11 yr daughter is driving me INSANE

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2004
11 yr daughter is driving me INSANE
Thu, 08-19-2004 - 9:22am
I am having a serious problem with my 11 yr old daughter... Here is an example... This morning we were getting a long fine, until I asked her to come look at something.. I took her into the living room, the dining roo and my bedroom to show her little pieces of scrap paper that were on the floor. I told her that I knew she was cutting out pictures in magazines and that was fine, but that last night i found the scissors on the floor and these scrap papers were all over the house and I do have a problem with that... her only response was to pick out one of the pieces of papers on the floor and say "that isn't my piece of paper, it's a gum wrapper, and i don't even chew gum"... That set me off, for the last few days I have been telling her that adults don't want to hear excuses everytime they tell a child to do something... this is something that has always bothered me about her but the subject came up a few days ago when she was telling me "how mean her english teacher was"... why?... becaue the teacher told her to stop talking and my daughter responded "i was just getting a pencil" and the teacher said "did I ask you a question? I didn't ask you a question so you don't speak"... well this kind of "back talk" has been bothering me for a while and I finally had another adult to back me up on it, so I took the opportunity to talk to my daughter and tell her how it was bothering me too... since that talk we have talked 2 more times about it and she just doesn't get it.. she keeps talking back or making excuses, whatever it is... basically it is driving me INSANE that she won't take responsibility of what someone is telling her and say "Yes mam, I will fix it/won't do it again" When we talk about it it seems as if I am rambling on and on, she just sits or stands there blankly staring at me, she has no response and if she does say something it is some excuse like "I was just trying to tell you that it wasn't my paper, I didn't know it was back talk" What can I do to help her understand, what do i do when she does it again and again.. what do i do to ease some of my frustration?????
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 08-19-2004 - 10:28am
Ugh! That fresh mouth! I've heard the same versions of it. My youngest son went through it pretty bad a few months back and has settled down somewhat now. What works for my son (who is a pretty resonable fellow, so far) may not work for you and your daughter.

We have a standing policy that if we tell him to do something, the answer is yes m'am or yes sir, and he does it. Period. Anything else is treated like misbehavior. The flip side of this is we have established a policy that once he is done doing what he is supposed to do, without smart mouthing or questioning us, he is free to come talk to us about why he thinks it's unfair, and we will have a calm, fair conversation where we will listen to him and he will listen to us. That takes the wind out of his sails and rarely does he talk back when we ask him to do something. But the door is open, just not until he has done what needs to be done.

It has taken awhile for him to know we are serious, and he used to want to talk through EVERY stinkin' thing after he did it. Between my husband and I, we spent hours total talking about why he had to do this or that after he was done. But it gave us a chance to talk about issues like living as a member of a family unit, taking responsibility, etc. There were no compromises for next time. Sometimes we had to outright say now you know why, this is the way it is, and the way it will be. He understood where we were coming from, and left the conversations feeling like at least he had been heard, which is important for them at this age.

We've stuck with this approach and now he knows what to do, what is expected of him in terms of behavior, and that if he chooses not to follow instructions and then talk about it afterwards like he's supposed to, instead he will lose priviledges. Like if he left paper scraps all over the floor, didn't clean them up without an argument or smart mouthing, then next time he has to ask to use the scissors, and will use them at the table under parental supervision, like a little kid. I'd lock up the scissors if I had to. And he would know why, I would tell him. Not like having to explain myself, but like "You did this and here is the consequence of your action" type of approach.

Oh and by the way, this did NOT work with my oldest son! I don't know how I got through his teen years but I did, and he turned out fine. He's 22 now. He was very hard to raise, compounded by the fact that his dad (my ex-husband) was abusive to me, and tried to undermine everything I did. Those were some tough years for me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2004
Thu, 08-19-2004 - 12:05pm
I really appreciate your ideas on how to get my 11yr old to stop back

talking... It seems that when you are in the "heat of the moment" you

can NEVER think of anything that will work and be sensible... I really

like your approach and will definitely apply it at home, try it out at

least... One question though... I actually think I went a little

overboard this morning, in the "heat of the moment" and aside from my rambling

on for 30 minutes trying to make her understand, I ended up taking away

the phone, the tv, AND her being able to go to her 1st school dance

tomorrow... I really feel bad about that, I don't think she was that bad

to lose all of that... So tonight when i go home I want to talk to her

and tell her about this new deal... tell her about this new approach to

things... and i kind of want to give her back her the dance... but I

don't want her to think she is getting over on me... so how should i

approach this with her... any ideas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Thu, 08-19-2004 - 12:52pm

Hello and welcome!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2004
Fri, 08-20-2004 - 7:46am
LOLOLOL....I'm so glad to hear other mom's out there with the same home policies as mine! We also had and treated the back talk (side talk is what we call it) similarly. We too are very strict on the do it first type thing and then you can come talk to us. Except we also are careful what we address. If you are addressing scraps, then don't be upset if she doesnt' pick up the gum wrapper. Literalism is HUGE at this age. You can ask them to pick up the floor where they were working and it will prevent the scuffle over who's is what. The "I know" habit is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. My kids started with this and I'd look at them in mid sentence and say okay, what do you know. Tell me the rest then. 9 times out of 10 they had NO CLUE and weren't even listening. It was just a habit. NOW we make them repeat to us what we said. I do not justify and I do not explain too much anymore. The rule is I'm the mom, and when they are the parent they can change the rules at their house. Also I never say I am wrong. (I grew up with a mother doing this all the time and really by the time I was 14, I thought she WAS wrong.) NOW, I can go and say I've changed my mind, I've had a change of heart and realize the importance of "whatever they were looking forward to" (ie, dance) but I am never "wrong". THere are few exceptions to this.....After the fact if my child comes and tells me that it wasn't their mess that so and so actually made the mess, I can apologize for the mistake. But I try usually to hear them out at the beginning to see what they have to say.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Sat, 08-21-2004 - 9:54pm

You make a good point about saying the word "wrong".