Support With Hard Teen Girl

Hi parents, 

I have been parenting my niece since she was 13, and she is now 16. We are having a very hard time managing her behavior. She tends to be completely silent/reclusive/secretive- and her phone is literally part of her body. We do have some times of day she is not supposed to use the phone, and she mostly adheres to them, though she isn't super jazzed about not having it. At times we will do wonderful things with her (take her somewhere she wanted to go, get her a special trip, etc., and she will be OK for part of it, but then become completely unhappy during part of it, which is really hard to take for us!). She is really good at some subjects in school and really bad at others, and doesn't care much about the places where she gets poor grades.

We have gotten some support but are now looking for something professional to help us parent her better.  We've all been in and out of therapy but are really looking now for concrete support about what to do, and how to parent her. She has a great therapist that is working directly with her, so we're really looking for something for us.

Looking for recommendations for parent coaches, classes on parenting teens, and other support that is specific to the teenage years. For reference, we also have younger children (under 6) but this is very different than what we deal with with the little ones. 

Ideas? Thoughts? Recs? 

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RE: Support With Hard Teen Girl ()

You are clearly a good person to be raising your niece, and loving to stick with her through difficult behavior. I admire you for reaching out for further support.

I wish I would have learned about The Parent Project ( when my teen was younger. I've recently heard from people who have had a good experience with it. You might look into it.

I have a difficult now 19-y-o. My spouse and I tried many approaches to addressing his challenging behavior which began around age 9. Our efforts were mostly focused on individual and (limited) family therapy, educational assessments and 504 Plans, as well a brief medication trial to treat ADHD. My spouse would not engage meaningfully in the family therapy, nor participate in parenting support groups/classes/programs, nor work with me to establish and enforce boundaries for appropriate behavior in our home. I won't go into details here other than to say this: our situation remains challenging as we have split our family into two households so that I can raise my second (younger) child in a safe and healthy environment.

My heart goes out to you, you are not alone in raising a difficult teen. Do something to care for yourself every day and continue to look for support wherever you can find it.

RE: Support With Hard Teen Girl ()

The following approach has been a lifesaver for us in our own parenting journey: Parenting with IFS (Internal Family Systems) by Frank Anderson.

Amazing tool for disentanglement from ineffective patterns of reactivity. Worth 100 trips to the therapist!


RE: Support With Hard Teen Girl ()

This sounds really hard and I’m so glad you are looking for help! I strongly STRONGLY recommend Sheri Glucoft-Wong in Berkeley. We were foundering with our blended family/new sibling/step-dad-complicates family, especially with how to handle my extremely challenging teen through all of the transitions and Sheri helped me and my husband identify our limitations/challenges and learn some concrete skills (including ways to be on the same team as our teen, to have more compassion). 
Even just a one session consult with her would be helpful. 

RE: Support With Hard Teen Girl ()

Hello, Feeling for you all. We've worked with Quetzal and Emily of Love Your Nature for a while now and we love them. They lead year-long teen girls groups, and other special events. The Summer Teen Retreat this Summer might be of interest to your daughter, my daughter loved it. My daughter comes away from the monthly meetings feeling a deep sense of connection.  They also have a good resources page, and are just very well connected in the teen/parenting teens world. www.loveyournature.comBest of luck!"