I GIVE UP… My 12-Year-Old is Smarter than ME!

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Yeah right! But, that is what she thinks.

How many of you moms out there have dealt with or are dealing with children that believe they know what is best for them… better than you do? I believe, in my gut, that every child goes through this phase. The bad news is… I hear it’s a pretty long phase. My daughter started at about age 8… she is 12 now and still in said “phase.”

Her motto seems to be:

“I’m Right and You’re WRONG”

Okay, maybe she doesn’t actually say the words… not out loud, but they are clear as day in her actions.

I honestly feel… believe, maybe naively, that as the mother, when I ask my child to do something, “Please clean your room”, “It’s time to brush your teeth”, “Get ready for bed”, “Homework time” these are not suggestions. These are in fact what needs to get done AT THAT TIME! Not 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 2 hours later.

I also believe that when I have to ask the same thing multiple times… because my child failed to listen the first ten times… that is a clear sign of disrespect and defiance on the part of my child.

Last year, during her first year in middle school, I had a breakthrough!
An “AH-HA” moment if you will!

I sat my daughter down, after the fifth argument of the day, and had the following discussion with her:

Me: Sweetheart, you know mommy loves you, right?
Daughter: Yes.
Me: Do you know that mommy has a reason for asking you to do the things I ask you to do?
Daughter: Yes.
Me: Then why do you consistently choose not to listen?
Daughter (with a very ‘I’m pissed at you’ look on her face): I DON’T WANT TO DO IT!
Me: I understand that, I do. But, homework has to be done, even when we don’t want to do it.
She just sat there.
Me: Okay, fine. I am tired, of arguing with you. I am tired, of having to take your phone away…
Me: (Deep Breath) I didn’t say I was taking it away. I said I was tired of taking it away.
Daughter (Dirty Look)
Me: Now, as I was saying. I’m not going to fight you anymore. If you believe you know what is best for you, better than I do, then I have to trust that. I’m just going to let you make your own decisions and then you will have to deal with the consequences.
Daughter: What do you mean?
Me: Well, if you don’t want to do your homework, then you are going to have to deal with what your teacher does tomorrow. If you want to eat ten pieces of candy after school you will have to deal with the painful dentist visit when he has to fill your cavities, or the tummy ache at bedtime. If you don’t want to put your dirty clothes in the hamper, then you will have to deal with the fact that your laundry doesn’t get clean.
Daughter: Fine.
Me: Fine. Oh, and I’m not going to fight you in the morning trying to wake you up any more either. That means, I will tell you it is time to get up, but if you don’t get up and take your shower and get ready for school by the time we have to leave… I guess you’ll be going to school in your pajamas.


The conversation ended shortly after that. About an hour later she apologized for arguing with me about doing her homework and the candy she had wanted. I explained that all little girls believe they know better than their mommy and that it was okay. I also told her that it doesn’t change anything, that I think it is time for her to learn from her own mistakes instead of me trying to help her avoid the small mistakes that in the end won’t hurt her.

Later that night… she listened better. I would ask her once to do something, and if she didn’t do it I didn’t ask again. Example: I asked for her to put her clean clothes away (I had just folded laundry) and after five minutes she hadn’t done it, so I started to do it myself. She quickly got up and did it herself.

The next morning, I told her once to get up… It took her a while but, she did it. She ended up running out the door at the last-minute trying to finish breakfast and pack her lunch – YEAH – She told me that morning that she wanted to pack her own lunch from that point on!

Oh well, life goes on. I’m sure that once she hits twenty she will realize that yes, sometimes Mommy does know best.


So, moms out there… have you been through this? Got any advice for those of us going through it now?

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