I’m Worried About my Teenage Daughter

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I’m worried about my daughter who’s 14. She used to be a sweet little girl and we were very close but now she’s become rude and grumpy. She used to talk to me about everything but now she either ignores me or clams up. I never know what she’s thinking and she seems to be so angry all the time. I know teenagers can be difficult but I must admit I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
Anonymous

Answer
This sounds like typical teenage behaviour but it has obviously come as a shock to you. I would try not to worry too much about her as you’ve obviously had a close relationship with her up until now.
Teenagers have a hard time. They believe they are more adult and mature than they really are so they want to push us away when we appear to be curtailing their independence. They will tend to push against the boundaries and punish us if we don’t allow them to have their own way. They can be stubborn, rude and secretive. However, they are trying to find out who they are, their bodies are changing and they are feeling very uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. They worry about everything and the peer pressure is enormous, and so is the pressure to do well at school.
Underneath the façade they need to know that they are loved and they need to be held within firm boundaries. Teenagers can often say hurtful things to their parents and the temptation is to verbally hit back at them. It’s important to try to avoid arguments and hurtful exchanges, however much we may feel like it. It helps to calmly point out that their behaviour is unacceptable and there may sometimes be an appropriate punishment, but boundaries should be clear and well explained from a perspective of love. Parents need to be consistent and firm but it’s best to keep the rules to a minimum with the main aim of keeping them safe. Eventually teenage behaviour settles down, if handled in the appropriate way, and relationships usually become close again.

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