28 answers

I Need Help with My 13 Year Old Daughter!!!

My 13 year old has been showing me LOTS of attitude! I know its the age, but I find this to be very upsetting. I've taken away her cell, tv and computer...but nothing is helping...she's still so short tempered with me. I need some new ideas, hopefully positive ones. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter is nearing that age. I am hoping you get some good advice so I can also use it.
Good Luck. One day it will all be worth the heart ache.

Hi C.. Any mom of a teenage daughter knows what you're talking about. Her hormones are going wild. She thinks you are the enemy......
Grin and bear it. I know that's easier said than done. I used to tell my daughter I hoped she had 5 kids just like her, and that I wanted to be freeze dried till she was thirty !!!!!
They do eventually get over the attitude and become nice people again.
My daughter did just fine. She's now a professional event planner, a wife, and the mother of a two yr old.

Oh C.,
I don't envy the stage you're in now - I worry about it wiht my 5 year old!

What about total reverse psychology and inviting her to a spa day with you? Facial, mani, pedi...the works, then a nice lunch. No confrontations, no taking away of "the stuff".

That offer just might rock her world...at least I hope it does!!

Best wishes to you, mom!

More Answers

Hi C.,
I well remember 13 year old girls. I have two daughters and a son and my oldest was a very tough one. You need to set your limits and be consistent with them. When my daughter was 13 I went to a parenting group and was told that by taking away things like cell, tv, computer etc that they adjust. They find something else to do. I was told that you need to make the punishment fit the "crime" and not to punish yourself. I often found that taking something away that they wanted to do like go to a party or a movie with friends would seem to help get the message through. I often gave chores out when they were punished. Not tremendous ones but dust, vacuum, empty the dishwasher things like that and not all at once. This was good for them to do and it helped me as well. I did ground her at times but not for a unrealistic rhealm of time. It's so hard when they start to grow up from our little babies and start to see the world on their own with all the peer pressure. Just keep inforcing your rules be consistent make sure she knows how much you love her and be there to help and listen when she needs you. She will always need you even if she doesn't show you that she does. It's all part of growing up. Try to remember when you were her age. One time in the parenting group the woman teaching it said, "Step back while a situation in your home is going on and see the humor in it." I thought it was a dumb thing she said but when you do take the time to see the antics and the reasoning behind the situation you can and will see the humor in it. You will have to walk the extra mile before she will but it will come back to you. Maybe not until she's in her 20's but it does and it makes all the touture of being a mom of a teen worth every moment. Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
No one said it would be easy and if they told us it would be hard we wouldn't have believed them anyway. My second daughter was a dream and my son another story but they are all doing well today and I'm very proud of them. You will get through it.

HI C.,
My mother in law has kids ranging from 7yrs.old to 32yrs. old right now(10 kids). And I learn a lot from her. She recently told me about her 15 yr. old and attitude. This girl is very tough, but not bad, just has a hard time controlling her temper sometimes. Anyway, same thing, nothing seemed to work, and my mother in law finally told her, everytime she gives attitude or is in the wrong, she has to clean all the toilets in the house, which is 5 toilets!! And she says it works. Also my mother in law gives NO attitude back, no smart remarks, just a calm voice, and patiences and love. It works! It's hard to have attitude with someone who is being loving and patient all the time. Good luck, hang in there, and it will pay off in the long run, but be consistent.
God Bless

I'm sorry I can't help you but I have the same problem and need help too. Maybe it feels better to know that we're in the same boat at you. My 13 yr. old daughter is just awful at times. I just had to punish her b/c she "broke in" to our house b/c she forgot her key and I told her never to try to break in. What to do??

Hi C. -

I was having the same problem - I think most moms of teen girls do. A co-worker told me I should get the book, "How to Kiss a Frog". It sounds like the main idea is, we have to be patient and always show our daughters love - even though they talk back etc. The thing that helps me the most is when I remember that she's just 12 and is still needing me to teach her how to live in the best possible way ie. manners, respect etc.

I'm going to try to find the book in the library when I get a chance.

Maybe spending more special time with her alone. Maybe a walk in the park, a picnic for two, a boat ride, a drive out into the country.... and in the process talk to her but listen more allowing her to express what she thinks and feels.. Ask her opinion about things and ask her how she feels about this or that. More like you would do with a friend. Lean how to communicate with her...and
Don't come down hard on her if you aren't in agreement about something...stay clam, tell her what you think without getting into a power struggle. Recognize the differences and agree on disagreeing on what ever it is when having talks with her....

I tend to think teenages need to feel important and feel part of a family unit where they know that their feelings and thoughts count, get respected and mean something to those around them in order for them to want to follow the values and rules of the unit. If they don't feel it and bond with that at home, they turn to the out side world for it and just see the home and the parents in it as just another drag in life to deal with...which we tend to call an "attitude". And since we the parents provide the roof, the food, the clothes, the toys, the computers, the cell phones, etc.. we get to feel boy how ungrateful is that attitude and in turn we react and the power struggle begins and the communication stops. What kids really need today, money can't buy. We need to learn instead of reacting, to step back and communicate with respect to others if we want others to respect what we are saying. Our teenagers are no different then others we have relationships with. ALL healthy relationships, need love, compromise, communicaton and respect...it's give and take and works both ways no matter what the age difference is..

Anyway, just think about it, take one day at a time and I'm sure you'll find your way with this Teenager...

Hi C.,

I can definitely relate. I'm having the exact same situation with my 13 year old. I'm looking forward to reading the responses.

The only help I can give is to let you know your not alone.

Kathy has an excellent suggestion with a reward system. I tried something similiar, but unfortunatly it didn't work.

Good luck.

Hi C....oh boy...been right in your shoes...sometimes still am! My daughter just turned 15 in May and is going to be a Sophmore. I can tell you that her 8th grade year was a nightmare!!! Let me say, I can ALMOST call her normal now!!! We did all of the same things... took away her phone, computer, grounded her...nothing seemed to help...but we hung in there and didn't give up. To this day I think us not giving in to her was key to her turning the corner. I don't know who your daughter is hanging out with but we found that a HUGE influence on our daughter. She started hanging out with some girls that had too much freedom, and because she didn't, it made for a miserable year. But we stayed strong. In the meantime she was giving up her old and dearest friends to hang out with this other crowd. It was heartbreaking. I talked to her constantly. I know she hated it but I didn't care. I told her she was going down a bad path and making bad choices that would end up getting her hurt or in trouble. I never made her give up these friends, (she ultimately did it herself) but I tried to show her the error of her judgement. It was months before she started to change. I guess she finally opened her eyes to what type of girls these were. I don't know what actually made her come back to who she was but I am thrilled she has. Her attitude and behavior was just awful. Now she is my sweet little baby girl again...don't get me wrong, she is still a teenager, and still gets moody and sometimes nasty,and always lazy, but all in all she is quick to apologize now and I haven't had to take her phone in a LONG time!!! i wish you luck with your daughter! Hang tough and she will come around. One thing I haven't asked though which helped me to stay strong. How is her father with her? Do you put up a united front? Because one thing I do know, is that alone, without his support, I don't know if I could have stayed as strong as I did...
Please keep me posted...good luck

Hi, C. -- your original post did not indicate if you have help (i.e. her dad). I can only tell you that if my husband wan't around, I would probably be going through the same thing. He is intolerant of disrespect (which he learned from his father and grandfather) and has even said "You will not speak to your mother that way!"
If he is not in the picture, do you have another male authority figure in her life that might be able to help?
It might be worth a try.
Good luck!! B.

I have several friends who had success with the "Total Transformation" - don't know much about it, but I'm sure you could find/order it online. One woman used it with a young teen, another with a younger boy with ADHD, another with multiple kids, all say it was the best investment ever. I think it's behavioral therapy for parents and childrne, using the right language to achieve the results you want - stopping backtalk and inappropriate behavior. Good luck!

Would a reward system work? Let's say. . .each day if there's no attitude a "point" goes in a jar/box/chart. Those points could add up to $, gift card to a fave store, xtra cellphone minutes, whatever.
Also- tape record her attitude so she can see how nasty she sounds. She might not realize just how harsh she's being.

It is indeed the age and the estrogen. She may be getting her period if she doesn't have it already. Both my girlfriend and I have had the same attitude issues with our daughters. Her daughter is 13 and her attitude went haywire and a few weeks later, her period arrived. My daughter is experiencing the same issues and I have a feeling her period is around the corner. As women I think it's harder at 13 because not only is it the age of serious change, but for us our hormones are going nutty and eventually we PMS and get our periods. The reward system Kelly's response suggests sounds like a good idea, give it a try. Good luck

I know what you are going through. I have daughters ages 13 & 17. So this is my second time around. It is the age. Sit down with her and see if she does have anything bothering her. Have a one on one. Tell her that you are going to have a one on one where she can say what she feels, what is going on in her life, anything she want to say to you with no punishment involved. Let her know this is her only chance that she has that will not include any punishment. If your willing to do this, be prepared and make sure that you follow through with no punishment if you really want to know what is going on with her. It's hard trust me I know! Try your best to keep your cool and at the same time make sure that you let her know what your feeling and that her attitude is not the way to handle things. Let her know that it is alright to come to you no matter what it is. Continue with what you are doing now, stand your ground and eventually she will learn that her attitude is not getting her anywhere. This built alot of trust between me and my girls. They do come to me now when things are bothering them. My girls also know that when I say no and when they give me attitude that I stand my ground. Good luck and I hope things work out for the better!

I am sorry you have been experiencing trouble with your teen. I recommend that you express to her that you understand and respect the fact that she is not a "child" any more and b/c of that she needs to also understand the responsibilities of adulthood.

Most likely something is troubling her and she may not have the courage to come to you with it.
Assure her that you were her age and you know how difficult things can be and use a real example (ie. grandma caught me ...) Let her know that life doesn't become easier either and you know exactly where she is coming from. Inform her that it helps to talk.

Allow her enough space so that she understands you "get" her (ie. have her invite friends over, movie night, day trips with her...)

Most of all the transition from childhood to puberty is a tough one; hormones, physical body changes and seeing the world differently would scare anyone.
Hope this was helpful.

Hi C.. Any mom of a teenage daughter knows what you're talking about. Her hormones are going wild. She thinks you are the enemy......
Grin and bear it. I know that's easier said than done. I used to tell my daughter I hoped she had 5 kids just like her, and that I wanted to be freeze dried till she was thirty !!!!!
They do eventually get over the attitude and become nice people again.
My daughter did just fine. She's now a professional event planner, a wife, and the mother of a two yr old.

Hi C., The bad attitude could be a stage but can also mean a need for attention. I'm not saying it is right, it must be addressed. I believe you only get respect by giving respect. Have you asked her what is bothering her? Has she gotten her period? That can cause a young lady to be quite impossible. I have raised 5 and my only daughter was in the middle. Her two brothers came along when she was 14. I had my hands full because she was losing her identity. Bad behavior, the works. I'm happy to say that she is 39 now and my best friend and mother of 2 of my grand children. Talk to her. I hope you can get to the root of the problem. Always keep open the lines of communication, don't lose her. My best, Mary

Go to Empoweringparents.com and you will find lots of good advice. The website has good links. It's part of a program by James Lehman, who was himself a problem kid and is now a psychologist. We tried many of his techniques with both of our daughters. Many are simple and they do work. Good luck -- you're not alone and you are a great mom to want to stress the positive. That's actually part of the Lehman system -- getting the kids to agree on positive consequences for good behavior and negative consequences for inappropriate behavior.

I wonder if your teenager is feeling lost in your house. You have a lot of people to take care of, and at that age, girls tend to be insecure about themselves and their places in the world. She may be feeling like she gets no attention from you (even if she does) and by giving attitude, she receives that attention. I know your time is probably limited, but try and find soem time for just the two of you. Watch a tv show with her, ask her about what she does on the computer. Show her that her life is important also.

I have a now 15 yr old step daughter and when she started this I sat her down with her father and talked to her. (Due to our family structure we found it difficult to punish as there was no follow thru at Mom's house). While my family structure is a little different I think the basic principles could help. I included her Dad so she knew that we both were on the same page and we were both aware of her attitude. My key points were:
1)we realize that she is no longer a little girl and acknowledge that she has her own opinions and thoughts. This one was tough to practice as a parent.
2)we encouraged her to share her thoughts, about anything, with us. We gave her examples (sex, drugs, boys) I even told her some stories from when I was her age.
3)we offered her suggestions on how/when to talk to us (at bedtime when Dad 'tucked' her in, by leaving a note on the frig about something that was bothering her) We also would bring up things that we thought may be bothering her. We were often way off base.
4)we explained to her our rules for the household. even though she should know them, she was told the reasons behind them and why they were in place. we encouraged her to question anything she thought was unfair with the understanding that things may not change, but at least we would know what she thought.

Our house has a very open communication because of this and we've found that everyone is happier for it. We don't hold anything in. If I'm not happy with the kids for how they put the groceries away or treated their friends I tell them. If they don't like how I folded their clothes or packed their lunch or their curfew, they tell me. Don't get me wrong, Mom and Dad are still the soveriegn rulers of the house, we are definately not a democracy, but we are open to well thought out suggestions. We feel this gives that kids a percieved level of control in their lives and also encourages them to think for themselves and work for something that they believe in. My step daughter is now going to be 16 and she talks to us about everything. And when she does get the occasional attitude,we call her out on it and we usually find out that she is acting out towards us for something that should be directed towards her friends. At which point she apoligizes and sometimes (not often) asks our opinion about the situation.
Good Luck!

Hi C.,

Does "surro" mean surrogate? Did you carry babies for another woman?

If so, I think that's unbelievably WONDERFUL of you, but may also be part of your daughter's attitude problem. Can you imagine watching your mother go through the changes and challenges of pregnancy (especially a high-risk one), only to have your "siblings" given to another family?

Since I'm not sure what you meant by "surro", I'll stop blabbing.

No matter what, I would try to spend some one-on-one time with your teen and give her permission, really give her permission, to tell you how she feels about your relationship. And listen...really listen to what she doesn't say as well as what she does.

I hope that's helpful!

Hi C.,

Mine turns 13 today. I haven't had much issue with attitude because on the one occasion she tried that, we were on our way out the door to go someplace, and I just stopped, told her that the day was over for her and that she was to go upstairs to her bed. She hasn't tried it again since then.

If it's an ongoing problem, I'd suggest that rather than punishment, taking things away for bad behavior, start with ZERO privileges and she must earn them, rather than starting with all privileges and losing them bit by bit

My daughter is nearing that age. I am hoping you get some good advice so I can also use it.
Good Luck. One day it will all be worth the heart ache.

I feel your pain. My daughter turns 14 today and has an attitude problem. Especially when she gets her period and what is worse, is we get it at the same time. I tried punishing, but since she was in 8th grade, felt guilty and didn't want her to miss out on thing the rest of her friends were doing. She had a small class of 23 kids and they are all very close. Anyway, I have the problem too. Just last week telling her to clean her room created a huge arguement which turned into her telling me that she hates me. I hope it didn't get to that with you yet because that really hurts. Even though I know deep in side that she doesn't. Well, I started to stand my ground this week and had her doing chores like folding clothes, cleaning the table off and watching her 3 1/2 year old sister while I do some cleaning. She whined some but then got over it. Maybe instead of just punishments, tying giving her chores to do. I hoping this works for me. It has worked so far for me this week. She made it to 14 now lets see how this year goes to 15. I look forward to reading some of the advice you get, made it will be helpful to me as well.
Good luck!

Does "Surro Mom" mean you are a single mom? You have to be tough with your discipline, don't let her "push your buttons" and don't give in! Remember the 9 year old is watching.

My oldest son was difficult during his teen years and my second son was an angel. Jeff, my youngest son told me that he knew what not to do because he saw his brother get into trouble.

I'm 60 years old, been married 38 years to the same man and have two grown sons.

I'm sure it's the age and hormones but still, I would make sure you stay consistent in your boundaries and disciplines. I wish I had more advice for you but riding it out with consistency and discipline is the best thing I can think of.

Have you asked her why she feels the need to respond to you the way she does? What do you say at the very moment it is happening? Do you get angry back with her? I think if she sees that her behavior hurts you vs. a need to get defensive because you get angry back, it might help.

Best of luck,


I am there with you, with my 12 year old son.

The way I look it it a punish ment for the child should never punish the parent,

make her clean the house, do the dishes, laundry , and vaccum as needed for attitude adjustment therapy

she can use that time to wind down and vent

DO NOT return the cell and the Computer.

she can visit with friends at a designated HOME for a designated time frame.

She cannot go to the mall , pool, ect..

If she manages to control her temper, you can allow her to go to an activity, again set time, and limits

DO NOT return the phone or the computer.

ONE rainy day if she has been good you can allow her a few random hours of computer use, set a time limit and site acess limits.

IN return she is to perform extra chores.

DO NOT return her cell phone.
And make sure she understands that her privledges on the computer are a one time thing, and by no means permanent.

NO video games Either.

Its the summer, and if she complains encourage her to read a book.

this has helped me tremendously.


As a mom of a 12-year-old, I often repeat this catch phrase to myself in my head: It´s hard to repay the tolerance that we borrow.
You are repaying right now, as your daughter will when she has kids. Set your boundaries, repeat again and again that respect is the tone that rules in your household, and buckle up for the ride. It´s going to be bumpy. But you are not alone, we are all on that same rollercoaster with you.

Oh C.,
I don't envy the stage you're in now - I worry about it wiht my 5 year old!

What about total reverse psychology and inviting her to a spa day with you? Facial, mani, pedi...the works, then a nice lunch. No confrontations, no taking away of "the stuff".

That offer just might rock her world...at least I hope it does!!

Best wishes to you, mom!

I have a 13 year old step daughter and it's natural to think your parents are crazee. The hormones in side effect the mental , but we do have to let them know we are still the parents and they are still children. Since she is the oldest she has privilages that the youngers ones don't, responsibilities and let her know that everything she does is a leader for the other children in the house. Do you take her out for just one on one with your or your husband? That will give you time to talk and have just alone time. She needs that and so does the nine year old. When everything evolves around the toddlers and down, sometimes we have them be our helpers too much and resentment builds. By have special time during the week when focus is just on her she might reveal things to you. Also try a rewards system, with taking away things in punishment we should also as parents encourage praise, look for good things you catch her doing and THANK HER! She might have just been waiting for this all along! Pray about her because outside influences can be involved as a distraction.

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