Mom is Being Unreasonable

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 12 and my mom always picking fights and she yells at me at least once a day. She also makes me do all the chores in the house. If it helps, my mom’s mom died when my mom was only 11. Then she had to live with my grandpa, who she says was mean to her but my grandpa’s always been nice to me. She always says she’s the parent and I’m the kid and I have to do what she says or else. Whenever I try to solve a problem or talk things out, she goes completely crazy and starts talking about how I can’t tell her what to do, even if all I say is “Can you please not yell?”. She always threatens me about cutting off my hair or recently she’s been saying she’ll take away all my clothes and buy me ugly clothes to wear for the rest of the school year. Whenever I start to cry she’ll say to stop crying or she’ll smack me. Also, it doesn’t matter what I say, if it’s nice or not, she’ll say “don’t talk back to me” after she’s done yelling. And then she’ll go on and on about how all she ever is is nice and all I do is pick fights and talk back. I never pick fights though, I try and stay away from them. I just don’t know what to do.

A: You’re right. Your mom is completely unreasonable. My only guess is that since she lost her mom when she was your age, she has no idea how to be a mother to a young girl. It also sounds like maybe she is scared of what’s going to happen now that you are approaching your teens. Many parents don’t know how to handle it when their daughter starts to look and act more like a young adult woman. They try to “protect” their daughter by making her look ugly and limiting where she can do and what she can do. It doesn’t work, of course. It only makes the daughter resent the parent.

The yelling and fighting have to stop. You have six more years before you will be old enough to leave home and take care of yourself. You’ve tried to talk with her and it isn’t working. I think you need to reach for some help from another adult. You didn’t mention if your dad is in the picture. If so, that may be the place to start. If not, think about another adult you trust who would be able to help you and your mom talk about how to have a better relationship through your teen years. That might be a trusted teacher, a school counselor, even your doctor. You need someone who isn’t going to just blame and shame your mom but who can offer your mom some support and help. (It doesn’t sound like your grandpa is the right person since she says he’s been mean to her.) You can’t do this alone.

If you want someone to talk to as you work on this, I suggest you call the Boys and Girls Town Hotline. There are counselors available 24/7 to talk to kids like you who are having troubles and don’t know where to turn. The calls are confidential and free. The phone number is 800-448-3000. Please give them a call. They may have other suggestions for you. They can certainly give you some support.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Mom is Being Unreasonable. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/07/mom-is-being-unreasonable/