thread: tricky time with 12 year old daughter

  1. #1
    *Yvette* Guest

    tricky time with 12 year old daughter

    Hi, this is my first attempt at starting a new topic. Sorry it will be a bit long.

    My eldest daughter has just started high school this year. I divorced her father when she was 1 and she spends every 2nd weekend and some holiday time with him. She goes to ballet & jazz 2 nights a week (one class of each), and does Cello at school. She seems to make friends easily, does well at school and generally is a good kid and no major worries.

    What I'm trying to deal with at the moment though, is an increasing tendency to treat us like servants, speak to us disrespectfully, answering back, arguing, complaining, lying (about trivial things), being mean to her little sister, not accepting responsibility for basic things etc.

    For example, her bedtime is 9pm, and tv/computer/radio off at 8.30. She is supposed to just read quietly in bed til lights out at 9. If I don't go and check, she will stay on MSN (has computer in room) til after 9, then when I catch her & remind her of the rules, I get an earful of whiney "I didn't know what time it was, I didn't do anything wrong, why do you hate me....."

    Her only chore is to empty the dishwasher in the morning and keep her room tidy, but I have to keep reminding her, and she complains. Last night I asked her to take some bottles out to the recycling, and she 'forgot', like she often will when asked to do something.

    She had keyboard lessons at primary school, and was asked if she'd like to have private music lessons at high school too as they were available. We spoke about it, I explained it was a commitment because we had to budget/pay for it, we went to the info evening, we spoke to the music co-ordinator about choosing an instument etc. She chose Cello. I drive her and pick her up when she has the Cello. The other day she said she wanted to give it up and was unaware it was optional and not compulsory. I was furious, and reminded her of our agreement that it was entirely her choice, but she was now committed to it for the year. Last night she brought it home and was proudly showing us what she'd just learned.

    She often complains about walking (about 3 blocks) to school and says it's not fair that I won't drive her and her bag is too heavy. I've driven to her friends houses and seen how far they have to walk!

    She loves her little sister and they do enjoy being together, but sometimes she just picks on her for no reason, making fun of every mispronounced word, butting in if she sees Ruth getting any attention. Also, she reacted badly when we announced my latest pregnancy, although she adores our baby boy.

    I just seem to be approaching the issue the wrong way or something. I've sat down and had talks with her about how I deserve to be treated with respect. Maybe it's just an awkward age of being very inwardly focussed or something. She's a lovely kid really, I just can't stand her sometimes!! And the thought of her one day getting really mad at me and demanding to go live with her father scares the hell out of me (was just reading Jackie's story of daughter's school friend). She's only 12!! I'm sure I wasn't impossible and rude until I was 14, lol.

    Any advice?

  2. #2

    Mar 2004

    oh dear, it sounds like your little girl is becoming a teenager. If you find the solution to adolescant insanity you will get a nobel prize.
    I remember when I was a teenager how frustrating it was to still be treated like a child when I felt I wasn't. Maybe you can try to find a way to renegotiate some boundries in a way that acknowledges that she is growing up but is still satisfactory to you.
    ie her bedtime could go back to 9.30 or 10 (maybe you can think of another couple of privledges) but if she can't show maturity by respecting you and her siblings and doing her chores without complaining then you will put it back to 9 (or can the other privledges).
    In terms of keeping her room tidy I was watching Dr Phil yesterday (daytime tv, how embarresing!!) and he suggested that if kids won't tidy thier room you tell them that you will be inspecting it at a certain time (1 hr away, 9am every morning) and anything that is not in the right place is yours and will be donated to charity or confiscated for a week or two.
    Dr Phil yesterday was all about bad kids and he had heaps of tips. Maybe you could check his site for ideas.

  3. #3
    *Yvette* Guest

    Daytime telly dachlostar? I’ll remember that as I keep an eye on your TV thread, lol. Dr Phil’s idea sounds good, but I don’t think I could follow through re confiscating items even temporarily.

    I did however confiscate DDs computer monitor! She might get it back next Wednesday if she’s good. She also spent half the day yesterday doing chores around the house, cleaning the bathroom, a bit of weeding, tidying up Angus’ toys etc (I made her, not her own initiative). Things are looking better at the moment. It’s like she sees being punished as a good thing, getting attention. She seems calmer or something.

    They both went without TV for a couple of days too, as I stuck to our rule that it doesn’t go on until their rooms are tidy. Persistence and consistency I keep telling myself. I think our rules are ok, just got to stick to them.

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005
    Carrum Downs VIC

    Hi Yvette,
    You are not doing anything wrong!
    We are both in the same boat - I divorced their dad 11 years ago!
    My eldest daughter (14) does the same . I think its part of growing up and testing the waters and boundaries.
    My 12 yo has not done it to me yet but I am waiting for it.

    MSN - I hate it! I refuse to let them have internet access in their rooms cos I dont have control of what they do when they 'go to sleep'. I have it in the front room opposite my bedroom - so when Isay get off - they get off and cant get back on with out my knowledge.
    Sarah(14) loves her little sis Emily (12) but they do have theie little tiffs - but at the end of the day if one of them is in trouble they are always there for each other.
    Yes they do think we are slaves to them .............................I think that nothing you are going to say is going to change that thought. I have also tried talking to Sarah but it goes in one ear and out the other. Sarah also loves her little brother Kayne but everything else is a priority, where as Emily lives her life for him and youcan tell the difference in his behaviour to both of them.
    Sarah does not go to her dads anymore - her choice after an argument they had over 1 year ago. This has caused Emily to feel sorry for him and she now spends a week with him and a week with us. THis is hard on us all. You should see Kaynes face when he picks Em up - it breaks my heart, kaynes heart and also Em's .

    Just keep doing what you are doing - it sounds good to me.
    This is a trying to time for everyone and as long as you can still communicate with her - you are doing good.
    Thats what I find is great about Sarah - she talks to me and is honest and thats really important.

    Sorry I rambled on and am all over the place. Just typing what I think when the thought hits me! #-o .

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    *Yvette* Guest

    Thanks Marisa, words from the heart indeed. Yes, if at 14 Sarah trusts you and can talk to you easily and honestly, you must be doing something right. I feel for you very much with the week on week off thing. It would break my heart too. Your Emily sounds like she’s very sensitive to the feelings of others, yet she feels she needs to look out for her dad even when it’s hurting you, her, and your family. I always worry about the possibility of subtle manipulation from the fathers (I have 2 ex-husbands), and it’s Ruth’s dad who’s more likely to press for equal residency in the future. He’s taken me to court 5 times already to increase his contact bit by agonizing bit. But that’s a whole other sob story, lol. I’m a bit of a rambler myself.

    Computer in a main room is a good idea, but we’re all computer hogs here. DH & I have our own, and Lola, and Ruth has an old one (not online) too. If she persists breaking the rules maybe I can rig it to turn itself off at 8.30 or something. She’s trying to be good at the moment hoping she’ll get it back tomorrow.

    It’s nice that you have kids are the same age as mine. Don’t forget the baby buddies group. I thought it had gone quiet as no emails, but it got to 10 pages & they started again. Had to read for ages to catch up. I’ve been getting sympathy there for wriggly nappy changes and cleaning rock hard weet bix. BTW what does the L mean after DH in your signature? (Dear husband, latest? Lol). Does your stepson live with you or visit? How does he get on with the girls? Sorry, I’m a natural born sticky beak.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005
    Carrum Downs VIC

    Hi Yvette,
    Well the (L) should have been a love heart Emoticons - when you do that in MSN it brings up a heart - but not on this. Must change that!.
    My stepson stays with us 6 days a fortnight. But usually we have him more as his mum likes to have a few drinks often and is always on the prowl for a new man - so we end up with him cos her nights out are more important. He is a sweet boy but really does not have any respect for me or anyone else in the house. He is an only child on the other side and always gets his way with his mum and cannot handle the fact that we dont allow that here. He has raised his hand to his mum and I am really scared that one day he will try that here and it worries me on how I will react to that. Lets just hope [-o< that it never happens.
    Emily is very sensitive to peoples feelings and you are right when you say that she puts other peoples feeling first. But there is nothing I can do about it - unless she says that she does not want to do it anymore.
    Yeah it is great that our kids are about the same age - its good to compare notes.
    Better keep working - got a deadline for tomorrow and the kids are asking whats for tea 8-[

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2005
    NSW/VIC Border

    hi there

    i have an 11yr old that sounds just like that

  8. #8
    Jackie Guest

    Teenagers - aren't they great

    My DD is nearly 15, she has set chores for which she gets paid and has to budget as most things she wants (not needs) she has to pay for, but she still "forgets" to do her chores, I dock her pocket money...

    Being scared that one day she will want to live with her dad is always in the back of my mind to, she hasn't spoken to or seen him in 5 years, her choice, but the thought that if she gets peed off with me enough that she might want to go there is still in my mind, thing is never let them know that that is a fear you have, just gives them amunition (sp) iykwim.

    I think that kids at this stage (12-15) and I guess some younger ones and older ones just want to test how far they can push it and want to assert themselves. I would say just stay firm and enforce your rules, you are doing nothing wrong.

    My DD and I are best friends, she will talk to me about everything and tell me most things.

    Just stick to your guns, she'll grow out of it soon enough

  9. #9
    *Yvette* Guest

    I was hoping you’d reply to this one Jackie. (the voice of things to come). Thanks for the encouragement & advice.

    We’re pretty broke, but I have occasionally given her pocket money for doing extra chores. The rule is that in order to be able to do that, she has to have already done the stuff that’s expected to be done without pocket money, ie room tidy, homework done…
    I can see regular pocket money will probably end up starting soon, but we have a few things to consider. Whatever age we start, will have to remember for the next one & so on, the amount of course, whether she’ll still have some jobs to do regardless, ie unpaid, what jobs can we think of that we can stand her doing, how will she fit them in etc…..

    Any thoughts on appropriate amount of pocket money & types & number of chores at her age? When did you start?

    Hi jlk & welcome. Tell us about your 11 year old.

    Had parent teacher night at high school last night. All OK but a bit too much gasbagging in class sometimes, & drama teacher said she needed to be more considerate of others (yes, spot on!)

  10. #10
    Jackie Guest

    Hy Yvette,

    When DD started up with the pocket money idea, i told her to make a budget, working out how much she needs (eg mobile, birthdays, shopping etc), once she had done that I made a list of jobs she would have to do and then we negotiated, her budget came to $100 a month, well of course I wasn'g going to pay her that much. She was very thorough though, listed items with cost etc.
    So we negotiated, and agreed to $70 a month, for this she has to do the dishes (wash, dry and pack away) twice a week, keep the kitchen benches, table etc clean, sweep the kitchen, empty the bins, help with the washing, feed the dog every 3rd night and cook dinner twice a week. If she doesn't do her jobs, her pocket money is docked. It works pretty well.
    Originally, when she was about 12 or so, it was just putting the dishes away, and vacuuming DD got $5 a week.
    We've also got the gasbagging problem, she used to be a really quiet kid, but has come out of her shell, which is great, except that last year was her worst report ever. She has really worked hard this first term to make sure that her report wont be bad again, she hated the idea that she had a D, let's hope that she keeps that attitude.

  11. #11
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    My 12 yr old is the same atm. Ask her to do the dishes and the drama and eye rolling is amazing. I got really sick of it last week - she chucked a huge nana, and so sat her down and did the whole privelege/responsibility talk. I stated very clearly the chores she was expected to do, and if not done no pocket money, teely/computer time etc. BUT, if all done at the end of the week, she can certainly have a sleepover, movie etc. It is up to her. She has so far taken this right on board as I think she feels she has a little more control. We did this a' la Dr Phil, god love him.

    The only prob now is her amazing temper, bloody hell!! we are in for it. Dad (psychologist) says the hormones are raging thro her right now and she can't help getting so mad. I had a talk to her about this. What am I suppossed to do when she gets SO irrational??, DD says to just ignore her and I have a deal with her that I will do just that, but she can't storm around dropping nasty comments under her breath. It has worked once so far, fingers crossed. this temper doesn't come out very regularly but it affects the whole house (even the dogs!).

    My father was also quick to point out what a horrible teenager I was, heard something along the lines of "chickens coming home to roost" before I put the fone down. I'm sure he was giggling...........

  12. #12
    *Yvette* Guest

    Thanks Jackie, we might start pocket money shortly $5 per week, & extra chores for it. Her dad has given her a pre-paid phone & topped it up once, she’s used $20 in 2 months, so we could get her to budget the phone top ups out of her pocket money, get into good habits. Sounds pretty stingy perhaps, but we’re pensioners, & gotta leave room to go up.

    I do get comments coming back from her father about the child support he pays, which is hard to deal with. He seems to make little remarks that come back through her sometimes & I don’t like feeling we’re being expected to justify our budget. I guess that’s a whole other subject though (goes off to start a separated families/child support/contact arrangements thread, lol).

    Lol Lulu at the drama & eye rolling. Another Dr Phil fan eh. Yes the temper is shocking, & so hard not to react with a tantrum of my own sometimes. I know I was a horrible teenager too, but hey, my parents were way more messed up than me, lol.

    She got her computer screen back, & has been a little better. Yesterday though she was giving her sister grief, & after listening carefully & untangling the story, made her clean her sister’s room as an alternative to having computer removed again. Seemed to work a treat.

    Went to the library today, & picked up some parenting books. DD was looking over my shoulder – “these are about me, aren’t they”. Yes, the whole world revolves around her at the moment, lol.

    Yesterday DH let her buy Girlfriend magazine, - all about boys & A-Z of words about sex. Today she wants to shave her legs………….arrrrrgh!

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    LOL at the Girlfriend Mag Yvette. We were at the supermarket the other day and Jordan wanted that mag. I scanned the front and then opened to the sealed section to show Arron, and when he saw it was about sex he agreed that it wasn't appropriate for outr 10yo. She had a carryon in the supermarket check out line. Then she picked up the barbie mag, I tried to convince her it was crap as she had to use her own money to buy it, but she wanted it. She then tried to convince josh to buy a mag, but I talked him out of it.

    At what age are your girls getting the talk about sexual intercourse and the like? I know she isn't ready at 10, she will be 11 in Sept and sex ed next year is more advanced than in grade 5, so I am not sure when I should go into more detail.

    Cheers Michelle

  14. #14
    Jackie Guest

    Hi Michelle

    once my DD started sex ed etc I thought it was time to tell her the basics, they hear so much at school, I wanted her to hear it rigft and not all the stuff that will be passed on from one child to another and probably be changed as it goes down the line. I told her that what I tell her at home, stays between us, as I didn't want her telling other kids and then have parents complaining.
    We only got into some of the nitty gritty stuff when she asked or came home with one of the silly stories she had heard from school.
    Sex ed here is really in depth, i have a few issues with what is being taught and some of the questions being asked by the teacher, I have an appointment to see him when school goes back. But that is a totally different story

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    Jackie it's just a mine field of what and when. I really want to be open with her and I want her to come to me to talk about stuff, seems like you have a great relationship with your dd, hope mine works out the same.

    Cheers Michelle

  16. #16
    *Yvette* Guest

    Get good at saying “no” to her now Michelle. Lola is starting to really push it & not taking no for an answer. (Just like me sometimes when I was 12).

    With sex talk, I always find I just answer questions if they ask, but not in any more detail than they ask. When Lola was 4 we got an age appropriate book about conception to explain where her little sister was coming from, I think it talked about a seed growing in a special place inside the mummy or something. I wish I could remember the book.

    When I was pg with Angus I got the standard Where Do I Come From that I remember from when I was a kid, and it still seems very good. I sat down and read it with Ruth, & Lola joined in too.

    They started telling Lola more adult stuff at school from grade 5, mostly about periods & puberty. She’s still fascinated with periods & asks all about it all the time, but is still kind of “eewww” about sex. She does the eewww thing even if she sees DH & I having a cuddle, so I think she’s just not all that curious yet, despite wanting the girlfriend magazine. She seems to come to us about every little thing she reads or sees, so I still feel like I’ll know where her head is at with it. I’m mostly concerned that I don’t want her to think of herself in a sexualised way like teenage girls tend to. I won’t let her wear mini skirts or skimpy tops, and I’ve always joked that she can’t have a boyfriend til she’s 30, but she’s mentioned it more lately (just as a way of bringing the conversation back to her, IYKWIM, & I’ve conceded maybe when she’s 18, lol. It’s scary though when she asks me when did I have a boyfriend.

    I saw your other post Jackie about the sex ed at school thing with the model, that was outrageous! I’ve heard it’s a lot different now than when we were kids, and I suppose it’s a good thing, but they’ve got to be VERY careful about how they approach it. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how it goes with you & what comes up at our school. I do think it’s a good thing if they get the idea across to girls that they’re supposed to get pleasure out of it too! I just don’t want them putting the idea into her head that she should try sex before she’s, um, 25? Is that too unrealistic?

  17. #17
    Jackie Guest

    LOL Yvette, I think 25 is reasonable

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    LOL we had dd agreeing to 28, but she is starting to try and renegotiate already I think she had Arron down to 25 too. And then last week told me she may like to have a baby when she is 17, we had a little chat about the reasons that is not a good idea! I had to laugh thugh as she said, I think I will have to have kids on my own, without a DH, I said Why and she said cos she would be too scared of Dad to have a DH! LOL her mean Father has made her think she can never be married.

    Cheers Michelle