34 answers

My 12 Year Old Driving Me "Crazy"!!!!

Now, ladies i have a question: do any of you know what is going on with the kids of today? Does anyone have the answer or just an answer for me? I am about to go crazy with my 12 year daughter's attitude. She walks around like she is the queen of the world and should not have to do anything. She was out of school for 3 weeks for spring break. She comes home from a weekend sleepover and starts doing homework on a sunday night that needed to be turned in and signed by a parent. She was asked serveral times over the break if she had any work that needed to be done and as always the answer was "no". Don't get me wrong or anything but if you havw 15 week days and not including the weekend, to get something done, why not get it out of the way and do it and then you will have remainder of the break to have fun. Is that not what any of you would have done. Come on now think about. I know that times are different from when i was a kid but.... Man give me a break!!!!!! When you say something to her she acts as if she doesn't hear you or she just answers you when she is ready. Now if i had done that to my parents back in the day. (well just say i didn't) then when you ask her to do something it's like she does this matrix routine where she slow walks and goes through the motions. That gets me so hot. Ladies give me some advise. I have grounded her to no ends. She doesn't have any privileges until the end of the school year. I mean no privileges what so ever. But what more can i do. I got an email from one of her teachers today about her behavior when she was told to do something. Lunch detention is the final outcome to that. I have no problems with it. So, i am asking for some advise.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

O My!!!!!! I have to thank everyone for responding. I have received some good advise that I will definitely will use. I will let you all know how things are in about 3 months. I love this site, I don't feel so along. It is good to know that what you may be going though someone else is or has gone though it also... Thanks to everyone.... K. S

Featured Answers

I like everybody else's advice about spending time with her, hormonal changes, counseling, the new dad, etc.

I wanted to mention one other thing that I have learned. If you have taken away all her privileges and she doesn't have a chance to earn any of them back, her attitude will probably remain sullen. What works for us is giving them a chance to earn back a certain amount of privileges gradually if they improve on the thing that got them grounded in the first place - hers would be a good report from school and/or a better attitude at home I am guessing. But be specific about what will earn her privileges and how much she will get back.

Good luck and despite everything try to show how much you love her - a little gift for no reason, a compliment, a hug, ask her how her day was, etc.

More Answers

K., I have a 13-yr-old girl who, on the outside, resembles yours--I try to see beyond the behavior i don't like and find the "real" girl inside. She's there! I try hard not to get tied up in her "stuff" but keep demands simple and fair (choose my battles...carefully) and consequences logical, simple and unemotional. Like, we have household chores for each kid to do on Saturday. She can have 30 min on the computer (her favorite thing) then must finish her chores before getting back on. Any chore that is not done to my standard docks her 30 min on the computer, and if chores drag after 11:00am, another 30 min off. One day she lost all her computer time, but got a great lesson on quality work and from then on she does well...even seems proud of her efforts! Message: give a little (like a bit of computer time to make her happy, but not enough to get in the way of what needs to be done), set high standards, have consequences ready and stated, and follow through. (oh, and I make the consequences significant but time limited...quick and dirty...no priveleges for forever is a hard situation to live in!) At the same time, and just as important, I find time to be just with her. We are reading the Travelling Pants series together (almost every night), and we arrange little outings together without the other 2 kids. I LOOK FOR and GIVE SPACE FOR her wonderful self to come through and I give her LOTS of praise and compliments when she shines and LOTS of hugs and kisses ALL the time. Humor helps, too. If I could just count the times a distracting funny disarmed a tense situation...Hope this helps. Hang in there!

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Well, K.....welcome to the world of teenagers!! I realize she is only 12, I'm guessing she just jumped to 13 mentally! lol My daughter is 15 now but take it from me...it was like I kissed my 12 year old daughter good night and woke up with a stranger the day she turned 13! She went through a really bad stage then. (Sometimes I'm not sure that it's over!lol!) My daughter had a really bad attitude and thought that she should have to do absolutely NOTHING! She went as far as to leave school early with a friend one day. I got the call from the principal and thought I was going to actually strangle my daughter when I found her! Please understand, my daughter had always been great...did her homework, got straight A's, honor roll every semester...so I'm not talking about some problem child from birth here!

I think that this is a hard age. They aren't looked at as adults yet but they don't consider themselves children either. Their brains aren't developed enough to truly understand the consequences of all of their actions yet. All that combined, I really think that their acting out is their way of trying to find their place in the world. If they come across as perfect little children, then their friends make fun and if they act out, their friends think they are cool, but the adults are shaking their heads thinking "problem teen"...and we as parents are left frustrated and embarrased because of such disrespect.

I wish I had the perfect answer for you. Here is how I handled it (and still do). Rather than taking away everything for what feels like an eternity, I take away the bigger things (t.v., radio, phone, going places), and depending on the "crime" I try to fit the punishment...so if she backtalks, I don't necessarily take away EVERYTHING but I might take away a couple of things and let her know that she basically has to earn them back. If she gets worse, I add to the punishment...taking away more privelages. I had to really stick to this. (If you take away everything and make it seem like it's going to last forever, they really have no reason to turn things around....what I'm saying is if she thinks that she's not going to be rewarded by doing better, why bother?)

Another thing I did was really started talking to her. I would explain why I was frustrated and why I felt let down and tried to keep an open line of communication. Things really started to turn around after I started doing all of those things together.

When she first started acting out I found myself frustrated, yelling and taking away every privelage I could think of. Then I saw most everything that I mentioned on some talk show and started trying to change how I was handling it and found that it really started to work. By no means am I implying that we never have problems! I guess that's just a part of being a parent!...to bad they don't come with instruction manuals! lol

Just keep in mind that it could always be worse! Good luck! :)

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Hi K.,

Would contacting her school as a resource be an option you'd consider? Every school (and school employee) is different, but sometimes their social workers, guidance counselors, and possibly psychologists can offer some help to you and your daughter. Given that her teachers have already commented on her behavior, they'll most likely be willing to refer you for those kind of services. It's great that at least one of her teachers will communicate by email - for me, it helps to keep in frequent contact with their teachers, so that I know what's going on in the classroom, both behaviorally, and homework-wise.

Children don't think like adults (obviously, eh? :-) - the not doing homework, especially over such a long break, seems completely normal for her age from what I know. It sounds like you have a very busy life, especially with the recent changes your marriage must have brought, even though a positive event. Although I'm sure you feel stretched thin, you might find that carving out some positive one-on-one time with your daughter will be helpful. Pre-adolescence is a tricky time for our children, too, and they look to us for concrete guidance. What I mean is, taking away all privileges is not only difficult for them to comprehend (they can't think that far ahead into the future), but as someone else here said, it doesn't give them any reason to change their behavior. I don't think I'd be very motivated to change if I had nothing to look forward to, come to think of it.

Imho, although it does seem a particularly challenging time to be raising children, there are many children doing wonderful things. Our culture's habit is to give attention to the negative, whether in our attitude towards discipline or in our media. I hope this doesn't come across as a criticism - I don't mean for it to. I just have had better luck reminding my children (and myself in the process) of their good traits, as a part of teaching them what I expect from them. Doesn't mean I don't have to discipline, just is a less stressful approach for me.

I hope you and your daughter arrive at a more peaceful place soon. Best of luck to you and yours!

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Sounds like she's becoming a teenager. Ge used to it. Seriously, she may be rebelling a bit because of recent changes in her life- you say you've been married for 1 year so I assume that that isn't to her father. Did you also move? Are there stepkids involved? She's got hormones and drama you don't even want to mess with right now. Obviously grounding her isn't working. Try spending some one on one time with her, shopping, seeing a movie, whatever she likes to do- and talk to her about regular things on a regular basis. Yelling at her to behave all the time is useless. And no, she's not an adult, she's a child, which is why she put off doing her homework, because kids can't think through long term consequences. That part of your brain doesn't fully develop until you're in your 20's.
Lay off her, open up a line of real communication, expect her to respect you (if you let them sass you when they're little, you can hardly expect better now) and realize that she's a normal kid. Maybe you also need to go out for a drink with some girlfriends :)

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My advice is going to be a bit different.

Start spending more time with her, and do something good while you're at it-community service. Lots of times, kids act out because they are looking for attention, and sometimes it doesnt matter if its negative. If you can set some time away each week for mom and daughter bonding it can make a world of difference. Have a night where you watch movies and paint toe nails, and then on the weekends or one night a week volunteer at a soup kitchen or the like. Give her a chance to do something that will make her feel good about herself and to see that there are people in the world who have a very tough life, being a 12 year old girl isnt the end all to end all ;).

And now for the other aspect, if she isnt already assigned chores, its time to start. Have a family meeting and start a system. You, your husband and your daughter (and even the 5 year olds! They can pick up clothes, or sort laundry) can all switch off chores through the week or month, but have her be responsible and give her incentive to be. A months worth of chores checked off means a trip to the movies or to Claires. Something like that. But you're going to have to show her you mean business, and that means not putting up with her attitude. Tell her that you understand life is frustrating but she cant take it out on you anymore than you would take out your frustrations on her. Buy her a journal and tell her to write her frustrations out in that. Work out a rewards/consequenses system that she gets to help decide on-with your agreement. This can help her feel a bit more in control.

Having teenagers is tough, having a teenage daughter is even tougher lol. But you'll get through this, promise!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., my response is a little different as well. Has she started her cycle, yet? Have you talked to her about it? Have you taken the time to explain to her what will be going on in her body? Hormones play such a big role for girls. Girls at this age don't know how to deal with their hormones unless someone tells them. They can't comprehend that at certain time of the month, they will feel like they're going crazy. I encourage you to take note of your own cycle, and make mental notes on how you feel throughout the month. She's feeling the same thing, but doesn't know how to deal. My daughter is 11 and started her cycle when she is was 10. . She is sassy at times and just plain ugly. Then I get a little check in my heart, and I ask her-are you having your cycle? The answer is mostly yes. If not, I ask her-what's going on at school? How's your friend-so & so- and get her to talking. I keep asking questions until the "dam" breaks. This is what is working for me. We are not perfect by any means. There are times when I'm feeling like I'm going crazy, then I make mental note of what time of the month it is, and choose to adjust my attitude. I also keep my own little calender of when her cycle is,& when mine is. This helps to take the guess work out of it. It helps my husband as well. He knows when to walk lightly!:) We also take Evening Primrose Oil during the week before our cycle-when we can remember-this seems to help too. You can find it with the vitamins. Step back and put it all in perspective. Gear yourself up, you have a long time to be doing this. Also, the book Preparing for Adolescence by Dr. James Dobson is a great resource.
Be Blessed in all your efforts!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.
I feel for you and have been where you are. My daughter is now 15 and had some of the same issues as your daughter when she was that age, she's doing better now. First of all, do you have any faith in God? I'm a single mom of four and would not have made it this far without him. I have experienced miracles in my daughters attitude that didn't come from grounding her, but came from prayer! What you're describing sounds like it will take more than a few bits of advice here to tackle. There are things to consider like parenting style, your overall relationship with your daughter,deeper issues, etc.. How involved is your husband in this? Does he back you up? You've been married for one year,
are there possibly other, deeper issues going on in your daughters heart there? Father issues can be a root to behavior problems. Who does she hang around with, and what are their attitudes? Friends can effect attitudes. There just are alot of things to consider here, and none of it quick and easy answers. There is a parenting program called "Love and Logic" that teaches you how to let consequences discipline your child. You can look it up online or check with the Family Life Center in Haymount. Also, Family Life offers counseling and I would consider getting some. I get cousel from a pastor that used to work there when I run into problems with my kids that I don't know how to deal with.
Also, know that this can be the most difficult time period for girls. Hormones are stirring up, menstrual cycle starting, personality is developing, peer pressure is intense at this age. Some girls have a harder time than others. There are many things your daughter will naturally grow out of. So hang in there! Your goal is to parent effectively with patience, love, and understanding while maintaining your sanity! :) I guarantee you, if you pray, the Lord will lead you to the resources you need.
Bless you, S.

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good morning, my crazy is 11 going on 12. what I did was include him into my activities. I am a softball mom, I help the coach pick up and drop off some players when needed, my 16 yr. old sings at the church and her school. my day ends when rehersal is over, which is after softball practice which ends usually about 8:00. by the time we get to the church to pick her up and get home it is after nine going on ten and he is exausted. this has taken away from his acting out in home and I am trying to activate his activities in school. the busier they are the less they aggrivate us. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

hi, i have a son thats 15 and he was gining me a hard time he was staying in fights at school and not doing what was ask of him he was sent to a school thats was for kids that stayed in trouble and he was about to get kicked out of there as well that ment that he would be out of school for good at the age of 15 i heard of this camp call e-ma=etu which is a camp eckard it has really helped him and they have them in many places he was making d and f was felling bad but now he is making all a's ang getting ready to get out of camp the camp program is a 12 month or longer stay but they do get to come home for a vist i would say look into it befor it gets to bad it a great program

I like everybody else's advice about spending time with her, hormonal changes, counseling, the new dad, etc.

I wanted to mention one other thing that I have learned. If you have taken away all her privileges and she doesn't have a chance to earn any of them back, her attitude will probably remain sullen. What works for us is giving them a chance to earn back a certain amount of privileges gradually if they improve on the thing that got them grounded in the first place - hers would be a good report from school and/or a better attitude at home I am guessing. But be specific about what will earn her privileges and how much she will get back.

Good luck and despite everything try to show how much you love her - a little gift for no reason, a compliment, a hug, ask her how her day was, etc.

She sounds like she is trying to get your attention to me. You sound really busy and maybe your focus is not on her in this really important time in her life. She is changing right now, turning into a teenager and she needs your attention right now. She is dealing with stuff she doesn't understand and she thinks you don't understand her and if you don't plug in now you will lose her for the next few years. I have a 17 yr old daughter and remember her going thru this kind of stuff. She can do her homework the night before it's due and it is her decision and she will pay the price of either staying up late or not getting it done. Let her learn some things the hard way. She is going to mature quickly and she will figure it out. I quit asking about home work, I just let her be in charge of her stuff. My daughter came to me when she was late with stuff or forgot to do stuff and I told her then how she could have done this better and then sat down with her and helped her. I want my daughter to know I am on her side, I don't want a wedge btw/ us. Set the boundries for her and then follow thru with it. If She can follow the rules she gets privaledges and if not she is punished and stick to your decisions.

Chastity D hit the nail on the head. I was in a relationship with a man who had eight children, so I have dealt with 2-22. All I would add is that your marriage (and this is not an accusation, just an observation) probably had a lot to do with it. You say he's your best friend (as he should be), but maybe she feels replaced. Are you spending as much time with her - just the two of you? Find something to do together - manicures, movie night, dinner out together. She is at an age where you can either monopolize her time yourself or let her friends do it. You don't want her going into her teen years resenting you and breaking off communication. This is a critical time for her. Don't let your frustration get the best of you and ruin your relationship with your daughter forever. And grounding only adds tension and heat to the fire. She has nothing left to lose. I was overall a good teenager - no drinking, drugs, sneaking out, partying, etc. One reason - I feared disappointing my parents more than anything in the world. I could not bear the thought of them crying, worrying or stressing over me. I know you've had to study sociology and psychology in college, so use it to your advantage. And how about getting her involved in something productive? Does she have an interest in the arts? Does she love animals? There are many positive outlets via charitable organizations that would love her energy and you can direct it in a positive way. My mom had me helping with an organization that helped the needy when I was in elementary school. It put things into perspective for me very early. Just remember this time is harder on her than it is on you. Good luck to you all.

What's going on with kids today?

Many kids of today are simply spoiled in the world views which is highly developed from society and media that promotes the idea that the only important thing is to have "fun" at all times and at all cost. They grow up looking at their parents as reinforcement machines rather than as important people in their lives. Unfortunately, they often don't look to their parents as role models. Communications from kids are often based on their motivation to manipulate the parents. Parents have been mislead by "professional" advice from books and other media on how to not frustrate their child.

What to do?
Become a confident parent based in your values and your convictions about what your child "needs" not what your child "wants". Children "need" to learn to cope with frustration. As a strong parent, you should not worry about your child momentary "opinion" about how you are doing as a parent. Set up new rules about what you expect (do's and don'ts) and what the consequences are for violation of either. Structure is everything. For the most part, structure times and activities that have a natural incentive nature. Such as, all of her "free time activities" may be set up as only available to her after her "required activities" are completed. Kids today mix up the idea of their rights with their privileges. For example, your daughter may think she has an automatic right to talk on the phone whenever she wants even if she has not done what Mom has said. Restructuring all of this can be shocking and upsetting to the child at first.

Coming at her with an attitude as a confident parent that you don't need her approval and that she needs to make some changes will temporarily create added tension. She will probably needs weeks or months to absorb a new world view. But in the long run, it will be very beneficial to her to grow up with a more responsible and less self-centered focus. It will also make your life less frustrating.

My response is made not knowing many details about what you have already tried or not but these are general ideas that I hope will be helpful. Good luck.

L. l

You said if you had acted like that back when you were her age,........so think of the reasons you would NOT have acted like she is acting. Maybe your punishments should be more like you received when you were a pre-teen.

Most kids this age go through this phase and, like I say about almost everything else when it comes to raising kids....., "This too shall pass."

Hormones affect all girls differently, but you are experiencing pretty much what they go through. It won't last forever. Make sure you stay on top of things. Keep up with taking away privledges when needed, especially cellphone time, but whatever means the most to her, that's what you need to use. Pick your battles. Try not to make a huge deal out of everything that comes up. Make a list of what means the most to you that she must do, such as homework and showing respect when you are speaking to her and when she speaks to you. Then make a list of things that you can discuss and work out a compromise. I know it sounds crazy to have to do all of that, but for your sanity, it may help you to have it all on paper. Stay strong and determined. Her future, and the way treats people and the way she'll be treated, is at stake. It's a ton of responsibility, but know you aren't alone. God is with you. Ask Him to help you. Pray! Us moms understand, and know our prayers are with you. Good luck!

Sounds like a typical teenager to me. You may have grounded her to no ends, but she is going to have to become responsible for her actions and have to be self-motivated to complete any homework. That blessed junior high level is a tough transition for any child. Let her come up with her own system of doing her homework. If she chooses to not do her homework until the last minute, don't enable her by helping her complete homework that she procrastinated doing. Sometimes parents like to "help" their children complete assignments that their child has been aware of for several weeks. The hardest lesson I learned was when I told my mother the day before my project was due that I needed help. She told me, "How long have you known about this project?" I told her, "Two weeks." She said, "I've already been through fifth grade, so I refuse to do it for you." I'm glad she did that. It made me realize that procrastination was definitely not something I should do. A lot of parents are afraid of how it reflects on them when their children don't complete assignments in a timely manner, but honestly, being a teacher and parent myself, if a parent communicates to me that their child needs to learn his/her lesson about being responsible and that their child decided to wait until the night before to disclose the information about it, I will NEVER blame the parent for their child's inability to complete an assignment; I would rather a parent allow their child to fail than enable them by staying up late to "help" them complete assignments because the child is learning nothing more than they can procrastinate and their parent(s) will bail them out. Allow your child to make mistakes and allow your child to be responsible for her own actions even if it means having to repeat that grade.

I grew up in the 1950's & early 1960's. Even in those days we could, "cop an attitude." It was subtle enough that I could sometimes get away with pleading innocence.
I saved all my projects until the last minute. Although forced to go to bed at 9pm, I would creep out of bed and study and finish homework via a small, dim escape of light from the hallway which entered my bedroom from the one and a half inch opening.
During my sophomore year in highschool I lived with my aunt and uncle. My aunt sat over me and my two cousins after school and did not allow us to do any "fun stuff" until all schoolwork was completed. I made substantially higher grades and was much less stressed...However, when I returned home, I did not continue the good habits. I reverted to my deeply ingrained tendancy to procrastinate.
A friend of mine had a 15 year old daughter who skipped school even when her mom took her to school and watched her walk into the building accompanied by the vice principal. Soon after, she would exit the building. Her mother threatened to quit her job and follow her daughter everyday to everyone of her daughter's classes. Of course, the daughter did not believe that her mother would go that far: She did it for several months and the daughter quit skipping school.
With your full-time job studies for your master's, two children, husband, housekeeping, etc., where do you find time to give each person in your life one on one time with you on a regular basis? Mind you, I had the same problem you describe. In retrospect, I would do many things very differently if I could. My children have turned out beautifully in spite of the tumoltous storms roads we endured.
I wish I had had internet connections to find advice from other moms when I was parenting teens. You seem to recieved a variety of great ideas and to have found a wonderful source of support via internet !!!
I cannot remember the name of the new book, but it was written by Chris Rock's foster mother. I saw her on the "Today Show" and thought "She is what I needed when my children were growing up !": It's never too late to learn !!! I intend to read the book even though my children are grown...I have ten grandchildren.
Good luck ton you. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child...

I think that kids today don't know how to be bored. They don't know how to relax, do nothing, just watch the clouds or sit on a porch swing or take a walk with a friend. They have to be DOING something all the time. With cell phones, iPods, computers, hand held games, XBox, Wii, etc, their world (and ours unfortunately) are NOISY. They are ON all the time, and they never rest and their brains never shut off it seems. And all that stimulation eeks out in behavior like what you're seeing.

This age is so difficult on kids. Their bodies are changing inside and out & they are powerless to do anything about it. They have feelings they don't know how to process or deal with & while they may want Mom to make it all better there is no way in hell they're going to admit that, LOL. Her behavior is SO typical of her age. When my 15yodd hit that age I swore I was going to have to call in a priest, and we're not Catholic! It was that bad. I wanted to lock her in a closet till her 16th bday knowing that about that time, it wears off. But she got over IT by about 14, yep 2 looooong years baby.

Set boundaries, discuss what is and is not allowed. No name calling, no storming out of the room, no disrespect, no lashing out in anger, can't say "always" or "never" as in YOU ALWAYS or I NEVER... She needs down time, whether she agrees or not. Have her go to her room, NO cell phone, computer or TV and have her draw or read or rest. She can listen to music & just rest. They need time to unwind, just like us big folks.

Know that this will pass. I've gotten through 4 of them and have 1 left to go!! And I have the gray hair to prove it!!

Best of luck to you.

Dear K. , i don't have all the answers but I've been through 5 teenagers, and learned the hard way what doesn't work. It's easier to give outside advice than to do it myself. but a lot of times with teens, everything becomes a power struggle. One thing that all children need ,no matter what age, is touch. A hug, a pat on the back, a smile. Compliment her on her hair or tell her your proud of her for something, if its even something as simple as eating her breakfast before she goes to school. Something like ," I'm so glad you eat a good breakfast before school because it shows that you care about good health." That's just a silly example , but there are likely 100's of things she does every day that you take for granted that you could give her positive feedback about. She needs to feel good about herself and have warm fuzzy feelings coming from Mom. Typically as parents we spend our time fussing and complaining about the things that our kids don't do and ignore the small good things that they do. My husband's only comments to our son were "Clean your room" and when I would ask him to tell our son that he loved him , my husband would say, " he knows I love him"! If you can build a better relationship with you daughter and compliment her on the minimal chores that she begrugingly does, she might come around. Good Luck, from L.

I think that is the age old question. I know my mom would have loved to have the answer when i was a teen. My 12 year old daughter has the problem that she can say to me what she says to her friends. I must note that you said she has no previelges and she got to go to a sleepover! The one thing I have found that works for a while is to sit her down and tell her how it makes me feel when she does what she does, a little dose of gilt. I also reminder her that I am her mom not her friend we will have time to be friends when she is out of my house! My job is to make her a productive adult. I pray that when it is all over that I did the best I could and she comes out being a wonderful young lady. There is no magic pill, sorry!


I know that a vast majority of preteen/teenagers have that kind of attitude, and it is far from unusual, but obviously if you wouldn't have done that to your parents, what they were doing worked. Maybe if it's possible you should seek their advice, or try to remember what it was the kept you from acting that was with them, and try your best to duplicate.

Please get John Rosemond's book Teen Proofing Your Home. I am reading it now and it is helping. My daughter is 10 and a half and she has been sassing like crazy. We finally took everything away from her and now we are getting along better. John recommends that you take EVERYTHING away from them. Leave nothing in their rooms but mattresses and blanket and a pillow. Move it all out. You don't owe them anything but that. We didn't have to go to that extreme. When my daughter would sass me she would get one full day in her room. Cannot leave the room except to use the bathroom and eat and needed permission to do so. No radio, no TV, nothing electronic. Room must be clean by the end of the day. After dinner, she takes a bath and goes directly to bed, even at 5 p.m. May sound harsh, but it is working.

The key that I am learning is to not argue back. When she says something out of place, I calmly say go to your room that is one day! If she continues, she gets more days added. I am trying to teach my daughter that her mouth is a weapon and that she can't use it any way she wants to.

John also recommends in his books that you give all your children all the household chores. He said that when his children were in the 4th and 2nd grades he got a bad report from his son's teacher and he changed their household. He gave ALL household chores to the children -- dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, dishes, trash takeout, cleaning bathrooms, etc. and then as they got older they got other chores, at age 11 their own laundry; at age 12 cooking one meal a week; 13 cutting the grass. His said his kids were teased by their friends for being Cinderella and Cinderfella, but within a semester he didn't have any more problems from his children at school either. And their grades even improved!

I highly recommend that you read his books. He has helped our family tremendously. He is a child psychologist but doesn't stand for any of that junk that normal psychologists recommend. He teaches you to raise your children like Grandma used to do it. You either will LOVE him or you will hate him. But he does work!

Welcome to raising daughters..oh heck kids these days..lol.I know what you are going through except it was a sons..who are now 16yr & 17yrs old.I didnt think I would make it to this.One of us at one point was going to end up in the loony bin..me most likely.What did I do?Nothing I whethered out the storm..grounded them to no end,took away priveleges to no end.Made them do things they didnt like doing..extra chores and such.We did have a rough patch but we get through it.

Take away computer time,phone time including cell if she has one,friends,after school activities yes even sports if she is in them explain to coach,anything and everything that means something to her.Sooner or later you will get your point across...good luck..
S. B

I teach middle school girls. Right around this time is when I see a significant change in the young ladies--between 6th and 7th grade. The best advice that I can give is to make sure you have time set up with your daughter for just the two of you to connect with each other, establish trust, and learn what issues face your child. Right now she needs you more than ever. Peer pressure and hormones are going crazy. Discipline-wise, I would get with her about what your expectations are and the consequences for not following through. Then be consistent and fair. Your schedule is very full. This however, is the time when girls are very susceptible to outside influences. Pick the major battles. Try to have a sense of humor for your own sanity. Spend as much time with her as you can just connecting and letting her know you appreciate her. Good luck!

I have found that when my daughter was growing up, to find what she liked the most and forbid her to do that. My daughter liked talking on the phone and when I took that away from her she was easier to control. The one thing you need is ask the Lord to help guide you throug this. These are diffcult times raising children and you really need Gods help and guidence in this task.

I noticed you mentioned that you would never have acted this way as a child because of the "consequences from your parents"; maybe your daughter should receive some consequences such as those. My personal opionion is that without some type of corporal punishment at home and at school this will only get worse as time goes on. I have done substitute work in the local schools and discovered that these kids have no respect for anyone and they have an attitude of "you can't do anything about it". Has this behavior just started or has it been a part of her for years? Putting her on restriction is fine as long as you sick to it, but it sounds like you are very busy and maybe she takes advantage of that. My 8 yr old is on a month long lose of privelages and it's hard on me to stick to it but I know I set forth a punishment and now I have to back it up. It's hard to say no but I look at the person he will be as an adult if I don't. Maybe you should go back to treating her like a little child until she shows some real responsibility. Go thru her backpack daily, get her teacher to send home a list of assignments to you on a daily or weekly basis so you can follow up on them with her, let her know you are still in charge of her life until she is grown. I dread my son's tweenie years and teen years because he has a hard time now with my authority at the age of 8. I hope I have helped in some way, let us know how this goes for you.

Start going to counseling togrthrt. There is much more involved. here. You with a new hubby, her with a new Dad. You are very wrapped up in alot of things. She is the oldest. A kid can't function on everything being taken away, what does she have now? Yes, she is a snotty preteen mixed up kid. Hang in there with her and get some counseling. Good luck. Went thro it with 3.

I am having the same problems with my 13 yo son. I was thinking how you must have gotten into my head when you were writing this. I am a HS teacher so I deal with unruly teenagers all day long. My son's grades have slipped and his father and I are at a loss. His dad wants to send him to military school. The only advice that I'm getting from others is that someday, they will grow out of it. The only advice that I can give you is that I am one of three girls and my parents received every one of their gray hairs while we were teenagers. Girls are by far, the harder sex to parent (or so I'm told) and I believe that knowing what I put my parents through when I was a teenager. Just stay strong, and don't back down. Keep your eyes and ears open and help her stay out of trouble. Eventually, she will become a human being again. Good luck!

First I think you should contact her teachers and have them start having your daughter have a paper signed everyday or at least once a week stateing what work she has and if everything has been turned in. I know it takes a lot of effort on your part but when she sees that she is not going to get out of doing school work or waiting till the last min to do something she will begin to change. I had to do this with my two sons and soon they began to see that they need to do it and it worked. I still have to keep taps on my younger son (13) but he is getting better.

K., I feel your pain. I have a girl 16, son 19, step sons 11 and 15 and a step daughter 6. Only my 16 and 19 yr old lives with me. I have gone through the same exact stuff you are going through, including the homework ordeal. As far as that goes, I think you should try making her bring all books home every nite. Contact her teachers and have them send reports of homework home every single day. They should work with you on this. When she comes home, straight to the room to do homework out for dinner, do the dishes, do a load of laundry, and/or clean the bathroom toilet every day. No tv, computer, music, no telephone, no friends over, and she doesn't leave the house except school until the attitude changes. I have tried this and it worked for me. The kids of today are different from when we were growing up. If you take the computer and the telephones from them....there world seems to end. And as far as back talking the teacher....NO WAY! Detention is great but it wouldn't end at school. I think we have, or atleast I know I have given my children too much space and privileges. It's up to us parents to raise them the right way. If you get no success from trying some of these things, I would consider seeing a counselor, maybe she has other problems that you aren't aware of. I hope this lil bit of advice helps you. Let us know how things work out.


12 year olds drive everyone crazy :). I used to teach sixth grade before I became a stay at home mom, so I've been around my fair share of kids this age. Your daughter is not an anomaly; many of them act this way. It's a very self centered age; they usually only care about themselves and their friends. This is not a generational thing though; it's a human thing. This is the stage in life when kids start creating their own identity. Some of them do it in a less aggressive, more friendly way...and some are rude about it and treat adults like they're on the same level. I knew kids like this when I was at that age myself. I've had this discussion with my own parents, and my father admits that he was actually way worse than most kids these days.

Procrastination (like your daughter waiting to the last minute for her homework) is very common as well. I used to do the very same thing. I even did it well into college, and it's a terrible habit. You know you should do it earlier, but you just keep putting it off until it's the very last minute. When I've had students that had this habit, we've had parents that required their child to write down all assignments in an assignment book and have each teacher initial it every day. This way you always know when she has homework. If there's one initial missing, then she loses whatever privilege she's supposed to gain from doing this.

So, what should you do? My experience with children this age is that long term punishments do more harm than good. When you ground a 12 year old for weeks and weeks at a time they see no light at the end of the tunnel, so they figure why do the right thing since they're going to be grounded forever anyway. Almost every parent/teacher conference my team conducted would have a parent telling us how they'd taken away everything and how the kid was grounded for six more weeks. We always warned against this, because it honestly seems to do more harm than good.

One thing I know is that it's a lot harder to be on the parent side of it than the teacher side. My suggestion would be to sit her down and tell her how you feel. Do not mince words. If she's being a brat, tell her. If you're disappointed in her, tell her. If you expected her to turn out better, tell her. Tell her that if she's willing, you're willing to make a clean slate. Give her privileges back, but let her know that the second she messes up one time, there's no more phone, no internet, no contact with friends, no new clothes...whatever it is that's important to her. Just try to make her feel like you're working with her, but let her know that you mean business. If you think she needs it, maybe you could even come up with a reward. Make her understand that you want her to be happy and SUCCESSFUL, so you're willing to help, but she has to help herself too.

K., my friend..I have had 5 daughters...so I KNOW what you are talking about. Here is my opinion. I believe when children hit that age they revert back to being a "terrible two". Remember those days? UUUGGGHHHH!!! I thought I would pull out my hair then,but I didn't; instead I managed to see each and every one of them to their teen years.Whew!!Another UUUGGGHHH!!!!!
What I can say is this..... Don't let her get to YOU!!!
When You are about to Blow...say "I am going to take a shower" or "A nap" or "a walk". Get away to yourself and slow your anger and calm down. She is reacting to you and you to her.
Cool Your Jets!!! Stay as calm as possible and REMEMBER Giggling histerically confusses them!!!! Remind them you love them,but will NOT be talked to in this manner.
I trained mine this way. When I began speaking calmer and calmer...quieter and quieter...they were about to get the boom lowered on them. Then, after several minutes of this ,if they could not or chose not to change their own behavior...I would begin to BE LOUD!!!!! LOUD enough that the whole block /store or playground could hear me NO PROBLEM!!! Even to this day I can begin to whisper that "I will not be talked to this way"..and my girls (All Grown) begin paying me attention.HA! I only did this when all requests to stop speaking this way, had not worked.
Treat her as if she were your best friend,sister/mother or other women in your family. Tell her "That's Enough"!
Remember, she is 12 now; but she will believe she is allowed to speak to other women in this tone and in this way. WRONG!
They will, as she gets older, begin to be physical with her...teach her now or the world will do it the hard way, sadly.
I used to remind my girls"Hey that attitude! You throw that at me,...I'M gonna just pick it up and throw it back at You! Is that really what YOU want?"
Have No Fear...she will grow up and just like yourself, she will say, "Thank You, Mom for everything You did for me!" Until then........
Right Now Be her MOTHER...Not Her Friend!! Friendship comes later AFTER she grows up!!! God's Blessings to You and Yours, LaDonna

Hi K.,

It sounds like your daughter is seeking attention...I am a social worker...and it seems like someting is going on w/your dtr...It mite be she is missing real dad...jeolous of your new marriage...or wanting you to spend more time w/her...try giving her your undivided attention..just you and her...listen to her...give her undonditional love...but do not accept rudeness or disrespect....let up and see how she acts....she mite be trying to get a rise out you..see how far she can push...how upset she can make you...I would just chill...not give her the expected responses...then she will not have any aminition....try to talk about any problems she may be having...look for signs of depression...change in frineds...possible sex...you have to be very watchful at this age...and open to listen/learn whats going on w/her...maybe another adult or family member can talk w/her...and then report back to you...try spending time w/her...let her know you love her..but that it hurts you..that you all are not getting along...play the hurt mommie gult trip...we have to use desperate measures to reach stay touch w/our kids...good luck...and pray..let me know if any improvement...


Sister you are singing to the choir. I have an 11year old son.
Same situation, very strong willed, intelligent and old for his age. I called his teacher ahead of time and I showed up for class...ALL DAY LONG. What a surprize, he 1st acted like he didn't know me. I particpated in class just like a student.
We broke down into groups, everyone wanted to be in my group.
At the end of the day, the teacher allowed me to speak to the class. I advised them I was there to see for myself how my son acted in class. I advised them it seemed he had a great day, but if I had to come back I would where a T-shirt that would say why I was there. I had to come back and I wore the T-shirt, it said, "I'm Ian's Mom, Ian couldn't behave in school, so I had to come and sit!". I haven't had any trouble since at school. I wiped the slate clean at home and sat down with him after and went over my expectations and asked for his. We went over all causes and effects. He's not perfect but even at home things have gotten better. One of his expectations was to spend time with just me. Once a week I plan for something for us to do together. This has been since Sept. 07. I'm 48 single business owner Mom and he's an only child. Best Wishes and Greatest Results.

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