thread: Gentle parenting for a teen.

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2010
    In Love land with my family :D

    Gentle parenting for a teen.

    I need some serious help.

    My DD is 11, is VERY hormonal. Obviously has the typical puberty behavior. Moodiness, back chatting, 'hard done by' attitude & whining about being asked to do anything. Sometimes a simple 'go to bed' ends up being a half hr argument between us. Listening. Pfft - she CONSTANTLY mishears thing we say or even simple instructions, or has selective hearing turned right on. Which naturally ends up in an argument. Last Friday night we had a big argument & I removed her laptop, tv & iPad from her room. She still doesn't have those back & isnt allowed to use them. This is obviously not enforced any form of 'punishment' as there have been incidents almost every night this week.

    Up until recently, I've been able to talk with her, explain what she was doing wrong, the consequences of her actions for her & those surrounding her. She is a good kid. I don't want her to start going off the rails like I did.

    My fuse is very short these days, I am so sick & tired of the attitude. I am pregnant & hormonal myself. I know she doesn't really understand what's happening to her, so I try to be as patient as I can. Some days are better than others.

    I'd like to try and find some sort of tips/advice/info on how I can deal with this is a gentle way. I really am hating the way I am becoming with her, we've always had good communication .... Lately is a different story ....


  2. #2
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    Have you had a chat about hormones, and that while it is difficult to control your outbursts (both yours and hers), it still isn't acceptable behaviour and needs an apology when things are calm?

    With teens, I find that you need a calm, rational head and an ability to see yourself through their eyes: both when you say things that are inadvertantly hilarious to them, and when they cannot understand the system and consider it unfair. That is not to say you must change your policies, just be able to see where your teen is coming from. Maybe your OH needs to step up right now as he will be in a more rational headspace, while you model acceptable hormone fallout damage limitation? (FWIW, backchat is often an attempt at negotion with no diplomacy skills.)

    As for listening - what is she doing when you are talking? Ensure you have full attention before asking her to do something, turning off the TV and standing in front of her if you have to. Same as with a disobedient toddler, or a frustrating OH. It is the same principle: they have something they want to do, so it's hard to tune in and concentrate on the person trying to get you to stop having fun and do something you don't want to do.


  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2011
    SE Melbourne

    Maybe it would help to think of it like this.... The adolescent brain is changing the way all the nerves link, and the other time changes like this happen is when children are about two years old. We understand two year old not coping... But often still expect the teen to be able to manage the emotions. She can't. Perhaps if your default message or the comment you make is "it really sucks when you can't get what you want" or "when things don't go how you expect" or something... Said in a genuine non confrontational calm way.... She can't argue cause you are sympathising with her. Maybe that's an idea??

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2013

    I can sympathise, my DD turned into jeckle & Hyde around 10yrs of age & it drove me nuts. I ended up being very restrictive on what was acceptable behaviour & we both attended sessions with a social worker who specialised in children. This taught DD to recognise why she felt they way she did & taught me effective communication so not everything was a battle. It turned out my DD also suffers from anxiety which was causing her to lash out.
    Now she's 12 & things are much better - she still has normal preteen mood swings but it's manageable & since I've been pregnant she's taken on more responsibility around the house (even does her own washing!).
    I'm not suggesting therapy is what you & your DD need but it worked for us & has paid off.
    Good luck, it's hard & it's frustrating. I even got to the point where I'd dread picking her up from after school care incase it was the monster instead of my beautiful DD getting in the car.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Mar 2007

    Have a read of 'Unconditional Parenting' by Alfie Kohn

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    summer street

    In any relationship when the other party are being hostile they are usually feeling isolated, scared, unheard, unloved etc.

    It hard because you need extra nurturing yourself while pregnant, but I would focus on eliminating negative talk between you and try and increase cuddles, smiles and understanding. When she backchats try and reframe it for her 'you really don't want to tidy your room right now, I hear that, perhaps you could suggest a time when you could do it'. Of course you need the patience of a saint to do this, so get DH involved as much as possible so you can take a breather if you're not able to keep calm.

    When my kids challenge me I always lower my expectations and hold them closer. IMO you want to preserve your relationship with her above everything else. Negotiating situations with considerate language and respectful boundaries is a process kids learn very, very slowly and it's always three steps forward two back.

  7. #7
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003

    Some absolutely stellar advice.

    Give her the opportunities to express herself in a manner that is respectful. And be respectful of the fact she's learning.

    One of the things my DD says her friends complain about their parents is not listening. Not taking their problems seriously and the level of distrust they develop for adults when they realise they aren't perfect. DD is struggling with this herself.

    Allow her to have a voice without feeding the negative reactions. And give her alternative reactions. The same way you would with a toddler.

    It's a new stage of learning and for you it's going to be less frustrating if you see it that way than her just disrespecting you or your authority. But society makes us believe that's what this is and it's hard to fight against that notion. In the beginning I was doing the same until DH pulled me up and said its not about me. And the way I react isn't helping. And nor can she be patented in the same way we do our younger son.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2010
    In Love land with my family :D

    Thank you everyone. There's some fantastic tips & advice here.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2009
    Bayside Melb.

    sometimes tough love is the answer with hormonal pre teens and teens

    Well i have a ds13 and he can be a turd at times ...but i ignore his tantrums and tell him 'this is how a family of 3 kids and a mum that works live, by helping and tuff if you dont like it as you have few long years to get used to helping and doing you bit' yes i get the attitude and the talking under the breath but if that gets to a point the iphone is taken away and that is his life line and my god he hates it ... as for the whinning god i hate it so i whine myself and oh he hates that... i say 'well that is how i have to listen to you but what you dont lke it?' i say 'well quit whinning at me as your not 2!' it works til next time he wants something but he knows theres bucklys at getting it.. OH the huge fights i have with him is the helping with the dishes... he loses his iphone all the time and the last time was 2 days as i was sick and tired of asking and getting nothing back (but he wants the wifi internet he wants dinner he wants a bed he wants this that and the other ) so after i came in with all kids in tow and asked my ds 12 to help in kitchen and when he didnt and plopped on the chair and played with his games i went over to him and said 'well im really hoping you enjoyed that game as that will be all the games you play for 48 hours as you are ignoring my requests...' i grabbed the phone turned it off and put it in my drawer and then i marched him to the sink and made him clean up put away etc etc
    I told him i dont care what happens at dads or omas but when you come home you help end of story!

    ps he was put to bed at 7 30pm once as the attitude was so bad ... he was asleep in 10mins lol

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    Bubno3, with respect I would not call that gentle parenting, or even tough love. To me it sounds like you are enforcing your power hierarchy on your DS, who is objecting to being treated like a small child, cruelly imitated when he wants things and being expected to take on some more adult chores at the same time.

    Fwiw, I expect my boys to do their share, but we negotiate it and if DS is going on and on about wanting something, we negotiate how to get it (usually rewarding approprite behavior). If the boys don't help cook when I ask, I just do myself some food. If they don't clean, the mess is there tomorrow. If I don't get peace, I treat myself to an hour's time-out with a book. Maybe not ideal, but maybe more age-appropriate.