My 17 year old daughter said something horrible to me, should I punish her?
I'M 20 WEEKS PREGNANT AND MY DAUGHTER SAID SOMETHING SO HORRIBLE. SHE SAID IT IN FRONT ME AND MY HUSBAND! SHE YELLED AT ME AND SAID "I HOPE THE BABY DIES! YOUR JUST A SLUT WHO GOT KNOCKED UP!" I'M VERY SHOCKED WHAT SHOULD I DO? MY HUSBAND IS UPSET OVER THIS BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
As someone who was only just recently a teenager, I can tell you that punishing your daughter as one commenter suggested will not help. While I can't imagine calling my mother a slut or wishing death on her baby if she had been pregnant, I can imagine feeling what your daughter is most likely feeling. I'm going to assume that your daughter is an only child for now, and your pregnancy probably hurts her feelings. Think about this: one day, your husband comes to you and says, "Darling, you are the best wife I could ever hope for. I love you so much that I've decided to get a second wife." You would be hurt and angry. You wouldn’t feel like you were loved, you'd feel like you were being replaced. When I was younger, I used to have nightmares about my mom having another child. Nothing fantastic would happen in the dream, it would just be that my mom had another baby and suddenly I was displaced. It also didn't help that I had an older sister who was incredibly mean to me (and still is) and I worried that I would have another cruel sibling in the house.
It is really hard for kids to get used to the idea of having a sibling, especially if they are only children. You are probably thrilled at the new addition to your family. I'm guessing that she isn't. I'm also going to assume that your husband is not your daughter's father and that you remarried somewhat recently, based on the fact that your daughter is seventeen and you're having a new baby. She is probably hurt that you are making a new family with your new husband and she doesn't feel like she's going to be a part of it. She doesn’t feel like she fits into the equation: there's going to be a mommy, a daddy, a baby, and then a girl who only has half a connection to everyone but you.
I also find it hard to believe that she just walked into the room and hurled this insult at you. My guess is you were probably having an argument of some sort, and it was probably about something to do with the baby (maybe she wanted to go out one day, but you wanted her to stay for a baby shower or something like that). I'm not trying to say that you were automatically in the wrong in this argument, but she might have felt attacked for no reason and lashed out by saying that she wished your baby was dead. She probably doesn't actually wish your baby was dead, but she might wish it had never been conceived. Like I said, many children have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they are going to have a sibling, and the fact that she's 17 instead of 7 won't change her feelings about it.
Here are some things I would recommend you do, from the perspective of someone who was recently a teen who would have hated having a new sibling:
Sit down with her and have a talk about what she said. Tell her that it really hurt your feelings and ask her why she felt the need to say it. ask her about her honest feelings about the new baby. Listen. Don't interrupt her, don't correct her, just hear her out. If you can, don't start crying, no matter if she says she hates you, your husband, or especially if she says she hates the new baby. That will seem like emotional blackmail, and it's really not fair to try to bury her completely legitimate feelings in your tears.
Assure her that while you may love this new baby the same as her, you will never love it more than her. It doesmy matter that you love and are married to this baby's father and you don't love her father, you love your children equally. Tell her how great it is that you have a teenaged child who you can talk to as an equal, and how this new child will not change your relationship.
This is a really important one, at least to me. DO NOT MAKE YOUR DAUGHTER YOUR DE FACTO CHILDCARE. Do not force her to watch your new baby on date night. Do not make her change the baby when you need a hand. Do not make her feed baby when you are tired. She is not your personal nanny. She did not choose to have a baby, you did, and she should not have to take any responsibility for it. Try to give your daughter a bedroom that's far away from the baby's so she doesn't have to wake up when the baby does (I know that might not be possible, but if it is, please do it). If you make this baby change your daughter's life in a negative way, she will resent it and you. She's 17, she doesn't have to put up with this for very long, and if she really feels angry about this new baby, odds are, she won't come back and visit as often as you would like or develop a positive relationship with her sibling.
That said, she may want to hang out with the baby by holding it, feeding it, or playing with it (the enjoyable parts of having a baby). Let her do this without telling her that she also has to the bad parts of having a baby. Like I said, you chose to have a baby, she did not choose to have a sibling. She is 17 years old; she's probably not going to be a real sister to that baby. She's probably going to move out in a year or so and go to college or start a career, and she certainly isn't going to grow up with the baby. Ler her be more like the cool aunt, where she does all the fun things with the new baby without having any real "responsibility" for it. Let her enjoy being a big sister instead of resenting it.
Try not to change her schedule. In fact, give her more freedom. Let her choose what she wants to do after school. Don't force her to go and do things with the baby or for your pregnancy. Don't make her drive to the store and get you some pickles for your cravings, don't make her be there for the baby shower if she doesn't want to, and don't make her be there at the hospital or in the delivery room when you have the baby. It may make you sad not to have her there, but you'll be sadder if she ends up hating that baby.
Above all, don't let her harsh words get to you. I doubt she actually thinks you are a slut or wants the baby dead. More likely than not, she's acting out because you had an argument or because she feels unloved or displaced by the new baby. I know it might be hard to hear since you were the one who was wronged in this situation, but as the parent, you need to treat her with love and compassion instead of anger and punishment. It is perfectly normal for teens to say things like "I hate you" to their parents, and what she said is just an extension of that. I'm sorry you had to hear your daughter say that when you are probably already emotional from your pregnancy, but don't take it to heart. Talk with her and treat her with love and respect. Don't let her feel less loved because of this new baby. I hope this helps!
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