11 year old who is constantly talking rude and smart mouth all the time, what do I do?

Danyel - posted on 05/26/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I have this 11 year old step-daughter, who is constantly talking back, has a smart mouth on her and is rude to everyone, (her siblings) included. I am out of ideas to punish her and she is just no getting the concept of being a part of the family (of 7). She is already grounded for her grades slipping, so there is nothing left to do with her, considering she does not care about her self and anyone. Please help!!

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Brandy - posted on 05/27/2010

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I too have a boy almost 12 and going thru the same issue. It sounds crazy, but I have a list of 3 rules all over the house. My three rules are Must be respectful at all times, No lying, and Do your best in school. If he breaks one of these rules ( back talking ect) I make him read it outloud, tell me which rule he broke, and come up with three solutions on how to handle the situation differently the next time. That is the first correction if he has a second infraction of the same rule, he must write that rule 50 times and gets a privilege taken away for a day (like going swimming at the YMCA) It seems to work well. I also remind him often that we are a family and need to work together like a team, at we all have our part and must all pull our own weight in order to be a good team and accomplish things. I have a strict structured schedule in my home. We are a family of four, myself, my husband, a three year old boy, and a almost 12 year old boy...(and two in-laws at resent) so if one of us does not do our part, things get pretty chaotic! good luck.. and remember that this will pass and though it may take a while, eventually your child will realize that you are not just a mom, but a person as well... remember when we found out that we did not know everything and maybe even thanked our parents for correcting us? It will come around so hang tight!

Heather - posted on 05/30/2010

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My daughter is the same way, I have tried complimenting her on when she is nice and decent( kinda like the potty dance for potty training) but I try my best not to respond to her when she is rude. Also, I try to tell her, I really don't like how she is speaking to me, and tha it upsets me, sometimes that works. Also, explain to her that friends don't like snotty friends, and if she acts like this that her friends will see it, and it won't look good. Good Luck!!

Maria - posted on 06/05/2010

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wow, you certainly do have your hands full. i've read all the comments from the other moms and they all give good advice. my concern though is some of things said about the birth mother.

you say your stepdaughter's mother moved out of state without saying goodbye to her daughter, that she's a deadbeat and that this little girl should "get over it". i'm placing myself in the mind of an 11 year old girl that has been pretty much abandoned (in her mind) by her own mother. how could anyone possibly expect an 11 year old to get over it without trying to get her into some form of counseling.

she's acting out because she feels like she's been let down by the woman who gave her life. what does her father have to say about all this? is it possible, without your knowledge, that she may have heard you refer to her mother as a deadbeat? my husband called my mother a b***h and i got all over him like a bad rash and told him in so many words that he wasn't allowed to say things like that about my mother in front of me, that's MY mother, not his.

obviously the punishments aren't working or her behavior would have changed. my husband and i never believed that children should have tv's, video games, etc. in their bedrooms anyway. as far as i'm concerned bedrooms are for sleeping, quiet time and punishment. i would seriously look into getting your stepdaughter into some kind of counseling or possibly a big sister program. the smart mouth attitude could also be, if she hasn't already started, the beginning of puberty.

my girls are 16 and 17 now but when they started hitting puberty, my husband and i wanted to kill them (not literally). even though her mother has been out of the picture for years, it's still difficult for a child to accept the fact that her mother didn't care enough to say goodbye to her. my brother's daughter is the same way and just like your stepdaughter, her mother really has no contact with her. my mother actually enrolled my niece in the big sister program and she seems to be doing better.

try to find out what your stepdaughter does like to do and perhaps you can find an activity that both of you can do together like maybe a craft class or something. in any case, she's too young to not do anything. she's lashing out for a reason and you need to find out what that reason is before it gets worse.

good luck, my prayers are with you.

Valerie - posted on 06/04/2010

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I have a 1, 4, 8, and 11 yr old. My eleven yr old is going through serious moods that I do not want to rub off on the others. My husband and I have a strike system, only with him. The others still work well with reward charts that they pick what they are working towards earning. The strike system is easy. If I say "strike one", he knows he is behaving in a way that is unexceptable. If he gets to "strike three" then he immediately has to drop everything and do a chore of my choice. Sometimes it's easy and quick other times its all the bathrooms in the house. He knows he cannot move on to anything else until the chore is finished. Strikes do not carry past 1 hr. (you really dont have to keep track. Usually its all in the moment and then either gone or strike three pretty quick) One time and only one time did he get strike 3, three times in a single "session". And yes he did three chores and did not complain at all. He still gets three strikes but never twice in one "session". Good luck it seems we will all need it during these years.

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April - posted on 05/20/2014

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I am in your same shoes and I don't know what to do. My 11 year old boy is so mean to his 9 year old brother. HELP!!! BTW, how do you read all the comments?

Summer Elizabeth - posted on 02/06/2014

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Hi there I am new here so please forgive me . I qm a mother of 7 different ones and all different ages and me and my hisband Eric have tried to teach our kids the most important things in life but this afternoon my oldest daughter started to back talked us me and her father nd she also started cussing . We told her o watch her mother and she started to be really rude. I eont know what else to do and me and my husband have agreed that if we have to raisea hand then we will and i dont know what to do please if anyone has any ideas please email and or responed here thank you so much.

Liz - posted on 10/15/2012

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i have the same problem with my 11 year old,not sure what else to do,its getting worse,please someone any advise for me,im a single mom shes the youngest she pretty much get whats she wants,maybe thats the problem

Valerie - posted on 06/05/2010

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Yes, we do this also. It is a great feeling of responsability for them and we as parents benefit from the help.

Christina - posted on 06/04/2010

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First, it is an age thing. They're starting to feel less like a kid and more like an independent person. Second, I don't think that rewards are a good idea to promote good behavior. It is bribery which will nearly always backfire. You have to work on respect. If your kids respect you, they won't behave that way towards you or others. I use threats of punishment for bad behavior. If you don't do this... you will get this punishment. There is none of the "if you do this I'll give you this" stuff at my house. My kids are rewarded spontaneously. I sent my 13 year old son to the market yesterday with $5 and instructions to buy 2 loaves of bread. He went and returned and gave me the receipt and change. I handed the $2 change back to him and said "Thank you for doing that while I was busy fixing the sprinklers in the yard." He didn't expect me to pay him for running the errand. He didn't ask me for it. He earned it and he respects me.

Terri - posted on 06/03/2010

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I agree with a lot of the suggestions about disciplining her - I will even try a few of them myself. I have a 9 year old who is acting this way - but what I hear a lot from her is that her dad loves his new girlfriend more that her. She also believes that he favors the girlfriends daughter over her (we have been divorced about a year now.) In my daughter's case and possibly your step-daughter, make sure that she Knows that she is loved. I realize that my daughter is jealous and hurt. She is very clingy and hugging me lately, more so than usual. She may feel that with her real mom being gone that she is insignifigant and no one really loves her or that she doesn't deserve to be loved. Regarless of whether it is true or not - what does she believe? I am not trying to make excuses for her behavior, but perhaps get to the heart of the matter.

Correnna - posted on 06/03/2010

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I also have a 12 yr daughter who is acting up bad. WE have tried everything. I'm at my wits end and so is my partner. We have tried punishing bad behavior and rewarding good, taking everything away, moving her from downstairs to upstairs by us, work work work and counselling nothing seems to be getting through. I know she's had a really shitty 2 yrs with the rejection of my ex husband and a very nasty divorce. She's a great kid just headed down a bad road and my partner and i just don't know what to do anymore. Her bad attituded, smart mouth and defiance of us is breaking our family apart piece by piece. Now my 10yr son has decide to start the same behaviors ,of your not my dad and i don't have to listen, and you always take his side .Any advice would be welcomed

Raven - posted on 05/31/2010

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my partner has brought up 2 step kids a few yrs ago both a boy and girl and he said that he used a method that worked a treat, however it may not be everyones idea of punishment...each time his step kids used a swear word he would sprinkle chilli powder on their tongues and would not let them have a drink for half an hr, and he would also make them stay sitting in a chair till that time was up so as he could keep an eye on them. it apparently worked a treat.

Miki - posted on 05/30/2010

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I have one of those that don't care attitudes. She is now 17 but we started having problems with her at the age of 9. We went thru he grades and the rebelllion and the smart mouth. We grounded her from everything we could think of. Stripped her room, took all her priviledges, anything we could think of. One weekend I took my youngest and we went to my mom's for the weekend. After that she seemed to straighten up some. Over the years I have had to reallly look at her life and see what matters to her most. Recently she needed an "attitude adjustment" as I like to call them. We found out taking her cellphone and keeping her from her boyfriend works really well.

Beth - posted on 05/29/2010

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My daughter is 13 years old and we have almost the exact same situation... except my husband is the step-parent & her dad is a part of her life (although he does live in another state). However, her dad has much different ideas about dealing with her, but that is mainly because he is never with her for more than a couple of weeks at a time. But we have also run out of ideas on how to change her behavior, so last week we sent her to live with her dad for a while. Hopefully she will see how much better off she is here. Her dad is a nice guy, but a bachelor and is totally about himself. Here she has a sister and two brothers with another on the way, so my life is geared toward my kids. We shall see if this tactic works, but not sure what else to do.
Just wanted you to know you are NOT ALONE in this! If you do find something that works let us all know!

Justina - posted on 05/29/2010

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Her grades are falling and she already has nothing, she's creating a barricade of words to protect herself. Yes there needs to be a consequence, however I'm betting that this is coming out of hurt and self-preservation. She will pretend she doesn't care to get the stuff back... if you keep the 'stuff' away too long, it will no longer work. Does she care if she's hurt you? How is your relationship? I know with my children, and they are not step so it might not work, but with my children sometimes it's best to be honest about what they've done to my feelings.

GLORIA - posted on 05/29/2010

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I also have a smart mouthed 11 year old. This started about one and a half year ago. I was told it was normal and all children go through this. What I do is take away his favorite things like his video games, toys and tv. The only thing he can do is read books and he has to retell what the story was about in his own words when we discuss the book. If the freshness continues I add on one week at a time. One time he started out with one week and ended up with 2 and a half months before he decided to straighten up.

Helen - posted on 05/29/2010

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ah thats a nitemare went through the same thing with my 15 yrs wen he was that age how we didnt kill each other i dont know lol took awfull lot of give and take on both sides and lots of tears as well , i punished him by taking everything out of his bedroom except for the bed a few books and he had to earn his xbox ,tv etc back as i sais to him those are privliges that you have , try video her secrelty when she rude and mouthy and then play it back to her ,i dont think they relise how hurtfull they can be and it might just shock her into behaving , incentives i foung wer good as well say if she got her grades up you could mabye buy her something that she really wants good luck n let me know hoe you get on .

Annemarie - posted on 05/28/2010

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I think it is often easier for us to see all the negative things that our children do because they tend to be so disruptive and drive us around the bend. I think there are many great ideas people have shared. I believe it can also work wonders for a child if you surprise them by recognizing even the smallest of positive steps they may be making in thier day. Hopefully your step-daughter will come to recognize that you understand how sad she is feeling about loosing her mom, and that the rest of family are still here and that she is a wanted and valued person dispite how she maybe acting at this moment. Does she have anyone that she is really connecting with, someone she can work out her obvious frustration with?

Kim - posted on 05/28/2010

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I have 3 teenage boys and 1 pre-teen. Is your husband involved? Boys respond much better to a strong male presence. Whatever you say you are going to do, you need to follow through with it. Don't make a threat and then not follow through. I take away the things they love...TV, phone, etc. But you have to let them know you mean business and you will not tolerate them being rude to you. By the time they are 11, it is hard if you have not already set that standard. But you can still do it. It is just a lot harder. They are very difficult to reason with, but the idea of letting them know how it hurts you is a possibility, but if they don't care it can backfire.

Danyel - posted on 05/28/2010

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I like your advice. That is what I have found myself doing. When ever she is nasty to myself or her siblings, I tend to just ignore her. At first at thought that I was being mean, considering that I am the step-mom. But, I have noticed that it bothers her a little. However, as far as taking away her things. We have already done that, due to her grades slipping. So, she already had nothing and you think that she would straighten up in order to get all of her belongings back. I know that it is hard for her to except the fact that her mom had moved to another state w/o sayen by.. but, dad has full custody so.. she needs to get over it, not tryen to be mean but her mom has been out of the picture for years. I just don't understand, I just wish that she would snap out of it and be a part of the family.

Christina - posted on 05/28/2010

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Boy do I undersdtand the desire to just punish her and create consequences, and I certainly believe in logical consequences for actions. That's what we have always done - (example: if you don't give me all your dirty school clothes in time to wash them then you won't have clean clothes and will have to go to school in something dirty - a logical consquence makes them be more on time with laundry, believe me!) I found this especially true with my 13 y.o. son who wants to look, smell good and be "popular"

So what to do with talking back? There doesn't seem to be a logical consquence however, in my mind when someone is rude to me I withdraw my attention or friendship. I withdraw the relationship. If she finds that the family around her is not responding it may make her think. Believe it or not they really DO want your company and good graces and approval. If you just don't engage they begin to realize you're not playing the "game." The other consequence I've used for this is to remove whatever special privileges they absolutely love. For my son it's electronics and video games - all of them, including TV. The more the back-talk the longer the removal of the electronics. It works for us. Hope that helps

Danyel - posted on 05/28/2010

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Thanks! I appreciate your advice and I will try that, because she hate sentence writing. I had to do that when she lied about something. So.. we'll see.

Eve - posted on 05/27/2010

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I make my children write EVERY time they pull the I don't have to do anything attitude, sometimes I dictate certain sentances to be written - " The worst kind of idiot, is an idiot by choice"
( usually 25 - 50xs depending on the age ) or sometimes I require a certain amount to be written and then given as a speech to the offended person - 1 page front and back no double spacing pertaining to the subject. I have found that this punishment works wonders - even for our teen! Best of luck I've had this problem & cured it - it does rear it ugly head ( or mouth) from time to time but - a few pages later & I don't get near the lip. Best of Luck

Danyel - posted on 05/27/2010

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Thats how she is. I try that, I'll say Natalie stop, and then she will give a dumb look like what.. But, I just pray that she will straighten out, before she gets worse with her attitude. She is only 11, I can't wait to see what she is going to be like when she is 16 lol

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2010

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You know when shes about to spit out something stupid (they have that look in thier eyes and always start with a snotty word) cut her off fast and short. I do this also, when I know my daughter is about to say something that isnt acceptible, I will say her name, and cut her off, and suggest she rethink what shes about to say. For my daughter it isnt always about what she says but how she says it.

Danyel - posted on 05/27/2010

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That's what she is doing now.. plenty of chores.. I keep her busy.. but she always has something to say..

Danyel - posted on 05/27/2010

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Ya, that is what we have done, she has already nothing in her room. No t.v. no snacks, like junk food after dinner, and she has to do all the chores. So, you think with all that punishment that she would want to get better. but, her mom has moved on her again, but she is old enough to get over it, plus her mom is a deadbeat, so.. i just wish that she would get with the program and get over her little attitude. Considering that she is not winning. She even had her b/d party canceled due to attitude and not listening to me, and still doesn't get it to be better with the mouth.. I am out of ideas. ya know

Amanda - posted on 05/26/2010

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Housework a lot of housework, I also have a smart mouth 12 year old, and I find when i keep her butt busy with housework, she doesnt have time to mouth off to me or her siblings. And shockingly when shes done the house work, shes more then happy to rejoin the family with a good tude.



Her normal chores are dishs (we have a dishwasher) and keep her room clean, if she mouths off, I magicly find a floor that needs to be washed, or laundry that needs done, vaccuming that also needs done.

Danyel - posted on 05/26/2010

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Ya, we have tried that, her father and I, but she is at the point where she does not care.. and we are out of ideas.

Heather - posted on 05/26/2010

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H ave you tried time out or a reward system with her cause i have one of those smart mouthed kids but he is only6

Kathlene - posted on 05/26/2010

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oh my...i have the same problem...what i do is tell him how it makes me feel when he acts this way...usually he straightens up...but sometimes its just no use...lol help me with this too please!

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