I've taken everything except for three outfits, a bed cover, and her pillow.

What is my next step?

I rarely whoop my girls, but my 13 yr old has pushed me 4 times in 3 months to have to spank her!

I give her ways to get her stuff back, but as of today she has lost the chance to earn anything back until she can respect me, and lose that smart mouth!

She repeats every problem behavior my oldest had done, just 50 times worse!

I raised my kids kind of strictly. They have morals, and know right from wrong. They know their manners and know how to say "yes ma'am," "no ma'am," when to be quiet, and when to speak, but it seems like both my girls have to learn things the hard way. They do seem to learn from it, though!

My 13 year old thinks she's always right and knows everything. I don't know the reason she thinks she can tell me "No," or smart-mouth me, but she is sadly mistaken.

My question is: what do you think my next move should be?

I had a strict upbringing as a child, and probably got spanked, but I think it helped make me into a good person, so I am not opposed to the idea of spanking, if it will help.

  • I am not looking forward to these days with the daughter :( my sons are 9 and 11 and they are already starting to get crazy and like you.. I have taken everything away in attempts to not whoop them but it seems the time is coming.. good luck
    – Tony
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:38
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    We have a few questions on here about raising respectful children - one of the general directions is that more trust, love, care and reward is much more important than 'whooping' and acting like a child yourself. (Correct me if I misunderstood your post - I am unsure whether I read it correctly)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 16:08
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    I've made some significant edits to this, to help clarify what you are asking. Please feel free to make further changes as you feel necessary. I also ask that everyone remember to vote based on the quality of the question itself, and not how it is worded or presented.
    – user420
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 18:50
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    OP, I would also suggest that you provide more details about the actual behavior your daughter is exhibiting. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to provide you with specific advice if we don't know what type of things your daughter is doing that you consider disrespectful. It would also help if we knew what you have done (aside from taking all her possessions) so far. I removed a lot of detail on your upbringing, because your daughter's upbringing, what your expectations for her are, and how you've attempted to address the situation so far are far more relevant.
    – user420
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 19:00
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    Everyone doesn't understand is your response to all the advice given. No, it is impossible to understand the full scope of your situation. You did, however, seek the views and advice of others by posting your question here. If you did not want their views, but validation of your own view, then you sought the wrong means of achieving that goal. We offer the best we have with the information and experience we have... it is not perfect, but I dare say that the approval of your 15yo of your methods ought not be your consolation for your methods. Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 13:09

9 Answers 9


Raising a child is not a game of chess. There is not a "next move."

When I was 12 was the last time I was spanked. It was by my mother. I couldn't help but laugh at her attempt. My very strong timber-faller stepdad then assaulted me by kicking and punching me. Do you know what lesson I learned? Despise him. 25 years later, that is the sum of my memory of him.

When I was younger, I was (along with my siblings) routinely beat by my father and watched my mother get beat when she tried to protect us from his abuse. I've always been a "thinker", so I reasoned at the time that since they could take everything away from me, I would hold on to the one thing they never could -- my mind. The result was that years later my mother complained to a therapist that she couldn't find a way to discipline (proper ways being tried at that time), because everything she came up with, I found some way to enjoy. With all of my stuff taken from me except for a bed and the clothes on my back, I entertained myself by imagining great armies of light and dark in the light coming through my windows and the shade in the corner and visualized them battling it out. Consequences: Nothing learned from the punishment, but a great imagination developed!

Isaac Asimov wrote in one of his books, "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

My daughter is 14. I have spanked her, but not since she was 3 or 4 (and then for justifications I have since learned were not the best means of achieving my end goals). She has rules. She has structure. And, quite importantly, she follows the rules most of the time and where she breaks them unintentionally, I remind her of the rules, but where she breaks them on purpose, there are consequences catered both to what she desires (the punishment being restricting or taking them away) and ensuring such behavior does not recur (in that future punishments will be greater in whichever way is most appropriate for her particular thing about which she cares.)

Your goal as a parent ought not be one of controlling and forcing your child -- it will serve zero purpose in helping them in their future lives and seriously damage their perception of you for years to come. Your goal ought to be to help them be critically-thinking, well-balanced adults.

To that end, I suggest getting to know your child better by spending time with them in activities they enjoy, chatting about their day-to-day lives, playing various games (either digital or real-world), and even asking their opinion about various things such as philosophy, politics, religion, sports, etc. If you get to know them better, you will understand them better. When you understand where someone is coming from; when you can see something through their eyes; when they feel you have walked a mile in their shoes, you will be granted respect (respect is something earned, not the result of a demand acceded to.) With that respect your child(ren) will not suddenly become perfect angels, but will be more receptive to your guidance.

The guidance and instruction you provide, however, must be in a form suitable for the situation. Remember the old saying, "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

As a parent, you are a leader. Lead by example and remember there are 2 types of leaders (in a summary fashion): those who are followed because others are forced and those who follow because others love them.

The choice you make as to which type of leader you are will define all of your choices from there on out.

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    @Jeremy Miller +1 for a lot of reasons, the cream of the crop being "respect is something earned, not the result of a demand acceded to."
    – Jax
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 3:13
  • @Jax agreed with you on that one. Honestly, my favorite part of this answer, and something my father at least didn't really understand, due to his upbringing.
    – Waterseas
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 22:36

Whatever you are doing is clearly not working. Doing more of the same will give more of the same result.

If you have already taken everything from your daughter then she now has nothing to lose; this puts you in a position of weakness and makes the situation even more difficult.

Perhaps what you need to a "reset" in your relationship with your daughters. I've had to do this a couple of times with my willful daughter to clear the air so we can move on.

  • Firstly, forget everything that has happening before, you all need to start from a clean slate. Keep in mind your daughters have probably built up a lot of mistrust and resentment. The reset needs to go both ways.
  • Work out just what you want from your kids. Fear is not respect. Are your expectations reasonable?
  • Sit down with your daughters tell them that you want to start again. Return all of their possessions without condition - you must establish trust. Discuss with them what your expectations are (chores, courtesy, etc). Listen to what they have to say. Remember, it is the long term gains you are after even it is means you let a few things slide is the short-term.
  • Be patient and work with them. This may take a while. Offer them incentives to get them to comply rather than fear of punishment. Every time you show anger, you lose ground. An incentive is not a bribe. It might be as simple as do your chores and I'll help you with your homework.
  • You should enjoy your relationship with your children. If it is not enjoyable (both ways) then something is wrong and should be addressed.

Spanking (in my experience) does not work. When a child is spanked, it relieves them of guilt and prevents them from having to look at what they did wrong. It all becomes about the spanking.

  • Let me me to tell you what I was work everyday of my life an last year I think my dad for everything with that he gave me! we're a go back to the Bible hear the Bible says it says spare the rod spoil the child! but that's a matter of opinion I didn't ask if you believes in my spanking my children or not. All raised a 15 that is still with me nowwith me now My kids love this discipline with the 13 year old for her to win something but she has to print things are changing
    – user75702
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 3:28
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    @user75702 - You ask "What is my next step?" and then state that you have spanked your daughter recently. I would say that I am allowed to offer my opinion about spanking. Going by the comments you've left and the original question, you have a very definite view of parenting and discipline. I'm just not sure what you expected to hear.
    – dave
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 4:17
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    @user75702 If your whole take on the bible is that one scripture and you're still having problems, talk to your pastor/priest. You have much to learn on the teachings in those books. Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 13:12
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    @user75702 There have been an unusually high number of excellent answers to this question of yours, yet you refuse to listen to any of them from the sounds of things. When you ask a question, expect to potentially receive differing views. Don't ask a question just to try and reassure yourself you're doing the right thing, and then get hissy when others disagree with you.
    – Waterseas
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 22:39

Disrespect is not acheived in a day. Neither is respect. By the time a child reaches the teen years, corporal punishment is no longer an option. The only thing you have as leverage at this point is the respect your child has for you. The history of caring, concerned, loving discipline that you have shown both to the child and other children.

I do not know your history with this child, so I cannot comment on the quality of your care. Some of the words you have used in your question, though, make me suspect you have been trying to dictate their behavior. This works in the short term with small children, and SHOULD be used, especially with new situations, but only when you also train the child to know the proper behavior themselves. Have you done this? You might have. It's what we did with our daughters

However, all teens go through a phase when they think they know everything. I was reduced at one point to saying to my oldest: "you don't like it, then move out and live your own way." I then helped her pack, saw her to the door, and watched her drive away with a friend. Of course, the friend's parents were not about to take in another child, which left my 'know-it-all' with a dilemma. She asked her mother if she could come home. The answer was "of course, but the rules are still the rules."

In the end, my daughter realized the security and safety of home, along with no bills, was worth the price of submitting to the rules. Once she made the choice herself, it was not such a rock relationship. Prior to that, though it was really rough.

My second oldest decided to push my buttons once, by pointing out that I really couldn't take anything away from her, since aside from some of her clothes, she bought everything herself with her part-time job. She was taking a high-school Consumer Law course at the time. I agreed with her. Then I asked if the fact that someone bought a particular commodity gave then the authority to decide how it got used. She smugly said "yes".

I left the dinner table, went to the basement, then came back. When she asked what I was doing, I told her "I simply tripped the breaker feeding electricity to your room. Since my job pays for the electricity in this house, I've decided to opt out of supplying it to your room. You DO still get lights, so you can stare at your electric guitar, TV, stereo, and Wii this evening. Or, you can agree to not get snarky with your father, and I go re-flip the breaker."

My point with these stories is that head-to-head with a teenager rarely ends well. They are smart, they see how their friends live and interact with their parents. If your daughter is resentful, take stock of what her life is like, ask other parents you respect about what they do, find out if maybe, just maybe, you are one of those parents every kid is thankful they don't have. I've done it, my friends have done it. Once, I had to admit to myself that I was, indeed, doing it badly.

The important thing is that respect can be rebuilt. Don't make the mistake of thinking that admitting you made a mistake will somehow lessen your authority. Did you ever deal with a teacher who never admitted their mistakes? How about one who affably laughed off getting caught in a mistake in front of the class and thanked the student for pointing it out? I had both, guess which one I still respect?

The start of your solution is going to have to be genuine communication. You are going to have to let your daughter tell you everything she resents about you as a parent, and you are going to have to silently take it. Keep a poker face, if you can't keep a compassionate one. But just being willing to listen to her side of things will get the ball of mutual respect rolling. Then, when she is done, do not make the mistake of telling her why she is totally wrong about you. In fact, if you spend the entire time "listening" by lining up your rock-solid rebuttals, you've completely missed the point.

Listen, then spend 1 or 2 days really, really looking at your behavior. Bring your daughter's concerns to a friend you really trust to tell you the straight, unvarnished truth. Then, if anything needs to change, bring your daughter alongside you, and give her permission to help hold you accountable to anything you might need to change.

I hope this helps. This process has helped get me through 2 teen daughters.


It appears there has been a complete erosion of respect, on both sides of this relationship. I highly recommend seeking outside, trained (be it pastoral care or professional) assistance in rebuilding a foundation of trust & respect. 13 is tough age to start this process, but it is doable. It will take time.

I also suggest learning collaborative negotiation. Right now I doubt your daughter has any respect for your authority, and will just perceive any consequences you dole out to be unjust. This means there will not be any learning or real behavior modification -- just increasing resentment. Negotiation on the other hand will let you guide her toward healthy behavior. It may not directly alter her choices, but at least you can get your wisdom communicated. If you're really lucky she may share with you her core motivations, which gives you the opportunity to provide further guidance (e.g. you can still party when your 25, but now is the best time to earn scholarships).

  • there's 2 things you need to understand she lost 2 dad as one didnt want her and one just walked away and nobody can ever handle her but me of something upset her an don't I know how to fix it she's been an end and out of counseling for 7 years with her real dad take yeah that's what she doesn't like counselors
    – user75702
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 3:14
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    Agree - this situation is complicated, and the solution will be one of rebuilding the relationship. Outside help is needed - a third party that can objectively observe interactions and teach a new way to interact.
    – MJ6
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 16:15

It's difficult to interpret by what you would describe as a smart mouth. I don't spank my kids or raise a hand to them. Violence begets violence. I have an 18 year old and a 13 year old. They're good kids. Really great, wonderful kids. Pick your battles with your kids.

Teen years are bound to bring a little rebellion. I swore at times someone replaced my son with an alien; we're talking complete meltdowns when I asked him to give me his phone, because he wasn't doing the chores I asked him to. I think it was hormones, more than anything. He's mellowed. We've gotten through the worst of teen struggles with him, and now they are cropping up with my daughter.

They're growing, making a statement of who they are. They're going to be opinionated, sometimes argumentative. They're learning how to have verbal discussions, disagree, express their views, opinions, and sometimes argue, just like adults do. How you respond is how you teach them.

My 13 year old is somewhat of a know it all. Lots of patience and love are needed in dealing with that. It's not easy. I've had to walk away at times. Sometimes she walks off in a huff. They're entitled to their emotions, they're entitled to get angry at times. Don't you? Don't deny them that.

You say your kids are good kids, know right from wrong, so I'm trying to understand the problem? Give them a little breathing room. You've taken so many of your daughter's possessions away, even her clothing, and that concerns me. Return her possessions, give her a hug, and talk to her. Talk to her like one human being to another.


Looks like you've been trying to control behavior through intimidation and force. Sounds like she's reached the point where she's going to resist that. The problem with your methods is that, if you get that pushback, your only option is to escalate, which might work, or it might escalate the level of resistance, which could really spiral out of control.

Any time you are parenting out of anger and for control, it's effectiveness and flexibility in dealing with different situations is going to be limited. However, at this point, you can't go back and undo years of parenting.

If you could, I'd suggest sitting down with the child, and calmly discussing how you want what is best for them, and clearly you two are frustrating the heck out of each other. You'd have to have an open and frank discussion of WHY you want her to behave the ways you are asking. If you can't articulate a reason that isn't a version of "because I said so and I'm the boss" or "that's how I was raised," then you have to ask yourself why you are fighting that particular fight. This will also require her to be open and frank about why it is she is resisting. Does she feel like she wants more freedom? More responsibility?

Okay, she's getting older, wants to be treated more like someone who has some say, then that comes with responsibilities and accountability. She has to take up a certain level of responsibilities around the house. You two agree upon groundrules for things she's allowed to do, but only after responsibilities - homework done with best effort, chores, etc. are completed. In exchange, she gets some latitude on if she can go out, if she gets to watch shows, has her own cell phone etc. Emphasize that as a parent, you are not required to grant these things, but that you feel she can certainly earn them. Then, if you have to take away things she likes, it's not you doing it, it's her own falling short on her end of the agreement.

You're still going to have fights and disagreements, but you're giving her a greater degree of control over what she can do, you're giving her an incentive to behave in a positive manner, and, since you've arrived at these rules by discussion, you don't have to go into this battle of you fighting and demanding, her disagreeing, because it's something you both agreed upon, up front. I'm not sure if it's too late to take this approach, but it's worked well for me, but I'm very lucky in the temperament of my kids, and I don't think that's all due to my parenting.


You are doing the best that you can. Having worked with tons of teenagers, and after raising three teens of my own(on the fourth now), I can assure you that teen behavior is unpredictable,irrational, and sometimes dangerous.Too often,unfortunately, when we turn to other parents, we are often met with harsh judgments and criticisms. Being a parent becomes a source of shame,fear, and guilt. I commend your bravery ; it takes a lot to stand in the gap when your child is going through her mood swings. Be sure to take some time for you. You got this.


Spanking used as routine looses any intimidating capacity by teen age . If you would had rarely strapped her as a child and you do it now for a serious ofense then it can perhaps be more effective. The most serious punishment are not for mild things just like you don't jail someone for crossing with red light If spanking is effective at that age " doubtful " , I strapped my 13 year old for a serious misbehavior She used to go to a road crossover bridge snd along with her peers used to throw stones at passing cars I didn't lecture her or yelled at her , calmly I took her to a room I have outside my house respectfully explained her misbehavior and told her that she was going to be spanked She had olny get three spankings in her life .I gave her 12 strokes with the belt In this case she became a very mature girl after that Rarely used perhaps can work


Looks like she's laughing at your restrictions. I am not against spanking but kids this age are total aliens to me. Mi kids are still smaller and I shake when I anticipate their teens. One thing is clear: you need to stop the disrespect before it goes uncontrollable.

Is homeschooling for a couple of months a possibility for you?

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