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Daughter Disrespectful to Mother

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My 11-year-old daughter has been acting disrespectful and hateful towards me. She actually said that I am competing with her and that I'll never win because she's better than I am! We tried counseling and I almost think that it made things worse. Do you have any suggestions?

A: If your daughter has turned 11 and she is exhibiting these kind of behaviors, you may be in for a long protracted process of establishing boundaries, expectations, and consequences.

You say that you tried counseling, but I am not sure if this was counseling for just your daughter or for the family. Was the counselor a licensed professional counselor who either specialized in adolescents and/or family counseling? If not, I would encourage you to look for such a person. My sense is that family counseling is what is needed so that everyone in the family can work on interactions with one another.

I would strongly encourage you and your partner to enroll in a parenting skills group or class in order to get support and help in setting up boundaries and consequences. From what you have told me of your daughter's words, I tend to think she is seeking power -- control. In a good parenting class, you can learn how to give your daughter appropriate control without her violating any of the rest of the family's rights and boundaries.

If there are no such classes or groups in your area, go to the public library. There are wonderful books and videos on parenting, dealing with hard-to-handle adolescents, setting goals, discipline, etc. that you will find helpful.

The important thing is to seek help for your own sake, for your family's sake, and very importantly for the sake of your daughter and her future success and happiness.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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