How you speak to your daughter matters. Her sense of self, her belief in herself, and her confidence are all affected by the language you use. I know you love your daughter. Does she know that you love her no matter what? I hope you will take the time to tell her and show her that love on a regular basis.
It can be especially difficult to show love when your girl starts breaking rules, acting sullen and withdrawn, or performing beneath her potential. Those are just the times she needs to know that you love her no matter what. You don’t have to like her behavior but please do not withhold your love during these types of challenging times. I know just how hard it is. There was a period of about two years when my daughter, Lisa, was sullen, withdrawn, and particularly negative. She also wasn’t performing well in school at the time. I struggled almost daily with my own responses to Lisa during those years; I so wanted to be as negative to her as she was to us, her family members, but I knew she needed me to be the adult. She needed to know she was loved. So I bit my tongue daily and found ways to show love while being clear to her about the behaviors I found offensive.
It seems a little tricky here because parents may believe by showing love they are reinforcing the behavior that the parent doesn’t like (sullen faces, rude replies, etc.). Let’s be clear; we can love the child without condoning the behavior. This is an important distinction and I hope you will keep the difference in mind when your daughter’s behavior can be described as negative. When that time comes, do everything you can to catch her positive moments and reinforce them. Refrain from lecturing or complaining about her behavior, it doesn’t help. Tell her you love her every day; use words, be clear and simple, “I love you! Have a good day.”
Do not underestimate the power of love. It does save lives. People NEED love. Your girl needs to know she is loved, no matter what.