Parenting --Teens/13 1/2 year old daughter


I am a mom with a 13 1/2 year old daughter and is resently divorced for 10 month now.  My exhusband is a non working alcoholic.  He spends very to little time with my daughter.  It looks like she is the one that initiates the visits when she wants to.  She is in 8th grade this year and  when school started she had changed.  We were always very close and very much together.  She was not nieve with the situation at home and her dad.  For the last 2 years she complained about her drunk dad.  Telling me why don't you divorce him and so on.  One day it finally came to it.  She knows she is not to blame for this divorce.  Mom and dad love each other however no long can stay married.  We do not co- parent like he had promised however with an ancoholic promises are never kept.  I am being blamed for everything that goes wrong in his life and he calls Ms. Hero.  My daughter has been having outburst for the last 5 months and has been seeing a theropist.  This all started when she found out by accident that my ex has been dating a bartender and has plans for marriage in the near future.  She swears worse than a truck driver,  is starting not to care of her school work. Stays up late on the phone with school friends.  When she gets angry stay out of her way.   I cannot ask her any questions about school or even if she is hungry and would like something to eat.  Now when she wants something or for me to take her someone she can be very polite and sweet.  I have spoke to the theropist and she says she is acting like a normal teenage girl and is expressing herself and trying to find herself.   Also that I should not ask her anything until my daughter comes to me.  Let for fail or fall since she needs to learn by her mistakes.  Give her the space that she needs.   Sorry but as a mom it is very hard to see what is going on and try not to let things happen when you know you can change it for the better.  I'm i too controlling???  I always assumed I just was a loving mom that care very deeply for my only daughter and wanted the best for her.

please help an mom that is on her last nerve.

Hello Joanne,

 I can appreciate the position you are in as a mother. You love your daughter and want the best for her, but you are also trying to be both mom and dad. However, your daughter does not act like she appreciates what you are doing for her or how much you love her.
It is also difficult to accept the way young teenagers act. And it is also very hard to figure out whether the way they are acting is because they are teenagers or because of other things in their life -- such as a divorce or having an alcoholic father. You just don't know (and will never know) if she is the way she is because of the divorce and because of her father or if she would have acted like this anyway.
I hope that her therapist can help her through this rough spot in her life. The therapist is right, though, some times as a parent you just have to back off and let them make some of their own decisions -- even though you know some of those decisions will be poor decisions. Having a therapist in the picture, though, is like a safety net. Hopefully, when the therapist thinks you should play a more active role, the therapist will let you know what you can do differently. However, another benefit of your daughter seeing a therapist is that if you are too controlling or you say or do something that maybe wasn't the best thing, then the therapist can help pick up the pieces with your daughter.
Hang in there, though, and hopefully in the next couple of years she will be a little more pleasant to be around.
James Windell  

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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