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Ultrarunner
Ultrarunner asks:
Q:

My 7th grade daughter has started making faces at me behind my back and now tonight right in front of me.  Am I overreacting?

I have talked with her about how disrespectful this is and how I expected it to stop. She seems to be so unappreciative of anything we do for her.  We have set limits with her.  I have gone as far as to tell her if she makes these faces at me again, she would be smacked in the face.  I have never hit my children.  Tonight she has gotten the better of me and I am overridden with guilt now, but am also stil angry at her.  I am sure that there is more of this behavior to come as the years go by, Any advice for me? Am I overreacting?  Should I ignore this behavior and just send her to her room like I have been doing and continue to let her know that I will not tolerate this disrespectfullness?
In Topics: Teen issues, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Hand in Hand
Sep 20, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Ultrarunner,

Raising adolescents certainly does have it's challenges! Have you taken a look at the article on our website on "Supporting Our Adolescent Children?" It might offer you some ideas that would be helpful.

Also, I would encourage you to try something different instead of sending her to her room. You *want* your daughter to communicate with you. She *needs* to be able to communicate with you as she grows older and faces more and more challenging situations in her life. So it might be worthwhile to experiment with this behavior a little more.

For example, the next time you know she is making faces, what do you think would happen if you just let go of whatever it was you were doing or saying that brought on the face and pulled a ridiculous face back at her? What if you mussed up her hair and playfully grabbed at her and told her you were going to kiss that nasty face right off of her? What if you simply took that behavior as a sign that she isn't feeling as close and warm and connected with you as she needs to be and reached out for her in some silly, crazy, hopefully-you-will-both-laugh way? What if you *played* that faces like that make you so crazy that you have to chase the person making them with your dirty socks?

If you would like to build connection with your daughter and encourage the close, loving relationship you both surely would like to have, you might also like to look at the article below on how Special Time works with older kids. That's the best way to reduce this sort of off-track behavior, give them your attention before they need it so badly they will seek it in uncomfortable ways.

Good luck!

Juli
Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand Program Director
www.handinhandparenting.org

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Additional Answers (2)

bob
bob , Parent writes:
I have a sixth grader that hasn't gotten into this yet, but her older brother has a well-honed edge of disrespect in his attitude toward the parents.

The only thing I have found that has any non-negative repercussions is to give him a hug - not as a reward but as a de-fusing action.  He usually stiffens a bit but things calm down for a while.  I wish I could remember to do it, and always stay calm enough to do it - that is the hardest part.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello,
I have a daughter that does this too. What you need to understand is some kids are just like this. They are going to try your last bit of patience. The question is "why" Why do children push a parent over the edge? Why do some kids seem to be more compliant and respectful and others more challenging. This brings me to Dr. James Dobson and the "Stong Willed Child". I suggest you check this out from your local library. What we are dealing with is a cetain level of "defiancy" if you will... The key to handling these children is knowing what you are up against but if more so WHY...
We do a lot for our daughter, and at times, I admit, she is spoiled. However, most of the times we try to teach her to be respectful. She seems not to be disrespectful to Dad and he does not even do near as much. I would back off of the spoiling and be more a parent than a friend figure. I think this is where I went wrong and why some kids target one parent as the "friend". You have to discipline her even when you don't feel like it. So if she give you a nasty glare, I would sit down and ask her why she is giving you those looks. First try to understand, then I would tell her it is unacceptable and she has to be punished. You take away a TV show, playdate or do timeout. I would not use spanking in this case. I would try to encourage good behavior as much as possible and let her know you love her. Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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