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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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How can I convince my 13 year old daughter that there is value

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How can I convince my 13 year old daughter that there is value in conforming to social expectations ie civilized behaviour,language, dress etc. She believes that she should be who she wants to be and people should not judge her. I have tried to explain that as right as that might seem it is not how things work and that she will be judged and possibly ostricized and lose friends if she doesn't consider the repercusions of her behaviour.
Help, I'm a mom who knows nothing...apparently.

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I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your daughter. It sounds as if by fitting in you are saying that you want your daughter to behave appropriately and to follow your rules. It is certainly reasonable for you to expect her to follow your rules or face the consequences (which you can enforce), however, she may not readily agree with your rules or like the consequences (which you can't enforce).


Keep in mind that any behavior that gets attention is likely to continue happening. It has been called the law of the soggy potato chip in that if a child thinks that she has a choice between a soggy potato chip or no chip at all, she will choose the soggy chip. If your daughter feels that she has the choice between negative attention or no attention at all, she will choose the negative attention and so she will act out until she gets it. The only way for this pattern to stop is to begin to catch the good behaviors and reward them with attention, and to calmly and matter of factly give consequences for the negative behaviors with as little attention as possible. A very good book on this subject is Win the Whining War & Other Skirmishes: A Family Peace Plan by Cynthia Whitham MSW. The more consistent you become with this positive parenting, the more secure your daughter will begin to feel and the more her behavior should improve over time. In the meantime, limiting her access to alcohol, drugs and/or other negative choices is crucial until she builds back your trust. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Lori, yes part of the "fitting in" that I refer to is conforming to our expectatons of how she should behave but also getting her to realize that she should care what people she loves and respect think of her ie the teacher's and coaches Aunts and Uncles. I don't believe she should fit in without questioning the whys and wherefores of the establishment but not rebelling "just because". She is a good kid, she made a mistake and although she is contrite about this incident with the alcohol she finds it incredibly unfair for people to judge her, the point is they will and do.

I would say that to this point she has been pushing the envelop with language, dress and behaviour and we tell her but we also praise her a great deal on the things that she does very well.

Thank you for clarifying. I am sure that it is very frustrating for you not to be able to convince your daughter to care about what people think of her. Unfortunately, the more that you try to make her see things the way you want her to, the more she may resist. What you can do is enforce the rules and consequences. In time, she may connect the consequences to her actions and begin to care what others who matter to her think. However, the more you become emotionally involved regarding this the more she may continue to rebel. Picking your battles for the things that you can control is important. Please let me know if I can help further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks Lori that is helpful and practicle, I was wondering if you have any more recent books that you could recommend, the one you site is dated 1991 and although I'm sure it still has relevance it may not take into account the social changes that have been brought about by current technology ie facebook etc.

Thanks for your help!

I am glad to hear that this has been helpful. You may find the following books helpful in addition to the one I listed earlier:


Teenagers Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Integrity & Independence

By Dorothy Law Nolte Ph.D., Rachel Harris L.C.S.W. Ph.D.


Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated

By Anthony E. Wolf Ph.D., Anthony E. Wolf


How to Deal With Your Acting up Teenager: Practical Help for Desperate Parents

By Robert T. Bayard, Jean Bayard


I wish you the best with this.

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