Violent Behavior in Teenage Daughter
Does Your Teen Need Help?
Q. "I am a single mother of four and I have a 14-year-old daughter. Recently we got into a disagreement about her yelling at her twin sisters. She became angry and threw her desk stool at me. I yelled and told her that she will not receive anything else until she can respect her things and other people. She responded by hitting and kicking me and telling me that she hates me. I can handle her saying that she hates me. I know that kids will say things when they are upset. But I am afraid that if she feels she can hit me, it is only a matter of time before she tries something worse. What can I do to avoid a similar future confrontation?"
A. If this recent attack at home was an isolated incident, drop it. However, if your daughter regularly -- say, once a week -- becomes physical with you or her siblings, seek professional help. You alone cannot stop her angry or aggressive ways, especially if they have become a pattern. A counselor can provide objective advice to help your daughter channel her anger. If you are able, see a counselor together; doing so will help you identify whatever communication problems are leading to these outbursts. However, if she refuses to go with you, consider individual counseling sessions. Do not attempt to quell this behavior on your own. When she has an outburst, do not try to reason with her at that moment. In a quiet moment, let your daughter know that you're concerned about her behavior and that you'll do whatever you can to help her manage this abusive behavior. Remember, your goal is to help your daughter learn to manage anger without becoming physically and verbally violent. What follows are suggestions to help you address your daughter's out-of-control behavior.