13 answers

14-Year-old with Attitude Problem

I'm having trouble with my 14-year-old daughter's attitude and her laziness. I have to constantly remind her to do her chores, and when I do tell her she gets an attitude like I'm not suppossed to ask her to do anything. The only thing I know I can do to get her to listen to me is take away her cell phone (which I know is probably a mistake of buying her one in the first place, but she does pay the bill each month) this is getting old and I'm getting tired of the same old routine everday. Does anyone have any suggestions? She complains that I don't give her an allowance for doing her chores, but I feel why should I give someone money for a job that they know they have to do everyday....that's like my boss telling me what to do everyday at my job when I know my responibilites and I still expect to get paid.

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I want to thank everyone for the advice and words of wisdom, I will definitely read the books and do many of the ideas that were given to me. Thanks moms!!

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What worked with my daughter was (I wrote it all out so we always had a reference) she got a weekly allowance of $5.00 with the understanding that she wasn't getting paid to do chores, BUT, if she didn't do chores, money was taken from her allowance. For example $1.00 was taken away if she didn't put away the dishes, and $1.00 for not taking out the garbage. $2.00 was taken away if her video game playing interferred with anything (that was her big weakness). BUT if she did her chores all week without any talk back or attitude, she got $2.00 extra. We also took away 50 cents for each time she argued frivolously. (teens need to argue sometimes to find their voice).

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Number 1: SHE'S a TEENAGE GIRL!! She is hormonal and confused by all these new things she is feeling- about her body, her friends, her FAMILY! … She is likely in some ways trying to figure out where she fits into the WHOLE scheme of things.

Number 2: I suggest you read the book “The Five Love Languages” and/or “the Five Love Languages of Kids”. They talk about how people give and receive love in one of five ways: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Quality Time. If you read the book, you will learn to identify how your daughter receives love. It sounds like you MAY be Acts of Service~ meaning that you feel loved when others do things for you, whether it be to vacuum, was your car, or volunteer to baby-sit for you. She could have a different “Love Language”, and if you aren’t speaking hers, she may not feel you “deserve” her attention to your request.

Number 3: Remember what it was like when you were her age. Did you HONESTLY get along with EITHER of your parents at 14?!? They are trying to test boundaries and limitations. They THINK they are grownups! My mom says that “the 2’s are the first round of training for the Teen Years.” This is also an age where they question whether your love is TRULY unconditional. Tell her “I love you” every chance you get. When you get mad, CALMLY start and end the conversation with “I LOVE YOU!” DO NOT follow it with “But…” Hearing “I love you, but…” puts the question back of whether it’s conditional. It may sound odd at first, but it will be so good for her to hear in the future. This is how I imagine your conversation with her might go if you do this:
You: “I love you!”
Her: “Why?!”
You: “because I know I can trust you to do always do the right thing.”
Her” “what are you talking about?!?” (now she’s scared and thinks you know something.)
You: “like when I ask you to make your bed, you may not do it right away, but I KNOW you will do it. And for that, I love you!”
Then walk away. She will be THOROUGHLY confused, but will probably end up doing it because she asked in a way completely filled with love and lacking argument and confrontation. Just try to keep it from being an argument.

Take into account, I DO NOT have any teenagers of my own, although I have 3 nephews and one niece who are out of high school, 2 nephews and a niece IN High School, and a couple more in Jr. High. So although I have not seen this implemented in my own child(ren), I have seen it implemented with many of my nieces and nephews. All I can say is that offering security to this insecure age seems to be a bit of a magic pill of sorts.

Hope it helps, J.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh my gosh! I totally know what you are going through. I also have a 14 year old girl. I remember about a year ago her pediatrician mentioned that she might want to sleep all day and not do anything when puberty started. I guess I didn't think it would happen to mine! Anyway, I agree with you on the whole allowance thing, and the cell phone. My daughter has one, and also pays her own bill. She makes a good amount babysitting. I recently read "The new strong-willed child" by James Dobson. He has a whole section dedicated to the strong-willed adolescent. There is a point system in the book, that we have implemented where the child can earn points every day, and after a 6-10 week period we buy them something that they have really been wanting. It is a really good motivator, because when there is an argument or bad attitude, points are lost. Anyway, all I can say is I do a lot of praying, and hopefully we'll come out of this in one piece! Good luck!

I am having the same problem with my 12 soon to be 13 year old son. The way it works with him is that if he chooses to do his chores without arguing he gets rewarded. If he argues when he is supposed to do his chores no reward. Does your daughter have the freedom to go to friends houses during the weekend, etc... Maybe you can develop a sort of behavior management plan for her. If she doesn't do her chores during the week then no fun on the weekend. As far as the attitude is concerned it's normal and can be very overwhelmingly frustrating to a parent. But I think that as long as she is not disrespecting you whe she does talk back (cursing, swearing,etc...) then you can ignore her. When it comes to reminding her about her chores I would let her know that if she doesn't want reminding then to do the chores as scheduled on her own. Now that I said scheduled if you don't have a set time that her chores need to be done make one. Write it up and be specifically clear on what is expected to be done. This way there is no arguement on when it should have been done and what was supposed to be done, it is in writing. The little phrase "PUT IT IN WRITING" doesn't just apply to business. One last thing remember that she is a teen and that things may not be done to perfection. My mom was anal about that stuff. If it wasn't perfect it wasn't clean. That made me resent her very much and also did not help at all for motivation to clean. After all even us moms need a little motivation to clean every now and again. Or am I the only on who hates to clean the toilet. HA HA HA! Anyway hope this was helpful.

What worked with my daughter was (I wrote it all out so we always had a reference) she got a weekly allowance of $5.00 with the understanding that she wasn't getting paid to do chores, BUT, if she didn't do chores, money was taken from her allowance. For example $1.00 was taken away if she didn't put away the dishes, and $1.00 for not taking out the garbage. $2.00 was taken away if her video game playing interferred with anything (that was her big weakness). BUT if she did her chores all week without any talk back or attitude, she got $2.00 extra. We also took away 50 cents for each time she argued frivolously. (teens need to argue sometimes to find their voice).

Dear B.,

Yes, I know, that is a serious problem with teens, they have truly been mislead in our culture about their responsibilities and loyalties to the family. it isn't necessarily your fault or your family's fault, it is the environment in which we live.

I just read a book called "Facing the Lion" it is about a boy growing up as a third son in a Maasai family in Kenya. They moved their home from place to place in order to take care of the cattle that were their livelihood. I know that it doesn't sound like it would help your daughter, but truly, I am 76 almost and it opened my eyes to the wonders of different cultures than ours. We need to somehow band together to teach our children the kind of loyalty and graciousness of these Maasai families.

Oprah had a family go to an African country similar to these people and the American children of that family really got the message about being spoiled and disrespectful to parents - I wish that you could get a copy of that program and show it to your daughter.

Also, if you could find this book 'Facing the Lion' at the library - I am buying a couple of copies from Amazon just so I can give them to my family. The used ones are only about $3.66 - new they are $6.95 - it is a National Geographic book. The author is Joseph Lemasulai Lekuton. He is now a teacher in a very prestigious American school near Washington D.C.

Well, I have rambled on and haven't helped you at all, I just don't know what to tell you - except one thing - Your daughter is trying her best to grow up in a very dangerous and difficult world now. My son told me when he was in high school that if I - his Mother - was in hight school at that time that I would not be able to handle it. ...and that was a long time ago. But, it was a memorable moment for me, and one that I cannot forget.

Even though teens are irritating and disrespectful, they are our children and we need to try to get into a close relationship with them. Remember, if your boss would tell you what to do constantly, and order you around, then you would be looking for another job. Well, not that your daughter will be looking for another family, but she will become more and more depressed and confused.

That is all I know. C. N.

Hi, Welcome to the twilight zone. I hope that you have a nice trip. Teenagers are very difficult to deal with. They are very hormonal and self centered. Your daughter is probably acting within the norm. I have been through the teenage thing once and here I go again, but this time I am doing every thing different. I kind of have an edge because I have been there and done that so I do a lot of prevention.

My tip for you is to give your daughter allowance. Write down the list of chores that she is responsible for on a daily basis. Give her a time during the day that it needs to be completed by. If it is not complete and you have to do it she has to pay you for the service out of her allowance.
I was wondering how she pays for her cell phone if she does not get an allowance? Just a question!

My son is 14. He has a cell phone and we pay the bill. I think that these days they are almost necessary for safety. It makes me feel better knowing that he has one.
He gets $20 week allowance. His chores are to mow the lawn, take the trash out every evening and on trash day, keep his room clean, and to pick up after himself. For example, dirty clothes on the bathroom floor (drives me nuts). When me or my husband have to do any of his chores, he has to pay us money out of his allowance for services.

At 14, kids really do need an allowance. It teaches responsibility. Your daughter will not want to return any to you. She may not take you seriously to begin with but she will get the picture when she has no more money to spend.

I hope this helps!


Someone below mentioned 2' s being preparation for teenagers and I agree. Two year olds need to be praised for their good behaviour and 'ignored' for their bad so that they learn positive ways to get attention for their needs and wants that don't drive you nuts.

If you give gentle words of encouragement for doing the chores you may find she does them less begrudgingly. As you sincerely acknowledge their efforts, no matter how small the effort, you stop the broken record of nagging, they stop hearing "no" all the time and as the good behaviour gets reinforced the bad recedes. then you have a positive currency in your home which doesn't cost a cent.

" I noticed that you took the initiative to tidy your room without me asking and I am so grateful . That was very responsible and thoughtful"

then encouragement when you see them starting a chore...

" you're taking out the trash/ picking up after yourself/ stacking the dishwasher/" thank you so much . I really love that you took the initiative. "

And as for ignoring...it is a blatant, respectful ignoring i.e. you tell them that you are going to ignore them

" I am happy to discuss this with you . I will not listen until you speak to me in a respectful tone / I am going to turn my back and do the dishes for a while if you'll excuse me and when you are ready to change your tone I am ready to listen. I am going into my room for a while to clean up and when you are ready to speak to me respectfully I am all yours"

sounds naive I know but I read it in a book that said it applied to toddlers and teens and it certainly worked with the toddlers...

I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone, crazy, and/or the only one going through this. My ds age 12 has been driving me nuts lately. His memory is completely gone and our conversations are starting to sound like something out of a run around comedy. LOL. It hasn't been easy and, from my understanding, it isn't going to get better anytime soon.

A friend of mine was telling me that when kids hit the teenage years their brains start to misfire. The connections aren't there anymore. I don't know if this is true ( I haven't done the research yet) but at least there is a reason (it helps me to know he isn't just being a TOTAL pain).

Anyway, you aren't alone.

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