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Adolescent Child Won't Open Up


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Old 10th September 2017, 11:16 PM   #1
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Adolescent Child Won't Open Up

I have some issues with my daughter.

She is 11 years old, almost 12.

I lover her to pieces. I love her more than anything.

I have had a couple of problems with here since I gained full custody.

Her father was a manipulative and abusive man. When we divorced he petitioned to keep her with him and won domicile. It wasn't until 2 1/2 years later that I was able to proove him un fit. This even included getting a permanent restraining order on him.

She has been back home with me now for a few years and I have noticed some ongoing trends with her.

She in no way communicates or percieves the world as it is. Each day is each day and nothing from the day before is ever remembered or worked on.

She does not open up. She will chatter away, get judgy, and say rude things sometimes. "She deserved to get kicked out of our group." was one thing that stuck out in my mind.

She has empathy, but only for animals. Even then, she still forgets that she has a turtle to take care of every day. I think this is normal, but I am often shocked at the state she lets some things get in. For example, the turtles aquarium was growing mold inside and she never even thought to ask for help or to clean it her self (I have repeatedly told her to ask for help when it is needed)

She does not open up about her feelings and it makes me so frustrated.

I have tried communicating better with her, but abrupt orders are the only thing she hears.

I will talk to her and have to stop myself from lecturing. I hate lecturing and I often start by looking for a conversation or asking a question to which I get silence or open ended answers, or she just repeats verbatim what I have told her I am asking for.

I find myself in what is a lecture and state out loud to her "This has turned into a one sided conversation, and I am not speaking anymore until she is ready to talk." There is never any follow up.

I did have good luck with a notebook. I gave her a notebook and told her to write in it what she feels or wants to say (because she claims that she just clams up.). So there were some communications in that, but not much.

When I lecture she ends up crying. When I am frustrated she ends up crying.

I have no idea what to do.

She refuses to keep up with her hygeine properly. I have to literally tell her step by step what to do. Then I am giving out orders. She refuses to have a routine.

I took her into a counselor before with no luck. She was in counseling for a whole year!

I am lost here.
Not sure if I am looking for advice or just venting.
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Old 10th September 2017, 11:42 PM   #2
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Maybe try laminating a showering routine and hanging it somewhere in the shower for her to follow until she gets the hang of it.

I remember when I taught my daughter how to have a proper routine I told her to wash her face first so that dirt doesn't get into her pores when the steam opens them up and then wash it again as the last thing she should do while they're opened and to clean off any conditioner.

I also told her to wash her hair next then condition it and let the conditioner sit on her head while she washes her body to make her hair soft and pretty before rinsing off.

I gave her an explanation for the routine in a way that it made sense to follow.

At her age she can choose her own products. Do you allow her to do that? It may get her excited to bathe if she's allowed to pick out what she enjoys.

You're going to want her to develop good habits now before menstruation starts which is right around the corner.

Good luck with the tampon talk!
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Last edited by amaysngrace; 10th September 2017 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 10th September 2017, 11:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by amaysngrace View Post
Maybe try laminating a showering routine and hanging it somewhere in the shower for her to follow until she gets the hang of it.

I remember when I taught my daughter how to have a proper routine I told her to wash her face first so that dirt doesn't get into her pores when the steam opens them up and then wash it again as the last thing she should do while they're opened and to clean off any conditioner.

I also told her to wash her hair next then condition it and let the conditioner sit on her head while she washes her body to make her hair soft and pretty before rinsing off.

I gave her an explanation for the routine in a way that it made sense to follow.

At her age she can choose her own products. Do you allow her to do that? It may get her excited to bathe if she's allowed to pick out what she enjoys.

You're going to want her to develop good habits now before menstruation starts which is right around the corner.

Good luck with the tampon talk!
I have explained these things to her already. I told her the same thing about her hair. I have tried and tried reminding her every single morning to brush her teeth but she refuses. If I ask her she will lie about it. Then I have to smell her breath. ugggggg

Sometimes she is really good about it. Sometimes not. She has gotten a bit better about her hair but I make her get in the shower every single day.

This is not the most major issue because this one is one that I can see getting a tad bit better, but I will look into the laminated schedule.

The biggest issue is the communication.
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Old 10th September 2017, 11:54 PM   #4
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Some of these hygeine things are normal..but she forgets every single day no matter how harsh the punishment or how much I talk to her about it.
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Old 10th September 2017, 11:59 PM   #5
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Don't smell her breath, feel her toothbrush but don't let her know that's how you know if it's dry because then she may just run it under water.
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Old 11th September 2017, 2:09 AM   #6
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I'm at the other end of the teenage girl spectrum and this is all pretty normal behaviour. I suspect she's going to grow out of a lot of this in time.

I'm little worried about you mentioning harsh punishment though. Nothing you mentioned here should warrant harsh punishment in my books. Natural consequences, sure. But not punishment. Unless of course, there's a whole lot you haven't mentioned.

I wonder what would happen if you backed off a bit. Nothing makes a teenage girl dig her heels in more than a mother who's on her case.

Last edited by basil67; 11th September 2017 at 2:12 AM..
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Old 11th September 2017, 5:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shellybing View Post
I have some issues with my daughter.

She is 11 years old, almost 12.

I lover her to pieces. I love her more than anything.

I have had a couple of problems with here since I gained full custody.

Her father was a manipulative and abusive man. When we divorced he petitioned to keep her with him and won domicile. It wasn't until 2 1/2 years later that I was able to proove him un fit. This even included getting a permanent restraining order on him.

She has been back home with me now for a few years and I have noticed some ongoing trends with her.

She in no way communicates or percieves the world as it is. Each day is each day and nothing from the day before is ever remembered or worked on.

She does not open up. She will chatter away, get judgy, and say rude things sometimes. "She deserved to get kicked out of our group." was one thing that stuck out in my mind.

She has empathy, but only for animals. Even then, she still forgets that she has a turtle to take care of every day. I think this is normal, but I am often shocked at the state she lets some things get in. For example, the turtles aquarium was growing mold inside and she never even thought to ask for help or to clean it her self (I have repeatedly told her to ask for help when it is needed)

She does not open up about her feelings and it makes me so frustrated.

I have tried communicating better with her, but abrupt orders are the only thing she hears.

I will talk to her and have to stop myself from lecturing. I hate lecturing and I often start by looking for a conversation or asking a question to which I get silence or open ended answers, or she just repeats verbatim what I have told her I am asking for.

I find myself in what is a lecture and state out loud to her "This has turned into a one sided conversation, and I am not speaking anymore until she is ready to talk." There is never any follow up.

I did have good luck with a notebook. I gave her a notebook and told her to write in it what she feels or wants to say (because she claims that she just clams up.). So there were some communications in that, but not much.

When I lecture she ends up crying. When I am frustrated she ends up crying.

I have no idea what to do.

She refuses to keep up with her hygeine properly. I have to literally tell her step by step what to do. Then I am giving out orders. She refuses to have a routine.

I took her into a counselor before with no luck. She was in counseling for a whole year!

I am lost here.
Not sure if I am looking for advice or just venting.
Could she have ADHD? Girls often go under the radar if they have the inattentive kind and not the hyperactive kind. I bolded the things you said that made me think this because they sound a lot like my daughter, who was not diagnosed until 7th grade because she never got in trouble. She has the inattentive kind of ADHD. She also was very uncommunicative. I also tried the notebook idea, but she refused. She'd write in her "diary" (notes app on her phone) but not talk to me. She was so closed up. We did counseling for quite a while, too.

She's now 16 now and managing the ADHD, although she still is extremely forgetful so we as her parents just have to try to think of things to help her. For example, she just got her driver's license. Since her phone is the ONLY thing she consistently remembers, I ordered her a new phone case that doubles as a bit of a wallet so she can carry her license and a little money with her at all times. Otherwise she'd forget that stuff. Her room is always a mess and she is OK with that.

She's still closed off with her feelings if something is upsetting her. It frustrates me if she's upset and won't tell me what is going on but I've learned that I have to just let it go and let her work through it. She knows I'm here to talk if she's ready.

One thing that did help her a lot a few years ago was that she developed a very strong friendship with a boy who she'd text with a LOT. She confided in him a lot. He wasn't the typical kind of boy I'd prefer she "be" with (he ended up getting kicked out of school for pot), but most of their interaction was via texting outside of school so I tried to appreciate it for what it was. At least she was talking to somebody. She was going through a lot with what my ex and I put our kids through with the divorce and I was glad she had a supportive ear (this kid's family was pretty messed up . )

My daughter also has an anxiety disorder, which often goes hand in hand with ADHD. We've found that treating her anxiety has worked a lot better than treating her ADHD specifically.

Hang in there. I think some of this will work itself out on its own.

ETA: Oh, she is also now one of the most empathetic people I know. I think because she's been through so much emotionally (with our divorce), it has made her more in tuned with other people's emotions. She's a huuuuge animal lover (her horse is her therapy) and always has related better to animals than people, but she's really come into her own over the last couple of years and is a great human being. An adult I barely know just wrote her a little letter thanking her for being such a great mentor and "big sister" to her 10 year old daughter (at the barn). Just a few years ago she couldn't stand children lol!

Last edited by CautiouslyOptimistic; 11th September 2017 at 6:03 AM..
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Old 11th September 2017, 10:08 AM   #8
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I'm at the other end of the teenage girl spectrum and this is all pretty normal behaviour. I suspect she's going to grow out of a lot of this in time.

I'm little worried about you mentioning harsh punishment though. Nothing you mentioned here should warrant harsh punishment in my books. Natural consequences, sure. But not punishment. Unless of course, there's a whole lot you haven't mentioned.

I wonder what would happen if you backed off a bit. Nothing makes a teenage girl dig her heels in more than a mother who's on her case.
Sometimes it warrants punishments. For alot of the things mentioned in the post there is no punishment, but yes as you said consequences.

The one time I can remember giving her the most extreme punishment is:

-when she continually told me she did not have any homework and later I had spoken with the teacher and found out that she did. For 6 months of school she hid her homework and lied straight to my face every day when I asked her. I found it all stuffed in a back compartment of her bag.

-she continually plays with children who are bad news. There is a group of kids that live near our apartment who tear up the landscaping, dig crap out of the trash to destroy, and make a lot of noise. I have asked her repeatedly not to play with those kids. She does anyway.

These things get her grounded for disregard and lieing. She does not get into trouble for forgetting to brush her teeth.
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Old 11th September 2017, 10:38 AM   #9
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I have made the conscious decision to stop lecturing her. . . .

When I find myself in a lecture, and she is not responding I stop and say "This has turned into a one sided conversation, and I am not here to lecture you, to be your drill sargeant to give orders, or to play 20 questions. I am here to be your mom.

Then I usually tell her to go to her room until she is ready and has something to say. (She is usually crying by now) and then she never has anything to say.
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Old 11th September 2017, 11:37 AM   #10
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I wouldn't be so harsh on her. She is growing and will change a lot in the next few years.

You don't want her to think a couple of years down the lane that dad is a better choice..... and rebel against you.Be careful.
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Old 11th September 2017, 12:49 PM   #11
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When I refused to open up to my mother, it was because she was overly harsh and often cruel. It doesn't sound like you're being cruel or harsh to your daughter though. Maybe your daughter responds better to positive reinforcement.

To be honest, I think children today are much too coddled. Parents tiptoe around their kids and refuse to give consequences for their children's unacceptable behavior. This leads to children growing up to be insufferable and entitled adults.
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Old 11th September 2017, 3:00 PM   #12
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I wouldn't be so harsh on her. She is growing and will change a lot in the next few years.

You don't want her to think a couple of years down the lane that dad is a better choice..... and rebel against you.Be careful.
Her father is not allowed near her or me. There are permanent restraining orders in place against him. He is not around children at all.

I am not trying to be harsh with her. I am trying to communicate with her. When she is in trouble the crime fits the punishment. . .
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Old 11th September 2017, 3:01 PM   #13
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I don't even yell at the child. Speaking firmly to her just makes her cry.
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Old 11th September 2017, 3:04 PM   #14
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When I refused to open up to my mother, it was because she was overly harsh and often cruel. It doesn't sound like you're being cruel or harsh to your daughter though. Maybe your daughter responds better to positive reinforcement.

To be honest, I think children today are much too coddled. Parents tiptoe around their kids and refuse to give consequences for their children's unacceptable behavior. This leads to children growing up to be insufferable and entitled adults.

I would agree.

She was pretty mad the other day. She complained that she was tired of using plastic bowls because I had not washed the dishes yet. Then she asked "Can we wash the dishes now." I made it clear to her that I was her mom and not her maid, and that SHE could wash a bowl at any time, there is no reason to complain to me about that. Then SHE got to wash the dishes this time. I still helped, but stiiillll....
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Old 11th September 2017, 3:28 PM   #15
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I would agree.

She was pretty mad the other day. She complained that she was tired of using plastic bowls because I had not washed the dishes yet. Then she asked "Can we wash the dishes now." I made it clear to her that I was her mom and not her maid, and that SHE could wash a bowl at any time, there is no reason to complain to me about that. Then SHE got to wash the dishes this time. I still helped, but stiiillll....
Well, it sounds like there's some disrespect going on here, but it shouldn't be that hard to overcome. Next time, in a case like this, try just giving her a choice. Suggest calmly and without emotion that she use a plastic bowl or wash a regular bowl if she wants one so badly. *shrug* not your problem. "I'm not your maid" could be argument inducing. Pointing out her choice puts her in control. She can figure out the solution to that problem on her own when you point out those two easy options to choose from.

'Round here my daughter only wants paper plates because she has sensory issues with silverware on regular plates, so that solves that problem!
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