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Theresa, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  PhD. Clinical Psychology - Ex. Director Adolescent Treatment Facility
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My daughter is 13 and has become extremely angry and ...

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My daughter is 13 and has become extremely angry and depressed. The therapist and psychiatrist is not recommending medication. I don''t know what to offer to help her anymore she gets angry at me for giving her responsibility in the house and refuses to do what she is told. Any suggestions to turn this around
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  danny541 replied 9 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer !

Your daughter is growing up ! Her body is making changes, and she doesn't understand why all the changes are happening. Girls especially tend to get very angry with mom, for almost every little thing.

Pick your issues, when they say don't sweat the small stuff.It means exactly that. If its really not a big deal, let her know that although you are not happy, you will let it go, but deal with the bigger issues, after awhile she will realize that mom is right and it will get easier.

Let her know also that whatever chores you give her they are meant to be done, and in a timely manner. let her know that special privileges will only be allowed or offered if she cooperates and does what she is told if not she will lose privileges.

Maybe for every few things she does what she is told without arguing you will give or offer a privilege. If she doesn't then she will lose something.

It should be something she enjoys, cell phone, phone privileges. Tv time, whatever it may be.

Stick with it, eventually she will fall into line. Sometimes meds. are just not the way to go and can make a situation worse.

Good luck ! If you need more, please ask, I'm here to help !

danny541, Parenting Answer Team
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 909
Experience: Have 5 children !
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Expert:  Theresa replied 9 years ago.


The frustration of being a parent can appear to be overwhelming at times; however, I would like to suggest that the clinical persons decision to not prescribe medication for your daughter is a good sign in that they must not have found a disorder or clinical depression that merits prescribed medication to be successfully treated.

This leads me to believe that you are seeing a behavior problem in your teen and behavior problems can be remedied and totally corrected while a brain disorder can not. What I would like for you to understand is that all behavior that any human being engages is first triggered by a thought.

Though it may appear that many of our behaviors are spontaneous and occur naturally they are not. What they are is etched in the memory and practiced by means of repetition. Imagine a cigarette smoker ...for this will give you an easy example to what I am going to describe. It does not matter if they are on the phone, driving a vehicle or watching a television program at home. Every time they have the mental picture (desire) to have a cigarette, they will remove one from the pack and place it between their lips to light it... I can say without doubt that you have never seen a smoker put one in their nose or in their ear to light it? Have you?Undecided

With this the same holds true for the interactions between family members in a home. I am not trying to say that you have a bad home in any way...I don't even know you...but due to me work, I can tell you that your daughter is behaving in response to the environment that she lives in...

I will agree with Danny that a females body goes through hormonal changes during puberty and this can generate PMS symptoms "so to speak". On the other hand the same holds true for young men. The reality though is this: True PMS is now found and is a diagnosed disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV-TR, APA 1994 and very few females experience this.

Society on the other hand has used it to explain, understand and excuse negative behaviors that females display that is has almost become a habit...Must be PMS. One of the interesting reasons for this lies in the fact that as a majority, many in society maintain the thought that females in general are kind, loving, affectionate, and they simply like the picture so much that they don't want to view the irritating female as being a plain old snot.

There are generally two reasons that teens begin to act out and/or become defiant:

1) While they may have had very kind, loving parents the discipline that was used was not consistent. I like to refer to this as the double bind.

The following example will help you to understand what a double bind is...

A general rule of the house is no snacking 30 minutes prior to a meal being served. Every child in the home is aware of the rule... but they don't care they are kids and therefore, it is rare that a day goes by that one of them doesn't ask for cookies 15 minutes prior to the meal being served. The answer is a consistent no and this is good.....but...

The day of dreams has finally arrived...It is 20 minutes before dinner will be served and the phone rings....And would you believe it is mom's best friend from high school and they haven't spoken for 5 years...Mom is so excited...and all of a sudden one of the kitchen timers stars beeping and Mom yells out, Mary will you turn that timer off...and Mary says sure Mom can I have three cookies...and Mom is just about to shoot her self in the foot...The gun is loaded, she pulls the trigger, and the shot is heard by every child in the house as it echoes down the halls....YYYYYEEEESSSSSS Yes yes. All of mom's hard work and efforts at teaching her children to respect rules and expectations in the home have died for the shot hit every one of those kids and they knew they had mom right where she needed to be...and from here it continues to escalate for the children start watching mom real close so that they can discover every little moment that they can get her to fire that gun...

I believe these kids have telepathy ... because when Mary passed mom's bedroom and saw mom giving herself a pedicure the rest of the kids came running....

This begins when a child is young and continues to happen as the child grows...When the child is a teen it is more difficult for the child to break but consistency again will put things back in proper order.

2) They are at a new level of emotional development whereby they are trying to find out who they are and they begin to push limits with their parents to see just how far they can get.

More often than is caused as a result of number one. You see if number one had been in place through out their life they would have never gotten so far into the number two. Yes, they would still be in a developmental phase that they begin to try and find out who they are, so to speak, but they don't become defiant.

I use the word defiant because anger is related to defiance in that when a defiant child is told no, they become angry...

The word Psychologist is very misunderstood in society also ... Trust me... Many people think because they have the answers they have perfect kids... If you believe that I have a painting that was done by MONET, it is an original, and I will sell it to you for .... I think you get it.

I used the same approaches when raising my children that I suggest for my clients that are having problems with their children. I would like to suggest that you give them a chance and I can bet that you will have successful changes before you know it.

1. A family is defined as all members living in the same house hold and this is your focus...

2. Each member must participate equally to maintain success...Note I said equally but not in the same way

Here we go:

1. Have a family meeting- At your first meeting have your children write down 5 household rules that they believe the whole family (this includes mom and dad) should abide by and each parent will do the same thing...Take 10 minutes to do so then begin a discussion of what every one has down to see what is similar.

2. Choose a family member to write the similar rules on a sheet of paper. Then discuss the other rules and see what the family thinks will work. Add these rules to the list...

You should not have more than 10 rules at any time, so if you do then get rid of what must go. When the rules have been decided on choose another family member to begin writing them down on the big poster boards that you have purchased and do let them use the colorful markers you bought for the job.

When this is done get out the tape and begin decorating your home...That;s right hang those rules in the halls in every room ... this may seem odd... but children work better with visuals even 16 to 19 year olds, older teens learn very quickly because they are embarrassed when they have to explain to their friends why all of their home decorations are dollar store posters designed with neon markers and when your friends wonder why you don't have any Monet hanging around you don't have to tell them you're broke... you tell them because it is more important that I teach my children appropriate boundaries.

The next thing that you will do is come together again and discuss consequences that are appropriate to the unwanted behavior or broken rule. Put these in writing, be sure to include progressive measures for rules that continue to be unbroken.

I am going to provide you with an example of what our list looked like and invite you to use it if you like.


1. Meals eaten together

If you don't like what Mom has prepared that is OK you may have a bologna sandwich or 2 or 4. (This is the only menu item that is ala carteThe point her is that they can't skip what mom has taken the time to cook so they can grab a frozen pizza...

2. Pick up behind yourself

If you leave a dirty dish in the family room you get to add the kitchen to your chores the following day

If your dirty laundry is not in the laundry room and available to mom when she is doing laundry you will have the privilege of wearing dirty undies for a week (no exceptions)

3. Appropriate Communication skills will be used at all times

If you choose to yell at family members to express yourself you will get to do one of their chores for them to show that you are sorry (they get to pick it)

No profanity (If a family member is found to engage in the use of profanity- they will receive their favorite meal the next evening and I think it is safe to say that everyone here loves liver and onions) Substitutions can not be made on these special occasions.

If the offense happens in public you will be rewarded with a pacifier to occupy your mouth

4. Chores will be completed when expected and as instructed

Mom will create a set of defined shore instruction for all chores

Family will establish chores and who is responsible for them

Mom will provide a time sheet for everyone so they will know when they are expected to do their chores.

To be totally effective, a parent will have to check the child's chores, etcc every day to see that they are done and if they aren't a consequence must be given as it was stated.

Remember this: No consequences that are overbearing on mom and dad...When a consequence is high it is more difficult to Parents we for get or feel sorry for those little creatures and once again pull the trigger.



This is only an example: I can tell you that I have only made liver twice, my son wore dirty undies 1 week, and all three of them had to use their pacifiers at least twice.

They are grown, safe, healthy and independent now. And have finally quit asking when am going to remove the rule list from the foyer. The others have been taken down.

It is also important to establish times that the family will participate in family fun things. The cost of the fun is not the important thing...It can be a simple group chosen movie and popcorn...the real purpose is allowing the children to have the experience of creating good memories for this far outweighs the consequences.

When my children were growing older they had to give something up that they really liked when they broke a rule...At the end of the year they had to take 5 items and donate then to a family that was less fortunate. To this day they begin hitting up their friends for monetary donations in October and as a group they purchase items and still do this, but they go to nursing homes.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne...your child needs you now, she is not old enough to be independent physically or emotionally. If you beleive that this ay not work then I would suggest family counseling. The child that shows negative behavior is referred to as the identified problem. The reality is there are problems in the entire family system.

I wish all of you the best.

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Theresa, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 877
Experience: PhD. Clinical Psychology - Ex. Director Adolescent Treatment Facility
Theresa and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you