Tween attitude. Please help

Racheal - posted on 08/23/2012 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I have a tween that is turning into a real pain in the butt. She is mean, back talks, steals, sneaky, and just downright ornery almost all the time. We have had some big life changes in the last few years and she seemed to make it through them with a normal amount of adjustment but these days she is getting me to the point I want to string her up. Help. Any ideas on how to deal with this? Anything that worked for you?

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Niki - posted on 08/25/2012

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I think it is also important to remember your children are watching how you are behaving. I have seen alot of very mouthy tweens coming from a family where mom and dad where very mouthy and sarcastic. They then get upset when their children do it to them, and unfairly expect the child to behave differently. The do as I say, not as I do bs.

There is alot of research that shows that tweens/teens are making as many neurological connections in their brains as toddlers, thus the meltdowns look like toddler meltdowns. I spanked my two daughters a combined five times maybe before five. The day I threatened I would have totally delivered, she was pushing EVERY boundary that existed. I never use that as a threat, so she knew I was serious. Stealing, and lying are huge issues, and need to be swiftly and severely dealt with. I like some of the suggestions above (police, pawning), and also the not returning it part. She may need some counseling, she may need some one on one time with you. You should make sure you are not speaking to her disrespectfully, still as her mother and sternly - but with respect. You shouldn't put up with it though. I don't have this tween stuff all down yet either. When my girls start with it, I tell them I would be happy to finish the conversation when they calm down, and leave the convo. I am not their friend, I am their mother and they need to respect me - as I do them. I keep rereading the book Parenting With Love and Logic, as a social worker I recommend it ALL the time. They should give it out at the hospital! You aren't alone for sure, I wish there was more help for us and them.

Kamala - posted on 08/24/2012

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I have four kids ages 12 through 19. I take away what's most important and add extra days when they back talk. Earlier bed times make them write a book report or write a paper or letter saying what they have done and how they think they can handle it better. Recently I gave them what I call the parent project get them to make a list of parental responsibilities, let the make grocery lists deal with their siblings, grown up chores etc. for a whole day. that helps my kids see responsibility of a parent and opens communication for talks about how we feel. When they say mean things they have to say 5 nice things. There are days I want to pull my hair out and tape mouths shut but we meditate for 5 min. These are just a few suggestions keep communicating with your daughter and show her she can talk to you about problems and you will help. Mine argue fight, 1 is mouthy, and we take 1 day at a time but we are close and talk out problems.

Angela - posted on 08/25/2012

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This is all a bit much for me. I have a daughter (14) and son who is (10), and I wish they would talk back to me. They say the personality is set by age 5...after that...you get what you get. I will admit that in my daughters lifetime she has received maybe 3 spankings as a child and my son maybe 2. They are honor students and very respectful. But they should think YOU just may be as crazy as them. My daughters first overnight with a friend who talks back to her mother ...I told her in front of her mother that "I run a tight ship at my house, I don't allow back talk from anyone who can't pay their own bills." If my children talk back to me...they know there is a possibility they may be finishing their sentence from the floor...lol...but not joking. Ladies think back to when you were kids, especially if you are over 40. What did it take to keep you in line? Children talk back to their friends not parents. If you are trying to be a friend to them...that is what you get...a friend and friends talk back to each other and struggle . I did not have children because I needed more friends...I had them because I wanted to be a mother. My cousin's son was acting out at 17 and she took his Xbox into the streets and jumped continuously on it until it was crushed...he straightened up before she got to the Wii. He's in college now persuing a career as an Engineer. Don't take stuff away temporarily...take it away permanently. You sacrifice the material things completely, act like you don't hear them when they want something and they will start to wake up. Save their lives now...because if you don't teach them their smart mouth may get them in trouble...I guarantee someone else who does not love them will. Sorry if I offended anyone.

VirginiaLeah - posted on 08/23/2012

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My son was the same, sometimes he gets back to it here and there, but he has had a major improvement. He has stolen from me, so i took his favorite stuff, enough that when I pawned it, it covered how much he took from me. When he's gotten to the point of constantly talking back and/or lying, I have had him hold a little bit of cinnamon on his tongue(not too much, just a sprinkle) and have sent him to his room. He was banned from all electronics (including not being allowed in the room if the television was on) until his attitude improved, then he only got to watch tv...after 6:30 pm. Since he wanted to act like a toddler, he was given a toddler's bedtime as well. It took about a month to notice a major improvement, and he does slip every now and then, when he does, I make him do some of my chores and it's back to an early bedtime. I had tried the reverse psychology angle, the threatening angle, the behavioral specialist, etc. None of it worked with him... Just remind yourself (and your child) that you're the parent, you're the one who cares and provides for her. Ask her what she would do if it were her child behaving to her the way that she is to you (this was a big eye-opener when i asked my son). Best of luck with your daughter, with the way a lot of children are anymore, parents have got to have the most patience and strongest shoulders...but eventually we will be thanked!

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Diane - posted on 08/30/2012

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Get Boundaries with Teens..Boundaries must be set. I agree with Virginia Leah Steele's post. You must maintain your authority as the parent & with love, but you must remain consistant. They do eventually grow out of it, but it takes awhile. Think back to when you were that age & try to remember how you felt trying to find your way & your place. If parents don't create & maintain healthy boundaries, it doesn't go well with the teens growing up years. I have 2 grand-daughters: 1 - 14 & 1 - 17. The 14 year old gets away with way too much because she is the "BABY". The 17 year old got the harsh treatment. Being too easy is going to be painful for their mother but she won't listen. The 17 year old of cause can't wait to get away from her, which is sad. Who knows what the 14 year old will end up involved in. I maintain a close relationship with them as best I can. The older one has always "heard" me. I present things in a way to challenge her to think. The younger one turns a deaf ear on whatever I say because she think she knows everything. So, one may learn easier than the other, but they will learn! Prayers will go up for you concerning this issue. God Bless!

Alberta - posted on 08/25/2012

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Let me in on the secret of serviving (or letting my tween survive) the tween years. I have a 11 year old going throught the same thing!!!! Hang in there and just remember the terrible twos passed and this will too!!!

Danielle - posted on 08/24/2012

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I remember my son stealing at 10, a pack of gum from target! I brought him back in the store asked for the manager and made my son tell him he stole. The manager was awesome, took him back to the room called the " police" which was really security and scared the shit out of my son. My son is now 18 and a marine! Hard love with consequences worked here! Phases are good but law breaking has to be stopped ASAP!

VirginiaLeah - posted on 08/24/2012

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My son is the oldest, and he is setting a bad example for my 7yr old (who already has adhd and odd) and i have an almost 11 month old as well. When he was under full punishment, and would get to the grumbling stage, i would hand him a book and he would either have to read it, or copy from it. He would get to the "but I'm bored" bit and i would have him do "homework" (you can find worksheets free on math and reading websites). This would be done in his room and when he was calmed down, he was able to come out. If he started slamming or throwing things, they got thrown out. This may sound harsh, but if he's doing this now, I can only imagine what he'll try when he's 16

Francine - posted on 08/24/2012

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Reading these responds I no linger feel alone...counseling first for myself then Ill bring her in. Good luck ladies,the youth of today scares me this is our furture.

Sally - posted on 08/24/2012

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When she seemed to be dealing with the big life changes, she may have just been bottling it up until now. Talk to her about it. If she won't talk to you, send her to counseling or even better take her to family counseling.

It's also possible that she's starting puberty. The hormones go off well before the physical changes start and they're hard to control as an adult--kids don't stand a chance. My mother claimed that she could chart all three of her daughters cycles years before they showed up just by keeping track of when we were grumpy for no reason.

The tween years are also a time when peers are much more important than mom. If her friends are getting snotty, she will too. Talk to her friend's moms and see what they're dealing with and how they're dealing with it.

Good luck

Racheal - posted on 08/24/2012

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Thanks for responding ladies. It helps to know that I am at least on the right track with dealing with it.

They do have similarities to my 2 year old and the worst part is he is picking up on the things that they do and it is making him even harder to deal with. My oldest is a 13, soon to be 14, year old boy and he is actually the easiest to deal with. He has his moments but overall is maturing enough to recognize most of the time his toddler-like behavior isn't going to get him anywhere. I have tried taking away the electronics and grounding from friends but then I just get to hear the grumbling more.

I have recently instituted chores so they can work out their frustrations. They have their usual ones still but these are bigger and take time. It seems to help and even gets them to focus better but it is short lived and with a 2 year old and a 2 month old around it is hard to follow through. It is just frustrating. I told them today that I am starting to institute martial law and if they don't like it they need to start acting like they are human. I am structuring their whole days. If they want free time with their friends they had better behave around me and other adults. Period. Seems to have made a point but their grumbling and my exhaustion at just thinking about that project has me wondering how long it will last. I know-- Follow through-- guess there will be time to sleep when I am dead. :)

Kamala - posted on 08/24/2012

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a far as counseling their are only a few good ones find one that your child is comfortable talking too my son resisted till he found one he liked it really helped his anger issues. This is for an earlier post.

Lora - posted on 08/24/2012

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I have 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls and they have all gone through this stage and believe me, for the most part, it is a stage. Being a tween is a very confusing time in their lives. Their bodies are telling them one thing, their friends are telling them something else, and the parents are telling them something different. Your daughter is trying to figure out who she is. I know that it's hard to believe at this point in time, but she will come out of it. There will be a lot of challenges for you both along the way, but be patient and just let her know that you love her even when she's being downright mean. I would tell my children (2 of whom I am still going through this with-one is an almost 16 year old daughter and the other is my almost 15 year old son) that at this moment in time I really didn't like them very much, I loved them dearly, but I didn't like them. When they would start being contentious I would walk away. I wouldn't put up with the stealing, though. Inform your daughter that what she is doing is a crime and if you catch her doing it again, you will call the police-then do it if you catch her again. Many times law enforcement is more than willing to come in and speak to your child because it stops bigger problems for them later on. Don't let her put her hands on you in a violent way-immediately call the police so that she understands that it's not acceptable and that it is a crime. (I'm not saying that she is, but I read that another poster is having that issue with her child.) Remember that you are her mother FIRST and friend SECOND. Many times we tend to forget that.

Rhonda - posted on 08/24/2012

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It's nice to know i'm not the only one! My girl just turned 13 but she has always been defiant.

She tells me to shut up, puts her hands on me and her brother and sister. I am worried the younger two are going to pick up her terrible behavior, i too am at a loss. I have been told she has major anger issues.It took 5 doctors and nurses to hold her down for a shot. I dont know why, i was not able to follow through with counceling and she says she will not go or talk anyway! It seems the only thing that gets her is electronics, taking them away. But again i get a fight and knock down drag- out

.I'm so tired all the time fighting with her! I may not know the answer but i sure feel your pain! It makes you think your a terrible parent. Guilt, hopelessness, anger, depression and anxiety. I'm at my wits end she refuses to change her aggressive behavior. I think she will be a good lawyer one day! I hope that something good comes out of this strong willed behavior! Because it sure is ruining our home now. I hope it gets better on your end, would love to know how its going for you.:) your not alone!

Nicola - posted on 08/24/2012

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It's interesting that a lot of you compare your tween to a toddler. I have 5 kids and got to see a toddler and a tween at the same time. They seem to have similar issues with regards to independence and finding where they fit in the world. It's worth investing into the tweens cause it lays a good foundation for the teens.

Racheal - posted on 08/23/2012

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I wish. Even that hasn't stopped it. I have one who is just out right loud about it and another who hides it and I have to find out from her siblings or other kids about it. Can't figure out how to get it through their heads that they are not the adult and can't act like they do.

Niki - posted on 08/23/2012

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In the same boat. I told my princess that if she continued to act like a toddler that needed a spanking and a nap I would arrange both. She then managed to pull it together. What do you do with them ?????? I felt a little sorry for her because I could see the hormones melting her brain, but really...

Dove - posted on 08/23/2012

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Duct tape.



No, not really, but when you find the answer... let me know too. ;)

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