"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Don't Ask, Do Tell!


I have a 13 year old who has always been defiant. She is bright, and a fantastic kid, but when she is asked to do something she doesn't wan, the fight is on. She will not do what I ask, or will half do the job. She also shows no remorse when she does something wrong, and always deflects responsibility on to something or someone.

At the moment, we are trying a "one strike" and you are in your room for the day, in an effort to stop this. No books, toys or anything is in her room. Do you have any other ideas what we can do?


Hello, and thank you for your question. You don't mention how long the "one strike" rule has been in place, or whether it's having any effect. In any case, at age 13 your daughter is certainly old enough to understand that actions have consequences.

The main suggestion I have for you is to be aware of exactly how you're communicating directions and instructions to her. You mentioned that she is defiant "when she is asked to do something." I recommend you stop asking and start telling. When, in your effort to be polite and respectful, you say "Daughter, will you please clean your bathroom?" you leave yourself open for push back. Instead, try "Daughter, you have 30 minutes to clean the bathroom. I'll be back after a half hour to check." Make sure your expectations are clear and if the job isn't done to your satisfaction, she continues until it's right.

Remember that the currency teenagers most value is freedom and privileges. Remember also that beyond food, shelter, clothing, schooling and health care, everything is a privilege. I would allow books, paper and writing tools in her room, but pare down her closet to a week's worth of clothing.

This is a wonderful opportunity to show your daughter what happens in the real world when one repeatedly lies, is irresponsible and ornery. Approach this as one of your best teachable moments, and the stress of her defiance will become an opportunity for you to help her grow into a respectful and responsible adult.

Wendy Faucett
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Facebook: Love & Leadership Parent Coaching

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