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And just like that, your sweet, thoughtful daughter has morphed into a rude, nasty stranger. This leaves you wondering, “Why is my teenage daughter so mean to me?”
As most parents will admit, teens are gonna be teens. Meaning, that this stage of their development can be quite challenging for parents. A daughter’s changing hormones alone may explain a certain amount of the moody, angry demeanor.
But there is much more to this than just changing hormones. Keep reading to learn more about why a teenage daughter has become so mean.
Top 6 Reasons Why a Teen Daughter is Being Mean to You
While it is very natural for a parent to feel hurt when on the receiving end of a mean daughter, this may not be about you at all. Consider these possible causes for the rude behavior:
- She actually has no idea. Teens are by nature egocentric, meaning the world revolves around them, so she may be clueless about how she’s acting. Add the rollercoaster of hormones and there you have it, a moody, testy, teenager that is solely concerned with herself.
- She is struggling with the phase itself. The shift from childhood to adulthood happens pretty abruptly. One day your daughter is holding your hand and hanging on your every word, and the next she rejects you. She is trying to make sense of her new role, no longer a child but not yet an adult. Sometimes this means she takes it out on you.
- She is trying to define herself as a unique person. Breaking away from her identity as someone’s child, she is seeking a way to define herself by her own terms. She may outwardly oppose everything her parents stand for, which is common at this age, seeking her own identity.
- She wants more control over her life. Teens have a natural urge to gain more independence. Along with that desire comes a lot of frustration when they push up against parental rules and boundaries. A daughter may become resentful that she can’t have as much freedom as she wants, and may punish her parent.
- She has an undiagnosed mental health challenge. Some mental health disorders have features of moodiness, irritability, and angry outbursts. Below, we list the symptoms of some of the common mental health issues in teens.
- She is engaging in substance use. It is highly uncomfortable to think a daughter’s mean, angry behavior could be a sign of substance abuse. It is true that sudden changes in demeanor and mood may point to substance abuse.
Is Her Mean Behavior a Sign of a Mental Health Issue?
If the teen exhibits other worrisome symptoms in addition to the snarky attitude, it could be signs of a mental health challenge. Some of the common mental health disorders in teens that include symptoms of mood shifts, anger, and irritability include:
Anxiety: Anxiety is fueled by extreme fear or a sense of dread. It becomes impairing when the teen suffers socially, academically, and emotionally. Symptoms of anxiety in teens include:
- Being on edge, restless.
- Sense of doom; irrational fear.
- Muscle tension, headaches, stomach distress.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Substance abuse to self-medicate.
- Highly self-conscious; easily embarrassed.
- Withdrawing from friends and social events.
Depression: When a cluster of symptoms persists for more than two weeks, it is wise to have the teen seen by a doctor. Teen depression should never be taken lightly, in light of the spike in teen suicide rates. Symptoms of depression in teens include:
- Sadness or low mood.
- Changes in eating habits, sudden weight loss, or gain.
- Changes in sleeping patterns, excessive sleeping, or insomnia.
- Lack of interest in the activities she normally enjoys.
- Low energy, fatigue.
- Low self-esteem.
- Being hypersensitive.
- Irritability and anger.
- Trouble concentrating, declining academic performance.
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness and despair.
- Slowed motor and cognitive functioning.
- Talks about death or suicide often.
Bipolar disorder: Bipolar may emerge in the late teens, and features extreme shifts in mood between mania and depression. Symptoms include:
- Rapid speech.
- A burst of energy.
- Needs to sleep less.
- Loss of appetite.
- Short temper; angry outbursts.
- Engages in risky behaviors.
- May obsess about sex.
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
- Eating more or less than normal, weight gain or loss.
- Lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- Low energy, fatigue.
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
- Headaches, stomachaches.
- Obsessed thoughts of death or suicide.
If a parent suspects their teenage daughter is struggling with a mental health problem they should have her seen by a doctor for evaluation.
What a Parent Can Do When their Daughter is Mean
Even knowing how difficult raising teens can be, no parent deserves to be verbally abused or mistreated by their daughter. A parent can be patient and understanding as their teen goes through the ups and downs of this challenging period. But parents need to establish boundaries and clearly define what is acceptable behavior.
Here are some tips for parents with a mean teen daughter:
- Family counseling. These family sessions can shed light on issues that are not really confronted in the family home. The teen may have a valid reason for her hostility that needs to be worked through in family counseling.
- Keep a journal. A parent can keep a journal to note the day-to-day interactions with the daughter. Not as a place to rant about their girl, but to see if any patterns emerge, such as her menstrual cycle. PMS may be part of the problem.
- Create a contract. When the teen’s behavior is not letting up, the parent should create a behavior contract where minimal expectations are required. When these expectations are not met, the teen will have to accept the consequences of her rude behavior.
Of course, if the source of the behavior is indeed a mental health disorder, the daughter should be under the care of mental health professional.
BNI Treatment Centers Provide Residential Mental Health Care
BNI Treatment Centers offers a safe, supportive setting for teens who are going through a mental health challenge. Sometimes, no matter how valiant your efforts are as a parent, the problem is beyond your scope. If you have a teenage daughter who is mean to you, give us a call today at (888) 522-1504.