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10 Answers

Don’t take it personal, I know, but I’m just bewildered by the attitude I just received from my teenager. What would you say or do? Let me set the scene. Daughter, 19 years old, comes in with a math question from uni advanced maths while I am browsing Mouths of Mums website (this is my do not disturb time). I leave the room because husband is on work call and ask her what it is. Daughter says it’s maths and I see a page of integration equations. I think 40 years since I’ve done any of that and she knows it. I say it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. She says I don’t need any maths. We move to another room and I sit down. She says she just has to write out the question. I’m bewildered and sit there for half a minute and then it still isn’t ready and I say can you please have your question ready if you’re coming for help. She storms off in a mood insulting me and saying I’m so rude. I sit bewildered. I thought it was a reasonable request. I gave her some time (even though I don’t think I could have ever helped with the math) and she just stormed off. This is a pattern. What would you do or say? …. (this sort of thing happens quite often. She interrupts. I stop what I’m doing to sit (and just give her time when she asks for help) And try and support her. But she gets frustrated. And if I look at the page wrong, or perhaps ask to see the textbook to see if I can re-learn it, or ask her like today, to have her question ready, she usually gets moody and pulls it all away from me, walks off and insults me. I’m left feeling horrible that someone just yelled at me when I went out my way to try and be nice. So don’t take it personal, but I can’t stand this abuse really. Any ideas?


Posted anonymously, 19th March 2022


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  • I find it hard to deal with teenage daughters about anything, they do get very short, and touchy if you rub them up the wrong way, even when you don’t realise that you are!


  • Maybe she is a little stressed at the work and it takes a lot to ask for help at that age as we all know at 19 we know better than everyone else. Id definitely not take it personally and while I totally understand your you time has been interrupted the fact she is coming to you still I think is fantastic and if she is ready or not she clearly just needs some help from her mum.


  • I’m just a bit confused here… it says she came to you with math but doesn’t need math, she just needs to write out a question then you are bewildered and ask her to have the question ready… was she asking you for help coming up with the question? I get the frustration on both sides. Mostly I get frustrated when asked anything math related, especially by my 6 year old who is literally just testing me as he already knows the answer and already knows I probably don’t. But I think she was frustrated by you saying have the question ready first, it kinda sounds like you weren’t overly interested in helping her. It doesn’t, however, excuse her rude attitude and I pull my children up on this at the time. Maybe you should too?


  • First thought was try not to take in personally.. she sounds abit stressed out from studying. However, if she does this alot and disrespects you often, let her know. She’s now an adult and she wouldn’t talk to her professor/lecturer/teacher that way and she shouldn’t talk to you like that! You sound like a pretty cool mum helping her with her uni studies.. maybe you could tell her your busy and to figure it out herself? Idk..


  • I just wait till my teenager is cooled down and ask why did you get so upset ?


  • I think if you’re in a public space in the house you can’t be in “do not disturb time”. If you can’t help your kid don’t give the impression that you can (eg by moving to a different room with them).
    It would also help interactions with your daughter by saying “let’s write it out together” instead of saying she has to have it ready for you. Work together with her rather than against her.
    I get a bit triggered when people throw around the word “abuse” like that. Your daughter getting upset with you is not abuse, if you feel that way you need to see someone about it and change the way you’re looking at how your daughter treats you. Kids get stressed and yell with frustration, that’s not abuse. You talking to someone external to your family (such as a counsellor or psychologist) may do wonders for future interactions with your child.


  • I think all if not most teenagers are like this.
    Maybe just let her know when she’s not in a mood that you’re feeling this way.


  • I am sorry that you are feeling abusing. That’s really unfair. It sounds like you have a completely ‘normal’ teenager. This seems to be yet another stage of development. My 19 year old is very self centred and oblivious to my needs too,……but then I see her with others and hear about the kind ways that she deals with customers where she works and I see glimmers of hope. I envisage the teenage years as being like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, except the caterpillar is rather prickly and often stings. Her brain is still going through the massive changes of that time and she will hopefully emerge from the other side soon. Not long to go for both of us I hope :) Hang in there. It sounds like you are being incredibly patient.


  • It sounds like you were irritated she interrupted you and you both miscommunicated.

    Catch her at a time when she isn’t studying and have a conversation. Explain you’re happy to help but you would appreciate it if she has everything ready. Tell her between certain times, you are unavailable because you’re doing some self care.
    Maybe schedule some mother daughter self care like manicures, going out for coffee etc. studying is mentally exhausting for some. And she’s only 19, still learning how to emote on a more mature level.


  • This is tough. I think she may be frustrated at the work at hand, and expects that you’re instantly available to her. Maybe have a chat about how you can work through the maths together – before you go to start it. Studying is quite stressful, and can make some people irritable. No it’s not fair on you, hence having a chat. Good luck.


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