Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My 12 year old daughter likes to stay alone, writes, plays guitar, or reads. She comes to talk to me when she has something funny or happy to share. When I want to talk with her when she is in a bad mood, she asks me to leave in an angry voice. When I insist to talk with her, she says bad words to me. I thank God that He gives me calmness and patience to continue because I feel she needs to talk. Then, she blows out the problem that made her mad and we talk for hours. She never seems to be convinced by my opinions. She argues and fights, but we continue. At the end, she says, didn’t I tell you to leave and you never listen? I made sure that we are friends again and I wish her a blessed night. I understood leave as stay. IS THAT NORMAL? WHEN SHOULD I LEAVE AND WHEN SHOULD I STAY?

Preadolescent girls can sometimes be temperamental. This stage in their lives consists of a strange mix of inexplicit emotions, hormones, insecurity, and awkwardness. Sometimes, communication is fuzzy due to inaccurate interpretation and mixed messages. Do not take offense. She is trying to find her balance of independence. A lot of these kinds of challenges with pre-teen girls are considered "normal" for this age. Many adolescent girls tend to insulate themselves through music, cell phones, earplugs, and closed doors. This does not mean that she will take you hostage for the next seven years. She still needs to understand that she too has boundaries. Just as she is making demands for her privacy, you can gently but firmly articulate the family ground rules if and when she crosses her boundaries repeatedly. She may have reasonable independence now as a young lady, but again, she must also be respectful of the feelings of the other family members. With freedom and independence, comes responsibility. Crossing the line with unkind remarks is unacceptable. Initiating small talk and making yourself available for the times when your daughter is seeking your company is important and will assure her that you are an ally. However, you need to take your cues from her. She may not be seeking advice, but just someone to listen to her. Your discretion and unobtrusive demeanor will give her a sense of security and an open door to come to you when she wishes so she may benefit from your wisdom as she matures into a wise young lady, herself.
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