Parenting --Teens/Tween Girl


Hello James,
  My wife and I have a daughter that is 12 years old that just entered 7th grade. She gets smart with my wife and I when we question something with her or if she feels  we are not listening to her.  She is condensending and smart with her 10 year old sister and she is really bad with me her dad.  She started her girl stuff and for a while we accpeted there would be an adaption period but it has gotten worse to the point where we have a big blow up and we send her to her room. She is the same with my wife sometimes to a lesser degree.  We come from modest backgrounds but we are professionals.  We have limited electronics and provide what she needs.  In public she is almost perfect she is a 4.0 student in advance classes.  I tend to believe we gave in too much when she was younger and now we are in a static type situationn now that she is hitting preteens but we want to be sure there is not a larger underlying issue.  I know without knowing our family it is hard to make a definitive suggestion but to give you a background there is no history of drugs, unemployment, alcohol or abuse in our family we are somewhat like the Jones' with a white picket fence.  We may be in a phase with her just trying to figure out if there is something bigger.

Jason Matyus

Hello Jason,
I agree it is a phase and it doesn't necessarily portend anything more serious. More likely that depends on how you are you are going to handle this phase. I would also add thst you  didn't make any mistakes when she was a toddler.
Many teens will act in a smart aleck way, which is highly irritating to parents. My best advice is to ignore most of her smart mouth comments. I think you are not doing that now, so you end up in conflict. You will undoubtedly have noted that that doesn't make anything better or reduce her smart, sarcastic comments.
Ignoring those will seem like you are condoning them, but believe me it is better to ignore her comments then to try to reprimand or scold her. It's better to let them go and allow her to feel guilt rather than confront her and help her to feel justified because you are so "mean" or "unreasonable."
Pleasse feel free to get back to me with further questions.
James Windell  

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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