please give me advice on my 12 year old-long

darkstarDecember 18, 2001

My daughter just turned 12. She has always been the most thoughtful considerate child. Responsible in her school work (an excellent student) and kind. Did anything I asked immediately. I have always given her room to make choices because she was always responsible. Since she has turned 12 and gone into middle school (sixth grade) she is so selfish. Not even cleaning her room when told. It is basically the only chore she has during school so she has time for band and homework etc. She get's defensive the minute I make a suggestion about anything. Says I am nagging when she hasn't done something (take her clothes out of the bathroom and to laundry room)on the third time. She has let some school work slide because she doesn't like it. For the most part her grades are still good. She isn't hanging out with new friends(or a bad group) and is definately not doing drugs etc. Just turned into a selfish brat. After giving me a hard time about cleaning her room she is asking if I can drive her some place. I am coming down harder with consequences etc. I just don't know if this is typical behaviour for this age.She did start her period in August so I am sure hormones are raging. I feel a bit shut out, we have always been so close and now she won't even tell me when I need to buy her tampons. She writes notes. everything is hidden and private. I have 2 other daughters who are 7 and 9 so I hope this isn't the way it is with 12 year olds (and up) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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My daughter will be 12 on Friday. She started 6th grade (middle school) as well. I've experienced a lot of what you're talking about.

I waited about 6 weeks to make sure it didn't pass & then there started being consequences for not doing what she was supposed to do.

Has she discovered boys?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 1:26AM
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Well, if she's been as compliant as you say up till now, you should probably count your blessings. She's got a lot in her life right now--school is getting 'different' and toughter, she's probably starting to think about boys in a different manner, she's trying to get a handle on how she feels about becoming a woman when most of the time she feels like a little girl.... all complicated by those hormones.

I know this doesn't sound helpful when you're in the middle of all that, but remember that acting the way she is -- is part of discovering that she's an individual, not just an extension of you. It's part of the process she needs to go through to become an independent adult (and it's pretty hard on the adults around her--I know, have been there). You do still have to set the limits that are there for her own good--part of what she's doing is testing her limits, checking to see that if she's absolutely horrible, will you still love her? You might want to set up the rules to have reasonable consequences--if she's going to ask for a ride to something, the room had better be at least moderately presentable--if that's important to you. I personally decided that it was DD's space, that I didn't want her trashing the house, but if her room looked like the aftermath of a tornado and she was happy living in it, I could close the door and forget it.

Hang in there--it takes a while, but it does get better, I promise. Mine is 20, and we've both survived those turbulent teen years. She's turned into a lovely, responsible young lady who I've even heard giving good 'parental'-sounding advice to friends--they really do listen so don't stop talking even if it seems as if you're talking 'at' her rather than with her at times.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 9:06AM
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If she is communicating by notes, perhaps you could do the same. Maybe you could have a journal just for the two of you to write about your thoughts and feelings, or just leave notes on her pillow. Sometimes it's easier for preteens to sort out their feelings when it's written on paper. You can write how she's affecting the household with her new actions, and remind her that she is loved.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 10:03AM
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She had a nice stable biological system internally and externally. Year after year, she'd get older and grow bigger and there's usually not too much fuss or muss about it. It's nice and predictable and stable.

Then puberty begins, bit by bit. 'Hormones raging' doesn't even begin to address the magnitude of the kinds of changes. At 12, she now has this biological capacity to face pregnancy (she probably feels acutely just how young she is). Brain-wise the changing hormonal system will also affect the way she perceives things, and give her some new depths possible for her feelings and motivations. And all that is new and developing.

Privacy usually becomes way more important. Issues of autonomy/independence are going to be way more important. The thing is she can 'feel' like an adult, with sensitivities and about 'respect' even though she has no practical experience with how to have those kinds of reciprocal relationships. You can use the exact same language you did when she was 10, and she can feel horribly slighted and insulted beyond all belief now (and act that way). You're an adult and have been for a while probably so you can have the kind of internal and external stability that will enable you to view this as 'she's changed' like she should just change back (or like she could change back). ...

Puberty is individual, and people endure and experience it in all kinds of ways personal to them. It is also a time where some disorders will begin to show symptoms which can mimic normal adolescence. If you want consultation about the extent of behaviors you find troubling, or if you worry about what could be abnormal ask her doctor to recommend someone you can talk to (someone who has clinical experience with adolescents). Otherwise, the basic changes described sound normal enough and should not interfere with her or your functioning.

the upside is you can probably make more headway now, by applying adult empathy (if you were acting how she acts, were feeling how it seems she must feel, what kinds of things could a mother do for you to help?)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 11:34AM
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Sounds like you're having the same hard time as me, I just posted about my 12 year son a couple of days ago! Next few years are going to be tough.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 7:06PM
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I haven't had children yet, but I often look back at the relationship between my mother and I and wonder why I was as awful as I was!
We have a wonderful, close relationship now (ever since I was out of high school), and I am so thankful for that.
My mother was so patient through those pre-teen and teenage years, when I all I wanted to do was talk on the phone, write notes, and get as far away from my parents as possible! I never asked my mom to drive me anywhere because I was too embarassed!
Through it all, my mom was patient and loving, but didn't push too hard. As long as she knew I wasn't getting into trouble or letting my grades fall, she left me alone. (Let me clarify that i didn't do anything terrible or immoral, but I wasn't the nicest or most pleasant girl around -- pretty typical of teenagers. And I didn't share things with her like I used to.)
Maybe you need to just do this and hope that someday she will come around and grow out of it like I did.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2001 at 2:57PM
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My story is just like Carawood's. My DD is only a baby right now, but I remember being a horrible BRAT to my mom starting at just about age 12-13. I was a miserable son-of-a-gun for no good reason at all. Still a good student, and anyone outside the family would think I was a model child, but I was absolutely unbearable to my mom.

I grew out of it, turned back into a nice human being, and have a great relationship with my mom. Unfortunately for my mom, it did last a good couple of years. Teenage years starting at around 15 or so were better, but I wasn't great, and by 17 I was much more agreeable!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2001 at 3:42PM
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Oh 12 year old girls, gotta love em (or else you wanna just strangle them sometimes). Those hormones start running rampent. Tears for no reason, anger for less reason. But it is God's way of slowly weaning us from our children. Let's face it if they were always sweet we'd never want them to move out. This time of their lives gives us parents some times where we really want them to move out. THey then grow sweet again (about 18 at our house), but by them the thought of them moving out becomes more of a reality. Besides just think of the stories you can tell you grandchildren some day about "When your mother was that age she did...", or to your daughter when her daughter gets that age "Mother's curse has struck again".

I remember when my oldest was that age, my sister (who's daughter is 6 months younger) asked how I could stand the mouthyness, etc. Her daughter would never act like that. I was a good girl and bit my tongue (It may have bled, but I bit it). Six months almost to the day my sister walks into the house and states "I'm gonna strangle that mouth on my daughter". Again I bit my tongue, thougth it was harder this time because I was chuckling inside.

Kids, gotta love em...even when it's hard!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2001 at 4:04AM
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