Middle Schooler with Attitude

Updated on March 19, 2007
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
4 answers

I have a middle schooler who is struggling with school mainly because of her "attitude." I've had her in private tutoring and have worked with her myself. I have told her to find study buddies at school and work with her teachers to help her when she needs it. She's a hard worker, but not consistent. I've lectured her, taken stuff away from her, and grounded her, to no avail. I've worked hard to instill the values of education to her and also rewarded her for her efforts when she does well. Most of the time, it ends up being a battle between me and her. Of course, I'm the enemy. One of the root issues of my problem is that her dad and I are divorced and my ex will undermine me any chance he gets. He fought me for custody and lost, so there is no working together with him to co-parent. He sides with my daughter all the time even if her attitude/behavior is wrong. Has anyone ever been in this type of situation? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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answers from Detroit on

I don't know if you have tried this or not, but have you considered outpatient counseling/behavior therapy?

They would help both your daughter and you work on her attitude and issues with your ex-husband. Out patient counseling isn't just for mental heath problems and especially since it sounds like your ex is encouraging her inappropriate attitude and behavior, this sounds like the best way to go because the counselor/therapist would be impartial and your daughter wouldn't be able to play you against her father.

I have my daughter in counseling because of attitude and behavior issues at home and school and she is only in the 4th grade. She doesn't have any mental health problems, just major attitudes that cause major problems in the family and at school. Her therapist has really helped and made a difference for us in dealing with whatever is causing her to have these attitude problems.

Good luck and I really hope that everything works out for you.



answers from Detroit on

Hi, I have been dealing with this same sort of situation with my 12 year old for years. I have had him in counceling and read ever book I can find on dealing with bad attitudes. I have had him write sentences for hours. Just 2 weeks ago,I found something that actually worked. It was my husbands idea and I didn't want to do it but boy has his attitude changed. I developed a "boot camp" atmosphere at my house. He had no privliges and had to exercise a lot. It sounds harsh but he toned up and his attitude changed for the better. I had been getting calls from school almost daily. I didn't have one for 2 full weeks. I did let him slack off on the exercise Friday through the past weekend and did get one call Tuesday from school. He was right back to the exercises Tuesday. Today is Friday and no calls the rest of the week. He says he feels "nicer" when he is exercising. I have him do very basic stuff. situps, pushups, jumping jax and streches. It all takes about 20-30 minutes. I have found him more then once doing different exercises on his own. The first few days were very rough with all the crying he did, but now it's amazing at the difference in him. He actually enjoys working out now, and let me tell you there wasn't a physical bone in my sons body before now. He'd sit and watch TV or read all day if I'd let him. His grades have improved and he actually seems to enjoy school. This isn't for everybody, but definately something to consider when all else has failed.



answers from Detroit on

My daughter is only a year old, so I don't have experience in this area as a mom, but I have experience as the middle schooler. Throughout middle school and high school I was the same way. It was the only reason my mom and I fought, and we fought often. Nothing she did or said changed my behavior. My dad could occasionally get through to me because he wouldn't yell or take things away (my parents were divorced as well). He would get disappointed in me and would get quiet. That had more of an impact on me, but it still never changed my behavior long term. If it gives you any hope, I hated school, didn't work to my ability, and blew a lot of things off. But I ended up going straight to college and then, only seven months after getting my BA, I started my masters program. So there is hope!!!



answers from Detroit on

Dear Kathleen,

I am going through the same thing right now. My daugther just turned 13 and we are two peas in a pod! You must remain consistent and do not give in. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. One piece of advise that seems to work for me quite well, is get into their world a little. Example, my duaghter came home from a birthday party last night - crying! Mom, they all ignored. My initial reaction was, I knew that was going to happen. (I knew the girls that were going to be there). She blew up! I gave that some thought - she didn't need a lecture (she already felt bad). She needed someone to listen and hold her. Sometimes I think we just need to remember being that age and put ourselves in their shoes and just listen with a hug! I also ask her to communicate how she truly feels inside and whenever she does I commend her for great communication skills. Hope this helps!

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