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9yo 'tantrums' - is this normal?

(16 Posts)
BaryMerry Thu 21-Apr-16 12:52:33

DD1 (9) is usually a 'good' child, well-behaved, conscientious, is not wilfully naughty although sometimes squabbles with her sister (6), perhaps more than usual in recent weeks. Lately she has been prone to bursting into tears if she's not getting her way on something, working herself up into such a state.. eg this morning she asked to ride her bike to school and I said no, we would scoot or walk (I'll admit I wasn't really thinking about it, just wanted to get us out of the door on time!)

Cue tears and sobbing almost immediately and continuing for the next half an hour, until I'm sitting outside the school with her, trying to get her to calm down enough to actually go inside. Eventually the school secretary had to pull her away so I could make a dash for the door. By then she didn't want to go to class because she was so self-conscious about how she looked and the fact that everyone would know she'd been crying - she was basically begging me to take her home.

I had to stand my ground - it was a stupid argument because really she could have cycled but it escalated quickly and once she starting going off on one I couldn't just give in. I stayed calm (it was v hard!) and tried to reason with her, distract her, change the subject, make a deal about letting her cycle tomorrow but she just couldn't get past that very moment - 'I want to cycle now, not later, you always do what DD2 wants, you never do what I want etc etc'...

As I say this is not typical behaviour from her but is the latest of a handful of these types of episodes and I don't really know what to do. Is this normal pre-teen stuff? Hormones? Is she needing more independence or control over her choices? She's quite an 'internal' child, a bit introverted like me, and I'm worried this is signalling a deeper anxiety, but I really hope I'm reading too much into it. Any advice or experience would be much appreciated.

MattDillonsPants Thu 21-Apr-16 17:48:26

Could she be hormonal OP? At 9, it's absolutely a possibility. Some girls begin puberty at this age and of course that leads to irrational behaviour.x

Undercooked Thu 21-Apr-16 17:53:06

My eldest is 9 and calm, kind, articulate and conscientious but she can get in awful states about small things. Last week I told her to wear her summer school
Uniform as her winter uniform was dirty and instead of talking to me about why this was a bad idea she immediately started sobbing so hard she could not speak.

I don't know whether it's normal but I recognise the behaviour you describe.

BaryMerry Thu 21-Apr-16 19:52:12

MattDillon that's one thing I've been wondering - there are no other signs of it yet but i know the hormones can begin to kick in at a fairly early stage. If it is hormones I dread to think what she'll be like when she's a teenager shock

undercooked that's it exactly - it's usually small issues where she just digs her heels in and can't see past the thing that she's got a problem with - she goes round and round in circles and will reject every logical alternative or compromise.

Thanks for replies so far, it's Good to know I'm not alone in this.

singingstones Thu 21-Apr-16 20:03:28

I also have a very emotional 9 yr old DD, endless talks about needing to find a way to help herself out of the state she gets in over seemingly tiny things.

I think it's hormonal - also have DS (12) who is less volatile at the moment, but he does stomp around pulling an imaginary whistle and shouting CHOOO CHOOOO ALL ABOARD THE PUBERTY TRAIN which is not particularly helpful.

BaryMerry Thu 21-Apr-16 21:26:09

singingstones that is not helpful - but it is a little bit funny grin If you manage to hit on a good coping strategy can you let me know, because whatever we're trying is not working so far! hmm

singingstones Fri 22-Apr-16 00:20:41

Bary I think all we can do is keep talking, I have told her lots of times that it's ok to be emotional, everyone feels like that sometimes, without always knowing why, that she can always have hugs and a cry if she wants etc. So mostly that, but I do occasionally get a bit sharp with her, that's enough etc when she gets really ott. I think she needs to understand that her behaviour can affect other people. And we talk about it calmly later. I emphasise that I want to try to help her with it for her sake, not mine, because if she flies off the handle at every tiny thing, she is going to be unhappy a lot!

(Like you I also get "you let him do x,y,z, you spend more time with him etc". DS started secondary school in September and needed help organising himself and generally more input. She didn't like that and when I tried to explain that he needed some extra support, that there was plenty of love to go around and anyway it wasn't a competition, she said "if it was I'd be losing".) grin

BaryMerry Fri 22-Apr-16 07:39:24

Thanks singing that's helpful advice. I probably do need to take more time to talk through things with her in general. I've probably been a bit complacent because she's normally the steady, 'easy' child while her sister is more likely to cause trouble, get herself into a mess etc. Dd2 does naturally attract more attention because she's younger and more of a livewire, she's a huggy, warm child while dd1 is quieter and cooler (like me!) so I need to make sure there's a better balance of attention I suppose.

OnTheMove28 Fri 22-Apr-16 19:34:02

OP you could be describing our house exactly. DD is only 8 but exactly the same thing happening - this evening over a card game she did/didn't want to play (can't even remember the details). She's also become very absent minded. She has a younger sister (5) that has always been much harder work so has been left very much to her own devices. At the moment I'm trying to engineer more one on one time with the older one but it's hard

Kleinzeit Mon 25-Apr-16 20:20:08

once she starting going off on one I couldn't just give in.

Fair enough, but in that case try to avoid saying "no" in a reactive way. If you are going to take the line that "no always means no" and that "a tantrum never gets what you want" (which are both very reasonable!) then it’s only fair to keep "no" for things that really matter. When your DD asks you something that might be inconvenient, just say "hang on let me think a moment" first. Then you're both less likely to end up in a state where neither of you can back down.

At the moment you are "calmly" refusing to back down and she is refusing to back down with tears and tantrum. So if you always stop for a second and think about it first and then you either say "yes, it's OK, get your bike" or "nice idea but we really don't have time this morning" things may go more smoothly. And if you model being calm and listening to her point of view even when you are under pressure (like being in a hurry) then your DD will gradually learn to do the same.

Divingforpearls Wed 27-Apr-16 06:08:34

Kleinzeit, in an ideal world I'd love to be this calm, but not at 4a.m., when my DD2 (9) is sleeping in her 'den' that she has made, and she's smashed a glass in it and refuses to let me take the blanket 'roof' off so that I can get rid of all the glass, and she refuses to get out of this den which is full of pieces of glass. At 4 in the morning. And then she calls me a lot of swear words 'cos I take it down and tidy up and generally protect her from broken glass - shouting at her to get into her bed. These kids should give us a break quite frankly.

Emochild Wed 27-Apr-16 06:22:46

Please don't automatically dismiss behaviour at this age as hormonal

It may be but it may also be anxiety, reaction to something going on at school or with friends -and with some children it can be something like aspergers -particularly in girls who have a much older average diagnostic age than boys

I'm not trying to scaremonger, moods in pre-teens are very common, but please satisfy yourself that's all it is

Behaviour communicates what words can't

Divingforpearls Wed 27-Apr-16 06:22:58

I'm quite upset at being called a F***ing B**ch by my 9 year old actually. That's why I've been awake since 4 a.m. I'm gonna miss that sleep. ----> tomorrow I will be grouchy - not good when trying to be a perfect parent who explains everything calmly. Do I just forgive her and move on? I should take away her Nintendo though. It's really upsetting when she calls me horrible names like that when I'm only trying to help her....

Singsongsungagain Wed 27-Apr-16 06:34:28

Wow Diving. That's pretty extreme language for a 9 year old! Is she having that type of language modelled to her by her peers or her family? You maybe need to think about who she's mixing with/how the family speak to each other. I think that language from a 9 year old is pretty extreme (I am the mother of a 9 year old who I don't think has ever heard those words let alone used them).

Kleinzeit Wed 27-Apr-16 09:27:51

I'm a bit confused Divingforpearls because BabyMerry didn't describe anything as extreme or upsetting as the things you are coping with. For your DD's kind of behaviour I'd probably talk to the GP about it in case there's an underlying problem, and I might try some Explosive Child strategies hoping to keep things calmer in the meantime. But it does sound more extreme and it must be very hard to handle flowers

Emochild Wed 27-Apr-16 17:35:03


Look up pathological demand avoidance (PDA) and see if it rings any bells in regards to your daughter

If they do then normal behaviour management strategies need to be thrown out because they generally make things worse

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