Advice for a Mother of a Rebellious Daughter

10 03 2011

Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com

Questions and Answers for Today's Jewish Woman,Part 3

Question:

I have a daughter who has a streak of rebellion in her.  She is a very intense, responsible, and caring girl. I know that if channeled properly, she can really use her talents.  However, the problem is that her personality often clashes with mine.  She likes to be in control and so do I. She also has a hard time speaking respectfully to me and will accuse and blame me for things.   How shall I manage this eleven year old who is going on fifteen?
Answer:

First, count yourself lucky. You have a daughter with leadership qualities who will make a great mother and be a wonderful asset to Klal Yisrael. You do however need to consider how to properly guide her. Give her responsibility. If you like her taste, have her choose the clothes for the children for the next day. This will give her something to do and take the chore off of your head. If your preferences clash, tell her, “I’m preparing the clothes for tomorrow. Would you like to get the shoes and book bags ready?” Be clear about the areas you would like her to take responsibility for and then don’t talk, unless something gets radically out of hand. You definitely should not tolerate any insolence. Listen to what she tells you and affirm her words by rephrasing what she said. Tell her she can suggest possibilities, but be very firm that the way you run the house is the way she will have to deal with it. When she wants to offer helpful advice she will need to say things differently. You can tell her, “Let’s not hear complaints, let’s hear positive ideas. If you want to have a constructive role in the house you need to learn how to talk to me.” Repeat this many times. Be very clear that she may not criticize or blame you. She may make suggestions or ask questions. You will listen and if she is right, you will consider her words seriously. Have your husband back you up on this. Be firm but friendly, keep her parameters defined, and hopefully things will work out.

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