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WIBU to send her to bed?

(25 Posts)
Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:04:14

Feeling like a really shite parent tonight, so I'm hoping the responses won't be too brutal.
Saw my 12 year old daughter at home after school today. Had a nice chat with her, until she stropped off because I said no to an unrealistic demand.
She had commented that she was hungry, and I went downstairs to make dinner. Called her for dinner twice, no reply. I called her a third time and politely explained that she should be downstairs in 10 seconds, or that she'd be in trouble.
She comes into the dining room saying that she's not hungry, and that she'd have her dinner later. I calmly and politely told her that it wouldn't be on offer later, that I'd made dinner because she was hungry, and that she could eat it now with her wee sisters.
She refused to eat and was now moaning at her youngest sister (4) for eating too loudly.
I politely and calmly told her that she now had a choice. She could either eat now, do her homework, then have some chill time with the television on, etc. Or she could not eat, do her homework, and then go straight to bed. She opted for the latter and stormed up to her room, in floods of tears.
I love my eldest girl very much, and she has so many fantastic traits as a human being. This especially so when life is going her way! However, she can be very difficult to live with. Her moodiness is getting everyone down, and the constant atmosphere is not fair on her younger siblings. I try my best, I truly do, but I feel I'm failing her as things always seem to go down this negative path and anything we say seldom makes a difference in the long run. I talk to her, I cajole her along, I do sometimes shout ... but right now I want to scream.
I am really hoping that it's her age and hormones. I could cope with this far better if I knew that it would pass, rather than something I'm doing that's glaringly wrong and causing her to act in this way.
Thanks for reading folks.

YouTheCat Mon 12-May-14 19:07:34

Stop cajoling.

You made her tea. Tell her once it's ready and then, if she doesn't turn up by the end of the meal, bin it or put it away for her to heat up later. No drama. No fuss.

If she turns her nose up and doesn't eat then tell her she can make herself some toast.

Don't pander.

CSIJanner Mon 12-May-14 19:07:37

I didn't want to read and run. TBH it sounds for what you've written that you were clear, fair and reasonable to her. However I also remember how mixed up I was at 11/12 with the early onset of puberty and hormones. Hope it all calms down for you soon

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:09:04

Thanks to you both. I wasn't going to pander. In fact, the offer of toast sounds very generous right about now! ;o)

YouTheCat Mon 12-May-14 19:10:51

Tbh nothing you have done sounds unreasonable but when they get like this it's best just not to engage as much as possible during the strop and then have a nice, calm discussion (in case there is anything wrong) when they have got over it and are in a more reasonable frame of mind.

WooWooOwl Mon 12-May-14 19:11:01

You're not alone! It will just be her hormones, and you don't sound like a shite parent at all. You handled it well IMO, but even when you handle things perfectly, children will still have their own ideas!

Nomama Mon 12-May-14 19:11:28

Let her strop. She is just doing the job of a 12 year old.

At least now she knows the consequences of being a proper little madam at tea time smile

Toast only after an unasked for apology. You know YANBU.

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:12:58

Och, I feel better already (smiling through my tears)! Thanks. It's just so hard when you have this every day. I'm pretty no nonsense when it comes to behaviour, but I do have moments where I look at her and think 'how?' You know what I mean grin)

CSIJanner Mon 12-May-14 19:16:11

I have a little inkling as I have a 5yo going on 15 with strops, hurtful words and flouncing, and am dreading the hormones... flowers

Would you like some wine? I have lots to pass around! Just don't tell DH...

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:17:27

The other thing is Nomama, that she doesn't seem to learn the consequences of her behaviour. I could have the same thing again tomorrow. She is both wonderful and impossible. She quite often gets on at her sisters for a) breathing too loudly (I shit you not!) and b) eating too loudly. Zero tolerance for everyone else but her and her friends. It's exhausting.

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:18:17

Only if you partake of my chocolate stash!

SarcyMare Mon 12-May-14 19:20:16

Oh i remember my sister going at me for eating breakfast too loudly.

Nomama Mon 12-May-14 19:20:52

Oh, we all did that sort of thing at 12 (didn't we?).

It is in the soon-to-be-teen job description. Wait til she reads the update on her 13th birthday!

The good news is that, if you throw her out ASAP, University or just 'out', you only have another 5/6 years to go!

You feel so much better now, don't you, Dieu? Dieu? Dieu?


macdoodle Mon 12-May-14 19:21:42

My 12 yr old is exactly the same I could have written your post. She too is hideous to her little sister constantly telling her off for breathing, looking at her, smelling (she doesn't she's lush). Drives me potty as she's a lovely girl and we have a good relationship, am quite sure it's hormones. Horrid though.

AllDirections Mon 12-May-14 19:24:19

wonderful and impossible.

You've just described my DD3 OP

DD1 was the same until she was 12, she's still wonderful but not quite as impossible as she was in her younger years.

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:25:06

There is now a Dieu shaped hole in the wall!!

I'm relieved that so many of you think it's her age, as I'm quick to blame myself when things go wrong. At least with her younger sisters, I'll know what to expect, although they have very sunny personalities. M. was always a bit of a human Eyeore. Love her!
I guess with your eldest, you've nothing to compare the experience to, so you're not quite sure what the norm is, if that makes sense.

Heathcliff27 Mon 12-May-14 19:27:17

I hear you OP and feel your pain only i'm having this very issue with my 10yr old. Everything we say to her has to be questioned or challenged. We had tears and shouting before 8.30am today over a school jacket. She is currently playing outside with a neighbours granddaughter so all is calm for just now but in 5 minutes I will be telling her it's time to come in for her shower and world war 3 will start.

I keep telling myself its her hormones and maybe mine too but it's really getting the whole family down. Time for tough love I think.

Dieu Mon 12-May-14 19:31:01

So glad I posted here tonight. Thanks for the empathy everyone.

Blu Mon 12-May-14 19:39:43

It's her age.

I can remember being in puberty and my unreasonableness frightened even me. I would get into rows with my Mum and not feel as if I could help myself.

I'm sure you need to be firm but also find a moment to talk to her head on about how she is feeling, hormonal-wise. And sympathise and empathise with her.

After all, it is a given that MN-ers are given a free pass to plead pg hormones (up to a point) - teenagers haven't even had the experience of recognising their emotions as hormonally driven.

StarGazeyPond Mon 12-May-14 19:43:05

Oh, we all did that sort of thing at 12 (didn't we?).

No, I wouldn't have dared !

Nomama Mon 12-May-14 19:45:17

But I bet you thought about it... and chose your moments smile

gamerchick Mon 12-May-14 19:48:50

I wouldn't have dared either.. there was none of that for me at that age, it was do as your told the end.

I remembered the feelings of puberty really sucked though, I wouldn't do puberty for anything over again.

you handled it pretty well OP.

ForalltheSaints Mon 12-May-14 19:53:24

You were right.

AmberLeaf Mon 12-May-14 20:03:00

Agree with Blu.

I remember being like this, I'd get so enraged about something or other and end up backing myself into a corner.

It's hard when you are going through all these changes.

She is probably sitting upstairs feeling hungry and despairing at the injustice of it all! because when you are that age everything is just so unfair

Personally, I would go up and see her, have a chat and then let her heat up her dinner, wait till the younger ones are in bed if need be.

DoJo Mon 12-May-14 20:16:05

I too remember being like that and the thing I would really have appreciated was the chance to 'start again' when things got out of hand. I can clearly remember feeling out of control and like I just wanted everything to stop and rewind so that I could do things differently, but that feeling in itself made me scared that I wasn't in control of my emotions.

Could you try giving her a code word or something that she can say if she is losing the plot or have a code word that you can say which will allow her a clean slate if she can rein in her temper before it gets too bad. My friend's mum used to just say 'do-over?' in a pointed tone when she was getting too much and it gave her the opportunity to literally go back to the point at which she was winding herself up and have another go at it. So in your daughter's case, you could have offered the opportunity to go back to when you first called her for dinner so that she can decide not to provoke the confrontation and eat her dinner instead.

This always worked with my friend, but I do think she might have been particularly self-aware as I am not sure if I would have had the clarity to see where I had gone wrong. However, I do think some kind of get out clause can be invaluable for tweens - climbing down feels so impossible at that age, so being able to have a second chance without the row, the tears and the feeling awful that can go with it, can really help.

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