Need help with 8-year-old DD behavior

Avatar for colomom99
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Need help with 8-year-old DD behavior
2
Sun, 10-19-2008 - 6:47pm

Hi this is my first time posting on this board. I am tired, frustrated, pissed off and at the end of my rope so please forgive my ranting. My daughter has always been a difficult, headstrong child. Her brothers are very easygoing. It was quite bad when she was very young and she would throw these monster tantrums. We were really worried and thought there might be something seriously amiss but then her babysitters, preschool teachers, and everyone else told us what a delightful, sweet, helpful child she was. It got much better for a few years where she great. We thought maybe because she is so bright maybe she just had a lot of frustration when she was younger. Lately she is impossible again. She talks back, can be hateful, argues with everything, won't do what is asked of her, throws these drama fits if she doesn't get her way the precise moment she wants something and cries loudly so we can hear her when we are trying to ignore her. I have to admit I do not handle it well. I get mad and yell which I know only makes things worse. I think I am writing more to find out what I should do to keep my cool than what I can do about her. I have tried to talk to her but she won't talk to me or is snotty so I just end up getting mad.My husband is not around much so this all falls to me. Please help. I always thought I was a pretty good parent but now I'm really beginning to doubt myself at every turn.
Jenny

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 10-22-2008 - 1:05pm

Hi Jenny.

What I have found works best for me keeping my cool is to remember that they are making choices that have consequences both good and not so good. I am very big believer that while we can not always control the situations we find ourselves in and rarely those around us, we can control our reactions and how we chose to respond.

Lindsay has very little patience. I tell her that she will have to wait and it is up to her how she is going to spend that time waiting. She can throw a fit but it isn't going to make me drop what I'm doing and give her what she wants. If anything will change it will be that I will make her wait longer until after she has calmed down. Then I have to follow through which is hard to do when I am tired and just want her to stop.

I am very clear with the kids about what I expect from them, what the consequences are and what the rewards are. Because they know the rules and expectations they know when they are making a choice to break them and thus accepting the consequence. I don't accept "I didn't know." "It's not fair." If they try, they get asked what did you do? Are you allowed to do it? What happens if you do that? So you made a choice to accept the consequence because you wanted to jump on the bed, not pick up your stuff, etc. I do give reminders especially if I see them about to do something that they shouldn't be. I use the phrases make smart choices, think about your choices, stop and think about what you are about to do.

With the attitude I've approached it a couple of ways. I make them start over and keep trying until they can talk to me without it. Someone, I think here told me to treat it like I would whining in a toddler -- you can't understand them when they talk that way. I have had him go back into his room and calm down. Then come back out and we will start over. I just keep sending him back until he gets it. I've also asked him if he would talk to his teachers this way and what would happen if he did.

I refuse to fight and get into arguments about what he can and can't do. He wants to discuss it, then I will but I won't if he gets that entitlement attitude or becomes rude.

All of those things help me to keep it in perspective. Because it is less about me than it is about what he is thinking and feeling. I don't feel guilty about impossing consequences when they know the rules/expectations. I feel more in control of my reactions because I know that I am not being arbritary and I am not just reacting in the moment.

Avatar for colomom99
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 11-22-2008 - 12:21pm

Thanks for the reply. I didn't visit the board for a bit. I am doing better about not engaging in the fights. Yesterday my daughter started in first thing in the morning (her absolute worst time!) and my husband told her to go upstairs becuase he didn't want to listen to someone standing in the middle of the breakfast area crying. She stomped off but came back much more pleasant.

We are, however, having a HUGE ongoing issue with clothes. We are tight on money and she is incredibly picky about her clothes. She has about three things she is willing to wear. She pulls them out of the dirty clothes day after day. She begged me to take her to Justice, a store she loves that specializes in tween clothes that is pretty expensive. I agreed with the caveat that she has to try on the outfit, love it and promise to wear it -- she often has me buy things that hang in a closet after she has worn them once (so of course I can't just take them back). She threw a fit in the store about wanting two outfits which I bought. I thought they were too small but let her make the decision. And, you guessed it, a week went by and she made excuses not to wear them. Today she says she doesn't want them, they are too big (?) and it's all my fault. I plan on taking them back which leaves her with basically one or two things she will wear. Is this the right thing?

Talking to her doesn't really work because when she calms down she is very reasonable and makes promises that she then breaks. It's like the promises she makes in the stores. I think returning the new clothes is a good consequence. What do you think?

Thanks,

Jenny