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How can I make my daughter respect her elders?

Q: My daughter is 12 years old and has a bad habit of lying with finesse. Recently she has become very arrogant and has even gone to the extent of slapping her grandmother who has cared for her since her birth. I do not understand her ways. Me and my wife have tried to talk to her, explained situations and also scolded and beaten her at times, but to no avail. This recent behaviour of raising her hand on her grandmother has brought a lot of unrest in the family. How should we go about this?

A:I think your concern is realistic. Why would a 12-year-old hit her grandmother? Since it is so far removed from what is expected, I think that some study of the whole set of events is called for. As children become adolescent, they may begin to resent adult authority. This is natural, but it has to be contained. What was the provocation? Maybe an instruction given in the presence of friends, or neighbours? Talk to your daughter about her behaviour when she is in a good mood and tell her that she will be deprived of privileges if she continues to behave badly. But be consistent. Give her a set of rules that are reasonable, in your view and make her sign a contract that she will observe them. Some children need an objective and visible method for rule keeping. Find out from her teachers if her school behaviour is acceptable. If she likes a particular aunt or teacher, that person can also be adding to the validity of the procedures you select. All this will work, only if you express your affection to your daughter and make her realise that it is silly to be rude to those she loves. If all this becomes difficult, ask a Psychologist to help you with details.

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