Q. I have a 14-year-old daughter who has absolutely no respect for authority. She's been this way since she was 4, but now she's started stealing, fighting, and manipulating everyone she meets. When I confront her with her behavior, she becomes rude and excuses her behavior or argues her way around the problem. I speak God's Word to her daily, but she even perverts the Word to get what she wants. She is very intelligent and I know she has great potential, but she will not listen to anyone. Please help me.
A. I wish we could have had this conversation when she was 4, but don't give up hope! The only way you will be able to teach her respect for authority is to model it, expect it from her, and give her consequences for not doing so. The same goes for her rude and argumentative behavior.
It's great that you've shared God's Word with her, and I hope you will continue to do so in a loving way. At the same time, I think you are both ready for the next step.
Plan a day or a weekend when you and your daughter can have time for a heart-to-heart conversation. Before you go, I'd suggest that you read the book Family Rules: Raising Responsible Children Without Yelling, Nagging, or Slapping by Kenneth Kaye (St. Martin's). (Note: This book is out of print. If you can't find a copy at your local library, you can download it for free at Dr. Kaye's Web site: www.kaye.com.) Use the guidelines in this book to set up a system of consequences related to the behaviors you want to work on with your daughter.1