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elephant73
elephant73 asks:
Q:

I am having two trouble areas with my 11 y.o. 5th grader. Premature dating & meanness

#1 My 11 y.o. daughter wants to go on a double date with her female cousin, her cousin's 18 y.o. fiance and his little brother who is 11.  I firmly believe that it is too soon and inappropriate.  I believe that she should wait (first of all), and I believe that her first dates should be with an adult present.  I believe that her cousin practices inappropriate actions for her age.  My daughter says she's "never" going to have a boyfriend.  How do I convey to her the right message?

#2 The same 11 y.o. is often disrespectful, even to her grandmother and rude to her cousins, my fiance, her own friends, and often to me.  I am frustrated because she always has a way to justify her behavior... such as, "she's not my friend" or "she's rude to me too".  She is outright defiant to me.  I love her so much, but I want her to understand that this behavior hurts her more than me.  I need to know what I can do to make things different for her.  I was never, ever this disrespectful to my mother.  I was afraid of my mother though, so I don't know the best way to address this.  I just know what my mom did and what I am doing isn't working.  Please help.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships, Discipline and behavior challenges, Motherhood
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 21, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

If you firmly believe that dating at age 11 is inappropriate, then you have no reason to justify this with your daughter. It is something that does not need to be completely understood by her or negotiated. It is your decision and you need to stand firmly with it...no more discussions! Someday when she is older she will look back and will be grateful that you had the courage to not allow her to do what she wanted to do all the time and that you stood your ground. You are setting a good example for her.

When your daughter makes comments such as "I will never have a boyfriend" don't take this personally or believe that she wholeheartedly believes this herself. She is just venting and not really thinking things through before she speaks. You don't have to answer to such comments, just let it be.

Eventually your daughter's rudeness to others will come full circle to her and she will not keep friends if she continues to treat them this way. Some of this you will not be able to control. She will have to learn this on her own. At home however you can praise her when she does something kind and is nice to others. When she talks back to you, try delaying your response until you are not so emotional and when you can think logically about what she just said. Then talk seriously with her about how her words and actions affect others. You can also withhold privileges if she is disrespectful and make it a point to reward good behavior through praise and other activities she can earn.

Boys Town created Common Sense Parenting and it is a very useful and successful method for children of all ages. Behaviors can be changed through consistent praise and natural consequences. Please go to our website for more information on Common Sense Parenting: www.parenting.org
You may consider getting the book, "Common Sense Parenting, Using Your Head as Well as Your Heart to Raise School-Aged Children" by Burke and Herron and Barnes. You can purchase the book through us or find it at your local library or bookstore.

Please give our Hotline a call if you would like to speak with a counselor. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week by phone or e-mail. We are here to support parents and kids through any problem. Let us know if we can help you!

Take care, hang in there and keep reaching out!

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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Additional Answers (2)

elizabeth18
elizabeth18 writes:
(first of all), no one should go on a double dating with an older couple because they might make them do stuff (like sex). If she is being mean then you should stop her from dating because that might be the problem with her. Or she is fixing to start her period.
> 60 days ago

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amanda323
amanda323 writes:
Your best option with any child is to set boundaries and stick by them.  Children thrive when then know what to expect from you.  My children know, when I say "no", I mean "no" and they drop the issue.  It might take her a while to realize that you are not budging, but in the long run, it will make future issues easier because she will know that you will stand your ground.

As far as the disrespectful attitude, you need to put a stop to that now.  If she's like that now, imagine when she's 16 and 17 with more freedom.  Show her that her disrespectfulness will not be tolerated.  It may seem mean but if she doesn't listen, restrict outside of school activities and privledges such as a cell phone or tv.  Above all, be consistent.  If a rule is broken, there has to be consequences regardless of the circumstances.  Eventually, you will be glad you did.
> 60 days ago

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