When you have an out-of-control teenager who isn’t just self-destructive but is actively harming those around her, what can you do? What is an appropriate way to let her know that her behavior is totally unacceptable?
One Dad on Reddit with a 16-year-old daughter is at the end of his rope. The daughter, who recently started hanging out with “mean girls” at school, is acting like a snob and tormenting the family’s housekeeper. For punishment, the Dad made her sleep in the backyard. Is that really the best way to deal with a burgeoning a**hole?
“My (M46) daughter (16) is a high school junior. I noticed recently that she’s been behaving in a bad manner constantly commenting on other people’s looks, belongings, calling them stuff that isn’t cool and just being insensitive. It’s like she lost a filter or something because usually she’s polite but my wife suspected that our daughter’s sudden misbehavior occurred after she started hanging out with new girls from the school. Basically the mean type and have picked on their behavior,” the OP writes.
“I’ve sat with my daughter and had many discussions about how her behavior has been negatively affecting everyone around her. Our housemaid is the person most affected here and my daughter has chosen her to be her target for hair, clothes, ‘etiquette’ criticism. She has complained about our daughter calling her offensive names like filthy and gross for cleaning certain areas in our house. I took a stand and explicitly told my daughter I’d punish her if she ever said stuff like that to our housemaid again.”
The OP says that her daughter continued to harass the housekeeper and called her “filthy” so he grounded her by not letting her go to a party she wanted to attend. The daughter called the housekeeper a liar. Then, a few days later, she planted her cell phone in the housekeeper’s bag.
“I said what she did was immoral and straight up offensive to tamper with that poor woman’s livelihood over a petty party she couldn’t go to. I told her she was grounded and will have to spend the night in the backyard (she is a germaphobe) but she cried begging me to not make her sleep with the dirt, insects and hot temp. I refused to discuss it or I’d make it 2 nights. My wife said I should go easy on her but I said calling people filthy and accusing them of stealing wasn’t ok in fact it was the absolute worst, I then went through with my punishment.”
The Dad also added that other punishments have not worked. When he proposed that his daughter do chores around the house instead, she “deliberately stopped eating for days to get out of it, and ended up in the emergency department for low blood pressure.”
Yikes. What should this family do?
“NTA, but you should give your housekeeper a week off with pay, and make your daughter take her place, unpaid,” said MrGreggerGrM·7d.
“I’m curious what peoples’ responses will be on this topic because I’m honestly stumped on the best way to go about this. I’ll be blunt, the kid sounds like a nightmare and unless you get this behavior in check, she’s going to be a monster in the real world. The way she was treating the housekeeper was already unacceptable, but her willingness to get this woman fired over not being able to go to a party shows that the kid has a serious lack of empathy, and that’s what worrying me about this situation. What will she do to someone else who she feels has crossed her?” asked phantomxtroupe.
“Inpatient psych is a solid suggestion as well, I’m just really not understanding some of these comments saying it’s ‘abusive’ to ‘send the child away.’ This kid needs some kind of professional help that parent most likely can’t provide with ‘regular’ disciplinary measures. This behavior was extreme! How would the woman get another job after being accused of theft? What if the police had been called?! This could’ve ruined the housemaids life, the lack of empathy is jarring. It went way past the initial insults which were bad enough,” suggested Southern_Radio5943.
“Look, this girl needs to be disciplined appropriately, but please do your research on military boarding schools. There are hundreds of accounts of kids being openly tortured, and deaths are not uncommon. Please don’t recommend this, it’s really dangerous,” said Hour-Scallion2138.
“If the daughter skips right to starving herself to get out of chores and punishment, the evidence is already there for disordered thinking. Even if she stopped the starvation tactics, there’s at least the basis of a case for having her checked out now. Hope she gets help,” said Alannaaificate.
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