I am having trouble with my 17 year old daughter. We’ve recently returned from a trip to Europe and are jet lagging. It being the weekend, I texted her at 11am to see what she wanted for lunch. She replied that she was still sleeping. At 2pm she texted me to say she was very hungry and wanted food right away. I told her I need to get ready before I head out to get the food. On that same note I gave her a semi lecture about how she needs to give me time to get her food and not expect it as soon as she requests it, also that she is old enough to make something light to eat if she is THAT hungry. I also told her that she needs to start cleaning after herself and not expecting me to go clean her room abd wash her clothes all the time. She complains about how I spoil her brother who is 10 years old, how I cook for him and clean after him. I pointed out that he is 10 and she is 17. I said if she thinks I’m spoiling him then I’m spoiling her the same way. Hence the argument starts… me telling her she needs to be more responsible and her saying its not fair how I spoil her brother and is so harsh on her.
Then she takes a screen shot of where I tell her that she needs to grow up and be more responsible and start taking care of her own things, and posts it on instagram with a caption “Omg I’m Gunna Kill Myself”. When her friends replied to her post she told them how miserable I make her feel and she wants to commit suicide. So I confront her and broke down part by part our conversation asking her how is it that telling her to be more responsible causing her to want to kill herself. I told her how I dislike her blasting everything about our family online. She said she will not really kill herself. I said the state is very serious, she can’t just make a statement like that! She then got upset that I looked at her instagram… I reminded her I helped her set it up hence I have the password, but never chose to say anything about her posts until she this post where she said she’ll kill herself. I reminded her that other parents monitor their kids social media even more closely. A few hours after our talk… she changed the password to her instagram. I knew she had been chatting with her friends and probably someone told her to change it. So, I asked for her phone, tuened the phone off in front of her, and going to keep the phone. She screamed asking why can’t she have privacy on her social media.. I told her of course she can, when she is old enough to kove out and have a job to pay for her phone.I feel harsh… and I hate to be harsh. I do monitor her social media but never said a word, even during times she was chatting with students that were of bad influence.. I let her make her own decisions. But I had to say something when she posted something threatening to kill herself. I let her have a lot of freedom, she can go out whenever she wants to, give her more than enough money for her and her friends to eat, and drive her anywhere she wants. There were never curfews or restrictions of any kind. I’ve always been supportive. And every time after she goes out, she comes home to a nicely cleaned room, bedsheets washed, bed made, clothes washed, folded, and put away. I cook a freshly prepared lunch for her every morning, drive her to and from school. I thought I did my best.. but how can she just say that I make her want to kill herself and blast ut on social media like that? And then to plot with friends to change her password? She’s graduating high school next year and wants to travel around Asia with her female friends. I’m about to book the ticket and hotel for them.. but I told her if her attitude doesn’t change, she’s not going nowhere.Am I being too harsh? How do I deal with her?
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A female reader, Honeypie + ♥, writes (4 December 2018):
I have 3 teenage daughters, who DO their own laundry and have done for a couple of year (sure, they don’t do ALL their laundry all the time), but they each have a hamper in their rooms and I DO NOT empty those, or wash them, that is on them.My middle daughter who also have a VERY large amount of clothes “ran out” of pants the other day (or so she claimed) and I suggested she do her laundry so she had clean pants. So she did. I mean it’s NOT really rocket science. I have SHOWED them what settings clothes go on for the washer and dryer, to clean the filter on the dryer and to NOT let things SIT in either washer or dryer. It’s not hard.So my advice just give her a hamper for her room, show her how to wash a load, how to fold, and what setting for the dryer and then STOP doing her laundry. You can even leave a sticky note on the washer for her until she knows it “by heart”. If she runs out of clean clothes.. THAT is on her.As for cooking for her… Are you serious that she demanded to be FED over text? At 2 pm in the afternoon and you were supposed to drop everything and “fetch” her food? Are you kidding? She is 17!I can understand you might not have had anything in the house if you just got back from vacation, but seriously?I mean, YOU had from 11 am to 2 pm to run to the store for a few essentials. Like milk, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, bacon, eggs… whatever you guys normally use for breakfast and then could have walked her happy ass down stairs and fixed herself something.17!! TEACH her how to boil an egg, make scrambled eggs or cut up fruit and make a smoothie with yogurt or whatever SHE eats for breakfast.SHE needs some kind of BASIC skills. Like how to do laundry, make HERSELF some breakfast – seriously! IT IS YOUR job to teach her to learn to rely on herself! BE her parent not her maid.Same for your son. 10 is a GOOD age to learn some BASIC skills. HE can learn how to do laundry too. In summer to cut grass, take out the trash… and then PAY him for the WORK he has done. REWARD good behavior.MAKE it fun! Not a chore. Yeah, doing laundry isn’t a laugh, but it’s not really complicated either. And everyone needs to have clean clothes.When we first moved up here, we had no dishwasher which meant the GIRLS had to do the dishes. And they HAVE been from age 9/11/13.You think spoiling your kids is you being nice – but you aren’t HELPING them gain SIMPLE BASIC skills.YOU clean her room for her? How is that going to help her later on? You going to provide her with a maid when she moves out?My oldest is 18, she now cooks dinner once a week. She takes care of her own meals (because she is working full time while taking a year off before college) – on her days off of course I cook for HER as well as the rest of the family, but when she is working it’s up to her to make sure she eats before work, wash her uniforms, etc. Since she has a job she pays for her cellphone/bill. But she has gotten the “year off” from paying rent and other bills. So she can save up for a car.The whole “I’m going to kill myself” is not about killing herself but to show just how inept you have made her. I mean, you tell her she needs to start doing her own laundry and THAT is her responds? THIS IS how she handles “complications” in life? I’m not saying you are a bad mom, I’m sure you are not. But, I think, you need to realize “spoiling” your kids by doing EVERYTHING for them is NOT helping them. EVERYONE needs those basic skills. At some point she will be off to college, are you going to go there daily to clean her room and pick up after her? Or do you think she will magically know how to do things because she turned 18?I don’t check my kids social media, AT all. Because we have build trust. I trust them to know how to behave. they DO come and ask how to deal with things on social media. Like one of them had this grown ass man asking her for pictures – so I showed her how to block him, how to up her security setting. The internet is not a safe place. But I can not NAVIGATE it for them. They HAVE curfews. Because I DO NOT want them with other teenagers out on the road late at night. School nights is 10 pm – week-ends is 11 pm. My kids have rules and restrictions. It’s like teaching them about laws, in a sense. IF you do A then B can be the likely outcome. As in… IF YOU DO NOT keep your room tidy, do your chores, your homework, that Winter Formal you want to go to is NOT going to happen. If you get A’s you get rewarded XXX amount, B XX, nothing for CDF’s. If you screw off on doing your homework, you lose your phone/tablet/laptop until you have made up for the missing assignment.ACTIONS have consequences. At least for my kids. And for most people in general.My kids volunteer once a month with me. They all volunteer with their school as well, even the one who graduated. Now this isn’t all work and no play, one is volunteering to be a Disney Princess for a kid’s show downtown and then visit the Children’s wing after in costume. She did it last year too and came home crying because it made such an impact on her. The other volunteer yearly (and have been for 4 years) at 2 local charity events.We aren’t wealthy. I want my kids to know that money isn’t everything, sometimes giving your TIME is helpful too.And I’m not saying my kids are perfect. They are not. They are teenagers after all. But they are (mostly) well behaved, curious, creative, independent, well-mannered and hardworking. As much as I will miss them all when they leave the nest, I KNOW that they DO have some basic skills and that they will do JUST fine.Do you really think you would NOT let her to travel? That you would actually keep that “promise” or “threat”? And does she know? If she is SO used to bossing you around, I doubt she will take you serious at all.If you want her to be a RESPONSIBLE adult, teach her some basic things. Chores, I think are good for ANYONE. But don’t got from 0-100 over night. Start with one chore, weekly or whatnot and build on to that. SAME with your son. They can be much lighter chores but they still instill some sense of USEFULNESS.my kids have been making their beds since they were old enough to do so. Even if their rooms were not tidy the BED was always made. It’s the first thing they do every morning. Why? Because 1. if the bed looks tidy, they automatically want the rest of the room to match. 2. it’s an accomplishment. Not a big one but one you do every day. You start the day with having done something RIGHT. You leave your room in order. you come HOME to an orderly room. ONE that YOU (the kids) did for themselves. WHY do you think the Military enforces this from the moment a recruit joins up? Because it creates a sense of order and accomplishment. Even if the rest of they day turn into crap. Making their beds take all of 2 minutes. It’s simple task.Maybe some of what I have mentioned can help you, maybe it can’t. I wish you well.
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A male reader, Code Warrior + ♥, writes (4 December 2018):
Harsh? Are you kidding? You wrote:”I let her have a lot of freedom, she can go out whenever she wants to, give her more than enough money for her and her friends to eat, and drive her anywhere she wants. There were never curfews or restrictions of any kind. I’ve always been supportive. And every time after she goes out, she comes home to a nicely cleaned room, bedsheets washed, bed made, clothes washed, folded, and put away. I cook a freshly prepared lunch for her every morning, drive her to and from school.”You spoiled her rotten and now you’re reaping what you sowed: a weak, pathetic, snowflake that can’t handle the least little bit of adversity without emotional outbursts. What were you thinking? You needed to make HER clean her room and wash her clothes. You needed to set hard limits on her freedom to do things and then hold her accountable when she failed to adhere to the limits. You needed to make her EARN her own money. How else was she supposed to learn about self-reliance, accountability and consequences?What you did was teach her that she can do whatever she likes without any consequences and that it’s someone else’s responsibility to do household chores, feed her when she’s hungry, and give her money whenever she wants it.You created this monster and now you’re going to have a very hard time getting her to understand the harsh realities of adult life. Frankly, I don’t know how you fix it other than stop arguing with her and stop doing things for her. Let her learn what happens when things aren’t being done for her. If she needs money, she needs to work for it. For that matter, start making your son do household chores and stop doing everything for him. Also, set limits for him and hold him accountable to those limits. Make him earn money.
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