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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, there I said it. My daughter, who actually turns 13 in a month is just awful to be around.<br>
She's always been a little bossy and was one of those high need babes.<br>
She also used to be funny, charming and caring. She's incredibly smart (2E) and so well read. However, she has slowly turned into a snarling, yelling, snide, mean kid.<br>
This isn't just at home either.<br>
She goes to a small private middle & high school that we have stretched ourselves so thin to pull off. Community and collaboration are huge parts of this school's philosophy. The adults care, are really committed, the curriculum is rich and challenging and the opportunities are amazing...we're talking Archeology in Mesa Verde, service trips to Mexican Orphanages, that kind of stuff.<br>
Last year she was fine. Some typical pre-teen stuff. This year, some new kids with major issues come to the school and she gravitates right to them and gets into this LOUD nasty, dissing, cutting, mean kid kind of stuff. They shuffle around, with the hoods up and just talk sh*t about people.<br>
There are the nicest sweetest kids in this school and my kid just has to gravitate to the edgiest, darkest ones.<br>
Now, I don't mean to say it's their fault. She is choosing to act this way and she's starting to lose her friends from last year because of this nastiness.<br>
When she's called on it by the dean or a teacher she tries to turn it around that they won't let them be kids and they are always braething down their necks. She refuses to accept any responsibility for it. Or anything else for that matter.<br>
Many of us send our kids to this school because we want to avoid the nastiness that can dominate middle school.<br>
Any resources? BTDT?<br>
Tracy
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
I hope this is just a phase she'll grow out of soon. Fortunately my 13yo isn't going through this.
 

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Ask the school for resources! Ask if they have a councilor on staff or if they can refer you to a councilor for kids this age. And your daughter doesn't need to see the councilor, it's for you, to get some perspective and advise on how to handle this change. It's so hard to tell what's hormones and what is something above and beyond the usual 13 y.o. angst. The fact that she's changing friends and that she's having a moderately big change in personality is notable.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Oh, Im living this, too. With my son.<br><br>
All kids of this age go through this; some more than others. And they all express it in different ways. But no matter what school you do or do not send your kid, Im sure they have to go through this.<br><br>
I dont have much advice but want you to know I feel for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, journeymom. They actually are bringing in a counselor for the students and I do plan to avail myself of her services. The dean has been a great help too. He's worked with major at risk kids so this is kinda cake to him.<br>
A big challenge is losing priviledges doesn't seem to matter to her. It just makes her sucky life our fault. Besides, she just sits in her room and reads or draws. How far can we up the ante?<br>
What I would love advice on is communicating to her that a kid who's old enough to go to movies with friends and go for tea with friends is old enough to take responsibility for her words and actions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stinkerbell,<br>
Thanks for your reply.<br>
I get this is a phase...She just had her third period and it's like she has to go for the Dark Mother exploration.<br>
But just like biting in a two year old, I can't enable it because it's normal developmentally.
 

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find a good summer camp to send her next summer...I'd vote Indian Brook at Farm and Wilderness, but somewhere--without you--that she can work this phase out of her system in a place that values community. I've worked with a lot of kids this age and working this kind of thing out without mom and dad around seems a lot easier for them.
 

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I'm working with at-risk middle school students. It is so. hard.<br><br>
I would say that any fairly rapid change in dress, demeanor, and general attitude is worth some concern on your part, and worth enlisting some outside help with. The school's counselor is a good place to start -- she should be able to refer you to other resources if its necessary.<br><br>
I'm learning a lot where I am working, and I still feel lost an incompetent -- so I won't pretend expertise. But one mistake I keep making is to assume that the attitude and the darkness are only on the surface, only a harmless phase. I want to give the kids the benefit of the doubt. I want to assume that they are just expressing themselves. But then I keep discovering behavior problems that are not trivial, that go hand in hand with the "eff the whole world" attitude. Stealing and smoking being the smaller offenses. (I have 12 year olds who use cocaine.)<br><br>
It seems to me that the issue of respect is important -- not that we can force our kids to be respectful, or that we should try to force them to be respectful -- but that when they loose their natural respect the people in their community it is a reason to intervene. Because when you don't respect people, you can justify a lot of foolish/harmful choices.<br><br>
You can't make a kid be truly respectful. You can punish them, take away privilages, etc.... and you can try to make them "act" a certain way. But you can't make them BE more respectful on the inside. And when it comes down to it -- that is what is important for their wellbeing. Its that genuine sense of respect for themselves and their community that will "save" them. There is no way to force that.<br><br>
The kids I work with tell me all day that I'm corny. "<i>You are SO corny</i>." Because the only way that I can think to culture that sense of respect is to expose them to things that are good, and beautiful, and precious in this world. I think exposure to nature, for example, can do a lot of good. I'm glad your dd has you, and goes to a good enriching school.<br><br>
She likes to draw? Thats good. Really good. That is something good and precious that she can respect in the world. I would use that as much as you can -- make sure she has time, space, light, good supplies. Maybe art classes? Look for other positives that you can capitilize on. Does she love animals? Can you get her a cat to take care of? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Are there any "issues" that she feels passionate about? Any volunteer opportunities you can create for her? Can you help her to find a meaningful role in something she cares about, something that is positive and might help culture respect?<br><br>
I don't know about trips to the movies and the like. The kids I work with have WAY too much unsupervised time. They spend their time shoplifting, fighting, intimidating smaller kids.... behaving in ways they would not dream of behaving if an adult was "breathing down their neck." And though they don't admit it, I think they would like for their parents to breath down their necks a little. I think sometimes they would like an easy excuse to make the right choices, and still save face in front of their friends. At school, I can sometimes see in their faces that they are glad to have a teacher there so they can say, "Nah, I'm not going to do that and get myself caught."<br><br>
Maybe let her go for very specific periods of time, with very clear limits in place. Drop her off at the beginning of the movie, and pick her up at the end, kwim? That way you are supervising her without getting in her space too much.<br><br>
I would invite the dark hostile friends over to your house to hang out. I know it will be painful for you! But by giving them a safe place to be, you might be preventing a lot of destructive behavior.
 

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I have been lurking around here in order to look ahead for my soon to be 9 year old.<br><br>
I just wanted to suggest the book Hold onto Your Kids<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHold-Your-Kids-Parents-Matter%2Fdp%2F037550821X" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Hold-Your-Kids.../dp/037550821X</a>I
 

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I went through this phase as a teenager, I was one rotten apple. Eventually I went through some life changing events, and I realized a lot of things. I'm not perfect, but I learned from my mistakes. So will she, the only thing you can do is to let her grow out of it, but at the same time keep reiterating how important it is to treat other people with respect. If she doesn't get it now, she will soon in the real world.
 

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Well, one thing that really helped me was to *act* toward my ds the way I would be if his behavior didn't....suck. IOWs don't antipicate crappy attitude, try to be very aware of your own thoughts (so you don't feel compelled to actually voice them) and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will grow out of this.<br>
You really need to ignore a LOT of attitude. Just plain don't give it any power. That attiude is NOT who she is, and the more we acknowledge it, the more entrenched it will become. Hormones are nothing to sneeze at. Just think about your own fluctuations, or someone you know. I know *I* sometimes feel like choking someone (sooo not monklike...) but have learned to breathe and center. Someone once told me, "When he's throwing sh*t at you, sometimes you just step aside and let it go past. ANY reaction is likely to backfire. However, in moments that are not stressful, express lots of appreciation for her. Yes, you may have to stretch a bit, but find stuff that she does that you appreciate. You yourself express lots of gratitude for all your good fortune. LOVE her, no matter what. Go into her room at night and watch her sleeping. Rather than mourning the passing of her childhood, instead welcome the approach of her womanhood. If you can avoid as many power struggles as possible, you will be less likely to alienate her or to be alienated. By your alien<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/biggrinbounce.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bgbounce"><br>
HTH!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all so much.<br>
Laoxinat and watermelonseed I so appreciate the lengthly and thoughtful replies. I shared both with DH. You have really made a difference.<br>
It's been a long time since I was part of an online forum or email list. It was mostly back in the sometimes lonely days and nights of breastfeeding and nightwaking.<br>
I am so grateful to just traipse into this group and receive so much compassion and support.<br>
Now, some good news. I took the sage advice from this thread and picked DD up from an after-school outing. Often she rides the bus.<br>
So we're driving home and she says how much this one girl has been bugging her. This is the girl that is really dark...pierced lip at age 13, nothing but black, all this gory imagery on her t-shirts and head bent<br>
down constantly. I just reply with silence. She goes on to tell me that this girl and another smoked during a sleepover last weekend. Of course I should be concerned for these girls but I'm thrilled that DD is telling me. I say nothing. Maybe "uh huh." I just wanted to keep her talking.<br>
DD had been invited to this sleepover but she had pulled one of her adolescent tantrums so she was grounded. Thank God.<br>
So she asks me if I ever tried cigarettes. Um. yea, when I was 10. I didn't tell her the age I tried it. Just that I tried it and didn't like it.<br>
During my party girl teens and twenties I had a policy not to smoke anything that didn't get me high! ;-)<br>
It freaks me out sometimes. I was DD's age when I smoked my first joint and had my first quart of ****** (uhg).<br>
I'm never sure how much to share when she asks.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>chiromamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9951129"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm never sure how much to share when she asks.</div>
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You didn't ask, and I don't really have a definitive 'answer' to this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I can see the up and down side to telling her.<br><br>
My sense would be to NOT tell her about your adventures in this regard, at least not until she's an adult and you can just sort of have a laugh about it with her. Your intention might be to simply be totally honest all the time with her, but I think it might undermine your roll as Mom.<br><br>
The down side is, what do you say to her if she flat out asks? I don't know! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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My now 12 yo went through something similar at age 8...it was pretty surprising.<br><br>
I know MDC doesn't like any sort of punitive discipline in general, but we found that things like push-ups and jumping jacks (even in the grocery store if she was rude there, etc) worked wonders. When she stomped, she was given a certain number of sets of stairs (outside) to stomp up and down. This allowed both of us to cool off without getting really awful to one another.<br><br>
We also found that taking privileges away HAD to include taking ALL books away, except for one single book assigned by us. Worked wonders for her response to the potential of losing priveleges. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
I do agree wholeheartedly with MamaDuck that these sorts of changes in personality, dress, behaviour, etc., are a huge warning sign in many cases. In my case, as a teen, my parents literally thought they were doing me a FAVOR by ignoring my awful behaviours...they weren't.<br><br>
Don't forget to keep talking. And make sure you're open about whether or not she's doing drugs or is sexually active (or thinking of it). Punishment won't do any good if the kids she's running around with expose her to an STD or get her hooked on meth.<br><br>
**** hug ******<br><br>
love, penelope
 

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I wonder if it would help to look at things from a different perspective: She's at a really scary point in her life. Her body is changing, her mind is changing, she's trying on new identities and trying figure out where she fits in this world. That's really freakin' scary.<br><br>
Is she perhaps handling that fear poorly? Yes. But I think it might help if you recognize that she's a scared kid just trying to understand the world. This is the teen version of the toddler temper tantrum--toddlers don't throw temper tantrums because they want to be rude, obnoxious, or nasty, they do it when they're overwhelmed by the world around them and have nothing left to do to cope. I think you might find it easier to weather her storms if you keep in mind that she's probably scared and struggling and needs to be loved through this.<br><br>
While she may not be any fun to be around, she needs you, even if she won't tell you that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
mamaduck,<br>
Thank you so much. We have been doing a lot of what you suggested. We stand by Friday night Shabbat being family night. So far, the only boy/girl evening parties have Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties which are also attended by adults. It's been a great way for the kids to learn that kind of social interaction while still having the safe container of family.<br>
She's preparing for her Bat Mitzvah and these issues don't come up in that context. She loves her Hebrew School classmates, the teacher and the rabbi.<br>
With Channukah, the class has had a bunch of events and you can almost see her sigh in relief being with them.<br>
As much as she grumbles about it taking up her weekend. She seems to love it.
 

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Thats wonderful Chiromamma -- I think she will be just fine! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all so much for the outpouring of empathy and truly sage advice I received.<br>
So, update...DD and I spent about an hour in the dean's office on Monday due to her arguing with an educator who was making a very reasonable request of her. She was trying to get out of work so she could go d*ck around with this very troubled, dark friend.<br>
She got sent home from school for the day with homework about owning her behavior and what she was going to do to rejoin the community as a contributing member.<br>
God, I love this school.<br>
She was also told she was one step away from "community concern" which is basically a second chance to not get suspended.<br>
It was just what she needed.<br>
We had to take the bus home so we had a lot of time together. I shared with her my experiences of toxic relationships and how hard they are to end.<br>
She came home, did the assignment. I made her do it again, in more detail. During the time her classmates were doing stewardship (cleaning up after themselves) I made her clean both bathrooms.<br>
She spent the rest of the afternoon reading a book by the Dalai Lama. Woohoo.<br>
It's like I have my DD back. She's avoiding this girl and is re-establishing friendships that she felt she'd damaged.<br>
The best part is she's SO HAPPY!!!!<br>
She tested for her yellow belt in Shao-Lin last night and wowed them. Sat down and did math at 9pm!!!<br>
I'm almost waiting for the other shoe to drop.<br>
But ya know what? This is how she quit sucking her thumb. It was such an addiction for her. I never pushed her but said she needed to give it up once the tooth fairy came. Her first loose tooth, she quit. Cold Turkey.<br><br>
Tracy<br>
I gotta work on a signature line!
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>chiromamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9936887"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks, journeymom. They actually are bringing in a counselor for the students and I do plan to avail myself of her services. The dean has been a great help too. He's worked with major at risk kids so this is kinda cake to him.<br>
A big challenge is losing priviledges doesn't seem to matter to her. It just makes her sucky life our fault. Besides, she just sits in her room and reads or draws. How far can we up the ante?<br>
What I would love advice on is communicating to her that a kid who's old enough to go to movies with friends and go for tea with friends is old enough to take responsibility for her words and actions.</div>
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have you read any of marshall rosenberg's NVC stuff? i am currently reading it, and it is helping how i communicate with my almost 11 yo. it's really quite revolutionary and worth a try IMO!! good luck!
 

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<span><span style="font-family:'Century Gothic';"><br>
I don't think this has been ventured into but, she could possibly<br>
be suffereing from out of balance hormones. I was awfully moody<br>
as a teen until i started on natural hormone modulation.<br><br>
I think people would be surprised to find out how much the<br>
pms, mood swings and raging hormone symptoms are not<br>
normal, or even healthy.<br><br>
Just some food for thought. If you so decide a salivary hormone<br>
panel appears to be the most accurate.</span></span>
 
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