April 15, 2008,
K.S. asks from Raleigh, NC on April 10, 2008
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.
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
K.D. answers from Raleigh on April 11, 2008
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.
H.C. answers from Hickory on April 11, 2008
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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K. answers from Nashville on April 11, 2008
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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A.B. answers from Greensboro on April 11, 2008
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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L.P. answers from Louisville on April 11, 2008
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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B.M. answers from Johnson City on April 11, 2008
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!
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R.B. answers from Raleigh on April 11, 2008
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!
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S.A. answers from Fayetteville on April 11, 2008
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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L.M. answers from Fayetteville on April 11, 2008
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!!!!!!!