ask her to clean her bathroom, that means the floor also?  Sometimes I don't know how she breathes unassisted.  The litterbox can stink to high Heaven, but if I don't tell her to clean it out, it will sit there uncleaned.  Her room looks like a cyclone went through there because she's always "working on it" yet it's never gets thoroughly cleaned.  To make matters worse, she has a smart mouth and back talks not only me, but her stepfather as well because as she says, "I don't like him."  Given her laziness, lack of respect & ambition, and just overall immaturity, my husband is sick of her and wants nothing more to do with her.  These are the same behaviors she exhibited at her Dad's until he just couldn't stand to be around her anymore and his marriage nearly came to an end.  Naturally, her behavior creates tension in our otherwise fabulous marriage.  I'm just at a loss. I ground her, but I really don't have any collateral to get her attention, like a driver's license. Lacking ambition, she just hangs out in her room.  I assign chores to prevent that, but again, they get done half-a$$ed.  She has a cell phone, which will be coming off my husband's contract on her 18th birthday because he refuses to help her any longer.  So what else is there?  I need advice on how to motivate her to grow up and act her age.  Sorry to be so long-winded, but thanks in advance for lending your ears.      

by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM
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by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM


Is she also going to school?  You said she works.  That's good!

I have three teenagers (boys, 19, 19 and 14) and they are pretty oblivious to things around them that need attention like litter boxes.

Have you read Parenting with Love and Logic?  That might give you some ideas.

It's hard for a teenager to have divorced parents and parents who've remarried and had other kids, so it might help if she had someone to talk to about that.  Otherwise, just be consistent and try not to overreact to everything she does. 

Good luck!

by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM
Time for her to move out. When she turns 18, she gets her own place and learns responsible behavior it she will find herself on the streets. She needs a huge dose if reality. I agree with your husband, stop helping her.

IF she stays, she signs a contract that spells out her responsibilities including rent and other expenses. I'd include consequences for not following the contract. That would be she moves out.
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by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM
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I think she sounds like a pretty typical teenager. She works only because she wants spending money? That's why I work too! Her room is always a work in progress? Sound typical. She has to be reminded that cleaning the bathroom includes the floor? Not unusual. The litterbox isn't cleaned until she's told to? Ditto. You want a ride from us at a time we're not available, very sorry, but you should have checked with us first. You want a ride from us and we are available, and you ask nicely rather than demand, it will be our pleasure to drive you.

I'd just have an agreed upon consequence for stuff you want. So - if you don't clean your room & the litterbox and bathroom every Saturday, you can't go out or have your cell turned on till you do.  You aren't respectful, you don't get any favors from us for the next 24 hrs.

She doesn't sound that awful. She sounds like a pretty typical teenager. I'd add some agreed upon rules and consequences.

I don't think you need to be angry about any of this. Honey, we think at 18 you are old enough to pay for your own cell plan. You can either pick out your own, or pay us each month in advance for your minutes and data on our plan. If you choose not to work to have the money, then you are choosing not to have a phone that month. Honey, we want to let you know the rules once you've graduated from high school. You can stay with us as long as (insert specific requirements).

I haven't heard anythig that makes me think she's not responsible enough to learn how to drive. Learning how to drive is an important skill that enables her to better function as an independent adult, and I'd want to facilitate her learning that skill safely and thoroughly while she's under my roof, so I'd push for her getting her permit and driving me everywhere for 6 months until she is ready to be an independent driver and take the test. Borrowing the car is dependent on behavior. But learning? I want to facilitate that, just like I want to facilitate hs graduation and a college degree.

by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Tough love if you can't live here or dads then once 18 you will need to find some where else to live with friends or something, but just can't stand the way things are going in your house you can say.. if you can follow the rules here / dads then its time to move out so figure it out make her grow up if she can't handles a room of her own / bathroom nice her stuff out clean it out and put her stuff up she wants it she can earn it or work something out ... Cell phone unless she's paying for it I would turn it off.. dh I would not subject him to her mouth I would take care of her my self... Scare tactics are one way to get through to them... But its up to you how you want to handle it!!
by Grumpy on Dec. 29, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Well just because you're paying for the cell phone doesn't mean you can't take it away from her.  Refuse to take her anywhere until the room is cleaned and remove all the electronics, or better yet, clean it for her, bag up anything on the floor or not put away properly and put it in a seperate room or the garage where she doesn't know where it's hidden and then as she gets better behaved give her a random trash bag back.  As far as her job and the money she can repurchase anything she wants, but go through her room every saturday and do the same thing.

by on Dec. 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM
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Wow. Kindness is not incompatible with good parenting.

by on Dec. 30, 2012 at 9:13 AM
18 and Shea out..with only the clothes on her back and a backpack
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by on Dec. 30, 2012 at 9:15 AM
Sounds like my 14 year old : (
Only advice I have is take the phone and don't allow her to do or have anything until chores are done appropriately.
I'm still working on the backtalk and disrespect, that bothers me more than the laziness.
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by on Dec. 30, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Thank you, my fellow moms!  To sum up a response to each of your replies, I'd have to say this...Do I think that some of it is typical teenage behavior?  Sure.  Should it be to the extent that I'm experiencing now?  No.  It's over the top.  She doesn't out right refuse to do the things I ask her, she just doesn't do them and then to top it off, acts as if I owe her something when she does do something, even though she didn't even thoroughly apply herself in the task at hand.  Her sense of entitlement is off the charts.  Reality check 101 is definitely in order.  I will say this....I am thankful that she's not out doing drugs, having sex, or breaking the law in any way.  Like I said previously, she does go to work and appears to put her best foot forward and impresses her boss.'  So, I know she has it in her if she truly desires something (like having her own money).

The problem I have with all of this is that she shows a lack of respect for her family.  She thinks it's okay to disrespect DH because she doesn't "like him." Yet, she can't provide a single solitary reason for not liking him (I think it's because he's unbiased because he's not her father and he sees her without rose colored glasses) Mind you, her biological father had these very same issues. I also remind her that "this is my spouse, and if you disrepect him, you are disrespecting me. Doesn't matter. When the behavior started, DH stayed out of it.  It wasn't until she would be blatently be disrespectful that he would step in, in my defense.

She can't/won't do the simple things I ask her to do, and do them to their entirety and she knows the difference. It seems like following simple instruction is just not in her.  So that brings me to the bigger responsibilities.  I can't knowingly put her behind the wheel of car and jeopardize her life as well as the lives of others, when she can't make simple choices/decisions about the small stuff.  I WANT her to have her license and be able drive herself around, but I can't condone it knowing how immature she is.  Of course she'll be 18 this week and she can legally do as she pleases, but she hasn't saved any money to help with her car insurance as I suggested she do two years ago when she started working, instead she is holding out the college fund money that her paternal grandmother stashed away for her and plans to use that to buy a car, pay for insurance, etc.  She's even mentioned using it to get an apartment. And in the same breath recognizes she's not truly ready to move out.  I wonder how she'd handle it if her father and I weren't prepared to pay for college, would she still make the same choice?  Of course her whole idea behind going to college is so she can be in a dorm and move out and I pay for the cost associated with it. Education is not a priority I guess. I suppose it's not when you have F's in 2 out of 4 classes your Senior year.

As for her cell phone, (my iPhone 4S that I gave to her when I upgraded), it's being terminated from our contract (in DH's name) next Saturday at noon.  She will then be 18 and can have her own contract.  Maybe she will then learn that if she wants to keep her phone turned on, buying 2 commercial size boxes of Luna bars is not a wise choice?  Not to mention, the last straw for the phone being terminated was that she was watching her 10yr old brother while we were working.  At 12:20pm, DS went to his sister complaining of his head "pounding,"  For 20 minutes, he waited for her to take action, yet she lay there on the sofa playing a game on her phone.  DH finally got tired of waiting and sent a text message to DH telling him of his headache.  It was not until I caught wind of this from DH and I called and told her to give him 2tsp of Advil that she actually did something about it.  Thankfully, it was nothing major and appeared to be from sitting in front of the tv too long playing video games.  When I told DD that it didn't matter whom she was babysitting, when a child in your care comes to you and says their head is pounding, you do something about it.  You contact the parents, in this case, me or DH.  Her response was that my DS had texted DH, and she was waiting for his reply.  Seriously? 

Can you see where I'm going with this?  It's decisions like this that are the reason she does not have more responsibility than she does, like driving.  It's not that I don't want her to grow up and have these things.  But as a responsible adult, I cannot allow her to have those types of responsibilities until she shows me that she "gets it."    

by on Dec. 30, 2012 at 10:43 AM
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Take her stuff. Leave her two outfits, one pair of shoes, two pair of pajamas, only basic necessities. Let her earn it back by being respectful and responsible. Put everything in plastic grocery bags and let her have one bag back front each day that she behaves. If she acts up again after she has earned some things back, take a grocery bag of stuff back. She will get the point. If she doesn't do her chores and do them properly, give her more chores. If she is disrespectful, give her chores and make her write an essay on the importance of respecting others. If she's on her phone too much, take it away. If she is on it while she's babysitting, take it away while she's babysitting. Sounds like your ds has a phone, so he could use his in an emergency. I don't let my oldest play any type of video games or cell phone games when he is watching the little kids. When he's babysitting his job is to keep a close eye on them and keep them entertained. I'd just get really firm with her. And if she's rude, you could consider not taking her anywhere at all. Not even to work. She would just have to call a cab or ask a friend if she wanted a ride. I wouldn't do anything for her if she isn't going to be polite.
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