Want my 12 year old to want to change attitude


Looking for any help. We have 4 children, the oldest is almost 12. She has been getting a very disrespectful attitude and finds it necessary to argue with me a lot, less so with her dad. She knows it is wrong and will later say sorry but it doesn’t stop her the next time. She is very smart and goes to a Catholic school and her faith means a lot to her. Does anyone know of a book or saint story that she could read that may help her to want to change?

Thank you


I don’t know, but maybe put a special emphasis on showing her how you love her and how there’s no need to argue with you and how you’re on the same side, not the opposite? Maybe she has some problems in school and general frustration? Have you been able to spot what sets you and your daughter at variance with each other?


I would have to say yes she does get frustrated and that is when she will start arguing with me. She will not argue with her dad but will communicate nonverbally what she thinks about what is being said. We are hearing from different people that she seems to be indifferent. I have noticed it is only from things that she thinks is boring or ‘whats the point’.


It sounds as though she needs to be going to Confession more often. Maybe her dad could take her or he could support you in having the family go regularly once amonth (or more frequently if necessary).

If she is disrespectful to you she is breaking the 4th Commandment.


I went through the same “mouthy” stage at that age.

My mom made me write the 5th commandment(cause we were protestant and the honoring one’s father and mother one is 5th for them) over and over again. It stuck with me. And my mouthiness didn’t last long. I hope your daughter is able to overcome this quickly


I think it’s the point when the young one is starting to believe he or she is wiser than the parents. It needs to be cured as fast as possible, though not through indiscriminate means, at all.


**All right so this may sound like a wierd question but has she just gotten her period in the last year or so? I know i got my first period between 6 and 7th grade. I used to get horrible mood swings, and i would just get so angry and not know why i would feel this way for 2 weeks out of the month!

And then when i turned 18 or 19 i stopped having these horrible painful periods and mood swings…I found out too that eating a lot of salt always made it worse too:)

I know too when i was twelve everything use to annoy me, i felt like the world against me, typical teenage angst…I’m not saying that its ok for your daughter to mouth off to you…If she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you about things, do you someone else she could feel comfortable venting with? I know a diary always helped me through these times as well…**


This sounds like our daughter:)
Our daughter is the oldest of four children and the only girl:eek: She is 13 and in 7th grade and she went to our parishes Catholic school through 6th grade as it doesn’t go farther than 6th grade. She started acting out around age 11 or 12 and she cried a lot and argued with her dad and I a lot and with her brothers… well, over the summer she got her first period and that did make a difference;) She is of course a typical teen and naturally is testing her boundaries and I would be concerned if she didn’t… she still argues with us, stomps off when she is upset or hurt… cries easily but… she is much better at coming and saying sorry… but we always let her have time to herself so she can cry and reflect… she knows we have rules and we know that these teen years are not easy and she is going to mess up… we all do… and she is going to have hard times… so I just keep praying for her and giving her space… at this age they need some space and she knows that she must respect us and our rules but she knows that we will let her mull it over in her room and think about what she has done and when she is ready to talk… she talks… but we never push her… when we give her time to think she always ends up saying she is sorry… sometimes she doesn’t speak two words to me all day long but before she goes to bed at night she comes running into my arms crying and saying she is sorry… it is a hard age:o It all sounds very, very normal to me… lay down the rules but give your child space… let her know that she must obey the rules but you’ll give her the space she needs to think things over. Also, our daughter keeps a journal and it is totally private… she says it helps to be able to write down her problems and when she reads it back to herself she often see’s how silly the whole problem was, so just a thought.
Good Luck:)


The best thing is to give her social clues. There can be one word for you to give to her when she’s being rude…and then she gets one for when she can’t handle what you’re saying.

My friend’s parents did that, and i always thought it was good, because she was socially more capabable than any one of us during those early teen years.


I don’t know if I am in a position to give any advice but I love to argue and always have and I am 22. (I want to be an attorney and am going to law school next year). I argued with my parents, teachers, professors, you name it, and most of the time I honestly thought I was right. Sometimes I was too and I won my argument. However, the one thing I respect more than anything is a person of authority, as in someone that I should owe respect to (parent, teacher, elder, etc.) willing to spend the time to defeat me and not just use their power of authority to say they are right and shut me up. That just made me mad and more motivated to argue. I want proof that I am wrong, not some wishy washy answer and I want rebuttals to all my arguments and if I have any truth to my statements, I want my point of view to be recognized and understood. I have the most respect for those that did this for me and I tell them so after and thank them for their time since it takes a lot of effort to get me to concede and I appreciate their time.

Therefore, being that you are the parent and probably should be intelligent enough to win most arguments in the end, why not put the effort in and argue back in a friendly way. Ask questions back and get your point of view across. You probably will already know the things that she will bring up as rebuttals so have your own rebuttals ready for her. Of course you might still have to resort to the authority of you are in charge and therefore end of story and there might also not be enought time to argue over the situation but you can arrange to talk about it at a later time and you can at least try to argue back and get her to rationalize your point of view.


That is simply the age when kids start feeling a desire to me more independent. I went through the same thing with one of my kids…tryo to not take it personally and over the next year or two it will calm down.


Ugh. My son is at this dreaded age as well. I am being worn down.


I know the feeling. I have a son who will turn 11 in a few months and is showing signs already…


Maybe you could turn this enjoyment of aruging into an activity? Does your school have a debate team? She might enjoy it. I did debate in high school and then judged debate while in college. I loved it, plus i think it really helps teenagers with articulating and defending their positions on things


I’m throwing doctor ray links around tonight




I second this entire post! Before you start worrying about how to get rid of the attitude, try to find out what is going on.

Is she just getting to a cranky teen stage that needs to be addressed?

Is she developing mentally but unable to express it correctly at this time? (similar to toddlers who throw tantrums due to language barriers).

Does she have a hormonal or other physical/mental problem? Some illnesses do present at this age.

Or you could have a very strong-willed kid on your hands.

I will always be in debt to my dad. I was the kid with the attitude and I would argue at the drop of hat. For me it was not only important, but very enjoyable. Many people would give me quite a stare for saying a heated argument is enjoyable, but I like nothing more. Thankfully, when my parents could have just told me to shut up, or go to my room, or be perpetually grounded, my dad instead spent hours with me, arguing back and forth, debating over everything that could possibly come up.

Sometimes a trivial back-talk or door-slam by me as a moody teen would lead to three hours of philosophical meandering with my dad. These arguments, at times quiet, at times loud, resolved or left for later days, are treasures in my heart.

If your girl is someone who has to get to the bottom of everything, who has to know the absolute truth, whether she is right or wrong (although she might have a canny knack for usually being right :smiley: ) don’t squash it!


Thank you everyone
You are right she does like to know everything and always has been a regular sponge when it comes to wanting information, she just can’t get enough of it. She is also very exact if you say it is 10:30 and it is 10:32 she will let you know. We really appreciate what everyone has to say. It is a huge responsibility God has given to parents, we just don’t want to mess up. We see she has so much potential and we don’t want this to mess up any opportunities that may come her way.


**I also think that it is important not to get caught in the “friend” trap. Do not try to be her friend, be her parent and make sure you have boundaries for her and keep her to them.

It’s the same with your younger children as well. Your daughter is not quite a child and definitely not an adult. Let her have her space, but let your other children know that your daughter’s room and her stuff are her’s and not to be bothered with. Don’t let her be harsh with them either.

This is difficult time for both you and your daughter. You were the center of her world since she was born, and now she is turning to your husband more. You feel hurt and don’t want to push her away in any way. But you must set boundaries of how she treats you. Discuss this with your husband so that he can back you in this too.**


Me too. I thought I would at least get him to stay a kid until he was 12 or so. But yeah, at 10 it is beginning… Not too bad yet, and we are trying to nip it in the bud. Lots of consistency in discipline. Have you read anything by Dr. Ray Guarendi? He has a radio show on at noon central time on EWTN radio (you can listen to it online), and has great books. Get Discipline to Last a Lifetime. Wonderful strategies there. We are having good results with the writing.


I asked one of my friends when my 12 year old dau’s moodiness/unpleasantness would improve. She said about age 25. :eek:

But, actually, she seems to have evened out a little since she started menstruating.

I read an interesting book called the Primal Teen. It had some info on latest research in teen brain development.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.