We often hear lots about the ‘terrible twos’ but some parents struggle more when their children reach teenage years.
One mum has admitted she and her husband are having an incredibly difficult time with their 14-year-old daughter who is mean to them and her younger brother.
The unnamed parent seems to be at the end of her tether and has turned to an agony aunt for some advice.
Writing into Laura Mazza at Kidspot’s Advice Needed, the mum branded her daughter “horrible” and confessed her love for her child is “turning to hate”.
She said: “Our 14-year-old daughter has turned into that horrible teenager we all read about and dread.
“We put up with her backchat, rudeness and laziness to name a few. She is extremely horrible to us as her parents but even her younger brother. Recently the situation has gotten worse to the point she has told her brother she wishes he was dead and how she wishes she was an only child.
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“Daily we put up with her horrible side. We have tried everything to stop it. Now I’ve started to turn my love for her to hate. My husband wants to send her to boarding school as we can’t deal with it anymore.”
The mum goes on to say that the daughter’s behaviour has caused a “major split” in their family, as everyone else thinks she’s “kind-hearted” and “well behaved” but she isn’t that way with them.
This has caused the parent to wonder what they have done wrong.
Advice columnist Laura, who is also a mum, explained how she became an “a**hole” when she was a teenager, without meaning to and that it’s often to be expected.
She tells the mum she’s not doing anything wrong and that her daughter is just going through the “hormone-iest” time, that’s filled with slamming doors, attitude, experimenting with bodies, drugs, and social media.
“It’s tough on them. It’s exhausting! Think about when you’re anxious and stressed; you’re more likely to lash out at the people you feel comfortable with, who you love and feel safe with. This is why you’re getting the brunt of the attitude,” Laura says.
She goes on to encourage the parents not to send their daughter off to boarding school unless they want her to “resent” them and have trust issues.
“The troubled kid being sent to boarding school and getting up to mischief and resenting their parents later down the track isn’t a cliché in the movies for no reason. It will be the ultimate rejection for her right now, and it won’t improve her behaviour and what she needs.”
Instead, she recommends treating her more like a housemate than a daughter, talking to her more, listening wholeheartedly.
“Talk to your teen every day. If they want to talk to you, listen to them wholeheartedly. Turn the TV off, put down your phone and dedicate that time. Don’t interrupt or respond with judgment; instead, react like they’re your housemate,” Laura adds.
“If you build that tight relationship and respect, she will consider your opinion.
“If she doesn’t want to talk, talk to her about your day, what stressed you out. Offer pauses to get her to join in. Make excuses to spend time with her. Make an extra effort to do this. You may meet with some initial resistance, but you should see some improvement over time with consistent, gentle steps.”
What advice would you give to the struggling mum? Let us know in the comments below.