12 year old daughter driving me crazy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
12 year old daughter driving me crazy
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 2:16pm
As with our family after a while we go so long before having a family meeting about the lack of this or that and attitude from the girls. Last night I lead the family meeting. The complaints were about mouthing back, the lack of chores from the kids, and the fact they want to be treated older but want to do nothing to earn it.

Before the meeting our 12 year was her typical self. After the meeting the mood took a big drop. She mooped around. We both asked her what was wrong and got oh nothing. Then I took her in our bedroom to ask her to tell me what is wrong. I'm so stressed out she states. I ask about what. She's says school and that she is sick of being in school. I told her I can understand but be patient it's out soon. I ask if that's all. She's starts to talk then heistates. I said anything else. She then goes on about how she wants to get new things she wants a playstation 2, a swimming pool installed in our backyard and new gameboy advance games. I told her that she could save for some of this stuff. She wants it now. She's bored and knows that summers coming up and wants it now. I tell her that we just bought a new air conditioner, we're going on vacation a week after school is out, they are going to camp and other things. We can't afford a swimming pool this year. That doesn't matter to her she wants one because her two friends have one. I tell her to go eat her dinner because I can tell she's not listening. The conversation was just going no where. She states the food I prepared for her doesn't have any taste and she won't eat it. I tell her to sit at the table and eat it. She's eatten the same food in the past with no complaints.

She sits at the table mad at me and refuses to eat the food. Her dad comes down stairs. I take him aside and tell him what she says. He tells her that she needs to eat her food and they'd talk. She gets mouthy and refuses to eat it. I tell her she can forget about talking to her friends on the phone because of her mouth. She gets mad asks if she can stop eating. Dad says yes and she goes into our bedroom and locks the door. I thought she went to the bathroom but she's going all out to put on a show. Her dad tells her to open the door and she refuses. He raises his voice and tells her to open the door. She refuses again and he yells open the door. Our bedroom door has a key lock and he opens it with his key. Tells her to go to her room and they will talk now.

They go up and talk and she tells him how bored she is. All she has in her life is school, she has her own tv and dvd player a nintendo 64, her telephone and the use of our computer. She wants more in her life. My husband suggests sports and other things. She comes down and watches tv with me but at first won't talk to me. I think she's be silly but encourage her to talk to me.

Next morning her dad gets her to do some cleaning up because the night before she refused to do her chores for that day. I tell her I want to talk to her before she leaves for school. Our conversation leads back to what happened last night. She still states that she thinks we should buy her a swimming pool, playstation 2 and other items. I tell her she's not going to get everything she wants. The more I talk the more attitude she gets. So I turn to both of them and just say I'm done with conversation.

My husband calls back after he drops her off and we disagree about how I handled the ending. That it hurt her feelings. I told him I don't want to go any further because it would just anger me more. He wants me to find a more positive way to handle it in the future. I want to ring both of their necks and tell him that I think our conversation should end because he's upsetting me and I need to get our other daughter off to school.

My 12 year old daughter has narrowed her likes down to nothing this year. The things she is interested is are things that her two friends are interested in and weren't brought up til they said something about them. She was afraid of going into middle school because the school is a large middle school. I let her decide what she wanted to participate in because I wanted to see the homework load on her. She did great stayed in the honor roll all year. The problem is she use to have interests of her own and would tell us what she wanted to do. Now she doesn't have any hobbies, or interests that like I said don't involve what her friends like. I have seen this coming but wanted to wait til summer to encourage a change for 7th grade.

I'm not going to have her act like this tonight but don't know how to get her head out of her behind so to speak. We did pick up some paperwork at lunchtime about girls clubs she could get involved in over the summer on the base. The other girls have no military identification to get in these clubs. I like both the girls but would like to see her have her own identity back. Any similar problems? Any suggestions for tonight and this summer? Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2003
Sun, 10-05-2003 - 5:34am
just a note from a non-parent who knows a bit about kids.

three reasons why puberty and adolescence are stormy:

1. teenagers need at least ten hours sleep a night. the 'difficult years' are really just sleep deprived years. getting up early for school is not the right thing for them. nor is staying up late.

2. teenagers need plenty of social contact with adults other than parents and teachers. this is how they learn maturity, not by being lectured and threatened.

3. too many parents anticipate trouble with their teens, and adopt a defensive posture at the first bump in the road. this ensures their worst fears will be realised. teens need to be sure they will be loved, which is why they test the limits of that love.


Community Leader
Registered: 05-26-2004
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 10:48am
First off, I agree with the other posters that you and your husband must present a united front. I know that is hard to do at times, but it is an absolute must. Next, I have a 10 year old daughter that is going through changes too. One thing we did immediately is set guidelines on how to deal with that moping, whining behavior. My husband and I absolutely refuse to allow our children to act or talk to us in any disrespectful manner. We do not argue with our children. And I would definitely punish that door locking and refusing to eat incident immediately if it happens again. It is only going to get worse if she gets away with the little stuff now.

I would simply tell her NO. I would tell her she has enough stuff already and that you cannot afford a pool. I would also tell her that if she can sell the nintendo (possibly on ebay) and earn the rest of the money for the playstation herself she can get it. I would stick to that. I make my children (10, 8, 5, 3) earn their things if it is not their birthday, christmas or some other present-giving situation. They appreciate the stuff better that way.

Stick to your guns. Be firm but loving. Talk constantly TO her not AT her. Listen to her but dont cave in to teenage emotions. Be sensible.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 6:32pm
Ok, here's my thoughts. I have a 16 year old and soon to be 12 year old sons(also soon to be 10 year old and 4 year old daughters). We never argue with our children. We let them know up front that "we don't care what so and so has, you don't necessarily need it." You and your dh will have to be united as to how you deal with this situation because if your daughter in any way feels one parent is siding with her she will play it for all it's worth. My children are not influenced greatly by other kids because they are homeschooled so this is not a great problem with us though it has cropped up on occasion. We also don't have cable tv or nintendo or anything like that so it can be challenging to find things for our kids to do.

It sounds totally unreasonable for you to go purchase a pool just so your daughter can entertain herself for a few days. Like all kids with all things she would be bored in days. Maybe you can offer her the chance to buy herself a membership to a popular pool club this summer by doing chores and work around the house. We offer monitary rewards for certain housework if it stays done and they don't have to be reminded. We make deductions if we have to help or continually remind them. All my children have set chores and they know they must be done or they won't get to go to Karate, 4-H, gym, or whatever.

As far as her being bored, have you tried Girl Scouting, Girls Club, swimming team, softball, gymnastics, dance classes, sewing lessons, 4-h, etc.? My children are involved in many of these activities and they LOVE them. We also have a little "business" that our kids participate in that they themselves created. They make bracelets and sell them at carnivals, fairs, parades, etc. We only help with purchasing materials and setting up shows. It is amazing how much time and effort it takes for them to do this and how much they have learned doing it. It is VERY easy to do and they love creating these bracelets. They also have their own money to buy what they want with it. I don't have to do anything at all but make a few phone calls and drive a few places.

This may sound harsh, but if your daughter gets away with locking herself in a room and refusing to eat or talk to you now, wait until she is 16 and she wants to do something and you tell her no. It will be a nightmare for you. Let her know this behavior is totally unacceptable and set a punishment for if it ever happens again. Stick to it so she knows you mean business. Let her know that you respect her feelings but she is not going to treat you in this manner. Listen as she speaks and don't tell her how silly she is or how selfish,etc. These issues are very important to her no matter how trivial they appear to you. This will keep the door open for years down the road when issues get much more important. Ask her what her ideas are for helping herself. If she states something unreasonable ask her what her plan is for acheiving this. Discuss "plans" with her.When my kids realize how "undoable" some things are they will drop it. If we don't have the money then I ask them, OK, how do you propose we come up with the money?

As far as the "other" girls, tell your daughter how smart and pretty she is and that she should use some of her talents for other things regardless of whether or not her friends participate. Hopefully she will get involved in something and become an individual again.

These are just my thoughts.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 2:42pm
WOW. Ok, first I'm going to state that the only experience I am using is having been a nasty hormonal 12 year old who made my parents' lives miserable for those evil teen years. My daughter is 4, and I am NOT NOT NOT looking forward to the teen years. NOT NOT NOT.

Ok... now my advice (which you can take or leave.. like I said, I don't have first hand experience)...

First of all - your daughter is not talking to you.. one big giant hormone is. She's dealing with hormones combined with ~thinking~ she is an adult, when she's still a child. She's in that world that we all hated. A woman in a child's body. She wants priveleges. She wants rights. But she doesn't know how to achive these things like an adult.

Another thing that occurred to me while reading the post - your daughter is playing you and your husband against each other. You and your husband may disagree, but in front of her, you need a united front. Nomatter what each of you say or do, the other needs to back each other up. It's hard, I know.. but when she sees that dad is being easier or mom is easier, she will play on that.

One area that I'm confused about - does your daughter have a Nintendo/TV in her room? Many people will disagree with me, but I strongly believe that children - especially at this age - should not have TVs or Nintendos in their room. It's too easy for these hormone-infested children to get sucked into the media and not want to come out. But - if the items are in her room, then what might be useful is to use them as negotiation items. For instance, if she gives you attitude, you can always say "one more time and you lose your TV". "one more time and you lose your Nintendo".

But.... I'm getting down to my main point.. finding alternative activities and outlets. Why not a pool comprimise? Perhaps put her in swimming lessons for the summer? You can tell her that *if* you get a pool next year, that you want her to be able to swim. Another idea is to enroll in a mother-daughter activity/course of some sort. It won't be easy, and she will probably give you a lot of attitude at first, but if you keep at it you might just find that she will not only enjoy something new, but you will both enjoy each other. Sometimes like scrap-booking might be fun! Or photography. Or just making a point of every week you and her go for a walk in a local park, go bird watching..

Ok... this post isn't what I wanted it to be (been dealing with a tired boy at the same time), but the one thing that a person with teen once told me is that when you are dealing with a teen, just keep reminding yourself that you will meet your darling girl on the "other side". Its a stage. Grab yourself a drink... Good luck!!


PS in about 8 years I will be asking you for survival advice!!