I'm back! Still perplexed w/dear 14 yr old daughter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-10-2017, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm back! Still perplexed w/dear 14 yr old daughter

Am I the first or the ten thousandth Mom who has said: I feel so dumb! I don't have a problem, and yet--every day--I feel like I have a, um, challenge?

I was formulating my thoughts about my dear 14 year old daughter, logged in, and lo and behold, there was my post of one year ago, saying the same thing I'm thinking now.

And there was Miranda's / Mominmomma's fabulous reply (mom of 4).

A year later, may I touch base here for some feedback, insight, vision?

A year ago I wrote the following:

DH and I have 3 DDs--ages 23, 19, 14. Each is adopted from China (why I mention that I'll say later). All three take their issues and problems in stride; each is lucky in academics, social life, health, and each has a positive outlook. The eldest is employed and the middle DD is in college.

Smooth sailing, but for at least three years, I don't feel as though I "read" DD 3 well at all and consequently I wonder if she is not getting the right mothering/understanding. For example:

1. No structured or "be your own boss" design has resulted in less electronics usage. Taking her phone away for ten days or so in Nov because she brought home some failing grades, predictably did not make her think, "Wow! I better get those grades up!" She was devastated. I think I ended up apologizing to her for making a bad decision. Yup. She got over it!

Now she will sleep till noon, use a device, walk around our safe and wholesome village (really) with a nice girlfriend) and eat a slice of pizza before we pick her up at 8 pm.

What prompted this post was finding her watching a movie in bed at 3 am this morning. I credit her for admitting that she just had not gone to sleep at all. I've wised up enough to be gentle, but I waited until the light was out.

Upfront, DD is a dear girl. She obligingly volunteers with children at the library 3 or 4 days a week. Her grade average is above 90. She is composed and confident and has friends. She won the award for best contributor to a teen community service club. A family friend is giving her a few photography lessons.

Additionally, she clearly loves her parents and sisters. She has never sneered, sulked, used bad language, or gotten in trouble.

Before you strangle me, I'm writing to say: I think I have reached the turning point where I say to myself, "Leave her alone," or, more precisely, "Stop thinking about her." I mean, I have to turn off the narrative in my head: (1) She didn't take a shower last night, I should/shouldn't let her go to school with dirty hair! (2) She should not wear those sweat pants to school! (3) It's noon, get her out of bed! (3) Six hours of electronics, OMG! (4) When was the last time she read a book, 4 years ago? (5) DD never wants to do ANYTHING (museum, walk, drive, movie), what's wrong with her?

I hope you can read between the lines that I'm looking to find the right parenting for DD. My instinct right now is telling me that it is "hands-off / I'm there when you need me / uncompromising support" presence. Any brakes I put on (we put on) are "lights out at 11" and routine showers. She is not clueless, but it is baffelling that she needs to be told to take a shower?

Much more than her two older sisters' rooms were at this age, DDs room is awful. When she was out about a month ago I washed, dried, hung clothes, emptied trash, etc. etc., but did "not touch stuff" and DD did not express anger but the next day there was a "Never Go In My Room" sign on her closed door. I sat on her bed and apologized a big deal about not meaning to intrude on her privacy etc and she said she loved me etc etc etc. So now there are empty water bottles on the floor etc.

My expectations are: good grades, interests, friends, health, hobbies, well-being, college planning.

Chinese school and books and anything "cultural etc" are out. And I think that what might make me anxious about her being "okay" is that DD will never ask me a question or share an observation. Things like "Will you drive me to Mary's?" don't count. I think I have to accept that that is NORMAL (because it is new, first two DDs were different and talked and shared a lot and still do). I need some validation that I am giving her what she needs even though she does not want to talk.

I'll just tuck in here that DD is very close to her two older sisters who are, in a way, surrogate Moms (so she needs/wants less from me). She is very close to them ("when is DD2 coming home?).

I mentioned that they are adopted from China because partly by their nature and partly by the way we did things/people we hung out with, each maintains that she has no adoption/abandonment issues and, in fact, it does not appear that any of them does (the future? Who knows.).

Any reflection and advice much appreciated, thank you so much!
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#2 of 9 Old 08-10-2017, 07:31 PM
 
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Shes sounds like a normal fully adjusted 14 yr old american girl, probably on summer break. Shes growing up, becoming independent, making her own choices and by default seeing consequences. Shes not the 'oldest of 3 children' Shes the 'youngest of 3, now young women' She is going to be different than your other 2 DD's, those 2 dd's have forged a path for her, technology is quickly changing. Again, a normal, fully functional 14 yr old girl.
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#3 of 9 Old 08-17-2017, 04:04 PM
 
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She sounds normal to me. o Some kids just aren't talkers or sharers by nature, and every younger teen I've known has spent at least a few months living in their room and pushing back against any attempt to 'manage' them or their time.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-18-2017, 06:45 PM
 
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Is she perhaps more introverted than her sisters? It can take some getting used to...

Miranda

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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#5 of 9 Old 08-21-2017, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update! :)

To my three kind responders, thank you so much! I thought that my post was so ridiculous, I was afraid to come back and look at it (WHAT is she ANGSTING ABOUT?)

Something challenging came up this evening - it was a big deal to DD 3 - I hope I made the right call. DD 3 was home with Dad all day, the rest of us were out till 5:30. Dad told DD 3 that she could see Arabella w/friends..."if it's okay w/Mom." DD2 took me aside and told me that she had read that it is a grisly horror movie. I looked it up on Common Sense Media. The site is, I think, liberal and tolerant..a reliable guide recommended to me by a children's librarian. They look more generously on "Go Ask Alice" and "Gym Candy" than I do. CSM recommended Arabella for teens 17+ ! High rate of violence, no redeeming value in any categories. Text said it was violent and scary, gratuitous violence. Teen reviewers said 13+ but most said that the movie was extremely scary. One viewer said that it was the most violent and scary thing he/she had ever seen. I watched a horrible trailer. Dad and DD 2 agreed w/me that DD 3 should pass on the movie, and guess who got to tell her by herself (don't ask....he had a deadline

I was very tender about the NO. I even said, "Mom may not even be making the right decision, but I have to decide what I think is best for your well-being etc etc etc." Of course DD 3 was very unhappy. She even cried. She said, "You are always like this." I asked her, What? "You wouldn't let me read "13 and <whatever it is>" She bought the book by herself and I "tried to explain why" and I took it away. That is the very only NO I think she's gotten in a very long time. I don't think she knows how permissive we are and how vast her freedom is, as long as her time is sort of well spent.

So she is mad at me. I hope I am correct in projecting that it will wear off in a few days and we will pick another movie and plan other things.

IS SHE AN INTROVERT? I think that fundamentally all three are temperamentally introverts who healthily live in a world where they have to get out there and get involved. They are certainly not confident extroverts who like to run for class offices, be in the popular group, shop for clothes at the mall--I do not mean to stereotype extroverts!--each of them 'thinks' which kind of slows a person down. We've had anxiety, we've had anger, we've had meltdowns, but what makes DD 3 different is she hardly talks to me. The older two talked through their troubles. At the heart of my concern is the fact that DD 3 doesn't seem to want or need me as a person to go to. I'm not really sure where she gets her support from, and I only know that she talks to her sisters and her friends, but not to me and her Dad.

Four years of HS around the corner, and I really don't know how I'll keep tabs on her outside of the obvious stuff (knowing where she is, grades, health, activities). Trying to make a person talk to you is sure to backfire.

Has anyone here had a daughter who is essentially well-adjusted who just tunes her parents out and doesn't "Mom talk" ? TIA!
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#6 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 04:17 PM
 
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I have three biological children and a step-daughter. Sometimes I think my step-daughter is more like me than my 14yo!
It has taken me some getting used to the fact that she confides more in her friends than me. I have felt that I'm doing something wrong. Her younger sister tells me absolutely everything. I've talked to her about it and ultimately it seems that's just the kind of person she is. They are all so very different!
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#7 of 9 Old 09-01-2017, 09:00 PM
 
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"Has anyone here had a daughter who is essentially well-adjusted who just tunes her parents out and doesn't "Mom talk" ? TIA!"
Well, I was that daughter, if that helps at all!

My Mom and I had a wonderful relationship! No more than the minimum amount of clashes when I was a teen, DH and I were caregivers for her and my stepdad in our home for the last decade of her life...we got along fine and had a great time together. She gave me good advice when I needed it...but we never really had "Mom talks". I'm just not wired that way. She was definitely a good listener- in fact sometimes my friends would confide in her- I've just never had the need to discuss/share my feelings very much with anyone; to me it's a private thing.

I really hope my Mom never felt badly about that, especially because I was her only girl. We discussed everything else imaginable, but not the kinds of things I assume you mean by 'mother-daughter talks'.

Last edited by stormborn; 09-01-2017 at 10:25 PM.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-02-2017, 02:35 PM
 
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Thank you stormborn! Hahaha, I guess we are all made so different so we can learn to love each other despite our opposing perspectives. I'm one of those annoying people who just always has to dig deep into the meaning of everything and have heartfelt discussions all the time. Good thing my partner has helped me to learn to laugh at myself while loving myself.
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#9 of 9 Old 09-02-2017, 08:37 PM
 
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Ha, I am great at listening, so there's that!
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