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Topic : Setting Boundaries

Number of Replies: 344
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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 01:21:13 pm
Author : dataimport
It's important to set healthy boundaries for and with your teen. Share your strategies.

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January 15, 2006, 5:56 pm CST

Just tell them ...

Quote From: newmom26

  

I have a three month old who is bothered terribly by cigarette smoke.  I do not let anyone smoke around him, but even the stale smoke from  his grandmothers clothing will cause him to caugh and get stuffed up.  I have no problem telling anyone in my family to not smoke if they plan on coming around him.  The problem is my husbands family.  He will not tell them that smoke bothers our baby because he doesn't want to hurt their feelings.  I already feel that his parents do not like me so I don't think I should be the one that has this conversation with them.  How should I let them know that if they want to see our child they can not smoke? 

If they don't like it, too bad. You are protecting your child. If they have gone this long in life, and feel that they are entitled to smoke around their grandchild, they don't deserve to have a grandchild! 

  

If they truly love their grandchild, and want to see their loved one raised happy and healthy, they will abide by your decison.  

 
January 18, 2006, 11:01 pm CST

Don't forget to catch her being good

Quote From: sklarlynn

Personaly, I'd stop after you took most of my clothes away. lol. I'd suggest not letting her do anything. That would make anyone stop. No tv. No phone. No computer. No friends. Nothing but school, homework, chores, showers, and bedtime. Anyone would stop if it became that bad.  

My mom's a strict but loving, Southern woman. I was taught that if you lie, everything is taken away. Lying is wrong. I've learned that. Apparently, your daughter isn't scared that you'll punish her. Which it seems like you've been doing. But if she lies about where she is, check up on her. Call the house, call the place, stay with her at the mall. Don't be incredibally clingy but stay in the mall with her. Like if she's in a store stay outside the store and don't move until she comes out. Take all fun out of her life if she lies again and maybe she'll learn.  

  

This proves how my mom is, Maybe it will help. 

My sister was supposed to be at a friend's house, sleeping over. At two o'clock in the morning my mother called up the house to ask if Christy, my sister, was there. The answer. No. My mother, becoming incrdibally mad at this point waited until my sister was home the next morning to break the news. You lied, you get punished. No anything.  

  

If she lies punish her. No matter if it's the tinist of lies. Punish her. Apparently it's the only that will work at this point since the point hasn't gotten across to her yet. Good luck and I hope it helped. 

Positive reinforcement is a very powerful tool.  With all that she is doing wrong, you can get in a cycle of disappointment with her, which she is very aware of.  Watch for ANYTHING at all that she is doing good, and then make sure she knows you noticed. 
 
January 18, 2006, 11:15 pm CST

Been There

Quote From: beckycaddy

Even though I am married I can understand completely where you are coming from.  I also have a 14 year old boy. He is from a previous relationship.  I have been trying to tell myself that  is the problem.  But I don't really think it is. He goes to a special school because of this kind of behavior.  At the begining of the school year it was great. He did the work just like he was suppose to. But now we are back to not doing the work until he is good and ready. 

  

I wonder if it is just a boy thing? I also have a 12 year old boy, but he loves school and learning. I just don't know.   

  

I hope that your knowing that another family is going through the same things will help you feel better and more hopeful. 

My son, now 20, started underachieving when he was about 15 or so; grades deteriorated, he became obsessed with chatting online, computer gaming, etc.   I wish I had taken away the computer then.  I too consulted his teachers, two school counsellors, hired tutors, etc., etc.  He is still underachieving, flunked out of college, working only part-time, mooching off his girlfriend's family, has not enough money to move out on his own.  I suspect we did too much for him.  Watch yourself that you are not trying to do so much for him that you are not allowing him to succeed on his own.  Encourage any little positive thing you see him do.  Catch him being good.
 
January 23, 2006, 8:28 pm CST

this is so me....

I can so relate to this message board, it's my first time on this message board.  I am a 44 year old woman that just married the love of my life.  We vowed that we would not let kids destroy this and my only thing is, how do you deal with a 13 year old girl that thinks she knows the world?  I have suspicion and evidence of "huffing" and when I confronted her she denies it - is this normal?  But, I know the REAL DEAL!!
 
January 24, 2006, 10:07 am CST

I understand

Quote From: beckycaddy

Even though I am married I can understand completely where you are coming from.  I also have a 14 year old boy. He is from a previous relationship.  I have been trying to tell myself that  is the problem.  But I don't really think it is. He goes to a special school because of this kind of behavior.  At the begining of the school year it was great. He did the work just like he was suppose to. But now we are back to not doing the work until he is good and ready. 

  

I wonder if it is just a boy thing? I also have a 12 year old boy, but he loves school and learning. I just don't know.   

  

I hope that your knowing that another family is going through the same things will help you feel better and more hopeful. 

My son is doing the same thing.  Its almost like he is looking for the extra attention but when you try to help, he includes me as part of the problem.  I had to back off and let him realize he may be repeating 7th grade over if he doesn't get on it.  What else can you do besides doing the homework for them.  They have to take the responsiblity I suppose.  We fight about everything, he trys to get away with what he can.  I have worked with everybody in the school, done the homework checking thing, but its hard to stay up on what's due every day.  When you find the answer, let me know!
 
January 24, 2006, 11:29 pm CST

stepdaughter

I have been living with my fiance for the last 5 1/2  years we dated about 6 months before that. My fiance has a 13 year old daughter, when we were first dating she lived with her grandmother who also had custody of her.   The stepdaughter and I have gotten along well, she comes down in the summer and on weekends.  She has always played her mother and grandmother back and forth to get her own way.  The grandmother  finally had enough and couldnt handle her so she gave us temporary custody .  About 7 months ago she moved in with us, we gave her her on room and put her in a very good private school. Her mother works very long hours and alot of nights, I work at home so I took her back and forth from school and help her with all her studies.  I had a very strict upbringing and expected the same of her, her mother and I set down rules for her and everything was going good for awhile.   Normal teenage troubles began to happen, she got more interested in boys and her grades began to suffer, her mother and I were going thru alot our reationship was somewhat stressed and we argued a good bit. We finally worked thru alot and got engaged a round thanksgiving.  Shortly after this my stepdaughter started spending every weekend back at her grandmothers, she was able to pretty much do as she pleased most of the time with little supervision. She then starts blowing up on myself and her mother and blaming me for taking her mother out of town and away from her and her mother for working so much and not spending time with her like she used to. She ended up spending most of the Christmas holidays with her grandmother. After the holidays she decides she is moving back in with her grandmother and and her grandmother missing her by now is delighted with the idea. She is back in her old school which is very bad, she is failing and she is pretty much a free 13 year old.  Her mother having seen what she missed is now wanting to be there for her and found a house near her and told me she is leaving and moving back to be with her to try and straighten her out. This has hit me hard,it is tearing me up emotionally, I dont know what to do , Her mother and myself have worked thru alot  and finally got ourselves on the right track now she is telling me we cant be togethor because her daughter doesnt want me there, she still loves me but doesnt know where our future lays. What do I do she doesnt see that her daughter in my opinion has won and gotten everything she wants.  She is moving out saturday, we are still sleeping in the same bed every night , we kiss, hold each other and tell each other that we love oneanother. What can I do to save us, I love this woman and her daughter, she is like my on child,  I dont want to loose them. Help.
 
January 26, 2006, 9:19 pm CST

mother of 11 year old who lies

Quote From: romac101

 I'm the mother of a 12 year old girl. And quickly reaching my wits end. She lies to her dad and I on an almost constant basis. We are starting to think if her lips are moving.....it's a lie. Sneaking food or hiding food, report cards and hiding dirty laundry are an ongoing thing. I"ve gone to the extent of making them ( we have 2 kids, one boy) sit at the table and eat what ever they got caught sneaking till they were almost green. It worked. The laundry, I took all her clothes away and left her with only the basics to get through the week. I did that for 3 weeks. It seems to be working so far. 

 Report card time, after asking if I was in for any nasty surprises and assured no everything is fine....I was shown a terrible report card. I sit with the kids as they do homework, help if they need it and ask if stuff has been handed in. They have agendas that assignments are written in, I check them and go through them with her. 

We have tried talking to her, we've grounded her, we've taken priveleges away. I've read Dr. phil's advice columns, today her room is getting stripped to the bare minimum. And she will be spending a lot more time there. 

My biggest question is this: if this doesn't work, what do we do next? And there is no way she could be the only kid doing tis stuff.....other parents must just not admit to any of it. 

My daughter is 11 and I have just had yet another encounter with her over her lying.  The difference between this time and the last time is that she used to lie strictly to avoid getting in trouble.  This time, it seems she lied just for the sake of lying.  She's lied to myself and her father several times, about several different things, and we've always punished her in ways we felt were appropriate, but nothing seems to be getting through to her.  I am especially concerned now, though, because I feel like she may be becoming a compulsive liar, simply because she just didn't need to lie about this situation.  I expect a certain amount of dishonesty from kids when they feel they are going to be in trouble for something.  I don't think it's acceptable, but I do somewhat understand.  We were all kids once and I can certainly remember lying to my own mother to save my behind!  But this child of mine seems to be lying for no apparent reason now.  I too am frustrated because the punishments we give her don't seem to register with her.  I've had a million suggestions given to me, and tried just about all of them, but it seems like she just needs to make up her own mind that she shouldn't be doing this.  I'm not going to give up on her, but in the meantime, I am pulling my hair out.  I hope and pray it doesn't get worse or more serious in issue.  I know this is not advice to you or may not be helping you solve your dilemma, but I wanted you  to know that you are not alone and we all need to figure these things out.  Our kids' personalities must be defining how they behave and how they react to us as parents, so one solution definitely does not fit all!  I wish I could give you the help you need, and I wish I had the help I need, but I know we will get through this.  Keep your chin up, Mom!  Hope you don't find this too corny!
 
January 27, 2006, 8:07 pm CST

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL

Quote From: gaminelady

Help Dr Phil, 

  

I have been in a relationship for 7 years and married him 2 years ago.  He got custody of his 13 year old daughter 7 months ago and we have been fighting ever since. 

  

  He never lived with his daughter and his ex-wife, but they do have a very strong bond.  He did have bi-weekly visitation at his home with her until age 8, then very little contact for 4 years because his Ex was mad and refused to allow him to see her, so they only spoke on the phone.  I had met her 3 or 4 time for weekends and spoke to her on the phone every second week and we seem to have a fairly good relationship.   

  

  The Ex dumped "Jane" on us and said it was his turn,  2 months after coming to live with us Jane disclosed that her step Grandfather molested her (once).  We immediately called police and arranged counseling for Jane.  Police are investigating and charges are pending. 

  

  In the last 7 months my husband has tried to be Jane's friend instead of her Father.  Jane treats me with little or no respect and I have a problem with this and my husband can't or would understand why I am having a problem with this. He refuses to make her do any chores around the house, every time Jane and I end up in an argument about her attitude with me I fight with my husband.  It has come to the point that I have walked out of the house on two occasions and seriously considered leaving my marriage. 

  

I have tried talking to him, and he says he sees my side and he is trying to be more of a father figure.  But I find myself resenting her more and more.  I have suggested family counseling and he is dragging his heels.  It seems every time I open my mouth to speak or voice an opinion I am casted as the agitator, that" I am interfering in a "father/daughter talk" and that it upsets him and that I upset her and she rolls her eyes" (his words).  Jane seems to think she is the female head of this household and her father is doing nothing to dispel this notion. 

  

I know that Jane is going through a lot of issues about her Mother and her Grandfather.  (I was molested as a child and told her this so we could relate)  And I have talked to her and told her that anytime she needs to talk that I am here for her.  I have bend over backwards for her to try and bond.  I take her shopping,spas (manicures. pedicures, hairdressers), stood in line for 2 hours get some singers' autograph.  I really tried because I really do love Jane.  And I believe that she can't punish her mother so I am the next best thing.  She was visiting her Mother for the weekend (they were staying in a trailer and she heard her Mother and the "new boyfriend" having sex, when she told her mother she was uncomfortable with that her mother said " Well if you don't like to hear us, you can always go sleep in the car" 

  

I have a 23 year old son who was 16 when this relationship started.  Of course there were growing pains between my husband and son but he was never allowed to speak to my husband with disrespect.  He was raised to respect his elders, obliviously Jane was never taught this lessons.  And I don't feel this is too much to ask of a child. 

  

I know if things don't improve very quickly my marriage will not last as I will not tolerate being treated with disrespect and as a second class citizen in my own home.  Please Dr. Phil is there any help for us? 

My husband was divorced for 6 years before we met.  His girls lived with him.  We dated for a little over a year and when he first asked me to marry him, I was hesitant because his daughters and I did not have a bond yet.  We talked about it and he said that he had spoken to his girls about it and that they loved me and wanted me to be his wife.  I think they said more than that, but he heard only what he wanted to hear to reassure me that all would be well.  My mom even talked to him about it.  Shortly after we married, his girls started stating that they wanted to go live with their Mom.  My husband tried harder and harder to push his girls to liking me more than their Mom and I think they resented that.  He never spoke well of their Mother and when he started trying to put me above her, they really rebelled.   

  

My 14 year old step-daughter also had said that her step-dad was fondling her inappropriately.  Charges were filed but quickly dismissed because it was her word against his.  Her Mom didn't acknowledge it to be the truth.  We put her in counseling as well, but she soon started rebelling on going to counseling.  About a year later, she wanted to move in with her Mom, so she said she had lied about the step-dad.  So to this date, we don't know if it really happened or not.  Step-dad & Mom are divorcing now.  So, if it did happen, we no longer have to worry about her being around him. 

  

My husband, as well, treats his daughters as friends, not daughters.  He places no rules or chores on them at all.  He acts as if he doesn't want to "piss them off".  He would rather make me mad.  They would strut around the house as if they were the female of the household as well.  They would even change things of mine around.  Like take my stuff out of the computer desk drawer to put their stuff in it.  His oldest (17) now lives with us again because she couldn't handle her Mother's insanity and the (14) year old bounces back and forth.  Each time she leaves, he swears he will never let her back to disrupt our lives, but then he does.  And on top of it all, he treats her as if she is a victim and spoils her and babies her.  It's pathetic.  One big issue with me is my husband ALWAYS sets it up that I am the one to tell his daughters "No" about something.   

  

So I guess to sum it all up, my husband and I have a wonderful relationship as long as his girls are not around, so I live for those moments.  I have put my foot down and I make no decisions when it comes to his girls unless it is something that will affect me or my children.  For example, they wanted to bring their cats home, I have a 2 year old that is allergic and they don't take care of their cats and let them poop and pee all over the place, so I said, NO!  He asks me what I think about them staying the night or going out or something and I tell him, "Whatever you think."  I give him no room to lay the "blame" on me or make me the "mean" one.   

  

We went to family counseling and that opened my husband's eyes some to see that what he was doing to me and letting the girls run all over him and call the shots was WRONG.  He also learned that a lot of the times when I would tell him something his girls did and he would ask them about it, they would tell him I was lying and I didn't like them and just wanted to get them in trouble.  He pretty much believed them, until a lot of stuff started coming out in counseling and then he started opening his eyes some and saw for himself the lies they would tell.  His 14 year old even lied about him hitting her to get out of our house and to go live with her Mom.  She called her Mom late one night when we were all asleep to come and get her because she was afraid of her Dad because he was hitting her.  So, found out the next morning, she was gone and had made up this lie.   

  

I have a son from a previous marriage as well.  There are rocky times between him and my husband, but nothing like what we have gone through with his girls.  Also, my son is only 8, not a teen yet, but I do have rules for him and he has his chores.  His real Dad is not in the picture at all, so he can't hold that against us as well.  My husband is pretty much the only Dad figure he has had and I think he is beginning to respect that.  He even calls him Dad when he is talking about him.   

  

My only words of wisdom is to get into some counseling and let your husband know that you are unhappy and will not tolerate being treated like that and will not continue to live unhappy.   

 
January 31, 2006, 10:30 pm CST

im in the same boat but im the mother

Quote From: paladium

I am a step-father and find myself backed into a corner between my wife and her 14 year old daughter.  No matter what I try to do or say, regardless of intent or good will, my every word and action are looked at with suspicion, and often with hostility, by both of them.  I am continually accused of being emotionally "mean" to the daughter because my comments are always taken as "critical".   However, if I don't say anything to her daughter at all in order to avoid those very problems, I get blasted for ignoring her daughter and not showing her love and respect.

  

I'm screwed! 

  

We also have a son between us who is 19 months old.  I often feel as if my wife is holding him hostage in order to force me to comply with what she wants, and how she wants me to treat her daughter.  Can you say "resentment"?  My wife refuses to attend family counseling to work out these issues, stating that she knows that she is partly to blame, but doesn't intend to change her behavior. 

  

OK, so now I'm screwed x 2! 

  

I have tried to research these kinds of problems on the web and have sent her articles on how important step-fathers are, and what some of the major problems are in step-families, all in the hopes of educating each other on the difficulties and dynamics of blended families.  I’m not sure if she is willing to even try…  As one article I recently read described "... for a stepfamily to work, the stepdad must have the respect of his spouse and stepchild.  Without this, stepdads always becomes the odd man out".  This is how I feel I am treated. 

  

I do not know how to turn this ship around, but above all, I do not want our family to become just another negative statistic.  We have no other major issues in our husband-wife relationship, and very few minor ones.  We are very compatible in many, many ways, and our morals and beliefs are identical.  We do not smoke, drink, party, or anything else that could cause problems in a marriage.  We are both home every night and on the weekends, we go out and do things together as a family regularly, and together we are able to provide well for our combined family.  And yet despite all this, we are on the verge of disaster. 

  

I'm afraid that if we can not overcome this issue, it will lead to divorce.  I do not want that... not again. 

  

  

Help! 

  

A loving husband and step-father, 

  

David 

Dear David, hi my name is Bernie. 

I understand everything you wrote about your 14 yr old step daughter, I too also have a 14 yr old daughter along with a 12 yr old son and a 7 yr old son. 

The 2 older children are from my previous relationship, which back when they were 5 and 3 when we seperated. 

A year later in 1997 I met a great man, who today is my husband. In 1999 we had a son together, we married in 2001. 

From the very start of our relationship, I told my husband, that if we were to get together then he would have to stand up to the kids, being the elder ones that is. Dont let them ride all over you etc. etc. 

Because kids will do that, they still try and do that today. 

The biggest and probably most important thing to have in a situation like this is to have a  really good comunication between yourself and your wife. 

Kids that come from a broken home I suppose would try anything to come between what theyre mum/dad has, knowing they havent got their biological mum/dad there. I know my daughter has and probably is still trying to do. 

The hardest part is I suppose, is backing each other up on decisions being made with decipline, whatever how big or small the decisions are, no matter if theyre over  big things or little things, you need to back each other up. 

If that doesnt happen and the child recognises that she can have her own way with one of use, then she's going to use that everytime she wants something etc. etc.  

But I have to admit being a mother of a 14 yr old, knowing that shes my biological daughter, and having my husband come down on her when she needs it, its painfull, knowing she deserves her consequences, but if I let my daughter see what im feeling when things dont go her way, then of course she's going to act on it the next time, so this is the time to back each other up. 

If my daughter does something and it deserves a consequence, no matter who makes the decision, we all ways back each other up. You have too, if you want your marriage to work. 

If i thought my hubby was too strict on her then yes I would talk to him at a later time, tell him what i thought and if necessary gave him my thoughts on how he couldve done it a bit better, but certainly not infront of her though . 

David,  I hope my thoughts and experience will enlighten you and your wife's worries about raising a 14 yr old daughter, maybe we should keep in touch, to keep our sanity together hahaha. 

Good Luck, Bernie 

  

  

 
February 2, 2006, 7:37 pm CST

Queen Bees' and wanna be's

Quote From: mollea

My daughter is 11 and I have just had yet another encounter with her over her lying.  The difference between this time and the last time is that she used to lie strictly to avoid getting in trouble.  This time, it seems she lied just for the sake of lying.  She's lied to myself and her father several times, about several different things, and we've always punished her in ways we felt were appropriate, but nothing seems to be getting through to her.  I am especially concerned now, though, because I feel like she may be becoming a compulsive liar, simply because she just didn't need to lie about this situation.  I expect a certain amount of dishonesty from kids when they feel they are going to be in trouble for something.  I don't think it's acceptable, but I do somewhat understand.  We were all kids once and I can certainly remember lying to my own mother to save my behind!  But this child of mine seems to be lying for no apparent reason now.  I too am frustrated because the punishments we give her don't seem to register with her.  I've had a million suggestions given to me, and tried just about all of them, but it seems like she just needs to make up her own mind that she shouldn't be doing this.  I'm not going to give up on her, but in the meantime, I am pulling my hair out.  I hope and pray it doesn't get worse or more serious in issue.  I know this is not advice to you or may not be helping you solve your dilemma, but I wanted you  to know that you are not alone and we all need to figure these things out.  Our kids' personalities must be defining how they behave and how they react to us as parents, so one solution definitely does not fit all!  I wish I could give you the help you need, and I wish I had the help I need, but I know we will get through this.  Keep your chin up, Mom!  Hope you don't find this too corny!

Hi, I have compassion for where you are with your daughter....  I'm scared to death, and I haven't caught my daughter in a lie.... Maybe, I am being naive, I don't think so, My daughter is 12 years old, very nice young girl.  POOF!!!  She has attitude.... holy crap, this sweet compassionate, rule following girl has an attitude. Overnight!.  I can't hardly stand it!  Don't get me wrong, she is a good girl.  She is just turning into a teen, and I am not ready.... 

Anyway, what  I wanted to reccommend is this book  "Queen Bee's and Wanna Be's"  It is about girls and the cliques at school,  and has very much enlightened me.  I was afraid, that if  i put up with the attitude, or tone, then she will walk all over me.  This book has made me remember my childhood and how traumatic and dramatic it was, and how much your friends influence you.  The author gives a great metaphor of being in a life raft on the ocean, with this group of girls, and there will always be a queen bee, or leader, and your not going to do anything to make her upset or rock the boat.....  Comparing how scary it really is to be in a clique or not, to be a target of a clique.  Life or death.  Thats what it feels like, to these girls, and some of the desicions they make are not so smart.   

This book gives great advice on how to communicate with your daughter and open up the line of communication, that she will come to you.  You don't have to let go of your boundaries, to have some compassion and reassurance with your daughter so that it creates a loving a safe and especially, comfortable place to come to .(you)   

I think that we don't realize how much our children rely on pure survival mode, at school.   That is very sad to me.  Kids can be very mean.  Possibly, your daughter lies, because, if she tells the truth  she might think you will take matters into your hands and call another parent or teacher or whoever, and that she will pay the reprecussions of being a tatle tale or ........ who knows.... I  Do know that these kids have alot to be stressed about, and I hope that I can create a more comfortable place to come and someone to trust and to help work through these tough times.  I don't have to agree with my daughter or give in, but I can be compassionate and let her know that whatever it is, right or wrong, how hard it must be.  If I earn her trust, then that will create self confidence to be strong in who she is and stand up for what she believes in... 

 
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