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New Here....

Posted by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 1:48 PM
  • 11 Replies

Hello. I'm a 34-year-old mother of girls aged 15, 13, and 7. My first two daughters are from a brief first marriage to a man who has little physical or financial involvement in the lives of the older girls. My current husband and I have been together since the girls were 2 and 4, respectively. My husband and I would like to have another child together, and have waited until everything was perfect to try again. We want to start trying in late Summer of 2013, except now my husband is questioning bringing a baby into the current atmosphere. 

My life is perfect in many ways. My husband and I both have careers that we love. We just moved to the Northeast from the Southwest, which had been a plan of ours for years. We just bought a home in a great neighborhood with a very high-ranking school system. I finished grad school last year. My husband and I have a good relationship. Our 7-year-old is sweet and well-adjusted. 

Our 13- and 15-year-old daughters make life impossible lately. When they were small, strangers would approach us to compliment how polite and well-behaved the girls were. They were straight "A" students, completed their chores and homework, were curious and active learners, read constantly, and were involved in extra-curricular activities. 

Since each of them began middle school, their behavior has been steadily declining. Both are unhappy about the move across country. They are only pleasant when they want something.  They are both very skilled in the art of manipulation. It is constant yelling, eye-rolling, crying, and door-slamming at our house. Both of them are making very poor grades, despite being labeled gifted in elementary school. My oldest is a freshman and her sister an eighth-grader. We're concerned about their college prospects, and neither seems to realize the gravity of their decision to neglect school work. We've revoked their privileges until the grades improve, but neither seems to care that much. My oldest is in a play at school, which requires rehearsals for 2-3 hours after school a couple days a week. Her sister is considering auditioning for an upcoming play at her middle school as well. Both talk about joining the cheer squad in the summer. (My husband and I are not huge fans of the latter idea.)  Besides that, neither girl is involved in an extracurricular activity. They just lie around the house making huge messes and trying to start arguments. They are totally melodramatic about every little thing. They are obsessed with their looks and designer labels.  I've never been into brand names or appearances, and have always tried to model and teach them that brains and heart matter much more. We have had many conversations about cultural and societal pressures concerning appearances. We've deconstructed specific themes in fairy tales and advertising techniques. They seem to have an unrealistic sense of entitlement. They have their good qualities and moments, too, but these are less frequently expressed. 

People have often complimented my parenting skills, my ex-husband's parents and my current in-laws included, but now I feel like an huge failure. I'm at a loss about how to parent teens. We just want to be able to control the tone of the house at the very least. It is hard to confront this everyday after a long day of work .... :(


by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 1:48 PM
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Replies (1-10):
FOREVERMOM123
by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Hi, I can relate to a lot of what you said. I also have girls that are 13 and 15(mine are the youngest). It seems like middle school is a horrible time for girls. Both of mine had/have a hard time with expressing themselves in a healthy manner. I can also relate to them wanting designer labels and the feeling of entitlement. I'm beginning to think that this is a societal pressure that occurs within the teen years these days. Some ideas for dealing with the behaviors is to make a written set of rules/expectations for appropriate behavior. Make sure you include rewards and consequences. You could for instance give a clothing allowance as a reward for a chosen behavior and have them earn the things they want. This way, it is a win/win situation. You get the desired behavior, they get the desired reward. Talk with them when making the rules and ask for their input on what they would like for rewards. Use their input to help you make it reasonable for yourself and something that will motivate them. An example might  be: Desired behavior is Respectful behavior in the home, this includes no temper tantrums (no slamming doors or stomping). Reward: $2 daily toward clothing allowance to be given at end of week. Consequence: 1st warning, 2ND time out 3rd loss of allowance for that day. Bonus: 3consecutive days of good behavior gets an extra $ amount added to end of week total. If 3 consecutive days of poor behavior, then removal of bedroom door for xxx amount of days til it is earned back.

That's just to give you an idea of how to set something like that up. We use the written set of rules here and it works pretty well. Best of luck to you.

greentea1000
by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Hi, I'm new here too, with other issues that I'll post later, however I think I have some understanding of your issues.

You have hormonally, sad, bitter and entitled teenage girls. the door slamming, crying etc. _= puberty.  This too shall pass.

The sad and bitter= moving away from the norm and friends to a place they had no control over. Be patient and just talk... have them talk about their feelings on this move. explain your reasons. discuss the advantages of being at this new location.

The entitlement= well, that is what we now give our kids and it is our fault. I've done it and believe it or not parents all over the world are giving this destructive attribute to their kids. I currently have an exchange student from China living here and he's so completely been spoiled that I am having a difficult time with him living here.

Be confident in your parenting skills, and believe that you can also parent these teens. You and your husband have asked them to change home and friends at a time that is very sensitive to young teenage girls. The acting will be good, because they'll meet others who need people too. Acting is a good way for kids to exert their inward feelings in a controlled way.  The cheer may be very competitive and they may or may not be ready for a competitive environment. just saying.

MistyandZoesMom
by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Welcome to the group! My girls are 16 and 14.

mommy2585
by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Thanks for responding. Having someone who can relate to these issues makes a huge difference. 

I like the idea of a reward system for attitude. We tried a reward system for chores, but that ended up failing. I had two chore lists, and they were suppose to trade each week. Each would claim that her chore list was finished and the other had made a mess afterward. Both are really bad at finger-pointing, and we never know who is responsible when something is broken or messy. 

I think at this point, I would just be happy if they could manage their emotions a bit better. 


fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Jan. 1, 2013 at 11:53 PM
1 mom liked this

You have already mentioned their currency.  First of all, for poor grades, all nonacademic activities are halted in this house.  Including plays for school.  Secondly, their currency is their makeup and clothing.  When they get their progress reports or report cards, and they are poor, the next day go through their room, clean it out of all their makeup, hairspray, etc. and brand name clothing.  Even if you have to go to good will and pick up a few outfits.  This is what stays in there until the next report comes out and grades are better.

PurpleHazey
by on Jan. 2, 2013 at 5:36 AM


Quoting fantasticfour:

You have already mentioned their currency.  First of all, for poor grades, all nonacademic activities are halted in this house.  Including plays for school.  Secondly, their currency is their makeup and clothing.  When they get their progress reports or report cards, and they are poor, the next day go through their room, clean it out of all their makeup, hairspray, etc. and brand name clothing.  Even if you have to go to good will and pick up a few outfits.  This is what stays in there until the next report comes out and grades are better.

Boy do I like this!

PurpleHazey
by on Jan. 2, 2013 at 5:36 AM

Welcome

drfink
by Emily on Jan. 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM

 

Quoting fantasticfour:

You have already mentioned their currency.  First of all, for poor grades, all nonacademic activities are halted in this house.  Including plays for school.  Secondly, their currency is their makeup and clothing.  When they get their progress reports or report cards, and they are poor, the next day go through their room, clean it out of all their makeup, hairspray, etc. and brand name clothing.  Even if you have to go to good will and pick up a few outfits.  This is what stays in there until the next report comes out and grades are better.

 great advice.

I would also include having a serious talk about where they see themselves in 5 and 10 years.If college is on the plan ,which ones.Then look on line at the acceptance matrix for g.p.r..Average pay for jobs they might get with out skills training or college and the cost for a year to live include designer brands ,make up all the stuff they love.Sometimes wants can light a fire.

Barabell
by Barbara on Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Welcome to the group!

Barabell
by Barbara on Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting drfink:

 

Quoting fantasticfour:

You have already mentioned their currency.  First of all, for poor grades, all nonacademic activities are halted in this house.  Including plays for school.  Secondly, their currency is their makeup and clothing.  When they get their progress reports or report cards, and they are poor, the next day go through their room, clean it out of all their makeup, hairspray, etc. and brand name clothing.  Even if you have to go to good will and pick up a few outfits.  This is what stays in there until the next report comes out and grades are better.

 great advice.

I would also include having a serious talk about where they see themselves in 5 and 10 years.If college is on the plan ,which ones.Then look on line at the acceptance matrix for g.p.r..Average pay for jobs they might get with out skills training or college and the cost for a year to live include designer brands ,make up all the stuff they love.Sometimes wants can light a fire.

I agree with both of these ladies.

Also consider giving them an allowance where they have to decide between brand name clothes or having spending money with friends. They might suddenly realize that it's not worth paying up for the brand name when they have to decide between the name and having a fuller wardrobe or spending money when going out with friends.

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