Delaying tactics, lack of enthusiasm and horrid tone of voice - where's this come from & why?

(33 Posts)
EnglishFizz Sat 16-Feb-13 08:11:40

My Sept born year 5 daughter has changed.

She used to be dead chuffed if she'd been given some homework & bounced in gathering the bits she needed before I had even taken my coat off. At every parents eve right through school we were told by every teacher that she had a wonderful enthusiastic, helpful, hardworking attitude. Her results have been great from day one & she has progressed in linear fashion throughout - keeping ahead of average.

Gradually over the last 8-12 months she has lost her enthusiaim. Delays homework until last minute as she does now with anything that's not her absolute ideal choice - her (minimal) household chores for example. When I request she does these things I am met with a stroppy (bordering on frankly rude) attitude. If I say come on close laptop/turn off TV etc now (often for 2nd or 3rd time) the reply is "I AM" (when she isn't but then does) in a squeally raised voice with but emphasis on the AM (if you've had it you'll know!).

Her default position is TV (or watching TV progs) via iplayer etc on the iPad. She has a much younger sibling in year 1 who takes up biggest chunks of my time between 4-6 along with making supper, clearing up etc but rather than be with us in the hub, chatting as I unload the dishwasher etc she goes off to watch TV or play on Club Penguin alone. To be fair her sibling is noisy so doing quiet work with us in the kitchen isn't possible.

Where has her sparkle gone? Why?
It comes back if things go her way, we do things that she loves but we can't always be going to Pizza Hut or having a holiday or ice skating or going on play dates can we? The second it's not perfect for her the strop comes back or the fizz goes (popping into a shop on way back from Pizza Hut, being expected to help pack/unpack for the holiday, having an early night after a sleepover/play date). She doesn't seem grateful for anything and her self awareness around attitude and manners in front of others is worrying me. Her academic progress has slipped a bit and she's not keen to put in effort which she now needs to having sailed through school getting exceptional marks without effort.

We do have real concerns over her school. It is/was a good school but has gone downhill in last couple of years. She's in year 6 class with her & six other year 5s. There are some v boisterous boys in yr six who take up teachers time & whose behaviour & attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Could this be the reason? don't know!

Help. Pleeeese!

Loveleopardprint Sat 16-Feb-13 08:15:46

Has she had any physical changes happening to her body? Could she be confused and worried by these. My older daughter started her periods in year six and was quite hormonal beforehand. Just a thought?

If she's year 5 what age is she ? 10? I suspect it's less to do with school and more to do with hormones.

I think this could well be to do with her age and stage of development, rather than school.

Our YR5 and YR6 girls are very similar.

EnglishFizz Sat 16-Feb-13 08:55:14

Yes she is ten. She will be eleven in Sept. No physical changes other than some spots on her face. I have got her good cleanser & moisturiser etc yet even asking her to shower is met with huffing!

We have spoken about what will happen as part of growing up and she had the Usborne book - What 's happening to me? which she asked me any questions she wanted to after she had read it. I took her out on her own for hot chocolate.

Any advice for improvement?

The spots are a sign she's changing. She's the age to start puberty. I'd bet you that's what's going on. My advice is pick your battles and bite your lip as much as possible. Decide what you absolutely aren't prepared to tolerate and let the rest go. It's nothing to do with the school or the rough boys its just her age.

exexpat Sat 16-Feb-13 09:05:22

Sounds like hormones to me. I don't thinkyou can really do anything about the attitude other than wait for them to grow out of that stage, and pick your battles to focus on a handful of really important things - you can't force them to revert to cheerful, enthusiastic, compliant pre-pubescents. But there may be a cheerful, enthusiastic teenager waiting to emerge.

Loveleopardprint Sat 16-Feb-13 10:40:36

Does she get pocket money? My dds get incentives instead. For example if they get all 20 spellings correct they get £2. They get 50p per morning for not stressing me and getting ready for school without any fuss. This normally adds up to what they would get for pocket money any way and makes for happier times! grin

DowntonTrout Sat 16-Feb-13 10:46:42

I think a lot of girls go through this from Y 5 onwards. Some earlier, some later. I agree with other posters, it's her age, hormones etc.

Of course there's no excuse for rudeness but she sounds totally normal to me. It can be a horrid time, especially with girls. Just keep your eye on it. Ignore most of it and pick your battles for things that really matter or are unacceptable. Otherwise you find yourself on their backs constantly.

EnglishFizz Sun 17-Feb-13 08:31:00

Thanks for all your thoughts. It seems unanimous that it must be her hormones. With that in mind I will have a think how best to deal with it. I certainly don't want to be on her back all the time but equally I am not prepared to accept being spoken to (or having her sibling spoken to) in that way. The little one has started to copy it! It also makes the atmosphere in the house and everyone's moods drop like a stone.

She gets pocket money for doing a couple of household chores (putting clean washing away etc) but she now sorts the washing in front of the TV and no kidding makes a ten minute job last over an hour (and that's with me telling her to get a move on or threatening to turn the TV off!).

One more Q then... Do we limit the TV/iPad time and face the strops of go for easy life & let her watch without complaint?

I'm afraid this sounds like adolescence.

My tips would be:

Choose your battles. If she refuses to do her homework, that's her problem and she will have to face the consequences at school.

If she is in a mood, don't attempt to have a discussion with her as it can escalate very quickly into a shouting match. Walk away and save the discussion for when she is calmer.

Increase the independence gradually, so she gas a chance to feel grown-up and in control of her own life. The more she successfully manages this, the more confident she'll be in new situations, e.g. secondary school.

Keep up the praise, affection and reassurance. She still needs it, even if she seems prickly.

Instead of nagging DS1 about all the tasks he needs to do (shower, piano practice, homework, pack schoolbag) I sometimes just give him a post-it note with a list of what he needs to do, and then try to just leave him to it.

'gas' was supposed to be 'has'.

WiseKneeHair Sun 17-Feb-13 08:47:12

She sounds like the female equivalent of my yr6, 11yo DS.
No advice, just lots of sympathy. They'll grow out of it, one day.

lljkk Netherlands Sun 17-Feb-13 09:14:33

How many hours/day of TV is she watching, typically, on school days vs. non-school days?

Does she communicate, tell you about her day, her social life? I still get daily updates on the social life of my 11yo.

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:10

What do I know? I am a bloke and know littel of "hormones" in girls,although I suspect ladies use them a lot instead of dealing with other issues..... so why am I here commenting?

Well, she sounds a lot like me except I was 16 when this happened. I managed to keep going but had it not been for the fact I could pass exams and didnt have any pressure to do homework in A level, I could have droped like a stone.

The problem was not hormones but ( please forgive me) the fact I had a younger sibling who was 10 years my junior and my DM was busy with him. I had change schools at the same time as he was coming into the school system. DM could not deal with both of us and as the older one who had always done well, I had to take second place as sibling needs seemed a priority.

I got on with it but it took the joy out of school for me and I just did what I had to - and mostly didnt do anything.

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 10:50:52

Men have hormones too, you know. My response earlier was was based on my experience with my son (now 14) who went through a phase just like the OP's daughter in the early stages of puberty.

Of course there can be other things going on in a teenager's/preteen's life that can affect their personality and attitude, but the fact is that changes like the OP described are a very normal phase at that sort of age.

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 10:57:52

Yes, expat, men do have hormones but we tend not to blame them for everything , or indeed anything. I had gone through "hormones". I know exactly wheremy problems were.

I cnaged schools. I had too,had I been in a school which went through to 18 I may not have felt the same or reacted. I was unsettled. Despite being a " big boy" I did needmy DM and her support but she was too busy settling troublesome brother into school.

All round a bit of a disaster.

Fairenuff Sun 17-Feb-13 11:10:42

Ronaldo what do women 'use' hormones for?

You do know that they are chemicals produced by the brain and secreted into the body, right? It's not like you can choose which ones you'd like to have and when and somehow manipulate them into a concoction which can be used.

All people 'have' hormones all the time. Young children, old men. We all have them.

OP your dd is entering puberty and will come out of it in about 8 - 10 years.

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 11:26:30

Ronaldo, the only people I usually hear blaming anything on hormones are men who snigger and say 'oh, it must be her time of month' if a woman is getting angry about something - even when she's getting angry for good reason. It's a very common way of putting women down and dismissing anything they are justifiably upset or angry about.

I sympathise about the issues you had in your teenage years and the way that you mother did not give you the support that you needed. I agree that teenagers need their mums as much as younger children. But I think that you are rather projecting your own experiences and feelings (from later in your teens) onto the OP's daughter. I presume the OP, like any good parent, will be listening to her daughter and if she spots any actual problems with school, friendships, siblings etc will do her best to tackle them - but, as I and all the other parents on the thread who have had children go through puberty already have said, the 'attitude' she describes is absolutely par for the course at this stage, for both boys and girls.

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 11:34:04

Well, it is apparent in this thread that it has been mostly ( if not all) women blaming the OP's DD issues on hormones.

I just suggested it might not be - but then I suppose I could be accused of sending mum on a guilt trip ( athough OP herself has mentioned this sibling issue - so maybe she has identified it anyway?)

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 11:37:30

OP your dd is entering puberty and will come out of it in about 8 - 10 years.

In short fairenough I am saying lets not blame it puberty because it might not be. You are one of those who seems to want to blame " hormones", not me.

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 11:40:53

I presume the OP, like any good parent, will be listening to her daughter and if she spots any actual problems with school, friendships, siblings etc will do her best to tackle them - but, as I and all the other parents on the thread who have had children go through puberty already have said, the 'attitude' she describes is absolutely par for the course at this stage, for both boys and girls

Ah, so you are indirectly doing the hormone theory too? Talk about pot calling kettle here?

OP may listen to DD for along time and not get what the real problem is, especially if she does do the hormone route. My DM,to this day ( bless her) doesnt know how I felt about what was happeneing at home - and she will go to her grave not knowing as far as I am concerned.

I am just making a different suggest - that it isnt always puberty.

Fairenuff Sun 17-Feb-13 11:45:15

No-one is 'blaming' hormones. Hormones are not bad. They are great in fact smile

Hormones are what make us grow and we would be lost without them.

During puberty, girls and boys get a surge of hormones to help them mature into adults and there are common side effects, including spots, mood swings and apathy. This is not a bad thing, it's perfectly natural.

The symptoms that OP has described are in line with these so the most logical explanation is puberty.

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 11:46:13

I don't know whether all the other posters on this thread are female or not, but I think if you asked any doctor or child development specialist (of either gender) they would agree that massive hormonal changes in puberty do affect children's personalities and their relationships with their parents and siblings. See this fairly typical article about puberty.

Of course a lot of children going through this have younger siblings, and they are often an easy focus for their anger and resentment. When my son was going through it, he spent a lot of time telling his younger sister that she was fat, stupid, horrible, annoying etc and it was all her fault that she was winding him up.

Strangely, all the younger siblings of the 10-13 year olds I know seem fine to me, but their older siblings also find them fat, stupid, annoying etc - they are just among the closest, most convenient objects for the adolescent to focus their anger on.

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 11:49:25

Ronaldo, of course it isn't * always* puberty, but puberty does nearly always involve a phase like the OP describes. It is the most likely explanation.

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