I’ll just say my name is “Shay.” I’m a 32 year old single mom of 4 kids. I just recently graduated college with my Bachelor’s in Accounting.
I work at an accounting firm and I make decent money, but I’m writing you today because I need advice on what I should do about my daughters. I have four children like I previously stated. I have a 17 year old girl, 13 year old girl, 6 year old girl and a 4 year old son. Yes, by the ages you can tell that I had my daughters very young. I made mistakes thinking I was in love when I wasn’t and that resulted in a pregnancy at 14 years old.
My oldest daughter’s father is not in the picture. We broke up when my 13 year old daughter was a month old and he pretty much became a check after that. Even though I was young I tried to give them everything they ever wanted. I sacrificed and saved just to be able to take them to Disneyworld and Disneyland. I just tried to give them the perfect life and have them in plays, sports, etc. Even when I got married to my youngest children’s father I always made sure that their feelings were always taken into account and I didn’t want them to feel left out or say that mommy never spent time with them. My ex-husband definitely took on a role as a father to them. He loved and still loves them even though we are not together now.
When my ex-husband and I split up a year ago, due to his infidelities, that’s when my oldest daughter’s became verbally and physically abusive towards me. I tried to shield them of the truth as to why we split, so they wouldn’t hate him, but it backfired and now they hate me. They have always been sassy little things, and they would get in trouble at school from time to time, but it was never this bad. I blame myself because being so young I was the “cool and friendly mom” instead of a disciplinarian. They started saying how I ran their father and stepfather off and how I’m a whore. I took their phones away from them for that incident, but that’s when my 13 year old decided that she would raise her hand to me and punch me to the ground. I’m barely 5 feet and both her and her sister are 5’7 and 5’8. She’d never done that or cursed me out before and that left me in complete shock.
After that day it became regular for her and her sister to start pushing me around and coming in whenever they felt like it. I even found liquor bottles in their room and I confronted them and they slammed the door right in my face. Once I found out both girls were having sex I called my ex-husband thinking that he would be able to help. They pretty much told him that he’s not their dad and they don’t have to listen to him. I literally had to stop my ex-husband because he was so close to slapping the smile off my 17 year old face. Over summer break it became so bad that even my 6 year old daughter started thinking she can act like them. So, I sent my oldest daughters to stay with my parents until school started up again.
When they came back in August they were really good I even decided to give my 17 year old her car back so she can drive to school her senior year, but as soon as I gave it back to her the disrespect and bad behavior came back as well. It was just all bad. My 17 year old parked her car at her boyfriend’s house so I wouldn’t be able to find it and take it away, but I ended up reporting the car stolen and eventually selling it. That night we got into a really bad physical altercation. She punched me and broke my jaw and I started slapping, punching and scratching her so she can let me go. I never raised my hands to any of my kids not even to spank them and I just felt so broken and angry. She tried to attack me with her brother baseball bat after I was able to get myself loose and I called the cops.
Once they came she was crying and crying and I just felt so bad. I didn’t want my daughter to go to jail, so I told them I won’t be pressing charges. Even after that day she still continued, so I eventually just sent her to live with my parents. Once she was gone my 13 year old started acting good, but one night I told her she couldn’t go to a party because she didn’t finish her chores and that’s when all hell broke loose. She started attacking me and both her and I was on the floor scrambling. She picked up a lamp and hit me over the head with it. My 6 year old called the cops and her and my 4 year old ran across the street to my neighbor’s house and told him that, “Amy is beating up mommy”. Once the cops arrived I was so bloodied that they had no choice but to take her.
Right now she’s in juvenile detention and I feel like I’ve completely failed as a mother. I don’t know what I did that was so bad to them. My 13 year old keeps asking if she can come home, but honestly I don’t want her anywhere near me. I put money on her books weekly, but that’s the extent of that. My 17 year old ran away from my parent’s house with her boyfriend over a month ago and nobody has heard a word from her. I’m so worried something can happen to her out there that I don’t sleep at night, but in a way I’m happy she’s gone. She was nothing but disrespectful to my parents as well and it was a matter of time that they would’ve kicked her out as well.
I know this is harsh but I just want to be done with them. Am I wrong for wanting to be done with my children? But how could a mother be done with her children? Especially a child that is 13 years old? But, when they were around I was in complete fear. What will happen to my 13 year old? Also, should I get help for my 6 year old? She’s starting to show signs of their behavior. I’m so broken I feel like I should be locked up for being a s****y mother. – Bad Mom
Dear Ms. Bad Mom,
My gosh! I feel for you. Lawd, I truly hope you find a support system, a loving village, and a network of help. This is truly terrible, and I am sorry that you feel the way you do, and that you are going through this.
Let me first state that you are not a s****y mother. You are not a bad mom. You are not a horrible parent. You have to change your outlook on this situation, and immediately begin to nurture, and love yourself. You’ve done the best you could for your children, and you shouldn’t negate this for your previous choices and behaviors.
With that, CHILE, I wish my own child/ren would put their hands on me. That would be the LAST TIME they ever raised their voice, hand, or even looked at me, hell, even had the thought of doing anything like that. No ma’am! Your children have crossed the line. And, at some point you have to put your foot down, and you have to know your limits and what you will allow, and what you won’t allow. And, this is something you don’t allow. I’m down for redemption, and giving children second chances, but fighting and putting hands on your own parent, the parent who raised you, gave you what you wanted, fed you, clothed you, been there for you, and put a roof over your head, and they want to disrespect you in your own house. Oh, no ma’am! Honey, your 13 year old bashed you upside your head with a lamp! Your 6 year old and 4 year old children had to witness not only that fight, but also when your 17 year old broke your jaw! And, they had to call the police, and run to the neighbors to get help. Naw, nope, ain’t no way in hell you stepping foot back in my house.
Now, let’s move forward. Have you ever thought about getting all your children into therapy? You mentioned that your 6 year old is starting to exhibit the behaviors like your 13 year old and 17 year old. Therefore, yes, immediately, get your 6 year old into therapy, counseling, and surround her with a network of loving elders, women, and mentors. The last thing you need is for her to finish the job her older sisters attempted to do. Therefore, get her into somebody’s counseling today! But, also, have you considered doing this for your 13 and 17 year olds? It’s obvious they have some deep-seated issues, and they may be mental, and/or emotional. There is something profoundly disturbing when teen girls can brutalize their own mother, and not have any remorse for their behavior. Also, have you wondered if this has anything to do with their absent father/s, especially since you married the father of your youngest child. There may be resentment that you brought another man into their lives, married him, and they may wonder why you didn’t marry or make things work out with their fathers? So, as you stated, when things didn’t work out between you and their step-father, meaning, another man left and abandoned them, it was your fault. They blame you for driving him away, and as a result, and because you have four children of which they have different fathers, and from the outside looking in, or, in their case the inside looking in, it makes you look “loose,” and unfit to be a mother, which is why they called you a “whore.”
As much as you want to protect them, give them everything, and “be their friend,” you can’t and you are not their friend. You are the parent. You are the mother. You should have created and made boundaries between you and your children. I know it’s difficult and you didn’t want to make the same mistakes, and to repeat a pattern, but unfortunately you created this situation. You still had work to do on yourself, and you, too, should have been in therapy and counseling to help deal with your own issues. But, I understand life was happening quickly, and you were making the best choices you felt were in the best interest of yourself and your children. Unfortunately, you kept choosing the same type of men, and as a result producing children.
So, when you want to discipline them and tell them what to do, and how to behave as young ladies, well, they look at your behavior, and how you’ve acted and they wonder how can you tell them anything when you haven’t been the example of a woman you want them to be. Yes, you’ve overcome many things, and earned your education, have a home, and can do things for your children. But, when it comes to stability, love, and a father in the picture, it seems chaotic. It’s not the picture perfect family. Look, I understand that you didn’t want to tell your daughter’s about your ex-husband’s infidelities, and you wanted to shield them. But, children are smart, and too many times we don’t give them enough credit for what they can handle, or, for what they know and are exposed to. They live in the same household, and see all the things happening right in front of them. They know love when they see it. They know when their parents are fighting, mad, angry, and arguing. Children are very receptive to these energies, and can sense when things are not right, or when things are good. You should have been forthright in what happened, but it is way you tell children why a marriage ends, and what happened. Again, this is where therapy and counseling could have been helpful.
I do highly recommend that you request the juvenile center put your daughter into intense therapy. They need to get at the root of her acting out, and why she felt compelled to put her hands on you, especially smashing a lamp over your head. That is more than anger. That is hatred. That is someone who wanted to do way more physical harm. Also, see if you can attend some of the sessions, and the both of you work together to get to the root of her issues, and maybe she will share what she’s feeling, why she did what she did, and, as much, she gets to hear from you about what she did to you. And, yes, I understand your fear of having her return to the home. She is not ready to come home. She has some serious issues that need to be resolved. She has to fully comprehend and understand the consequences of her behavior, and what she did to her own mother. Therefore, you need to explore your options as a mother and parent, and what you want to do moving forward. At some point she will be released, and you will have to decide if you want her back in the home, or if you want to have her to live with family members, or explore other options.
As far as your 17 year old daughter, the fact that she has run away from your parent’s home, and has been disrespectful to other adult authority figures is going to take more work and more commitment, if this is something you are interested in doing. You may have to go look for her, find out where she is, and get her into therapy and counseling as well. Unfortunately, at 17, she is still a minor, and she is still under your care and supervision. She needs to be in school, and the authorities will come looking for you, especially if she gets into trouble. Therefore, you will have to elicit your family, meaning your parents, and your ex-husband into helping you with both of your daughters. You will need a strong village and army. And, I also recommend a church home, if you have one, or find one where you can start attending. Spiritual guidance and nurturing goes a long way. And, start researching some other community related resources and programs such as support groups, and outreach entities that can be helpful to you. The juvenile court may be tied to some outreach programs, so ask them to supply you with some contacts and resources.
I know you’re upset, angry, hurt, disappointed, and have a range of emotions going on, but you’re going to have to heal yourself first, meaning, getting yourself into therapy and counseling. You have some unresolved issues that you need to deal with. Get yourself some help. At the same time, get your daughters into therapy, support groups, programs, church, and anything you can to help them. Stop being their friend. Be the parent. Be the adult. Be the disciplinarian. I know you’re fed up, and you don’t have to feel guilty for not wanting them back into your home, especially for what they’ve done to you. However, you have to make some adult, grown ass, parenting choices and decisions. You can’t run, hide, or not take care of your responsibility. They are still children, your children, under your care. You have to make the best choices for you, and for your younger children who are watching all this happen. GET HELP! There is nothing wrong asking for help. And, be the adult. Be the parent. – Terrance Dean
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