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How do you raise a 12 yr old girl?
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How do you raise a 12 yr old girl?

I am having trouble with my 12 yr old. Everything is a up hill battle with her. It takes her 4 hours to complete her homework. She back talks me when I try to explain why she is being grounded. She tries to make deals. If I say you are grounded, she'll say, If I do this can I be undergrounded. If I tell her to prove to me first, she goes forget then. We usually end up screaming at each other. I know, that is the wrong thing to do, but I am at my wits ends. She is so disrespectful and is always telling me I am trying to run her life. I told her that is my job as a  parent and that if I didn't care I wouldn't be always setting rules. I have seriously thought about letting her go to live with her dad. I love her dearly, but my nerves cannot handle the constant battles with her. I have talked with other parents and they have the same problems, but nobody has a solution. I have spank when I just cannot take any more. And I hate to say that that works the best. I do not want to have to spank, but this battle is wearing me down. Please help. Why are kids so disrespectful now adays? We would have never questioned our moms words. Not into a full arguement. Thank you so much.
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Dear Gayla,

While it may well be easier said than done, it's important to maintain your own equanimity and to establish a simple, clear set of guidelines (rules, rewards, punishments) around which you can organize your limit-setting and discipline.

It sounds like you and your daughter are caught in quite a negative cycle, and your daughter will change to the extent that you can make some changes in your ways of interacting with her. When a situation evolves to the point where you are not satisfied with your own level of emotional self-control, it's usually wise to seek some professional assistance. There's every reason to expect that the situation can improve, but you'll probably need some assistance to set your relationship with your daughter in a different direction.
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Your posting really hit home with me.  I am a mother of four children - two boys and two girls ages 6 to 16.  My 15 yr. old daughter has been the challenge the Lord apparently wanted me to have.  All her life she has questioned authority and felt like everyone was entitled to her opinion - from how I dress to whether my dishes matched or not.  No, she is not a perfectionist, but is set in her ideas and ways.  After much counseling I had to learn to find those times when she was behaving respectfully and let her know I loved her - it may occur only once in a blue moon, but it's there.  After one particulary bad scene I waited until I knew I could approach her (several days later) without her biting my head off just because I had a pulse.  I told her how beautiful she looked that day and how I wished I had her hair.  For some reason, I began to see a minute piece of the ice melt.  I know she still wants to be in charge of everyone's thoughts and actions, but my skin is so thick you'd think I was made out of leather.  She really does want everyone to feel as miserable as she does, so if I don't respond in an angry way it really frustrates her, but she calms down a lot quicker than if we matched decibel for decibel.  I was once told by her pediatrician when she was just three years old that when we raised our voices and went back and forth like that, that she was becoming frightened - not because of the yelling, but because she felt like everything was out of control and no one was in charge and a young child needs to feel secure and that someone is in charge of protecting them.  There is a reason why our children or children nowadays are so angry and we must not let our children take control of us.  We have to love them unconditionally, as hard as it is at times, and demand respect and control of our own households.  I am not an advocate of spanking, even though I have used it at times, but no longer do.  I realizde that it ultimately served no purpose and you just have to find a different approach to get their attention.  I am an advocate of counseling - whatever it takes to keep the family dynamics peaceful and under control.  I wish you and every parent like us the best of luck, but we can't do it without asking God for help in raising our children.
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