My "Monster" Teenage Daughter - FamilyEducation
My "Monster" Teenage Daughter
06/29/2007 at 17:53 PM

I am a seperated parent of a 13 yr old daughter who is a true "monster". She is rude, obnoxious, nasty and whenever I ask her to do her chores or clean her room I get nothing but "WHATEVER" and then the door slams in my face.  I understand from many people that I have talked to that this is normal behavior for a teenager but I am at my wits end on trying to make peace in my house.  I also have an 9 year old son who gets to witness this behavior and then tries to mimick it as well.  I need some advise - what do I do to keep the peace"?

I'm a mom of 2 teenage boys (well, one is almost 20) and I can tell you as a teacher and community member, you moms of girls are really the ones going through this. We tell our boys that they will stop that behavior right now and it does. (They like concrete instructions.) So, I can't give you anything I've tried except as a teacher. Girls' relationships with their moms are so much more complex. 

However, I can tell you, from my experience as a high school teacher, that if you let it continue, it will get far worse because she feels more powerful. Is there any consequence you can give her for that behavior? I know you are supposed to stay calm (so they don't feel like they might be "breaking" you) and state the consequence and then follow through with it. Something like, "OK. If you speak rudely to me again today AND you do not clean your room, you are grounded for two days. No phone, no going out. If you continue to be rude during those two days and refuse to do your chores, I will add 2 more days." If she tries to yell and scream at you, ignore her. Stay calm and follow through. That takes some of the feeling of a battle out of it. I can tell you as a teacher and friend to several who raise daughters we do ourselves a disservice to say that behavior is normal. It is common, but not normal. It must stop. In school, if one of my female students gets too comfortable with me she starts treating me like she probably teaches her mom and talks back rudely to me. I have learned over the years that you stop that behavior immediately. I take her out in the hallway and calmly tell her that that is completely inappropriate and if she tries it again she will get 1 hour after school detention. If she tries it she gets the detention. If she tries it again, she gets it again (of course, I've called the parents by now). Eventually she gives up because the power struggle is not worth the effort and because I am not getting upset like her, there is not much sport in it. I am like a big heavy rock. After several tries she realizes she can't move me. 

That's my advice. After that, don't be afraid to ask around for a good adolescent counselor. You might only need to go once. I had to take my oldest to one about 5 years ago when we caught him with pot and she told him to "Fly straight" (plus a lot of other stuff) We did not have to go back after that and he turned out to never cause us any trouble again.....except he doesn't clean his room very well. Oh well. Sometimes it takes an outsider to explain to them what is going on. 

We moms of boys have it so much easier. Mostly we just have to make sure they don't kill themselves in some stupid risk-taking stunt, and struggle to get them to take school seriously, but we very rarely have any emotional drama to deal with. Boys just don't seem to have much interest in playing emotional power games. They would rather eat a sandwich and go jump their bikes off a big pile of mulch. Much simpler. 

I am a 7th grade teacher and I have heard this many times.  The most creative solution to the door slamming came from one of my parents.  Her daughter had a habit of going to her room and slamming the door whenever she didn't get her way, or when she had an attitde..  One day, her dad got tired of it and removed the entire door from her room.  This took away one of her prized possessions, which was her privacy.  Her 8 year old brother would stand in the doorway and annoy her.  Her dad told her that he would put it back in a few weeks if her behavior improved.  Her daughter later told her that her punishment was the worst ever and she would think twice before she acted in a rude or disrespective manner.


Thanks for the advice - It's tough because I'm not divorced yet but my ex-spouse takes her side for everything.  I am always the bad guy and that doesn't help the situation at all!


I like that idea.  I think that I will try that the next time she does slam the door!


Just a quick comment to HowNaive. Boys only seem easier. You sound like a great mom. But there are many boys who seem great at home and are out causing problems you don't know about until someone shows up at your door with their pregnant daughter, or the call in the middle of the night from the police when you thought your son was asleep in his room, etc. Boys are loophole artists. They know it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. They don't make waves, on purpose. I'd rather have the emotional rollercoaster and know my daughter. (I have one girl, two boys, not teens yet, but I'll be there one of these days!)


I know what you mean. I just meant they were easier to communicate with on a day-to-day basis because they don't have dramatic extremes or try to play on your emotions. (Of course there are exceptions.) We have to worry about their risk taking behavior for sure, everything from driving too fast, to doing drugs to jumping off the roof onto a mattress (we stopped mine right before he jumped, his friend had a video camera to record it).

 I know from years of teaching hs and going to workshops, that boys going through emotional problems are more likely to try the passive-aggressive type of response, and that is a lot harder to get through in the long run, often causing failure in school even though they are quite capable. But that is a small percentage of boys who have very real problems and they need a lot of counseling to get through it. (I had one of those young men as a student, four years in a row. God bless his mom.)

yes I agree I have one girl and 2 boys, I am quite lucky with my daughter as she is hardworking and has a good social behavior however her room is a tip. The upsets we have are always argued through and she is always open even when we dont agree but if she doesnt have permission for something she doesn't go behind my back and therefore gets loads more trust and freedom anyway. however with my boys they are far more secretive and our arguments are mainly after the event and our trust in them is affected baddly and therefore their freedom.