My kids don't respect me or listen to me anymore and I don't know what to do!
Hi trying-hard. At 10 years old, your daughter believes she has all the answers. She's also possibly mixing with like-minded peers who are encouraging this inappropriate behaviour. Do you have knowledge who she is friendly with at school? I had similar problems with my daughter at the same age. In my case she was trying desperately to emulate my step-daughter. There are steps you can take to let her know her behaviour is unacceptable, however these are radical steps. Smacking doesn't work and is frowned on. Firstly, unbending firmness. No more Mrs Nice. Let her know firmly, there are boundaries and repercussions for overstepping them. Make sure you can follow through with discipline. In other words don't make idle threats. Don't waste time arguing, she will have an answer ready. I would also try finding out who she's mixing with. Perhaps look at inviting one or two friends to the house and see how they behave. Also if there's a guidance counselor at the school, try speaking to her/him about this. I think, if possible, try to encourage the younger children to be a bit more responsible with their things. She is flouting and she is aware you feel out of your depth. To take back the control, you will have to become stronger and enforce rules that can be followed, with no tolerance for overstepping. She is testing you and winning at this stage. I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this alone. She could be experiencing difficulties at school too. That's why I suggested talking to the counsellor or maybe her teacher.
I'm not a parent, but Lynda's suggestion to not waste time arguing makes perfect sense to me. The more you argue, the more she feels she has control of the situation. As an adult and as her mother, your house rules are the ones that hold. If you argue, it makes your rules seem worthless. You can't control her tantrums, but you can control what you do. To be completely honest, once kids start testing their limits, you only have limited control over what they do and if they really play up, the best you can do is be a role model that they can learn from now and later when reflecting back.
The younger siblings emulate her because they also see that she's in control. It sounds like you just need to sit them down at some point, perhaps after one of those tantrums, and just set the rule there. If she flaunts the rules, ensure she knows she's done the wrong thing, enforce the repercussion and move on. There's no need to argue. E.g. if she breaks something, cut her pocket money until it's paid for. if she breaks her own thing, don't buy her another. I knew a kid who would break his laptop and the parents would just buy a new one because it would be "too embarrasing for him at school". I'm sure you can see how that just leads to reinforcement of the behaviour.
The other two kids are still young - it's a good idea to explain to them why certain privileges for their eldest sister have to be cut. And a chat to the school counsellor does sound helpful!
Welcome to the forum!
I just read Lynda's response to you, and think it is excellent. I fully endorse the advice she gives. I also think James' comment that the siblings may emulate your daughter's behaviour because she has 'control' makes sense.
This may not be the case with your daughter, but sometimes children misbehave and answer back to get the attention, even though it's of a negative nature. There could be underlying issues at school too, as Lynda said.
This Beyondblue site is a good resource on family matters: https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/
I hope this forum is a helpful space for you! If you want to talk further, feel free to post back anytime.
Oh my gosh I hear you and my heart goes out to you! You are not alone in this and sadly, when my son went off the rails I thought it was only me. It was then I discovered compromise. You see, every child is different and responds to different things, in my case my son rebelled at pretty much everything I had to offer. He even walked outta our home and stayed with a good family for a few days, it was then I thought to myself I had to change my approach because I felt that I was going to lose him. I started to compromise. Slowly but surely our relationship over the years has reached a point where it is one based on respect and open discussion. There was no quick fix.
Having said this though, Trying_hard, I discovered that he was being bullied by my fiance at the time and the penny dropped. Seeing that reason and why he acted out to me gave the opportunity to be more understanding and forgiving towards him. This is not to say it's okay for your daughter - or my son for that matter - to act the way she is/has been acting. I agree with establishing healthy boundaries - it's proven to be instrumental in seeing the changes I have seen in him. By compromising and including him in the choosing of the repercussions, has allowed him to feel not feel forced to do anything. I've learned that bullying, seen through the eyes of a child, is being forced to feel or do things they do not wish to do. Take that initial 'force' away and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Please remember Trying_hard, we weren't given a set of rules for bringing up our kids; It's really good that you have shared your story. There is a lot of helpful info people have given you here; take what works for you and leave the rest.
I used to think that it was a given to have a respectful, loving relationship with my son; he has taught me otherwise. I'm grateful for that, now. There is hope.
Thinking of you.