what to do about my 7yr old daughter(55 Posts)
I would very much appreciate some advice as im close to breaking point!
She is 7 a very bright clever girl. Very popular at school one of the top children in her class, always winning awards and outstanding reports.
Since the day she was born she has always been challenging. She was a very hard baby (she is our 2nd child) screamed morning noon and night. Never happy. Mine and dhs relationship came to breaking point as we were both at the end of our tethers with her.
As the years went on we both hoped she would improve but she didn't. Crying all the time, tantrums, wanting and demanding.
She is now a complete nightmare. I love this little girl to bits, constantly showered by affection, and out of all our 5 children she gets the most attention.
For instance if we go to the shops she will be the child on the floor screaming she wants this or that!
She doesn't listen to myself or husband she back chats, screams kicks, hangs off our legs, trashes the house.
We have sat down with all our children (well the ones old enough to understand) the rules in place, which our bad behaviour will be given warning then if continues a punishment will be given. Usually telly out of room, then sent to room, then grounded.
This falls on deaf ears with her, she will say she doesn't care, she will scream at me , she pulled out lounge curtains and poles down, kick the walls , say when we aren't looking she is going out (and does) she unlocks door and runs out, im chasing her and literally dragging her to her room while she screams and kicks , this will continue you till about 10/11 every night till she screams her self to sleep, after waking our little ones up numerous times in night.
I have been in tears, I can be calm with her, ive tried just cuddling her, screaming at her and this is still our everyday life.
Last night was horrendous hence seeking advice this morning, she went on till midnight last night, refused to go to bed , yet again trashed her room.
I have never hit any of my children ever but last night the thought of picking her up and throwing her out the door crossed my mind! Im so ashamed to admit that.
I can't go on likey this anymore Im exhausted and need help. Can anyone help? Suggest someone I could call? Or try.
Just to add I have taken her to doctors and health visitor few years ago and when she was a baby, but apparently she is a normal behaved child. I don't like comparing but my othery xhildren are nothing likey this at all.
I shall post a few places as im desperate. .
Read How To Talk So Children Listen by Faber etc.
Also, I took my daughter aged 7 to a child therapist for five sessions. It worked wonders. I felt really fed up with dd's behaviour. (excellent at school and friends' houses of course) I imagined the therapist "sorting her out" and making my life easier, but that wasn't the point at all, oh no. The therapist wasn't that interested in me and my emotions, but focussed on dd and how she was feeling, supporting her if you like. It was what is called Child Centred Therapy. That was a lightbulb moment when I read that phrase on the leaflet the therapist handed me. How did she feel and what made her so angry and unreasonable. It wasn't a question of making her see she was being unreasonable but taking away the reasons for her feeling frustrated in the first place. Dd was acting up apallingly in exactly the way you describe partly to get attention away from two demanding brothers, but mostly because she was extremely frustrated by some failure in communication between us. I had to re-make a bond between us as if she was a much younger child, stop the punishments and rewards threats and bargains. She was trying to control me with things like shopping and rewards, but in reality she just wanted Me, not those things. She was also full of energy and talent, and confused about whether she had the selfesteem to pursue her talents and sociability (if a 7 year old can think in such a way)
Also take the telly out of her room fulltime, not as a punishment but because it will isolate her to watch it by herself. Watch telly with her instead, a film you both enjoy. That's why she's trying to spoil your telly watching with the others. Chat to her, listen to her, don't tell her how to behave, or that she's is behaving badly. Remind her of rules, but don't keep reminding her that she is behaving badly, just what the rules are. Put her toys back in her room, play with her occasionally if you can find a spare moment, even if it is alongside other children. Stop expecting her to behave because she is older than the little ones, treat her as if she is the youngest in the family (imagine you have lots of older children and she is the baby)
Definitely pick your battles. If she is rude after you enforce her going out of the room, don't punish her for that too. It is enough that she has gone out for five mins. Praise her because she has stayed out of the room for five minutes, rather than reminding her that she shouldn't have behaved badly in the first place. I could go on. It is all in the book I mentioned.
Try to imagine you are her, at every point that she loses it, and think what would I FEEL if I was her and my mum was saying x y and z, would it make me feel safer, calmer or crosser?
My dd is 11 now, still behaves like a moody teen sometimes but has dramatically improved. She wanted to be close to me, she was easily overwrought, and she needed to be UNDERSTOOD, not brought into line. The worst thing she can say now, is, You Never Listen. Then I try harder to change how I speak.
Oh and give her lots of responsibilities. Make the fact that she is older a positive thing, she is helping you etc. A bit contradictory combined with the babying in other ways, but it will make her feel proud of her skills rather than anxious to be one of the little ones. Make sure your older son is very polite to her, rather than putting her down. Make sure you praise her in front of him, so that he sees your regard for her. Never point out how much better behaved any of the other children are compared to her. All these make things MUCH MUCH WORSE.
Good luck, it is hard with five! (I only had three)
She also sounds as if she is seeking loads of sensory imput, which dd was as well, with the kicking, the hugging the clinging, the trashing. Can you think of positive ways to get her that input? Dancing, climbing, pets, hugging, rolling her up in sleeping bags, tunnels, crawling over obstacle courses. Some children need a lot of physical sensations to synch themselves. Read Out of Synch Child too.
What swanhida said. I have an eight year old daughter the second of five children. She has an older brother 11 and twin brothers 6 and little sister 3. She has always been the most difficult to deal with. We have tried all tactics but like you our other four children behave very well. We realised a while ago that she needs me more than I realised and found it hard to tell me. I've never had much time for her on my own but I try to give her lots of responsibility and make her feel different to the three younger ones.
Your problems sound v similar to ours. I'm glad to say now that she is a bit older she can articulate her feelings better. I take her with me if I'm nipping out to shops on my own and generally try to make her feel loved.
She says to me now "I want you mummy" and I think that is what she has been trying to say for years with all the difficult behaviour.
Hope you can both fall in love again and find your special relationship like we seem to have managed to.
What wonderful posts swan and miss
That's exactly it. When I spent more time on my own with dd and I hug her every day and at nighttime we got on so much better and she calmed down
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