Endless conflict and attitude from 10 year old daughter

(9 Posts)
Jando Thu 04-Oct-12 11:51:40

Hi people, first post here, hope you can help. My wife and I have been having huge problems recently with our DD and we feel like we're losing her and desperately want to turn the situation around.

She's always been "high maintenance" and had issues with confidence and sociability, however she's popular at school and has a nice bunch of friends, although always seems to get into 3 way friendships where she sometimes feels left out. There's also a girl at school who she has an odd love/hate friendship with, and I think she may be worried that she hasn't invited this friend to her party this weekend.

We aren't overly strict parents but we do have some reasonable expectations on her taking more responsibility as she gets older, all we've asked is that she makes her bed (takes 30 secs) and sits with us for breakfast as a family before going off to watch TV. But she always "forgets" to make her bed, then wilfully (as I see it) sits there at the table taking 30 mins to eat 1 weetabix while I sit there fuming at her (much as I try not to). This has become such a confrontational issue but I won't back down, how can it take so long to eat 6 mouthfuls of food. All we want is that she spends 30 mins from 7.30 to 8 to make her bed, eat breakfast with us, then get dressed. She can then spend 8-8.30 watching TV or on the computer doing whatever she wants.

She just seems completely unwilling to see our point of view and treats us as if we are horrible people, which is what we feel we are fast becoming! When we try to explain she argues or ignores us to the extent that we get really wound up and it ends up in a huge and bitter row.

We've tried to talk nicely to her and tell her how much we love her and it does seem like she's worried about this situation at school, also perhaps it's her hormones. We're always saying if we didn't love her we wouldn't care what she did but it doesn't sink in. She also quotes one time when she got up, had breakfast on her own, got dressed and was watching TV on her own by the time we came down. Funnily enough we didn't let her, as we want to spend time together as a family in the morning (even though it's usually WW3!). She also mentioned that her little brother aged 6 is "perfect" and she can't compete. He isn't, far from it, and not long ago he was the one who was driving us mad but recently it's swung the other way, and unfortunately when she is playing up he often makes a point of being "over the top" good if you see what I mean which I can't exactly fault him for but doesn't help.

She's always been an early riser and I think tiredness is a factor, she is up at 7 and comes down on her own (even though we'd rather she comes in for a cuddle with us) and goes to bed at 8.15pm which I think is normal for her age (she's 10 next week). Lots of her friends stay up later (which is another source of conflict).

We try to be consistent loving parents as all the advice says we should be but in doing so it seems like we are ALWAYS on her case, and this must be hurting her self-confidence, which tears me apart. All I want is a happy loving family but I can't get her to see that she is the cause of the conflict and with a few simple changes everything would be different.

We're thinking of saying no TV or PC till 8am but again it's just going to be seen as a punishment and more "cruelty" on our part.

Any advice on how to end this confrontation would be very welcome!

lljkk Thu 04-Oct-12 12:02:12

I wouldn't make food an issue. She eats or she doesn't, pay it minimal attention.
It is a top age for bad attitude, but it sounds like you might not be choosing your battles wisely, too.
What happens all that half hour whilst she shoves her single wheetabix around the bowl, are you 2 chatting together, could you make sure to sit & have a chat about whatever comes to either of your minds, or are you too busy with the 6yo?

If she looked forward to morning natter with you, I bet the rest would come together.

ModreB Thu 04-Oct-12 21:36:25

Um, dont have the TV, PC or anything on for everyone in the morning at all on a school day. Don't make school work an issue, make it part of a routine.

Let her go to bed later, DS3 is an owl, he has never been to bed before 9pm since he was about 6 yo. He is now 13 and he goes to bed at 9, but reads until at least 10.

And never forget, you are the adult. She is the child.

marialuisa Fri 05-Oct-12 09:45:59

I think I feel a bit sorry for your DD actually, it all sounds horribly controlling for a hormonal girl who is at an age where, whether you like it or not, she will want to spend less time with you. If you are making her spend "family time" in the morning what does it matter if she takes all of that time to eat her weetabix? I agree that it's an act of rebellion but you getting angry about it is probably fuelling her fire.

Also, so what if she doesn't want to "cuddle" with you in the mornings? I am an early riser and once I'm awake I loathe staying in bed, I actually find it quite stressful and uncomfortable. I also quite enjoy pottering around before everyone else is up, maybe your DD is the same? That said we only have 30 mins between getting up and getting out the door in the week so TV etc. is a non-issue.

My DD is 11 so we are negotiating some of this at the moment, we've found that doing some things on her terms works well. DH was feeling "shut out" as DD has a time-consuming hobby that he's not particularly interested in. He's made more of an effort to get involved with it and given up trying to get her to cut back on competitions at weekends to be "at home", result is that everyone's much happier and he and DD are enjoying each others' company.

Jando Fri 05-Oct-12 11:39:02

OK, people thanks for the feedback, it's good to get a different perspective. The reason we make in issue of the eating is that if they don't eat there's a much higher chance of a complete meltdown. Once they get some food on board things are usually better!
Will try a few different ideas to take some of the confrontation out of the situation!

LadyInDisguise Fri 05-Oct-12 11:52:23

Eating: let her take whatever time she needs. My 2 dcs have always taken at least 30min to have breakfast.
We all eat together in the kitchen, the dcs are having their b'fast, me and dP have ours much more quickly and then prepare lunches etc whilst having a chat with them.
So they get to have a nice breakfast, we have some time together as a family. Everyone's happy.
Btw, I totally agree with you both on the importance of b'fast and on the importance of spending time with family ie people rather than things ie TV.

Cuddles: she is just getting too old for cuddles unfortunately.
I am wondering if one of the issue isn't that she wants to have more independence and you still see her as a young child (who would love cuddles with mum and dad at the start of the day for eg). See if you can give her more independence.

If she is in bed at 8.15 and gets up at 7.00, in my house that's having a nice night of sleep not lacking sleep (dcs in bed around 8.30~8.45, both up by 6.30am every morning incl weekends and holidays). But she might be tired ofr other reasons.

Just one though about being at log-heads with your dd.
In a day, don't forget to also praise her.
In a week, have some time with her on her own, doing something she wants to do. Even if it's just sitting with her for 10min watching fer fav program.
Don't forget to listen. ie if she tells you about her problem with x friend, just listen, don't try and solve the problem (why don't you...?), tell her she should x or y. Just acknowledge how she feels (even if you don't think it's appropriate. That's how she feels) and what has happened.

HTH

dysfunctionalme Fri 05-Oct-12 12:05:04

No screen time before school. She needs time to get herself together and they do like to potter! My 10yo dd's main concern are her clothes and hair in morning, then to play with the cat. She too is a slow eater which is highlighted by her younger brother's swift intake of food! but that's okay, she knows what she is expected to eat and some mornings I will give her a time frame (5 more minutes) if she's looking quite dreamy.

Remember to acknowledge her successes - getting up on time, getting dressed/ready for school, I think especially if you are praising the other child.

I try to teach my children to self-assess/praise so they are not dependent on others for approval, recently they have moved to assessing/praising each other "Wow ds you did a good job getting ready this morning!" etc

Hope this helps

I felt moved to message you as I feel there are certain similarities between your situation and mine. Our DD, aged 9, was an angel baby but since toddlerhood has been willful and difficult to manage. My husband and I also try to have certain rules and try to show her lots of love whilst also being quite strict on certain things. However, our DD has never had confidence and won't even approach a cashier in a cafe or a shop on her own. I have worried myself silly over what to do for the best and the fact that, very often, I simply feel I cannot reach her. I have come to the conclusion, after watching other mothers/fathers and their DD's responses, that we need to use many more 'carrots' than sticks... lots more positive interactions and to be calmer and more easy going - I feel perhaps that your situation may also benefit from this. I do hope so, I felt I was the only parent who felt this way!

In your particular morning situation I think if you wait until you are both relaxed and in a good mood and then raise the issue of the morning routine in a positive way: what does she think would be a good compromise between what you want to achieve and what she would like to do in the mornings, for example. Explore some alternatives with her and together write down a routine that you both agree to follow. Ask her what incentives she feels would work to encourage her to do the things she feels are difficult, and also to suggest a few sanctions for when she is naughty. Try not to put time limits on anything but have the last thing on the list that she does before leaving the house as something she really wants to do, so you can insist that she follows the routine and gets her 'treat' at the end instead of in the middle. I hope this helps x

cory Tue 23-Oct-12 20:48:58

Glad I don't live in your family- I'd hate having to socialise first thing in the morning. Don't mind eating, but would hate family time; I'd do what your dd did that time and try to eat before anybody else to get out of it. My mum is exactly the same, wants to be left alone in the mornings; unfortunately, my dad is like a sociable puppy in the mornings, all over you- but gets grumpy and taciturn in the evenings when mum is just warming up. They have managed to stay happily married for over 50 years by acknowledging that there is no one way as long as things that need to get done get done.

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