Sept. 21, 2020

Ask Amy: My Tween Has Suddenly Stopped Speaking To Me

A listener wonders how to deal with her own hurt feelings now that her 12-year-old daughter has suddenly stopped speaking to her. Should she say something to her daughter? Submit your parenting questions:

This week's question is from Stacey in our Facebook group:

My 12 year old daughter, seemingly out of the blue, won’t talk to me or look at me. I don’t mean talk like serious topics. I mean talk to me at all, about anything, unless I ask her a direct question. 

We’ve always been close so I’m feeling very hurt. She acts fine with my husband. 

Everything I read is how we aren’t supposed to take it personally, that it’s normal but I’m finding that impossible, especially when she’s joking around with her dad. 

I keep reading I should just act like everything is fine but I really want to tell her she’s hurting my feelings. Should I?

It's a tween or teen's job to differentiate from their parents, to get ready to leave the nest. And if your relationship with your child was formerly very close– as Stacey's was– this separation by your teen can be even more swift and sudden, as well as way harder on the suddenly rejected parent.

Amy offers some tips on how Stacey might speak up for herself, some perspective on why this is happening, and some ways Stacey's spouse can help.

Being the rejected parent can really sting. But your child's rejection means, above all, that you've done a good enough job of loving her to make her feel safe stepping away from you, even temporarily.

In this episode, Amy refers to Janet Lansbury's writing on this topic.

You can hear more about all of this in our podcast episode "When Kids Prefer The Other Parent Over You":

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