My 12-year-old daughter is a good kid. But when something doesn't go her way she calls me a bitch and cusses a lot. I take her phone away when she does that.

She can be so good, but it's like turning a switch on and off. I don't know what else to do with her. She's only 12 and I want to get her straight before she goes too far. I have done everything and nothing is working.

I need help with her. Please let me know what I can do. She has everything she needs and more and it just gets worse.

  • i have the same daughter as well...its a handfull but it will get better.
    – Mookie
    Feb 12, 2020 at 13:47

5 Answers 5


Welcome to adolescence. It's really hard. If you ask her when she is calm why she does what she does, I'd be surprised if she has a real answer. Hormones make life hell for teens. It's as bad or worse for parents.

It can take years but it will get better and all the hard work you put in before adolescence will show up again.

Try to remain calm. Do not exaggerate consequences or information. (My mum would tell me that smoking a joint would make me kill people and so I did not believe her on any drug information, even when it was accurate.) Always tell the truth. Punishment must match the 'crime'. If she says she hates you, you return in a quiet tone, "I love you enough for both of us." Or something like that.

Keep it real. Don't expect her to want to do all the things she used to like -- but that doesn't mean you don't have expectations. I'd put up a white board or calendar and put on compulsory family events. Be willing to negotiate other stuff.

If swearing is a concern, start a swearing jar. It costs every family member a set amount for every swear word. Hers can be paid out of her allowance. (Not her expenses.) Use the money for the entire family -- it is not yours or hers.

In calm moments, let her know you love her and respect her. Remind her that your job is to see her through to adulthood. Admit that you will make and have made mistakes and that you do think about things and IF she can talk to you calmly and reasonably, you might be able to hear her. Be willing to sometimes change your mind. Tell her that you love her and have her best interests at heart. If you make a mistake it comes from that love and not because you are trying to be mean or that you do not love her.

If her other parent is part of the family and has a say -- be consistent and agree to stuff in advance of a decision. It IS perfectly okay to say that you have to think about something or talk it over. If pressed for an immediate answer, it's fine to answer the safe way. "No, you can't go to the mall by yourself."

Make some time for yourself. Not doing the laundry. Go for a walk or dance up a storm. You are a better parent when you take time for you. Best of luck!


I went through something similar with my daughter. And I would blame puberty. It started at 11 with my girl and we went a circle of emotions. One day happy, reasonable; next day rolled in a ball crying uncontrollably. It was when she'd get the giggles that my husband and I would dread the most because the next mood swing would be uncontrollable anger. Your comment about turning a switch off and on sounds so familiar. I recommend talking to her doctor. Some counseling may help. My daughter met with a psychologist for a short time. She was given coping mechanisms to deal with her feelings. She was also recommended an antidepressant. These combined helped even things out. My angry screaming girl is now 18 in college. She is intelligent, independent, capable. Her relationship with my husband and I is very good. Talk to her doctor. It couldn't hurt


YES. Children are just adults without experience. You don't own them - they own you. They come to you to be their teacher, sensei, mentor, guid, role model and the one source above all to learn how to survive in the world upon graduation. They deserve respect, your respect. Treat them as such. You don't own them.

They also mirror first - copying their parents behavior. If you say crap like "I am gona kill you", or "you stupid shit". They will mirror that. Then they discover alternative behavior.

A parent's first step is to be a good role model. Show respect, and be firm. That means your children are not pets who will jump through hoops on your command "or else..." and it also means you must behave in a respectful way.

There are rules to life which children must learn to become happy and well centered adults. Parents must show they know and conform to those rules by example, and they MUST explain them to their children. That doesn't mean lecture them, it means explaining to them. HUGE difference. So many parents lecture, they tell, but they don't explain and allow children to learn. We like to thing we teach, that is rubbish. Children learn. Parents are not in control - children are.

It is late in your game, but if you wish your child to change your daughter's behavior, you might begin by assessing your behavior. The only reason that your daughter calls you a bitch is because you likely behave like one. That doesn't mean you are a bitch or that you don't care it only addresses behavior.

Yes I have two children, successful adults. One rule: no name calling. Another rule: the law of consequences and another, the law of reciprocity. Another rule: The behavior and the person are different. There are about a dozen rules of life which when learned can make for a well centered adult and my adult children can recite them because they learned them from about age 4 on until they left home.

And NO, I never hit my kids, called them names or disrespected their privacy or persona.

  • Just my opinion, but I do not own anyone and nor am I owned. All parents make choices for and with their children. Learning by example is right on. If we want our kids to be respectful, kind and thoughtful, it has to start with our own example. We show how to solve problems and act towards others by that example. Words are meaningless without walking that walk.
    – WRX
    Dec 5, 2016 at 1:17
  • Yeah, no. Children are NOT in control, nor are they your mini-me. Their brain structures are different, they process information differently and even their bodies are slightly different from that of an adults. However, I do agree with the rest of what you said - no name calling etc.
    – L.B.
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:53

There are several parts of the story:

  • Your relationship is changing and needs to change to an relationship between adults negotiating their needs and wishes on the same level

  • That means that your responsibility in taking something like this from your daughter and brushing over it is reduced

  • and her responsibility to manage it is increased slowly over time

That basically means:

  • let your daughter know that what she says is hurtful to you, and end the conversation in that moment when it gets out of control (e.g. walk away and do not try to take control of the situation, make it more of a conversation between adults)

  • make sure that you look at your environment and family for role models which she may copy that behavior from

  • talk to her outside of such episodes and assure her that this will not affect you loyalty to her.

  • discuss with her that if she regularly and over an extended period (outside of e.g. a time with multiple stresses at the same time) overshoots more than she intended, then it would be better for her if that is addressed somehow, and one needs to look for an underlying cause

  • that cause may be in her environment/family/school, it may be a temporary stressful time/event with a lack of mental resources for her to handle, or it may be an underlying personality disorder (narcissism, psychopathy etc.) or psychological problem (depression, schizophrenia)


This is a difficult period for any parent, and the fact that you're asking for help is confirmation of your good intentions for your daughter's wellbeing. What prompted me to give an answer though is the fact that a 12-year-old even dares to call her mother a bitch. When I was a kid, such behaviour was unheard of and I wouldn't have even dreamed of speaking to any adult that way, let alone my own mother. I would no doubt, been given a severely warm backside with a hand or belt. I feel that despite your best intentions, you are allowing your daughter too much leeway, perhaps from a younger age, and you've let it go to the point where you have no more control. She needs to be disciplined and made to understand that disrespect towards an adult is not on. I think it's not too late for this. She's still very young and if you can kerb this now, it might save you much bigger problems when she hits her teens. Once she grasps this concept, there should be far less occasions where she tries to overstep her boundaries.

  • Just checking, but are you advocating violence against children?
    – user19912
    Dec 3, 2016 at 21:49
  • 2
    we set examples by dealing with problems and by commanding respect. If a person uses violence on any scale to show that might is right, or "I am bigger than you, so I win", imo, it does not teach any good message. What happens the day the child is bigger than you or another child or person? We fight with words and reason.
    – WRX
    Dec 3, 2016 at 23:39
  • This is fine, although it likely isn't a good idea to physically discipline a child over probably the age of 10. At this point is probably best to draw a hard line of consequences for behavior and calling the police for any extreme cases.
    – L.B.
    Dec 4, 2016 at 20:08

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