Help-my daughter is mad at me

jannieJanuary 26, 2006

My 16-year-old daughter is mad at me. I haven't taken down the Christmas tree and she says the house is filthy. Well, I admit it's cluttered but I keep the cat box clean, and I clean the bathroom and kitchen daily. I sweep,do dishes, take out the garbage, vacuum,and mop floors in these rooms. And I keep the laundry caught up. The bad part is there are still "hot spots". There's a big pile of clean laundry on my bedroom floor, and the Christmas tree is still up. But I have some health issues (lupus, kidney failure, and depression) so I find myself behind in some chores. My daughter is usually pretty good natured, but today she just flipped out. She grabbed glass ornaments off the tree and smashed them on the floor. She went up in the bathroom, pulled the shower curtain down, damaged several of the hooks, and shredded the cloth shower curtain with her hands. Then she stormed out of the house, saying she didn't want to live with me anymore. I meekly cleaned up the broken stuff,and threw out the shower curtain. I went to the store and bought a new shower curtain and hooks, it cost about $20. Now I'm waiting for DD to return. I know in some way she's right, that the house could be cleaner and neater, but she is not sympathetic about my very real medical problems. I see a therapist once a week for my depression, and will see him tomorrow. What do you think of my child's behavior?

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I am so sorry for what you are going through today. Her hormones must be kicking in although that's not an excuse for her behavior. Considering your medical conditions, she should be helping you out more. I know, easier said than done. Would it be possible for her to go with you to the therapist for one session? Perhaps you could figure out a way for the housework to be shared with her. I would tell her that I will help her take down the tree. Why is it up to you to do it?

You really need to have a heart to heart talk with her. Most likely, her outburst had nothing to do with you. Maybe something else is going on. I may be way out of line here and I'm sorry if I come across this way but are you an enabler? I know I have this tendency and take on way more than I should.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 5:33PM
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I think Marie's on the right track. I grew up in a very messy home and remember my brother complaining. I also remember telling I didn't see him cleaning it up.

She's old enough to understand the health issues and be of help to you. She's young enough to be a big baby in response to everything.

I wouldn't make an issue of her temper tantrum (although I know you want to clobber her), but try and validate that you understand how the house being messed up upsets her. It makes your home different from her friend's homes. She may not feel like she can have people over, that the house isn't "normal" enough.

With that heart-to-heart, start talking about what jobs are appropriate for her to be doing around the house. You didn't mention if she has specific chores. She's certainly old enough to do her own laundry. Dishes, weekly vacuuming.

Have her go with you to the therapist. Even though you have the depression, she going through it with you also and may need more understanding. I don't believe teens are always self-centered. I've taught them for 25 years and know they will reach out, but they need the information.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 6:55PM
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Jannie, I'm very sorry your DD had this outburst. I suspect Marie may be probably aren't the reason, but there IS no good reason for that kind of behaviour.

A good friend has lupus. There are days that she simply can't get out of bed. Many people expect a lot of my friend, simply because she never really looks sick. Thankfully she has a daughter who is an old soul for her age. She does many things to care for her mom and help care for the home.

So....I have a response and a question. First, I think your daughters behaviour was selfish, thoughtless and unkind. However, my question is what does SHE do to help the household run? Would she have preferred to have no Christmas tree? Would she sacrifice material things so you could use the money to pay someone to do the things you are physcally unable to keep up with? The bottom line is you're not well physically. If caring for her and yourself is what she expects then it appears more than you can physically handle. Perhaps living somewhere else for a bit might be healthier for you both.

Wishing you physically and emotionally pain free days.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 6:56PM
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she says the house is filthy

So ... hand her a mop and say "you GO girl!"

A quote from a prominent radical of the 1960s: "If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 9:43PM
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She grabbed glass ornaments off the tree and smashed them on the floor. She went up in the bathroom, pulled the shower curtain down, damaged several of the hooks, and shredded the cloth shower curtain with her hands.

I'm sorry--she's 16, there's no excuse for that sort of temper tantrum.

And she needs to pick--is she:
a) nearly a grownup, with a right to have a say in the decor and clutteredness of an otherwise clean and hygenic home?
b) a little kid who doesn't GET to have a say in the decor of an otherwise clean and hygenic home?

Bcs that kind of a temper tantrum is the work of a little kid--in which case she has no right to be mad at you.

If she wants the right to object to anything around the house, she'd better start acting like a grownup.

Breaking stuff?

and, you should not be meekly cleaning it up. SHE should clean it up when she gets home, after she apologizes.

And THEN, and only then, should the two of you have a talk about what you each define as a "clean" home, and how long it takes to get it that way, and what each of you is actually doing--or not doing--toward that goal.

If she's old enough to have a right to make an objection, then she's old enough to control herself. Yelling, waving her arms around, stomping, storming out of the house--those are acceptable things, mostly, for grownups to do when they're at the end of their rope.

Breaking stuff isn't.

You've got laundry to fold--I did that when I was 12.

You've got a Christmas tree to put away--at 16, she can do that, too.

If you're cleaning up her mess this time, when she was WAY out of line (smashing glass ornaments? C'mon!!!), then maybe you've created a situation in which you are her servant--not good. And it's time to start redefining the care of your home and possessions as a JOINT effort.

Tell us, what exactly does she do around that house?

Bcs, if she wants the adult right to make any objection to the decor of the home, and the adult right to yell, wave her arms around, and stomp out of the house (in someone younger than 16, it's called "talking back" and it's not tolerable), then she needs to be shouldering some more grown-up responsibilities.

It's time to realize that you should delegate. At the VERY least, you should be assigning her to assist you.

Taking down the tree is a two-person job, just as putting it up is (or should be).

Folding clean clothes is the perfect team job--with two people, it goes pretty fast, and it can be fun.

If you're expecting to do it yourself in your bedroom, no wonder it's not done--that's a lonely, isolating job. At the very least, fold it in the living room, but seriously, GET SOME HELP FROM HER. Do it with her, so she isn't isolated and lonely while she does it.

If she wants clean undies, she can do some damn laundry!

DOn't you DARE be apologetic or worried about when she comes--and start getting pretty damn mad yourself! What kind of a jerk smashes stuff because she's angry? Would you stand that from a friend or coworker? Don't take it from her.

Oh, and when she gets back, hand her the receipt from the store, and tell her she'll need to pay you back for the shower stuff she destroyed. Dig them back out of the garbage and make her examine each damaged piece, so she can SEE the physics of what her rage did.

I'm not joking. Print out my post and show it to her.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 9:46PM
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My son is 16, and I would be furious if he displayed that type of behavior. I'd be furious if my 13 year old or 10 year old did, for that matter. Being upset at a dirty house is one thing, but damaging your things is plain wrong. I agree with Talley Sue - present her with the receipt. Don't apologize.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 1:10AM
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I have a 16 yo DD, too. She went through her moody years early, and, luckily, is coming out the other side. I agree with those above, your daughter is not mad at YOU. Something else is bothering her. That is no reason to trash your house and destroy things, though. My kids don't smash or rip things out of rage. If they did, they would certainly be paying for them. They pay for things they destroy accidentally, too. She needs to know that she is making it harder for you to do what you ARE doing when she acts like that. I will not let my daughter go do anything before they've cleaned up their junk around the house (I don't care about their rooms, but I don't want it sitting everywhere else). DD (16) grumbles, and sometimes yells about cleaning up, but she still does it. She may slam a door, but she doesn't break things. I think with teenagers, they really need to know where the line is. They will be moody sometimes, and I try to pick my battles. If I know something is REALLY bothering one of them, I will wait till they've cooled down to discuss it or ask them to do anything. But I do ask later on. My kids think we live in the oldest, ugliest, messiest house with the oldest, ugliest cars. But when I talk to parents of their friends, they say the exact same thing - about homes and cars my kids love. I guess they are really just starting to notice the world around them and form their own opinions about things. But that does not let them off the hook in terms of behavior. She should NOT be breaking things. She SHOULD be helping you out.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 6:38AM
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"I see a therapist once a week for my depression, and will see him tomorrow. "

Jannie, you are suffering from an illness, on top of your other medical problems.

Good for you for sharing your distress; you know very well your daughter is wrong for acting the way she did.
As others have pointed out, she is acting out her unhappiness and despair at your expense ( mothers are often an easy target)-

Hopefully your therapist can provide you with some skills to deal with this.
Good luck in getting better. Depression takes over your life; you seem to be doing what you can to keep your head above water.

Is there anyone else who could talk to your daughter?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:07AM
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It is quite obvious to me that you were not necessarily the cause of your daughter's rage, but you were the target of her displaced emotion towards something that is bothering her. that being said, her behavior is completely unacceptable. it must be very difficult for her to have a mother who is so ill, and while she knows it isn't your fault, she has nobody else to blame. i would ask your therapist about possible counseling for your DD.
additionally, you said you "meekly" cleaned up the broken stuff. in spite of your health problems, you are the parent, she is the child. there is no reason for you to "meekly" respond to anything she does. behavior can so easily spiral out of control, especially in 16 year olds! i would calmly explain to her that her attitude was disrespectful, that breaking things is completely unacceptable and that from this day forward there will be changes. you need her help and you expect her help, and there should be no reason at all why she wouldn't willingly do some chores to help make both of your lives a little easier and more pleasant.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:45AM
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So what happened when she came home?

I remember vividly being 16 and mad at the world. I was a raving witch when it came to my mom. I yelled and slammed doors. If I had broken anything, I have no doubt I would have been expected to pay for it. I hope you do make her pay you $20 for the damage. You need to make it clear to her that it's fine to be angry, but violence is not the way to show it.

I hope that the 2 of you take down the tree together and discuss sharing housework. What things are most important to her to have clean? She should be responsible for the things that are important to her. Is her laundry in the pile in your bedroom? Sort out her stuff and she can deal with it. You can shut your bedroom door so she doesn't have to look at the rest of the pile.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 12:26PM
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First things first. Why on earth did YOU clean up the broken ornaments and spend your time and money to rush out for a new shower curtain and rings? Trying to please her? Ain't gonna happen. She should have had the chance to really take in the extra damage she caused and taken care of it when she returned. (Makes no sense to clean up the mess and then rub the puppies nose in it.)Believe you me, I'd be walking around broken glass and taking plenty of showers looking at a ripped curtain until that young lady rectified things on her own with her own funds.

I hope you take all the previous advice to get her involved with upkeep and any professional care you see fit. Health issues aside, there is no reason an able bodied 16 yr. old shouldn't be doing her share of the work. Add your health into the mix and I can well understand a lack of energy and motivation. Added stress of trying to keep everything up along with the "orneries" of a teenage girl isn't helping matters. In addition, don't you think things would improve if you worked on things together?

That being said, my youngest daughter is in her 30's now and I can't tell you how many times she's apoligized for her teen years. She could go from lovable to beast in 15 seconds.

Sorry if this post sounds harsh but it stirred up that angry frustrated feeling all over again of someone who's been there. Take care. Sandy

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 5:53PM
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Your daughter is way too old to have temper tantrums. And destructive rage is never appropriate, and is totally different from the "normal" rude and disrespectful teenage attitude.

You need to figure out if she's just a bratty kid, or if she's not dealing well with the stress of your illness, or if she is suffering from a mental illness of her own. A trip to the doctor would be a good idea. Having her see a therapist now is an excellent plan; once she turns 18 you cannot force her to go since she'll be considered an adult.

Most surprising? That you say "my daughter is mad at me." I, on the other hand, would be too beyond-furious to be too concerned about how my child felt. But, that's just me, and I freely admit I have limited patience for bad behavior. LOL

Also, I would suggest you stop looking for sympathy from her and just give her a chore list. And give her the website so she can learn how to de-clutter a house. Forget "meek" and GET BOSSY. I assume she's grounded for quite a while anyway (I'm thinking grounded for months... but remember, I have no patience), so she might as well make good use of her time. My kids hated being grounded because that made them my house slaves--no sense grounding them if they're going to enjoy it! LOL

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 6:01PM
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What do I think of your daughter's behavior? Wow, I think she's a spoiled, ungrateful brat (not to mention violent), and if she's says she's moving out then it's probably time for her to do so, and I would say to her, "Sayonara!" (although you can do this in a nice way). You poor thing - you are sick AND you're cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, mopping floors, etc. EVERY day and that's still not good enough? I know you must love your daughter, and but get real and stand up for yourself. It sounds like you are doing a great job of keeping house and dealing with your physical issues. Sure a lot of people take down their Christmas trees soon after Christmas, but really I don't think it's that big of a deal since it's still January. And laundry on the bedroom floor? Come on, we all have our little piles of ongoing projects, bills to be paid, mail to be opened, laundry to be put away. It's never ending.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 6:26PM
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Everyone who replied was so helpful and sympathetic. Thanks! My DD apologized shortly after the incident, offered to pay for the damage and agreed to help me take the tree down tomorrow (Saturday). Also had a good session with my therapist. He gave me similar advice. Teach her there are consequences. I have always tried to teach her that when you break something, even by accident, you must fix or replace it. Thanks to all who replied. I was really down in the dumps. Nice of you to give me such detailed and useful advice!!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:49PM
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I am so glad that things are working out for you. When you take the tree down, it will be a good chance for you two to just chitchat. Will you be asking DD to help around the house with some chores?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 10:09PM
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I'm glad things worked out. My concern was that you believed it truly was YOUR fault. I'm glad you have a therapist to talk to. Hang in there!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 2:08AM
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I, too, am glad that things are better for you. I would like to add, don't give up when things get rough again (and they probably will). I know someone now who is in her 50s. She is a total tyrant in her family. Breaks things, has temper tantrums to get her way (and usually does), treats her husband like a used dishrag... Her brother has told us that she was the princess in his family while growing up and would use the same tactics to have life go her way. It worked then and it works now for her. She may not realize it, but many of us in the extended family, cringe to spend time around her...Perhaps her family thought it was easier to live around her but now it is a pattern that just won't quit.
So, don't give up, stick to your resolutions. I'm glad that you have support.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 12:31PM
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I'm glad it's moving in a better direction, too. The first time I read the post, I was speechless, that's why I didn't reply. Cuz I'd be angry if my 3 y/o threw glass ornaments and make him help clean up his mess.

I'm so glad you are resolving things.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 4:07PM
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Your daughter is mad because your sick, your daughter is scared because your sick, your daughter loves you and she wishes you were a more able person. Maybe like her friends Mother's. It's not about a clean house at all.
Try and spend more time with her, outside of the house. She is angry because she misses you in her life. She needs you now more then ever. The out burst was a cry for your attention.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 2:18AM
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Jannie, how did the weekend go? Did you get the tree down?

I know how difficult depression can make your life, as I suffered from it. I was undiagnosed for quite a while, then on med. for several years. I am fortunate to be off them now. Take care of yourself. I'm glad you have a therapist that you have a good relationship with.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 7:13AM
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I really like Radd's comments--I think we all--esp. me--have been really upset and angry on your behalf. And worried for your daughter that this not become her main way of expressing herself.

But I bet there's an element of fear for your DD, too.

Best of luck to the two of you. My oldest is only 11.5, and I'm a bit scared of the teen years already!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 9:14AM
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Teens get depressed also.
I hope you are taking meds for your depression along with the therapy.
Depression is a disorder that can have a genetic predisposition.
To find out if your daughter is having trouble with depression ask your doctor for a pamphlet with a questionare to evaluate or even look on the internet for a questionare, there are several.
Sometimes we are so ill ourselves we cannot see it in our children.
Been there, done that. Daughter is now 26 yrs. We both have bipolar disorder and on medication that gives us a life!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 9:46AM
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Sounds like you are dealing with both some guilt and some shame about not keeping the house the way it "should" be - is that why you "meekly" cleaned up and repaired stuff immediately? And maybe you're even feeling guilty about being ill and not being the kind of mother she wants (picking up on her lack of sympathy for your illness). It's true it's probably scary and hard for her, as I'm sure it is for you. Can you do some joint counseling with her, as some have already suggested?

I do urge that someone evaluate her for depression and/or anxiety. I have been treated for a long time for depression, but I have recently been discovering that a lot of it is actually anxiety. There's some overlap in the treatments. If depression is about anger, anxiety is about fear, and she probably has a lot of that going on, being worried about you and herself.

Your description of her behavior when she came home makes me think she just snapped that time, rather than being spoiled in general. I do hope things continue better, and if I had another suggestion, it would be to work with her on her "unsympatheticness (I am sure that's not a word!).

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 3:08PM
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darlin', darlin' dear girl. It does hurt, doesn't it. Try, if you can to think up an incident from your teenage years with your Mom to share with her, talk it over, TELL HER you are trying to be a good Mom. Don't lay it on too heavy though. ("I'm glad you told me those things, you can always talk to me" "let's see what we can figure out to change things")

Speaking of my own personal upbringing, my Mom and I went a few rounds, it is almost destiny to come at odds when two people are of different generations and have different expectations and concepts. I began to understand my Mom in my thirties, really needed her in my fourties, and then lost her when I was fourty-five. You just need to be the best Mom, best lady, best woman, best every-thing-you-can-be and let the passing decades slowly teach her life's lessons.

Although I may have not heeded my own advice - and she may have been short some hair on the top of her head (kidding!) I would never pretend nothing happened. Acknowledge her angst, whether it's really the state of the house or your health worrying her, or nameless teenage angst. Remind her it's HARDER to have invisible ills! Keep talking, keep hugging, be visible and vocal.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 12:35PM
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jannie, I just came back to revisit this thread; I'm glad dd and you smoothed things out. Best wishes and strength to you.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 8:34AM
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Hi Jannie,
I'm so glad that your daughter came around. How tough for you. I also have a chronic illness, though not as severe as yours, and cleaning is just not always possible.

When I was a teen my mother was very depressed and the house always looked awful. I blamed her entirely and unfairly. I did try to help, but she wasn't really able to work with me. I think she felt that she had to do everything herself, and felt insulted when anyone else did some cleaning. It would have been really helpful if there had been a third party (like a therapist) to help us work on these issues. I had 5 other siblings though, and I think my mom barely noticed my rage.

As for having temper tantrums, I'm not sure I'll ever outgrow them. Last year I reached the end of my rope and stormed through the dining room kicking Polly Pockets left and right, hollering "I'm sick of picking up all these toys and I'm not going to do it any more!!" (dd,6, quietly walked downstairs to her father and said "Mama is flipping out.") I'm still finding those stupid little shoes. Anyhow, after that I got on the SHE system (same as Flylady, but using paper instead of computers.) What a difference!!

I hope you and your daughter can continue to work together. (((hugs)))

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 5:04PM
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so who are you, the hired help?
i'm sorry but i don't tolerate a temper tantrum from a three year old (and there are lots of them) but this behavior from someone old enough to pick up a mop and broom is completely unacceptable. i think it's time to start dropping the baby birdies from the nest. see if they don't fly on their own.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 12:13AM
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princess, you obviously did not read the whole thread, there's more to this than a tantrum.......

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 9:24AM
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