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Any help/resources for 10yo struggling with strong emotions?(9 Posts)
I'm hoping someone may be able to suggest either some techniques or resources (books or whatever) to help my DD (10) and/or the rest of us, as she is having some big emotional ups and downs at the moment and struggling to keep on top of her feelings.
When she's not upset/angry (which is most of the time), she is very good-natured, sensible and pretty well-behaved. However when the "red mist" descends (maybe a few times a week?), she very quickly gets extremely angry and/or upset, shouts or cries, hyperventilates and finds it very difficult to calm down; and she then also gets upset at the strength/lack of control of her own emotions. What particularly worries me is that she will often start taking it out on herself too, and sometimes hits herself or says horrible things about herself (she's stupid, she hates herself etc) when she can't calm down. Afterwards she is often upset and apologises, wants cuddles etc. until she's fully calmed down, though at other times her mood seems to very suddenly flip and she can suddenly be Little Miss Sunshine again.
I have noticed it's definitely worse when she's tired (which I'm trying to work on, though she sometimes has trouble getting to sleep, which doesn't help) and also when she's hungry, so I'm trying to tackle that too and e.g. give her a snack if meals are delayed or if she starts seeming grumpy, and so on. But other triggers are things like her brother winding her up, including sometimes when he isn't really doing anything wrong, or just waking up in a terrible mood. It's possible puberty hormones may also be a factor, as she is starting to develop (though no periods yet).
I feel very sorry for her as it does seem she's having trouble controlling her feelings and how she responds to them (i.e. she's not just throwing strops to get what she wants), but also sorry for DS and the rest of us too, as we sometimes end up walking on eggshells to not set her off when she seems "on the edge", and when she does have a bad episode it can spoil everyone else's day too.
I would love to know of any techniques we could suggest to her or books/websites/whatever that would help her to deal with her feelings, be reassured and learn to keep a bit more control (and especially to address the hitting/hating herself), and also if there is anything DH and I can try to help to defuse things or help her learn to manage it better. I did have a few book recommendations from a friend, but think they were aimed a bit more at younger kids and she found them too "babyish" - she is quite mature for her age otherwise (does most things with older DS, and reads quite grown-up books for her age), so something aimed more for her age or upwards would be better. Thanks in advance!
Have a read of this, it talks about directing her anger when it feels too much, through boxing. She needs to just take herself away to the bag (will link one below, you could put it somewhere like a garage if you have one), put on the gloves and direct her anger into her punches.
Thanks sleep, I will suggest that to her and see what she thinks - I reckon it could help. I've suggested thumping pillows to her in the past, but that didn't seem to help much but then pillows don't give much resistance really so I think being able to really whack something might work better. (Might even have a go myself sometimes after a tough day homeschooling )
She played a lot of football at school (which is mentioned in your link) and is definitely missing that, which probably isn't helping matters!
This might not be relevant at all, but does she have any of the following symptoms of ADHD?
Some kids with ADHD have trouble managing emotions as they seem more intense
Thanks, I took a look but she doesn't really. At school for example she's always done really well and gets glowing reports, no issues with concentration or anything. At home there's no issues either really except when she gets in one of her moods, she's a bit of a lazybones sometimes about doing her jobs/homeschooling but no more than any other kid really! It's only when she gets too wound up about something that all hell breaks loose...
I did mention the punchbag idea to her this morning when she had had a bit of a rage again (sparked by arguing about who should go in the shower first ) and she was quite interested, so I might look into that, though would have to find space for one. We did some pillow-thumping but agreed they're a bit too soft to be satisfying!
Just to add, as far as I know the stormy moods only happen at home/with us, not at school or other activities, which suggests she does have some control, and/or she doesn't get triggered the same way elsewhere.
I think lockdown and especially missing school isn't helping either, but isn't the cause as she was already having the same issues before (in fact I spoke to her school about it just before lockdown and they were going to see about books that might help, but then Covid came along!).
ah yes, I just wanted to check/make you aware. It's great she was receptive to the punch bag idea! x
Bumping for any more suggestions after another tough day yesterday (today was mostly better, thankfully).
DD woke up in a horrible mood, which continued for most of the morning even though we avoided some of the typical triggers (e.g. it wasn't her turn to go first in the shower, so we didn't have that argument). Was picking at DS constantly, glaring, muttering, starting verbal fights and made the atmosphere so horrible for all of us that eventually I postponed their school work and dragged them both to the park, where I dumped them for a bit to get some fresh air while I went to the supermarket next door. Came back to find her happy as Larry having been swordfighting with sticks with DS and running round a bit. However by early evening she was in a black mood again, including randomly bursting into tears for no apparent reason at one point... So I could still use any tips to help her get on top of her feelings, and me and DH to deal with it and keep our patience! (Still considering the punchbag thing too, but need to work out where we could put one).
PS I did have another thought today and was going to suggest she might want to start writing a diary, and oddly enough, later in the day we were tidying her room and she found all the nice notebooks she's accumulated and suggested the same thing to me herself! So will try to encourage her to and see whether that helps, too.