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12 year old daughter constantly fighting with Mom

When our daughter was 11, we moved to Chicago. She thought it was the end of the world. She wasn't going, she hated Chicago etc....After one year, we were transferred back. Our house did not sell, so we moved right back in, same friends, same school, same everything. Again, she wasn't moving back home, she hated that city. She misses Chicago (?) and wants to move to a new school system.

It seems like all we do is fight with her. We have a 9 year old son and all they do is fight. She can play/watch movies with him and get along and then boom-get away from me, I don't want you here with me, get away, leave me alone.

I also have hygiene issues with her. She is so pretty and has blackheads all around her nose and pimples on her forehead (she covers with her bangs), doesn't brush her teeth and won't shower on a daily basis. I finally got her to wear a bra/cami top everyday and wear deodorant. That was a very hard battle. I just can't get her to wash her face, I bought the Noxema wash cloths, use and throw away...you would of thought it has acid on the cloth. The teeth problem, we visit the dentist every 6 months, no cavities. I asked the dental assistant to talk to her, she did. Still no cavities and no brushing for days.

She is obsessed with the computer. I grounded her from it yesterday, because she does not get off when I ask her to. That is how everything is, she will later, I'll get off in a few minutes, I'll take a shower tonight, I'll take the dog out in a few minutes.

I'm losing my mind. I never acted this way to my parents. I knew my mom would back hand me across the mouth. I get so angry some days I feel like doing that. I don't, I never have and will never do that. I know what that feels like.

I do yell when I can't take it anymore. That is bad too. My mom yelled and screamed at us. Some days, I think maybe she just needs to talk to someone, should I get a counselor for her? She is an "A" student, so this is not affecting her grades yet.

I just need a little guidance. My husband says I babied her too much...

She will be 13 in June and I feel that I'm losing my daughter. I don't want these problems when she is older and hates me. I want to fix this now. Can you help us? --Mean Mom

Dear Mom,
I'm so glad that you're reaching out to try to heal this situation now, rather than letting it continue to deteriorate.

12 year old girls can be challenging to parent. Their hormones are going crazy and their brains are rewiring, so they are famous for their mood swings. They often don't even know why they're having an angry or tearful outburst. They often are ambivalent about "growing up" and resist the bodily changes and societal expectations that are thrust upon them, so getting them to adopt new grooming habits can be a challenge. They begin experimenting with being sassy, if they haven't done so thus far.

But I also need to point out that the problems you describe with your almost-13 year old are normal problems. I understand that she fights with her brother, is obsessed with the computer, procrastinates when you ask her to do something, does not brush her teeth regularly, does not shower daily, could wash her face more often, resented moving out of state, doubly resented moving again a year later, had to be battled into wearing a bra and deodorant, and probably has mood swings. These are all fairly normal behaviors for a girl her age.

You could be telling me -- as I hear sometimes from moms of other girls this age -- that she is boy-obsessed, that she is failing school, that her friends worry you, and that she is sneaking cigarettes or has tried drinking or drugs. Instead, happily, she is none of these things and is an A student.

Let me reassure you that I also hear your deep frustration with the situation. It sounds like your relationship with your daughter is full of fighting right now, and I hear -- especially in the way you sign your name -- that you are finding it difficult to be the parent you'd like to be.

And fighting all the time, in any parent-child relationship, is not normal. It's an indication that something is wrong in the relationship. Luckily, even though every relationship is made up of two people, the parent can usually change the entire dynamic just by changing the way he or she relates to the child.

My prescription is that you start by strengthening your relationship with your daughter. Many of the problems you describe will melt away once you and your daughter have mostly good will instead of mostly fighting in your relationship. I know that's easier said than done, but you can do it, if that's your clear intention. How?

1. Reconnect. Hug her hello in the morning and when you see her again after school, snuggle with her a little in the evening before bed. Make sure you spend time alone with her every single day. Just use the time to connect with her, find out what's going on in her world, build a relationship that consists of more than fighting. Listen a lot. Do fun things together. Play her favorite games, put on music and dance, take her to brunch on the weekend. 

2. Stop criticizing and start appreciating. Bite your tongue if you notice pimples or the need for more deodorant. Consciously remind yourself -- and her -- of all things you love about her. Catch her doing things right as often as possible and tell her about them, as specifically as you can.

I know it might be hard to find her doing things right now that seem worth acknowledging, because she has stopped trying to please you, but give her positive reinforcement for any steps in the right direction: "I saw that you wanted to fight with me about taking a bath, but you went upstairs after only one try to get out of it. I appreciate that!" or "I saw you working hard to be nice to your brother at dinner. That meant a lot to him."

3. Try to see it from her point of view. An important part of rebuilding your relationship with your daughter is cultivating empathy for her. I realize that you may think she is over-reacting or over-dramatizing. Girls this age have big feelings, which they will learn to modulate as those feelings are met with calmness and empathy.

For instance, your daughter obviously had a lot of resentment and anger about being dragged through two moves. Maybe those were unavoidable and important for the family. But she doesn't have to like them. In fact, it would be a rare child who would cheerfully agree, at the age of 11, to move. And once she had weathered that move, and made it work for her, and made new friends, and found a bigger self-identity, it would be pretty hard to go back to her old house and peers and a river that had moved on without her, especially at the age when all the peer shifts create in and out crowds.

Now, do you have to agree with her views? Of course not. You may think she is making a mountain out of a molehill. But if you saw it from her perspective, you would realize that to her it is a mountain. The great thing about empathy is that it helps her over the mountain, because once she feels understood she doesn't need to dramatize quite as much (although it will undoubtedly seem plenty to you!) The other great thing about empathy is that once she feels understood, she feels closer to you, which has all kinds of benefits (like she becomes more cooperative). Finally, your empathy allows her to mature and learn to manage herself emotionally, which is a big relief for the parents of teens. 

I guarantee that a lot of the difficulties with your daughter will vanish once your relationship consists mostly of loving connection rather than fighting.

But of course she won't become perfect. She will still procrastinate, and not want to brush her teeth. So you will need to cultivate the patience of a saint. Is that fair? No. But since when has parenthood been fair? Parents do the work because they want their children to develop well, and because they love them. Despite the emotional rewards, parenthood is always a form of sainthood, precisely because it takes such patience and self-sacrifice. That doesn't mean you don't set limits. It means you do it in a patient, respectful, calm way, so your kids internalize calmness and respect and the ability to set limits for themselves.

While you are rebuilding your relationship with her, try to discipline as little as possible. Focus on what really matters -- how people in your home treat each other -- rather than surface things like her procrastination. When she does something you don't like, try to breathe, and point it out to her with a sense of humor -- but only if you really have to. For instance, she can go a couple more weeks being dirty and smelly. But if she is mean to her brother, you will need to intervene to establish that "In this house, we don't yell at each other, we treat each other respectfully." And if she raises her voice to you, you will have to say calmly "I don't talk to you like that, and I don't expect you to talk to me like that."

Of course, that means you can't yell at her either. I know you have been, and that you want to stop. I hope this will give you some incentive. I hear that you remember what it felt like as a teenager when your mother yelled at you, and how much you want a different kind of relationship with your daughter. Yelling undermines your daughter's self esteem and your relationship with her. I encourage you to do whatever you need to so that you can avoid yelling at your child. I encourage you to check out "How Parents can Control Their Own Anger" on this website, and also to check out my book: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.

Tweens are difficult and often emotionally out of control. That means our job as parents is to stay in control ourselves, to give them a "holding environment" for their feelings. If we refuse to escalate, but simply offer calmness, we model how feelings can be tolerated, accepted, and managed. Without minimizing their concerns, our calmness gives them the message that while it may feel like the end of the world right now, it really isn't. If we respond to their upset by getting more upset ourselves, it's like throwing a match on kindling. If you can stay calm when your daughter loses it, she will be deeply grateful. She is unlikely to show it at the time, of course, but it will quickly change the entire tenor of your relationship with her.

I want to acknowledge that this is not easy. Not one of us is a perfect parent. When my daughter was this age and I thought she was being unreasonable, I certainly felt like raising my voice to her. But we made breakthroughs when I could stop, breathe, and remember not to take it personally: "You are so upset about this. But please don't scream at me. We don't treat each other that way. Do you want some time to yourself to calm down before we talk about this?"

The trick is to use that breathing room NOT to rehash why we're right and she's an ungrateful brat, but to remind ourselves that what we want is a close relationship and an emotionally healthy child. Then when we do sit down to talk, we're more able to be the understanding mother we want for our child. Once she feels understood, she becomes more cooperative.  And you'll notice  her controlling herself more.

Again, this isn't easy. It calls on us, as parents, to use this opportunity to become better people, with bigger hearts. Sometimes we find we need to seek counseling ourselves, to learn to manage our own anger. But I have seen over and over the positive difference it makes with our kids.

Finally, let's talk about what's wearing you down on a daily basis: grooming. Many girls this age are so conscious of peer pressure to be attractive to boys that they become meticulous with these grooming tasks. But most tweens need help developing good grooming habits. They need daily gentle reminders about what their new bodies need: daily showers, deodorant, teeth and face care twice daily, etc. If you can build these habits into the routine for three months -- reminding her nicely every single day -- she will then have developed habits that she will carry into adulthood.

You may well feel that you shouldn't have to remind her. But, speaking from experience in my own home, at this age deodorant was seen as gross, those Noxema face wash cloths "hurt my skin," a shower is a waste of time, and a bra was an unwanted symbol of losing her childhood. Without reminders, these things don't become habits as fast (although by fifteen, virtually all kids have learned from their peers that they need to develop these habits or be ostracized.) As with teaching our toddlers to use the toilet and brush their teeth, it takes patience for our tweens to develop grooming habits, but they eventually do. And once they master this, they'll be on to the next challenge, and we'll have even less influence on them with that. I personally try to be grateful for the opportunity to be my teenage daughter's mother a little longer.  I know how fast she'll be grown and out of the house.

I hope you and your daughter will become much closer over the next few years, which will strengthen your bond for the rest of your life. Enjoy her while you can.

Dr. Laura

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Anonymous commented on 07-Aug-2010 10:47 PM
Thank you, Dr. Laura. Your response helped me a lot. Your words hit home with me. It's good to realize that other Moms feel the same as I do. I will print this out and remind myself of the positive relationship that I want to nurture with my 12 yr. old. Thank you for making my day! ~ LR
Kristina commented on 02-Mar-2011 12:24 PM
I have read and re-read your answer, it made me feel hopeful and thankful for you. I am failing horribly right now with my daughter, I feel like all I do is make mistakes and then worry I am damaging this human being I love more than I could ever put into words. I wish you could come and live with me for a week and help me put things back together with my daughter. She is 14 and so incredibly wonderful, but we are both lost right now. We have moved yet again, she is a freshman, my husband, her dad is always traveling, and I am arguing with her everyday. It's awful, draining, depressing. When I talk she doesn't listen, then I yell and that's just destructive. Teeth, and hair and face washing I still have to remind everyday, although sometimes she does take initiative, then she's just upset at me for not trusting her to do it. Then I don't remind and she forgets. I can't win for losing. It breaks my heart when I think about where we are with each other, I feel so alone and embarrassed that I don't have the ability to fix this right now for her sake and mine. She is my only child. I feel so lucky to have her, but I feel like I'm failing at being the mother she should have. These womens daughters are 12, I kept thinking they have time and Is it too late for me and my daughter. I keep trying everyday to not argue to not yell to teach consideration to just make it work. I want her to be happy, feel secure inside. I get so frustrated by her behaviors that I get overwhelmed, and I actually cry in front of her because of something shell say to me. I feel so out of control, but I am the adult, and intelligent. Yet I feel like I just don't seem to be able to get us back to a good place. I used to be a really good mom I think but now I don't think I do anything right. Broken mom
Laura Markham commented on 02-Mar-2011 12:41 PM
Kristina,
Dr. Laura here.

1. Take it one day at a time. Even one hour at a time.

2. Stay positively connected. Make sure you have at least 7 positive interactions to every negative interaction. That means when you raise your voice you have your work cut out for you to reconnect.

3. Refrain from anything that could be considered criticism by your daughter until your relationship can better support it. There is no emergency that requires you to get upset at her. Who cares about teeth, hair and face washing? That will come in time. Even the pimples don't matter. They are transient. The connection between you and your daughter is permanent, and needs strengthening.

4. Realize that this is about your own challenges in managing your emotions. What are you modeling for your daughter?

5. Take care of you so you have more inner resources.

6. You will have setbacks but the good days will begin to outweigh the bad. Don't give up. Don't ever give up on your daughter, yourself, or your relationship.

You say you wish I could live with you for a week. Please consider doing a few sessions with me to get things with your daughter on track.

warmly,
Dr. Laura
Megan commented on 14-Mar-2011 09:35 PM
I cannot begin to tell you how much your words have calmed me. It feels like all I do is fight with my 12 year old. I am a single working mom and I love my daughter with every fiber of my being. It breaks my heart every time she is snappy and nasty with me for zero reason, for instance, I knew last night she couldnt sleep, so when I talked to her after school today I said why dont you wai t to do your homework till after supper and take a nap now, and she bit my head off saying she didnt have home work and she wasnt tired. This is an all the time occurance. But reading this gives me hope and knowing that I am not the only parent going through this helps also. Thank you again.
TiredMom commented on 07-Jul-2011 12:49 AM
Wow..This sounds like my daughter and I right now. On top of all of the issues above I am dealing with her not wanting to have visitation with her father. She is feeling like no one loves her right now and yet when I do try to give her affection she pushes
me further away. We are in counseling right now to try and get through this but I too have found hope in this posting. Thank you!
Julie commented on 16-Aug-2011 09:25 AM
I have the exact same situation with my almost 12 year old son...most the arguing, fighting and yelling. Our morning was so bad on the way to school that he left the car with watery eyes, and I drove home sobbing. I felt like such a horrible mom when all
I want is the best for him (like we all do). Through teary eyes, I googled and found your website. Your response has given me a new perspective, a new attitude and a new approach. I think as adults, we reason with and explain to our children the error of their
ways. To us, it seems logical and rational and thus the outcome should be logical and rational. But, we as adults have had a lifetime of experiences to compare and evaluate against. They have not. I see that I must step back and have much, much more empathy
for my son even when I know his actions and reactions are completely wrong. But, his feelings are his feelings and they are very real and correct to him. I don't want to yell and argue with him until he "agrees" with my point of view. Neither one of us is
gaining anything, only losing. It's nice to know that I'm not the only mom out their that feels like a complete failure. There is hope!
staci commented on 17-Oct-2011 09:02 PM
hi im a kid and all me and my mom do is fight and i hate it i love her so much but all we do is fight and i cant stand it . i love you mom 10/17/11 ~staci
Laura Markham commented on 18-Oct-2011 10:07 AM
Staci- You are a brave and smart girl to reach out to your mother like this. Your mom loves you, too, she just doesn't know how to show it right now. Please send this link to your mom so she can read it.


To all moms of 12 year olds: Please Note that Staci is speaking for your child as well. Your child loves you. Find a way to melt those barriers and reconnect with your child before she gets any older. Remember that you are the grown-up. Your child is depending
on you.
Stressed and Frusterated commented on 20-Oct-2011 01:21 AM
Hi. I'm a 12 year old girl and that sounds a lot like me and my mom. I love her so much but we always fight. Lately things have been better but it really sucks when we do fight even now because we are the only people in the house. My mom and dad seperated
when I was only 5 and my brother moved out a few years ago. He was living with my dad but recently he moved into his own house.(He is 20) I have visitation with my dad 3 times a week and I have to have a supervisor with us at all times. The original request
for help and some of the other posts were so like what is going on with me and my mom that I wondered if it was her. The only thing that assured me it wasn't was the birth month. Other than that I could have sworn it sounded like something she would say. Especially
because she does say stuff like she feels like a mean mom. I don't mean to make her feel that way, we just get into arguements and than I feel like a bad kid. This may sound wierd but I even have the screen off my window (it has locks though, don't worry)
so that I have the assurance that if my mom and I get into a huge fight I can go to my friend's house. She lives like three minutes walking time away. I know I would neveer actually do it( we had a situation where my brother snuck out to go see his girlfriend
one time and I remember how terrified both my mom and I were) but for some reason it helps me feel less trapped knowing that I could get away if I needed to. I just turned 12 a little over a week ago and my mom and I got into a big fight about whether or not
I should wear makeup to school. I can see it form her point of view how I shouldn't but I can also see it from y point of view. She thinks that even though mast of my friends wear makeup to school that I shouldn't because she is worried about the impression
that it makes, because someone that has know me for a long time asked me what it was that was on my face when I was wearing makeup. My objection is that I know I'm not an adult, but I'm not a baby anymore and I kinda feel like that's the way I was being viewed.
His girlfriend that I met for the first time that day however though that it looked pretty. My mom also says that if I want to wear makeup to school than I have to get a letter from one of my teachers saying that "everybody" wears makeup to school. I would
say that close to 60% of the girls at my school wear makeup(I'm in 6th grade)and I don't really like the idea of bringing that up to one of my teachers. One of her objections is that she doesn't want me looking trashy when I go to school and my opinion of
that is that I don't wear too much, I have common sense, school rules say that if makeup is distracting then we have to take it off, and she HAS seen me play around with my makeup at home and use it fine without going overboard. It frusterates me that she
doesn't realise that I'm NOT a baby. She says that I only have so long to be a kid and I have years to be an adult but I have already kinda gotten out of that kid stage and it's not my fault. I had to grow up really quickly because my parents' divorce was
not pleasant. My brother and I were so far apart age wise that he understood what was going on when I was still just upset that Mom and Dad were yelling. I remember trying to go to my brother for comfort and he didn't really have any to give. I don't blame
my brother; he was just a kid. He was 12 and I was 4, how could he do anything? It sucks when my mom and I get into fights because we only have each other in the house so its really lonely when we are mad and don't want to see the other. And the other thing
is about dating. My mom thinks that I am wayyyyy to young to date. I know 12 is still too young but she thinks 16!!!! A few of my friends(especially at a close school) already date and stuff and I think that 16 is a little frusterating. That part doesn't bug
me as much as the makeup thing. I tried to talk to my mom about it but her mind is made up that the only way I can wear makeup to school is if I get a letter from one of my teaches. I just wish everything wasn't so stressful.
Laura Markham commented on 22-Oct-2011 07:09 PM
Hey, Stressed and Frustrated- I hear how upset you are that you and your mom can't agree. Please give your mom this link. I don't know if you should use makeup. But I know you and your mom should not be fighting and stressed out all the time. Hugs, Dr.
Laura
Constant arguing commented on 08-Nov-2011 08:27 PM
Hi I'm 15 and I'm constantly stressed . So when my mom criticizes me, I crack. This makes things worse than they already are and I feel horrible every time it happens. Right now, my dad goes on frequent business trips and this is happening a lot more than
it needs too. I think that my mom got really stressed out when she's dealing with my 2 year old baby sister . Since my mom doesn't like to talk about these kind of things, I wish that there was some way I could get her to open up to me and that things aren't
as stressful
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2011 07:06 AM
I am so glad I found this link. Tears were flowing reading it. My 12 year old daughter and I used to be a total team. Even though we spend alot of time together, shuttling her to activities, etc...this article has made me realize that there is no actual
bonding time between us. I think spending 45 minutes in a car together is enough and then get angry with her when she doesn't 'appreciate' (a word I use alot) what I 'do' for her. I'm also realizing that I can be critical in a way that makes sense to an adult,
but not a 12 year old girl. I'm sure every time I say, "you need to wash your face more"...she hears "you're ugly". How did I forget what it is like to be 12?! I also realize that how I have been punishing her for her attitude is by taking myself away from
her....that is not fair and probably the worse thing I could do at this stage. Things will change for us - TODAY! Thank you so much!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2012 04:06 PM
Yes, thank you so much for this article. The thing I struggle with the most is trying to justify treating her empathetically when she is being so rude and mean. It doesn't seem to fit or be logical. When we are rude to other adults, are they nicer to us
in return? No, of course not. I think the only think giving her attention is teaching her is that her negative behavior is working, getting the attention she is seeking. So when she is acting up, I take myself out of the situation and ignore her (or at least
try to).
f commented on 27-Jan-2012 05:16 PM
I'm like that with my mom its normal
Anonymous commented on 13-Feb-2012 07:29 AM
I have just read all of the above and it has made me realise that I need to step back a little and allow my 12 yr old daughter some space to come to terms with the emotional & physical transition into adolescence . She can be the most loving ,kind and
thoughtful person that I know and then within moments she can become vile abusive (verbally) and a truly hideous thing. I can remain calm for a while but when the foul language and verbal abuse is thrown about at me & her younger brother, I'm afraid it makes
me very angry and I start yelling. I usually end up telling/ shouting at, her to get out and go to her room until she has calmed down. I really want to the my hand across her face as I feel so powerless that my child / young person is treating me like crap.But
I don't ; but it is making me feel very depressed and hopeless when it happens. What have I done wrong, why does she not do this to her Dad . When the dust has settled and she wants to talk she won't talk to Dad about stuff, it's me she wants . But it's hard
being kicked down only to be needed for comfort some while later. Please can you give me some real directions on how to survive this time and both of us ( daughter & I) to get to the other end and still love & respect each other. Exhausted Mum.
Laura Markham commented on 13-Feb-2012 09:24 AM
Exhausted Mum- Here is how you survive this time and strengthen your relationship with your daughter going into the teen years. 1. Realize that she is like this with you because you are the person she most depends on emotionally. So you bring out all her
babyish behavior. 2. When she gets upset, breathe. Calm yourself. Say "OUCH!...You must be really hurting to talk to me that way...you know I don't talk to you that way." She will "vent" a bit more and then cry in your arms. But only if you can stay calm and
compassionate. 3. If you are yelling, ever, stop. You're the role model. You don't want her yelling. SO stop yelling. 4. Read everything else above, again. DO what is recommended. 5. Keep breathing and know that you and your daughter will make it through this.
Blessings! Dr. Laura
Consumed Mom commented on 15-Feb-2012 12:45 PM
I'm so glad I found this link. I just had yet another horrible morning with my twelve year old daughter, my second child. She's a pretty smart girl but stubborn as a mule! I know she's going through her puberty as she's wearing makeup and sneaking more
makeup on at school (eyeshow,eyeliner,blush) when the rule is a little mascara and lip gloss(although she doesn't need any). She's insecure about her 'blossoming' as she hunches over a lot as if to hide them. I told her whenever she's ready to get a training
bra let me know. This way I'm not pressuring her and she can be ready on her own terms when she wants one. The biggest problem we have is our communication. When she was 10 and 11, she used to let her bangs hang on her face, not wash her hair frequently,not
wash her face,etc so when her older sister & I try to talk to her at times, she would just shut us out saying 'I don't care!, this would be her frequent response to everything I try to talk to her about even her asthma condition. Eventually I let it go (except
for her asthma condition) hoping things will change when she starts middle school. Well it did, more than I wanted actually. She paid more attention to her hygiene by bathing more, dressing up more and putting on makeup. She's a very pretty girl and always
had comments on her natural look, I can't understand why she needs the extra 5 -6 makeup products. I know it's peer pressure and I'm watching her best friend closely who's obsessed about modelling. Anyway we're always arguing especially in the morning when
her as well as her siblings don't get up on time. Two of my children takes the bus to middle school while the other two walk to elementary. I would start raising my voice and it would end up in a screaming match when I have to end up driving the older two
to school (the younger two gets the message at this point and are out the door). While I'm driving, it's alway the same lecture yelling and cursing how they don't respect me, my suggestions on better time management,my time to start my day. Ususally my oldest
makes an extra effort to not miss the bus while I still have to drive my 12 year old.I've already had to cancel an appt. today because I'm just not in the right mood. I have gotten so angry in the last couple years that I'm seeing changes in myself. I try
to hold these outbursts down as long as I could but usually end up letting them out and they ain't pretty. Not my proud moments. I feel childish, immature and ashamed that I have lost that 'sweet loving motherly image'. I've tried to change the curse words
to noncurse words (ie frigging,frick) but I let one slipped out this morning when I dropped my daughter off because she missed the bus after I told her she had so many minutes to catch the bus...five times. I even offered to quickly drive her up to the bus
stop which is just a block away but she still missed it by looking for this and that and stalling. She has no concept of time and just doesn't seem to care. Of course she was nice about it on the way to school making excuses why she couldn't be ready but I
told her I wasn't having any of it saying she was disorganized, disrepectful, irresponsible,etc. I didn't say goodbye or I love you or have a good day, I was fuming! I felt horrible when I drove away from her school I was in tears. We've already taken her
phone away and now I'm taking away her internet. I've alway seen some really good tips here and plan to use them. Thank you for posting this link.
H mom commented on 23-Feb-2012 08:20 PM
My daughter showers every single day... for an hour.. no joke... but she still smells. she DOES NOT wash herself. She says she brushes her teeth but yet her breath stinks and her teeth are so yellow.. She hoards anything and everything. she has all sorts
of beautiful clothes from nice stores but yet always wears the same old sweatshirt everyday.. we have a love hate relationship.. she comes to me for anything, she is very open with me.. but when it comes to this shower, brush teeth and clean room thing....
all heck breaks lose.. My question is... WHY? why does she shower for an hour but not wash herself. why does she hoard.. why does she not want white clean teeth? I have tried the positive reinforcement thing and it didn't make a difference.. she still continues
to smell and want to smell. I dont get it.
Anonymous commented on 16-Apr-2012 02:24 AM
I really feel so emotionally drained while dealing with my 12 year old daughter, but reading Dr.Laura's advice and other mother's experiences I feel like it's up to me to make the change nd deal with issues in a more calmer way. since i know its normal
and not only my daughter who is like this, I know I can deal with it in a better understanding way. thks Dr.Laura
Desperate Mom In Need ASAP commented on 23-Apr-2012 01:53 PM
Hi, I am a mother of a 12 yr old daughter. I had her when I was 16 yrs old,as she is very much aware. I asked for a divorce 3 yrs ago and she is always throwing it up in my face how I broke the family, and I gave up on her dad. However I left him b/c of
illegal activities that landed him in jail& prison 3 times!..for at least 8 or more months. I had had enough! I can't explain that to her though. She thinks I am the bad guy b/c he has to pay child support, & doesn't have much extra money, which he tells them
about,plus he has been "unemployed" for 2 years or more, behind on support(by 3 months). so she just feels sorry 4 him & hates me! She tries to parent me, cut me down w/words, claims I emotional/physically abuse her, fighting all the time unless she is getting
her way or exactly what she wants. I understand "hormones"! Really I do, however there comes a point that the total disrespect, hatefulness, down right defiant girl that she has become has to stop! So I cleaned out her room and left her 2 outfits, plenty of
under garments/socks, 1 pair of shoes, a bed w/blankets,sheets,pillow,contacts&solution, necessary hygiene products,books to read only, no body sprays,make-up which I have allowed b/c she is in 6th grade & most girls do, but light wear only, No Hair straightener,
or anything extra that she feels she OWNS and is entitled to & she thinks this is child abuse and not punishment. She says "Y'all are going over board don't u think"&"I am going to call DHR and go live w/my dad now that I am 12!" Which he is staying w/his
mom,step dad & their 3 teenagers and he is on the floor. I have taken the IPOD touch, her cell phone, CD players, all the Extras in life & nothing works only seems to make it worse. I have been seeking professional help today but am getting nowhere fast due
to type of insurance policy. Am I being totally wrong for this? She complained about the fact that kids @ school will make fun of her for wearing the same 2 outfits so the 1st week I would sneak a shirt to the car for her to change into b/c I understand, then
she made No effort to try to improve so last week she only had 2 shirts, except Wednesday b/c she got an A&B progress report from school...which have been A,B,C,D,& F's so I felt she should be rewarded, she had been not even trying in school. Oh yeah she is
Very Lethargic all the time! The doctor says its normal but I beg to differ, she falls out eating, talking, riding in car(every time), and looks as if she is on drugs and I can tell when its about to happen due to her super red eyes and slurred speech. I demanded
blood work to be done but it was all ok. No thyroid problem like me or vitamin deficiencies. What did I do to go so wrong? She hates her step dad b/c he has a zero tolerance for disrespect & stands FIRM on all disciplinary,so she can't act how she wants but
now she is trying him too, plain out saying "I'm not doing it, your wrong, this is abuse, I hate you..." It gets worse than that...it would require a book to tell u the full story but this is the main issue(s). Help? Advise? Please? I also have an 8 yr old
son learning this behavior also!
Laura Markham commented on 23-Apr-2012 02:07 PM
Desperate Mom- YES, you are wrong. Your approach will not help. Your daughter may indeed be using drugs, and she needs your help NOW but this approach will not help. As you can see, it is just making her defiant. Do you really want her looking for love
in all the wrong places? Please get yourself and your daughter to family counseling right away!
WornOutMom commented on 25-Apr-2012 11:07 AM
I completely understand what everyone has been saying. My daughter and I started having issues with her personal hygiene since she starting breaking out with pimples at the age of 10. We tried pretty much everything to make her understand how important
it is to take care of herself properly - hair, teeth, washing, etc. The one thing that definately DOES NOT work is to think that this is a phase she will outgrow. She will be 15 next month and I still have to follow her in the bathroom to make sure she does
all of these things. Some days, I have to brush her teeth and wash her face myself. Just when I think she can handle it on her own, I find that she hasn't been doing anything, that she 'forgets'. I have absolutely no problems in this area with my 12-year old
son.

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