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DocRob, Doctor (MD)
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Doctor & Father
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I need advice about dealing with my 11 year old daughter.

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I need advice about dealing with my 11 year old daughter. She's really a good kid, but has a tendency to procrastinate with her chores. She has a tendency to always say, "I didn't hear you," or "I forgot." After this goes on for a while, I get to the point where I end up having a melt down because I'm so frustrated with her. After I have the melt down, she's really good about doing her chores and even be more helpful around the house, but how can I avoid getting to the point of having a melt down? In other words, when I'm being nice and giving gentle reminders it doesn't work, it's like it takes me having a melt down before she starts taking her responsibilities seriously.
Welcome to Just Answer. I truly hope that you will be able to benefit from my many years experience both in paediatrics, and as a father! I will aim to provide sensible, common sense help, but I need you to read and agree to the contents of this paragraph.

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Welcome,e to JA, I too have a daughter that is 11 years old (Neve) and what you describe could easily fit the bill with our experiences. I also hear these complaints a hell of a lot, so please be reassured that you are not alone. There are 2 main things that I would look at here:
1/ your daughter is reaching a very difficult age emotionally where from a psychological perspective she moves away from her parents as the main role models and support in her life, toward her friends - they start to take up more "value".
2/ as part of this process, psychologists refer to the process of "pushing the boundaries", which we all encounter and is a well acknowledge component of this psychosocial stage in development.

Knowing these two as loose "facts" is important because it helps you keep the situation in context.

After that, you then have a right as the parent to have rules in your house adhered to, and to be shown respect whist at the same time allowing your daughter increasing autonomy (self-reliance) in her own life.

The key with ANY parenting at ANY age is CONSISTENCY. I would recommend that you set in place a set of specific requirements you have of her in a day or week (eg, room tidy, homework completed). Let her know that you expect this, and that failure to do them, will result in a consequence such as being grounded. Adherence to the rules can be allowed to reap rewards such as being able to stay out later, or financial incentives with pocket money etc. However, you have to be FIRM and CONSISTENT in enforcing those rules.
it is important to have this sort of chat with her, to let her know that you are are respecting her, and giving her more responsibility in the family, and showing her more trust.

I know it can be really difficult, but having episodes where you get angry can end up causing more problems (although every now and again it can be a useful reminder that you mean business). It sounds like you have a lovely daughter and an excellent relationship, and that is the key. If I were in your situation I would broach the subject with her along the lines of a "coming of age" or a "growing up" chat were you explain that as you get older you are expected to do more and more, and that it is your job as a parent to prepare her for the real world where she doesn't have a mum to do everything for her.

Does this help? Do you have any questions or comments?
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