I am very concerned about my 14 yr old daughter. My daughter seems to have formed an extremely close attachment to me and I am not sure it is healthy. I am a single mother of three and have always been attentive and loving to my children, but my daughter has been more demanding than the others for my attention, right from the beginning. She is miserable the majority of the time, rejects her friends (does not talk to them on the phone or see them outside of school)she needs to know where I am at all times and wants to be with me constantly, and feels rejected if I spend time with anyone other than her. She calls me if I am even 5 minutes late getting home from work, and demands to know when I will be home and why I am late. She also gets angry if I go to bed before her or do anything without her - even grocery shopping or if I don't sit right next to her when we watch a movie. She is extremely jealous of anyone and everyone I spend time with, including my twin sister and my common-law husband. In other words, she does not like to share my affections. My common-law husband is wonderful and loving to her but she rejects him and if I suggest my sister join us in an activity she gets irate. She is even jealous over the affection I give her brothers and does not want me to include them in any activities. My fiancee and I have discussed having a child together in the future, which she found out about, and went balistic, threatening that she would never even look at the baby and worse, she would kill it. She is a loving and affectionate child when she has me to herself and when she doesn't, she is miserable and angry. Her favorite way of "punishing" me is by giving me the silent treatment. For example, I offered to my sister to make my 2 yr old neice a "castle" cake for her birthday, and my daughter has been unhappy with the idea for over a week Yesterday, I went shopping for supplies for this cake and she called me to tell me that the "castle" cake was her cake, made special for her (I made it for her 5th birthday) and that she did not want me to make it. When I arrived home, she asked again for me not to make it. I told her I was going to make the cake and she refused to talk to me for the rest of the evening. I just don't understand how to make her happy. Our lives are miserable and I don't know how to fix it or even what the problem is. I feel extreme guilt all the time. It is taking it's toll on our whole family. My other children don't understand her (they are boys 9 & 16) and I feel like they may feel a little rejected because she need so much of my attention, my spouse, although understanding, is tired of her running our lives, and the rest of the family is hurt, confused...(my sister does not understand why my daughter gets along with her when I am not around but when I am, she is doesn't want anything to do with her) I am so confused and concerned. She is an absolutely gorgeous girl, popular, smart, and everyone loves her. Unlike her friends, she does not even seem interested in boys, or any form of a social life. Please help.
I guess my first question would be, do you allow her to do this? How do you handle the phone calls when you're late and the silent treatments? I don't want to make it sound like you are responsible for the problem...I don't feel that way at all...but you must have done something, either consciously or not, to allow her to start this behavior.
Have you tried setting limits with her? Shut your cell phone off on the way home, or if you do keep it on for emergencies and it's her with another one of her "parenting" phone calls, do you explain to her that you are an adult and you do not need to answer to her? Do you give her a time when you will be home and adhere to it and then not allow her to call anymore or do you come straight home?
If you haven't tried things like that, that would be my first suggestion. Stop allowing her to be the adult and control your life. Let her throw her fits. Let her give you the silent treatment. Make the cake if you want to make the cake. Enforce some limits and consequences. No, she won't like it but tough you-know-what. She's 14. Sometimes she doesn't get a choice.
Regardless of any of that, though, or what you have tried or not tried and regardless of how this started, I think it's time to take your daughter to a professional. Start setting limits at home with her, but arrange for some therapy at the same time. You are right that this is not at all healthy or normal. Even if you did something unwittingly to encourage this, it now seems entrenched and getting worse. What really scares me is her saying she'd kill the new baby. That is NOT a rational thought process and she has crossed into obsession at this point. This is stalking behavior. Your daugther may have a personality disorder and you can do nothing to treat that.
The bottom line is you can't let a 14 year old run your life, and she deserves a more better-adjusted existance than obsessing over her mother all the time as well.
tigerlily- this is really quite unusual. I think you need to look into family therapy to find out what's going on with her.
I do see girls who seem to have odd attachments to their mothers - and in fact, will sit in their mother's laps at this age, which I think is quite odd. But it's common enough that I guess it's normal.
Your daughter's attachment goes beyond the usual quirk - and I would call it "dominance" rather than "attachment". Not only is she attached to you, she has a jealousy for your attention is a concern.
I think a good family therapist could unravel the layers and find out what's going on with her.
I agree with the above posters. Her behavior is unusual and I think she needs some professional help. Sorry we can't be more helpful but you really cannot let a 14 year old run your life. Good luck and I hope you find the solution.
Thank you to everyone for the helpful advice. I really needed to hear from others that I am not crazy and that her behavior is not normal. And I completely agree that this behavior has alot to do with me and what I have allowed. I guess you could say that I am a people pleaser to the extreme and that when I separated/divorced from my children's Father, I felt such extreme guilt over that and the fact that I had to work (be away from them more) that I overcompensated by giving them every moment of my time and attention. I tried to be everything to them to make up for the fact that they only had one parent. Although, I have tried to talk to her about her behavior on several occasions and have explained to her that I am the adult and do not have to answer to her, I did not enforce that as much as I should have, otherwise we probably would not be still having these issues. I know I have made the mistake of letting her manipulate me to the extreme and I know that somewhere along the way, it seems like we either reversed roles or became equals in the process. Seeing the posts here makes me understand that help is long overdue and that I should indeed seek therapy, for not only her but perhaps, for myself to learn how to set/enforce healthy boundaries with my daughter. Thank you all.
I would just like to add to this that of course reasonable boundaries are important, but also bear in mind that your daughter is clearly unhappy and feeling very insecure, she is doing this because she needs reassurance from you. You say you have a fiance, I dont know what past circumstances were but maybe she has lost a father or feels that one has left? maybe she is afraid that you are not going to stick around as well. have you tried talking to her? I dont mean "dont be silly" or "stop behaving like this" .. but ask her what she is afraid of, ask her if she is afraid of loosing you, reassure her that you love her unconditionally and will always do so whether you remarry or spend time with others, that she is very special and important in your life.
I am an adult with a diagnosed attachment disorder that I am currently receiving therapy for. I was in care when I was your daughter's age but my behaviour around my natural mother was very similar when I was a younger child and I was very unhappy and very insecure, so try not to make her feel guilty and responsible but rather that you and her can work through whatever is worrying her together and take some time to give her your undivided attention, not exclusively of course, but set time aside to give her just what she needs from time to tome
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