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    rubyhearts's Avatar
    rubyhearts Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jun 20, 2013, 09:49 PM
    Teenagers!!
    As if it's not hard enough trying to raise teenagers, with all the backtalk and disrespect, I also have an ex-husband who undermines my authority every time I try to discipline.

    Just recently, my 15 year old daughter attacked me. She was obviously having an issue with someone else, a friend or someone who hurt her feelings. Her response to that is to become very nasty to me. I'm trying like crazy to get all 3 of my teenagers to show me more respect. But the swearing is becoming quite fluent. I tried to stay calm and not fuel the fire, but doing so gives my kids entitlement to say as they please to me, like shut up, you're a , f-you. It's making my life completely unlivable and I'm miserable.

    The other day, my daughter mumbles something from downstairs, while I am upstairs. I tell her "come upstairs, I can't hear you". She mumbles something else which I couldn't hear, but I clearly heard her say to shut up. Her words are very emphatic and venomous. I go downstairs to tell her she will not speak to me that way. She replies with F-you!! My fuse ran out and I slapped her. She went on a full-blown attack. Pulling my hair, punching me in the head, had me down and on top of me. My 13 year old son came and pulled her off me.

    She then calls her dad to come get her away from this *itch! He does! He comes with "oh poor baby"... and threatens to take custody etc blah blah blah. So now, daughter is at her dad's, running with friends, doing whatever she wants. No discipline whatsoever!

    I am aware that my mistake was slapping her. But, I just didn't know what else to do when she continuously spews her venomous words at me. Her behavior is bleeding onto my other two, younger teens who are also starting to talk to me the same way. I've tried removing privileges etc... it didn't work. I tell them they are grounded from something and they do it anyway, telling me :what are you going to do about it? Honestly, what CAN I do if they don't respond or respect my authority?

    So when ex shows up with his meaningless threats, he's shouting in my face in my driveway, in front of my neighbors and my kids. Swearing and shouting in my face so close I can smell his breath. Great role model.

    I am so miserable and have a good mind to hand the kids over to prove a point of how difficult it is to handle 3 teenagers.

    What can I do?
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #2

    Jun 21, 2013, 05:08 AM
    Might be what it takes... make them live with dad... let him put up with their crap for a while, and not just a few days when she's on one of her childish tirades... bet it doesn't last long.

    They are playing one parent off the other to get their way... indicently... I think some privledges are long overdue for being curtailed... like cell phones or something else they hold dear.

    Until they are 18 and on their own.meaning renting their own place and supporting themselves... its your house and your rules.
    tiggerella's Avatar
    tiggerella Posts: 184, Reputation: 13
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    #3

    Jun 21, 2013, 05:54 AM
    My sister went through this with her two boys after a divorce, but it didn't get physical before she let them live with Daddy for a summer. Funny thing is that he didn't last for the whole summer before he was bringing them back to her with an apology, and he's a little more cooperative ever since his failed attempt at being a single parent.

    She would also tell you to try group therapy, especially if there's a free therapy group near you, should you be as short on funds as she always is. Watching the way other parents and teens interacted had a "scared straight" result for her boys, and although things aren't always rosy, they got better after that. They now tell her when her ex tried to reverse one of her edicts, and they understand that she is usually acting in their best interest when she sets rules and expects them to be followed.

    Good luck!
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #4

    Jun 21, 2013, 05:59 AM
    What's so awful about giving her over to her dad? Summer's the time to do it, so she can start school from there, especially if he's in another district/town. She learned a lot of this from him anyway, from the sound of it.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,215, Reputation: 10853
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    #5

    Jun 21, 2013, 06:08 AM
    I unanimously agree with the other posters, let Dad be dad for real.

    Quote Originally Posted by smoothy View Post
    Might be what it takes....make them live with dad.....let him put up with their crap for a while, and not just a few days when she's on one of her childish tirades........bet it doens't last long.

    They are playing one parent off the other to get their way.....indicently...I think some privledges are long overdue for being curtailed....like cell phones or something else they hold dear.

    Until they are 18 and on their own.meaning renting their own place and supporting themselves......its your house and your rules.
    This is great advice.
    rubyhearts's Avatar
    rubyhearts Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Jun 22, 2013, 01:16 AM
    Yes, but what about the idea of losing my daughter? I want to fix the problem, not just throw in the towel. These are my kids! It feels unfixable... she threw punches. I still have knots on my head and missing hair.

    A big part of me wants her gone, I will not be beat on. But the mother in me, wants my little girl back.
    Jake2008's Avatar
    Jake2008 Posts: 6,721, Reputation: 3460
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    #7

    Jun 22, 2013, 06:50 AM
    When your daughter is screaming and swearing and in full attack mode, it's too late to demand respect. The behavior of your children in your home, has not happened overnight, and regardless of how your ex runs his household, you should be in charge of your own.

    To prove a point how difficult it is to raise teenagers such as they have turned out, by delivering them to their father, won't change your relationship with them, or change their behavior. That would be a last resort in my opinion. Them going there, won't change how authority is understood and respected, in your home. Plus you would want them back, and without solid changes, the behavior would be the same as it was before you gave them over to their dad.

    Get help. Realize that most teenagers don't pound on their mothers when they are unable or unwilling to control their own behavior. Learn what you need to learn in order to provide and execute firm guildelines, with consequences, and then stick to them. There are many places you could go to seek help. Start with your family doctor, and seek a referral to counseling. Expect that this will eventually include the children.

    It is much harder to undo the past, and begin to find your footing, in order to establish a reasonable and effective way of running the household and taking back control that never should have been lost in the first place.

    But, only when you help yourself, will you be able to help turn the tide of dissent in your family, and when you have firm control, it won't matter what your husband says or does. These kids of yours will know that when they step in YOUR door, what is expected, and what will not be tolerated.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,215, Reputation: 10853
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    #8

    Jun 22, 2013, 07:22 AM
    Your kids are treating you like your husband treats you but your daughter has turn physically abusive, a react to you slapping her. That has to change. You will never get your little girl back unless you take back control of your house.

    While you get some needed disciplinary strategies, then let your husband deal with his daughter. I suspect she thinks she can sweet talk him into getting her way, but I also think he may get tired of her crap, and apply discipline that you have been unable to.

    Either way, some kind of change is sorely needed. I mean you think she doesn't affect the other teen agers in your house?
    rubyhearts's Avatar
    rubyhearts Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Jun 22, 2013, 09:21 AM
    I agree with all that's said. The problem with getting help is that I don't have insurance to cover it. I have four kids, so money is tight to buy insurance or pay for counseling. That's why I am trying to search for answers/solutions on my own. I feel so helpless.

    Jake, I agree with you completely. My loss of authority has been spiraling out of control for sometime. I don't know how to put those firm boundaries in place. To do so, there has to be some kind of discipline. When the kids were younger, all my family said to use punitive methods, i.e, spanking, grounding etc.I didn't feel it in my heart that those methods got the results I wanted. I want to be firm or tough with my kids, but I don't want to be a witch to them. I remember being a tough kid on my (single) mother when I was a teen. But I never thought of ever raising my hand to her. If I did, I knew she would've mopped the floor with me. I don't want that threat to be my kids' stopper for raising their hands to me. I also never wanted to hurt my mom. I just thought the rules were unreasonable and was outspoken about them. (as with any teen) My kids have no qualms at all with saying mean things to me like how I'm too dumb to get a better job. (to pay for their never ending wants)

    I try to stand firm, but the kids find my weaknesses and use them. I feel like I am getting too old and too tired to fight them. But I agree with you that they need to know what the consequences would be EVERY time they disrespect me in my house. However, what would those consequences be? I take the phones, the dad buys them another one. I stop paying their phone bill, so dad pays it. I ground my daughter from going to friends' houses. She stays home and picks fights with my boys and all heck breaks loose and I have to physically break up fights. I can't ground her from sports or activities because she doesn't participate in any. I order her chores, she laughs and says "make me".

    I know with her being at her dad's right now, he is spoiling her and she most definitely feels empowered. Step-mom and dad are appeasing her rants against me. However, I know she's going to need rides to and from her babysitting job, school (if she stays until fall) and she will probably get sick of her step-siblings soon. There might come a point where the grass stops being so green and she'll want to come home. I feel like at that point, I can specify rules... including the next time she runs away to dad's. Is this correct?
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,215, Reputation: 10853
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    #10

    Jun 22, 2013, 09:35 AM
    That may be correct but it starts with how long her dad puts up with her crap, and what he does about it. You won't know until you find out. Big difference between putting up with rants and dealing with bad behavior everyday, so for now just find out.

    Kids, especially teen agers push boundaries mostly to see if you can ENFORCE them effectively. They try you, and she will try her father. Let her.
    Jake2008's Avatar
    Jake2008 Posts: 6,721, Reputation: 3460
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    #11

    Jun 22, 2013, 10:29 AM
    I didn't get the impression that your ex or his wife are very cooperative. Taking the high road and not engaging in back and forth bad mouthing and banter using the kids as bait, will eventually backfire.

    Kids need discipline and they need consequences, so that they become responsible and eventually able to manage their own lives, independently. Kids without those things, grow up without the skills they need to survive. That's why I say that you aren't doing them any favours by not turning this around. It really is for the good of their growth and development.

    That being said, and I'm sure you agree from what you've said, get help. If it means a mediator of some sort- a minister, teacher, family member, friend- so be it. Someone to sit everybody down, and work toward finding goals everybody can agree to.

    I don't know where you live, but out of habit (I'm in Canada), I always start with a referral from your family Doctor. Here it is all you need to get counseling with no cost. Call any women's services and see if they can offer referral based on need to a counselor. You could request help directly from an agency that does counseling that will take a reduced fee, or a fee payment plan.

    If your husband has benefits that include this type of family service, enlist his help, even through an email, in order that you can find help for the kids and yourself. (this will always come in handy to help you 'qualify' for services, and he has refused to help).

    If your children attend a school that has a guidance department, make an appointment and go and see them. It is likely that they have seen similar behaviours in school with your kids. Maybe help is available through the school without cost.

    I hope that something works out for you- and soon. The longer this goes on, the harder your life will become because I get the impression that your kids are heading into territory with those attitudes, that might lead them to drugs/alcohol/sex, etc.
    tiggerella's Avatar
    tiggerella Posts: 184, Reputation: 13
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    #12

    Jun 23, 2013, 07:41 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by rubyhearts View Post
    Yes, but what about the idea of losing my daughter? I want to fix the problem, not just throw in the towel. These are my kids! It feels unfixable....she threw punches. I still have knots on my head and missing hair.

    A big part of me wants her gone, I will not be beat on. But the mother in me, wants my little girl back.

    I fully understand your feelings, as my own daughter sounds very similar to yours. She has never hit me, but sometimes the pain from her lying to me is just as bad.

    Unfortunately, when they become teenagers, there is something within your children that seems to break. They want to be adults, but don't understand that adulthood isn't always the blast they think it's going to be, and they aren't willing to enjoy their childhood. From my own experience, your daughter won't be your sweet little girl until she grows up enough to realize what she did to you was wrong.

    My son, the elder of my two children, had this epiphany in his early 20's, and at 28 has become the older version of my sweet boy and the father to a delightful baby girl of his own - who will no doubt become h3ll on wheels in her teens just as he did.

    My daughter, at 22, still hasn't hit that epiphany, but we have started down the path of becoming friends again. Give your daughter some time, let her dad and step-mom deal with her for a while, and just wait for her to grow up a bit more.
    Jake2008's Avatar
    Jake2008 Posts: 6,721, Reputation: 3460
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    #13

    Jun 23, 2013, 10:01 AM
    While this is well meaning advice, there is a 7 year and counting age difference between your daughter and Rubyhearts' daughter. Mom is, at the moment, struggling with the physical after math of a full blown assault, and dealing with two other teenagers who are beginning to behave in the same way as their sister, and they are male.

    There are many other parts to this explosive situation, that had the mother called police during the assault, she would also be dealing with social workers, police, and court appearances.

    The two younger children are forced to intervene in a situation that should not happen in the first place, and are, like the daughter, subject to the behaviours of their father, and his partner, and more children at his house.

    The level of verbal, emotional, and physical violence has escalated, and without help, will only get worse. This free for all has to be stopped.

    Hopefully she will have the result that you have, but in my humble opinion, that is not likely to happen any time soon, considering the circumstances.

    Not all teenagers 'break' as you suggested. Everyone struggles with the independence seeking behaviours of teens, but that is a natural progression, necessary for adulthood. It is not normal to live without rules, and consequences, and just hope for the best.

    I don't mean to be disrespectful in any way, and I am happy to know that your adult children are becoming respectful and independent.

    But, our mom here in this situation, is not anywhere near that point.
    rubyhearts's Avatar
    rubyhearts Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    Jun 23, 2013, 10:24 PM
    Jake, I appreciate your help. I have read and thought of what you said, but have hesitated to respond because I realize how pathetic my situation is.

    While I try to figure who will help me, my heart continues to break. I see, via Facebook, that my daughter is really having a great time being spoiled rotten by daddy. She has made no attempt to talk to me at all. He is very bitter with me for divorcing him (for cheating and terrible abuse) and loves the opportunity to have the upper hand against me. Although it hurts me very much that he is making sure to turn the knife in my back, as a mother, I know he is hurting her in the long run.

    Her brothers are very resentful towards her that SHE gets to beat on mom and get anything she wants from dad. In addition to that, years of "daughter biased" parenting from dad that have the boys resentful towards her. This will permanently damage her relationships with her brothers. I tried to tell him that many times, he is not receptive to believing he's doing anything wrong.

    So in the meantime, I am trying to gain control with my boys. Enforcing discipline when there is disrespect. A few times they've tried to say "I'll call dad to come get me...." Dad bought them cell phones for their birthday, so they could call him if mom is "being a *itch".

    It seems like everyone has rallied against me to undermine me, get revenge for divorcing dad, and make sure I stay miserable.

    You're right that he has to stop. I really really can not go on much longer. I am having very bad thoughts of running away myself. Dropping them off at dad's and disappearing forever. He has ruined my entire life and is now taking the kids from me a little at a time. I don't know how to fight back.

    @tigger... I appreciate your thoughts. I remember my mom saying similar when I was a teen/young adult. She said the severance disappears once teen years are over. I remember many times wishing I hadn't been so mouthy to her as a teen. But looking back, I wasn't so bad... I never hit her. My dad never interfered!

    The irony in this situation is that I am a behavior specialist. I "fix" kids who are just like mine. But, I can't fix my own... go figure!
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,215, Reputation: 10853
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    #15

    Jun 23, 2013, 11:09 PM
    What would you tell a parent in your situation? I know I would tell them to relax and not get down on themselves and above all stop looking at your daughters FB page. Sure she is all happy and they have the warm fuzzies but its okay. You know what goes around comes back around so take advantage of the peace and recharge your batteries now that the disruptive force is gone.

    Do something good for yourself, and your kids and find reasons to enjoy what you do have and not worry for a while about those that didn't appreciate you while they had you. Don't be bitter, no need, just get through this glitch, because you know it will be better because it should be a lot quieter and maybe your daughter grows up, to be better.

    Sometimes we parents are so helpless with our kids, its disgustingly frustrating because we do care so much but recognize we have to love ourselves just as much as we love them or we have nothing to give them.

    It will get better just not today.
    tiggerella's Avatar
    tiggerella Posts: 184, Reputation: 13
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    #16

    Jun 25, 2013, 08:20 AM
    Sorry if I offended you, Jake, by sharing my "been there, done that" point of view. I thought that was what this forum was for... and if not, then someone needs to talk to the people who run this about changing their list of rules. The "break" comment came from my own mom, when she was giving me advice when my own well behaved little children turned into teenagers from hell. To add the rest of her quote: "There's something about the changing hormones that makes them suddenly decide that, no matter how logical what you're trying to do and say might be, they need to rebel and will push your buttons just for the sake of pushing buttons and to show their friends that THEY are in charge of your house. When they suddenly come around to the fact that you were truly right and just trying to help, you'll get your good little children back."

    In the meantime, talaniman offers some really solid advice, rubyhearts. When I saw that response in my email this morning, I was nodding my head. Sometimes, especially in your line of work, you just need to take a step back, pull your emotions out of the mix, and tell yourself what you would tell another parent in your shoes. I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that your ex suddenly discovers that he's a big part of this problem. Only then will he be helpful in finding a solution.
    rubyhearts's Avatar
    rubyhearts Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    Jun 25, 2013, 12:43 PM
    I appreciate everyone's advice! There's no offense taken at all. We know as parents, there are no quick or easy solution to things. I have taken value from everyone's responses here.

    . I understood what you meant that your daughter is NOW 22 and are giving me advice due to hindsight from when she WAS my daughter's age. Jake is right that I need help and there are many components contributing to my problem.

    Talaiman was right that this is a good time to let me recharge my batteries and reflect. I need to catch my breath.

    What would I tell a parent I work with? I work with elementary kids' behaviors. I'm real good at setting boundaries and establishing a platform for kids to learn from. I teach about accountability and choices. I work with emotionally impaired children who feel their circumstances are beyond their control. What I try to teach them and my own kids is that we have choices. Our choices have everything to do with outcomes. We are not all living in ideal circumstances, but we all have choices to make. We can either choose to blame someone else and surrender the power we have, or we can embrace what we learn and move forward.

    It's real easy when it isn't ME the parent! It's so much easier to see the problem in someone else's circumstances than it is to see what we are doing wrong ourselves. I believe when something is wrong, we look at ourselves first to see what we can change. I sure wish I had someone looking at my parenting and could tell me what Im doing wrong. Or, what to do when "dad" influences my kids' behavior.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,215, Reputation: 10853
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    #18

    Jun 25, 2013, 01:46 PM
    LOL, when other don't like the way you do things, step aside and let them do it, and go have a nice cold drink and enjoy yourself.
    Wlliephant's Avatar
    Wlliephant Posts: 34, Reputation: 2
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    #19

    Jun 25, 2013, 02:20 PM
    I'm a teenager, I don't act that way towards mum but wheni have an argument with mum I instantly turn to dad for back up but when he agrees with my mum, I can clearly see what I've done wrong, so perhaps that's what needs to be done here, let dad look after them and when he finally agrees with you the kids would show more respect
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #20

    Jul 15, 2013, 11:47 AM
    "So in the meantime, I am trying to gain control with my boys. Enforcing discipline when there is disrespect. A few times they've tried to say "I'll call dad to come get me... " Dad bought them cell phones for their birthday, so they could call him if mom is "being a *itch". It seems like everyone has rallied against me to undermine me, get revenge for divorcing dad, and make sure I stay miserable. You're right that he has to stop. I really really can not go on much longer. I am having very bad thoughts of running away myself. Dropping them off at dad's and disappearing forever. He has ruined my entire life and is now taking the kids from me a little at a time. I don't know how to fight back."

    A few things strike me. I see more "who is right and who is wrong" than I see concern about the children.

    The "ex" ruined your "entire life"? I think that's over the top.

    If you cannot handle the children and nothing is working, something needs to change. Everyone appears to be unhappy, if not miserable, and it seems to be a contest to prove who is the worse parent - you or him.

    I think you made a mistake in allowing your daughter to assault you - and then doing nothing. Bad example for the other children. Really bad lesson for your daughter. Her behavior has no consequences, none at all.

    As far as Dad buying cell phones and (I guess) your children calling you a *itch - I have stepchildren, 6 in fact, and stepgrandchildren, 4. Know the rule in my house? Your mother has rules. I have rules. They may not be the same, but those are the rules here and there. You dad has said no cell phone? Check it at the door. Running back and forth is not an option. It's not your day/weekend/week/month to have the children and they have called because dad is mean? Sad, very sad. Kids are staying here.

    Your children appear to be running the show.

    Do you know how I figured into situations like this? I'm neither a counselor nor a teacher. I work in the legal profession. I'm the person an Attorney (or the State) calls in to determine what is in the best interest of your daughter when she assaults the next person. I do the background investigation, I interview neighbors and family members and acquaintances and report my findings. Those findings are part of what a Judge considers when a determination is made which - if either - parent should have custody and/or visitation, which parent is adult enough to raise the children - or, again "if."

    And then - and I was divorced so I know about bad marriages - you married this guy. You had children with him. As much as I often wish my "ex" would burst into spontaneous flames and disappear - I married him, I stayed in the marriage.

    It takes two. You need to think less about how "he" ruined your life forever, the names "he" calls you, the fact that (from what I can tell) you hate him and concentrate on how to turn the situation around, how to give your children experience with a relationship that doesn't involve hate and name calling and accusations.

    I pretty much don't care which of you caused the divorce. I pretty much don't care if he calls you names - he says you're a *itch, you aren't, let him talk. He does it in front of the children or influences the children against you? He'd be back in Court in my world and there would be a dicussion about his behavior - and the children would be interviewed by a highly skilled professional.

    When is that going to happen?

    Go for counseling, alone or with your children. They want to live with their father? It's not working the way it is now, and you can throw yourself in front of a freight train - and I don't think it's going to change.

    And stop thinking "all or nothing."

    " But the mother in me, wants my little girl back." That is not going to spontaneously happen - actions speak a lot louder than words. Show your kids how important they are to you, that you will do what it takes, whatever it takes, however difficult the path, to get them and you back on track. You are abandoning your daughter to her irresponsible (and I haven't heard his side) father. She would either come back "home," he'd go to Court and get custody... or she'd be in a juvenile facility. Those are the choices. Wait until she gets angry with one of her siblings and puts knots on his head, rips out his head, beats him up - you'll never forgive yourself.

    Stop hoping and wishing and feeling hopeless and do something!

    (And for the record - there are people here for whom I have enormous respect. I know I'm leaving some out, but if Cat, Tal, Joy, Nohelp told me to dance naked in the street to "save" my kids, I would do it. You don't have to believe or trust me. Have faith in them.)

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