Anyone Have Any Advice on Preteen Attitude????

Updated on September 01, 2008
L.D. asks from Kansas City, MO
20 answers

My daughter is 11 1/2 going on 31. Does anyone have any advice about how to handle pre-teen attitude???? Lately, it's gotten worse. I really think that it's just getting to that time where it doesn't matter who is talking to her. I've tried just talking to her in a low soothing voice and she still gets an attitude with me. She doesn't really seem to have an attitude with her dad, it's more with me. I try not to let it bother me. She may just be getting ready to start her period for the first time. If she's acting this way and it's not even started yet, what am I really in for?? HELP!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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answers from St. Louis on

Ask her who she thinks she is talking to with that attitude! Put her in her place verbally first then lay down the law with dicipline if that doesn't work!
Either that or ........prepare for it to get way worse as she gets older AND prepare for her sister to follow in her footsteps because if you are going to let one walk all over you, the other will see that and follow.

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answers from Kansas City on

Well L....welcome to the teen years (almost). : ) I have a 14 year old girl who is almost 15 and I am still alive so you, too, will make it. One thing I have with my kids that works well is to tell them that I will not speak to them when their tone is rude or hateful. Period. And mean it. Now some would assume that means I never get to talk to them. Not true! She gets it now and will usually apologize when she realizes she is being rude. I also try to use this to encourage myself to speak more kindly to her. I think that so often kids this age range are so used to talking like that (the whole drama thing) that it becomes habit rather than personal. Remember that people treat us how they are allowed to so try to nip it in the bud and things will slowly start to get better. The main thing, like I said earlier, is tell her you will not discuss matters with her when she is disrespectful or rude. Point out her tone immediately but then move on. And if she continues to be snotty then take a away a privilege (a big one such as tv, computer, whatever she holds dear) and let her know that when she can learn to speak nicely to whomever she is speaking to that that will earn her that privilege back. AND MEAN IT. The trick is consistency. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Actions always speak much louder than words! : )

It will get better with time-but only with you taking action now rather than later. You will get it worked out. Things will get easier. I promise. Good luck!

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answers from Joplin on

i hear preteens are like rabid dogs...back away slowly and don't look them in the eye, it must makes them angry. could just be a rumor, though. as far as the lipping off to you and not to dad, that's totally normal. i did it, my mom did it, i'm sure most girls do. and it gets better after the periods start and are regulated...then it's just once a month instead of constantly. lay down limits and consequences for behavior and stick to them...start a "pissy" jar...everytime she's pissy with you she owes you a dime, or something, from her allowance or stash of cash. that'll get the point across pretty quick. good luck!

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answers from Wichita on

Good Morning L., what your in for is sort of like a roller coaster ride of a life time. Girls get those little attitudes all the time. If you check with your mom she could probably share some of the things you went through also. ;) I know mine could lol

Our 9 y/o gr daughter has one of those attitude problems too, with her mom more then anyone else. I won't tolerate it, and she knows it. Tia pouts, then if that doesn't work she gets teary eyed. Tia does come by it naturally though as her momma really throws even the Word "Attitude" around all the time. It really gets on my last nerve at times.

What I personally have done with our GD, is taken her out alone some where, maybe a park or just go driving. We talk about what is happening in her young life and what if anything we can change to make it better. Sometimes there is nothing we can actually do but talk about it. Get it out in the open, not bottled up inside.

Ask her why it seems she wants to speak Ugly to you. Act ugly, or just be rude. Let her know it's ok to be mad at you (if that is it) but she still needs to speak to you respectfully. Family members are the most important people we will ever have in the beginning of our lives, they help to nurture, guide, love and console us. If our attitude towards the ones we love is off, nothing good can happen until we can learn to correct it.
Is she having a hard time at school? Is she being bullied or is someone picking on her so that she takes it out on you?

Yup the hormones could be raging now also. Gezzzz it seems kids are maturing sooner then they used to! Developing quicker, Tia is wearing little bra's now, and has started to get under arm hair. WHICH momma tells everyone about Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Tia is 9.
Momma speak slang alot as she was raised in a not so good part of town where the language was clipped and slangy. So she also points out Tia's Bootie. Some of her niece's and nephews are Bi-Racial so she speaks that way to. She doesn't have conversations with anyone. She Conversates.
Please understand I am not putting down other race's, it's how we were raised etc.. But I do feel if your not African American you shouldn't try to speak like one either!

Sorry I

Take you daughter to a movie or have a girls day out and just talk to her, see if she will tell you whats going on in her world away from the family.

Will pray for you L. and your little lady
K. Nana of 5

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answers from St. Louis on

Hi L.,

Here's the good news -this will not last forever - here's the bad news, hang on it will last until she is about 18! I raised 3 girls alone, and I like to tell people they woke up one morning when they were about 12 and I did not see my child again until they graduated high school.

The thing to remember is you are the mom - no matter how much she dislikes your rules, that is just how it is. A lot of parents make the mistake of trying to be their children's friends. They have their own friends, some good and some bad
but only one mother.

My girls are now grown - 27 and an Optometrist, 25 and a nurse and the 22 year old is a massage therapist. They tell me now they thought I was strict when they were teenagers, but they appreciate it now. My oldest says she can remember the minute "mom grew up". She was about 15 and we had a habit of arguing about everything. One day right in the middle of an argument it hit me this was BS, I am her mother and when I say no I mean no! We sat down and actually talked and I told her when I tell her no there will be no more arguing about my decision - and if what ever it is is REALLY important to her - she needed to come to me calmly and present her case and we would talk it over, but I told her I was through yelling! It wasn't easy at first because old habits die hard but it did work! This did not keep the attitude at bay, but it did make it easier.

Keep punishments consistant and find the one that works the best - one of my girls hated being around the rest of the family - so her punishment was being grounded to the family, another one hated being sent to her room - there is always something that works for each one - you just have to find it.

Just hang in there and remember it's nothing personal! And it is all worth it when she re-emerges from the dark side - she will thank you!


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answers from St. Louis on

I am a SAHM of two girls as well, 13 & 9, and am going through the same thing with my 13 year old. (Much more of an attitude with me, but now occasionally with her dad,) The only thing that has worked for us is the taking away of privileges, particularly the computer. She does not like to talk on the phone, but loves to be on the computer and IM her friends. We have told her that as her parents who have tried to give her the best life possible we deserve and demand a certain amount of respect and if she cannot handle giving us that amount of respect and common courtesy, then we do not feel that she is ready to handle the privileges that come with the lifestyle we have worked to give her. Usually, when she starts giving me attitude I don't even start going down that road and just send her to her room so that she knows that I am not even going to deal with her until she can be respectful. She has improved considerably, but sometimes she still has to test the waters.

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answers from Kansas City on

It always takes two to argue. It is hard but, now that my daughter now 13 we are close. I choose my battles wisely. We also talked about ways she responded to me and how she could controll it. I saw that she could be nice to friends and dad.
I would simple not responed to any thing she said unless it was nice. If she rolled her eyes at me I would turn around and ignore her request. I would tell her she needed to talk to me with tone, behavior with respect. I had one work- check your self. I was calm and didn't get caught up in the drama. It wasn't easy... I made lots of mis-takes at first. We would talk about her body changeing. I would give her some grace but, if she need to vent she needed to say so. I would let her vent all she wanted... on how she felt. But with-out the YOU word. Some times time I would just ask, do you need to vent? Set the boundries.



answers from St. Louis on

I can sympathize with you. I have an 11 1/2 yr old too. She is having quite an attitude and acts completely unappreciative of everything she has. So this past week I got fed up with her sulking around (woe is me attitude) and told her she didnt know how good she had it. There are kids all over the world who drink filthy muddy water everyday and walk 5 miles in no shoes to get it. There are kids who havent eaten in anything for days except a little white rice that some humanitarian group gave them and they waited 2 days in line for that. She has a nice school to go to with air conditioning and a bus to take her there. She doesnt have to walk for miles to go to a school with almost no books and a dirt floor to sit on. I told her I wanted her to be thankful she could get out of bed in the morning with out someone lifting her into a wheelchair. Her assignment from now on every morning is to tell me 5 things that she is thankful for and why. since monday her attitude has really changed. Kids need to be reminded how bad things could be.
We spoil them so much. Also if that doesnt work you need to find her currency(what is most important to her) and take that away until she shows you the respect you deserve. Kids need to know that they have all the things they have because we allow them to have it. We can take it away if they dont earn the privelidge of having it. You must command her respect and when she is grown she will realized what a pain she was and thank you for it.



answers from Kansas City on

Well just so you know, you are not the only one and it's not just girls. My son is 11 1/2 as well, his attitude change started last year. His is aimed more toward his dad. His dad is the push over. I'm the hard butt. He knows he can't walk all over me. His dad gives out empty threats, I'm the one who has to follow through with his dads threats. I finally told my husband that I'm not bailing him out anymore he is going to have to deal with our son's attitude from now on. So now that he follows through with his punishments the attitude has gone down and he doesn't walk all over him as much. Don't worry you'll find out what works for you, wether it's small reprocutions for her actions or talking. Have faith that it'll work out.



answers from Wichita on

If you don't put a stop to this now, you will pay dearly during her teenage years.

I can't stand to hear kids disrepect their moms and dads. Parents somehow get the idea that letting their children treat them like dirt is going to help those same children be better people. Its insane.

Send her to her room when she treats you badly. And for heavens sake don't after shes been a brat, take her to the mall or movies. I've honestly seen parents do this. Talk about rewarding bad behavior. What is really is is the parents being afraid that their kids won't love them. And kids play it for all its worth.
Gee can you tell I feel strongly about this.

You dont' deserve to be treated disrepectfully and would you allow someone else child to treat you that way? Probably not.
And would it be okay with you for your best friend's child to treat them that way. Probably not. SO its okay for you to bring this to a screeching halt.

Sorry, I'll get off of my soapbox. But truely how many parents have you seen wringing their hands and crying because their kids don't respect them and are in control? You have to stop it when it first starts and you will have a much more peaceful household and life.


answers from Kansas City on

The attitude may be "normal" but should never be acceptable. Our girls are 11 1/2 and 10. Our oldest just started middle school and gets the attitude sometimes. We've never let her get away with it and will never. She has been given consequences and knows what they are and we enforce them. She hasn't started her period yet either but does pms once a month, so we know it's coming soon, and during that time we don't cut her any slack. Set the rules now for when she gets older to avoid problems later. Don't let it be the "norm". Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi L.,
She unloads on you more than Dad because she is emotionally closer to you--which, on the flip side, you get to see her fireworks.

My only addition to the good advice of all the moms is to say that even though it's normal (her anger and cranky state of being), it's not okay for her to speak to you disrespectfully--and she won't respect you if you stand for sarcastic responses from her. The key is to just tell her calmly how you feel--maybe something like, "I don't like when you talk to me sarcastically or mean--we can talk later when you're not so mad." (If you take out the emotion, it helps the real message shine through.) Then just walk away. If she doesn't approach you sometime in the near future for a heart to heart, then start it yourself without blaming or lecture--just tell her you want to talk about what's in your and her heart and ask her what she wants out of life. When the sarcasm strikes, just repeat the other line and walk away--you're showing that you will only accept respect from her, and that you also respect her feelings of being unable to talk with you at the moment. Give her time, and hopefully, she'll come around. And if it doesn't work, you will have lost nothing since speaking to her about your heart and feelings is never waste of time.
I hope this helps, and remember--you're not alone!



answers from St. Louis on

I can relate. I have an 11 year old with the "attitude" as well. I have talked with her about it, she doesn't think she's got one. I explained to her it's not what she says but how she says it. That worked a little, but there are times when she needs to be brought out of her little "perfect" world and yanked back down to earth. So I set her straight. I tell her that I've tried talking to her, and explain my problem with her attitude like an adult, but she insist on not hearing it like a 3 year old. It's like she wants all the privildges of being older, but not the responsibility. So I've set some hard rules for her. Like the first instance she shows disrespect to either me, my husband or her brothers......she looses something.....the cell phone is always to first to go.

I tried so long to be patient, but once the patience wore out, she drew the last straw. She knows not to cross me now, and is more aware of how she says things. I hated being so hard on her, but it has taught her that she will not get away with whatever she wants.

It also seemed that the attitude was more like a way to 'show off'......especially in front of her friends, the first time I sent her to her room for being disrespectful while her friends were here, she also new I was not playing games.

Sometimes it does get worse during her period, so try to be a bit more patient because I myself remember when I was younger and it was during my period....I hated it and I was a bit more crabby and such.

But I alway remind my daughter of all the privlidges she has and that I give them to her because I think she has earned them,, for either being a great student, wonderful sister, showed more responsibility, or whatever, and when she throws around the attitude, I quickly remind her of what she has to loose, and she changes it quickly.

In the end, I know I must be doing something right, I get a lot of Thanks yous and hugs......even in front of my friends and my parents. Her and I still talk about all kinds of stuff and overall I am happy with our relationship.

I kind of rambled on, I hope I've helped in some way.

Good Luck!



answers from Columbia on

In the past I have dealt with children who were being disrespectful at a child care center. When they said something with an attitude, I told them they may not speak to me that way and that they needed to repeat it in an acceptable tone of voice. If they had to repeat it 5 times, then we had to sit there for a while, but I wouldn't leave until they spoke in a respectful way. For some kids I needed to model what the respectful way would sound like. Make sure YOU do this throughout the day, too--modeling respect with everyone you talk to.

Most of the time when people speak with an attitude, it's because they want to get the message across that they are upset, angry, or annoyed about something. You probably need to talk with your daughter at a time when things are going WELL, not in the middle of an argument. I know you have tried talking before, but tell her that you've been noticing this lately and this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Tell her she IS allowed to be upset by things, but there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of telling you she's upset. Maybe you can talk about some appropriate ways--a certain phrase she can use, a signal, etc, something that allows her to voice her frustration in an acceptable way. I have learned that if I am upset with my husband, I can say, "I'm really, really angry about this!" It's blunt, to the point, gets my point across that I'm angry, but says nothing disrespectful. We can then discuss the problem rather than let it lead into a bickering, hurtful fight.

You may also want to see if there has been something on-going lately that has been on her mind. It may have nothing to do with you, but may be making her irritable and if she's closest to you, you'll be the first one she takes it out on.

Reassure her that she will always be loved by you no matter what her attitude is and that you know she will always love you back, but that you really care about your relationship with her so you want to work together to make sure there is mutual respect. She is old enough to understand that.



answers from St. Louis on

Hey L., ditto to what the other moms have said, I have a 15 year old and I'm a single parent, her father has not been in her life since she was about 7 years old, so needless to say I have to deal with all alone. I keep telling myself that she's a teenager, the hormones are raging, and she can't quite express herself, but then sometimes we are both yelling back and forth. Let me tell you it really takes patience and understanding during these years, and I have learned a lot about myself in the process. I even got some counseling for the both of us, which did help a great deal. There have been times when I just wanted to give up, I don't want to do this anymore, of course I had to slap myself back to the reality of it, you are the parent and hopefully our babies will turn out to be respectable young women, based on all those attitude problem lessons. So good luck to you and pray, pray, pray for wisdom & knowledge and strength during these times..



answers from St. Louis on

Sorry to say it is a girl thing with their mothers. my oldest who now in collegs was ans is still like that. she is daddies girl. it really hurts.I know. hang in there and do your best to tell hr love her and MAKE SURE you and your husband don't disargee on the rules. you both have to agree and you can go afterwards and talk if you don't.

pray!! pray!!! my youngest is got the tude too but she is better with me then my husband. as least for now.

I know this is tough. hang in there.



answers from Kansas City on

I would listen to the advice about stopping the behavior now from several of the other moms I have read. My advice was going to be the same thing as Nancy F, Linda S and Christine G for example.

The other quick thing is I remember when my younger sis when she was about 11 right before she started her period. OH MY! My parents did not believe me that when they left us alone she turned into demon child or something. She was uncontrollable when they were not around and an angel in front of them. This lasted several months until she finally started her period, which she ended up coming to me first about. She was very much more normal and loving after that moment. So my story is that partly could be hormones yes. Teens have attitudes it is part of growing up and just adjust and keep teaching them that right way to get through life and relationships with people too. It all passes then they are grown up! Hang in there and try to have fun with her too.

Sometimes I go into my teen son's room and hang out with him for a while and play a game and talk....when I am in 'his' world he loosens up more.



answers from Wichita on

egads, not a mouthy preteen!!
boy it's such a combination of things really, hormones, the stuff they hear from their friends, stuff they watch on tv, personality, predisposition to have drama.
I've had two preteen girls, one was mouthy, the other was just so even tempered it was weird.
The mouth got the "hairy bar of soap" treatment. I have a bar of plain ivory soap that got chucked on top of the microwave, and it was yellowed and crackled with age. When the mouth decided she "HATED" me, I said not 1/2 as much as you're going to after you have this in your mouth. She had to put it in her mouth for less than 60 seconds but it only happened ONCE.

At that point I told her I was not the Thought Police, I can't do anything about what goes on in her head, but it WILL NOT come out of her mouth in my house(or in public for that matter since kids are all lawyers in training).

She kept it to herself after that. I think you have to make sure she knows you mean business. Your husband really needs to back you up on this since you seem to be the target.
Girls are so frustrating and so wonderful at this age. Also I got a jar that said "Ashes of Obnoxious Teenager" on the side of it, and put in it the most dirty horrible jobs that I could think of in it. When mouth would get attitudinal, I would have her draw a job. It was usually clean the toilet, or wash the trash cans out, or pick up all the dog poo in the back yard. something really awful that they hate doing.



answers from St. Louis on

Dear L.,
Hang in there. I would say for the most part, let it roll off you. Although I don't think you should have to tolerate anything abusive or offensive. Maybe when she's not in one of those moods, you could say, "You know I really feel like you jump on my over the slighest things. I would really appreciate it if you would just talk to me. If I'm bugging you, just tell me politely that you don't want to talk right now." I have tried this approach with my daughter. It does help, but it doesn't eliminate the problem completely. She does take it out on me completely, not her Dad. I think it's just one of those "girl" things where they feel they have to separate from us. But, she does, at times come to me on her own and apologize. I don't think they always realize how much they do it. I think you're right about the hormones too. They do play a part. That doesn't excuse it though. They need to learn how to deal with that too. Hope this helps a little. You're not alone!



answers from Kansas City on

my grandma always used to sat when you have a child you should put it in a bow and feed it through a hole. then , when they turn 13 you should plug the hole! hope it made you laugh...meg

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