Daughter drives family up the wall

My daughter, 12, has run away from home a few times. It is very disturbing and upsetting for me, my husband and our other two children.

My daughter, 12, has run away from home a few times. It is very disturbing and upsetting for me, my husband and our other two children.

She appears to be happy at home and her teachers say she is coping at school and is popular with her peers, but whenever she doesn't get her way she gets into a terrible mood.

When we have a major argument she disappears. She has never stayed out overnight, but has disappeared for hours at a time. And we ride around looking for her.

Usually she is at a friend's house, but twice we found her at a local restaurant. We are not wealthy and can't afford for her to "keep up" with rich friends.

My husband grounds her, but her behaviour is worse then. She withdraws and sulks.

I find it is better when we talk or at least try to, but my husband is adamant that a firm hand is all she needs. Her behaviour is creating tension between my husband and I.

What can I do?

Desperate, Fourways

The best way to deal with this is to discipline her yourself. By letting your husband be the bad guy you are sending mixed messages about discipline. That might be one of the reasons why she misbehaves.

She sees that she gets your attention by behaving the way she does. Explain that she is not the only one in the family with needs, that if she wants anything she must work for it. She can do odd jobs at home and get paid.

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