By March 8, 2011 Read More →

Grrr. Teenage Girls!

To coin a popular teenage phrase, WTF?

Can someone please try and explain what the triggers are that will turn a teenage girl from a funny, engaging, friend, into an evil creature that could not have been born–but spawned?

This past weekend, was a perfectly good example. The local school district sponsored a Career Fair to get kids thinking about what type of career track they might want to pursue. We decided to check it out. We woke up on time, went out and had a yummy breakfast together. We were laughing and talking and having a good time.

We drove to the Career Fair and as soon as we hit the registration desk it began! The woman asked her to sign in and there was a glance of contempt. But she signed in. Then there was another woman who teasingly told her to “at least smile because she (the woman) had been there since 6am setting the thing up for you (my daughter).” Scowl. Sheesh.

So we head in and walk down one aisle looking at the various businesses that were there. We rounded the corner and there was a booth for the local school district human resources department. Since she had expressed an interest in teaching, I suggested we visit this booth and see what they had to say.  The conversation went somethign like this:

Me: Hey look, here is the school district’s booth, why don’t we stop here?
Her: Why? What good will that do?
Me: Well you said you were interested in teaching, and it is the school district?
Her: Yeah?
Me: Well, human resources is the department that does the hiring and firing and they can tell you what to expect and what you need to study to become a teacher.
Her: well that’s ridiculous, I am not waiting in line to talk to anyone.

OK at that point I lost it. I admit. I had just spent $30 on a great breakfast, driven about 30 miles to this Career Fair for her to check things out and now I get this “tude” out of nowhere.  I told her fine, we’re leaving and I boogied out really fast and got in the car an laid into her. I explained that I do an awful lot for her and it likely was coming to an end.

I told her that I would take her to school, pick her up from school, make sure she has a place to sleep and food in the fridge. Beyond that she needs to plan on her own–and she could start with her babysitting gig because I was not driving her there at 7pm and picking her up after midnight.  Needless to say the ride home was quiet–well for me, she had her iPod in and turned up.

She did make arrangements for her sitting job to have the parent pick her up and bring her home. But while she was sitting, she called her mom and together they made the decision that she was going to spend the week at her mother’s house.  OK, I yelled at her on Saturday morning, but by Sunday I was pretty much over it–still mad, but over it.

And now her mom just helps her get her way by avoiding any conflict.

On second thought, any clues into the mind of an ex to go along with the clues into the mind of a teen?


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14 Comments on "Grrr. Teenage Girls!"

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  1. Michelle says:

    I wish I had some insight or advise for you, but the best I can do is tell you that you are not alone. I have twins fourteen year old girls who can turn from great company to the spawn of Satan in a blink of the eye. I think all we can do is hold on knowing that this too shall pass. As to what brings this on, even as a former teenage girl I haven’t got a clue!
    Good luck!

  2. John says:

    My son is never like that. He will get moody and retreat. Never lash out. And my youngest daughter is like Switzerland–neutral to all and happy go lucky in any eventuality. This one, sometimes I walk on eggshells never knowing what might trigger it. Ahh–I guess I can hold out for 18!

  3. Lauren says:

    You reacted to your teen the way most of us would if in a similar situation. Maybe you can sit down and say “hey, I lost my mind but do you get where I was coming from?….this kind of behavior can’t continue”. Explain her behavior and how it makes her look to others and how it makes others feel. I remember being that girl. I remember feeling that I didn’t have any control over it. I don’t know if there is a “cure” other than time. Good luck!

  4. John says:

    My ex and I share custody 50-50 and I am ticked off that she intervened and allowed her to spend “my” week with her. When it happens on the other end and she is mad at her mom, my reaction is no, you can;t come here–stay there and work it out. But that is great advice. I will definately talk to her (my daughter) when she comes back.

  5. Peggy says:

    My advice during that time would have been “let it be.” Relish the good days and let the bad slide on by. I have an 18 yr old & that helps me. Like you said – It would help if she didn’t have her mom to run to, that way she’d have to think of what happened & weigh how she reacted. Hang in there!

  6. John says:


  7. Name (required) says:

    I wouldn’t talk about “how it makes her look to others” and “how it makes others feel”…this is about how it makes YOU feel!

  8. Margaret says:

    John & all,

    I have a very similar problem. My daught is 14.5. Yes, I count the halves 🙂

    The most consistent thing about her is that she is inconsistent. It is often an emotional roller coaster ride. I never know what to expect & I, too, feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    Also, have the ex who enables her running to dad, rather than back me up & actually help his child.

    Lauren stated, tell her how it makes her look to others. Another person said, no, don’t do that. Depending on your daughter, it might be entirely appropriate to do that in addition to telling her how you feel. If she doesn’t realize she’s coming across as a snotty, entitled kid, it might be good.

    John, yours is 16. Uh-oh, I was hoping mine would be better by then.

    Can anyone tell me when she might turn a corner & improve?

    I did not behave this way with my parents.

    If anyone did, can you explain why they are this way? Is it mostly hormones?

    I am so not enjoying this stage of parenting.

  9. Olga says:

    Argh! Please, let’s pause for a moment and play the violin…not for you John, for ME! My daughter is only 11, and she is already acting like this. I’m sure I don’t need to get in to details as to why, but suffice it to say, she has grown up, and anyone who sees her thinks she is 14. I am going through the same darn thing. My daughter went from adoring me, loving to hug and get kisses, to treating me like I’m the enemy and walking around with an attitude, not smiling, barely mumbling a hello when greeted by others. I try, I reallly reallly try to be rational, calm, understanding, after all, (more violin please) I am a woman too so hellllo I have my own hormones to deal with, but man, she really knows how to press those buttons, realllly hard. I actually said the other day, “you’re lucky I don’t believe in hitting because I really want to slap you across the face right now.” Yes, I felt like crap afterwards. I find myself getting so angry because she seems so ungrateful for everything and SO selfish. And then for brief moments, the clouds part, the sun shines, and my loving child returns, giggling, being goofy, nice and exorcised. Those are the moments we have to really appreciate. My only advice, don’t stop doing things for yourself. Yesterday I got home, after 2 hrs of commuting, exhausted, to find that even though she had been home 3 hours, she had not done her homework because according to her, she didn’t understand it and needed help, so without any break, I sat down to try and help her. I relearned some ridiculous math that made no sense so I can teach it to her and all I got was nasty attitude and “I knows” and constant interrupting when trying to explain. I was so mad, I lost it and broke out into a horrible waagh waagh waaggh session of “I’m tired, the dishes are still in the sink, I have TWO litter boxes to clean, dinner to make, and I’m sitting her re-learning math so I can help you and you are giving me attitude?” So I got up, got my keys and told her, I expect to find you’ve done a bunch of your homework by the time I return. I left (slammed door of course, because that’s exactly what I want to teach her…ugh) and went for a hike in the woods behind my house. Really that means I found the nearest patch to sit on and cried my eyes out. But the truth is, after almost an hour of being among the trees, hearing birds and the creek, and seeing a hummingbird zip by, I felt loads better. Mother Earth renewed me. I will do this more often, minus the lecture and the door slamming. Hopefully.

  10. AHarris says:

    After the last 2 years of being “best friends” my daughter turned 13 last month. Now I sit alone every night in my office, while her door is locked and if I say anything, there is a scream. Yesterday at Starbucks I went over to her table and received a scream so loud everyone in the coffe-shop jumped. Then once in a while a very soft hurried “I love you,” as if to calm my dejected pathetic soul.
    How to deal with this? I hear there is 5 hours of homework each night, but I think it is really Facebook and chat….Oh for the Summer, I am told “I will just hang out, no camps, with my other friends who also don’t go to camp, that means everyone.”

  11. John says:

    Very similar here! I do hear it gets better at 18+ Come on 18!

  12. P_NYC says:

    It sounds to me like your daughter was acting out maybe because she was scared…she was scared about her future. A teenager at a career fair might be worried about making a choice soon…that would impact her whole life. She felt too much pressure, all of a sudden. It made her feel worse to know that others were judging her for not having a smile on her face…it is not your daughter’s responsibility to put on a cheerful face, upon demand. She has lots of hormones pumping through her body…she feels self-conscious at that age, too, like people are watching her, judging her…maybe she saw someone when you two walked in…maybe a boy she likes who had his arm around another girl…she doesn’t have full control over her roller-coaster emotions or her reactions (b.t.w she wasn’t harming anyone…throwing anything, hitting anyone etc.)…she is still a child. I have a 3 year old daughter, my first child, I read up on The Terrible Twos before she went through that phase…it’s considered the first adolesence, by the way! My mom never did any research on developmental phases…instead she called me a “monster” for going through the Terrible Twos and causing her anguish back then (she told me this to try to get sympathy when I was grown-up)…and she yelled at me when I was a teenager, for normal moody teenage behavior and called me “Satan” (you’re lucky if it ends by 18, by the way…for some, it lasts 14-21). I chose not to spend much time with my mom in my adult life for what she put me through in my teen years (the words she used when talking to me AND when describing me to others)- putting me down for feeling these feelings that I didn’t know what to do with back then…it was like PMS, out of the blue, out of nowhere. I wanted to be left alone. I was a good child…straight A’s, honor student always, didn’t touch a drop of drugs (or take a puff), no problems with the law etc. Hmmmm…and guess is that most children go along with the custody arrangement, whether it makes them happy or not…but then they reach their teen years and they have a definite opinion…sadly, a child might prefer the advice/comfort of one parent over another at a certain moment, but they aren’t designated to be with that parent that week…they haven’t been one “family” in so long…and it was the choice of the parents to break-up…so, is it in the best interest of the child to say, wait, this is MY week to spend with you and you can’t go to your mom’s?! I’m already reading up on teenage behavior to prepare for it…I knew going in, though, what was to come, ha…we are over The Terrible Twos now, mostly, and she is a delight again…but I know she isn’t going to want to be my best friend forever, I am bracing for 13! What you’re describing is really so normal and it could be so much worse…try to think of your FUTURE relationship with your daughter, instead of winning the argument with her in the present. If you are not calm, how will she learn to control herself more and be calm? Maybe you needed a little space from each other…rather than resisting that…if you went with the flow…and called her mother ASAP, then you could have felt more in control. I think it’s a power struggle anyway from now on…between daughter and parents. She will use the disagreement between you and your ex to her advantage, very well. The storm passes, go with the flow and ignore whatever can be ignored and enjoy the wonderful moments. Good luck! (Take out the pictures of when your daughter was 3 years old…look at her sweet face! She is experiencing growing pains right now…but she still loves you.)

  13. tmatch says:

    I remember my teenage years and the battles me and my mom went through, its a time of hormones, realizing parents are not always right, thinking parents haven’t gone through what you went through,pressures of the social ladder in high school when I went away to college I realized my parents were right, high school was just school, and now in my midthirties my mom and I are the best of friends, she always told me when in high school we are enemies now but as you get older daughters become your best friend and she was right

  14. DM2 says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Such a difficult time for teens & parents – tho we should have so much to be grateful for. Hard to focus on the positives. The roller coaster emotions, focus on appearances, single parenting, stress with work and school, worries for her safety and decision-making, sex & violence in the world, the list goes on. I think it’s best to not take things personally, hold fast to values regardless, and understand that we are doing our best and it will get better.

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