How can I get my daughter to care?

Nikki Nicole - posted on 01/05/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




My 11 year old daughter just doesn't care about anything. I tell her to clean her room and she makes it worse than it was and it takes days for it to get clean. It's like she doesn't mind being in her room all day. I've tried rewards but it doesn't work. She lies to my face about the smallest things. And when I let her know I know that she is lying she tells me she doesn't know why. All I get is "I don't know!." Can somebody help me help her?


Brandi - posted on 01/06/2013





I feel for you. That age in general is tough on any parent. I don't know if you are a single parent, a divorced or separated parent who has a new relationship, or what have you. And I honestly don't think it matters. Just that if there IS another parent/guardian involved, make sure you 2 are on on the same page to provide consistency for her, and so you aren't fighting about parenting in front of her... that will only lead to her playing both sides.

You say she doesn't care about anything, but then only talk about her messy room and lying. Sounds like most preteens, but I hope this helps. Before you start, take a step back and look at yourself, more specifically, your disciplinary measures. If you have been a pushover in the past, or never follow through, you must first make the effort to stop the empty threats. If that is the case, make sure she knows that there are some things that are about to change around the house. Respect is earned, not free. And starting NOW, things change! (If you are pretty consistent, then continue as you would (: )

With the Room, make is simple. She is old enough to understand that there are consequences for her actions. I would plan a time where you know it will fit into your schedule, and that you have the time to play it out. Tell her one day, she needs to clean her room. Simply, and calmly. No need for yelling or an argument. Tell her you are sick of seeing her mess. Tell her she has a certain time period to clean it before you do it yourself!.... 48 hours, 3 days, by Wednesday night... depends on when you have this conversation, how messy her room is, and her attention span. All 3 need to be accounted for before giving a timeline. Make sure she hears you, and have her repeat it. That way there are no excuses when the time is up! Then don't say another word about it until the time comes. Make the deadline a night time so you can finish the next step.

When she does not meet her deadline, calmly tell her you are disappointed in her lack of respect for you. Let her know you are disappointed. Again, no need for a full argument, just a simple statement of your hurt feelings. She will probably roll her eyes or whatnot, and that fine. Shes 11. The best part comes the next day. (its usually a good idea to make the deadline a week day or a day where you know she is going to be gone for a few hours the next day...) When she is gone, empty her room. Clothes, shoes, pictures, books, movies, electronics, notes, purses.... whatever is NOT put away goes!! Above that... whatever is NOT put away correctly (aka, clothes rolled up & stuffed into dresser drawers instead of neatly folded) Here is the kicker... Do not throw anything away! Put it all in a box (or boxes) organized in your room or a place that can be locked as to keep her from getting into it while you are not around or home. When she comes home, her bed will be made, her closet straightened, her desk space nice & clean. *poof* she has a clean room!

Now when she freaks out, and starts screaming, remind her you gave her a deadline, and she failed to meet it. She knew when it was because she repeated it back to you (and of course you made a little sticky note and left it in her door every day as a reminder just in case). You told her you would clean it yourself if you had to, and it looks like you had to. Reassure her that you have her belongings, and you can talk about getting them back when she stops freaking out! Once she calms down, and you can talk to her like a normal person, tell her you you have her things, separated, in your possession, and if she would like them back, she can earn them. She has 2 weeks (or whatever deadline you come up with) to get everything back (because her crap is just as much of an inconvenience to you in your room or wherever it is, as it was on her floor, but dont tell her that!). Once that deadline hits, whatever is left that is not trash is donated to Charity (or if you cannot afford losing those things, they can be held for a higher ransom, like a car wash, babysitting younger siblings, vacuuming the house or making dinner AND doing the dishes afterwards. Then possibilities are countless!)

Earning it back means keeping her room clean. 1 day = 1 box or 1 outfit, or 1 pair of shoes or whatever. Decide what she gets for each day depending on the deadline. At bed time, the room will speak. Clean room = stuff back. Messy room = nothing back. I bet that iPod or favorite skirt will be important enough to keep her room clean. Once she gets it all back... tell her the next time you have to clean it, it all goes! Good Will or the Salvation Army would be happy to take the donations!

I hope this helps! Good Luck :)

I know the above is a good life lesson in "oh crap! mom is serious!" but speaking from personal experience, I feel I also had to offer this advise.

Does she have ADHD? or any problems focusing on huge tasks at hand?? I personally remember my mother bring so frustrated at my room when I was growing up. Every time I would honestly try to clean it, I made a bigger mess before I finished, and it was usually a 2 day process. To this day, my house can get out of control sometimes. To my mom, its a disaster zone, to my friends & daughter, they know its just me and that it really is organized. Ask me where something is, and I can tell you where its at! Now I'm not talking dirty, disgusting like that show HOARDERS, but enough to have that "oh my house is a mess!" thought when someone comes in unexpectedly.

Do I like having a clean place, absolutely! But with my combination ADHD & OCD, the simplest task, honest to God, seems monumental! My best friend knows me better than anyone. There are days where, no kidding, she comes over to literally sit in my living room while I clean. Just the presence of someone makes it go that much faster and easier. Ask her if she needs help. Offer that IF she needs help, you are willing to do so, but will not do it for her! If she ask for help, do what she wants. Don't take it upon yourself to clean one area while she cleans another... you may not do it like she wants it, and after all it is her room. If she just needs the company to stay focused, by all means, take a book with you, pull up a pillow, and lay on her bed while she works. Sometimes just the presence of someone and a good conversation can go a long way. Make sure to praise her for making good efforts and when she finishes, a hug is always welcomed. Followed by ice cream or a choice of movie rental.... something that is COMPLETELY unexpected, If you choose to do this, it cant be an "I'll help you and if you finish I'll reward you too" offer. Its a help offer only, and then the final result is "randomly" rewarded when she is finished. Be warned though, it may very well take 2 days. Just the fact that she is making progress needs to be praised :)

Either way, I wish you luck! Let me know how it goes :)


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