Sarcastic preteen ought to speak in respectful way

CHILD LIFE

September 25, 1994|By BEVERLY MILLS

Q: My 12-year-old daughter is always humiliating me. She's sarcastic and doesn't give me a chance to be a good parent. What can I do?

Mary Friedman, Suffolk, N.Y.

A: It's time to stop thinking about your daughter as the child she was and focus on the adolescent she is becoming. As you make the transition, focus on how to insist on respect without alienating her.

While the balance hinges mainly on good communication skills, parents also need to learn when to stand firm and when to back off.

"She should try to talk to her daughter and explain that she would not like to be humiliated in front of her own friends, either," says Wanda Sydnor of Baltimore. "She should also tell her that she loves her."

Parents can begin to put a stop to sarcasm and humiliation by setting some ground rules in a firm but calm way, says Robin Goldstein, author of "Stop Treating Me Like A Kid! Everyday Parenting the 10- to 13-year-old" (Penguin, $9.95).

"Say that at times you're going to ask her to use a different tone of voice if she wants you to listen to her and be with her," says Ms. Goldstein, who teaches child development at Trinity College in Washington.

CAN YOU HELP?

Here's a new question from a parent who needs your help. If you have tips, or if you have questions of your own, please call our toll-free hot line any time at (800) 827-1092. Or write to Child Life, 2212 The Circle, Raleigh, N.C. 27608.

* Believe in Santa: "My son, who is almost 9, is getting a lot of grief from his friends about believing in Santa Claus," says M.J. of Rockport, N.Y. "He's been asking us a lot of questions. I don't want to spoil Christmas by telling him Santa isn't real, but I also worry about lying to him. How are you supposed to handle it at this age?"

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