K.W. asks from Stockton, CA on February 13, 2008
A Very Sassy 11 Year Old
I love my daughter to pieces. I am a single mom and have been for 7 years. We are very close but when she doesn't get her way, she gets an attitude with me. She is very disrespectful sometimes and it really hurts my feelings and at the same time makes me angry. I've tried taking her privledges away and talking to her but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions?
C.K. answers from Stockton on February 14, 2008
I have a 17 year old that was and still is the same way. If you don't nip it now, it only gets worse. There is a book called Positive Parenting with a Plan. I would suggest looking into it. It is a great tool. It has reward and discipline ideas.
K.G. answers from San Francisco on February 13, 2008
Maybe try to remove an adult perception of the moment. Instead, imagine a moment when a young adolescent NEEDS to rebel against you to establish independence. So, listen to her closely. What truly interests her? What intrigues her: video games, drawing, fashion, or...identify her hobbies. Then learn them. Humbly, I believe we need to meet our tweens (she is still so young, right?) where they live. Never would I pretend to truly know their life experience because so much happens when I am not there. They learn away from us. Show clarity and integrity in your own life, and an interest in hers, and perhaps that magical connection will happen.
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C.L. answers from San Francisco on February 14, 2008
Let your daughter know that it is very hurtfull that she is hurting your feelings and disrespecting you, I can truly say that by you talking to her and letting her know how you feel that will make her feel even worse. Talk to her like you would your friend kids understand too, let her know how you feel and that she is all you have and you are all she has and that you have to work together as a team so things can work out for the both of you. I am a single mom of a 7 yr old boy and when I tell him how he dissaponited me and really hurt my feeling when he has acted up or done something wrong it makes him feel bad and he tries very hard to correct it the next day, he even comes to me a says mommy I'm sorry that I hurt your feels and dissappointed you, and as I well when I hurt his feeling do the same!!! remember yelling gets us no where except stressed out and a bad headache!!
G.H. answers from Modesto on February 15, 2008
HI there K.,
We share the same problem.. Gotta love this age. This is what has worked for me with my son. First, do not presonalized her response, because when we get angry, we can not think fully therefore not parent effectively...because we are not hearing eachother just exchanging words. Better, validation her feelings, let her know you did not appreciate her tone and have her practice with her. Remind her you are not her friend, but her mother, and she may be ignored when speaking with such tone/attitude. It may take several tries, believe, but you will see less sassiness and more repectful tone towards you. Yow can also remind her she is overstepping the boundaries by simply asking her, "Let's try that again...I'm your mom." With reminder's my son is able to retrace him step and correct himself more often than not. Hope this help...Gotta love them.
J.G. answers from Bakersfield on February 14, 2008
Stick with your discipline! Say what you mean, mean what you say. Be firm and nontolerant of unacceptable behavior. If she gets away with things, it is only a matter of time before your son picks up her bad habits. He will see that she is getting away with things and join in. Again, stand by what you say. It isn't always easy, but it's about what is right for your daughter in the long run, not what is easiest in the here and now. And, I know this is easier said than done.
D.K. answers from Sacramento on February 14, 2008
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D. and Layla(age 2)
C.M. answers from Merced on February 14, 2008
Your daughter probably has plenty of friends, but she only has one mother - you. You might need to re-draw the line with her for clarity. Also, ask yourself if you are being consistent with discipline, or do you sometimes give in for the sake of peace and quiet? You might also consider talking with her school counselor for some suggestions.
I recommend that you take control of the situation sooner rather than later because it will escalate as she gets older and the stakes are much higher. This is very difficult in the short term but well worth it in the long run.
M.O. answers from San Francisco on February 20, 2008
So, what where you like at her age. Well, you could try giving her back the same attitude she is giving you.. You stop doing for her. Life will go on. We the parents get into habits that we think we need to have. Well after 20yrs of kids I have found that I was wrong in my habits. With our 15yr son I have stopped repeating myself. I give a direction, ask a question, request help once. no response. Well then it comes back to what I want not them. I will leave then where they stand, not make dinner, not clean up their stuff. I have told the boys about choices good, bad and indifferent and the consequenses of their action. They are forworned. And all 3 have had to deal with bad choices. You will survive the choices they make. You and your daughter can stop going round and round if you change your habits and really make the right choices for you. We want our kids to grow up to become adults and live a great life but that is not our choice. At what age did you make up your own mind about what you wanted and how you where going to do it. Love her that really is the only thing we can given them and sometime they do not want it, sometimes that means now and even forever. Remember it ok to let them go that is why we had them to watch them grow and become what they want. With a hug and smile to you. M.
D.A. answers from San Francisco on February 14, 2008
My 10 year old daughter has had a sass issue for many, many years, and it is partly because she gets over-excitable. In her case it is a gifted issue too, and she has been tearful when I confronted her (at age 7) with how I felt about her sass. She really had a hard time stopping herself from getting irritable and really did not mean to hurt my feelings. I had to relieve her from the guilt resulting, because she was just irritable, and not able to handle all the feelings.
So now I state calmly that I don't like the behavior and I ask her to apologize and then I accept the apology, but I don't talk anymore about hurt feelings. We are calmly discussing the whole topic of respect. I am seeing huge improvements because she realizes I am not judging her, and she sees the issue now as about her self control, when she is irritable of over-excited. We also have ways to work out our problems, without yelling, and that is important too.
I think it is important to discuss the topic when the behavior is not happening. Also, she may have legitimate gripes - triggers for her sass, and you can calmly discuss these, so that she realizes that gripes can be dealt with constructively and sassing and yelling is not okay for either child or parent. If you are a yeller, or make put downs at her, you will have to stop these behaviors too, to be consistant.
Adolescence is a chemical roller coaster for youth and reading about this together may help. It may be that she cannot stop herself from feeling irritable at times, because of what is going on in her body(adolescents have low dopamine "feel good chemical" levels in their bodies, that is why they get so moody at times.)
If your daughter sasses when she's irritable.... if that's what you discover, perhaps the response from you can be to calmly remind her of family rules about communication, but not mention hurt feelings . Perhaps you can also support for her taking care of her mood in a repsonsible way. We have a tea ritual in our house, as a way of taking care of each other. At this point, offering tea or cocoa is a signal of support, that short circuits the yucky communication cycle. It's saying also "let's drop this fight -- lets realize we are not at our best and break this cycle, right now.. regroup, calm down.