Single Parenting and A Defiant Pre-Teen

dawnanddaughter2Until I find myself a husband, I’ve got to do my best to raise a  mentally, physically and spiritually healthy child on my own. It’s not easy, especially with a pre-teen daughter (12-year-old), who is the greatest fun, but also feels the need to flex her royal muscles.

This morning I went into her room, as I do every morning, to ensure she was up for school. She was in bed reading!

Flabbergasted, I asked her what she was doing bed.

She answered “I felt like reading.”

I did not feel like responding to her attempts to irritate me. So I said what I often say, “there are always consequences for our actions.”

She shrugged her shoulders and mumbled, “umm,” meaning she didn’t care.

She is normally a good kid except when she wants to test me, and she was certainly testing me.  I, however, was not in any mood for an argument. So I had to think of something good to help her feel the consequences of how she chose to address me.

I went downstairs to the kitchen. After dressing, she entered the kitchen in a nonchalant manner.

“I need tooth paste,” she said.

“umm,” I responded shrugging my shoulder. I was giving her a taste of her own medicine.

“uhh,” she said shockingly, expressing her total confusion.

“You felt this was an appropriate way to address me,” I said. She was not ready to give in, so she said “I’ll just take yours,” and off she went.

Normally I would stay and say goodbye as she goes out the door.  I didn’t this time and I regret that. I went off to my computer in the basement.

She called me. I did not answer. She came downstairs saw me working on the computer, and knew it wasn’t over.

My own behaviour was probably the actions of an imperfect mother, or one who had no-one to bounce her ideas off of. Still, I was and am still determined to teach her a lesson.

She left for school without saying goodbye, and I am sorry for that. I like to always say “goodbye, have a great day,” as she goes out the door. I will try not to let that happen again.

The good thing is that she knows  it’s not over, and will come home, as she has done before, sheepishly ready for her consequence. That consequence will be a good one. I am creating a sheet which will list her disrespectful  as well as her extraordinarily good behaviours. That sheet will be shared weekly with her father, my mother, her uncles, her aunt, and others. It will affect the costume she asked her uncle for as well as her precious Christmas gifts.  It will begin with today’s behaviour, where it goes from there is up to her. I want her to see a visible link between behaviour and consequences.

What do you think. What would you do?

Author: Dawn Armstrong

I provide information and inspiration to help people achieve their goals and go after their impossible dreams. As a research and communications specialist, I research, write and work with others; and with God as our guide we confront the inevitable setbacks, find our true selves, and achieve our greatest desires.

2 thoughts on “Single Parenting and A Defiant Pre-Teen”

  1. Hi Sis, The joys of parenthood with a teen giving the preteen attitude. I didn’t have all the answers with my son. Being a single parent had its challenges. Here are my thoughts and suggestions. I would not start the sheet with her behavior this morning. Have the discussion first so she knows what to expect going forward. I would only share with her father, maybe her grandmother. The more people you involve the more drama and stress for you. She will continue to text you and have the attitude. That is what teenagers do. If she did not it would not be normal. Try to be you, even with the attitude, say goodbye, give kisses, hugs, etc. And don’t let her know she can push your buttons. You are in my prayers. Sis Sent from my iPhone


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