My 14-year-old daughter has become non-communicative with us. When we speak to her, she answers curtly, if at all. She often answers rudely with a distinct lack of respect. Even when she needs something, she will avoid speaking to us as much as possible. She is showing a lack of interest in things she used to love, such as sport at which she has always excelled. She constantly wants to be out of the house with her friends. How do we re-establish the lines of comunication with her?
I would be concerned with this change. Has her school work become a problem as well? Is there evidence of drug use or other antisocial activities?
You need to establish two things. First of all, you need to reinvent the relationship you had with her. The most important thing is to engage her positively around things that she is interested in. Do it in small bits. Don’t get discouraged as she will continue to reject you. You have to be gentle and persistent.
The second thing is that you have to establish reasonable expectations for her. She should:
- join the rest of the family for meals a good bit of the time
- be expected to answer questions pleasantly
- be accountable to you for where she is and who she is with
- limit her time out of the house (should be reasonable given her obligations for school and family)
You should get to know her friends. Invite them to your home.
Be calm but firm on these expectations. Don’t abandon her to her peer group.