Teenage daughter blues

  1. I am looking for inspirational advice on how to handle my 13 year old daughter and all the curve balls she has a tendancy to throw my way. Her father and I have been divorced since she was 3. I remarried when she was 6, had twin daughters when my oldest was 8, and another daughter when she was 10. After my last daughter I developed a superior saggital sinus thrombus and have had subsequent migraines and TIA like events. Needless to say I did not have a lot of energy, stamina, or patience to interact with her as she would have liked. A year ago she decided she wanted to live with her father and stepmother in Texas. It was an excruciating decision for me as a mother, to let her go. My reasoning was that I did not want to deny her a chance to experience life with her father, and I needed to start being aggressive with my own medical needs. A year has passed and I seem to be growing further apart from her. She has more material things than I think a 13 year old needs, i.e. cell phone, unlimited access to money, very few restrictions or boundries. Her stepmother is a very nice woman, treats my daughter very well. Treats her like her best friend. And that I think is that is where my problem is. I believed that her father and stepmother, though would have their own parenting strategies, would stay on a similar path that I had been using for the past 12 years. However, that did not happen. I was very surprised to see her on her last visit over Christmas, with bright red hair (which used to be blonde), a few more holes in her ears, packing a cell phone, going to the tanner, and to my horror, wearing "butt" floss for underware:imbar . Though I know she is growing up, I feel that her father and stepmother are helping to accelerate it. I don't want to sound petty, but their are times that I miss my "little girl", miss the times when she would and could tell me anything, miss the light in her eyes when she knew she did well at something, miss the way she loved her little sisters. We talk every Sunday night, I email her 3-4 times a week, but there remains a distance between us and I need to find a way to correct it before I lose her for good. So if there is any helpful advice I would appreciate it.
  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Teacher Sue
    When my daughter was 13, my husband was killed in an accident at work. That was just about the time she was starting to assert herindependence from us. The sweet, happy little girl that had been living in my house had suddenly become a teenager. It was very hard for both of us at first. This is an age when kids usually start to rebel against parents, and adults in general. In addition she was dealing with her dad's death, and she adored him. She went from telling me everythint to telling me nothing. She is 17 now, and we are close, but she is no longer a little girl. She is becoming a woman, and is behaving like one. Maybe that is what is happening with your daughter. It doesn't sound like she is in trouble, so maybe you are worrying a little too much. As our children mature, our relationships with them change. This is a natural part of growing up.
  4. by   Rustyhammer
    13 is a rough age for girls. Mine would have mood swings that would rival Jeckle/Hyde.
    Now she is near her 17th birthday and she is back to telling me everything. There is a boy she likes in class and would it be ok with me (Dad) if she asked him out to go bowling someday? How she tried tampons for the first time and she had a hard time figuring out how to use them. We laughed about that together.
    It's nice to have her back.
    I like the openess, the "no secrets" friendship we have but at the same time Mom and Dad lay down the rules.
    No cell phone yet. She doesn't need one and right now she can't afford one despite the fact that she wants one so bad.
    9:30 curfew but she is free to invite her friends over here if they have later curfews.
    Her schoolwork and home duties come before free time.
    She is my little girl and yet she is a woman.
    Sometimes I look at her and can't believe she is so grown up.
  5. by   steel magnolia
    As long as she is not sexually active and not doing drugs, I would say she is just doing what teenagers do. She probably sees other girls wearing the butt floss, and she is just trying things on for size. The red hair is usual too. I always say, pick your battles. If there are no negative consequences of what she is doing, let her expereiment where she can. This is a very difficult age for teens and their parents. My dtr started w butt floss about that age too. When I didn't let her get another area of her ear pierced, she did it herself, and it got infected, so which is worse? Better top have them be up front and open, than sneaking around behind your/your husband's back.

    It's normal to feel like you are losing touch at that age. Don't worry, if you are "there" for them, no matter where you are, they will reach for you when they need you."
  6. by   CCU NRS
    I know you feel like things are changing greatly but I have a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself.

    Is your daughter putting forth proper effort in scholastics?

    Does she make decent grades and show active interest in activities such as sports or POM or Cheer or extracurricular activity?

    Does she smoke? Cigarettes, or pot, do you think she uses any drugs?

    Is she sexually active?

    Here is the thing, I have two teenage girls and my oldest has always been very head strong and when she turned thirteen she became completely rebeluous and stopped participating in school work and decided that she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to and she never was a social creature and became even less so no extrra curricular activity and generally just depressed sleeping all the time we got her in to a psychologist and suffice to say she does have some issues that she has worked through she is 15 now and doing much better but she is on Zoloft and she still doesn't and probably never will care about grades or school.

    My youngest is now 13 and she is having many many many problems, I am sure you are aware that in today society among teens oral sex is viewed as no big deal. Unfortunately girls are performing this act as casually as kissing was in the last decade. Sex is now expected at this age and many are participating consentually.

    Ask yourself are these things such as coloring her hair and using a cell phone and spending lots of money are really that bad?

    Ask yourself if you really know what your daughter is doing?

    Talk to your daughter about all the things I mentioned and find out exactly what her feelings are on sex and drugs and self mutilation? If you daughter is just experiencing normal societal changes and peer group expectations. I am sure you feel a great loss because she is no longer living with you and perhaps even some envy or jealousy over the way she adjusted and is not seeming to have trouble without you. I know this must be very difficult to deal with and even hurtful that she is able to so completely rearrange her life and be so happy and well adjusted in such a short time. If you husband and his wife have a parenting style that is casual perhaps it is because they see that she is doing well and does not need a lot of supervision as long as she is honest and forthcoming with them and they have solid ground rules such as keeping grades at an acceptable level and not dating till 16 or whatever and they do not see any signs of drug use or sexual activity.

    Take a look at your daughter as a self reliant person and see if you think she will/does make good decisions and if her maturity level is appropriate and she is showing the correct attitudes etc.

    Sorry so long I just felt that I may offer some insight I hope some of this helps.
  7. by   altomga
    My daughter is just shy of turning 14!!!!!! I have made it through the first teenage year :hatparty: ....(and I might add we are both still alive and kicking..LOL)...

    Teenagers are hard...I have a very open communication "board" with my daughter...I talk to her about sex (abstinence and safe sex), drugs, crime, etc....Now I am not saying she always participates in these conversations..sometimes I just hear "oh MOM"...but I just remember ONE thing...all those times I did the samething to my mom I was really ALWAYS LISTENING!!.... Teenagers are exerting their own independence and trying to find "their self"...who are they?...what do they want out of life?...
    My daughter thinks her friends are her life..and that's cool...I also know that she discusses "teen issues" with her friends and they give each other advice on boys, sex, and the what not...I know that she has been given all the RIGHT info from me though if someone gives the inevitable wive's tale stuff..

    Is my daughter spoiled?...Well...probably..yes she has a cell phone (with track minutes only though)...she has a comp in her room with net access...and the such...but she gets A's in school, is respectful of others (ok..sometimes back talks to Mom and Dad... ...but what kid didn't?)..has high hopes for the future (wants to be a forensic scientist and psychologists)..has attended academic camps during the summer.....helps out with her baby brother...helps with chores, etc...

    We all need to step back 10 steps sometimes and remember what it was like for us...Yes times are different and the environment is different, but all those inner feelings and turmoil we had to work through is the same...
    The rebellion and wanting to be 20ft away from us when in public is a part of growing up...We are the ones who need to keep communicating with them, let them know we ARE HERE for them, and know when to intervene if it is needed....and know what is actually worth fighting over...dying hair?? Is it worth it...Do the opposite and tell them YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT....more than likely they'll dye it back just b/c you said that..LOL

    In the end they will be adults and all we can hope and pray for is that we raised them with all the knowledge, morals, and ethics to be a productive, respectful adult.

    Until then, let's keep our fingers crossed and pray we make it through the teen years of all our kids...(in my case I've got 2 more behind my daughter.... ....
  8. by   H ynnoD
    My daughter is only 11,but I can see the changes that are already happening.I try and keep honest communication going with her.She has already seen the affects of drugs and alcohol and doesn't want anything to do with that.As for the sex we have answered any question honestly when it is asked.Those are the only 2 things I worry about.She can color her hair any color she wants,I'll even buy the coloring for her.She can wear quite a bit a different clothing to an extent so has'nt been much of a problem yet.She also will get a Cell Phone if deserving at 16,but it will be prepaid miniutes.Like someone else stated don't sweat the small stuff.If your worried about drugs and alcohol,take them to some AA or NA meetings.There are people there from all walks of life that she may hear what it has done to their lives.I know your daughter lives in Texas,But does'nt she come and stay with you any?Make the best of those times.Plan ahead.Just my .02
  9. by   nurs1forall
    I just wanted to thank those of you that replied to my post. Deep down I know that what I'm experiencing is probably just the usual teenager "angst". Does it make it any easier....yes and no. I am thankful that my daughter has a good head on her shoulder, does well in her school, has her music to keep her involved in extracurricular activities, however it is difficult not being there with her to see her through her successes and failures. I am just wallowing in self-pity here, or experiencing separation anxiety . Thanks again for your posts, it is nice to have a place to come shed some concerns and worries. This forum is an excellent resource that I am very fortunate to have found.
  10. by   teeituptom
    It doesnt get any easier

    Ive raised 5 boys and almost 2 girls.

    boys were much easier
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    You can't turn the clock back........your daughter will never be a little girl again. That's hard for a parent to adjust to, especially with the first child. Later on you learn that funky colored hair and strange clothing are merely the outward manifestations of a teenager trying on different personalities before she finds the one that best fits her........and she WILL outgrow the need to rebel.

    All you can really do at this point is to keep the lines of communication open, even if you don't think she's listening, and pray a lot. Yes, she needs to know about the serious things in life, like drugs, sex, and alcohol, but she also needs to be able to have fun with you and to know you're available to her at any time, and for any reason. Too many parents miss out on the good times with their children........adolescents can actually be a lot of fun, as I've discovered, because they're turning into real people with opinions and ideals and thoughts of their own! I was never the Koolaid-and-cookies kind of mom, with a swarm of little kids around all the time........I never had the patience for that, but I love having my kids' friends around now that they're all grown or nearing it. As scary as it is raising teens in today's world, it can still be a time of tremendous growth and enjoyment for both parent and child.
  12. by   jayna
    Oh nooooo.
    Mine is 9. She just asked what age groupdid the girls start to form breast. I go did you want mine I can give it to you and she goes nooooooooooooooooooooo ooh dear.

    I still want my little girl and hope they stay that way
  13. by   leslie :-D
    i swear my daughter, now 14, started her hormone hell when she was 2. but when you take an emotionally labile 14 yo and her 44 yo perimenopausal mother ( ), it's not pretty. but inspite of her fierce defiance, God, I so LOVE the young lady she's growing into. in contrast, my boys (13 &11) have been a piece of cake. i agree with tom, boys are much easier.