14-Year-old with Attitude Problem

Updated on March 10, 2008
B.L. asks from Madera, CA
13 answers

I'm having trouble with my 14-year-old daughter's attitude and her laziness. I have to constantly remind her to do her chores, and when I do tell her she gets an attitude like I'm not suppossed to ask her to do anything. The only thing I know I can do to get her to listen to me is take away her cell phone (which I know is probably a mistake of buying her one in the first place, but she does pay the bill each month) this is getting old and I'm getting tired of the same old routine everday. Does anyone have any suggestions? She complains that I don't give her an allowance for doing her chores, but I feel why should I give someone money for a job that they know they have to do everyday....that's like my boss telling me what to do everyday at my job when I know my responibilites and I still expect to get paid.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for the advice and words of wisdom, I will definitely read the books and do many of the ideas that were given to me. Thanks moms!!

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answers from San Francisco on

What worked with my daughter was (I wrote it all out so we always had a reference) she got a weekly allowance of $5.00 with the understanding that she wasn't getting paid to do chores, BUT, if she didn't do chores, money was taken from her allowance. For example $1.00 was taken away if she didn't put away the dishes, and $1.00 for not taking out the garbage. $2.00 was taken away if her video game playing interferred with anything (that was her big weakness). BUT if she did her chores all week without any talk back or attitude, she got $2.00 extra. We also took away 50 cents for each time she argued frivolously. (teens need to argue sometimes to find their voice).

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answers from Los Angeles on

Number 1: SHE'S a TEENAGE GIRL!! She is hormonal and confused by all these new things she is feeling- about her body, her friends, her FAMILY! … She is likely in some ways trying to figure out where she fits into the WHOLE scheme of things.

Number 2: I suggest you read the book “The Five Love Languages” and/or “the Five Love Languages of Kids”. They talk about how people give and receive love in one of five ways: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Quality Time. If you read the book, you will learn to identify how your daughter receives love. It sounds like you MAY be Acts of Service~ meaning that you feel loved when others do things for you, whether it be to vacuum, was your car, or volunteer to baby-sit for you. She could have a different “Love Language”, and if you aren’t speaking hers, she may not feel you “deserve” her attention to your request.

Number 3: Remember what it was like when you were her age. Did you HONESTLY get along with EITHER of your parents at 14?!? They are trying to test boundaries and limitations. They THINK they are grownups! My mom says that “the 2’s are the first round of training for the Teen Years.” This is also an age where they question whether your love is TRULY unconditional. Tell her “I love you” every chance you get. When you get mad, CALMLY start and end the conversation with “I LOVE YOU!” DO NOT follow it with “But…” Hearing “I love you, but…” puts the question back of whether it’s conditional. It may sound odd at first, but it will be so good for her to hear in the future. This is how I imagine your conversation with her might go if you do this:
You: “I love you!”
Her: “Why?!”
You: “because I know I can trust you to do always do the right thing.”
Her” “what are you talking about?!?” (now she’s scared and thinks you know something.)
You: “like when I ask you to make your bed, you may not do it right away, but I KNOW you will do it. And for that, I love you!”
Then walk away. She will be THOROUGHLY confused, but will probably end up doing it because she asked in a way completely filled with love and lacking argument and confrontation. Just try to keep it from being an argument.

Take into account, I DO NOT have any teenagers of my own, although I have 3 nephews and one niece who are out of high school, 2 nephews and a niece IN High School, and a couple more in Jr. High. So although I have not seen this implemented in my own child(ren), I have seen it implemented with many of my nieces and nephews. All I can say is that offering security to this insecure age seems to be a bit of a magic pill of sorts.

Hope it helps, J.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Oh my gosh! I totally know what you are going through. I also have a 14 year old girl. I remember about a year ago her pediatrician mentioned that she might want to sleep all day and not do anything when puberty started. I guess I didn't think it would happen to mine! Anyway, I agree with you on the whole allowance thing, and the cell phone. My daughter has one, and also pays her own bill. She makes a good amount babysitting. I recently read "The new strong-willed child" by James Dobson. He has a whole section dedicated to the strong-willed adolescent. There is a point system in the book, that we have implemented where the child can earn points every day, and after a 6-10 week period we buy them something that they have really been wanting. It is a really good motivator, because when there is an argument or bad attitude, points are lost. Anyway, all I can say is I do a lot of praying, and hopefully we'll come out of this in one piece! Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi B.,
I know exactly what your going through. I have a almost 12 yr old doing the same thing. We just went back to taking the cell phone, computer, ipod, remote control to the t.v. away. We give her money as an allowance, and she still says she doesn't get paid.
If she wants to go some where I tell her she can't go until her chores are done. That works too, just figure out what means the most to her, and then that would be the thing to take away, cuz a lot of things don't even matter if you take them away.

Good luck,
D. G



answers from Yuba City on

I don't have any teenagers at home yet, but I've worked with teenagers for over 8 years. One thing that my husband and I hope to instill in our children as teens is that we all have responsibilities around the house. That's not something that should be based on money because I don't get paid to clean house. Maybe one suggestion you could try is stop doing things for her that are considered "your responsibilty" like washing her clothes (if she's not doing that already), taking her places/picking her up from places, making dinner (get food for the rest of the family but not her), etc. And I would probably take away the phone first thing. She may be paying for the bill, but it is still a priveldge for her to use it, just like its a priveledge for us to drive on public roads. If I ignore the rules of the road, a judge will take away my license and forbid me to drive. A few other things I've come across lately is one mom who would see a messy room and give her daughter the warning, "Put away whatever you want to keep and I'll collect the rest tomorrow". Anything that was not put away, not just shoved in the closet, she would come in the next day and collect everything laying out in a big trash bag and throw it away!! Another idea I saw was creating a contract with your teenager of all the things you expect them to do, not just around the hosue, but also grades, privledges, etc. and in exchange all the things you would do for them and the privledges that could be expected when the contract is followed and the punishments that could be expected if the contract was not followed.

Anyway, I hope that some of these ideas will give you some inspiration that can help you all.




answers from Los Angeles on

Hello B.-

I know you have had a few responses to your questions, some very strong and some a little softer.

I have to step daughters who are great girls! But yes, the teen age years are rough.

Always remind them, that its hard being a teenager, theres alot of pressure out there. And that thier bodies are also going through alot of changes that they dont even understand, but they still need to be respectful and fulfill their household duties.
When my daughter would put things off, I would put things off. Not in a mean way, but very subtle. If she kept saying, in a minute, then later that day, I would do the same thing. She wanted to go to her friends and I had to driver her, I would put it off for maybe an extra 30 min, by keeping busy, maybe laundry or dishes and everytime she would ask, I would say, ohhh yeah, just a minute, Then at the end of theh night, I would bring it up, reminding her and seeing how it made her feel being out off. Not that she has to jump to attention every time, but at least an effort is made in a short period of time.
Also when it came to the attitude, I would calmly say, when you can ask nicely, I will talk to you. A few times her dad and I would talk to eachother the way she would, to see how disrespectful it sounded, she didnt like us talking to each other that way.
And Always, remind them how much you love them, even when your mad or irratated. And that you are trying to teach them how to be responsable adults.
I hope this works, and some of the other suggestions. Some how we all live through it, so make it as pleasureable as possible.

Have a great day!



answers from Las Vegas on

I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone, crazy, and/or the only one going through this. My ds age 12 has been driving me nuts lately. His memory is completely gone and our conversations are starting to sound like something out of a run around comedy. LOL. It hasn't been easy and, from my understanding, it isn't going to get better anytime soon.

A friend of mine was telling me that when kids hit the teenage years their brains start to misfire. The connections aren't there anymore. I don't know if this is true ( I haven't done the research yet) but at least there is a reason (it helps me to know he isn't just being a TOTAL pain).

Anyway, you aren't alone.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hi B.. I have a completely different out look on what the other mothers have stated in their responses. First off, I remember how I was growing up, and I am very thankful for what my parents did. That is: They paid me an allowence with my chores. My payment was $50 every payday, and I made sure that my chores were done. The one thing that I did not get paid for was doing my own laundry. Those were my clothes, not my parents. But, I started doing more things around the house to just "help out". They were working 10 hr days, getting home and really not being able to do much, but relax. So, like I said, I would make coffee, dinner (not apart of my chores), have the dishes done (which was apart of my chores)and more. They taught me the responsibility of taking on more, and getting a raise. Does that sound like work??? The way that I look at it now, they were prepping me for the real world of not having Mom and Dad there to pay for everything. They taught me to take on more, and possibly get more allowence (which in turn also returns to working. Do more and get a raise). But, just like work, if I didn't do my chores, then I didn't get paid. She is asking you to start treating her more like a young adult than a child, and if I were you, I'd enbrace the opportunity to help her grow and mature as she is supposed to.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, Welcome to the twilight zone. I hope that you have a nice trip. Teenagers are very difficult to deal with. They are very hormonal and self centered. Your daughter is probably acting within the norm. I have been through the teenage thing once and here I go again, but this time I am doing every thing different. I kind of have an edge because I have been there and done that so I do a lot of prevention.

My tip for you is to give your daughter allowance. Write down the list of chores that she is responsible for on a daily basis. Give her a time during the day that it needs to be completed by. If it is not complete and you have to do it she has to pay you for the service out of her allowance.
I was wondering how she pays for her cell phone if she does not get an allowance? Just a question!

My son is 14. He has a cell phone and we pay the bill. I think that these days they are almost necessary for safety. It makes me feel better knowing that he has one.
He gets $20 week allowance. His chores are to mow the lawn, take the trash out every evening and on trash day, keep his room clean, and to pick up after himself. For example, dirty clothes on the bathroom floor (drives me nuts). When me or my husband have to do any of his chores, he has to pay us money out of his allowance for services.

At 14, kids really do need an allowance. It teaches responsibility. Your daughter will not want to return any to you. She may not take you seriously to begin with but she will get the picture when she has no more money to spend.

I hope this helps!




answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear B.,

Yes, I know, that is a serious problem with teens, they have truly been mislead in our culture about their responsibilities and loyalties to the family. it isn't necessarily your fault or your family's fault, it is the environment in which we live.

I just read a book called "Facing the Lion" it is about a boy growing up as a third son in a Maasai family in Kenya. They moved their home from place to place in order to take care of the cattle that were their livelihood. I know that it doesn't sound like it would help your daughter, but truly, I am 76 almost and it opened my eyes to the wonders of different cultures than ours. We need to somehow band together to teach our children the kind of loyalty and graciousness of these Maasai families.

Oprah had a family go to an African country similar to these people and the American children of that family really got the message about being spoiled and disrespectful to parents - I wish that you could get a copy of that program and show it to your daughter.

Also, if you could find this book 'Facing the Lion' at the library - I am buying a couple of copies from Amazon just so I can give them to my family. The used ones are only about $3.66 - new they are $6.95 - it is a National Geographic book. The author is Joseph Lemasulai Lekuton. He is now a teacher in a very prestigious American school near Washington D.C.

Well, I have rambled on and haven't helped you at all, I just don't know what to tell you - except one thing - Your daughter is trying her best to grow up in a very dangerous and difficult world now. My son told me when he was in high school that if I - his Mother - was in hight school at that time that I would not be able to handle it. ...and that was a long time ago. But, it was a memorable moment for me, and one that I cannot forget.

Even though teens are irritating and disrespectful, they are our children and we need to try to get into a close relationship with them. Remember, if your boss would tell you what to do constantly, and order you around, then you would be looking for another job. Well, not that your daughter will be looking for another family, but she will become more and more depressed and confused.

That is all I know. C. N.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am having the same problem with my 12 soon to be 13 year old son. The way it works with him is that if he chooses to do his chores without arguing he gets rewarded. If he argues when he is supposed to do his chores no reward. Does your daughter have the freedom to go to friends houses during the weekend, etc... Maybe you can develop a sort of behavior management plan for her. If she doesn't do her chores during the week then no fun on the weekend. As far as the attitude is concerned it's normal and can be very overwhelmingly frustrating to a parent. But I think that as long as she is not disrespecting you whe she does talk back (cursing, swearing,etc...) then you can ignore her. When it comes to reminding her about her chores I would let her know that if she doesn't want reminding then to do the chores as scheduled on her own. Now that I said scheduled if you don't have a set time that her chores need to be done make one. Write it up and be specifically clear on what is expected to be done. This way there is no arguement on when it should have been done and what was supposed to be done, it is in writing. The little phrase "PUT IT IN WRITING" doesn't just apply to business. One last thing remember that she is a teen and that things may not be done to perfection. My mom was anal about that stuff. If it wasn't perfect it wasn't clean. That made me resent her very much and also did not help at all for motivation to clean. After all even us moms need a little motivation to clean every now and again. Or am I the only on who hates to clean the toilet. HA HA HA! Anyway hope this was helpful.



answers from Los Angeles on

Someone below mentioned 2' s being preparation for teenagers and I agree. Two year olds need to be praised for their good behaviour and 'ignored' for their bad so that they learn positive ways to get attention for their needs and wants that don't drive you nuts.

If you give gentle words of encouragement for doing the chores you may find she does them less begrudgingly. As you sincerely acknowledge their efforts, no matter how small the effort, you stop the broken record of nagging, they stop hearing "no" all the time and as the good behaviour gets reinforced the bad recedes. then you have a positive currency in your home which doesn't cost a cent.

" I noticed that you took the initiative to tidy your room without me asking and I am so grateful . That was very responsible and thoughtful"

then encouragement when you see them starting a chore...

" you're taking out the trash/ picking up after yourself/ stacking the dishwasher/" thank you so much . I really love that you took the initiative. "

And as for ignoring...it is a blatant, respectful ignoring i.e. you tell them that you are going to ignore them

" I am happy to discuss this with you . I will not listen until you speak to me in a respectful tone / I am going to turn my back and do the dishes for a while if you'll excuse me and when you are ready to change your tone I am ready to listen. I am going into my room for a while to clean up and when you are ready to speak to me respectfully I am all yours"

sounds naive I know but I read it in a book that said it applied to toddlers and teens and it certainly worked with the toddlers...



answers from San Francisco on

I would sit down with her and write up a list together of those responsibilities she is to do every day. Then I would have her type it up and tack it up so she can mark off the chores she finishes. If she finishes 100% of her chores she earns a daily allowance. If she does not, or needs to be reminded, she gets no allowance. It sounds as if money is important to her. Teenagers frequently do not earn money, yet adults earn money each day when we work. I see nothing wrong with a teenager earning money at home, even if it is paying them for daily responsibilties. I would remind her kindly that no one reminds you of your responsibilities and you really hate nagging. This is just an idea. I used to write notes and tack them to the bathroom mirror. It also nelps to write "good news" notes or complimentary notes now and then.

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