My teenage daughter is self-destructing. I've run out of ideas and I need help.
September 18, 2007 10:32 AM Subscribe
How can I help my teenager?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a 16-yr. old daughter who has always been a great student - a real high achiever, and an all-around nice kid. She's in her Junior year of high school, and she's currently enrolled in a very tough schedule: 3 AP courses, one honors course, plus she's a serious musician (she's drum major in her band, too). Instead of working hard like she needs to do in her courses, she's avoiding work, spending way too much time on the phone, lying to us about where's she's going, and in general acting irresponsibly. My spouse and I have always had a very good and close relationship with her (she calls me her best friend), but our communication has died. WTF?
I know that much of this can be chalked up to normal teenage stuff like testing her wings socially (she has really blossomed in the last year into a beautiful girl). We have tried to talk to her about striking a balance, saving one night for social activity, shutting off the cell phone when she's home, etc. She agrees to these things, then does things like keeping her cell phone on vibrate after she goes to bed so that she can text her friends until 1:30 am. Last week, she said that she was going bowling with her girlfriend, and I then found out that she picked up a boy that we didn't much care for (he's gotten in trouble at school and is a poor student) and went out joyriding. In my car. EEK! We've now reverted to parent-strong-disciplinarian mode: required her to turn over her cell phone to us when she gets home, restricted her computer access, temporarily grounded her for the joy-ride episode.
I've offered to go down to the guidance office with her and help her transfer out of one or more of her AP courses, thinking that she's feeling too much pressure and that this is a reaction. But, she's emphatic about sticking with it. She's a really smart girl, but her grades are slipping, and she's cutting corners by buying Spark Notes, etc. We work with her on her problem sets, and have offered to set up study groups in our home on weekends so that she can combine some study time with her friends. No luck. What now? I'm hoping that there's something other than "I'm your new asshole Overlord who runs your life and doesn't trust you" that will work here. Any suggestions? Just let her fail? Set really firm limits (as we're doing now), wait it out, it'll pass?