how to handle disrespect

roskingSeptember 13, 2006

Hi. I could use some advice on dealing with my 12 year old daughter. I have been trying to get her to stop being disrespectful to me since she was 8. For the first couple years I tried consequences (no TV, no phone calls...) - that didn't seem to work. Then I tried modeling respectful behavior by calmly explaining to her that talking to me that way isn't acceptable (& not following up with a consequence) - that didn't work. I'm back to consequences, this time thinking they need to be more severe (like she lost going to a school party last night for yelling at me). Is it unreasonable for me to expect her to not talk back and scream at me (shouting things like "I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN UP!" etc)??? Her tone of voice and volume seem so disrespectful to me. My husband and I very rarely raise our voices to screaming level with the kids, but I think we do say things firmly. My husband and I don't yell at each other and I think we have a good relationship so I don't know where my daughter is getting it from. My daughter is much more disrespectful to me (a stay at home mom) than my husband, although she is disrespectful to him at times, but it doesn't bother him the way it does me.

Thanks for any help.

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#1 consequences have to matter to the child.
#2 consequences have to be for a length of time that they matter (grounding a child for from their bike for an entire summer will eventually not metter as they learn to live with out it)

SO, think about what REALLY matters to your daughter, then she must suffer the consequences.

Sit down with her and let her know that

  1. When she yells at you she will first get a warning about her behavior and she MUST immediatly apologize.
  2. If the behavior continues within the next X hours she will receive X consequence.

Now remember too, she is going through hormonal changes, track them, she may not be totally in control of these outburst, and you MAY have to take some in stride. Also, you need to let her have her emotions, AS LONG AS THEY ARE RESPECTFUL. Saying I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN MY ROOM is fine, as long as she isn't saying I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN MY F****ING room. Make sure you're letting her have her opinion.

Now for consequences that matter, again it depends on the child. Taking things away matters to some...No TV tonight, NO XX show tonight (and no taping or TVOing in), matter, some could care less.

Maybe it is more, stripping her room of all but basics..bed and clothing and as she shows respect, she earns back her TV, radio, etc. She shows disrespect, she loses those items. Cause and effect.

Maybe it is giving MORE chores (or some chores) that she finds distasteful. Cleaning dog poop in the back yard for having what you consider a potty mouth. Cleaning the bathroom toilets for having a potty mouth. You get the idea.

Maybe it's a monetary fine for yelling. You yell at mom, you owe her XX (which is a percent of her allowance say 10%)

See everything depends on what MATTERS to the child. If money doesn't matter, a fine won't matter. If a TV show is what they live for, then taking it away MATTERS. AND you and your husband MUST be on the same page here.

Now at her age, put it in writing, sit down at the table WHEN LIFE IS CALM, have a contract made up, all of you sign it. Add a "Good behavior" clause..maybe a dinner out for one month (or week??) no yelling? So she has an incentive to NOT yell along with consequences for yelling.

Good luck. Teens and "Tweens" are not always fun. We all survive then, and have battle wounds.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 11:09AM
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Here's a unique suggestion. I'd buy her a manners/etiquette book. Yes, like Miss Manners. Those etiquette guides are often really about teaching respect. She may get out of it more than you realize, plus knowing proper etiquette can never hurt.

I have a feeling she may not realize the tone of her voice and how disrespectful it gets. It's hard, very hard to dictate and disipline her into an approved tone of voice. But, if she really understands the basics of treating people the way she wants to be treated, and that everyone deserves respect, she may "tone" it down a bit. I don't mean just tell her she should be be respectful (she'll just roll her eyes and tell you that you don't deserve respect). I mean to really have a discussion about it like you would with an adult.

Sometimes I think we treat kids like dogs by taking away their toys, games, food, etc. We think a Pavlov type of experiment and disipline will whip them into shape, when what they really may need is a better understanding of why what they are doing is wrong, not to just be conditioned not to do it. Then the problem will only pop up elsewhere.

Bottom line, though, I think most teenage daughters are going to have some sort of problem with the parents (especially the mothers). As long as she isn't a really bad kid (doing drugs, etc), I think sometimes a little extra space during those years may be the best answer. She may just be trying to assert her independence.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 5:58PM
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One thing that helps with mine is asking them to repeat what they just said in a more appropriate tone of voice.
They get bored of that pretty quickly ;-)

If the nasty voice continues, I'll exaggerate it some more, throw in a hefty dose of either whine, pout or 'snotty',
and immitate them back to themselves.

That usually has them laughing before too long and diffuses the anger,
plus it actually does get the message across.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 10:57PM
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Hi there, here's some ideas...

1. I think young ladies need to be shown how to deal with these very violent emotions that can overwhelme them from time to time. Say something like "when you feel that anger this is how you deal with it..go to your room scream into the pillow.." or whatever you think is appropriate.

2. I think that when your daughter says things like that to you, you should say "when you speak like that to me I feel very upset..." or whatever you feel. I think they need to be told what the affect of their behaviour is.

3. I think they learn to behave like this by watching role models on TV. When my DD was growing up, I sussed out that her outbursts mirrored exactly how the young people behaved on shows like "Buffy".

4. I have been through the wringer with my DD, so I know exactly what is going on in your house. For years we anguished over her behaviour, trying different things. Its only now, its coming together, we have completely changed the way we treat her. We spend more time with her, talk to her, do things for her, and just show her that we love her.

Your daughter may feel insecure about her place in the family, extra love, more attention from Dad, it might just calm her down a bit.

I know its really hard, this age, stay calm and try not to take it to heart.

I think Vicky's ideas are worth a try.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 3:59AM
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Thanks to everyone. I was so discouraged yesterday I turned to the internet as a last resort, hoping to fiind a forum like this. It really helps!

I know my hardest part is knowing when to set a firm rule (eg no yelling) and when to realize she's learning and going through hormonal stuff and give her a little slack. It probably leads to inconsistency on my part which has kept the problem going.

I know a big problem for me is comparing her to other kids who seem to be so well behaved!! But she is a good kid but quite immature for her age. I think all of the suggestions will be helpful - setting rules with consequences that matter, talking to her about how it feels, giving her extra attention, and getting her a book - I bet I can find one for girls.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:57AM
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Rosking...remember too what you see on the outside of a family isn't what is on the inside of a family. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT. We so often have a tendency to compare our families to other "perfect" families and see the bad in ours.

I was told by my friends their husbands would say "Why can't we have perfect kids like Vickey's". And if you knew my kids you would laugh at this statement. Let's see, if by perfect you mean the yelling, the drug use by one child(we lucked out and conquered that), the smoking, the almost not finishing high school, and I can go on and on....yes then I had a perfect family. You see, the husbands didn't see this, they saw the "church" family and we looked perfect.

You will never have a Brady Bunch or 7th heaven family, so don't compare!!! Look at your last statement...SEEM so well behaved. Outside looking in, Eddie Haskell SEEMED like an angel too didn't he!!!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 1:16PM
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What Vickey said!! I have friends whose kids seem so parfect I feel like a failure as a parent! And when I talk to them I find out their children are just as 'angelic' as mine (HA) - we just don't get exposed to it as much.

The etiquette book reminded me of the Waltons. Remember when Mary Allen would be smartalecky with her parents? They would make her memorize a bible verse.

In your case, perhaps you can have her memorize a rule of etiquette from the Post etiquette book? :-) Or read a chapter, and then present a report on it to you?

Also - re: hormones, see if you can mark on a private calendar how her daily moods are. That can help identify if it is a hormonal (i.e. 28 day cyclical) problem. Then you can talk to the gynecologist about helping with the swings from a medical perspective.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 1:31PM
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Not to disagree with others, but I don't think a book will help a bit. I doubt she will even open it. She knows how to speak pleasantly to others.

One thing you really DO need is to present a united front, you AND your husband. You did not mention his role in this, and I have a feeling you feel it is between you and your daughter. That is not so. You both need to sit down with her and have a very open conversation about the way your family members treat each other. You can tell her you love her very much and it is very hurtful to be talked to like she does, and can be embarrassing in front of others too.

The only other thing I can think of is that she has a problem you are not aware of, or she has simmering anger about something.

Just because most of us here are not like the Waltons does not make your daughter's manner of speaking to you OK. Frankly, I think you should do something and do it fast before she is 16 and still doing it. You are not her doormat, whipping boy, sounding board, or whatever the expression is!

Good luck. Sorry for your trouble.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:14PM
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I would like to say one more thing.... I try to say to myself in times of family conflict, when everyone is upset, "remember the big picture". Sure things fall apart occasionally and you all feel like its going off the rails, but saying that one statement seems to get me back on the rails.

The big picture, is that they are children for a short time, and generally they end up being wonderful humans, who will be a wonderful companion to you in your dotage. And you are always doing your best, loving them, giving them good values.

If they say something disrespectful, and they know to appologise when they upset people, then thats the message you want to get across. It takes practice.

Remember if you dont have conflict you all wont know how to learn to deal with it. If your family life was like a bed of roses, with the kids being sweet as sugar all the time, then how are they ever going to learn about conflict resolution.

And above all keep your sense of humour.

All the best.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 3:17AM
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Wonderful advice popi! My husband and I sat down with both kids last night and discussed some rules. My daughter's behavior is probably related to my 16 year old son's behavior - what I thought was typical sibling rivalry seems to have escalated to pure hatred at this point. We told them there'll be consequences for any name calling and if they're bugging each other, how to discuss it more respectfully.

My son is very strong-willed and wants to run the house but in the last 6 months has become angry and defiant...that's a whole 'nother story with drinking and shoplifting and destroying his room!! We're seeing a counselor with him, but my daughter hasn't been involved. After typing this, it seems like her rudeness is probably related to how she's being treated by her brother! Duh!! It really is a learning game!

Thanks for helping me!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 8:30AM
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Good on you, rosking, you'll work it out.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 3:18AM
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I am so glad I found this thread.

I'm dealing with this very problem with my 11-year-old daughter.

she yells at her siblings, myself, and her father.

Lately, there's been a lot of tension within the marriage and I have been yelling at my husband. Is it my fault?

Now her 4-year-old brother is also yelling at us.

He's even yelling, "I hate myself!" Is this for attention.

I have a big mess on my hands don't I?

Here I am at wit's end on what to do.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 2:28PM
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May I take the other side? I scream and yelled at my mother because the woman never shut her mouth. She talked for hours about things that she could have said in one sentence. I got very tired of it. Life was just one long lecture. I tuned it out when I could, when I couldn't, I yelled.

Instead of just saying "Do thus and so, " she had to go in to great detail about the whys and wherefores of doing whatever. And worse of all, she had to mention that "nice girls" always did Thus and So. That was always what sent me into a tantrum.

Are you sure that perhaps you aren't doing something of the same?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:32PM
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I guess it boils down to "how do we want to behave, as parents?"

Do we want to be parents that yell and scream and basically have tantrums, then if we do that, our children will do that.

If we get our act right, then we can have a standard of behaviour that we stick to, and hopefully with time it will all fall into place.

But, it all gets into utter confusion, sometimes, or it does for me, I think its because there are so many different relationships going on in the same household. And if you are trying to keep calm and do your best to be a good role model, well, its VERY hard sometimes, to maintain your composure.

I think everyone needs time out, to figure out what is going on and how to deal with it. I get through by reading books, listening to experts, and just basic "nice" ways that people treat each other. I do think a lot about how "I" would like be treated, and relate that to my DD.

I had good role models, so I guess that is most helpful.

Also, I think ongoing conflict can put a lot of pressure on the marriage, so just be aware of that. Its important to remain united, and not to forget that your marriage is important and needs nurturing.

Its all very tricky sometimes, and going for a walk along the beach, seems to be the best medicine !


    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:44PM
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My son is 16 and he yells at me all the time. I try to talk to him he yells and calls me names. He thinks my jog is a bad job. He always down me and makes me fill bad when I try to make him do the right things, he calls me names.I asked him to go to bed he tell me he sould have to go to bed. I have made rules he never go by them. He tells me I am nuts all the time. When he yells at me I yell back. We have been to see doctor, you name it i have try it. Some time I wish I could run away from it all. My husband never say any thing to him because they are friend and get along great. My 13 year girl is trying to do it now to me. Can any one help?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 10:11AM
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All parents probably have to figure out what is really important to them. You have to decide what you can and can't live with. What you can tolerate is likely to be different from my limit. And the lines will move depending on the age and development of the child. A very young child can't be expected to communicate with the same control as one who is older. So what I'm about to write should be seen as dealing with children older than about 6 or 7.

I have a very difficult time with the idea that any authority figure (including parents) can simply silence less powerful members of the group. Maybe I'm carrying the political comparison a bit far but I can't agree with governments that do it and I don't think it makes for great family relationships, either. Children have a lot to go through as they are growing up. They simply ARE less powerful than parents. Many times a loud verbal outburst must seem like the only outlet they have. I decided that I'd rather hear what my kids were so upset about rather than to have them simmering (plotting?) in resentful silence - or thinking that they can't turn to Mom when things get rough or emotional.

For me it was a matter of very specifically figuring out the difference between loud/emotional and disrespectful/personal. I made it clear to my children (and they seemed to get it) that there is a BIG difference between raising your voice to make a point or to express strong feeling and personally attacking the person you are speaking to. I drew a very clear line at ugly name calling, attacking a person's nature, abilities, or basic value. I promised (and kept the promise) that I would NEVER be disrespectful or attacking to them - NO saying things like, "You are so dumb!" or "What's wrong with you?" or "Why can't you be like ______?" And I made it a rule that I would not tolerate such attacks from them.

Oh, things got loud at times. But whenever they would cross that line I would stop and say, "That's a personal attack and we don't do that." Oddly, it worked. Maybe they got the idea that I was actually listening to their tirades. Many times, when they would appear to be about to "lose it" I would comment to the effect that "I can hear how upset you are" or "This obviously matters a lot to you."

Whether it was listening through the noise or demonstrating to them that even when I was angry about something they did I could still manage not to attack worked. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the times I had to warn them that they were crossing the line. And every one of those times, the personal attack stopped right there.

Besides that, I made it clear to my children that they had a "right of appeal". I told them that if they strongly disagreed with a rule of mine, I would hear them out as they made their case about it (as long as they were able to avoid personal attacks) and consider their point of view. To me that was part of the whole respect thing. And, yes, there were a couple of times when I did revise rules because they pointed out things I had not known or taken into consideration.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 11:16AM
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I totally agree with you Linda, and the main point that shines through about what you just said is...."children or teens, need to feel like they are being heard".

As parents we need to try to see things from their perspective, do they feel they are being heard.

Like the original poster's comments about "I dont want to clean up my room now". Well is this okay ? Perhaps the child needs to learn, in a calm voice, "I will clean my room, after I have done my homework, or after school." Isnt it reasonable that she could make a BARGAIN with the parent. In that way she is learning to deal with HER situation, and she will be in control of it. I have had years of torture with messy bedrooms, but now, looking back, I think it was all pointless. I have posted that problem on this forum ! Some people like having their posession around them, and to them it is not a mess. As long as it stays in the room, its fine by me, NOW. !

Acknowledge that the room does need tidying, and this is what I am going to do about it. Guiding the conflict along those lines is a better way of dealing with the situation.

In my house I try to veiw each "conflict situation" as exactly blame, just "here's the problem, lets deal with it". Its taken lots of practice to get to some sort of standard of disputes. I feel a lot calmer in myself, after sorting through all that. I thought long and hard about what sort of parent I wanted to be, and I didnt want to be a screaming parent, who didnt listen to her child.

Manage the situation, instead of fighting it!

Good luck.

I am sure there are more challenges ahead.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 4:14PM
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It's funny that you mention the "messy room" thing. My daughter was the world's absolute worst! I mean...we had our house on the market and lost buyers because of her room. No kidding. It was THAT bad.

But I decided that I needed to pick my battles. She was a good student. She didn't go out catting around at night. She wasn't really good about chores. But I could tell that there were things going on that trumped that. So. Her room was way on past messy.

Now, bless her dear, sweet heart, she has her own place and she is coming around. She spends time cleaning up and she is beginning to understand the value in that. O.K. I didn't really teach her that. Or maybe she saw that the rest of our house was in order and she remembers. Who cares. I always believed that once it was hers...her own space for which she was responsible...she would deal with it. And she does. She may never be as antsy about clutter as I am but who says that is best? Maybe I spend too much time obsessing about a clean house. My social life is nothing to write home about. Maybe she is right and you CAN let the floor go while you spend time with loved ones instead.

I'm glad I didn't ride her about it. Time has past. The house is long ago sold. I keep my house the way I want (except when gardening gets in the way) and she does the same. I still love her so dearly. And she still calls now and then.

Life is good.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 7:43PM
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lindakimy said, "...For me it was a matter of very specifically figuring out the difference between loud/emotional and disrespectful/personal..."

Good point! I'd like to add that this behavior is normal and the children are testing their power. That doesn't mean parents should accept it or act like it's O.K. One good way to figure out if it's worth a battle is to imagine that someone else's kid just said what your child said. If your niece or a neighbor's son said the same thing, would you let it go or confront the child? Give your child the same consideration.

It's easy to take this kind of behavior personally, when sometimes it's just the kid trying to learn and grow up. We feel that how our children behave is a direct reflection on us and our skills as parents, when we should remember that our kids have their own personalities and don't deal with life exactly as we would.

When my daughter is rude or ignores me, I tell her when she acts like that, I don't feel like doing things for her (because I don't). If the bad behavior continues after a warning, I won't take her to Brownies or to a party, have her friend(s) over, take her swimming, etc. She straightens up pretty fast when she sees that her unacceptable behavior isn't getting her what she wants.

You gotta love natural consequences!

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:50PM
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We've had a few weeks of relative calm, and today my daughter blew up again. Said I was dumb. I told her not to talk to me that way and she said "why, you are dumb" I sent her to her room, she went into a rage, I sent her outside (so not to destroy anything) until she calmed down. I want to give her a consequence of no phone, TV, computer for a month. I'm back to where I was when I first posted. Am I being too lenient or too over reacting?? I usually have given her a consequence that lasts a week or so, but now I'm thinking nothing is getting through to her so maybe I need to make it a month. She's 13 next week. This has been going on for 5 years. I'm afraid if I don't get it under control before adolescence hits it's going to be dangerous.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 9:12PM
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YEs what she did was wrong, but a MONTH, no it wasn't that wrong. If you ground her that long, pretty soon she'll be grounded FOREVER. AND IF you take away EVERYTHING, she'll not miss anything. PERSONALLY, I'd take away ONE thing. Let's see...13, I'd make it a week without something that means a LOT to her (the phone is my guess), or an extra chore for a potty mouth??? Like cleaning the bathroom(s) every day that week and EXTRA well on Sunday (or next Saturday)...ESPECIALLY the toilet??? OR just ONE day...that day would have to be within a week period, but if that day happened to be the day of the school dance say, boy that would have an impact now wouldn't it. BUT if that dance is a month away...kinda lost the impact. Plus a long discussion about how she CAN NOT call you dumb, stupid, etc. SHE CAN say she is not happy with XXX right now. Now you also have to make sure you are showing her the same respect (I assume you are, but just want to re-iterate it). Remember too, if she LOUDLY says, I don't like that chore, I don't like you right now, etc. If it is LOUD, but actually, technically respectful, pick your battle and let it be, there will be other, more important battles in the future. Plus if the respect is there, don't stiffle it, even if it is said loudly.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 9:20PM
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I'm with Vickey, and would like to emphasize two key points --

- Keep it short. High-impact but short. If you get to the point where the kid is basically "living on probation" then it just isn't working. I really like the clean-the-bathrooms idea. Appropriate and useful. Or, if you have a cleaning lady and they don't need it, some yardwork. Highly physical, which is good for working off anger, plus it's constructive and creative.

- Second key point is mutual respect. Be sure you never speak to her with contempt in your voice or manner. Clean anger is fine, but contempt, disgust or disdain is really damaging. When either of my boys begin to use that nasty voice, I can look them square in the eyes and tell them "We do not use that tone of voice in this house. Ever. Try your message again in a more appropriate tone."

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 11:43AM
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Lots of good advice here.

I just wanted to mention something because, Rosking, you said you felt like you were back at the same place you were when you first posted.

It's important to recognize that you will have days that feel like that whatever you do, no matter how successful, especially at first.

The behaviour it took your daughter 5 years to develop will not go away in a few weeks or even months. IMHO that is not a reasonable goal. You want to have her improve her behaviour so that she less and less feels the need to resort to rudeness to get her point across. But on bad days or at low points in her life she might revert to that old behaviour. You just need to respectfully guide her back into a calmer place. Don't overreact to the occasional outburst though.
I know this sounds like I think it's easy; it isn't. Sometimes not overreacting to a child's rudeness is one of the hardest things I've ever done and since I am no where near perfect, there have been times I have slipped and ended up being disrespectful myself. When that happens I apologise as soon as we are both calm and proceed from there.

Don't aim for perfection; both you and your child are human. Just do your best and encourage her to do the same.

Good luck. Many of us are thinking of you.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 4:31PM
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So, what happens if she REFUSES to clean the toilet, because she said you where dumb?

Did she apologise for saying you where dumb? Must extract that apology.

She sounds exactly like my DD, she used to go into rages, and destroy her bedroom, this was after she had said something that led to her incarceration. One day she ran away, she walked a couple of kilometres to the local shopping centre, and we got a call from the security guard, and my DH went to pick her up.

I can honestly say it has been a very difficult time, and unfortunatly it affected her younger brother as well, and her outbursts would cause so much tension in the house.

Now....she is 19 and in your fair country (I am in Australia). So its rather peaceful, now !

She is still a bit tricky, though, she does apologise when she says things she knows she shouldn't, and she is very argumentative. I think its just her personality...when I think about it, now. I think she is a perfectionist and just cannot understand why people don't want to do things her way, or may object to the way SHE is doing things, and that causes her to lash out.

I suppose, for you, perhaps in the quiet happy times, with your daughter, you can explain how upsetting it is when she behaves like that.

Just a few pearls of wisdom for you...let us know how you are going.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 2:11AM
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Thanks again to all you wonderful people!! My husband agreed that a month was not a good idea, so he had her rake the leaves in the yard. Yesterday was a very calm day, then today she got into it with her brother. She went from being very pleasant to immediately screaming at him for something he had done (which was probably equally as rude, but just not so noticeable to me). I came from the kitchen and told her (calmly) we don't talk to each other that way, well she just started yelling at me. It's like it's just nonsense that comes out of her mouth -- anything so she can be screaming at you. I told her to get ready for bed and she said "NO!". I didn't know what to do. I knew I couldn't make her get ready for bed. So she did go up to her room, but didn't get ready for bed.

Yesterday I thought I had an idea of what was going on. I think I get very nervous and upset when she's disrespectful, and she has figured this out, so really I've given her a lot of power - she knows she can push my buttons by being disrespectful. So I think I need to try to pretend that I'm not at my wits end when she acts like that and maybe that will help get her to stop doing it too. Plus all the ideas about making sure she feels heard. I think with her older brother she has decided the only way to stand up to him is to scream and use her voice in an unending string of rudeness which drives him (and me) crazy.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 9:06PM
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I have a DF who described her then 14 year old daughter's behaviour the way you describe yours. She told me she had to "disengage" from her child for a while. To her that meant pretending to herself that she was not so "caught up" in her daughter's behaviour, even to the point where she pretended she didn't care when the girl would "flip out" screaming and threatening to run away, etc. Of course, she never told her daughter she didn't care, she just told herself because she said it helped her not get so in her daughter's control. It sounded really drastic to me at the time but her daughter is now 17 and they get along much better.

I think that maybe she had something that helped her get some perspective on the problems they had. She said it let her remember that not everything has to be a battle.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 10:22PM
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Reading your postings, brings back all the drama with my DD, I feel for you...because I know what its like for you.

I used to "fall apart" too when my daughter was in one of her tirades and I remember feeling helpless, and would panic (on the inside).

You just want to do your best, you wonder what YOU are doing wrong to have this child that is so "horrible". Said in jest!

I think you did the right thing, with your latest battle. Set the standard..."we dont talk like that in this house" reinforce it..the message will get through.

Perhaps you could use some counselling, it might help you get a plan in action, and see her in a different perspective.

All the best to you my friend.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 2:36AM
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You do realize she and her brother are going to fight...and you are not going to be able to stop that. I like the reminder you gave her ....we don't talk like that. Maybe a reminder...I didn't say you couldn't fight, I just said you couldn't talk like that. (Then watch for the shocked look on her will be priceless!!!)'ve given her permission to fight, she will not know what to say at first. It will PROBABLY also not direct the fight at you, which is what happened this time. She felt you were telling her she couldn't fight, she didn't hear (or understand) that it was HOW she was fighting you didn't allow/want.

And I think you are right, she's found how to push your button, I get rude, mom and Dad get upset, I WIN. So you're also right to "act like it doesn't bother you", or act like it doesn't bother you like it does. We don't use that language in this house. These were the times my kids found I don't yell, and I got really quite, I actually would lower my voice to a whisper. Yes when mom isn't yelling it is time to worry they know now. She will talk quiter and it means she is really mad. I learned that when they were teenagers. The reaction worked on them. I calmed down, no screaming, a calm mom who said things like "You WILL NOT talk to me like that" was for some reason listened to. They didn't get to raise their voice more. Maybe your DD will be like them. (believe me it's not that I didn't still have my yelling times). What you're finding is that what worked when she was 5 doesn't work at 13. ALSO remember her "job" at this age is to test you. She is finding out that you do love her unconditionally. SHe is finding out who she is. Where she stands. And my whole idea...if she didn't act like'd want her to stay home FOREVER instead of looking forward to the day she will finally move out and live on her own.



    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:07AM
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Aint nature wonderful, our children put us through torture for years on end, and then we begin to think "when are they going to move out" and when they actually do, its so peaceful and you can put your life back together. And I mean YOUR life.

I think all this yelling and disrespectful behaviour is the child feeling very insecure about whether she is loved. I know that was the case with my daughter. She used to say that we loved her brother more than her...this was rather confronting, but the reality was, and still is, he is easier to get along with.

Or could it be she felt angry and that everyone hated her, so she yelled and had a tantrum....and naturally she would then look for someone to blame.

BLAME has a lot to answer for.

You need to be a psychologist to be a parent, why didnt anyone tell me this !

Popi's pondering.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 6:11PM
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Popi, if ONLY things settled down to peace when they move out. Some of the most frightening, difficult and heart wrenching times with my children have been SINCE they moved out. Motherhood...well, parenthood...just doesn't end. I'm quite sure that as long as I have two brain cells to rub together and any degree of consciousness whatsoever, I'll be worrying about my children and trying to find some way to better understand them.

Just about the only thing I can say about that milestone (moving out) is that the rules change somewhat. To oversimplify, a parent can no longer use those old standards: "Not as long as you are under MY roof!" or "My house, my rules!" The emotional investment, the concern, the worry, the commitment...those don't seem to change at all.

As for the reason for the disrespect and conflict...some of it is very likely insecurity as you say. Part of it is probably quite reasonable reaction to a parent's lack of reason. And a lot of it is the normal "business" of childhood - becoming an independent, individual grown up. When our babies are born they are still almost a physical part of us. They grow and become more and more able to "leave" us - as they should - first at a crawl and later toddling, walking, and running. They move from our complete physical control to "voice control" as I called it (off the changing table and into the playground) and eventually beyond our supervision for longer and longer periods each day (school, for example). And there is a psychological version of this as well. Very young children identify so closely with parents. They see them as all-powerful, all-wise, unflawed. But as the child grows, self awareness develops. The child begins to realize that they are NOT the same as the parent (think about the toddler's overuse of the word "NO") and gradually they begin to test out, try on, new opinions and ideas that they encounter as their experiences reach beyond the parent/child relationship. They MUST develop their own point of view, which involves a process of separation from the parent that is, to one extent or another, painful to all involved. It isn't easy and is often painful but it is necessary if the child is to become an adult. Often, I think, that pain - fear of loss of control on the parents' side and fear of the unknown on the child's side - translates into aggressive, angry confrontation. It's a delicate balance for the child to demand independence but still require reassurance and support and it's equally difficult for the parent to encourage growth and independence in the child while feeling responsibility for that child's safety and welfare.

No wonder we find ourselves yelling!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 9:24AM
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thank god for this website.i was in the midst of a "war" with my 14 yr old daughter "B" and was about to call the authorities because she would not back down. All because I told her she could not use the computer as a consequence for her not picking up clothing that was left in every room that she walked in! She called me a "b****" and when I let her know that I heard her and therefore she would have no computer for a week; she went off;slammed her door as she went into her room cursing. I cried and went on line and found this wonderful page of examples of parent all over the world dealing with similar issues. She started being horrible at the age of 11 and it has become worst.
Ilove her and want her to be respectful because she is going to ruin her life. No she doesn't stay out or cut school; she is just horrible to me. we are in counseling.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 9:43AM
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Congrats for going to counseling. Many parents won't ask for help and things escalate. Door slamming was a big thing for me. I hated it and wanted to remove the door, Hubby wouldn't remove them. That was a BIG thing for us, son was the door slammer, NOT the girls (strange huh, it's usually the other way around). Depending on how you feel about slamming doors, one big way to stop it is to REMOVE THE DOOR for a week. I have a friend who has done this, stopped the problem Good luck though, and I'm glad you're getting professional help!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 10:00AM
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I can hardly beleive; after the "war" she is actually cleaning her room. Now the trick is to acknowledge her efforts and not go overboard with wanting to reward her with the world for doing something she is supposed to do.
It's funny, everytime I think I have finally figured out how to handle something, something new surfaces. Oh well such is life.
Speaking of which, I also have to begin to take mine back. Loving and nurturing my only daughter as a single parent without any family support has been rough but I am getting through, slowly but surely. Need to begin to do things for "me". Must find little inexpensive things that will make me feel like i am taking care of me. I don't date or socialize much because I don't like to leave my daughter alone on evenings and don't want to put her in harms way.
kAny suggestions? I do go to church; live in an apartment without a garden. Need to purchase even a small house plant to put some of the beauty bak into our lives. Oh, but my daughter has astma and I need a plant that won't be rough on her. Thanks vickey for words of enouragement

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 10:40AM
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I am glad you are posting, I think this forum could really help you, with tossing ideas around, with all us wise and wonderful people !!

House plant is a lovely idea to add some beauty to your home. I bought one on Saturday, from a market, it cost $20 and is a Kentia palm. It is huge, and it has made such a difference to the house. I live in a warm part of the world.

I think you could get a plant that doesnt flower, perhaps you could put a posting in the garden forums.

You have done a wonderful job with your daughter, as a single parent. Learn all you can, about how to deal with her and you will be fine.

I am glad to hear she is cleaning her room.

All the best to you and your DD.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 2:09AM
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