Calling All Moms of Bratty Children- HELP!

buc_145I love my children.  I’m sure you love your children too.  But I don’t always like them.  Lately I’ve been wondering at what age you can tell your kid to shut the hell up?  Seriously, the mouth on my kid.  Ugh.  

Over the weekend L. got herself a dish of ice cream and went in the family room to watch a movie.  She got mad at her sister K. because she dared to sit in “her” spot to watch tv.  I don’t know about your house, but we don’t have assigned seating.  She asked K. to move, to which she responded, “No.”  Next she yelled, “That’s my seat!  You know I always sit there!” To which K. responded, “Too bad.”  So then she sat on her.  K. pushed her off.  L. started screaming, saying “You hurt me!  You’re so mean!  GET OUT OF MY SEAT!”  Which is when I stepped in. 

I took her dish of ice cream and sent L. to her room.  She refused to go.  I told her if she didn’t go, she’d lose tv and computer for the whole next day.  She screamed, “I DON’T CARE.”  I then had to bodily remove her from the room (not that difficult really since she only weighs 64 lbs.)  She stormed up the stairs with me right behind, then slammed her bedroom door in my face.  I made a mental note to have her dad remove her door from the hinges when he got home. 

I gave her a couple minutes to cool off before going in to talk to her.  I guess I didn’t wait long enough because she yelled, “GET OUT!”  Hmmm.  I asked her why she was so upset- what’s the difference if you sit on the love seat or the couch to watch tv?  She said, “You don’t understand, and you always take K.’s side.  You love her more.   You’ve never loved me!”  I said, “What are you talking about?”  And she insisted that I always play favorites, that K. always gets her way, it’s not fair.  Okaaaaaay.  I calmly said, “You know that’s not true” and she screamed, “YES IT IS, Mrs. M—!  You don’t love me like a real mother!  You’ve been faking it since the day I was born!  I can see in your eyes that you don’t love me!”  I said something like, “Call me mom.  Don’t call me Mrs. M–.  That hurts my feelings.”  And she said, “How do you like it, Mrs. M–?  You hurt my feelings when you take K.’s side about EVERYTHING!”  I said, “Stop calling me Mrs. M—“ and she said, “Mrs. M–, Mrs. M–, Mrs. M—“ in a sing songy voice.  She might as well have flipped me off.

I had to leave the room- for her own protection, because I wanted to wring her skinny little neck.  Ugh, she pisses me off!  She’s so stinkin’ defiant! 

I just keep thinking, what am I doing wrong?  Where did my sweet little girl go?  This kind of stuff goes on way too frequently in my house.  Sometimes my children make me feel like such a loser parent. 

Needless to say, she’s on restriction.  She lost her bedroom door indefinitely, tv-computer-phone-iPod for a week.  I insisted on a written apology, which was actually pretty good.  I might even frame it. 

Please tell me I’m not the only mother with a mouthy preteen.   It’s so hard not to get emotional.  Does anyone else have this problem and if so, how do you handle it?  Shipping her off to military school is not an option.   

33 Responses

  1. if it makes you feel any better, I just said to my husband tonight …. “if they’re like this at *this* age, what will they be like at 15???” For the record, I was talking about all three of my spawn. 🙂

    It’s a hard gig with girls … encouraging them to be independent thinkers, willing to speak thier mind and stand up for themselves …. yet not wanting them to do ANY of that with me, just for the sake of arguing!!

    If you figure it out, let me know, ok?

  2. See? This is the reason why I never want to have children. I would never have dared to talk that way to my mother. I like my teeth where they are thank you!

  3. I know what’s happening here. Somehow the soul of my obnoxious, entitled, selfish, demanding 16 year old demon son has flown through the computer when I read your blog, and possessed your poor, sweet little L. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it from this end.

  4. Oh, my! You have just described just about every evening in my home! Except my daughter would add, “I don’t get it!” to just about everything. Or “That’s stupid.” One problem I have is that she’s taller than me now :-(. We take things away also, and just hope that someday she will “get it.” In the meantime, I lock myself in my room a lot so I don’t revert to child abuse!

  5. OK… so, how much is this EXACTLY like what Dee did to me? 95%. Only other difference was the Mrs. M. part. Door was off for 2 months (and stored in the garage). The TV’s have NEVER been put back in their rooms (still on the workbench in the garage). Gameboys and ipods have been mine, except for like 10 days, since October.

    It’s best to just torture them back. All is fair in love and war, I tell you. All is fair. The twins have broken things of mine. Chores are being performed to pay them back. They are allowed NO TV until all chores are done… rooms, dishes, laundry, animals, trash… and showers, teeeth and homework. If you parlay that in with sports… they may never see the light of a TV screen again. Although, I think they watch it for a 1/2 hour in the AM before school.

    I can also tell you that the “it’s her fault” and “you love her better than me” thing has been a CONSTANT in my life for the past 6 years. I think I’m numb to it now. In any event, it’s TOTALLY normal. I just ignore it.

    I just try to not get phased by their BS. When I’m really upset, the quieter I get, the more scared they get. The faster the apologies come and corrected action commences. They hate it when I am not speaking to them…. it burns them! Ah, sweet revenge. It only takes like 20-30 minutes of polite quietness and they are ridden with guilt. Ah, the pleasures of parenthood. It’s like… they are in solitary confinement… NO TV, NO MUSIC… just books and homework and I’m quietly reading and ignoring her. It just burns her butt! She’ll sheepishly come to me… “mom… I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.” AHA.

    They now know with me that if they want privileges OF ANY KIND… that they have to exhibit good behavior and get their work done. If they fight, they both lose out. I love love love written apologies and use them often in all kinds of situations.

    Now that my practical post is written, I’ll end it by saying… Lisa… you’re an incredible mother. You’ve got a kidlet who’s got hormones ragin’ (the period without the bleed)… and who’s testing boundaries. She’s smart and strong. That’s a good thing. We’ve got to get martinis on the calendar so that we can come up with more methods of loving sabatoge!



  6. Goodness no, you are not the only mom dealing with the preteen flexing their itty-bitty independence muscles in the most obnoxious, trying way. I have 5 kids ages 22, 17, 15, 12 and 7. The fact that the first three are the ages that they are shows that you can get through this. As for me, I am hoping and praying i get through it with the last two.
    hang in there!

  7. Since I *do* want to have kids, I’m going to plug my ears and sing La la la la la. But I’ll probably have to refer back to this post for advice. Or maybe when I come across this, I’ll be able to ask you, Lisa, since you’ll be an expert. 😉

  8. Damn! I take it L is the oldest? I was pretty ruthless towards my sister when I hit my pre-teenage years and stayed that way for many more. Nothing will seem fair for years to come. I’m sure glad it never struck my parents to remove my door. Some siblings are close friends and sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Also, I didn’t become “friends” with my mom until I moved away for the last time and got married.
    I know this isn’t what you want to read here. I hope L starts to shape up for her own good though, because if she doesn’t, she has a miserable time ahead of her and it’s all within her power how things go.

  9. I so look forward to the preteen years. I know that will be my girl in a few years. She’s the Drama Queen. Girls, man! I remember thinking the infant stage was hard, hahaha. That was a breeze!

  10. Oh, hang in there, Lisa! I don’t have kids, but I pretty clearly remember doing things like that to my mom when was that age. I must say that the whole taking the door off the hinges things is pretty brilliant and I will make a mental note of it in my “if I ever have kids and they become brats, this is what I’ll do to them” file. I’m sure she’ll grow out of it, and you’ll make it through.

  11. Well, I can remember one time when my son was very defiant and I told him to go to his room before I did something we both regretted. I must have had some look in my eye, because he scrambled up the stairs very quickly. He had to do several things, including writing a thank you note. He is 21 now and in college and we’ve talked about that particular incident and he told me that he thought to himself, “I’m going to see just how mad I can make my mom.” The point of my story is – I don’t think kids’ brains are wired right at that age and it will get better if you can hang in there without killing her or yourself. Good luck!

  12. well, i don’t have kids but i work in a high school as the ‘dean of mean’. i dole out punishment to the deserving darlings. here’s a bit of sunshine for you–kids are like wine–they improve with age. (and if they don’t, just start drinking heavily.)

    if that little sitch would have happened at my school, i probably would have called “k” out of the room and sent her on a bogus mission/errand. then i would have gone in to speak with l without an audience (ie. k). it may have had a different outcome–but since preteens are pretty much insane, it may not have! 🙂 good luck.

  13. Kristie- it does make me feel better! We have that particular thought almost daily.

    Ladytink- I think that all the time, too! How I would never have dared talk to my own mother that way. Obviously I’m not that scary.

    Robin, could you get him in line, please?? LOL

    ChainReader- ah, you feel my pain. “That’s stupid” is something I hear a lot too.

    Sheri- you know what it’s like. This sibling rivalry thing is out of hand. I bend over backwards to be fair but I can never be fair enough.

    Laura- I love the ‘flexing of their itty bitty muscles’ phrase and will be thinking that the next time!! Maybe that will get me to laugh in the midst of all the tension.

    Trish= la la la la la.

    Karen- Yes L is the oldest. I agree she has misery ahead of her if she can’t get her emotions under control.

    Chris= I wish we could go back to the baby stage sometimes. I miss my babies! Mine are both drama mamas.

    Rebecca- thanks for the vote of confidence. The door thing was a neighbor’s idea originally. They did it when their daughter slammed the door in dad’s face.

    Kathy- the fact that you can remember ‘one time’ your son was defiant kinda makes me chuckle- my daughter does this ALL the time and I am forever trying to figure out how to handle it!! I think you’re right about kids brains not being wired right. That explanation makes perfect sense.

  14. curlywurly- that never occurred to me but is a brilliant idea. You’re right that the outcome may have been different. Thanks, Dean of Mean!!

  15. Okay.. this is really weird. I could change the names on your post and it would be exactly what happened with my kids yesterday!

    However, I have to say that I do favor my little one a little. Not because I like her more, but she screams really loud and I get an instant heachache when she begins to wail. So when things like this happen, and the pesky little sitter takes HIS spot, I always ask him to move because it’s easier than dealing with my daughter and her high pitched screams.

    Sometimes I get an attitude from my son over it and I can see his point but I do try to explain why I ask him to move instead of her. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    However, if my son kept caling me Mrs. R and slammed a door in my face then I think I would have reacted the same way you did. I don’t think you overreacted at all.

    For them, their worlds are over and for us, it’s one tiny blip on our radar.

  16. I only have one child, but she certainly can be mouthy. I totally hear where you’re coming from, and I know what it’s like to feel like a loser parent. I think you did the right thing putting her on restriction, and I know it’s hard when feelings on both sides are hurt. I just try to remember all the reasons why I love my girl, and it always makes me feel better to peek in on her when she’s sleeping. They’re always peaceful and quiet and good when they’re sleeping. Makes me wish she’d stay in bed all day sometimes 🙂 ((HUGS))

  17. I don’t have kids, but I did things like this to my parents all the time when I was a preteen and in the early teenage years. I’m actually ashamed of it now, but I told my parents I disowned them several times and once actually left the house to “run away from home”. Mostly, I was a terror from about 12 to 15, at which point I began to feel guilty for my behavior. My mom and I get on very well now despite all the trouble I gave then – so don’t give up hope! I think you handled the situation very effectively, and I’m sure I’ll be taking the door off the hinges in my daughter’s room if I ever have one.

  18. eHugs for you!! 🙂

  19. You. Are. A. Saint. This is why I can’t have babies yet, because I would have chucked her skinny ass out the window, and then hollered after her that I loved K. better because K was a better child. LOVE the idea of losing the bedroom door. Having one’s own space is a priviledge.

  20. My two are quite a bit younger — I still rely on “go stand in the corner.” Probably too much. My 3 year old spends a good 30% of his day in that damned corner, lol.

    But I think you handled it wonderfully. Really. The door thing was inspired (tucking that away for future reference) and taking away the things they love is about all you can do, short of beating the living snot right out of them (I hear CPS isn’t too fond of that approach, but seriously….do they even have kids??).

    Words are just words…it’s their only way to feel empowered because they haven’t yet realized that good behavior empowers them. Don’t let their words get you down. Just keep doing what you’re doing — we don’t want to release heathens upon the world at large, after all.

    Couldn’t stand my mom as a kid…..she’s my best friend now. I’m so grateful they were so very strict with me….it kept me out of trouble, even if I did hate it at the time.

    So kudos to you!

  21. My daughter is 15 now but when she turned 10 good lord I wanted to hide. If I did not see your name on this blog I would have thought you was reading my journal from 2004. The good news is you will get your little girl back but it will take a bit and a lot of “whatever” “god” and the wonderful sighs. Stay tough with her and this to will pass. Once their hormones start to settle down you will see her coming back. I told my daughter to go to her room and read or something when she is feeling like she needs to be alone. Oh and allow her to vent to you every now and then, just listen not saying anything. Give her a time limit though or it will last forever. This helped greatly!:) Good Luck!!!

  22. Just wait it gets better when they get into the HS.
    You have not seen anything yet, I did not want to break it to you.
    When my son, David turned 18, he thought he could do what he wants, come home at odd hours, talk to me anyway.

    But, finally after a month of short term freedom I think he figured it out.That things had to change.

    Just feel lucky you have a pre-teen. When they become teens they become a ALIEN!! I am not kicdding they take over your lovely, kind child and wonder where did he come from.

    I am sure they will get over it. Maybe do a 1:1 witrh your daughter. But if you think she is manipulating forget that idea.

  23. I think back to when I was mean to my parents and I remember feeling outside of myself. As if even “I” couldn’t believe the way I was acting. I think it’s important to recognize that this behavior is not really who your daughter is. Reading Eckhart Tolle helped me find the right words to express that disconnect. I wish my parents had recognized me on this deeper level more often. Then I would have stopped being bratty (theoretically, lol). Read this post.

  24. Oh you are so not the only one! Not me, my son is only one, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like later. But, my mom, has four girls (me at 28, K at 24, K at 20, K at 14). I never mouthed my parents. For one, I always thought I’d get yelled at (simple enough right?) My sister K at 24, she was sort of like me, but didn’t like to be in my shadow so she rebeled a bit, still never mouthed the parents. My sister K at 20 got a little worse, she had way more friends and her friends were mouthing their mothers, so she did a little bit. It was never disrespectful language, but it hurt my mom nonetheless. K at 14 is right now THE worst. She has her good days but I’ve never heard a child who mouths off at her mother more than she does! I think sometimes that I’d like to smack her and ask her “what in the world makes you think you can talk to your mother that way??” Because she certainly didn’t learn it from us! So you aren’t the only one at all (I think sometimes my momjust ignores her and lets her rant lol). Hang in there, I hear it gets better!

  25. Har! You’re doing fine, it’s just her preteen hormones acting up. I used to laugh at older daughter when she’d go off the deep end like that, and then she’d accuse me of not taking her feelings seriously. I’d agree with her and that would shut her up for some reason.

    L. will get over this and move on to other equally annoying things. When she’s an adult, I think that the two of you will be good friends. Hang in there and see the humor.

  26. I love Raych’s comment!

  27. Hi Lisa! I have scarily similar incidents at my house. Actually my 8 yr old boy is just as bad (canNOT imagine him as a teenager!). My 12 yr girl is quite dramatic. When they get really bad about the ‘you love her more than me’ I’ve agreed with them. I mean, it’s so ridiculous that I just agree to get them to see how ridiculous it is. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just ticks them off even more! 🙂 But, when I’m not thinking about strangling them, I do get a kick out of seeing how far they’ll take it. And then taking away all priveleges. And getting more work done around the house.

  28. Ah. Misery loves company. I always smile when I see posts like this one because it means I’m not alone. Terrible of me, I know. But the yelling and screaming around here (mine are almost 12, 10, and almost 7) is appalling–and that’s just from me. I wish you luck negotiating the pre-teen and teen years. I’m right there with you!

  29. I can soooo relate with my 9 year old daughter. So much anger! We’re wondering if we, I mean she (lol), needs therapy. Last week hubs and I watched an Oprah episode about angry kids and how to help and the counselors said to just stop, ask them what’s REALLY going on and keep your mouth shut, not saying ANYTHING in response, just let them spill it all out. The episode actually made us both cry and seeing a man who tries to be “manly” all the time cry is quite difficult but it made us think about our daughter.

    Farrah from Wife and Mom of 3

  30. I think it is about respect. You have to teach your kids to respect you. Since when is it ok to be a little b**ch because a you’re teen? That is not an excuse. If I even slammed a door, my mother would have beat the sh!t out of me. It sounds brutal but, my parents never hit me! They were convincing and I believed them. It sounds like a lot of these parents need some assertiveness training. Would your teen ever do that to their teacher or school principal or a stranger.

  31. it’s amazing what a good wollup will do for a kid. You mean business, then the next time they THINK about doing something like that, they’ll think…”hmmm, remember when my bottom ached when i did that last time? Don’t think I’ll try that again!” Or if they do, you’ll only have to wollup them a few times and they’ll be saying their pleases and thank yous 🙂 I’m a teacher and I know which five year olds have had spankings in their life and which ones haven’t. It’s CRYSTAL CLEAR! Once you see the parents you think to yourself, “Here’s where the entire problem stems from.” We need to go back to the good ol’ days. Then I might actually be able to teach rather than bribe with stickers and candy because there’s no real consequences for ANYTHING. p.s. i’m firm, but the kids ADORE me. They crave structure and someone who cares how they behave. Believe me.

  32. Here’s what I would do!

    Since I am a teen I am not perfect or anything, I bet I hurt my mom in differant ways, too. Also, I am a set of twins’s we r 12 but we have are problems like any other sibilings but any way I would talk to them seprate then together causse sometimes mom’s do takes sides on twin and don’t know it but that’s how we feel on the inside!

    If you want do this:
    1. Give them ton’s of stuff to do together!
    2. When they are nice to each other and you give them one thing back for like a 1 or 2

    But that is just what I would do!

  33. And it sound;s like you are doing a great job!

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