How do i get my 11 year old daughter to listen to me, and do what i ask without all the attitude and back-talk!!

Leslie - posted on 06/14/2009 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My 11 year old daughter refuses to listen to me, and in fact will tell me no when i ask her to do anything!! She is very stubborn and headstrong, and will not give up easily. I am having a really hard time dealing with this new defiant attitude of her's and keeping my cool!! Any suggestion's on how i can gain back some control over my child before it's too late!!

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[deleted account]

First let me start by saying that you are definitely not alone. From what I can tell, it seems that the behavior you described is not at all uncommon for pre-teens and teenagers. One thing I find to be the most beneficial is when I start by remembering how stupid and annoying I thought my parents were when I was that age. If I can come to a place mentally where I can relate to what my daughters are feeling and try to detach from the situation just a little, it takes the sting out of it. The verbally abusive tones, aloof attitude, and generally disrespectful behavior that I experience from my daughters are not really about me. My girls love me and need me, but their developing minds are trying to gain independence from me. They don't like to think that they need someone to tell them how to live and so when they feel like they are being controlled, they rebel and act out. One of my daughters acts out by isolating or storming off or even yelling back at times. The other daughter acts out by lying about everything even when it would benefit her to tell the truth. Both of them very frequently come back with a disrespectful attitude. I don't always respond gracefully, but I have had some success in this area with my kids.

Here is what has worked the best with my kids (it's awkward at first, but gets easier with practice):

1. I do not try to have a discussion with my daughter when she is premenstrual. That is hard on both of us. (Become aware of when she is premenstrual... that will help you keep her irrational behavior in perspective. The hormonal surges are true even if she hasn't had her first period... and in my experience, my kids leveled out a lot once they started having periods.)

2. When my daughter is in a good mood (not when she is acting out) I ask her to come sit with me (sometimes even in my lap and I hold her if she is interested).

3. I tell her, "I realize that you are getting older and have different needs than when you were little. I believe that you are much more mature now and capable of having a mature discussion with me. Do you agree?" At this point she will respond one of two ways. Either she will say, "I guess." In a curious voice, wondering what I am up to, or she will just sarchastically say, "Uh, yeah."

4. Next I start by saying, "I have some concerns that I would like to share with you and would ask that you wait 24 hours before responding to my concerns unless you want to say thank you. When I am done, I will give you a chance to express any concerns you have with me. Will you agree to that?" At this point, she is curious about what I am going to say, so she always agrees to hear it. That is a key point. Even if we are the parent, it is a matter of respect to ask their permission to share our concerns. When I ask this question, I need to be willing to wait if she says she doesn't want to hear it. If she agrees, then I proceed.

5. The way you word your concern is very important. If she feels attacked or shamed, she will most likely withdraw emotionally, if not physically. I use the same format every time. Here is an example of a concern I have given my 13 year old: "Okay, I am going to start my concerns. If you want to write them down so you can remember them, it's okay with me. When you roll your eyes at me, I feel disrespected, and what I make up in my head about that is that you think I am stupid and that I deserve to be treated harshly, and what I need from you is to use your words to discuss the situation with me instead of rolling your eyes. If you are irritated at my request, please offer an alternative solution to the problem such as if you don't want to take them out because you are tired, you could offer to do it the next time for me or help with another task if I take the dogs out. Now I would like you to wait 24 hours to discuss this with me." At this point, give her the opportunity to express one concern to you and be willing to wait 24 hours to respond if she requests it. Of course, we have been practicing this for a few years and it didn't go quite as smoothly the first few times. Here is an example of the concern I received from my 13 year old 24 hours after this above example concern was given. "Mom I wanna tell you what I think about the concern you gave me and I don't want you to say anything for 24 hours. Okay? Okay, well... When you tell me to take out the dogs, I feel annoyed and irritated, and what I think in my head is that you always want me to take the dogs out and don't ever want to do it yourself and I am tired of doing it because they take forever and it's hot outside, and what I need from you is for you to take care of the dogs going outside more than you do so I don't feel like I have to do it every time. Oh yeah, and remember I want you to wait 24 hours." At this point, I am so proud that she is using her big girl words and expressing herself appropriately that I can barely keep a straight face, but i say "Thank you for sharing your concern with me."

6. We have had good experience with alternating concerns back and forth, remembering to not respond for 24 hours. This gives everyone some time to process the concern and not react in a hostile way to it.

A key point in trying this is to be prepared to hear some things you may not like. Although our kids are just kids, they often are aware of some of our behaviors that we ourselves are not aware of. They may point out things you do that you may not be pleased to hear.

Sorry the post is so long, but this truly has been a great help in my relationship with my kids. There have even been times when my kids have approached me out of the blue with a concern for me.

Joanne - posted on 10/29/2012

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i have an 11 year old daughter to who refuses to listen, says no, everything you say about your daughter is identical to mine, she gets very angry, slams doors, i just dont know what to do for the best, she takes money from the house if anybody leaves it lying around and goes to the shop and buys sweets, she wont admit shes taken it

Cecilia - posted on 07/07/2009

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in my opinion, dealing with girls at this age is much different from dealing with boys. (I have 3b 1g) now i will admit that the last time my daughter, now 15, back talked me was when she was in 7th grade. i popped her in the mouth determined to make the point that i have had enough of her disrespect. i didn't mean to make her bleed (cause her lip got caught between her teeth) but it did the trick. now looking back, i probably could have nipped it before it got to that point. consequences to their actions, you won't do this for me then i won't do that for you. try some reasoning or bargain methods, just don't loose control of the situation. she will use this against you if you are not careful. Make sure whatever threats you make as punishment are realistic. my dad used to say 'i will rip your arm off and beat you with it if you keep that up' as we got older we knew he really wasn't gonna rip our arm off, so it lost the intimidation. Keep the punishments realistic, we had to strip my son of everything but his bed and clothes once. over the month he earned his stuff back. i know its hard but keep your cool, you are the parent and you have to remain in control. good luck

Molly - posted on 08/06/2013

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Every time she talks back then you must send her to her room or take 1 of her favourite things away from her. Now this will be hard to do since there will be crying and many other emotions. If she refuses to go to her room you either pick her up or get her hand and take her too her room. Also if she comes out of her room you must send her back. Another thing you can do is have a naughty corner for when she is naughty, she must stay in her room or naughty corner for 11 minutes, hopefully she will realise what she had done and apologise. If you carry on with this it should get better. This should work for anything a child has done wrong though. If your daughter says a bad word just like younger ones would do you simply say NO not too loud but so she understands you, then if she says it again then you tell her in a louder voice never do that again. If she still carries on then do one of the things above, room, corner for 11 mins or take something off of her that she loves. Hopefully this will help you guys, it certainly helped me with all 3 of mine. 4 9 and 11!!!!!!!!

Jennifer - posted on 07/12/2009

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i have an 11 yr old son that is the same way!.. what i did was sat him down and talked about how it made me feel, and let him express how sometimes i make him feel. then we agree to start over and i made a calandar for me and him.. if he can go 6 days without talking back and doing his chores we do something he wants to do... if he messes up he has to give something up that he loves.. and it works well.. screaming and yelling and giving attitude back insites more screaming and yelling and attitiude..

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Mum Of - posted on 08/07/2013

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what do you do then when you have done what you have advised; taken things off her for her rude disrepectful behaviour or sent her to her room and then she packs her bags and runs away the police get involved and child services cause she has run to a friends house making up lies as to why she can't go back home

Bobbi - posted on 07/20/2009

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Well I have an 11 yr old and I have had my kids goin to church and getting them invovled with groups with-in the church. I also have sat down and talked to her and found out what it was that she was interested in and what she was angry about and then told her about what I had gone through as a child. It took some time but it worked. Both of them have manors and use them. I get told I love you all the time. if you go to church or believe in it, seek a pastor/priest. and they will help you. It has helped our family alot. My kids love their step-dad alot more then before and we all get along better.. good luck, and if you want keep informed.

Jamie - posted on 07/18/2009

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when you figure it out let me know as well! mine is driving me up the wall!

Charlene - posted on 07/09/2009

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When my son is disrespectful or just not listening I take things away like his MP3 player or video games. Everyweek we have family game & reading set aside, if he has been exceptionally rude he loses out on this time and it usually straightens him out fast. I explain that I always love him but when he is rude and disrespectful that I do not want to spend time with him.

Brandy - posted on 07/09/2009

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Wow Nanatte that sounds just like my daughter! And when I tell her she is being disrespectful, she acts like she doesn't know what she said wrong, and sometimes I think she is telling the truth. i think this has alot to do with this age evidently. My daughter cops an attitudes and then just can't remember things all that well, especially if it is something she doens't care about, like washing dishes or keeping her room clean.

Rhonda - posted on 07/08/2009

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If she has a phone take it away, the worst thing you can to a pre teen is take away their phone. Or if she doesn't take away some privelige or item that she loves until her attitude straitens up. Let her know that you are the grown up and you will not accept her behavior and it is NOT acceptable. You just have to lay down the law in a calm and assertive manner. She has to know your the boss and stay consistant.

[deleted account]

Quoting Ruth :

There are many books out there that might help. I've found that we need to change our approach to parenting as our kids mature. Two books that I have liked at "Parenting Teens with Love & Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay and " Active Parenting of Teens" by Michael Popkin. Both are very practical. I found the love and logic book at the library.

Good luck. SuchASmartMom


I love the Love and Logic approach. We had many sessions in my dd elementary school with moms getting together in the library and watching the videos and talking about it. I have the same problem and didn't even remember that we did that. I now have "Parenting Tenns with Love and Logic" on my shopping list!

NOLEEN - posted on 07/08/2009

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YOU SHOULD HAVE STARTED AT YOUNG AGE BUT YOU STILL HAVE TIME TAKE AWAY ALL THE THINGS SHE LOVE AND LET YOUR YES EAN AND YOUR MEANN NO FORGET THE ATTITUDE GAIN THE CONTROL OF BEING A PARENT

Charlotte - posted on 07/08/2009

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i have got exactly the same problem!

im not being horrible but its great 2 know im not the only one going through this hell,

im not sure how 2 deal with this behaviour either i just seem 2 get so angry with her sometimes :-(

Patricia - posted on 07/07/2009

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Duck tape and a rope, but seriously it seems as if you dropped the ball in authority and this has just escalated over the years. Ground rules must be brought back into the picture. Consequences for disobedience and until she comes back into line if she loses all social activites and luxuries to get the full understanding of you're not playing.

[deleted account]

I really cut back on my daughter's tv. Even considering having it removed completely. All fo the teen shows (especially on Disney) depict smart mouthed teens who always are "one up" on their parents. Not the example I want my three daughters to follow. I've found the less they are exposed to this behavior, the less they act out themselves.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/06/2009

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I find for me that taking away things she really enjoys works pretty good (Most of the time). For me, my daughter tries to engage me in a "battle" and I refuse. Reward her good behavior with something small she might like (IE: The newest "IN" lipgloss or that Hannah Montana movie with her friend), not always and explain that any of her actions have reactions. Good Luck

Sonya - posted on 07/05/2009

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I so relate! I've a head strong 10 year old that I've always had a hard time communicating with. Even when she was a toddler she'd 'shut down' when she wasn't happy about something. Best thing so far for us is taking time to sit and talk about things when there isn't the issue happening. She's hyper sensitive about things, which took me awhile to realize, and just 'airing' problems in a one on one platform helps some. She gets to tell me her side and I get to talk to her about how I see things. Sometimes it can really help us figure out a better way to handle certain situations. Congrats on being a good mom by the way. So wish mine would of tried to make things better when I was struggling with growing up. Live and learn.

Tracee - posted on 07/05/2009

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I had a former military wife tell me what worked for her very defiant daughter was situps and push ups. Seriously! We've started it with our 11 yr old daughter and it seems to be working alittle. We also use the phrases 'self displine' or choose to be 'disaplined.' meaning pushups etc.. We've also pulled her IPOD.

[deleted account]

It has really been helpful, but honestly, I am the one that usually has to remember to shut up and wait! LOL There have been a few times where my daughter has reminded me.

Linda - posted on 06/29/2009

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That was a long post....., but also quite interesting that there is 24 hours to reply to each other. It gives your daughter time to think about your concern. I have a 15 year old daughter and I would consider trying this. We do discuss things a lot and share concerns but it can often get heated, so maybe 24 hours would be a good idea.

Karen - posted on 06/23/2009

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Just joined...Can totally relate, keeping cool is hard for me too. I have noticied that the more often I causally touch her, little brief rub on the back, measure hands to one another, sit close on the couch, play with her hair for a second or two...as often as possible. It seems there are more affectionate moments & that gives both of us a longer fuse. Good luck tween is soo close to teen... : ( they grow so fast.

Pattie - posted on 06/21/2009

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She's "spreading her wings" preparing to leave the nest. You were probably the same way when you were her age to some degree. I know I was.

Do not take this personally, it's not you, it's her! Hormones are playing a huge part in her behavior.

You cannot sit by and do nothing, you have some great suggestions here. I have found Dr. James Dobson to be a great resource.

Remember: You will get through this. Just hang in there!

Tonya - posted on 06/19/2009

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I know it might sound like what you do w/ a toddler, but ground her !

Take away something she likes to do ( video games, talking on the phone & so on)

take it away for one day & then if she continues take it away for another day & so on.

I take away my son's game time ( the Wii) & that seems to straighten him out .

I read a book that was very helpful as well, It is called Smart Dicipline -By Larry J.Koenig , Ph. D Best of Luck :>)

Jeanette - posted on 06/17/2009

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Our school district offerred a course called Love and Logic by Jim Fay that I find very helpful....Borders sells their books and I have seen them at our local library....They might be a help to you I know the course has been a lifesaver for me :)

Jeanette - posted on 06/17/2009

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Quoting Leslie:

How do i get my 11 year old daughter to listen to me, and do what i ask without all the attitude and back-talk!!

My 11 year old daughter refuses to listen to me, and in fact will tell me no when i ask her to do anything!! She is very stubborn and headstrong, and will not give up easily. I am having a really hard time dealing with this new defiant attitude of her's and keeping my cool!! Any suggestion's on how i can gain back some control over my child before it's too late!!



When you find out let me know :)

Hanan - posted on 06/17/2009

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Hi,I have a 11 years old boy,try to start a one on one talk with her,stating your roll in her life and asking her about her expectations from u ,then state your expectations and try to have a deal with her that satisfies both of u,kind of a grown up mother and daughter deal that shows her that u recpect her and don't think that she still a kid ,also make it clear to her that she will accept the concquences for her mistakes .good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 06/17/2009

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I have a 12 year old daughter and am experiencing he same problem. All attitude and tells you what they are gonna do. Their is a book out called," How to have a new kid by Friday", and it tells you how to change the attitude problem. It might be worth looking into.

Nanette - posted on 06/17/2009

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Mine will eventually do what I asked, but he has a sarcastic tone when anything comes out his mouth. He is being disrespectful. We used to ground him from something that he was interested or to his room; but since it's the summer, if I ground him, then I'm grounded too. Since he's having trouble in school in Literature Arts, I have him read a book and write a one page book report for punishment while he's learning at the same time.

Ruth - posted on 06/15/2009

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There are many books out there that might help. I've found that we need to change our approach to parenting as our kids mature. Two books that I have liked at "Parenting Teens with Love & Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay and " Active Parenting of Teens" by Michael Popkin. Both are very practical. I found the love and logic book at the library.



Good luck. SuchASmartMom

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