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Any Suggestions for a Headstrong 11yr old Daughter, Only Child?

She is lovely, talented, smart, friendly, caring - But
I don't know how much is hormonal - she will simply refuse to brush her teeth,
(or something little, basic) and it will turn into a huge power struggle,
we take tv away, take phone away, take computer away (not all at once), she is good for a few days then pow. Nothing works. Today I was so mad she was absolutely refusing to brush her teeth (I know it is not about that, it's a power struggle). I got so mad I threw her cell phone in the lake! She flipped, worked her karate on me and called my terrible names, then refused to go to school.
Is this hormonal? (she hasn't started her period yet). Help. She's getting very manipulative and full of rage. She has life by the tail, everything is good in her life.
She has always been headstrong (in a good way as well, assertive, leader type personality) since 3 ish. My mother was, I am but this is ridiculous.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 11:04 AM on Sep. 21, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Answers (9)
  • Wow that must be tough..sorry your going through this. Have you tried asking her if something is going on at school,home?..that may be affecting her..

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:15 AM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • I'm going through the same with a very strong willed 9 year-old, my husband gave me the best advice the other day, pick your battles. Is it worth having you both so angry at each other for such a simple thing as her not brushing her teeth? So she doesn't brush them for a day, it isn't worth working yourself up over. My dd talks to me so nastily sometimes, I just get angry and don't want to even interact with her. Take a step back and look at the whole situation as I do, it isn't worth the effort to wage the small wars, wait until there are bigger problems to focus your energy on. Good luck!

    Answer by emnasmom at 1:58 PM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • I don't think it's hormonal. It sounds more like she is happy when she is calling the shots and doing what she wants, and she is angry and difficult when someone else is in charge and telling her what to do. I see this as a lack of respect for your authority and her dishonoring you as her parent. She is getting very close to the age where this is going to be almost impossible to instill in her. She is rebellious and this is very difficult to deal with once a child has almost reached adolescence.

    Answer by NannyB. at 3:36 PM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • You threw *her* phone into a lake?

    When she's 14, she'll probably drive your car in... why wouldn't she? Isn't that how adults behave when they're mad?

    The problem with exercising power over children is that they inevitably figure out that they have as much (or more) than you do --and a whole lot less to lose in the struggle. They've already lost your unconditional love, which they need more than anything else (including cellphones), so there is nothing worse they can imagine at stake.

    I strongly recommend 'Don't Say No, Just Let Go.' It's a book about parenting teens, but I don't see any reason why not to start early... just because it takes most kids until they're 13 to figure out they have as much power as their parents, and your kids is earlier than average. Basically the advice is to avoid treating kids with any less respect that you'd treat a friend you admire... because they can walk out when they want to.

    Answer by LindaClement at 1:09 AM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • Sounds like my daughter. Sometimes they have too much, and don't know how to handle, when really I realized time is all they need. :)

    Answer by KFree907 at 2:56 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • My best advice would be to pick your battles.
    Is something horrible going to happen if she doesn't brush her teeth one night? No, she'll have horrid morning breath and will brush them really well before heading off to school.

    She's at that age where she is too big to be a little kid but is too little to be an adult. She needs to feel like she has at least SOME control over her life.

    When it comes to the big stuff, the important stuff then put your foot down. For something like teeth brushing or eating vegetables, let it go sometimes.

    She's growing up, you've got to let her.

    Answer by Laila-May at 4:31 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • Girls who grow up fast can become a problem. Especially at 11 yrs old. My Suggestion to you as
    a Parent. is that she must Respect you and listion to you, I think your daugther may had
    been spoiled. And that may had caused her rebelles ways. try talking to a dr. about this.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:05 AM on Sep. 23, 2009

  • Thank you everyone for your input, and yes she is spoiled, with love and attention mostly. And again, it isn't the tooth brushing it is the constant defiance of many little and big things. And mostly just the act of defiance. It is scary to experience. I think I will try to find a good counselor - and read "more" books. Regarding the phone, it was my last straw that moment to allow her to see that I will follow through on a consequence to her behavior. Thank you all for taking the time.


    Answer by JudyO11 at 9:15 AM on Sep. 23, 2009

  • Been there done that. Try not to give YOUR power away by reacting to her. She knows how to push your buttons but you need to one step ahead of her. I find that taking privileges away can work but if you end up doing this on a daily basis it ends up working against you. It sounds to me like she knows she can manipulate you. Once she can't, she will stop rebelling. Read "Children the Challenge" . Excellent book about just these types of things. Good luck.

    Answer by poohbear04433 at 3:32 PM on Sep. 23, 2009

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