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The "I struggle with my pre-teen" support thread

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I have noticed that people regularly come on and express worries or concerns about their 10-13 yr olds. Me too! I thought it might be a good idea to create a safe place to share ideas, concerns, etc about our preteens.

I think it is a period of great transition for kids and parents, and can cause all sorts of unrest.

I must admit parenting my 11 year old daughter at this point in her life is more challenging than either my 14 or 7 yr old. They seem more settled; she does not.

My goal at this moment is to work on showing love more (through daily niceness plus more one on one time) while disengaging from petty behaviours, that have a high escalation rate. I will let her cool off before addressing subjects (something I have failed to do in the past with a blow up as the result).
post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
while disengaging from petty behaviours, that have a high escalation rate. I will let her cool off before addressing subjects (something I have failed to do in the past with a blow up as the result).
I read a book called something like "Get out of my life, but first can you take Cheryl and me to the mall" and it said that many girls go through a phase where the subtext of what they are saying is "will you argue with me?" and almost anything we say back will be heard as "yes, I will argue with you!"

I'm not sure what the answer, but the year that my older DD was 12 was the longest year of my life!!!
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I read a book called something like "Get out of my life, but first can you take Cheryl and me to the mall" and it said that many girls go through a phase where the subtext of what they are saying is "will you argue with me?" and almost anything we say back will be heard as "yes, I will argue with you!"
I remember doing this to my mother a bit. I actually liked to argue, and be sarcastic, though. I do not know why. I wasn't particulalry happy and was probably taking it out on my mother - maybe it was a release. DD doesn't seem to like to argue though (and it will occasionally end in tears or her stomping off to her room claiming no one will listen to her) yet she initiates arguements if I so much as breathe wrong!

My son did not do this, btw. He did have a few issues in the preteen years - but they were not so constant/draining on me! Maybe it is a girl thing?
post #4 of 32
My belief (I don't have anything to back this up mind you) is that this age group is going through a similar stage that they went through at around 3. Only instead of learning that they are separate being than their parents, pre-teens are learning that they are capable of not only having different views on things than their parents but arguing in favour of those views. Much like a three year old will argue something that you know is wrong, a pre-teen will argue with anything that they can come up with a different view for as a way of saying "This is me and I am not you and I don't think like you."

We've actually not being trying to stop the arguing, but instead worked on encouraging DD to follow certain principals of it. Basically teaching her to debate her point of view and in many cases research them too. It's hard, of course, because sometimes she doesn't want to take the time to put together actual arguments and instead just wants to disagree with what we say, but we have noticed that she has gotten better at a few things. First is articulating her side of things in a more rational manner (since she knows we will listen), second is listen better to our side (since we listened, she feels an obligation to do the same). So far it's working for us.

FTR, boys tend to go about this a different way. They tend to go through more of a "I'm not going to fight, I'm just not going to do what you say" type of stage where requests and orders are ignored.

And of course everyone is different. I went through the arguing stage... Some would argue I never left it. I beg to differ.
post #5 of 32
I've been reading "Girl in the Mirror" about mothers and daughters during these years. So far it has been a very interesting read. I also have an 11 - nearly 12 - year old daughter. The book proposes that this period of change for both mom and daughter can be a rewarding one for both, albeit challenging. I'm only a little way into the book but my first take home message was to remember that this arguing phase has much more to do with a girl finding her own thoughts and voice than anything personal with you.

While this book specifically targets moms and daughters, I do think much is applicable to dads and parenting adolescents in general. Personally, I'm finding much more conflict between dd and dh. He seems to take the arguing as some sort of challenge to his authority. While dd does want to question and discuss everything, she is still the same sweet girl who wants to please, but he has trouble seeing that. He tries to make it up to her by being silly and teasing her - which drives her batty. Sigh.... I don't want to get into the habit of trying to control their interactions, they need the room to develop their own relationship. However, I feel the need to try and gently let dh know he may be driving a wedge that will become hard to overcome. On the other hand, she still very much loves her dad and their time together - so maybe she likes their mutual antagonizing. LOL
post #6 of 32
We have an 11 year old (almost 12) DS. I am noticing that he is much more emotional in the last 6 months. He is really an easy-going kid, but soooo much more is bothering him these days.

He was up all night the other night worrying about our dog. Honestly, he was crying for quite a long time. He got really upset toward the end of the school year with 4th grade boys at recess who were having issue with the boys in his grade (5th).

We're trying to listen better also. I really like the idea of having them research and learn about the things they are starting to believe in. DS wants a phone, but we've said no. Maybe I'll make him research phones and prices!

Sometimes he feels that what is knows is fact, when it isn't. My DH and I sometimes have a hard time explaining to him that whatever he thought wasn't true. It's strange to see this unwavering conviction about his own thoughts.
post #7 of 32
Mine's 8 1/2 emotionally very mature and showing some signs of early puberty, can I join in? I really like the sound of "Girl in The Mirror" could you tell me who wrote it please?
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermionesmum View Post
Mine's 8 1/2 emotionally very mature and showing some signs of early puberty, can I join in? I really like the sound of "Girl in The Mirror" could you tell me who wrote it please?
Sure, join in!

I googled the book mentionned - it is by Nancy Snyderman.

http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Mirror-Mo.../dp/0786886412

Interestingly enough, if you scroll down the other book mentioned in this thread (Get out of my life, but drive me to the mall) is also on this page.

I am going to see if I can get both from the library.

I do frequently ask DD to research her position. It often works - say if she does not want to eat meat (she no longer does) wants to feed the dog a homemade recipe (check) etc, etc. Where we run into trouble is interpersonal stuff.

If I allow her sister to sing in the car (when she wants quiet) it is interpreted as I am taking her side, and an argument ensues. Stuff like this. Sigh.

Another thing that is going on is her best friend is turning into a classic "mean girl" before her eyes and has done some hurtfull stuff. I know it is causing her some stress. I have tried to advice and support her, but do not want to push too hard. It is difficult because I do not like to see her being treated poorly in this but I do not like feeling like being her punching bag (not literally) because she is at odds with her friend.
post #9 of 32
subbing
post #10 of 32
This book helped me so much:
Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers
My daughter was only 11 when I read it, but very mature (in some ways) for her age. It completely changed our relationship. Up until the age of 10, my parenting was very instinctive and I just "got it". After that I had no clue how to handle my suddenly nasty, moody, mean little girl. When I read the book I understood what she was going through and I was able to empathize with her and stop trying to win every argument. We now have a really good relationship. Don't get me wrong--I know the worst is yet to come--she's only 13--but I feel like this book gave me a road map. It really changed the way I parent.

If I'm not mistaken--the book was first recommended to me right here : )
post #11 of 32
Subbing.

My boy is only 9-1/2, but I feel like we're heading towards some rocky roads ahead. He's always been Jekyll and Hyde-ish; he's like the little girl in the poem: very, very good, or very, very horrid. And when he's horrid, omg. He's combative (not physically), he's defiant, he's argumentative, he never, ever shuts up, he will die before someone else gets the last word. And he's a drama king

s at Linda on the move


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
many girls go through a phase where the subtext of what they are saying is "will you argue with me?" and almost anything we say back will be heard as "yes, I will argue with you!"
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
DD doesn't seem to like to argue though (and it will occasionally end in tears or her stomping off to her room claiming no one will listen to her) yet she initiates arguements if I so much as breathe wrong!

My son did not do this, btw. He did have a few issues in the preteen years - but they were not so constant/draining on me! Maybe it is a girl thing?
This is what I was wondering. Most of you seem to have girls. Do boys do this, too? Please, please, please say no
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maiasaura View Post
Subbing.

My boy is only 9-1/2, but I feel like we're heading towards some rocky roads ahead. He's always been Jekyll and Hyde-ish; he's like the little girl in the poem: very, very good, or very, very horrid. And when he's horrid, omg. He's combative (not physically), he's defiant, he's argumentative, he never, ever shuts up, he will die before someone else gets the last word. And he's a drama king


This is what I was wondering. Most of you seem to have girls. Do boys do this, too? Please, please, please say no
My DD and son presented differently. It is hard to know whether it is gender or temperment at play.

My Ds argued things he was interested in - and he was persistant and drove me insane. At some points it felt like verbal harassment - as he would not take no for an answer and would not give up. Saying "I hear your side, I have told you my side, I know you do not agree with me, but this is no longer up for discussion" sometimes worked.

With my DD it feels more emotional - she gets upset so easily, and doesn't feel I understand her, an on and on.

With son it was over things - and with DD it is over feelings. Things are easier for me than feelings as there isn't hurt involved. YMMV
post #13 of 32
subbing.

I have a 10 year old DD. She has changed so much in the past year. I do catch glimpses of her as a teen and wonder what she will be like. It's like she's on a seesaw and one day she is playing dolls and all sweet and snuggly and the next she is listening to her MP3 player and being sarcastic and ignores me.

I am trying to point out the positives. Like when I catch her being sweet with the neighbor girl who is 4, or when she lets her brother have something to save having an argument.

And TRY to ignore the negative. I do point out when she speaks to us disrespecfully. It's more the way a word is said than what is said. "Nice" as a response can sound pleasant and affirmative or it can sound totally sarcastic.

I haven't the arguing as much as the ignoring my requests and rules (such as 1 hour of screen time. She will disappear to the basement where the TV is and I won't realize until it is too late that she has watched a show) and saying "in a minute" and then never following through, which turn me into a nag, which I hate.

Great idea for a thread!
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
At some points it felt like verbal harassment - as he would not take no for an answer and would not give up. Saying "I hear your side, I have told you my side, I know you do not agree with me, but this is no longer up for discussion" sometimes worked.
This is good. Must try to memorize/remind myself to try it

Quote:
Originally Posted by abeliamama View Post
I haven't the arguing as much as the ignoring my requests and rules (such as 1 hour of screen time. She will disappear to the basement where the TV is and I won't realize until it is too late that she has watched a show) and saying "in a minute" and then never following through, which turn me into a nag, which I hate.

That! I hate that! And it's all like "WHY are you being so mean?" Um...if you'd listened to me the FIRST time, I wouldn't be nagging you with such urgency and frustration in my voice. Hello? You're not a victim. Argh.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maiasaura View Post
And it's all like "WHY are you being so mean?" Um...if you'd listened to me the FIRST time, I wouldn't be nagging you with such urgency and frustration in my voice. Hello? You're not a victim. Argh.
Seriously! DD12 takes the victimized child stance about everything! It's so exhausting. But what really drives me insane, what really makes me want to is when I am trying to calmly explain the error of her ways (disrespectful comments, talking back, arguing, etc) she will say "what are you talking about?!" Like I am crazy and she has no idea what's going on.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
My DD and son presented differently. It is hard to know whether it is gender or temperment at play.
Mine too, I think it's both. DS is MUCH more easy going in the temperment department, at least for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
My Ds argued things he was interested in - and he was persistant and drove me insane. At some points it felt like verbal harassment - as he would not take no for an answer and would not give up. Saying "I hear your side, I have told you my side, I know you do not agree with me, but this is no longer up for discussion" sometimes worked.
Totally works for DS but when I use that with DD, OMG

DS is much more respectful of my position as parent and tests his boundaries like all other kids, but when I draw the line, he's ok with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
With my DD it feels more emotional - she gets upset so easily, and doesn't feel I understand her, an on and on.
Do you get the "everybody hates me!" act too?
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~D~ View Post
But what really drives me insane, what really makes me want to is when I am trying to calmly explain the error of her ways (disrespectful comments, talking back, arguing, etc) she will say "what are you talking about?!" Like I am crazy and she has no idea what's going on.
Right? Ye Gods. With such an innocent, wide-eyed look, I swear they must practice it in the mirror

Were we all that snarky as kids?
If we get what we put out, then ye Gods I am getting it back in spades. I'm so sorry, Mom and Dad! Too little too late, I know. Sigh.
post #18 of 32
opcorn

DS is going to be 9 in August and DD is 11, going into 7th grade this fall, so I need ALL the advice/help I can get!
post #19 of 32
So happy to find this thread! Most days we're feeling alone in the constant battle with DD1. We've tried all kinds of different approaches. She loves to argue, why, why, why can't I. We try to stick with saying things once, that's it, ignoring the rest. (it's really, really hard) DH and her get into it way more, both need to have the last word. We don't want the rest of the kids picking up the same attitude, it's affecting the entire family at this point. I'm going to check out some of the books mentioned.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maiasaura View Post
That! I hate that! And it's all like "WHY are you being so mean?" Um...if you'd listened to me the FIRST time, I wouldn't be nagging you with such urgency and frustration in my voice. Hello? You're not a victim. Argh.
!!!!!

my almost 12yo ds does this all the time. i swear, i never knew that boys were such huge drama queens (kings?), i always thought it was just girls!

i ask him to do something simple, something that would take 5 minutes out of his busy schedule of lying about and moaning about having nothing to do something like taking the bag of trash out to the dumpster, and i get an hours worth of whining and complaining and general crabbiness, since i won't let him go off with his friends until he does it. i'm "ruining his life" by insisting that he take out the trash, keep his room tidy, and clean the downstairs bathroom once a week. argh!

i heartily apologize to my mother if i was this annoying as a child
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