Parenting --Teens/moody 11 yr old daughter


QUESTION: I am a 36 year old proud mom of 3 kids.. My boys are 18 and 13 and my daughter just turned 11 this year... I have been both mom and dad to all 3 of my kids due to their dads inactive choice to be a dad.. My oldest son has been through a lot most kids shouldn't have to deal with and with help from a counselor he turned out awesome.. My younger two kids have the same dad but not the same as my oldest... they have always been closer to each other while my oldest has been the "man of the house" so to speak... my middle kid took to his little sister right away and has always tried to shield her from harms way... he's my quiet little man with manners like no other 13 year old I've seen... then we have my little girl... she used to be my sweet little angel baby and then something happened and now she's a moody, smart mouthed, bossy child with the princess syndrome... her and my 13 year olds dad stepped up when she was a year old to pretend to be helpful and I honestly believe he is partly to blame... he has 3 older daughters from a prior marriage and then we have my younger 2.. he is not a fair dad and by this I mean he will ignore yell at and blame my 13 year old for everything and has our 11year old daughter on a pedestal of which I don't think she belongs on.. I have pleaded, demanded and begged for him to stop giving her what she wants all the time and to be fair in treating them the same.. my 13 year old doesn't leave a mess or back talk or most any of the teenage things we all get annoyed about.. my issue is I have set rules and have had a talk with their dad as to please keep on track with them at his house.. he agreed and to date hasn't kept up his promise and its making it harder to make my daughter a good girl. Its a lost battle with him but how do I instill good ideals and perspective in my daughter? I love her to pieces and treat my kids all the same but when it comes to her I really hate always having to ground her or take her things away for either being a bratty smart mouth selfish little girl or a bully and defiant heathen. she has no problem screaming at me when she gets told no.. I have set aside a family night to do whatever they so choose to do with each week one kid decides it then the next week the other and so on.. it works fine when she's the one picking the family fun thing but not so well when its not up to her.. she and my 13 year old had to have counseling due to my ex boyfriends abuse I endured for 2 years. my 13 year old wasn't affected and is a happy kid and she is as well.. problem is everyone wants to view her as damaged when in fact she's not. I don't think she's repressed any feelings from my ex boyfriend because we don't talk about it daily.. as a mom I have kept myself and the kids on track to move forward but she is making it difficult most days. The kids haven't always gotten the best of this and that but have never not been provided for. I am not so sure its not their dad again. he has a habit of telling the kids he will get them what they want no matter what I say and if I don't like it too bad. am I the bad guy here when I partly blame him for my daughter? she has told me several times if I don't give her things her dad will. I have always expressed the value of money and there lack of as well as raising my children to respect and love everyone.. I see her dad as a major pushover because I think he gives in to keep her quiet whereas I don't give in. I know each kid will be who they are but id like to think we as parents could steer them somewhat.. I guess what I am  asking is what the heck does a mom do when the odds are stacked? thanks :)

ANSWER: This is really, really, really, really tough. Your ex MUST stop giving into her, or he'll be dealing with MUCH MORE in about two years-a 13 year-old daughter with a princess complex, expecting name-brand everything, a boyfriend too young, and, if you're not careful, an unwanted pregnancy. It's a disaster waiting to happen, and your ex is the ONLY one who can change things. He's got to step up to the plate and do what is right for his daughter. He just must, and that includes treating your 13 year-old son with the respect and love due to him.

Is there any way you can get counseling for him with the two children he fathered? That would probably be the most helpful.

You didn't mention the type of abuse your ex-boyfriend put on these two, but whatever it was, she's acting out to cover up some emotional pain.

Are there any acts of kindness you and your daughter could perform together? Helping less fortunate children can really help a girl like her, especially at eleven, to develop empathy for others. Putting together kits for children in the hospital (call your local children's hospital or ward for specific needs...even reading outloud to them is a great act of service.) This can be most helpful to her. There are needs everywhere-contact churches, city governments, and service organizations to find something she could do to help others. One girl I knew who was spoiled rotten to the core ended up going to Appalachia to help kids there, and made a complete turnaround. She ended up giving all her princess costumes, toys and hair things to the kids because she saw first-hand they had literally nothing. She's since grown into a lovely, giving young woman who cares more about others than herself.

Good luck to you, Kim. It's not easy having different dads, etc. but she can adjust and learn. Service is the key.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: not so much a question as much as an answer... yes i always make sure her and i have girlie time and its always positive! my ex was the mental and physical abuser... i received it but on a rare occasion he would yell or throw things at her and my 13 yr old...  the dad to my 2 did attend a few seasions with myself, my 13 yr old and my 11 yr old... he refused to get on board with the plan we set for the kids so i was left to once again deal with it all... the ex bf did leave emotional scars on us but ive put my daughter through more counseling and after 3 or 4 sessions shes always said to be just fine... i know she will always struggle with it but ive tried to guide her to positive things to refocus any anger... it doesnt help that the kids dad just tells her she doesnt have to listen or do what any adult says if ahe doesnt want to... i have talked with him and told him either stop this mental warfare or i will have to alter his visits... i dont want to because i feel kids need both parents but not if its unhealthy... am i wrong to alter weekend visits? it feels like im punishing everyone involved but is rather have my sweet baby girl back than the moody spoiled child i have now... either way someone is being hurt and i cant seem to find middle ground but your advice is what ive been tryin to convey to him...

Explain to him that you cannot allow him to sabotage your patenting. Tell him his daughter does not have to do anything an adult says if it is IMMORAL. That means, immoral stuff, NOT common discipline, which this daughter sorely requires.

Share this letter with him if you think it will help. Daddy needs to man-up and be an example to her, not a sugar-daddy, unless he expects to train her for prostitution. A good father can see letting a kid have everything they want is bad for the child in the long run. You want her to grow into an adult; not a whining, expectant, give-me-what-I-want brat.    

The good news is, at eleven, she still has time to learn.

Perhaps your ex should be the one to take her on a trip to help at a Mexican orphanage or something?  

Parenting --Teens

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My own dysfunctional youth in an alcoholic family helped me decide to raise my children with love, acceptance, and honesty. It must have worked. We`ve got terrific kids. Those I've answered on this site usually feel I've been helpful in their unique situations. Our world is so much better when we lift instead of crushing. Every child is worth more than any bank can hold. If I can help at all, it will be in teaching both parent and child of their own personal value to humanity, and how to punch through the noise of the moment to find their greater purpose. Together, we can all make a better world.


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