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I am struggling a bit with intense DD (nearly 7)

(22 Posts)
doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 16:25:28

Summer holidays are in full swing here and DD is always out playing with her firends - last year she didn't really do this much, but we reckon she is old enough now to go round the corner and go to other kids' houses etc.

She has to come home at 8pm (which I feel is a bit late, but all her friends stay out even later than this, and I feel that she should get to play after tea for a while). She is always knackered. I think she is finding the new freedom and getting to know the new group of friends quite intense. She frequently gets very upset - almost tantrum level - and has a really bad attitude with me and DH - and can be quite short and nasty to DS (3) which is not like her. They are normally very close.

DS's behaviour is calmer and more "mature" than hers (I do NOT say this to her but unfortunately DH has said it a couple of times - I have forbidden him asked him not to)

I am starting to find this tough. How do I deal with it? I feel like I am barking at her a lot, telling her to stop making a fuss etc. A big issue is that my mum spoke to me in the same way and I hated it - I felt unaccepted. So I want to support her but do not want to put up with rudeness and lack of consideration for everyone else in the house. And I would like all the drama to stop...

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 16:27:38

What time should a 7yo stop playing and come home, if there's no school the next day?

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 16:50:20

for example - DH is teaching her to ride her bike just now and they came back last night with her really wailing, almost hysterical. The reason - it was time to go home (she knew all along they were going out for 20mins tops) and her thumbs were sore from the handlebars. Nothing untoward happened while they were out. She just had this uber uber reaction.

BooBooGlass Tue 19-Jul-11 16:55:13

I wouldn't let my 7yo dd out by herself at all, let alone til 8pm. I think maybe you are giving her a wee bit too much freedom. Often when kids act out it's because they're confused about their boundaries, which is a massive cliche but true ime. She is a child, a young one at that. I would say that a 3 year old is not mature, and you really shouldn't let your dp say that to her. That will be incredibly upsetting. I also have a 3 yo son and she would hate to be told that she was acting less mature than him. If you're telling her she acts like a toddler, you can;t really be surprised if she acts like one.

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 17:05:42

Did you read the bit where I said I had told DH not to say that to her? you are preaching to the choir here BooBooGlass.

So, given that my DD has Very Clearly Limited Freedom to play out with her friends, as far as the bottom of our short street, and has to Tell Us if she is going to play inside someone's house or garden or wants to go anywhere else at all, does anyone have any suggestions about how to handle her intense reactions and behaviour just now?

If she shouldn't be out then neither should any of the other 7 and 8yos she plays with, and I am NOT spending the summer making her play in the garden and listen to all the other kids enjoying themselves and making friends.

BooBooGlass Tue 19-Jul-11 17:07:56

But where do you stop with letting her do things just because her friends do? I'm not saying you're wrong fwiw, my experience is mostly coloured by the area I live in, nice enough but busy roads and all friends live many streets away. I just can't fathom not knowing where my dd is all day. I would be constantly worried. Do you think it's ok for her to be going to other people's houses uninvited and unannounced? I would be incredibly peed off if that was the norm here.

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 17:13:11

That's what they do here - quiet streets and a lot of kids in close proximity. She has only been in 3 other houses, and in all cases they are v near us and we know the parents somewhat. As the weeks go on she is spending more and more time with one girl - I am pleased she is making friends. Sometimes there is a big group of them and they drop in to each other's houses to play, ours included.

I honestly don't think this is the issue, although as I said she seems to be finding the new freedom quite intense. The issue I'm struggling with is how to help and support a child who seems to experience life, both good and bad, in a fairly extreme and emotional way.

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 17:16:36

FWIW I don't like not knowing where she is, not at all. She is usually in sight and she comes back at mealtimes or if we have plans. We can always find her - so far she has not gone anywhere she's not supposed to. She knows the rules.

Lilyloo Tue 19-Jul-11 17:20:43

My dd age 6 plays out alone and will often go in neighbours houses , is the norm round here.
She is also a very emotional child and can have outbursts. I find it is harder when she is tired so i usually try and do one or two early nights even in the school hols. When things get really tough with her i resort to sticker charts which do still work.

DrGoogle Tue 19-Jul-11 17:29:44

I think maybe she needs to be in a bit earlier some nights to give her a chance to 'catch up' on rest. I tell my DD that if she is crying or stroppy or whatever when she has to come in, or when we ask her to do things then she won't play out the next day. She really loves being out with her friends so it works for us.

NurseSunshine Tue 19-Jul-11 17:46:18

She sounds tired. I would say that 8pm to stop playing out is too late for a 7yo, personally. What time does she eventually get to bed? Maybe you could try saying come home at 7 to be in bed for 8? (Or even earlier, 7 is very young).

Continuum Tue 19-Jul-11 18:58:26

ds is 7 and has played out on the street since he was 4, with all the other 4 year olds and older on our quiet street. They do get worn out in summer and it can be quite intense as they work things out themselves for hours without constant adult supervision. But only rarely do we ever let him stay out late because he ends up the same, over tired, cheeky, stroppy etc. I do feel a bit bad because some of the kids stay out late, but as his parent I know what is best for him. So basically he's not allowed out after tea, and his bedtime is 8pm (was 7 when younger), though as no playing out after tea is a firm rule we'll sometimes have tea and have his prepared then call him it at 7!

Oh and there's also grounding for attitude which works really well when they love playing out! Though unless ds has been really bad then he's allowed to earn it back the same day. It also has some kind of kid kudos on the street as they compare who and for how long got grounded!

Continuum Tue 19-Jul-11 19:01:36

Also when I ground him from playing out we often end up doing stuff together so it can be positive reinforcing stuff instead of obsessing about friends and the street!

sophe29 Tue 19-Jul-11 20:20:20

Whilst I agree that she is probably tired, have you thought about it may be something to do with the other kids? Are they all the same age or are some possibly older?
Speaking from experience, girls that age can be very bitchy. They are exploring their relationships and new found freedom and the effect of their words on each other. Some of my childhood friendships were very intense in this way. One minute we were inseparable (especially in a group - less so in a pair) the next excluding someone for some petty reason or another. Could this be happening? She is starting to form what will probably turn into long term friendships and it might be quite confusing for her.
Just a thought.....

ps. Also have you seen what she is like away from the street? ie. If you go away for the day, is she just as intense and moody or does it make things better?

pps. My heart stops at the thought of a 7 year old out playing in the street, let alone a 4 year old. However I live in a city so situations might be different.

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 20:26:07

Thanks for replies. I think tiredness is key, and yes they are working it all out themselves with no adults - quite a new thing for them.

She was in at 6 for tea and had a bath and didn't go back out tonight - she was stroppy and full of attitude but if we do this one or two nights a week then maybe it will help in the long run.

We are going to ground her for rudeness if she persists - and that's been explained to her.

When she is out until 8, she comes home and falls straight into bed. Asleep by 8.30.

I don't make decisions based on other parents' standards, but it is hard when she is the first to be called in and some of the others are still out at 10pm. That is Not On though, I regularly don my judgy pants over that.

doggiesayswoof Tue 19-Jul-11 20:31:45

Continuum just re-read your post - your situation sounds quite similar. Playing out after tea has only happened in the past 2 weeks and I'm wondering if it was wise... maybe 7.30 will be the new "late" time for her.

sophe there are def some older girls who like to stir it a bit - the age range is about 5 - 10 which is obv a big gap. The 9 and 10yo girls ... well, sometimes I have bad thoughts about them grin There are a couple of really sweet girls who are the same age as DD or only a year older and these are the friendships I'm trying to cultivate more.

Continuum Tue 19-Jul-11 20:56:07

It is definitely hard when other kids are still playing out, ds's room is at the front and I know sometimes he sits on the windowsill and stares out at others still having fun (until I tell him off!). But then I reassure myself he's been out for hours, and even if he went to bed later he would still wake up at 6am because that's what he does and it's all not fair on him... or us having to deal with it!!

sophe29 We live in a small city and in a quiet set of dead ends (won't show self up by not knowing correct form for plural of cul-de-sac!!) in a nice area with loads of kids on the street who play out. I feel really thankful that we ended up here. Plus it was easy to obsessively watch out the living room window when he was 4!

Ineedmetime Tue 19-Jul-11 21:59:14

Hi doggiesayswoof, I have a ds who is 7yrs (nearly 8yrs) and he seems to be getting a bit of an attitude lately. He is starting to answer us back a lot and be a bit cheeky. its only recently that he has started to be like this as he has always been fairly good. I'm not sure how to deal with it but the only thing I can think of is to take away things he likes doing or maybe say he can't go out to play. I know some people say to reward the times when they are good (sticker charts) so I might try this too. I think at this age maybe they are trying to push the boundaries a bit.
I let my son play out but only have done since he was 7yrs and he is only allowed on our street. We are lucky though to have lots of kids on our street he can play with. He is allowed to play out till 7 on school nights and up to 8.00 if its not a school night hope this helps

nomadwantshome Tue 19-Jul-11 22:28:49

Yep stroppy 7 year old dd here, really starting to get to me! She's like a teenager. Not sure how to handle it but speak to her very sternly and sometimes send her to her room.

Fwiw I think its great that kids can play in the street. We've moved to a road that's not as family friendly and I miss the kids being able to play out in the cull de sac.

Dejahoo Tue 19-Jul-11 23:11:14

I think that she may be a bit overwhelmed and consequently getting a bit of an attitude because of the new freedom she has - outside late, playing with older girls etc.
There is nothing wrong with the freedom per se. In fact I would love if my children had friends living nearby like that.
But she is only 6 and so maybe pull back a bit on some of the "late" nights out and keep her at home but doing something as a family.

Loolah Tue 19-Jul-11 23:21:54

DD1 (7) also tends to be stroppy lately, thinks its their age e.g testing the boundries again!, i actively try to encourage my DD to play out more, but she has declined as she is petrified of dogs even if thay are on a lead, so will only go out on the street if someone is with her.
Tiredness is a key factor in her behaviour and several early nights a week seems to do the trick even at 7pm sometimes, harsh i know but she goes straight to sleep

strictlovingmum Tue 19-Jul-11 23:32:42

Agree with Dejahoo try to move whole coming home thing to say 6.30, that will still give her and you some time to unwind before bed.
She perhaps will resist you at first, but make it clear it's going to be that way or no way.
Also talk to her calmly, but very seriously, and explain that she is a big girl, who is allowed to play with her friends independently, but that she should also behave like one.
I personally think she is tired and it is a tall order for her to be coping with it all day long.
Nice activities, drawing, painting, reading are great for a casual talk, in this way she can share her day experiences and unload.

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