What you need to know:
- You bought her gadgets and other ‘toys’ to keep her busy. It therefore indicates that you replaced your closeness with these things.
Q: I have a daughter who is turning 15. She has become so distant lately. Sometimes she is very rude. We provide everything for her. She has a phone, a laptop and other stuff just to keep her busy and happy, but she is very resentful even with extended family. It is becoming very difficult to understand her. I was forced to take away her phone to see if she will change and come to her senses but that is not changing her behavior. I often ask her if I have done anything wrong to her. I remind her of all that I have given her just for her happiness. All I want is to have a relationship with her again. I love her so much.
A: Thank you for your question. Here is what is happening: you created the distance between you and your daughter and it will require some hard work to recover your closeness. You bought her gadgets and other ‘toys’ to keep her busy. It therefore indicates that you replaced your closeness with that stuff, so she did not have a choice other than to concentrate and become part of the world that you introduced her to after your emotional departure.
That said, it is very crucial that you look for ways to get closer to her without necessarily being harsh. I would counsel against taking your daughter’s phone away. I know it is not a popular view but I think you are just getting too authoritative, which will only push her further from you. You might not get closer to her by just confiscating stuff.
While you are looking for ways to bring her close, keep in mind that pleading with her to be nice, or lecturing her on how you have done nothing to deserve her mistreatment, will only come across as needy and weak, fueling her contempt. The clearer and stronger you are — without being wordy or whiny — the sooner she will get the message that she needs to clean up her act. For instance, when she speaks rudely to you, do not get over-emotional: simply give her 'that look' and ask her if she would like to try a do-over.
At this point, resist the urge to count the things you do for her that she does not appreciate. Simply state that she will need to try speaking to you more politely. If she rolls her eyes or walks away, do not go after her: let her begin to get the sense that your standards have shifted. The more you define yourself as her parent and show her what is and is not acceptable, the sooner things between you and your daughter will improve. Best of luck!