Ways to Parent a Defiant Preteen Girl

Preteen girls are notoriously difficult to deal with because of surging hormones and major changes in their bodies. It’s not necessarily a major cause for concern when your once sweet little girl turns into a defiant preteen 2. In fact, many preteen girls become defiant, rude and even sullen occasionally. There’s nothing you can do to prevent this sort of natural change from happening to your little girl, but you can parent her in a way that lessens her defiance and keeps her more like the sweet girl she was before puberty began.

Make Your Expectations Clear

She knows there are rules in your house, but you need to take a moment to ensure her understanding of your expectations are crystal clear. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, ensuring that your preteen is straight on the rules eliminates misunderstandings 1. For example, if the rule is that she can’t visit with friends unless their visit is supervised by an adult, make it clear that “adult” means a parent or guardian, and not an 18-year-old older sibling. If she defies you, she cannot try to argue her way out of it by telling you she didn’t know that you meant it had to be a parent. Making the rules clear makes it more difficult for her to defy them.

Notice Good Behavior

Despite the fact that your little girl isn’t so little anymore, she still wants your praise. According to Dr. Alan Kazdin of the Yale University Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, your daughter will respond to positive reinforcement by behaving in a positive manner. For example, say she does something you ask her to do without defying you or challenging you in any way. By praising her immediately for this positive behavior, you are making her feel good. Chances are good that she wants you to be proud of her, which means she will continue this trend and defy you less frequently.

Open the Lines of Communication

Now, more than ever, your preteen daughter needs to know that she can talk to you about anything. You probably have limited knowledge about what she knows about things such as sex, drugs and alcohol, but you want to ensure she knows she can come to you with questions about any of those issues. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, opening the lines of communication makes it easier for you to talk to her about those issues and for her to come to you when she wants to know something 1. Knowing where you stand on her behavior regarding those issues and that you will always listen when she wants to talk, can make a big difference in her decisions to defy you or abide by the rules.

Provide Her With Only One Chance

According to parenting expert Alan Kazdin of the Yale University Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, you should only give your daughter one chance to do what is expected of her or you risk making her defiance worse than it already is. For example, if you tell her she has to put down the phone and get down to dinner right now, tell her once. If she does not put down the phone and come to the table, enforce a consequence such as taking away her phone privileges for the rest of the night or for the weekend. When she realizes that defying you doesn’t benefit her in any way, she is more likely to stop.