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Why Won’t My Daughter Listen to Me?


My 12-year-old daughter has become very defiant. She refuses to do her homework or help out around the house and often screams at me. How can I get my daughter to listen to me and stop fighting with me?


Your daughter is testing you, and from what you have shared, she is winning.

There are times when parents need to go back to "square one." When you have some time alone, sit down and list your expectations for your daughter. Expectations could include doing chores around the house and using good social skills like asking for permission before making plans with friends. Another expectation could be calling to tell you where she is if she goes to a new place while she’s away from home. 

Next, list privileges she can access by meeting your expectations. Privileges could be using the phone or computer, watching TV, playing video games or spending time with friends. If she does not meet your expectations, she will lose these privileges, perhaps one at a time. She cannot regain access to them until she demonstrates she can meet those very expectations that caused her to lose them.  

If your daughter is behaving the way you described, she should have NO privileges until her behavior changes. If you feel this is something you can’t handle on your own, a professional counselor can help ​you implement this process in your home. Unless you take action now, your daughter’s behavior will most likely only get worse as she gets older.