13 Year Old. Ugh.

Updated on May 30, 2012
D.B. asks from Eastlake, CO
19 answers

13 year old daughter. Need I say more? It's as if an alarm went off in her head the day she turned 13 telling her to start acting like a ^#&$^@#$!*. Though she doesn't have issues with school or boyfriends, the "I don't give a darn" attitude and the "Whatever" nasty attitude with all her family members is about to put me over the edge. No amount of lecturing makes a difference. She just comes back even nastier. We've taken away the phone (which she barely uses anyway), computer, her e-reader, to no effect other that making her even meaner while the stuff is gone. Then she forgets about the stuff, never asks for it back (she'll just grab a real book instead) and continues where we left off. Quality time we spend as a family is met with continued eye rolling, and any discussions we try to have are met with the same. I am so. fed. up. by this. Any advice as to how I can make it through 5 more years of this? Anyone know of any good boarding schools?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Lincoln on

I have a 13 yr old son, and whoever said boys don't have mood swings is wrong! Haha! He has had this same problem, and the last time it got to that point, I took boxes, clean everything, and I mean everything, other than clothes and his bed, out of his room. I gave him chores to do, and he would come home from school and do homework, have a specified amount of relaxation time and do chores, supper, bath, bed. Weekends were the same. Any attitude issues got met with a reminder that he was working to earn his stuff back and that the attitude would make this go on longer. It has worked :) Now when he starts getting an attitude, I remind him that he can go back to having nothing if he would like to continue and that puts an end to it. I got this idea from a friend who had a daughter with the same problem you are describing. Hope you get some good ideas to help you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on


1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from New York on

My DD is almost 16, my son almost 13. We've been there - and on some days we still are. There will be days when nothing will work other than to tell youchild she needs to spend time alone and out of your face. But she's doing what she's supposed to do - trying to push back on the boundaires to test and see if you're still going to keep the boundaries in place. She's going to try to separate herself from you to become her own person. She will seem to reject everything about you and that does not feel good. Don't take it personally - she's trying to figure out what to believe and who to be like. Believe it or not , she will come around if you don't freak out.

Teens like to think, and like to make you think that they don't want to have anything to do with you. They don't want to go on family vacations, they don't want to sit at the dinner table, or go to movies as a family, etc. But they do. They also want you to say no. When my daughter was 14 she asked to go to a party. I didn't know the people whose house it was at. I didn't know many of the kids (our high schoold kids come from 2 different middle schools so there were 1200 kids from another school we didn't know at the time). I told her she couldn't go unless I got the mom's phone number so I could call and make sure there would be parental supervision, etc. At the end of the day when we learned she didn't even know the kid holding the party and she was not allowed to go - I asked her if, deep down, wasn't she kind of relieved that we wouldn't allow her to go? Her answer: "well, deep, deep, way deep down I am kinda happy you won't let me go".

At age 14 we went on a family vacation at a lake where there was no cell-phone reception (we didn't plan that but - YAY!) she and her 11 yr old brother complained most of the first day about not being able to text friends, etc. At the end of the vacation, as we drove away, they both said it was the best vacation they were ever on and it was kind of nice to not have cell phone contact.

Teens don't want you around when you want to be around - they will complain. But like a baby crying, you get used to it and can ignore it eventually and when you're in the kitchen doing something, or on the couch watching TV don't be surprised if she shows up and begins asking questions, or telling you about something that happened during the day. Encourage them to talk through their issues, ask questions that make htem think and come to their own conclusions. You will be surprised when you hear your ideas & values coming out of their mouths. ;o)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My youngest just turned 13 today, yay!
(insert sarcasm here)
My other daughter is 16 so I know exactly what you're going through.
My best advice? Lower your expectations, and cut her some slack. I know that's easier said than done but unless you want to be locked in a daily power struggle for the next five years that's what you need to do.
Do you remember that age? It's such a frustrating time. You are no longer a little kid but you feel like all the adults treat you like one. You DON'T want to spend time with your parents but they make you do it anyway. And to top it off you are often insecure and scared about growing up, bodily changes, friendships, school and all of that stuff.
So give her some space. I don't mean for you to let her walk all over you, just pick your battles and do your best to ignore some of the smaller infractions, like the eye rolling. And try to spend some one on one time with her. I have found my daughters to be much more pleasant and even talkative and open with me when it's just the two of us.
Fasten your seat belt mama, it's a long and bumpy ride :(

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I remember those years. I was always angry. I asked my mom how she dealt with it. She said "I prayed that you make it to your 20s in 1 piece". We all know it will eventually get easier, in the meantime, all I can give you is cyber ((((HUGS)))) and a "hang in there" mama.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I'm so sorry.
Some teens are tougher than others.
I've been very fortunate in that our son is 13 and so far he has been easy.
I pray the trend continues but you just never know what will happen.
My Mom dealt with my sister and me with hard physical labor.
Unfortunately nothing worked well on my sister (she's a brat to this day and puberty was over 35 years ago).
I mowed the lawn (no riding mower, it was a push gas powered mower), and totally dug out garden beds (complete with pick axe, shovel and wheel barrel).
I got the blisters and achy muscles but I also grew some beautiful roses and I actually fell in love with gardening and it's a hobby that stuck with me.
If your girl doesn't 'need' her electronics, then don't worry about giving them back.
They are not her currency.
Reading (a real book) is great - keep an eye on what she's reading.
Make her laundry her problem - start doing less for her since she doesn't seem to appreciate it.
Tell her she has to be at least as civil to family members as she would to strangers and if she REALLY can't stand living at home with the family, then it's not too soon for her to begin planning her exit for when she turns 18.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I remember being 13-14, mostly because I was what I would consider to be above-average on the 'moody spectrum'. As an adult, I can remember getting a lot of judgment from my parents for my moods, and not a whole lot of (like, zero) questions asking me what might be going on with me. Instead, the constant judgments had me feeling like a completely crappy person, which spiraled me into a depression that lasted for years to come, and depleted any relationship that I would have with my parents for my remaining years at home with them.

My advice, because I remember this age particularly well as being a defining time in my life, is to talk to her like a person, and not to treat her as some toxic teenager that has taken over your sweet girl's body. She is who she is, and she needs to know that you will love her for that reason and that reason only, nothing else required.

I have always had problems with hormones. I know now, as an adult, that probably what was causing my moods was my hormones. My periods were always irregular, I had horrible acne, and as an adult, I cannot tolerate ovulation at all. It makes me completely unable to function. I also have bipolar II which remained undiagnosed until age 28 (I don't think that was a factor at age 13 though, but look into the hormones).

Any number of things could be going on with her, or nothing at all, it could be a completely normal change she's going through. But whatever it is, let her know that your unending love is absolutely unconditional. Be willing to ask her questions. See past the "new" attitude and see that she's dealing with SO much.

Take a breath, hug your daughter. This WILL pass. Make sure she doesn't resent you when it does.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Nothing like a little yard work or volunteering at the food pantry all day. Works wonders on kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Been there done that. Taking away electronics did work with one child but not the other. Some days I want to rip my hair out. The things you are taking away aren't making a difference so you should try another approach. I think at this age they just want to be left alone and are annoyed by the rest of the family. When she acts like that tell her she has dishes that night every time until it stops. If you send her to her room she'll be more than willing. This way she is still out by the family and hopefully will want to stop doing dishes. She has to learn that it is unacceptable behavior around your family and that it won't be tolerated. Good luck and hang in there mama!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

We have an 11 year old daughter exactly the same way & an almost 13 year old son who's just starting to get all attitude-y. I don't have any advice, unfortunately. I expect it'll always be worse with our daughter. We're looking into military boarding schools now, lol!

Seriously though, I did tell both kids that if they make me sorry for spending a small fortune taking them to Disney World this summer they can expect no further vacations until they're adults & can take themselves.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I like what NY Metro Mom of Teens & Mamazita said.
It's true. I was a good kid, loved my parents & siblings, was raised well,
my parents were a little strict etc.
And I went through it.
I see it in all my neices, nephews & friends' kids.
I think it is an essential part of growing up: to question things, to try to
assert one's growing independence to get ready for the world and to test
some boundaries.
I think it's best to set limits, show love & encouragement, be open when they do come to you (and they will), to teach and to guide.

It's our heavy duty job as a parent. Phew. I'm already tired.

You can set limits & take a thing away for awhile if they misbehave but
going to the extreme doesn't work either. That shows up later in life. I've
seen that one too w/family members.

It's a happy medium, middle of the road guidance/limit setting & giving
appropriate consequences to an action.

While I was brought up well, I still tested my parents. I did not concsciously set out to do this. Hormones and trying to get ready for the
world did this. Luckily they taught me well & armed me with the tools I needed to succeed in life.

I was not taken advantage of in life by people, I knew when to be respectful and when to stand my ground standing up for myself.

Be a contributing citizen etc.

All of that came with some angst. Hang in there, stand your ground all the while being smart w/your consequences & be somewhat fair.

They (we) all turn around......later! ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

As soon as I read this I gave the eye roll, uh huh, you know the one. My son is now reading "Three Cups of tea", because he couldn't possibly pick a book out at the book store( that we just at yesterday), except for the two they didn't they didn't have. So today when he gave the ugh attidue that he had nothing to read at school after testing, I handed it to him because it was the nearest to me.

About two years ago I became the dumbest and most annoying person EVER, when in his presense. Thank goodness he makes it up on occasion with a few fleeting moments and honest good conversation. That is until I say something stupid. insert another eye rolll

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

It sounds like you are describing what we have been going through with my 14 year old daughter over the last year, and my 11 year old daughter is developing it too! I can't say that I know it all yet, I am still learning, but I have definitely learned some key points. First, I have figured out that while they act and feel unloveable, what they really need most is LOVE! Take all the opportunities you can to give her a hug or a kiss. Continue to tuck her in at night even though she doesn't act like she needs it anymore because she does need it! When they hole up in their room, keep inviting them to watch the family movie or whatever together, but if they choose to not to, let it go. Spend one on one time when they are ready to talk and listen, empathize, don't judge! But you can take advantage of some teachable moments by relating what she shares to someone you knew and how they handled it. AVOID the word "you" when you do this, or it comes out like a lecture and that you don't trust her! For instance, "That happened to a girl named Jane I went to school with and this is what she did" or "Some people would handle it like this..." Secondly, give some leash of trust where you can. Pick your battles, let the little disrespectful things go unnoticed and just stick to the hard and fast rules. If rules are broken, let them suffer the consequences from outside sources like school when possible and avoid saying "I told you so". If consequences must come from home, know her currency. My oldest daughter's currency also is not her stuff or allowance, but it is her social life! Therefore, a consequence might be you can't go to the teen center this Friday. Be specific, don't use the word grounded, and be careful to not be unreasonable. Obviously, you don't want to keep them from some milestone event that they will forever hate you for! It is far from over for us, but I do see a more responsible charming young woman emerging! Remember the most important thing is to show your love! Hang in there!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think you need to pick your battles. Let the *little* things go. We will NOT tollerate back talk at all. Our 9 yo son just doesn't get it yet...so he has to do push ups. It starts at 20 and if he makes one peep, we keep adding 10more until he stops and does them. He's getting better and in pretty good shape too. =)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

I am not looking forward to adolescence AT ALL! I was a horrible teenager and I know it's going to come back and bite me hard throughout the next few years. My son, who's 11, is already showing some signs, so right now, I've just been trying to keep the lines of communication open and be very clear as to what I will not tolerate. For example, just the other day I told him that it's OK if he's frustrated or if he disagrees with what I or his dad say or whatever, BUT if he needs to voice the disagreement or frustration in a RESPECTFUL manner.

I think the key is to be empathetic, not judgemental or condescending, when handing out consequences. After all, we are trying to teach them how to become respectful and responsible adults, and (I think) one of the best ways to do that is to allow them to experience natural consequences to their actions - NOW, when the stakes are lower, rather than when they are in the real world with grown up problems.

I've found some excellent advice and resources at loveandlogic.com. They even have 24 hour customer service which you can call or email for advice. The biggest lesson I've learned is that the consequences do not need to be immediate. You can give yourself permission to take a break and think about it. Just last night I had to use that one -- I told my son that something would need to be done, I just didn't know what yet because I was so angry I couldn't see straight. =)

Good luck and hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

I think aliens clone our wonderful children around this age and take our good children, leaving us this clone. Don't worry, if you are parent first and friend second, she will be home again around the time she moves out and has to pay her own bills. It is amazing how their long desired freedom comes with a price, usually all their pay check and they find that they had more freedom at home with you paying their bills. As for the next 5 years... sense of humor, mother daughter days out for those talks, and demand respect. When she shows disrespect, send her to her room or turn your back to her until she can speak to you respectfully. Be a unit with dad, whether you are together or not. This is an age where they will start pitting you against each other to get their own way. Also, start her in volunteering for less fortunate so she will learn she doesn't have it so bad. Being consistant is a must. Make a list of rules, hang it up and make sure the punishments are there. Also rewards for good behavor. "you have been so wonderful, lets take one of your friends and go to the movie" will get you farther then pointing out the negitive all the time. Good luck and remember "this too shall pass"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

You've already been given some really great advice, but I'll throw a couple more ideas your way. I've been through this with both a boy and a girl, now 26 and 21, and I have a 15-year-old girl in the midst of it. It helps if you have a good relationship with your child going into it, because that's the foundation they will return to one day. So, when things are at their worst, keep reminding yourself - it will not always be this way! That became my mantra the second time around, and it really helped.

This idea also works but will probably require a little acting skill. Instead of reacting to her in anger and frustration, try to respond in the sweetest, kindest voice, even when doling out discipline. For example, when my daughter would roll her eyes, I would say (in a June Cleaver voice), "Oh honey, I know when you roll your eyes at me it just means you love me." Two things happen when you respond that way - 1) It defuses the situation immediately and 2) It annoys the teens right out of their socks, so they stop doing it. :)

I highly recommend the book, "Mom, I Hate My Life" by Sharon Hersh. It has some really good tips for mothers of teen daughters. One thing I remember reading in there that stuck with me is that girls going through puberty feel things 8 times more intensely than other people. So, when I see my daughter flipping out over something, I try to think of how I feel when I am hormonal, then imagine feeling it 8 times more intense. Yow. It really helps me to be more compassionate and less annoyed or angry.

Hope some of this helps. Feel free to message me if you need someone to bounce things off. Just remember, this too shall pass!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Congratulations, it sounds like she is a perfectly normal 13 year old girl! :)



answers from Madison on

A good book to read concerning girls going through adolescence is Queen Bees & Wannabees. It talks about what their world is like, the issues and problems they face with school, girlfriends, boys, etc. I'm not gleaning a whole lot from it as to how to handle approach situations, but it definitely lets me know what the "girl culture" is like right now and why girls act the way they do.

My daughter just turned 12, and the teenaged years are coming real fast to my house...

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions