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DD aged 9 - temper tantrums

(14 Posts)
liz12 Sun 24-Jun-07 16:53:43

Your opinions please. My DD is an only child, aged 9. From the age of 2-7 we tried for another child and I had five miscarriages. We decided to stop trying for all our sakes. I feel more than I possibly would do otherwise that she's a wonderful gift.
DD is thoughtful, sensitive, funny and clever. She's getting on well at school though has some issues with being bored, not concentrating or caring about lessons, we seemed to have worked this out with her and her teacher and all's going well at school. She's got a good set of friends and is friendly with others in the class, too. Her problem and therefore our problem is her foul temper.
I've just experienced it and this is what happened. One of her close friends was having a party this afternoon starting at 3pm. Guests were invited to wear pyjamas; yesterday DD and I had a girly time choosing new PJs for her and she wore them last night.This morning at breakfast she spilled a little juice on herself and was a bit narked as she wanted them spick and span for the party but she wiped off the juice and hung the bottoms out to dry. There was a small stain which she noticed this afternoon at about 2.50 when she was getting changed into them. She started moaning about it to me and I asked what she'd like me to do - DH was in the living room, we were in the hall outside - she started crying but no answer, I said I could get other bottoms or she could put these on and it didn't matter as no-one would notice. This set her off into full tantrum mode. DH came out and tried to calm her but she screamed at him 'Go away' over and over, so he did. I just sat and said I was there when she was ready. I reached out to take her in my arms but she pushed me away. It was 3pm. She was kneeling down and slapping and scratching her legs and really screeching and screaming. I moved away as I wondered if it'd be better if I wasn't there, she went mad and ran after me and threw the vacuum hose down on the floor. At this point, she was nearly hysterical, I slapped her hand and told her not to do that. I said quietly that I was there if she wanted me and I went back to sitting on the floor in the hall. I few minutes later she came to me and cried and said 'I want to go, I want to go'. And I said she could go as soon as she'd calmed down. She calmed down and put the new but stained PJs on. I asked her in her calmed state if she knew what it was about and she said it was the stain on the PJ bottoms that started it and then anger took over. She's done this a few times before and I just don't know what to do. Any ideas. It happened at school a couple of times last year, beginning with a really small incident but she's not doing it at school now. It happened a couple of weeks ago after school when her two friends had Heelys on but she'd left hers behind. It was going to take too long to go home for them and that set her off - awful in public! So yeah I'd say it's probably once every few weeks or so.
I don't know what to do, I don't know if I'm doing the right thing when she's in the middle of it. I don't know whether she'll grow out of it. I don't know whether I need to speak to the GP about it. I feel at a complete loss.
Just to also let you know, she's never been able to get to sleep without one of us being with her in the room; she gets scared she'll have nightmares. Completely justified as she usually does. She wakes nearly every night a couple of hours into her sleep crying out and all sweaty. This has been going on since toddler time. The GP said it was night terrors and she'd probably grow out of it, that was when she was about 5. I don't know if any of this is related but just thought I'd tell you.
If you've got this far, please let me know how you see it from where you're standing, I just don't know what to do. DH and I agree that we bumble through it and hope for the best but if there are any good strategies that anyone knows for helping her, please could you tell me. Thanks so much. Very
Just previewed and all the punctuation has turned into computer speak, hope it reads okay when I press the button...

domesticgrumpess Sun 24-Jun-07 17:06:47

Message withdrawn

DaphneBlake Sun 24-Jun-07 17:18:51

Lots to say, so I'll keep it brief!

Don't give her too many choices. When she noticed the stain it would have diffused the situation to say something like "it's hardly noticeable, but I'll put another pair in your bag in case you want to change when you get there. Now, let's go and pack."
She sounds like a bit of a worrier/perfectionist, so the more bright and breezy you can be when unplanned/unexpected/problematic events occur, the better it will be.
Don't smack her. You need to show her that physical aggression is simply not acceptable.
Do punish her for being physically aggressive.
I would suggest time out in her room for 9 minutes, then you go to her and ask for an apology.
Usually give two warnings for bad behaviour before instigating time out. Physical aggression is an immediate red card though, with no warnings.
Nine is old for a NT child to be hitting and kicking her parents.
If she wants to scream and tantrum, let her - but make sure she is doing it in her room without you, so that her behaviour doesn't gain her any more attention.
I know your OP is just a snap shot, but it sounds a bit like she rules the roost.
You can't be scared of her behaviour, and tip toe round her so that she doesn't kick off.
She needs to learn to experience disappointment, to not get her own way, to deal with it calmly and for it to be OK.
The sleep does sound worrying, and I would go back to the GP for some further advice if it is sleep terrors.
Perhaps some story tapes to listen to in bed may help. Stay in the room with her if that is what she is used to, but sit on a chair by the door, and don't engage with her.
Gradually move the chair further away each night, until you are in the hall.
Eventually just be upstairs.
Then just be downstairs but check on her every ten minutes or so.

DaphneBlake Sun 24-Jun-07 17:19:22

So much for me keeping it brief!

liz12 Sun 24-Jun-07 17:35:50

Thanks so far, good suggestions. I don't know how to do time out when she's in the middle of a tantrum though. We've told her to go up to her room when she's like this and she refuses. I tried carrying her once and she struggles and half-heartedly kicked me. She's not really that aggressive, it is very half-hearted as she knows it's bad.
I slapped the back of her hand today to try to snap her out of the chucking things around hysteria she seemed to be heading into.
I know I completely mollycoddle her and I do feel so blessed to have her so I find it hard to be the stricter mum I know I need to be sometimes. When we're in the middle of it all I sometimes find myself thinking that maybe this is the reason we were only meant to have one, on the other hand, maybe it's because it is only her that we've allowed it to develop.
DH had a pretty crappy childhood so is also very keen to do the right thing for her so I expect that makes him reluctant to set boundaries too.
I feel such a mess about it all. I do think I'm a good mum but I know I must be doing something wrong or not handling it very well.

liz12 Sun 24-Jun-07 17:37:18

I'm now in tears. Maybe she hasn't got a problem at all...

Eight Sun 24-Jun-07 19:50:43

Don't cry - it'll be fine.
I don't think you need to be stricter as such, but it does sound like your DD would benefit from a few ground rules and boundaries.
It's not really to do with being strict, but helping her understand how to cope with her emotions in a different way than she does now.

I also think that the emotional strain that you have had to deal with as parents re the miscarriages must have been dreadful - it is quite understandable that you treasure and love your DD so deeply.

Now that she is getting older, I think she would benefit from being shown that she needs to behave in a certain way, and that if she doesn't, there will be consequences.

I think part of parental love is to help our DCs understand this - as no-one in the big wide world is going to be as understanding of their temper tantrums - or put up with them when they are 18!

liz12 Sun 24-Jun-07 21:31:02

Thanks Eight. I think I need to take a step back from today and take a deep breath and as you say, work a few things out re ground rules and so on. I admit as parents we bumble along and have no plan of action for when her tantrums hit.
Thank you

rantinghousewife Sun 24-Jun-07 21:37:16

I think it's not a failure on your part at all, you must stop blaming yourself, you've been through a lot too. The other suggestions here are good, I would add though that you and your dp need to agree a strategy together so that you're singing from the same hymn sheet as it were. Less confusing for your dd that way and the boundaries will be clear to her.

liz12 Wed 27-Jun-07 23:17:47

You're all right. Thanks a lot. We sat down on Monday evening and made a list of routines and strategies. She's been vaguely stroppy a couple of times since but once we've reminded her of the agreement, she's agreed, if you see what I mean. Thanks so much

3littlefrogs Wed 27-Jun-07 23:41:19

Maybe a coping strategy when the anger starts to get out of control would help. something you could discuss and agree upon when she is calm. For example, my mum always used to say "count to ten". It can have the same effect as breathing exercises in labour - something to focus on, and physically do, while she gets back in control?

Relaxation exercises are good for helping to encourage sleep and reducing nightmares. I talk dd through them - just as if I am teaching an antenatal class - when she can't relax, and she says they really help.

3littlefrogs Wed 27-Jun-07 23:44:11

I also sometimes give her a back massage, with a drop of lavender oil in a carrier oil, (such as coconut), and that helps her to relax and sleep well. The CDs that are used for reflexology/massage music are also good for drifting off to sleep with.

Tortington Wed 27-Jun-07 23:47:58

i'd have cancelled sleep over said " shut yer gob and get to bed you hissy mare"

Starmummy Thu 28-Jun-07 15:12:24

LOL custardo.
I agree with you but in the past have been more like Liz12. It took me ages to work upto cancelling something ds really wanted, like a party or something. made one hell of a difference when he realised I meant it. Dont worry Liz it will all come good when you lay out the rules. You and DP need to sort yourselves out and implement them a bit at a time. full onslaught didnt work for us, too much going on for anyone to remember and act upon therefore no boundaries again. so slowly does it and praise for when she "gets it".
good luck

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