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Please! Help with my SD pre-teen temper tantrums

My DH and I have been married for almost two years.  At first my relationship with his son and daughter was actually pretty good.  Then after we were married it was like everything fell apart. My SD (age 10) and I butted heads really bad until the last 6 months.  In the past she had temper tantrums like a 3 year old.  When she wouldn't get her way on something or if someone tried to correct her she screamed as loud as she could, stomp her feet, cry uncontrollably, and this fit would continue for about an hour and then it was like nothing had happened.  For the last 6 months she has calmed down a lot and we have become close again.  I was actually starting to enjoy being around her again.  Now she is 12 and Saturday we had another melt down.  She was talking about her best friend (they have been friends since they were 3) and then it turned into her making fun of this girl.  I asked her why she was talking about her like that and all SD said was because I don't like her anymore.  She then continued talking to her brother about her and making fun of her and I told her I hoped she wasn't the type of girl that would be friends to your face and then talk bad about them behind their back. I told her I was disappointed and that was a terrible way to be a friend.  She started laughing and said all the kids at school say this stuff about her friend. Until this point no one was yelling but I broke out the mom voice when  I told her if she didn't want to be her friend that was fine but she had better stop talking bad about her and being a bully to her.  At this point she flipped out on me and reverted back to her temper tantrums.  She started screaming leave me alone and ran into her dad. He came into the kitchen upset and asked why I was starting fights!  I told him what was going on and he said I should have just dropped it.  I was really mad at this point and told him I didn't want her to grow up to be a "mean girl" and I will not tolerate her being a bully.  He said she was acting just like her mother and excused away her behavior.  She received no punishment for her behavior towards her friend or me. 

Please someone tell me how they would have handled the situation.  What kind of punishment do you give a  12 year old girl who is only at your house on the weekends.  Does anyone else have a pre-teen that has this type of reaction when you try to correct them? 

by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

She was venting to her brother about a "friend."  I think you blew things out of proportion and did pick a fight in this instance.

by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting stepmom_blues36:

I am so upset because I thought we were past this behavior (temper tantrums and mean spirited stuff) and now I feel like we are back to square one.  Is this the cycle I have to look forward to for the next several years?

Go back and re-read your original post.  It sounds as though you set off the temper tantrum when you adopted a "mom" voice and threatened her with consequence.  So lessons learned...

1)  Don't adopt a mom voice.  Be a mentoring adult, and do what you can to keep the conversation going by listening and asking questions. 

2)  Don't threaten.  Threatening is always a waste of breath.  Giving a warning with full intention of following through with the warned consequence is productive.  Threatening?  Never.  Kids know they're meaningless, and as soon as your bluff is called, you loose.  In this case, your DH called your bluff.  You lost. 

3)  Your DH does not have your back with regard to discipline.  So don't go there. 

EOWE is insufficient time to change behavior.  It is, however, enough time to create conflict that ruins relationships.  You're not her mom (see #1), threats backfire (see #2), and you can't discipline (see #3), so be prepared to agree to disagree and walk away when discussions become too emotionally charged.  It's really great if you can have candid talks about her friends, how she treats them, how she sees others treat them, and so forth, but you'll get further with it by acting more as a sounding board and offering select advice as opposed to confronting her head-on.

by Le Bonjour Chat on Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM

 It just drives me bananas!  Another mom on here (spazzymom) read up on that behavior and says that it's like a silent tantrum and supposed to push ALL YOUR BUTTONS to get a reaction out of you.  The last time SD#1 did that, she was pissed because she felt she didn't have enough time on her iPad so she stood staring at a large piece of furniture (that held all their electronics) and wouldn't move.  After dad yelling for her to come upstairs, I just left the room and turned the light off on her and left her standing there staring at the furniture!  LOL

It would not be below me to remove a kid in a high-traffic area if they're going to just be a lump in the middle of everything.  I told her once that I would pick her up and drag her by her feet up the stairs backwards making sure her head bumped over every stair on the way up if she ever did that to me again and if she wanted to test me on it to go right ahead!  She still does the dead-weight laying on the floor thing too, but in an area where she's not in the way! LOL

Quoting AlyssaN:

Oh my gosh, my sd 14 does both those things yours does. Drives me nuts cause she'll do it in a high traffic area so its hard to go about my business when I'm ignoring her. I actually told her it was creepy the way she stares like that. She stomped all the way to her room lol.

Quoting sandeeyo:

I think your DH was wrong for not backing you up in this instance.  If you don't have his support, let him deal with her himself.

12 year-old girls do tantrum.  I'm finding that out.  I have almost 12 year-old twin SDs.  SD#1 still tantrums, although it's not as frequent as it used to be.  She still will lay on the floor and cry and yell and talk back.  The new thing now is for her to just stand and stare at you or something and not say anything.  My DH has my back with the girls most of the time, so discipline is almost always a united front when they misbehave.  If you don't get that with your DH as far as his DD is concerned, I'd just ignore her and let him deal with the fall-out.  If he's not going to help you, you should not help him.


by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 2:17 PM
1 mom liked this

She wasn't simply venting about a friend she was calling her names and making fun of her weight etc.  All three of us - me, SD, SS  was in the conversation just after dinner, I didn't pick a fight with her. She was in the wrong and I won't tolerate a bully. 

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM

There is no punishment you can give another person's child when the parent chooses not to punish her.  Your problem is really with your dh.

by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:07 PM
1 mom liked this

I am CSM to my 11 yrd old SD, so she lives with us but I can kind of relate. My SD does not throw tantrums but she and her friends go through periods where they gossip about eachother or stop liking eachother for a day, and I have had to deal with SD talking badly about one friend with another friend. Basically I just told her it was not okay to gossip and that you cannot always believe rumors, and I remind her that whatever is going on will likely pass and they will be friends again soon. But in the moment, she does not want to hear it, she gets defensive with me and tells me "this time it's different", the usual. I don't try to punish her though, this is not something I can just talk her out of because she is very stubborn and usually comes around on her own time. I just keep being honest with her and straightforward about what is a better way to handle things. She always surprises me when a few days later she will repeat to me something that I had told her as if it were her idea, I just grin and say "oh, okay...very smart" ;)

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:14 PM

 You can't enact a punishment unless you have your husband's permission and backing. Otherwise you're at the proverbial brick wall.

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:15 PM

You completely ignore SD. I mean completely! When she wants your respect she will earn it. Even for the smallest things. You have to let the absolute smallest things roll off your back when she is at your home on the wnds. It will be very hared too, trust me I know. I have a 16 yo SD & a 14 yo SS. I have been thru it all. Sooner or later she will want advise from you and your opinion on many things but you want her to come to you. Don't put yourself out there to be hurt. Let DD deal with all her temper tatrums. He will soon learn what you were dealing with & they will very quickly be put to a stop. Good luck Mom.

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:33 PM
Quoting AlyssaN:

lol same deal here witn my SD, she follows me around the house and just look at me. Or if im talking to my SO she will get right in between us it drives me crazy
by Gold Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:28 PM

You don't know if she is a bully. You don't know what she says to her friend's face. I think you slightly over-reacted. A "well, that isn't very nice" would have made your point by walking away. At 11, kids are mean and gossipy little creatures. Her 'best friend' could have been incredibly mean to her and she was retailating by making fun of the girl in the safety of home.

Next time let bd and bm handle SD. Remember what it was like to be 11. Or preteen to teen at that. For all you know SD is bullied at school and when she comes home it makes her feel better to be 'the bully' as you call her.

Quoting stepmom_blues36:

She wasn't simply venting about a friend she was calling her names and making fun of her weight etc.  All three of us - me, SD, SS  was in the conversation just after dinner, I didn't pick a fight with her. She was in the wrong and I won't tolerate a bully. 

Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Do you understand? ~The Crow

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