Help with a Pre-teen? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Help with a Pre-teen?

Hello. I have never posted here and not sure if you can help me or not, but I have an 11 yo. Her attitude and general outlook on life and the family have really taken a nosedive. I am at a loss as to what to do with her. How do I handle the "I don't care" attitude and continue to teach her the responsible and right ways when she won't listen.

I was hoping that some of you might have some recommendations on any books I might read or just any insight in general that could help me. 


~ Cassie ~

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Re: Help with a Pre-teen?

  • image -auntie-:

    In a perfect world, girls between the ages of 10 and 16 would be committed to an island so the rest of us could avoid them during this unpleasant phase. 

    I seriously laughed out loud when I read this because it's true, not just for girls, but for boys as well. I have a 13 year-old and his attitude was, and sometimes is, still that same way. It's very frustrating. I just take it one day at a time with my son. Kids this age are going through a lot. Friends, school, trying to show they are independent. I agree with PP, find the good in your child and focus on that. My son drives me crazy at times but when I stop to think about all the good he does, it makes it easier to understand and respect him.



  • Thank you both for your advice. You are right. She does a lot of good, also. She has a 16 month old sister that 99% of the time she is wonderful with. Not only that but other things, too.

    I will work on staying positive with her and trying to understand what she is going through herself. Thanks

    ~ Cassie ~

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  • You've gotten excellent (and funny!) advice from auntie.

    I have a daughter who just turned 12, and I have taught and tutored middle school and high school kiddos for many years. 

    My relationship with my daughter has taken an interesting turn in the past year, as she's begun to transition from child to adolescent.  Some of the changes are positive: we can talk about more things, important things.  Some of the changes are not so wonderful, though.  She is touchy, irritable, sometimes irrational.

    I also try to remember that she's like a slightly more complicated toddler.  Both stages involve separating from the adults around them (one in a literal way, one in a more emotional way.)  I have also found that both age groups respond to a blend of structure and freedom.

    As a toddler, I might say to my DD, "you can either wear the blue shirt or the red shirt; it's up to you.  Come out when you are dressed and ready for breakfast.

    Now, as a pre-teen, I might deal with crankiness in a similar way. Right now, one of our big issues is her balking at taking a shower.  She wants to look good, and she knows that it's important to shower, but she just doesn't want to be hassled.  Instead of nagging her to convince her to do it, I tell her, "you can either shower before bed tonight, or tomorrow morning before school, but you have to shower.  Up to you."

    When she's just snarky for the sake of being snarky, I ignore it.  At the most I say, "Wow -- I don't generally talk to people who are being so snarky to me.  I'll talk to you later."  I just don't take the bait. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • I'm sorry you're having a hard time with her. I think we as moms always want our kids to see the better side of things and we want them to appreciate what they have but then again at their age they're all about drama for the most part lol

    I have a 10.5 year old daughter and her attitude really takes form as to who she hangs around with and then with her crazy hormones around the first 10 days of the month..all I can say is UGH. I have her enrolled in programs available in my community through the mental health agency for children. We have had ups and downs like any other family and her self esteem isn't the greatest. It helps her to build relationships, mend them, be socially accepting, builds her self esteem..etc..she loves it. Maybe you could find something that your daughter could be interested in? Just a suggestion :)

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