12 year old daughter won't follow

Danielle - posted on 03/07/2014 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I am very new to this site, actually this is my first post. I have a 12 year old daughter who won't follow what we ask when we aren't around. The last thing that happened that has got me pulling my hair out is eating snacks that we "approve". I like to have my kids eat well rounded meals. I always make sure there are more veges made than startch, I buy fruits and raw veges and yes I do buy junk food. My husband have repeatedly asked our 12 year old daughter to eat a healthy snack either after school or before bed snack. She gets off the bus around 3:30 and I am usually on my way back from picking up my 4 year old from preschool at that time. So we trust her to do what we ask, but every month im throwing away rotten fruits, veges, yogurts, etc because she will come home grab junk run in her room and act like she didn't even have a snack. or I will find cracker crumbs on the counter. Crackers is not a healthy snack. she will eat grilled cheese, mac and cheese, cheesesteaks, cheese this and cheese that but won't put some cheese on a cracker, just eats plain crackers. Yes cheese is not the most healthy but it does supply some of the things I want it to and its better than plain crackers. I have made a special section in our fridge for snack foods so there's no confusion about what's a good snack and a not good snack. And my efforts fall to the side. I will ask her if she had an after school snack and she says no I wasn't hungry. I know she's not telling me the truth. What got me so mad now is yesterday when I came home it was about 3:35 she just got home to, but there were cracker crumbs on the counter and she dropped one running back to her room. Or she will just not eat a snack after school because she doesn't want what's been put in the good snack bin. At dinner she will pile the starch on her plate, and get seconds. And I know at school she wont eat the veges on the menu for one reason, she can't put salt on them. We just broke her of using tons of salt about a year ago, she would use 1/2 teaspoon or more on one item. In addition she has an acne problem and she doesn't like it obviously, I have tried to explain to her that her diet plays a big part in it, we have ointment from the doctor for it but she still has some issues, and the doctor also told her that what she puts in her body has a big part with it. But she just won't listen, and when im not here its for sure she won't listen. We watch what our four year old eats and makes sure he is limited on his junk, he loves all fruits, yogurts and veges, so why is it that when our 12 year old doesn't listen its not really addressed. And yes she does like fruits and veges, because when we have a talk with her about this she will eat what we ask for about 2 days and then its back to the same doo-doo. And I have asked her if she likes apples, oranges, grapes and she says yes. Ideas? Help? Discipline suggestions for this please? I can't force her to eat this stuff but I feel like she is just being defiant to what we ask because she can and that's not how we run this house. Sorry for the long explanation I just wanted to make sure I hit every point so no one says "Maybe she doesn't like the fruits you get ask her what she likes and get that" I have done all that. I have tried to incorporate her suggestions and ideas in this and still nothing.

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Guest - posted on 10/10/2014

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You think your post was long.....wait till you see mine! I got a little carried away, but this is an issue near and dear to my heart.

I don't mind if my son has an unhealthy snack every now and again--school party, visit to grandma's house, reward for a long day of errands, etc. but, like you, I need his diet to be balanced and healthy most of the time.

This is my advice as someone who lives with an eating disorder. I have anorexia.

From what I read in your post, that you believe she is doing it to be defiant, tells me that this issue has progressed to a power struggle for her. You want control over what she eats, and so does she. She is eating the junk foods behind your back because she knows you cannot stop her. This is her way of asserting control over what she eats. At 12, she needs to have control over more and more of her choices. By this time, you have raised her to make good choices, so if you trust her to do so, she will make those good choices. By not allowing her any control, she thinks you do not trust her, and she is compelled to rebel against your wishes to prove that she can, and will make her own decisions whether you approve or not. She may not understand that this is happening within her--I didn't see it for years with myself, but now looking back it is so clear. Start giving her control over other areas of her life wherever you can.

If you keep trying to control what she eats, she is going to develop an eating disorder--that's how most of the start. Don't discipline her for her food choices, that will just prolong and deepen the power struggle causing more rebellion. Instead, begin providing only healthy snacks, but let her have complete control over what she eats. Sit down with her and explain the new strategy.
"Your father and I have been fighting with you over your eating habits, and it is rough on all of us. Our relationship with you is much more important than controlling what you eat, and we know you are capable of making good decisions on your own--we've tried hard to raise you to do so, and we're proud of you, of who you are becoming. Thus, in the future, we're going to let you make your own choices about food when we are not around, and we trust you will make good decisions and not fight with you about it. None of us want to fight." (The important points to focus on should be that you trust her and you are proud of her and that you value your relationship with her)

The first week or so, she'll probably gorge on everything she know you would HATE to see her eat, just to make sure you are going to stick to your word and it wasn't some kind of ploy to make her eat what you want....kids can be suspicious. After a couple of weeks or so though, she will start to eat more healthily (but you have to keep the junk food out of the house, because it IS much more delicious and easier to make than the good stuff, and at 12, she isn't neurologically developed enough to fully comprehend the damage a bad diet can do to her body now and in the future--you can TELL her what it will do millions of times over and over again, but she won't really "get it" and take it seriously....It is an idea that is still too abstract for her. This is because of a chemical change in the brain that takes place just before and during puberty, and that change inhibits the tween's ability to evaluate long term consequences.

A note about anorexia. It is ALL ABOUT CONTROL, and it NEVER goes away. Clinically speaking, my treatment is a success (I've been in treatment for about 19 years), but I still struggle with guilt every single time I eat--when food goes into my mouth, I feel like I've given up all of my control and power over my life, like a complete, incompetent, inadequate, loser. I CAN eat now, and I do it every day, but I HATE eating, I HATE food with all of my heart, and I probably always will. Don't let that happen to your beautiful little girl.
Don't let the opposite happen either. Some of the girls I did group therapy with only feel like the are in control when they ARE eating, while I (and others like me) only feel in control when we are NOT eating. It's crazy like that, food is. I think food is a horrible thing we need to survive, but we do need it, and we have to be careful about the ideas and beliefs we pass on to our children about it.

You are a GREAT mom for being concerned so early, and for caring so much about her diet!!! She's lucky to have you! I just want you to be careful in how SHE perceives your actions and ideas, because teens are sort of notorious for not realizing how wonderful their parents are. I didn't realize how wonderful my step mom was until years later. She saw what was happening to me and I pushed her away. Luckily, when I FINALLY realized what she had been doing, she forgave me and has been my stronghold through this whole thing. You sound JUST LIKE HER in your post!!!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/07/2014

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If there is not consistency in enforcing what you want to enforce, then of course nothing will work.

You and dad need to get on the same page. Since he seems to 'not notice'...eliminating the choices that you don't want available will work in his favour as well.

I do suggest that you and he get on the same parenting page, though. Otherwise, you're working against each other, and accomplishing nothing but frustration.

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Victoria - posted on 10/11/2014

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Hi there, why don't you say your able to eat crackers or a price of junk as long as you eat an apple too, cut the apple into pieces and have it in the fridge with some cheese maybe on the plate, ready for the next day. Children like quick easy food. I know my 15 and 12 year were doing the same so I made sure I changed the routine. I also popped the fruit bowl in front of the bread bin. They now take the fruit instead of grabbing a wrap or roll or sandwich. Good luck

Hannah - posted on 10/10/2014

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I know I have commented a lot on your question but I have been thinking and maybe your daughter will want to do those stuff like put on less make up, put on the acne medicine and eat healthier so she could build up her self-confidence for herself! It's always great to feel good about yourself!!

Hannah - posted on 10/09/2014

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Like Shawn said don't purchase the junk food she won't have an option. 😋👌

Hannah - posted on 10/09/2014

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wonderful post!! my daughters had the same problem. my daughters are twins and my oldest twin would put on the acne medicine but like you said she would eat the worst junky food like chips, goldfish, and brownies at snack time. when both of my daughters started to get acne it was getting progressively worse; about the same amount on each face. but when they turned 13 , they were just starting their 7th grade year this year and my youngest twin was eating really Healthy and putting on the acne medicine each night (acne scrub makes worse) and so at school my oldest daughter would have horrible pimples on her face and one day she came crying to me saying that she wanted her face and body size to be just like Ansley (younger sister) so she realized that she needed to do what was best for her body and health!!! sence then they have been healthy girls! ps. putting on too much makeup will cause more acne down the road!!

hope you enjoyed 😊

Danielle - posted on 03/07/2014

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Thanks so much. I have tried other sites with parenting questions, like yahoo answers, big mistake. You get ALOT of ignorant people who just want to put you down for asking a question. So I figured I would try this one, this was my first post. I was nervous about posting and said if this is like that I'm done. So far so GOOD!! thanks

Danielle - posted on 03/07/2014

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Thank you for your reply. Yes I understand your response to not addressing her not following rules, that is a problem between husband and I. I sometimes just get overwhelmed with always being the bad guy (I know that's my job) and I try to get him to step in. Like I see him limiting or reaching for the fruit when four year old asks for snack but when 12 year old comes out and grabs cookies he says nothing. Thank you for your response.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/07/2014

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If you don't want her to eat junk, DON'T PURCHASE IT. Easy enough. If she's not abiding by what she's told, start pulling privileges. She doesn't NEED electronics, phone, computer, television, makeup...get the picture?

One thing that stuck out glaringly in your post was this: "We watch what our four year old eats and makes sure he is limited on his junk, he loves all fruits, yogurts and veges, so why is it that when our 12 year old doesn't listen its not really addressed." If the issue is not being addressed...that's your job.

Yes, we'd LIKE all of our kids to automatically follow directions, but they don't do that all the time, and each and every time they must be corrected.

So, first step, get rid of anything you don't want her grabbing for a snack. Leave ONLY the options that you want her to choose from. For the rest...start pulling privileges. It does work wonders!

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