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

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#1 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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).
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#2 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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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!!!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#4 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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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.

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#5 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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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
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#6 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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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?
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#8 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#9 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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#10 of 32 Old 07-22-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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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 : )
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#11 of 32 Old 07-23-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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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


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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!"
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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

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#12 of 32 Old 07-23-2010, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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#13 of 32 Old 07-24-2010, 09:01 AM
 
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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!
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#14 of 32 Old 07-24-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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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

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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.

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#15 of 32 Old 07-24-2010, 02:04 PM
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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.

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#16 of 32 Old 07-24-2010, 02:23 PM
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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.

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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.

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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?

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#17 of 32 Old 07-24-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 32 Old 07-25-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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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!

 

 

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#19 of 32 Old 07-25-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 32 Old 07-26-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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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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#21 of 32 Old 07-30-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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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.
Isn't that interesting...I have felt the same way.
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#22 of 32 Old 07-30-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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I'll join in. I have a 12 year old ds and an 1o year old dd. Some days I don't know where these children came from. My 12 year old is full of drama. No one ever talks about boy drama. All I ever heard was how much easier boys are then girls. Bull. He is an emotional roller coaster. Plus, these past few months, every time I turn around the boy is lying around listening to music. Not that I object to listening to music but it is all he does. If he is not doing that he is bugging me for video game time. If I ask him to do something, like his chores, you would think I asked him to give up a limb.

My daughter is very strong willed and has her own opinions and is very vocal about them. I know these are qualities that will serve her well as an adult but couldn't she just listen to me and be that way with everyone else? She is fiercely independent (always has been) but she is in one of those "I know everything" stages and anything I say is instantly dismissed or not listened to at all.

My mother just laughs when I tell her stuff.

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#23 of 32 Old 07-30-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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I'll join in. I have a 12 year old ds and an 1o year old dd. Some days I don't know where these children came from. My 12 year old is full of drama. No one ever talks about boy drama.


Boy drama-- o.m.g. YES! Upthread I posted how my 9-1/2yo boy is SUCH a drama king. Drives me batty. Everything's a tragic show. Everything's something to whine and complain about. He can't do anything. He's incapable. Everything's too hard, or impossible, or hurts, or is too much work. Remind me to drag out my mini-violin

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every time I turn around the boy is lying around listening to music. Not that I object to listening to music but it is all he does. If he is not doing that he is bugging me for video game time. If I ask him to do something, like his chores, you would think I asked him to give up a limb.
Yep. Mine's is the Nintendo DS. I give him unlimited, but if it gets in my way or keeps him from responsibilities, or he gets snarky because of it, out it goes. For 24 hours. If he sasses again over that, it's another 24. I have stopped being a pansy-arse about it. I don't negotiate.

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My mother just laughs when I tell her stuff.
I bet! Which is why I don't vent at mine *sigh* How I wish I could, but unfortunately, parenting is a pay-it-forward deal. That's why I love you mamas

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#24 of 32 Old 07-30-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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10 yo ds and I have been driving each other crazy these last 6 months. I have lost my temper and yelled more than i would like to admit. I hate what our relationship has become. Hate it. It makes me so sad. Sad for him and me both.

Mama to ds 6/00 and dd 1/09
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#25 of 32 Old 07-31-2010, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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10 yo ds and I have been driving each other crazy these last 6 months. I have lost my temper and yelled more than i would like to admit. I hate what our relationship has become. Hate it. It makes me so sad. Sad for him and me both.

That is sad

Here are a few general ideas to try:

1. more one on one time. Preferably doing something you both enjoy - if you cannot find anything, something he enjoys.

2. Giving him more freedom. Often kids rebel because they see our rules as groundless - let some go and show you trust him to handle himself

3. Do not engage in fights if at all possible. Leave the room, call time out, or if it really is non-negotiable, tell him the topic is closed and he needs to stop arguing or he is going to his room.

4. Is he over or under stimulated? Not that this is an excuse for bad behaviour - but being bored or stress can bring out the worst in us.
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#26 of 32 Old 08-01-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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Conversation during *Family Fun Time* (which was spent hiking in the mountains on a trail DH and I did last week without the kids)

DH: Girls, you are gonna love this. This is most likely the most beautiful trail you'll ever see.

DD1 : I doubt that. I plan to do a lot of hiking when I grow up, without you guys.

DD2: But this is special because we are doing it as a FAMILY!

DD1: You say that like it's a good thing. I just wanna go back to bed.

We woke them at the horrid hour of 9:00 a.am. Aren't we the meanest parents ever?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#27 of 32 Old 08-02-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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I think one thing that's important to remember about his age in particular (especially with girls) is that these snarky, argumentative things they say are partially born from the need to be their own person, "breaking free" as it may be and the other half (maybe three-quarters...who knows) is HORMONES! Imagine (or remember) what it's like to be PMSing 24 hours a day for years...that's how I remember those years!
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#28 of 32 Old 08-06-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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"Get out of my life, but first can you take Cheryl and me to the mall" is by Anthony Wolfe (Wolf?) I haven't read the entire book, but his column in the Globe and Mail is terrific.

A friend once told me that much of anger is a response to being disappointed. Since hearing that, I have often wondered if the disappointment I feel is because the situation didn't measure up to my standards or to my kids' standards.

But I agree that it is hard to deal with the snarkiness and occasionally I will speak to my kids about "vocabulary choice" and "tone of voice". Yes, just like they are the little kids they still really are.
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#29 of 32 Old 08-10-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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subbing...my 12yo DS is driving me batty most of the time. He is horrible with his younger siblings..not always but enough to oooohhhh he makes me so mad.

I just requested the Uncommon sense book from the library.

I think one of my biggest struggles is having such big gaps between the kids. DD and DS2 are pretty close developmentally then there is DS1 left all alone and not getting to do all the cool stuff he thinks everyone else gets to do. Somedays I wonder if it wouldn't be better for him to go off to school.

Christi
DS1(12), DD(7)blessed with T21, DS2(2), and DD2 - newly arrived 1/28/11
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#30 of 32 Old 08-11-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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I so agree with you! I haven't read all the answers but I totally will, maybe someone have find the secret, lol.
I don't have an older then 14 so I am hoping you are right in that one and I only have 2 more years of confusing, lol.
But my 12 year old sometimes gets me crazy. What happen to my sweet daughter?
Ok, so she always have been a little lazy on the chores side, but this last year I have the drama fact, the weird changes of temper, the "I am too old" next to the "I am just a kid", I could go on and on.
For the past year I have try to get a different approach with my teen, I just got me 2 books about parenting a teen, I have make more call to my mom then ever before, etc.
Sometimes I really don't like her and I feel bad about it but can't help, but the funiest things of all is that, when I think that in just 6 years she will be out for collage (maybe, I think that after all I wish she stays in a close Collage), then I think is so little time I have left and then things seam less hard...for a couple minutes.
I am so glad is not only me, that I read other moms and make me feel I am normal and my crazy teen is as normal as any of the others.

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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