Author Topic: Really struggling with my adolescent daughter. Any advice would be appreciated.  (Read 18481 times)

green daisy

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For the last few years, our daughter's attitude has become very difficult.  It's becoming steadily worse.  She screams at her younger brother several times a day.  For example, there was a baby deer on our yard and he said "come look out the window!"  She screamed "Stop talking to me!  Don't speak to me!"  She was looking for an ice pop yesterday and there were none left.  I heard her screaming "Those animals ate all the ice pops!"  She was referring to my son and his friend who each ate 1 ice pop.  She ate the majority of them.  She screams at her brother to "shut his little mouth."  When we discipline her for her behavior, she says things like we don't understand how stressful her life is, that we love her brother more and are taking his side, or she screams "stop yelling at me" (we sometimes yell but not usually) or "get out of my room."

Last night, we were supposed to go out to dinner for our son's birthday.  They each were allowed to invite a friend and the friends were here for the afternoon to swim.  We had told her in the morning that she would have to clean her room that day.  She didn't.  After a day full of her attitude, we realized she hadn't cleaned her room.  We told her she would have to clean it before we left for dinner.  She yelled about how horrible we are.  Complained to her friend about how awful her life is.  Huffed around the house stomping her feet and slamming doors.  I cancelled dinner.  I said I was not spending all this money on going out to a restaurant to have a miserable time because of her attitude.  As you can imagine, she took this very well (sarcasm).  We ordered pizza, fed the friends, and took them home. 

We have tried taking away her iPod, taking away TV/electronics, grounding her from friends.  We have tried involving her in more positive activities, like 4H and band.  She isn't athletic and hates team sports.

She has a victim mentality.  If she gets a bad grade, it's because the teacher doesn't like her, etc. 

I'm really finding myself becoming very angry with her. I'm trying to hold it in but it's becoming very difficult and I've just barely held back from completely losing it and screaming at her.  Summer break is coming up and I just don't know how I'm going to manage with her. 

What I'm planning on doing is sending her to her room for every eye roll or hostile tone and telling her she can come back out when she's ready to behave positively.  I'd also like to ban Disney Channel shows because the entire premise is that the parents are idiots and the little brothers are annoying.  This can't be helping.  My husband would never back me on that one though and he's mostly home with them in the afternoons/evenings.  I took her iPod yesterday (pretty much acts as a phone as long as she has wifi).  I told her she's not getting it back until I see a clear, consistent improvement in her attitude. 





« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 06:59:04 AM by green daisy »

slappy

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Maybe counseling for her individually and/or family therapy?  It sounds like there is no amount of punishment that is going to bother her. 

Vindicated

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How old is she?

Based on what you've described, I think taking her to see a counselor is a good idea.

green daisy

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How old is she?

Based on what you've described, I think taking her to see a counselor is a good idea.

She will be 12 next month.  I think this my own personal hangup, but my mother tried to get me to go to counseling as a teen and I was mortified.  I'm concerned that my daughter will think she is defective or accept it as her personal truth that she isn't mentally sound.  As an adult, I of coarse don't see it this way.  But as a child, I did.  I have reached out to a friend who is a counselor and she gave me a recommendation.  I will call. 

Vindicated

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Best of luck to you!

GizmoTX

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Yes, your daughter is running your household. When you gave the privileges back, was it because she changed her behavior or because she kept at you to give them back?

Have you tried Love & Logic? This system is over 35 years old & it works. I first learned about it because DS' teachers in grade school used it, so I did a class with the parenting version. There are many books & videos available on the LoveAndLogic.com website.

In a nutshell, L&L allows parents to allow the child to choose from options you pre-approve & utilizes natural consequences for bad behavior. You cannot reason with an angry child; the child earns the right to speak with you only in calm & kind tones. For example, instead of cancelling your son's birthday dinner, you have a baby sitter on standby so your daughter loses the party instead of your son, & she gets charged for the sitter. No friend. No social events until the room gets cleaned according to your list or directions. In some cases, a child who slammed their bedroom door repeatedly came home to find the door removed. You don't have to come up with a consequence on the spot -- in fact it's often more effective to say you'll deal with it later while expecting her to go to her room while you get your positive energy back.

Love & Logic saved my sanity & helped me be a loving, guiding, & patient parent. DS got to the point where all I had to ask was whether he wanted to choose a consequence if he continued what he was doing, & I only said it once -- he knew I'd always follow through. (We had absolutely no problems in his teen years & he's an amazing person at 23 today.)

L&L does advise that if you are still having anger & defiant issues after 3 months of following its program, then professional counseling for the entire family should be considered.

doublethinkmoney

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For the last few years, our daughter's attitude has become very difficult.  It's becoming steadily worse.  She screams at her younger brother several times a day.  For example, there was a baby deer on our yard and he said "come look out the window!"  She screamed "Stop talking to me!  Don't speak to me!"  She was looking for an ice pop yesterday and there were none left.  I heard her screaming "Those animals ate all the ice pops!"  She was referring to my son and his friend who each ate 1 ice pop.  She ate the majority of them.  She screams at her brother to "shut his little mouth."  When we discipline her for her behavior, she says things like we don't understand how stressful her life is, that we love her brother more and are taking his side, or she screams "stop yelling at me" (we sometimes yell but not usually) or "get out of my room."

Last night, we were supposed to go out to dinner for our son's birthday.  They each were allowed to invite a friend and the friends were here for the afternoon to swim.  We had told her in the morning that she would have to clean her room that day.  She didn't.  After a day full of her attitude, we realized she hadn't cleaned her room.  We told her she would have to clean it before we left for dinner.  She yelled about how horrible we are.  Complained to her friend about how awful her life is.  Huffed around the house stomping her feet and slamming doors.  I cancelled dinner.  I said I was not spending all this money on going out to a restaurant to have a miserable time because of her attitude.  As you can imagine, she took this very well (sarcasm).  We ordered pizza, fed the friends, and took them home. 

We have tried taking away her iPod, taking away TV/electronics, grounding her from friends.  We have tried involving her in more positive activities, like 4H and band.  She isn't athletic and hates team sports.

She has a victim mentality.  If she gets a bad grade, it's because the teacher doesn't like her, etc. 

I'm really finding myself becoming very angry with her. I'm trying to hold it in but it's becoming very difficult and I've just barely held back from completely losing it and screaming at her.  Summer break is coming up and I just don't know how I'm going to manage with her. 

What I'm planning on doing is sending her to her room for every eye roll or hostile tone and telling her she can come back out when she's ready to behave positively.  I'd also like to ban Disney Channel shows because the entire premise is that the parents are idiots and the little brothers are annoying.  This can't be helping.  My husband would never back me on that one though and he's mostly home with them in the afternoons/evenings.  I took her iPod yesterday (pretty much acts as a phone as long as she has wifi).  I told her she's not getting it back until I see a clear, consistent improvement in her attitude.

She sounds very angry. I remember being very angry at this age too. It was more due to a build up anger from previous incidents in my childhood, infidelity in my parents marriage and having to hear them fighting.

I ended up talking to a counselor for only one session but I think it did help acknowledge to myself and my parents that I had a reason to be angry and where it was coming from. I would recommend her "talking to someone about what she is feeling". A safe place she can say whatever she wants. Maybe a counselor or whatever but put it to her in way like that. I didn't feel there was anything wrong with me but I just didn't understand why I was so angry.

Eventually I let it go and moved on. My mom and I are a lot alike so we tended to clash as well. Also at that age I think kids are trying to find their self identity and push the family away to try and find who they are on their own. It may also help for YOU to talk to someone on how to deal with her behavior and understand it so that you don't get angry. My mom also would offer to bring me mCDonalds every Friday for lunch at school if I didn't "sass" her that week. It worked pretty well and I enjoyed my treat. So instead of taking things away I worked toward a reward.

I never realized Disney channel has such a story line, I'll have to keep that in mind as my daughter is only a toddler.


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BlueHouse

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How old is she?

Based on what you've described, I think taking her to see a counselor is a good idea.

She will be 12 next month.  I think this my own personal hangup, but my mother tried to get me to go to counseling as a teen and I was mortified.  I'm concerned that my daughter will think she is defective or accept it as her personal truth that she isn't mentally sound.  As an adult, I of coarse don't see it this way.  But as a child, I did.  I have reached out to a friend who is a counselor and she gave me a recommendation.  I will call.
My family had family and individual counseling when I was about that age and we all fought it tooth and nail.  No progress because we were so dead set against it. 
I think girls are just difficult at that age, but there are some things you can do that might get through.  I'm not an expert, but I do remember some of the things that helped me when I was that age and horrible child.  If you can find moments when she's not being aggressive, try to use those moments.

Don't be confrontational when saying these things.  Be the caring mom.  Wanting to help her.  So don't approach when either you or she is angry. 

  • Tell her that her behavior is partly driven by hormones, that you know she still loves you/brother/father, but that the word and actions just are very hurtful to other people.  Just recognizing this may help deal with it differently. 
  • Tell her that her behavior is unattractive and she cannot go through life being mean to other people.   
  • Tell her that a lot of times when people lash out at other people, it reveals a self-hatred and a self-loathing.  Tell her you love her and you want her to be able to love other people and not be filled with anger or hate.   
  • Google "Amy Cuddy Power Pose" and then watch the 15 minute Ted Talk.  Use the PowerPose before dealing with her.  It will help.  I promise.  After you've mastered it, share it with your daughter and have her use it too.  It physically changes the levels of stress hormones in your body.  Have this be a shared secret between you two and something to laugh about together or suggest to each other in times of stress. 

As mentioned above, I was not a nice child and when people were able to get through to me, it was usually something about how others would perceive me if I didn't try to be kind.  Not just appear to be kind -- but really mean it.  I guess it was learning empathy. 

Good luck.  Smile and remember how much your daughter needs you to remain calm and help her through these difficult years. 


Laura33

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BTDT.  You are in a no-win situation, because any punishment just verifies her view of herself as the victim.

So, 1, counseling.  You guys need a reboot, a new way of interacting.  FWIW, we framed it as "family" counseling -- in my case, I wanted DH to learn better ways of dealing with her, so I bullshitted *him* into thinking it was about *her*.  You can do the opposite.

2.  1-2-3 Magic.  Easier with little kids, but the key bit is that it forces you to respond *before* you lose your shit.  Do not yell, do not get visibly angry, do not let her see you sweat.  The more volatile the kid, the calmer you need to be.  When you lose it, they feel *less* safe -- because they know you are supposed to be the rock, and so if they can poke and prod you into moving, well, what do they have that is stable?

3.  Physical checkup.  Doctor is good, but also do you own assessment -- sufficient sleep, healthy foods, etc.  Is she in the wrong classes at school, is there an issue with friends, etc.  Also, I see you said she is 12 -- OMG, yes, THE worst age with us.  With my own DD, the 6 months before she had her first period were sheer hell, and we can still tell when it's coming on by the pretty dramatic change in volatility.  So if this is a recent uptick, it is very likely hormonally-driven.  Not that it excuses it -- as I've said to my own DD, yes, it totally sucks and it's not fair, but you are going to have these intense feelings and mood swings for probably 40 years or so, so you need to learn ways to recognize and deal with them.  But have a little empathy and treat her like you used to when she was a toddler -- expecting her to be calm and pleasant when she has PMS is like taking a hungry toddler to the mall during nap time.  :-)  So if/when you can identify a pattern, try to set her up for success during those periods, with lower expectations, fewer plans, some nice calm reading time alone, or family movie time, etc.

4.  Catch her doing something right.  This is SO the hard part!!  But right now you are in a riff where the only way she is getting attention is by misbehaving, and so since she craves attention, it creates a vicious cycle.  You need to pair giving her less attention for the bad stuff (the 1-2-3 Magic recommendation) with more attention for the good stuff.  And I mean any little thing -- if she manages to storm off instead of yelling at her brother, that is a win, let her know you noticed how she kept control of herself around him.

5.  Give her more responsibility.  When my DD gets into a rut of being an entitled nasty creature, I figure I have made life too easy for her, so she gets more chores.  But the key is the chores are "grown-up" chores that help her feel independent and responsible and grow her skills.  E.g., when my own DD was insufferably 12, it became making dinner for the family (which I chose for DD because she has always been interested in cooking -- and this week, btw, my now-16-year-old is making us dinner every night!).  The first few times, I was working at home but in the other room, so she could figure it out herself but come get me with questions, and it was actually good one-on-one time.  Added bonus is that it gives you an opportunity to catch her doing something right.

6.  Find ways to spend time one-on-one with her.  Make it fun -- you guys need some time to remember that you love each other and just relax.

7.  Look for opportunities to let her open up.  If you can find a calm time, you can ask if there is something going on, how she's feeling, because she is too nice a person to act this way, etc.

8.  Cut way back on the criticism.  I know this is counterintuitive when they are acting like total shits, but she is a walking open wound right now, and every hint of criticism is pouring salt in it.  I drew the line at hurting her brother or saying nasty things to us -- that happened, she was gone immediately, no questions, no arguments (again, 1-2-3 Magic), and the rest of us continued on with whatever we were doing.  But general whining, complaining, etc., eh, water off a duck's back.  A/k/a pick your battles -- and when you do engage, do it with as few words and as calm a manner as possible.

9.  Pay attention to what she does, not what she says.  My DD tends to be very verbal, and I have noticed that she will vent and kvetch and complain to me -- and then she gets it out of her system and goes and does whatever it is she is supposed to do.  This happens a lot with tests -- so the drama, "I'm going to fail!!!" and then she does just fine.  If this is how she is built, you might need to work on your ability to take all the words less seriously.  I found it almost impossible not to respond, because I had advice!  I could make it better!  But the talking was just her way of venting stress -- she didn't want me to fix it for her, and in fact my "helpful" responses just made it worse, because she read it as me not having confidence that she could solve her problems on her own.

10.  Always send the message that she is a great kid and you have confidence she will get through whatever it is.  Most especially when you are despairing that she will end up in jail for fratricide.  :-)  The only way to replace the voice in her head telling her she is worthless and bad is yours telling her she is good, even when she is bad.  E.g., my "you are way too nice a kid for me to let you be mean to your brother" comment above.  Or "you are way too competent for me to let you get away with not cleaning your room."  The point is that she is not living up to her own standards.

11.  Be a Smother occasionally.  Ever seen The Goldbergs?  I spent the first season laughing at the mom, thinking, OMG, I never want to be the mom who can't see her kid's faults.  But then I realized that sometimes, that's exactly what our kids need.  They have a whole world telling them they are stupid, fat, lazy, whatever; they need us to be the ones who tell them they're perfect and take their side [even when they're wrong] and say "you got this."  I did this one time in the car, and I truly think it was a turning point. DD and I got into a squabble about missing assignments or something, and she was feeding me lots of excuses that I knew were crap, and we went from having a nice conversation to total snark to pissy stony silence in like 45 seconds.  And I said to myself, crap, I really blew that.  What would the Smother do?  So I said, OK, I really blew that, I'm sorry I jumped on you, let me that again -- I know you've got this, so what's your plan?  I asked if she needed me to help out, or if she wanted to go to her teacher herself to figure out the missing assignments -- "Because I'm your Smother and I am perfectly happy to go marching into that school and ask your teacher wtf she thinks she's doing not giving you the makeup work."  [Of course, I also knew that the idea of her mother storming into school was the *last* thing DD wanted]  And we ended up having a great talk, and she was actually giggling by the end. 

12.  Realize there's only so much you can control or fix.  My DS is my DD's favorite punching bag.  That is where I draw the line -- I tell her that I wouldn't let anyone treat her that way, and so I am not going to let her treat him that way.  But, my God, it's like spitting into a hurricane sometimes.  So I also had to acknowledge that she is going to reap what she sows.  I can't turn her into a warm fuzzy person; she has an edge to her, and she always will, and in fact that is part of what makes her great.  So if she is a shit to her brother, she is just going to not have a good relationship with him when he grows up.  And it sucks, but in the end that's her decision to make.  She is hardheaded and so determined to be independent that she will bullheadedly insist on making her own mistakes instead of learning from mine.  It kills me to see her doing stupid stuff, but as long as it isn't stuff that will take her totally off-track, I give her the leeway to make her own decisions.

13.  Make sure the little brother isn't poking the bear.  Siblings definitely have their own language and relationships, and angelic little brothers have been known to intentionally annoy their older siblings in the hope that sis gets caught and gets busted.  Not that that excuses nastiness, but it's the difference between removing one vs. removing both.

Sorry you are going through this.  It sucks, and there is no 100% effective fix.  But I have to say, life has gotten a lot smoother for us, knock on wood -- DD craves independence and competence, and so now that she is getting older and I am giving her lots of free rein and treating her more like an adult, the nastiness has really cut down quite a bit.

sjc0816

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Yes, your daughter is running your household. When you gave the privileges back, was it because she changed her behavior or because she kept at you to give them back?

Have you tried Love & Logic? This system is over 35 years old & it works. I first learned about it because DS' teachers in grade school used it, so I did a class with the parenting version. There are many books & videos available on the LoveAndLogic.com website.

In a nutshell, L&L allows parents to allow the child to choose from options you pre-approve & utilizes natural consequences for bad behavior. You cannot reason with an angry child; the child earns the right to speak with you only in calm & kind tones. For example, instead of cancelling your son's birthday dinner, you have a baby sitter on standby so your daughter loses the party instead of your son, & she gets charged for the sitter. No friend. No social events until the room gets cleaned according to your list or directions. In some cases, a child who slammed their bedroom door repeatedly came home to find the door removed. You don't have to come up with a consequence on the spot -- in fact it's often more effective to say you'll deal with it later while expecting her to go to her room while you get your positive energy back.

Love & Logic saved my sanity & helped me be a loving, guiding, & patient parent. DS got to the point where all I had to ask was whether he wanted to choose a consequence if he continued what he was doing, & I only said it once -- he knew I'd always follow through. (We had absolutely no problems in his teen years & he's an amazing person at 23 today.)

L&L does advise that if you are still having anger & defiant issues after 3 months of following its program, then professional counseling for the entire family should be considered.

I just put a hold on the Love and Logic (teenage version) after reading this post. Thank you for the advice!

OP, we are dealing with some attitude issues with my 11 year old DS, so you are not alone. He's an amazing kid....everyone loves him and he's respectful to everyone except his parents. I think we've spiraled into a hole of negativity and we are all feeding off of each other and we really need to turn it around. Our biggest issue currently, is that DS is very impulsive with his words and when he gets upset, nastiness just flies out of his mouth. He called me a "jerk" at his brother's baseball game the other day because I got mad at him for repeatedly asking for crap from the concession stand after I told him no.

That is another thing that we are dealing with....he does not take "no" for an answer. He is the most persistent (and intense) kid I have EVER met....and it usually ends in either his dad or myself losing our marbles because he keeps asking for things over....and over.....and over....even after an answer has been given.

Anyway, we are trying to work through it...but it feels really difficult right now.

green daisy

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Oh my goodness.  Thank you all so much for the amazing responses!!  I knew you were the right group to ask!  I'm taking all the advice to heart.  All of it.  And I will read Love and Logic.  I appreciate that you guys have given me actionable steps to take.  You have made my day!

caracol

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Basically ditto on Laura 33. I was this kid, and there was really no outward family reason for my anger. I think, in retrospect, it was partly hormones, partly being overweight, partly hating myself, partly feeling trapped, and partly dealing with being social awkward and having huge amounts of social anxiety. I was like a animal trying to gnaw my paw from the bear trap of a loving family. Doesn't make any sense, but that is what it felt like and I hurt myself and others. I understand now that a lot of the angst I felt was because didn't fit a variety of standards, which you become aware of in middle school, and feel helpless against.

This person cannot always verbalize or understand where their frustration or anger is coming from. Really, the only way I can describe it is feeling like 2 year old. Just blinding anger that takes over. And you get more angry because you can't explain it. When I was 15 and 16, I would hole up in my room for hours to avoid interacting with my family, because I knew good things didn't come of it and I was trying to protect myself and them.

I don't know if a counselor would help. It would've made me feel more shamed, as if something was really mentally wrong with me. I already felt so terrible about myself, I don't know if talking to a stranger at that age would have made a difference. Really, cut back on criticism, especially when it comes to appearance or the body. Make it clear to your daughter that it's okay to feel anger, to feel sad, to feel stressed. These are all normal feelings, but how we respond to them is what is important. These feelings may be new and overwhelming. Being in happy family when you're angry and depressed is awful, because your unhappiness is magnified.

5) More responsibility and throw them into social situations where they have to not be total assholes. Let them deal with the consequences of their actions. This sounds strange, but give her more ways to act like an adult. It is sooooooo easy to take your family for granted at this age, so pack them off to camp, dump them at a youth group, and leave them at choir practice. Distance. Throw them out into the water and let them learn to swim.

13) Poking the bear. My siblings LOVED to goad me into an enormous outburst. This pattern of interaction lasted well into my 20s, even after I calmed down around 18. The habit was still there for them, and the fearful and curious looks when they would poke just to see what would happen. Make sure both know that the outburst and and the goading are inappropriate.

On the other side of it (and it will get better), I hated high school and am in contact with exactly no one from high school. I made long, lasting friendships in college, am happily married, and have good relationships with my parents and siblings and chat with them regularly. I thrived when I left the family because I was able to explore new identities and new ways of interaction. Do I live a least a day's drive away from my family? Yes. I can't stay with them for more than a few days because it reminds me of all the anger I felt, and those are tough memories.

I do have an edge and do continue to be more aggressive and I still find social situations extremely stressful. Your 12 year old is just embarking on this, but it will get better as they learn different ways of coping and meet new people who respond differently. One on one conversations are good, and they'll be more open with you now than in 3 years. This person is thinking of themselves a unit for the first time, and you are thinking about the family as a unit and how they fit into to or don't. There's a mismatch in units because this person can't value the family the way you do at the moment.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 09:31:49 AM by caracol »

galliver

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One of the most effective things my parents ever did... I was probably 11, had a friend over, and when my mom wouldn't let us do something (not sure if we wanted to go someplace late, or use electronics). I said to my friend something like "ugh, she's so stupid." A few hours later, after my friend had gone home, I discovered my mother wasn't speaking to me. Over the next day or two, I discovered I was also effectively grounded, since she wouldn't take me anywhere or allow me to have friends over or use TV or computer (and neither would dad, though he still spoke to me). Probably took me 3 days total of preteen stubbornness to (a) realize that parents have feelings, and are not, in fact, rocks; (b) realize I had hurt my mom's feelings by being rude, and behind her back at that (c) realize all that my mom/parents did for me "above and beyond" the bare minimum and (d) come up with a genuine, tearful apology and reconcile with her.

I can't say it was a magic cure-all and we never had a conflict again, but I don't think I was ever willfully nasty to/about them. And of course, looking back from an adult perspective, I realize that was probably *so* much harder (esp to keep up for that long!) than just chewing me out and revoking a privilege. It was a more adult, natural consequence (if you're a shit to people as an adult, they don't want to associate with you).

And fwiw, my relationship with my 5 years younger sister improved dramatically at 12/7 yo respectively when we gained an interest in common...Which happened to be an obsession with all things Harry Potter. Not sure anyone could have predicted or created that, though.

joonifloofeefloo

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Following...and empathizing!

My kid (boy, 12) has been having "moments" since January. It is very weird. Probably 95% of the time he is sweet, kind, happy...and then...wtf?

To add to all the excellent thoughts already posted, I will add that I'm bringing Kid to a functional doctor, to consider underlying physical things (diet, allergies, mineral dependencies, etc). Because if it can be remedied easily, or remedied with some front loading, I say why not? :)   Such things triggered a 180 in him when he was 3, so it feels worth an investigation.

cj25

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Part of it is just typical bratty teenage crap. Just need to get some kind of handle before it goes to full on rebellion. My friend did take away Disney channel and other similar shows and it made a huge difference on her daughters attitude.  Consistency is key.  As much as they think they don't want boundaries and whatnot, they do much better with them and thrive with them.  But just keep loving her through it.  Good luck.  That age is extremely annoying.  LOL!

Lady SA

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Checking in as another difficult teenage girl.
In my case, it was a combination of undiagnosed mild anxiety and my parents did not handle it well. Their parenting skills topped out when I was about 12, and I chafed under it horribly. My mother is a pre-k teacher, so just imagine her coming home and bringing her preschool teacher voice with her and speaking to 15, 16, 18 year old me like I'm 7. I HATED IT, but because our family system was pretty dysfunctional, I could never bring up how much it (or anything else that hurt my feelings) bothered me or have that be received well (so nothing would ever be fixed or repaired), so I just kept quiet while the resentment and prickliness built and built to the point where every single interaction would just bristle with tension and anger. I was a good kid, never hung with bad kids, always did my homework, never got into trouble, but my parents made every single interaction seem as though they thought I was incompetent, mean, dumb (they never said it, but combination patronizing baby voice and lack of autonomy or trust made it strongly feel that way).

My brother would also intentionally goad me to the point of an outburst, but none of us in the family ever developed or learned good coping skills so I handled it the only way I knew how to make it stop: by screaming and scaring him to get away from me. No other method would make the poking, teasing, annoying behavior stop, no matter how calm I was or if I left or anything (he would just follow and gleefully continue). It felt like I was harassed into a corner with only one option, and then punished for it.
Then, because of the family system where nothing is every brought up or repaired, my resentment and frustration with my brother was at the same tension point where every interaction just brought out the monster.

What a relief it was to go to college. I finally was treated like a capable adult. I kept my own schedule, made lots of friends, did my homework, totally thrived, and I managed it all just fine. But going home during the summers just threw into stark relief how badly my family unintentionally treated me, and again, it was now ingrained that you never, ever bring up frustrations, so it was an almost instant change when I came back from breaks because that atmosphere was still there. At college, I was outgoing and calm and happy, and going home it was like a switch flipped, just chafing and angry and frustrated. 20 years of vague resentment would descend.

Honestly, the thing that I wish my parents did is two-fold: 1) realized how much they themselves were contributing to the dynamic and 2) simply adopted the mantra of "don't make it worse".

If your DD is being a little shit, don't make the situation worse. Don't yell, don't put your emotional needs ahead of hers, don't crack down on her. I'm putting myself in your daughters shoes and this behavior is a cry for help. Your child has a problem that needs to be solved, but SHE is not THE problem. My parents behaved as if *I*, the person, were the problem, which falls into the category of "making it worse"--it spiraled the situation out of control, and often them doing that would escalate the situation beyond expectations. They didn't want to help me or help repair an issue I was having, they simply wanted my outside behavior to be perfect, but didn't recognize, let alone help me manage, the inner turmoil and hurt. That is a recipe for feelings boiling over uncontrollably and unexpectedly. When big upset feelings are kept under wraps, that just causes the feelings to come out sideways and in unrelated areas--those feelings NEED to be expressed and released, somehow, but if it doesn't feel safe for her, that's when you will see aggression and frustration in unexpected areas.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 10:36:52 AM by LadyLB »

Lady SA

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I wanted to add that counseling would have been SO HELPFUL for me. I may have felt a little embarrassed about it, but I had a lot of big feelings that my family system wasn't allowing me to process or express. Family counseling would have helped us create better interactions and help release the pressure cooker of my frustration and resentment, by giving me the language and tools to help express myself in a healthy way and giving my parents the tools to actually receive it in a healthy way (instead of switching on the shame, blame, outrage in response which just trained me to avoid anything except shallow interactions that just reminded me of how unanchored and unloved I felt. It was a vicious, HIDDEN cycle).

I think it could be helpful for your daughter, also, but that means you have to frame it very carefully. Maybe start going to counseling yourself to learn how you may be contributing to the dynamic and learn healthy responses or ideas on how to handle it, and then slowly introduce her to it and bring her in for joint sessions, framed as her helping YOU learn better behavior, then have her go to a few sessions alone to have the therapist nudge out what's going on for her and if she needs additional resources or help. If you start going alone, you can also ask your therapist for ideas on how to bring her in.

Laura33

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One (shorter, I hope) follow-up:  when DD hit 11-12, her drive for independence became all-consuming.  So we adapted our parenting style to "give her enough rope to hang herself" -- the starting assumption was always to let her do it her way, but we also kept a close eye, and if the freedom was too much, we swooped in and made her do it our way (over massive fits, of course).

E.g., schoolwork:  she wanted to do it in front of the TV and with music on.  I thought that was ridiculously stupid.  But, ok -- as long as she's keeping the grades up, do it your way.  And once the grades started dropping, then she could sit at the table after dinner every night, with no distractions, until she was done, and we'd routinely check Engrade and ask about missing assignments, etc.

Of course, every year, she'd reach a critical point and everything would crater, and we'd swoop in and hover and supervise, and she'd have huge massive fits.  But:  every year, the crater came later and later, and this year (sophomore), she hardly had one at all.

The larger point is that the most powerful force in your DD's life right now is the need to separate herself from her family and establish her independence and competence at adulting.  The more you can recognize that, acknowledge her as a proto-adult, and actively look for (safe) ways to provide almost-adult-level freedom + responsibility, the smoother the rest of your life will be.

FWIW, I would also personally *not* advise the silent treatment -- my job is to help my kid figure out her powerful emotions and learn how to express them appropriately, so I try to model the behavior I want from her.  I grew up in a very passive-aggressive environment, where so. many. things. were unspoken and indirect, and conflict/unhappiness were subtly frowned on, and, boy, it just wears you down.  So when my own kids started whining about having chocolate chip pancakes *again* on Sunday morning, you'd better believe I let them know that I was getting up extra early to make them a treat, and that if they were not grateful for the treat, then I was perfectly happy to sleep in instead.  And I did.

Lady SA

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One of the most effective things my parents ever did... I was probably 11, had a friend over, and when my mom wouldn't let us do something (not sure if we wanted to go someplace late, or use electronics). I said to my friend something like "ugh, she's so stupid." A few hours later, after my friend had gone home, I discovered my mother wasn't speaking to me. Over the next day or two, I discovered I was also effectively grounded, since she wouldn't take me anywhere or allow me to have friends over or use TV or computer (and neither would dad, though he still spoke to me). Probably took me 3 days total of preteen stubbornness to (a) realize that parents have feelings, and are not, in fact, rocks; (b) realize I had hurt my mom's feelings by being rude, and behind her back at that (c) realize all that my mom/parents did for me "above and beyond" the bare minimum and (d) come up with a genuine, tearful apology and reconcile with her.

It was a more adult, natural consequence (if you're a shit to people as an adult, they don't want to associate with you).

I'm glad this worked for you, however the passive-aggressive silent treatment can be very damaging too. Imagine a more sensitive child terrified because the love of her parents was whisked away and now has no idea how to "earn" it back because the parent refuses to look or speak to her. Never mind the fact that a child shouldn't have to "earn" love (children SHOULD have to earn privileges, etc, but respect and love should never be used as leverage. It removes all trust in the parental figure).

Instead, it might have been better for your mom, right after you said she was dumb, to say "Ouch! That was pretty mean and hurt my feelings. I don't think its a good idea to have a friend over if you can't be nice. Friend, I'm going to call your mom now to come pick you up."
And then after friend was gone, to sit down with you to explain kindly what you had done wrong and what was now going to happen because of your behavior (no TV, no rides, no etc) because people who you are mean to don't want to do you favors. THAT would be a natural consequence and how adults would manage their problems. The passive aggressive silent treatment is not how most adults handle issues.

I will add in the fact that a very similar situation happened to me growing up and it backfired terribly. I didn't make my bed when I was around 10, and my grandmother, who was watching us for a weekend, blew up and then refused to even look at me and pretended I didn't exist even though I was now terrified. I made the bed and began following her and pleading and sobbing and falling all over myself apologizing and nothing worked, she was still mad. She made me, a child, responsible for fixing her adult feelings and watched me fold myself into ever more painful contortions and trying to figure out the magic way to make her love me again. The abrupt feeling of having her love ripped away was absolutely terrifying and is the stem of my anxiety issues today, 10+ years later. I was never able to trust that person ever again and my parents did not handle the fallout well, which then translated into the fear of my parents, even though they didnt do it, taking away their love for any little transgression too. And THAT fear, unable to be expressed, began the huge hidden feelings coming out sideways problem.

Every child is different, so OP, I would caution against using passive-aggressive parenting techniques, that's a good way to teach your children to hide their feelings and learn you are not a safe harbor.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 10:33:33 AM by LadyLB »

cadillacmike

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At lot of the above sounds reasonable. We have no kids but were guardians for her nephew for 2 years when he was about this age.

One thing we learned was that sending a kid to his / her room is NOT a punishment if there's a TV, computer video games, phone, etc. in it so when he got too out of hand - and he Never got as bad as your daughter seems to be - we had HIM clear EVERYTHING in the above list, etc from the room, put it in a box / bag and into Our bedroom closet it went.

It never took too long for him to see the error of his ways.

He want from failing 7th grade at his home to passing  and then improved his grades to honor roll and eventually went back home and finished high school.

You have to rule the home, not a unruly teen or pre-teen.

SuperSecretName

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For the last few years, our daughter's attitude has become very difficult.  It's becoming steadily worse.  She screams at her younger brother several times a day.  For example, there was a baby deer on our yard and he said "come look out the window!"  She screamed "Stop talking to me!  Don't speak to me!" (1) She was looking for an ice pop yesterday and there were none left.  I heard her screaming "Those animals ate all the ice pops!"  She was referring to my son and his friend who each ate 1 ice pop.  She ate the majority of them. 2 She screams at her brother to "shut his little mouth."3  When we discipline her for her behavior, she says things like we don't understand how stressful her life is, that we love her brother more and are taking his side, or she screams "stop yelling at me" (we sometimes yell but not usually)4 or "get out of my room." 5

I have a 12 year girl also.  For a contrarian angle:

1 -  So?  She has a right to not want to interact.  Instruct your son to avoid her and not talk to her.
2 - Again, so?  If this is an issue, she has her pops, and your son has his.  Give them independence to track their own usage.
3 - Um, yeah.  It's not best, but siblings talk like that.  And don't try banning words, since they'll just use other ones.  If animal is the worst word she uses about her brother, that's not too bad
4 - So, you yell.  And she yells.  And she gets in trouble for yelling at you.  Do you get in trouble for yelling at her?
5 - You invaded her space.  Her room is sacred and you have to respect that.

Regarding the birthday dinner - so did she clean her room or not?  You punished your son for her actions.  Misery loves company and you caved.  You should have just left her at home and gone.  12 y/o can stay by themselves.

Anyway, it boils down to backing the hell off.  Give her space.

If you get her in trouble for minor infractions, your life will be miserable. 

And Disney for a 12 year old?  Are you not letting her have access to other shows?   Blaming this behavior on those Disney shows is absurd.  Disney is a bit childish.  What do her friends watch?

EDIT:  Also, about cleaning rooms:  who cares if it's messy.  It's her room not yours.  Again, back off.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:06:51 AM by SuperSecretName »

catccc

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Not to give you a ton of reading, but along the lines of love and logic, I'd also recommend 'Parent Effectiveness Training' (aka PET).  Really great listening and communication skills for all types of relationships, not just parent/child.  I've used it at work with great success.  And 'How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk."  All of these shy away from punishment and work on forming trusting relationships that result in kids that want to behave out of consideration, not compliance.

Dee18

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Your daughter misbehaves and the consequence is that your son loses his birthday dinner? In such a scenario you might want to instead have one parent stay home with daughter and let her make a peanut butter sandwich while other parent drops off daughter's friend at her house and then takes son and his friend out for a fun meal.   Your daughter controlled the whole family with that dinner cancellation; she was allowed to be a bully. Many good books have been suggested, but I think one way to begin is for you to find a counselor who can help you come up with a parenting plan and provide you with support to carry it out.

When my daughter was 13 she got her first phone with texting capabilities.  She quickly became less happy because of the steady information feed of girls that age constantly judging each other, forming and reforming groups to the exclusion of some girls, etc.  can you identify changes (in addition to hormones) that have happened in her life?  Something at school? Does she get one on one time with you and separately with her dad? A professional can help you identify the issues and help you cope with this stressful time.  I found consulting a good psychologist very helpful and I took a great parenting class, based on How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will talk.

My sister and my mom started having a bad relationship when my sister was 13 or 14.  My sister would ask my mom to put her hair in curlers (this was a long time ago LOL) and then scream at my mom for doing it wrong.  My mother did this night after night.  Sadly, decades later my sister still bullies my mother and my mother still allows it to happen.  It is great that you are being proactive with this.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 12:28:56 PM by Dee18 »

galliver

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One of the most effective things my parents ever did... I was probably 11, had a friend over, and when my mom wouldn't let us do something (not sure if we wanted to go someplace late, or use electronics). I said to my friend something like "ugh, she's so stupid." A few hours later, after my friend had gone home, I discovered my mother wasn't speaking to me. Over the next day or two, I discovered I was also effectively grounded, since she wouldn't take me anywhere or allow me to have friends over or use TV or computer (and neither would dad, though he still spoke to me). Probably took me 3 days total of preteen stubbornness to (a) realize that parents have feelings, and are not, in fact, rocks; (b) realize I had hurt my mom's feelings by being rude, and behind her back at that (c) realize all that my mom/parents did for me "above and beyond" the bare minimum and (d) come up with a genuine, tearful apology and reconcile with her.

It was a more adult, natural consequence (if you're a shit to people as an adult, they don't want to associate with you).

I'm glad this worked for you, however the passive-aggressive silent treatment can be very damaging too. Imagine a more sensitive child terrified because the love of her parents was whisked away and now has no idea how to "earn" it back because the parent refuses to look or speak to her. Never mind the fact that a child shouldn't have to "earn" love (children SHOULD have to earn privileges, etc, but respect and love should never be used as leverage. It removes all trust in the parental figure).

Instead, it might have been better for your mom, right after you said she was dumb, to say "Ouch! That was pretty mean and hurt my feelings. I don't think its a good idea to have a friend over if you can't be nice. Friend, I'm going to call your mom now to come pick you up."
And then after friend was gone, to sit down with you to explain kindly what you had done wrong and what was now going to happen because of your behavior (no TV, no rides, no etc) because people who you are mean to don't want to do you favors. THAT would be a natural consequence and how adults would manage their problems. The passive aggressive silent treatment is not how most adults handle issues.

I will add in the fact that a very similar situation happened to me growing up and it backfired terribly. I didn't make my bed when I was around 10, and my grandmother, who was watching us for a weekend, blew up and then refused to even look at me and pretended I didn't exist even though I was now terrified. I made the bed and began following her and pleading and sobbing and falling all over myself apologizing and nothing worked, she was still mad. She made me, a child, responsible for fixing her adult feelings and watched me fold myself into ever more painful contortions and trying to figure out the magic way to make her love me again. The abrupt feeling of having her love ripped away was absolutely terrifying and is the stem of my anxiety issues today, 10+ years later. I was never able to trust that person ever again and my parents did not handle the fallout well, which then translated into the fear of my parents, even though they didnt do it, taking away their love for any little transgression too. And THAT fear, unable to be expressed, began the huge hidden feelings coming out sideways problem.

Every child is different, so OP, I would caution against using passive-aggressive parenting techniques, that's a good way to teach your children to hide their feelings and learn you are not a safe harbor.

So, a couple caveats...
1) This was the ONLY time this ever happened (with any of the 3 of us) and in fact the only time my mom gave anyone the silent treatment as far as I know. If you use it regularly, I agree that you can teach passive-aggressive behavior.
2) It didn't really feel aggressive, even passively. She felt...sad. The whole 3 days. :'( It sucks to make your mom sad, like really sad. Even when you're 11.
3) She knew me (/us). Firstly, because she was my (our) parent, and moreover because she was a stay-at-home parent. You have to have a strong pre-existing relationship (not necessary SAH parent).
4) She never withdrew her love, just her interaction. And my dad was there to explain it; he actually told me exactly what I had done and what I had to do to fix it (apologize). I think I came in at day 1.5 with a "fine, I'm SORRY." Which we all know is not actually an apology.
5) I will completely agree it was harsh. Very harsh. It was scary and somewhat hurtful at the time. That's what made it cut deep enough to actually teach me something (rather than allow me to play the victim being oppressed by lack of fun).
6) The fact that all was forgiven once I actually felt bad about it was very important. When I actually came to her with my feelings and hurt and fear and was vulnerable with her, she was there.
7) I definitely wasn't suggesting copying this strategy verbatim; it's how it played out with me, but every kid *is* different. But in general, letting them know you have feelings and they can be hurt when the kid is being a snot might be a better approach than the challenge posed by stoicism. It provides a much better reason to consider the effect of actions/words than "because I said so."

Finally, I'm sorry if I give offense, but the approach you suggest seems appropriate for a 5 year old. An 11 year old or teenager would see through the fakeness of that in a millisecond (I've worked with a lot of teenagers in summer camps). Furthermore, you are reinforcing the child/authority figure dynamic in that situation. And the way I have seen adults deal with people that treat them poorly is not to enforce consequences on them (when an adult tries to hurt another adult back for some perceived or actual slight, we usually call that "drama", or worse) but to eliminate those unhealthy interactions from their life. If they run into that person later, they might say hello and move on. Which is what my mom showed me, to a fairly limited extent, while still living in the same home and still taking care of me (feeding, cleaning, laundry, homework, sleep, etc). The reconciliation is also certainly really important to mitigating any harm done. Finally, I'm sure if she'd mis-estimated my stubbornness and it had dragged on much longer, she would have done something else to reconcile.

Basically, I agree a child should never have to earn your parents love, and I *never did*; but you may have to earn your *good relationship* with anyone, including family and parents, and middle school is plenty old enough to learn that.

SuperSecretName

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Your daughter misbehaves and the consequence is that your son loses his birthday dinner? In such a scenario you might want to instead have one parent stay home with daughter and let her make a peanut butter sandwich while other parent drops off daughter's friend at her house and then takes son and his friend out for a fun meal.   Your daughter control of the whole family with that dinner cancellation; she was allowed to be a bully.
She wasn't a bully, she was a 12 year old girl and her parents dropped the ball and handled it poorly.

The parents need to stop creating artificial battles, and look a lot more inward.  Everyone has suggestions about "fixing" the daughter.  It shouldn't be assumed that the kid is the problem here.

mm1970

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Quote
I have a 12 year girl also.  For a contrarian angle:

1 -  So?  She has a right to not want to interact.  Instruct your son to avoid her and not talk to her.
2 - Again, so?  If this is an issue, she has her pops, and your son has his.  Give them independence to track their own usage.
3 - Um, yeah.  It's not best, but siblings talk like that.  And don't try banning words, since they'll just use other ones.  If animal is the worst word she uses about her brother, that's not too bad
4 - So, you yell.  And she yells.  And she gets in trouble for yelling at you.  Do you get in trouble for yelling at her?
5 - You invaded her space.  Her room is sacred and you have to respect that.

1 - she does not have the right to be disrespectful.  "I don't really want to look at a deer in the yard."
2 - this was already covered.  She ate most of them.  She does not have the right to be disrespectful.
3 - Screaming is not okay.  She needs to adjust her method of talking to her brother.
4 - yeah, everyone should stop yelling
5 - my house.  Her room is sacred when she pays rent or has her own mortgage.  That said, if she needs space to cool down, the correct method of going about that is "mom, please give me some space"

In general, I have found many of the other responses to be great, and I'm following this thread.  I will have to check out some of these book recommendations.

My kids are boys, but one is nearing 12.  The other is smaller.  They both have had emotional outburst issues from time to time, and I've gotten good recommendations from friends, many of whom I think use Love and Logic.  So I should just buy the book.

For the younger one, when he would get upset and yell and scream, we would put him in their room.  He would NOT want comfort.  But I sat there with him, on recommendation from a friend, until he calmed down and came over and sat on my lap.  It was a watershed moment for me to not yell at him.  It didn't help.  I let him know that he's right to be upset, but he has to be respectful.  And I sat waiting for him to calm down.

With my older son, that has been the battle off and on for years too.  He gets very upset and disappointed when things don't go his way, so it's teaching him regularly, and being CONSISTENT, the requirement to be respectful of us and his little brother.

Definitely need to come back to this thread more and more.  I completely lost my shit last night because of always having to be the bad guy in the house.  My husband will let him stay up to watch TV until 10 or 11, when the kid wakes up at 5:45 am, regardless of when he falls asleep.  AND will let him use electronics all damn day, which makes him cranky.

green daisy

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Your daughter misbehaves and the consequence is that your son loses his birthday dinner? In such a scenario you might want to instead have one parent stay home with daughter and let her make a peanut butter sandwich while other parent drops off daughter's friend at her house and then takes son and his friend out for a fun meal.   Your daughter control of the whole family with that dinner cancellation; she wa allowed to be a bully. Many good books have been suggested, but I think one way to begin is for you to find a counselor who can help you come up with a parenting plan and provide you with support to carry it out.

It was an awkward situation because she had a friend over who we were supposed to be feeding dinner to.  I wasn't going to bring her home without giving her dinner.  And it potentially would have been uncomfortable for the friend to go out to dinner with us without my daughter.  We promised my son and his friend a birthday dinner another night.  Under ordinary circumstances, one of us would've gone and one would've stayed home, but the friend in the mix made it awkward.  I guess one of us could've gone with the boys and one could've stayed home with daughter/friend, but I didn't really think of it at the time.  And I wasn't going to leave her home alone because she was screaming about her horrible life and was packing a bag to go live outside.  She may not have been here when we got back. 

green daisy

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The room thing.  Our house is a small ranch.  Her room is across from the kitchen.  She came in from outside and my husband told her she had to clean her room before we went out.  She stormed off in a tirade about how it wasn't fair, etc.  He went a few steps into her room and was being very calm saying how we had already told her that morning that she had to clean her room that day.  That's when she was yelling to get out of her room and for him to stop yelling (he wasn't). 

I am all for her needing some space in her room to decompress or be alone.   And the room is still a mess.  I think she did clean it up somewhat. 

She started acting this way  when she was about 9.  It's getting slowly worse over time.  I had initially thought it was a phase.  She seemed really well-adjusted before this started.  Social, happy, friendly, easy to explain things to if her behavior was off-base.  She gets along well with other kids as long as the other kids are really nice.  If they're slightly bossy or rude, she can't handle it.  She does well with girls who are a few years younger than she is because they're not mean yet.  The middle school age girls are calling each other "ugly", "fat", "stupid-ass" for fun.  Even if they consider themselves to be your friend.  She has a few friends who don't do that and she gets along well with them.  I'm fine with that.  I don't expect her to be friends with kids who are mean.

But thank you all for the advice.  My library has that book in stock and I'm stopping by this afternoon for it. 

joonifloofeefloo

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I will add that my son LOVES counselling :)
I make sure he's with someone he feels super comfy and happy with.
I tell him he can say anything and everything to the counsellor, including about me and my fuck ups.
It is a totally private, safe space for him, in which he can get everything out.
I know almost zilch about their content.

They have so much fun.
Often I hear him laughing hard :)

His last one just went on mat leave, so we lost her, but I will find him a new one. While I didn't know the content of their meetings, the results were clear.

Counselling -especially with EMDR (regardless of lack of identified trauma)- has always been very beneficial to him. And now that he's older, even with a serious developmental disability he is able to take in new ideas from a third party.

Highly recommend. There are various sources of funding for therapy; you might have one.

Vindicated

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Your daughter misbehaves and the consequence is that your son loses his birthday dinner? In such a scenario you might want to instead have one parent stay home with daughter and let her make a peanut butter sandwich while other parent drops off daughter's friend at her house and then takes son and his friend out for a fun meal.   Your daughter control of the whole family with that dinner cancellation; she was allowed to be a bully.
She wasn't a bully, she was a 12 year old girl and her parents dropped the ball and handled it poorly.

The parents need to stop creating artificial battles, and look a lot more inward.  Everyone has suggestions about "fixing" the daughter.  It shouldn't be assumed that the kid is the problem here.

Are you trolling?  I am not sure if you're serious here.

Any yelling of any kind, any disrespectful words or attitude, and I redirect immediately with substantial consequences.  The Daughter's behavior was unacceptable in each of the scenarios that OP shared.  Sure, OP may have been able to handle these situations differently, but the fact that she's asking for advice shows that she's trying to learn how best to address these outbursts.  So, people are offering advice for what has worked for them.

I agree with some of what you said before, that the OP shouldn't have cancelled the dinner.  It would have been best if she could've found a way to still enjoy the birthday of her Son rather than letting the Daughter ruin the evening.

Quote
Anyway, it boils down to backing the hell off.  Give her space.

Uh, what?  Not a chance.  This is a child who needs to learn boundaries.  Giving her space just shows her that her attitude gives her what she wants. 

Quote
I have a 12 year girl also.  For a contrarian angle:

1 -  So?  She has a right to not want to interact.  Instruct your son to avoid her and not talk to her.
2 - Again, so?  If this is an issue, she has her pops, and your son has his.  Give them independence to track their own usage.
3 - Um, yeah.  It's not best, but siblings talk like that.  And don't try banning words, since they'll just use other ones.  If animal is the worst word she uses about her brother, that's not too bad
4 - So, you yell.  And she yells.  And she gets in trouble for yelling at you.  Do you get in trouble for yelling at her?
5 - You invaded her space.  Her room is sacred and you have to respect that.

1 - she does not have the right to be disrespectful.  "I don't really want to look at a deer in the yard."
2 - this was already covered.  She ate most of them.  She does not have the right to be disrespectful.
3 - Screaming is not okay.  She needs to adjust her method of talking to her brother.
4 - yeah, everyone should stop yelling
5 - my house.  Her room is sacred when she pays rent or has her own mortgage.  That said, if she needs space to cool down, the correct method of going about that is "mom, please give me some space"


+100 to these responses by mm1970

charis

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Your daughter misbehaves and the consequence is that your son loses his birthday dinner? In such a scenario you might want to instead have one parent stay home with daughter and let her make a peanut butter sandwich while other parent drops off daughter's friend at her house and then takes son and his friend out for a fun meal.   Your daughter control of the whole family with that dinner cancellation; she wa allowed to be a bully. Many good books have been suggested, but I think one way to begin is for you to find a counselor who can help you come up with a parenting plan and provide you with support to carry it out.

It was an awkward situation because she had a friend over who we were supposed to be feeding dinner to.  I wasn't going to bring her home without giving her dinner.  And it potentially would have been uncomfortable for the friend to go out to dinner with us without my daughter.  We promised my son and his friend a birthday dinner another night.  Under ordinary circumstances, one of us would've gone and one would've stayed home, but the friend in the mix made it awkward.  I guess one of us could've gone with the boys and one could've stayed home with daughter/friend, but I didn't really think of it at the time.  And I wasn't going to leave her home alone because she was screaming about her horrible life and was packing a bag to go live outside.  She may not have been here when we got back.

I wouldn't have left her alone under those circumstances either. 

I have a 12 year girl also.  For a contrarian angle:

1 -  So?  She has a right to not want to interact.  Instruct your son to avoid her and not talk to her.
2 - Again, so?  If this is an issue, she has her pops, and your son has his.  Give them independence to track their own usage.
3 - Um, yeah.  It's not best, but siblings talk like that.  And don't try banning words, since they'll just use other ones.  If animal is the worst word she uses about her brother, that's not too bad
4 - So, you yell.  And she yells.  And she gets in trouble for yelling at you.  Do you get in trouble for yelling at her?
5 - You invaded her space.  Her room is sacred and you have to respect that.

Regarding the birthday dinner - so did she clean her room or not?  You punished your son for her actions.  Misery loves company and you caved.  You should have just left her at home and gone.  12 y/o can stay by themselves.

Anyway, it boils down to backing the hell off.  Give her space.

If you get her in trouble for minor infractions, your life will be miserable. 

And Disney for a 12 year old?  Are you not letting her have access to other shows?   Blaming this behavior on those Disney shows is absurd.  Disney is a bit childish.  What do her friends watch?

EDIT:  Also, about cleaning rooms:  who cares if it's messy.  It's her room not yours.  Again, back off.

A lot of these suggestions have no consequences for disrespectful and bratty behavior, or in effect rewarding it.  No way.  Particularly with respect to the little brother.  She is being a bully to him and it sends a very wrong message to tell him not to speak to her to avoid her wrath, and it could damage their relationship for years to come. 

Also, there is plenty of tween and teenage programing on the Disney channel.  I watched some of it in high school, it's certainly ok for a young 12 year old.

Poundwise

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Just running through before school pickup so haven't read all the responses.  One question: is she getting enough sleep?  Being sleep deprived is not a reason to be a jerk, of course, but it sure helps prevent it.  We went through something like that last year when my son was 12. I took away the ipod he was using to watch movies in bed, then eventually took his superbright night light that he was using to read late in bed, and his temper magically improved.

SuperSecretName

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I am 1000% serious here.

The stuff with her brother is because she is angry.  Her lashing out at him is a symptom.  There is no way in hell a average tween is going to say things like "I don't really want to look at a deer in the yard." or  "mom, please give me some space"

"He went a few steps into her room and was being very calm saying how we had already told her that morning that she had to clean her room that day. "  Did he ask if he could go in?  And who cares if her room is messy?  If she does, she'll clean.  This goes back to creating problems.  With a kid who is already tough to handle, flash points like this need to be avoided.

The whole family needs to collectively chill out to start repairing the damage.  Maybe ask her want she wants?  Not in a general sense, but in a specific day to day matter. What would she change? And actually listen and try to accomplish.

What they have been doing obviously isn't working.  So, your options are to double-down, or try something different.

Dee18

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SuperSecretName- you are right that she was not a bully. Thanks for correcting me on that. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 01:33:32 PM by Dee18 »

slappy

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Just running through before school pickup so haven't read all the responses.  One question: is she getting enough sleep?  Being sleep deprived is not a reason to be a jerk, of course, but it sure helps prevent it.  We went through something like that last year when my son was 12. I took away the ipod he was using to watch movies in bed, then eventually took his superbright night light that he was using to read late in bed, and his temper magically improved.

I had this issue as a preteen/teen, but it was not eating. I'm realizing now that I spent most of those years quite hangry. When I would flip out, my mom would make a sandwhich, leave it on the counter and walk away. lol

gaja

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She started acting this way  when she was about 9.  It's getting slowly worse over time.  I had initially thought it was a phase.  She seemed really well-adjusted before this started.  Social, happy, friendly, easy to explain things to if her behavior was off-base.  She gets along well with other kids as long as the other kids are really nice.  If they're slightly bossy or rude, she can't handle it.  She does well with girls who are a few years younger than she is because they're not mean yet.  The middle school age girls are calling each other "ugly", "fat", "stupid-ass" for fun.  Even if they consider themselves to be your friend.  She has a few friends who don't do that and she gets along well with them.  I'm fine with that.  I don't expect her to be friends with kids who are mean.

Can you find a safe place or neutral ground where you can get her talking again? Going for long walks, or long drives, can be a way to get her to open up. The trick is not to force her to say anything, and not bring other people, but let her have the room to open up to one of her parents without it having any consequence. If she wants to walk, or ride, in silence; that is fine. But according to this experienced foster father I talked to, this was one of his most fire proof tricks for getting in contact with closed off teenagers. My father and I had some of our best talks in the boat fishing during my angry teenage years. The trick is to find a thing to do that is not to action filled, but you still don't have to look at eachother.

AZDude

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Quote
What I'm planning on doing is sending her to her room for every eye roll or hostile tone and telling her she can come back out when she's ready to behave positively.  I'd also like to ban Disney Channel shows because the entire premise is that the parents are idiots and the little brothers are annoying.  This can't be helping.  My husband would never back me on that one though and he's mostly home with them in the afternoons/evenings.  I took her iPod yesterday (pretty much acts as a phone as long as she has wifi).  I told her she's not getting it back until I see a clear, consistent improvement in her attitude. 

First, I am a parent, but my daughter is 5 years old, so... this is more experience from growing up in a dysfunctional household. Also, I am definitely not a perfect parent, so this is simply advice, not judgement.

So here it goes, the quoted paragraph seems like terrible ideas. First, blaming her attitude on Disney channel is nonsense, and indicative of a refusal to look at the real issues that might exist. Are you picking fights with her? Does every eye roll turn into a confrontation? Sometimes you need to pick your battles. "Consistent improvement in attitude" is not something that should be a goal. A goal needs to be clearly defined, easily measured, and attainable. That is very subjective and will lead to conflict over whether or not it has been accomplished.

Trying to force her into band or team sports to improve her attitude is pretty terrible. Especially for someone who is not athletic. You are already giving her the idea that you think she is defective because she is not like the kids in sports/band. Try embracing her interests, not ones you think she should have. Why does she think you favor your son? Ask yourself honestly, do you? Do you go to special events for him while your daughter is just dropped off? I could certainly relate to that as a child(being dropped off or told to ride my bike 4 miles to the event while they go my siblings practice... or worse, stay home and watch TV). How involved are you in her life? What is her school life like right now? This is a tough time for any person, so maybe look into how she behaves at school. If she is the same in school, counseling might be a good idea. If she does well in school, then maybe *you* should take the initiative and ask for both of you to go to counseling so you can learn to be a better parent.

Are there reasons she is acting out? Trouble at school, recent tragedy, recent move, some looming event that is giving her anxiety?

Finally, cancelling your *son's* birthday dinner because his sister was acting out is terrible. Make it up to him. I remember my father screaming "Fuck you" at my siblings on my birthday over some minor incident. I was 7 at the time. I still remember it vividly decades later. That stuff sticks with you. Try not to make bad memories.

green daisy

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She started acting this way  when she was about 9.  It's getting slowly worse over time.  I had initially thought it was a phase.  She seemed really well-adjusted before this started.  Social, happy, friendly, easy to explain things to if her behavior was off-base.  She gets along well with other kids as long as the other kids are really nice.  If they're slightly bossy or rude, she can't handle it.  She does well with girls who are a few years younger than she is because they're not mean yet.  The middle school age girls are calling each other "ugly", "fat", "stupid-ass" for fun.  Even if they consider themselves to be your friend.  She has a few friends who don't do that and she gets along well with them.  I'm fine with that.  I don't expect her to be friends with kids who are mean.

Can you find a safe place or neutral ground where you can get her talking again? Going for long walks, or long drives, can be a way to get her to open up. The trick is not to force her to say anything, and not bring other people, but let her have the room to open up to one of her parents without it having any consequence. If she wants to walk, or ride, in silence; that is fine. But according to this experienced foster father I talked to, this was one of his most fire proof tricks for getting in contact with closed off teenagers. My father and I had some of our best talks in the boat fishing during my angry teenage years. The trick is to find a thing to do that is not to action filled, but you still don't have to look at eachother.

Thank you.  I can try taking her for walks. 

Someone asked about food and sleep.  She sometimes has a little trouble falling asleep.  She goes to bed around 9 and gets up at 7 on school days.  She sleeps till 8:30-9 on weekends and stays up a little later. 

She often doesn't want to eat breakfast but eats well otherwise.  She is at the very upper limit of what is considered to be normal weight.  A few more pounds would push her into overweight.  She has become more self conscious about her body.  I'm really trying to give her healthy foods without mentioning weight or size ever.  She does highly gravitate towards junk food if it's available.  More than most kids from my casual observations.  But she likes fruits and veggies.  Right now she's having an after school snack of tomatoes and mini rice cakes. 

green daisy

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Quote
What I'm planning on doing is sending her to her room for every eye roll or hostile tone and telling her she can come back out when she's ready to behave positively.  I'd also like to ban Disney Channel shows because the entire premise is that the parents are idiots and the little brothers are annoying.  This can't be helping.  My husband would never back me on that one though and he's mostly home with them in the afternoons/evenings.  I took her iPod yesterday (pretty much acts as a phone as long as she has wifi).  I told her she's not getting it back until I see a clear, consistent improvement in her attitude. 

First, I am a parent, but my daughter is 5 years old, so... this is more experience from growing up in a dysfunctional household. Also, I am definitely not a perfect parent, so this is simply advice, not judgement.

So here it goes, the quoted paragraph seems like terrible ideas. First, blaming her attitude on Disney channel is nonsense, and indicative of a refusal to look at the real issues that might exist. Are you picking fights with her? Does every eye roll turn into a confrontation? Sometimes you need to pick your battles. "Consistent improvement in attitude" is not something that should be a goal. A goal needs to be clearly defined, easily measured, and attainable. That is very subjective and will lead to conflict over whether or not it has been accomplished.

Trying to force her into band or team sports to improve her attitude is pretty terrible. Especially for someone who is not athletic. You are already giving her the idea that you think she is defective because she is not like the kids in sports/band. Try embracing her interests, not ones you think she should have. Why does she think you favor your son? Ask yourself honestly, do you? Do you go to special events for him while your daughter is just dropped off? I could certainly relate to that as a child(being dropped off or told to ride my bike 4 miles to the event while they go my siblings practice... or worse, stay home and watch TV). How involved are you in her life? What is her school life like right now? This is a tough time for any person, so maybe look into how she behaves at school. If she is the same in school, counseling might be a good idea. If she does well in school, then maybe *you* should take the initiative and ask for both of you to go to counseling so you can learn to be a better parent.

Are there reasons she is acting out? Trouble at school, recent tragedy, recent move, some looming event that is giving her anxiety?

Finally, cancelling your *son's* birthday dinner because his sister was acting out is terrible. Make it up to him. I remember my father screaming "Fuck you" at my siblings on my birthday over some minor incident. I was 7 at the time. I still remember it vividly decades later. That stuff sticks with you. Try not to make bad memories.

Maybe I didn't explain well.  I mentioned that she doesn't like team sports to explain why she isn't in any team sports.  She's tried some in the past and didn't like them.  We don't sign her up for anything unless she says she wants to do it.  We offered the suggestion of 4H because her friend is in it and enjoys it.  She wanted to do it.  She's in band because her school requires it or a music theory class.  She chose band.  She does gymnastics during the school year.  She's not great at it but she loves it so we make room in the budget for it.  She does cheer in the fall.  She's going to horseback riding camp this summer, cheer camp, and a week at sleepover camp. 

I explained the birthday dinner thing a little further down in the thread.

I think it's pretty equal with how much I participate in both kids activities, field trips, bring room mom, etc. She gets dropped off for more stuff than he does.  He has food allergies and asthma, so I can't drop him off at soccer practice.  Her gymnastics doesn't allow parents to stay.  The Middle School doesn't allow as much parent participation anymore, so I was more involved in that stuff when she was in elementary school.  She gets more privileges than he does because she's older (sleepovers, sleepover camp, having an iPod).

« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 01:56:01 PM by green daisy »

Poundwise

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Back from pickup!  For us at least, the sleep issue was pretty easy to diagnose in retrospect, because son used to wake himself up around 7, even without an alarm. When he began to stay up late,  he began to have to be woken up. Once the device and nightlight went away, he became an early riser again and stopped being so snappish. His grades improved a little too. So, if your daughter is getting enough sleep she should be easy to wake or even wake herself up.

PoutineLover

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I'm not a parent, but I still remember being a teenager so this is more a perspective from your daughter's side. At that age I wasn't super rebellious, but I was starting to want more independence, like the freedom to go places with my friends, and my little sister was the most annoying person in the world. In my opinion, punishment and yelling won't work. It will make her resent you more and drive you apart to the point where she will break the rules in secret, and you don't want that. Natural consequences are better (ex. you break your phone, now you don't have a phone until you can buy a new one). Taking away her things until something very intangible happens is not going to work. If you don't want her to yell, you can't also yell at her. Kids are very good at detecting hypocrisy.
I feel like there must be stuff going on in her life that is causing this. You won't find out unless you can build a better relationship with her. Bullying (even the covert kind like exclusion from a group or laughs as she walks by) can be really damaging, especially if she feels like she is larger than her peers. Feeling like you give her brothers more of a pass for bad behaviour, or treat them better, even if it isn't true, the perception may be there. Hormones, lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, mental illness are also all possibilities.
I'd say choose your battles carefully, don't yell, and don't impose arbitrary punishments. Treat her like an adult to the greatest extent possible, gradually of course. Let her have a messy room as long as it's not attracting ants. It's that one space where she can be herself and keep her things the way she wants them. Lay out expectations of behaviour for everyone in the family, and agree on consequences that are equally enforced. It's a difficult time for everyone and the focus should be on maintaining harmony and healthy boundaries for the whole family. Seek out conselling if necessary, but I think that changing the tone of your interactions and taking a good look at your own reaction to her will help. Good luck!

Laura33

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She started acting this way  when she was about 9.  It's getting slowly worse over time.  I had initially thought it was a phase.  She seemed really well-adjusted before this started.  Social, happy, friendly, easy to explain things to if her behavior was off-base.  She gets along well with other kids as long as the other kids are really nice.  If they're slightly bossy or rude, she can't handle it.  She does well with girls who are a few years younger than she is because they're not mean yet.  The middle school age girls are calling each other "ugly", "fat", "stupid-ass" for fun.  Even if they consider themselves to be your friend. She has a few friends who don't do that and she gets along well with them.  I'm fine with that.  I don't expect her to be friends with kids who are mean.

Honestly, this sounds like a really rough school/friend environment.  I would really focus on minimizing the demands at home and giving her more space, both physically and psychologically.  Everyone needs some place to decompress, someplace where they feel completely safe and loved.  Your daughter is clearly not getting that from her friends or at school, so she needs it to be you.  And I do mean "needs." 

So please, pick your battles very, very carefully.  Choose one or two Most Important Things -- e.g., thou shalt not be evil to thy little brother.  Put a stop to those when it happens -- let her know in advance what the consequence is going to be, and then when it happens excute, quickly and without rancor, no negotiation, no engagement, no discussion, just consequence.  And let everything else go -- especially her room, she needs a place that is entirely hers to retreat to.  Find ways to spend time together, to be with her, present, open if she wants to talk.  Do things like go for walks or throw a frisbee or whatever -- just low-stress, low-pressure, get-out-of-the-house-and-move-around fun.  Find useful things she can do to demonstrate value, like making you a batch of cookies or something.  Actively look for things to compliment her on, let her know when you notice her doing something good.  Etc.

Poundwise

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BTW here is the last volume of a great book series, if you haven't heard of it. Some of the attitudes are a bit outdated as these were written in the 70s, but still I found a lot of the information on developmental norms for kids at various ages is spot-on. I'd check the library for this book and read the chapters for ages 11 and 12.

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Ten-Fourteen-Year-Old-Louise-Bates/dp/0440506786

Attached interesting quote from the book:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 02:11:36 PM by Poundwise »

green daisy

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I agree.  The school environment is horrible.  She doesn't want to talk to the guidance counselor by herself or with me.  I offered to go with her or to go by myself without her.  The best we were able to do was call the principal and ask that he try to arrange her schedule for next year as best as possible to avoid certain kids. 

I've talked to another mom whose daughter is very sweet and she has been having a horrible time at school this year too. 

BlueHouse

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Can you find a safe place or neutral ground where you can get her talking again? Going for long walks, or long drives, can be a way to get her to open up. The trick is not to force her to say anything, and not bring other people, but let her have the room to open up to one of her parents without it having any consequence. If she wants to walk, or ride, in silence; that is fine. But according to this experienced foster father I talked to, this was one of his most fire proof tricks for getting in contact with closed off teenagers. My father and I had some of our best talks in the boat fishing during my angry teenage years. The trick is to find a thing to do that is not to action filled, but you still don't have to look at eachother.
This.  I agree with this so much.  Try not to talk or press or really even find out what is going on.  Just listen.  When she figures out what's going on, and she wants to share it with you, she will.  Just continue to love her unconditionally.  You can hate the behavior, but you still love the daughter.  Make sure she knows the difference. 

Someone else mentioned diet, sleep, and medical tests.  My cousin's step daughter was really unlikeable at about age 9 when we all first met her.  To the point that some of us more distant relatives thought she was going to be some kind of serial killer.  Honestly.  There really seemed to be something wrong with her that we didn't think could be fixed. Gods bless my cousin and her mother because through a lot of love and trial and error and some doctors, they found out she had celiac disease.  She was literally being eaten alive by the very food she was eating.  The next time we saw her, she was a completely different person, both physically and mentally.  So maybe watch for dietary triggers or even try one of those elimination plans for food sensitivity?  But I agree with others above.  Do not ever mention any physical trait for the next 10 years except to say that you think she is beautiful just the way she is.  She won't believe it.  Just be consistent and say only that. 

ETA:  Green Daisy, you're a gem for taking advice.  Asking for parenting advice is hard and not all of the responses will fit every situation or every kid.  You're doing a great job, and your daughter, although being a little poop at this stage, is no more poopy than other kids.  I have never met a kid that doesn't have some sort of attitude problem inside them.  That's how they figure things out and how they start figuring out who they are.  Keep smiling! 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 02:36:55 PM by BlueHouse »

former player

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There have been some great responses here.

This may not be relevant in this case, but with an angry girl or young woman I would, sadly, have half an eye out for possible sexual abuse.

StacheyStache

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Lots of good responses.  I have no kids but I still remember this age really well.  My one cautionary note is to look at your own behavior as well.  My parents often brag about what a great job they did raising me and what great parents they were and how awful I was at this age and they did absolutely nothing wrong.  They never seem to remember how often and how loudly they screamed at me, among other things I won't go into here.  I say this because you mentioned screaming, put yourself in her shoes from a physical standpoint.  A grown adult's loud angry voice is a lot scarier than a 12 year old's, even moreso if the grown angry adult is your parent.  If you're a man (don't think you are but I didn't read that carefully) this goes double.  I distinctly remember being terrified of my parents, particularly my father who had an incredibly loud voice and mean face when he was angry, on a number of occasions.  Don't yell.  I know that's easy for me to say and I'm not saying she should get away with bad behavior but seriously, don't yell, even when she yells first. 

Laura33

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Lots of good responses.  I have no kids but I still remember this age really well.  My one cautionary note is to look at your own behavior as well.  My parents often brag about what a great job they did raising me and what great parents they were and how awful I was at this age and they did absolutely nothing wrong.  They never seem to remember how often and how loudly they screamed at me, among other things I won't go into here.  I say this because you mentioned screaming, put yourself in her shoes from a physical standpoint.  A grown adult's loud angry voice is a lot scarier than a 12 year old's, even moreso if the grown angry adult is your parent.  If you're a man (don't think you are but I didn't read that carefully) this goes double.  I distinctly remember being terrified of my parents, particularly my father who had an incredibly loud voice and mean face when he was angry, on a number of occasions.  Don't yell.  I know that's easy for me to say and I'm not saying she should get away with bad behavior but seriously, don't yell, even when she yells first.

+1000.  My DH is like a bear, he has a very big, deep voice, and he gets very, very angry.  When she was little and he lost it, DD would snap into line.  But you could see in her face that it was out of terror.  As I explained to him at the time:  you are teaching her how she deserves to be treated by every other man in her life.  Is that what you want her to expect from a future boyfriend?  So she gets angry and has a fit, and you get angry and yell back.  She's 4.  What's your excuse?

C-note

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I'd recommend you start gathering some information on her behaviors at home and at school.  Speak to her teachers and learn about any behaviors that may be occurring at school.  How are her grades?  Is she involved in any activities or groups at school?  How are her interactions in those extra- or co-curricular activities?

I'd track her sleeping habits, eating habits, use of technology, etc.  Does she have outbursts in the morning, afternoon, evening?  Particular day of the week?  Before or after interactions with a friend or friends, an event, etc.

Then - I'd make an appointment with a counselor and your pediatrician and share what you've learned.  I'd get their recommendations on next steps - family therapy, group therapy, at-home behavior modification, assessments, etc.  There are all sorts of things that could be impacting her behavior - everything from allergies to anxiety - physical to social/emotional.  A good counselor and pediatrician will work with you to help rule out or rule in possible causes.

Before and during all of the data gathering, I'd set expectations and consequences and clearly outline them with her.   

AnswerIs42

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I'd recommend you start gathering some information on her behaviors at home and at school.  Speak to her teachers and learn about any behaviors that may be occurring at school. [...] I'd track her sleeping habits, eating habits, use of technology, etc. [...] Then - I'd make an appointment with a counselor and your pediatrician and share what you've learned.
Not meaning to have a a go, but if I were a teenager, this would sound like a horrifying invasion of privacy to me.