(Closed) My daughter is out of control…HELP! (Long)

posted 4 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
246 posts
Helper bee

The DS and the skirt need to be removed. Permanently.  This behavior is not normal and personally I would seek the help of a psychiatrist to find the root cause of this behavior. It sounds like maybe she is seeking your attention since you may not be around much (for work which we all know is necessary). My sister did this growing up and my mom never nipped it in the bud.  She is 30 and has serious behavior issues that now will never change. (spending money that is not her’s, drama over the top reactions that scare men away, ect) Good luck because I know this is NOT easy to go through. As I said before seek help of the school counselor/psychiatrist.  They will know what to do and the best way to do it.

Post # 3
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

NurseMandie:  It seems like the consequences and punishments you are using do not work for her.  Have there been any punishments that seem to work?  Have you asked her what a bad punishment would be for her?  (You might be surprised that she tells you what it is.)

Also, if she wants to go to school in the same skirt, let her.  Someone will likely say something about it to her and that will be the end of that.  Arguing over clothing is always going to be a stressful and ultiamtely losing battle (remember girls that would change in the bathroom once they got to school?)

As for staying with your parents over the summer, you might be surprised because the older generation most likely won’t tolerate this behavior for more than a day or two.  There is nothing wrong with asking your parents to have them do chores while they are visiting either since the kids are old enough to help around the house (and your parents shouldn’t be waiting on them hand and foot anyway.)

Also, has this behavior gotten worse since your stepdaughter came to stay with you?  Maybe she feels left out or displaced by another girl in the house.  Maybe this year at school is more difficult than she’s used to and she’s taking it out at home (you also said she doesn’t listen at school so maybe something has changed there too.)  And, as always, since it seems she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing her issues with you it might be a good idea to try out some counseling (for and you at least) to help you two learn to communicate better.

Post # 4
46672 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would pick your battles so when you are disagreeing with her, it’s about something worthwhile.

Who cares if she wears the same skirt to school 2 days in a row?  Unless it’s absolutely filthy,( in which case you could snag it for the laundry when she changes after school the day before,if it’s important to you) it makes absolutely no difference what skirt she wears.

I do not pick up clothes for the laundry or clean my kids rooms, period. If they don’t put their clothes in the laundry and have no clean clothes to wear, it’s their problem, not mine.

Battling over clothes, hairstyles etc is such a waste of time in my book. The most important thing to me is that they are good people.

I think her fighting may about getting control over something in her life. Let her have control over what she wears.

Post # 5
981 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I have a toddler only, so I can’t give any personal advice. But I did read the book “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk” in grad school for education and it was a really awesome, easy read. I’ve since read other bloggers refer to it as the best parenting book ever.


Post # 6
2220 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015


I don’t have kids, but coming from a teacher’s point of view, have you tried positive rewards? It doesn’t seem like punishments are working (ex. taking away the DS), so perhaps your daughter would benefit from a rewards system? It’s often times the only thing that really works with difficult students in school.

For example, I had this particularly difficult and overly emotional student in my class. The typical things like taking away recess minutes and sending notes home to mom didn’t work. Instead, we developed a positive system – when he did something he was supposed to do (and it started really small), he got a sticker. In our system, after he got 5 stickers, he got a reward. As his behavior improved, it took him longer to earn rewards, but the rewards were greater. 

His behavior (and that of many other kids) improved SO much when they are given positive responses instead of negative ones. In my experience, this system works especially well with difficult kids who don’t respond to punishment the way others do.

Good luck!!

Post # 7
2511 posts
Sugar bee


I’m not a parent so feel free to skip right over this, but I just wanted to throw this out there: You are not taking away her childhood by grounding her. She is missing out on things because she chooses to do things she knows she’ll be grounded for. She is old enough to know the consequences of her actions and you should not feel guilty for staying firm in your punishments.


I don’t think you should give her a points system to become ungrounded. I have a six-year old drama queen of a niece and if you tried this with her, she would most definitely do whatever she wants knowing she can just do some dishes later or whatever to get out of being grounded. Then she’d learn that she can most likely manipulate situations (and people) to suit her own wants. My niece already tries to push the bounds on what and who she can manipulate lol – girls are scary!

Post # 8
7647 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

julies1949:  +1

This is what my parents did with us. My mom didn’t care if I wore the same thing 10 days in a row, and if our clothes weren’t in the hamper, she wouldn’t wash them. I do the same thing with my husband. I’m not saying I am at all an expert, but give choices. You can either do A or B.

Post # 9
928 posts
Busy bee

You have gotten lots of great advice.

Are you consistent with her? Does she get away with XYZ sometimes but gets punished for it another time? Consistence is very important.

Have you tried talking to her about what she wears when it’s not 7 am and there isn’t tension? I would talk to her calmly about it after school sometime. Explain why you don’t want her wearing the same thing a couple days in a row and see what she says about it. Honestly, I would let her win that battle, especially if it’s a skirt. Skirts definitely stay cleaner than a shirt would. It sucks being a kid and not having control over anything. Let her choose her outfit.

Post # 10
2853 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

You know how bees always recommend reading the Five Love Languages for relationship problems? Well, the author also wrote the 5LL for children. I’d say read that and try to see what your child’s love language is and consistently speak to her in that language. If that doesn’t help then I’m afraid it does sound like you need to find yourself a very good child psychologist and work as a team in order to avoid more serious behavioral and emotional problems later on in life. :-/

Post # 11
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

On the dirty clothes front, I would take a mental step back and ask yourself if that’s really a battle worth fighting. I have a 16 year old, so this is said with a bit of experience. Here’s my parenting guiding principal. I’m only sharing to give you a different perspective for thought. My goal is to raise an intelligent, kind, thoughtful, trust worthy, self-sufficient, resilient child. If a behavior of his interferes with that goal, I address it. If it does not, then it’s not worth arguing over. Life will teach him these smaller lessons. For example, DS was going on a field trip to the theater to see a performance of Les Mis. This field trip required a certain dress code. Two days before the trip I reminded him to check on his khakis and polo shirt to verify that they are clean and ready to go. The day before the trip I remind him again. The morning of the trip he came out of his room in khakis and a sweatshirt. I asked him where hos polo was, and he didn’t have a clue. Oh well, buddy. Guess you aren’t going on that field trip afterall. He is old enough to decide whether he’s going to follow my good advice or make his own bad decision. Wearing something inappropriate and suffering the natural consequence of that poor decision taught him so much more than me getting upset with him and forcing him to change ever would.

With that said, let her wear something dirty and smelly and get the negative comments from school. She will learn the natural consequence of a poor decision on her own and learn to become more responsible for herself. And that is the desired outcome. You want her to learn personal responsibility, not Mom-enforced rules, because that personal responsibility is what will help her grow and mature into the person you want her to be.

As for the DS…. my kiddo lost all electronics privledges for the entire summer last year, in part because he was using them when he was not supposed to be and lying to us about it (the punishment was more for the lying than for the useage). It started with 2 weeks of no devices (even the radio), and each infraction thereafter doubled the current punishment time. Each time we would sit him down, explain why he was being punished, explain the significance of the rule and how the infraction made us feel, listen to him as he struggled, and then follow the punishment extension that we set forth for him. He ended up being punished for 4.5 months, and that sucked for all of us. BUT, he hasn’t done it since. And our household is a lot happier since he came to understand why we set the rules that we set, and why honesty with us is always the best option. The lying to us… that was worth the arguments.

Post # 12
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

My brother has a technology check-in time for his son. No technology after 8pm, and the devices have to be in a basket in my brother/sister-in-law’s room. If she isn’t keeping it in her room, she can’t play it at night. Preoblem solved.

Post # 14
3120 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

NurseMandie:  Also something to consider is that she is 9…puberty is right around the corner, she may be over the top because she is super hormonal ( girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier it seems)

I agree with the other posters- don’t let her take the DS to her grandparents this summer- and when she gets back she has to return it to you before 8 pm each night otherwise its gone permanently 

I also agree to just let her wear dirty clothes, one comment from another girl will likely put a stop to that asap.


Post # 15
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Teacher here! I agree about positive rewards, consistency, and I also want to add one more thing. Most people need three things, psychologically: autonomy, relatedness, and feelings of competency. 

So, pick your battles – maybe no one else at school wears the blue skirt, or she got called a Smurf when wearing it last. You won’t know unless you ask her why she doesn’t like it. Maybe it actually fits differently than the khaki, but you’ll only know if you ask her at a time when you’re both not rushed and stressed. If she hasn’t been teased and simply prefers the khaki, let her wear it. I guarantee you the first time someone asks her, “why do you always wear a khaki skirt?” she’ll start mixing it up. But, since it’s a neutral in a place where choices are limited, my guess is no one will notice. 

Spend some time with her in a positive way – just her, no twin or other siblings. Try to do something where you can talk about things unrelated to her behavior, and really listen. Also, when things come up, talk about your expectations and why they matter. In addition to helping her learn to logic through your parenting, this will help YOU hear why things feel important (so, if you can’t come up with anything better than “because I said so,” it’s probably more your preference than a matter or morality, safety, etc and therefore not worth an argument). Also, talking about *why* rules are in place gives HER space to understand them, but then also learn to negotiate. If you can get her to say, “I know sleep is important, but I’m not tired at 10:00,” then it becomes a conversation in which she gets to be autonomous, related, and competent. You can say, “Okay, you must be in your room, reading only, by 10:00. But we’ll be getting you up a half-hour earlier so you can help me make lunches.” She can choose to go to bed at 10:00, or stay up and be sleepier the next day. 

Third, think of something special she can do around the house that she can “own.” Maybe caring for a garden, or an aquarium, or an “advanced” chore. You can spend some time showing her how it’s done and how to use the supplies, and encourage her as she completes the task correctly. This gives her autonomy over the task, relatedness to you as she learns to do it and gets feedback, and a sense of competency for a job well done.

Do you have time limits for the DS? Maybe give her 30 minutes of free time with it daily or whatever, and she must “check it out” from you. It must be turned in at least thirty minutes before bedtime, but other than that, she can choose when she checks it out. Once the time’s up, it goes to you. She can do three 10 minute stints, or one long one; her choice. Feeling like she is in control of something sounds like the root of a few of her issues. 

One thing I say to my kids in class, after I’ve explained why whatever is important: “Can you do this, even though you don’t want to?” It acknowledges how they feel while communicating an expectation. Also, model how you want her to speak to you. “I can’t hear your words through your tone. Speaking to me that way makes me upset, so it’s hard to listen. Can you take a breath and try again, please?” 

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