As many parents can attest, getting your child to pay attention, listen, and obey isn’t always an easy task.
And as one father on Reddit will tell you, some methods parents use to get their child’s attention might not always be the best — and some children can even use them against you.
According to the Reddit user, he was driving home from work one day when he got a call from his oldest daughter, who is 22 years old. His daughter told him that his 14-year-old daughter was using cuss words in front of their little brother, who has autism and retains new information like a sponge.Zero Creatives/Getty Images
My 14 year old had her friends over and they were being a bit out of line, which teens tend to do. And I suppose trying to act cool, she was saying profanities, including the F word. I know teens cuss around their friends, but saying the F word in front of her little brother made me pretty angry. He has autism and picks up things and runs with it, so I really don’t want her acting that way in front of him.
After he arrived home, the father confronted his daughter. However, upon attempting to discipline her she kept ignoring him, looking over at her friends who were still there, and smiling.
As the father admitted, her blatant lack of respect angered him so he grabbed his daughter by the arm in order to turn her attention away from her friends and begin yelling to ensure he got his point across.
I was yelling pretty loudly and told her to never do it again. I didn’t make any threats, or any other physical contact. I also didn’t grab her hard enough to leave a mark.
However, his action scared his daughter’s friends who witnessed the exchange and that’s when, as the father explained it, things went “downhill.”
According to the Reddit post, the friends immediately called their parents to pick them up while his daughter began “frantically” texting her mom. She allegedly exaggerated the story by telling her mom he “grabbed her and ‘threw’ her into the cabinets and counter” adding that he also “broke dishes and chased after her as she went upstairs.”
The teenager recanted her story when her mother asked her about it. She explained her friends told her that’s what happened but admitted the only thing she remembered was her father grabbing her by the arm.
His 22-year-old daughter and his autistic son, “who is nearly incapable of lying,” corroborated their father’s story. He apologized to his teen daughter for grabbing her but reiterated he didn’t want her swearing in front of her brother ever again.
The father acknowledged that everything seemed fine between them until two weeks later when their teen daughter got mad at her mom. Furious that her mom punished her by taking her cellphone away, the teen exclaimed:
“What, so is dad going to beat me now?”
As he continued, the reaction has now become his daughter’s go-to, but the even bigger problem is that she’s created a fake narrative about her home life that she’s been sharing with her friends.
As the post explained, most of the teen’s friends do actually have “bad home lives” and they constantly tell her how lucky she is to have the mom she does. However, because she is mad at both of her parents, this has been frustrating for her.
As a result, the teen has been telling her friends about how hard her life is. And while her dad thinks it’s just her trying to fit in and relate a little more with her friends, a teacher overheard one of the teen’s stories, thus creating a situation the father never thought he would be in.
That prompted them to call her down to question her at school about the “incident.” Luckily, she told them I only grabbed her arm and yelled at her. However, they are, as should be, suspicious and called my wife. My wife told them what happened and that our eldest daughter and son confirmed everything. They ended up saying they didn’t call CPS due to my daughters explanation. But told my wife if “either” of them needed to talk to someone to give them a call.
Now the father is at a loss with no idea on how to handle the situation their daughter has got them in.
We already sat her down and told her she can’t go around saying that kind of stuff. And I even told her, myself, if I or anyone else was hurting her she should say something, but to not exaggerate things for attention. I also barely ever raise my voice, have never spanked or hit any of my kids and feel like a good father, so this hurts even more.
I love her, but I feel like I have to stay away from her. I am scared of her and angry at the same time. If she keeps saying these things not only will CPS end up being called but it will jeopardize our entire lives.
Unfortunately, as the father mentioned, the message they are trying to send doesn’t seem to resonate with the teen, saying that “she doesn’t seem to really realize how bad things can turn out for all of us.”
Some commenters suggested the parents keep doing what they are doing and eventually, it will all work out in the end:
This is a good communication tip for everyone, not just teens — even if they don’t act like they heard you in the moment, they usually heard you. Keep pushing the positive ideas forward, they will eventually resonate.
Be proactive. Talk with the school and acknowledge that your daughter is being difficult at home, ask if they see issues at school, work together for solutions, ask school psychologist for resources that might help. Maybe even see a family therapist if you can, not necessarily ongoing for years but like a check for a brief period as your daughter enters this new stage of life for some ways for you all to communicate better.
How should the father handle this situation?