30 answers

Help with a 12 Year Old's Attitude...

My oldest daughter turned 12 on St. Patrick's Day and for about the past several months, her attitude is completely horrible. If I get on her for something she screams at me saying that all I do is scream at her and hate her and she gets in trouble for everything, which is completely untrue. Her grades this year are horrible, I have asked for tutoring and yet I cannot get her to committ. I have two younger children and her behavor has started to transfer to them. When I mentioned this situation to some close friends of mine, all they can tell me is that it is her age. Can someone please offer advice on how to deal with "her age?"

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I second the Love and Logic. It's an awesome way to parent and much more fun. It helps the kids own up to their problems and creates more responsible kids. Sometimes, you have to let go in order for them to grown up and take charge. www.loveandlogic.com

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S., First remember that she and the other children are not adults, You are. The only thing I will say is to put down your foot. Demand respect no matter what. That is what's wrong with so many kids now, no respect and it is suppose to start from home. Yes sure she is 12, and at that age, kids do seem quite different as far as behavior goes and attitude. I have a 15 1/2 old son, who I needless to say have to now look up to, but boy o boy he does know better. From time to time he too will try me, not for long he starts to act like a child again, a 10 1/2 daughter, who from time to time looses her mind and I have to check her, and a 9 1/2 old son, who usually likes to mimick his older brother. I am married and in my house they all totally respect my husband, their dad, and me too! No questions asked. I don't play around when it comes to respect!!!!!You should not either. Let me know if this helps. Concerned mom

1 mom found this helpful

S. you are not alone, I have three daughters, 19, 17 and 12 and for some reason I don't remember having screaming matches with my other two daughters...not as bad or as often anyways. It is the age of puberty and learning how to deal with your hormones, but...I have to basically kiss her butt to some extent, I talk calmly to her and I have not let her get me upset to the point where we are yelling at each other just to make a point. I still have her in girls scouts, excellent program, and she is involved in our youth group at church...any idea you can come up with for the two of you to do positives things together helps. I am spending extra time with my daughter and helping her more with her homework and keeping track of what is due. Get in touch with the teachers and set up a form of communication with them that doesn't involve her so they can keep you informed of her homework and test schedule so that you can ask her about whether or not her assignments are completed and offer to help her study for her tests, she may see this as she really does care, At this age it is critical for you to stay involved with her because who she hangs out with makes a big difference. This is the age when they start experimenting...sex, drugs... I don't want to scare you but I have been through it twice and luckily my girls are good but not all of there friends are so talk to her as much as possible and I know all advice so far from experts say don't be your childs friend, but you have to be a friend with boundaries so you can keep her pure and innocent and able to be a successful strong woman with a great future...I hopes this helps!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, S.!

I can understand what you're going through. My son turned 12 about a week ago. I started noticing a shift in his attitude several months prior to his birthday, though. His grades aren't the greatest this year, either. My sister has been very helpful to me because I remember when her youngest daughter hit puberty. She told me that it can be a very difficult time, but that it's also very necessary that we keep the doors of communication open. Sometimes you have to get your foot slammed in the door, but do it nonetheless. As far as the screaming is concerned, that shouldn't be tolerated from her at all. My son has a tendency to try to "talk over me" when I'm saying something which drives me bananas. He gets pretty pouty when someone gets on his case for not doing as he's told.

I agree with your friends that yes, it's their age but we need to make sure they (and we) make it through that age as smoothly as possible. Children these days have to deal with so much more than we did at "their age", so we have to try to keep that in mind. If she wants to be quiet and not say anything, give her that from time to time. If her room isn't as tidy as you'd like, close the door so you won't have to see it. But, if it gets way out of control, put your foot down. Don't yell...don't scream...tell her to get it done. If she starts saying things like, "This is my room and it's all right with me," let her know in no uncertain terms (as calmly as possible) that she doesn't own a thing. Everything she has is a result of what you and your husband have paid for. And, that's the truth!

I know this has been long, but I'm so feeling what you're going through. First and foremost though, S., is PRAY, PRAY AND PRAY SOME MORE! You all will make it through. My prayer is that my son will make it out of 6th grade this year. The grades are unlike anything he's ever brought home before, but I know in my heart of hearts it'll all be fine.

Take Care!

C. T

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I hate to say it but welcome to the adolescent stage. I have a very strong willed daughter (now 36) and we did survive and she is great (she now has 2 strong willed children and I just sit back and smile!!!). She grew out of this around 18. So pull up your boot straps and hang on for the ride, she is definitely worth the effort.

The only way to help her survive this is communication. I know she doesn't want to talk but try to communicate with her as much as possible. Do give her some freedom but only as much as she can handle responsibly. I used to tell my children that they have a rope around them. I can either loosen it up or draw it back in, depending on how they are handling situations. It is good to let them handle some things on their own. I stayed involved with her and her friends as much as I could. I took them places, I let them stay at my house, in fact I encouraged it. I did the same thing for my boys. I always felt if they were home, I could control what they were doing. They did have a place they could go for privacy but I dropped in occassionally for treats, etc.

Most of all I kept them busy. They all were involved with school clubs or sports, community sports, tutoring (was not an option, had to do it but was traded with a "want to" situation) and most of all the youth group at our church. We had a great youth director and he enjoyed the kids so much. If your church doesn't have a youth group, then I suggest you find one that does. Our prayers and faith kept my husband and I sane during that time.

I let the kids have parties but my husband and I were always there. I was told that the "word" was out by the other kids (not mine) that if you break the rules we will all have to go so don't. They kind of "policed" their own group. (We have had nearly 100 kids at our house before w/o instances==Praise the Lord)

Basically just try to be there for her. Give her some space but protect her and communicate with her. You can be her friend but most of all you have to be her mother. That is our job. Love her, love her friends. you will have to get to know them as well.

Good luck and God bless.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like your daughter knows which "buttons to push" with you. I think it's important to ALWAYS speak to your child with respect. If they start yelling or talking with a bad attitude, it's VERY important that you stay calm, mature and respectful. In other words, you have to behave the way you what her to. If she starts down the yelling path, I would say, "It's not OK for you to talk to me like that; let's revisit this conversation when you can speak respectfully to me." If you have yelled in the past, I would apologize to her and tell her that you were wrong to do that. I would explain that it's not OK for her and it's not OK for you. I would link her negative behavior to consequences. In other words, you might consider telling her that if she can't speak and treat you and the other family members with respect, then hanging out with friends on the weekend (or talking on the phone, etc.) will not be an option. It's important that you communicate these new rules without emotion. It's important that she doesn't feel like you are picking a fight, rather, communicate that the new plan is that disrespect will have consequences. And SHE is in control of her choices. But this is the new plan. Allowing this negative behavior to continue and escalate is not "normal" or healthy. I would tell her that you are "on her side" and that your goal is a sweet, intimate, respect-based" relationship. Then you do your part to communicate unconditional love and acceptance of her (not her bad behavior).

1 mom found this helpful

One thing I read that is disturbing is "she won't commit"...YOU are the parent and it is not her choice. The consequences are not enough for her if the screaming continues. do it Dr. Phil's way...take away one major item each time she does it - TV, computer,pillow, bedspread - not just take away privilege but remove the items from her access. Nothing speaks louder than an action taht says " We have talked baout this issue and this is a consequence taht YOU chose." Keep it out for a minimum of one week. and remember tha she might be sleeping on the floor before long but...

1 mom found this helpful

This is a very challenging age, not just for moms, but for the pre-teen as well. I am the mother of two wonderful daughters. They are now ages 22 and the younger turned 18 today. I remember this stage very well. What I can tell you from experience is this....a pre-teen in so many ways go through the same stage as a 2 year old. 2 year olds are trying to explore who they are, their boundaries, the changes internally, etc. The same is true with a 12 year old female. If she has not started her cycle, you may want to check with her Pediatrician to see if she is showing signs of starting soon. My girls' Pediatrician was able to pinpoint an excellent timeline for them which was quite accurate. What you have to do is try to give her some downtime (you decide when) by herself. Even when she does not want to talk, hug her and give her a kiss. She may brush you off, but don't be offended by it. Whatever you do, do not let her get away with saying hateful things to you.....let her know that behavior such as that is unacceptable. When you can, spend time with her seperate from the other 2 children. Most importantly, you have to really try to remember what that age was like for you and try to help her go through it. It lasts for approximately 2-3 YEARS ! ! ! ! ! I'm not kidding. If you allow her to talk to you any kind of way, or get away with being mean to everyone in the home, you will lose her to a lot of mess. Just like a two year old...she wants boundaries, but she does not know that she wants those boundaries (isn't that something). She probably thinks that she's all alone and no one understands. It is vitally important that you let her know that you do understand. The worst thing to do is feel as though she is attacking you, she isn't. Their is an excellent book (very old) written by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (parents of 8 children) entitled "Parenting Today's Adolescent". If you can order a copy, get it and read it. It saved me and my relationship with my daughters.

1 mom found this helpful

A big part of her "attitude" came out when you said, you can't get "her" to commit? WHAT? Who's in charge at your house? It's not her decision to make MOM. Unfortunately, you're going to have a tough time from here on out, because you've allowed this during the most influential time of her life. If you're going to succeed in "breaking" this bad habit, YOU are going to have to be very diligent at becoming the MOM instead of her FRIEND. She's to old for "corporal" punishment. A lot of restriction, taking away extracurricular activities, etc. is going to be in order. Children demand "structure" and eventually it will pay off whether she likes you or not. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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