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How do you disipline you 7/8 yo?

(26 Posts)
SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 13:24:51

I just don't know how to disipline my 8yo DTD1.

She has frequent (daily) trantrums that a toddler would be proud of. They usually start over something trivial - like not being allowed to buy sweets, not having a specific thing for tea. The problem is she spirals out of control to teh point that we sonetimes don't even know what triggered it. It is not unusual for her to get to the point where she is pushing at me physically.

I have tried sending her to bed to calm down. I have tried reasoning with her. I have tried withidrawing "nice things" (e.g. doing crafts together, going out, treats, playdates). I just don't know what else to try. DP is more successful. It is just me that she rebels against.

It is made slightly more difficult for me as DTD2 gets dragged into this. If I have to punish DTD2 by withdrawing a day out or similar she has to miss out too.

I am at the end of my tether. She has me in tears daily. And DP just isn't here to support me when she is like this (often evenings when she is tired and he is working).

Dottydot Sat 10-Jan-09 13:34:43

Tricky... Ds1 is 7 and can have meltdowns - not daily but he has them.

We send him to his room for 7 minutes and then he has to come and apologise or he goes back up.

Occasionally when I've been really cross I've withdrawn TV and computer access for an afternoon/morning - but not often. Although that works as it's the ultimate punishment smile

Withdrawal of pocket money sometimes - depends what he's done and how quick he's got out of a temper.

Sometimes we'll say well you must be tired to be acting like this so you need to go to bed early and he'll go up at 6.45pm/7pm rather than 7.30pm. Actually he usually then falls straight asleep so I think it's often because he is tired.

Tricky though and exhausting to have to cope with it.

littlerach Sat 10-Jan-09 13:37:07

Jon the club!
Dd1 is almost 8 and acts worse than dd2 who is 4.

WE tried rewarding, then punishing.

Now we take away 5 mins of reading; she loves reading and is allowed an hour per night. Each time she is rude/unkind/won't share (most common), she loses 5 mins of reading. If she becomes very angry, she is sent ot her room for 7 mins.

She is a very clever girl, and v well behaved at school, which is a relief.

What really upsets me is how mean she is to dd2. That's where most of the arguments start actually. sad

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 13:58:28


Unfortunately there doesn't seem as if there is anything there I can use. She hates reading - so I could do the opposite and make her read...but then I don't want her to see having to read as a punishment.

It is often becuase she is tired....problem is I physically can't get her to bed...

<Fortunately she is also a clever girl and well behaved at school...she can be as nice as pie at home too...something just sets her off>

littlerach Sat 10-Jan-09 14:02:51

How about pocket money?
10p taken away if she is naughty, 10p back if she is well behaved?

marble/pasta jar?

cory Sat 10-Jan-09 14:02:56

Not unusual, dd had massive ones (totally hysterical, out of control, had to be physically restrained) until age 9, but then she did have some nasty things happen to her.

I don't do long-lasting punishments for a quick flare-up of temper iyswim. I make sure they can't hurt me (if necessarily by holding hands firmly) if things have gone that far, but mostly I try to defuse the situation, not by backing down (a definite no-no) but by saying something humorous, maybe sending myself up a bit, something to show that I do understand how they feel but I'm confident enough to know I won't have to back down iyswim. Sometimes I send them to their room.

Am a little blase about tantrums because my db used to have really spectacular ones (once kicked his way through a wooden door in his bare feet- ouch!), and nothing I've seen since has been quite that impressive. So, no, you're not alone and my db has grown up into a perfectly civilised human being who is not violent in any way.

Try not to let them see that you get upset every time. There will be times when it is inevitable, but constantly feeling guilty about making Mum unhappy won't improve anyone's temper. Most of the time the brisk approach is better. Yes, dear, I can see you are very angry, but I really cannot allow you to hurt anyone.

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 14:12:48

She doesn't get pocket money from us....

I thought she was perhaps a bit too old for the marble jar?

<TBH she doesn't normally see me cry...I usually manage to hold that until private>

Earlybird Sat 10-Jan-09 14:47:42

I'm sure you've tried this, but maybe it could (almost 8) dd does much better if I notify her well in advance of what will/won't be happening. (eg 'when we go to the supermarket we are shopping for supper only and won't be getting any sweets' or 'you've had a very busy few days, so tonight you'll need to be in bed by 7.30', etc).

Somehow, by staying a few steps ahead and informing her in advance (as much as possible) we are able to (mostly) avoid 'touch paper' moments.

Another idea may be to change things around. Rather than withdrawing treats as punishment for being naughty, what if you reward her with OTT praise and treats for good behaviour?

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 14:53:20

thing is the touchpaper moment was when I was notifying her in advance....we were still sat in our lounge.

It is not as though she usually buys sweets cos she doesn't. I had also said that the reason she couldn't has sweets was that she has lots left from Christmas which she was allowed...i.e. it wasn'rt a no altogether.

Thing is as soon as she has reacted to teh negative she won't listen to the rationalisation. She puts here hands on her ears and starts singing. Undoubtably she can hear me...she just won't listen

Dottydot Sat 10-Jan-09 15:05:09

Would it be possible to start giving her pocket money if she's good. Tell her she's getting older now and if she starts doing a couple of jobs and doesn't have tantrums she can have £1 or 50p a week pocket money?

Might help her feel more grown up and therefore have fewer 'little child' tantrums?

Earlybird Sat 10-Jan-09 15:10:57

Hmm - tricky.

Must say dd knows (from experience) that I have a 'zero tolerance' approach to any form of physical aggression. If she attempts anything like that (very rare), she is immediately landed in her room - so that method has left her arsenal of 'tricks'.

Are you very clear with her? DD can push a bit if I have been 'grey' about my expectations.

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 15:15:00

...hmm...maybe. She does get pocket money off her grandparents - but recieves it in a lump sum about 6 times a year rather than something tangiable throughut the year.

I have always been of teh camp that we don't give pocket money - but they get plenty of sweets/magazines/small treats/pocket money substitues through teh year (which are some of the treats I try and take away). maybe it would have more value to her as cash though???

TBH - I think that if it works as a short term solution I could be asking for trouble (with a major tantrum) if she still ends up with less than her twin when it comes to spending time...I will have to think about that one.

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 15:16:29

Oh no I am very clear.

Thing is there are certain things that she doesn't think I will carry out (like not going swimming) as she knows that I have to cater for her twin. I have however proved her wrong on a few occasions now and she still isn't getting the message.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Sat 10-Jan-09 15:41:19

I think that the fact that she has a tantrum if she has less and you don't give in to it does send a positive message.

Do not be afraid of her tantrums walk away and leave her to it attention is what she wants

Also by giving pocket money at this age can also teach independance and money mangement skills (FWIW I had my child ben at 13 to learn money management)

NAB3lovelychildren Sat 10-Jan-09 16:09:50

Getting on this thread as I know I will need it.

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 16:32:13

I can't walk away - because she defers her aggression (verbal and non-verbal) to her twin.

cory Sat 10-Jan-09 16:51:08

I think pocket money can be a good idea at this age, because it gives them more control. If you give her occasional treats you may be spending the same amount of money, but it's entirely dependent on your whim. A system which is predictable, like weekly pocket money to be paid every Friday, or X-pence to be spent on sweets on Saturday afternoon, or whatever, might help with her feeling more in control.

All in all, I think this is an age to slowly and gradually give them more control over their daily lives. I am beginning to let my 8yo run small errands for me, or go to the nearest shop himself to spend his money- trying to keep it safe but at the same time let him know that I trust him.

Not saying this will stop the tantrums, but I think it will help in the long run if she can start seeing herself as more of a growing up person.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Sat 10-Jan-09 19:21:52

If you're not leaving the area then she is getting the benifit of the tantrum i.e. it has a purpose

if you can not remove her (not sure whether you could physically carry her to her room "she is behaving like an infant treat the response in the same way" or whether doing something nice in another room with her twin which she can join when she has finished....

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 19:41:46

I have tried removing her to her bed.

She just gets a thrill out of being carried out the stairs.

I have tried taking DTD2 and DD3 into teh bathroom and locking us in. She trashed the door sad so I gave up with that one.

SlightlyMadScientist Sat 10-Jan-09 19:42:33

Sorry - I am not tryiong to be difficult...I did say that I had tried everything I can think of.

basementbear Mon 12-Jan-09 12:37:51

Mine are a bit younger, (5 and nearly 7)but I think my oldest would be able to deal with this suggestion. Could you sit down with her and write a list togehter of what is acceptable and what is not - then what the punishment/rewards will be? She is old enough to understand what she is doing wrong, and maybe it would help if she felt she had some control over the consequences - ie if she has agreed in advance that the punishment for something is 10mins timeout then it might be easier to enforce. Write out the rules you agree to and stick them up somewhere for her (add some for you too so she sees that you both have to work at it - ie "Mum will not shout"!)
It sounds like the punishing by removing treats is not working so maybe you have to try more positive things, like rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing bad behaviour. Hope these aren't things you have already done, and hope things improve smile

pollycazalet Mon 12-Jan-09 12:56:45

I take pocket money away or access to playstation/ Nintendo. The trick with my ds is to encourage his independence and autonomy and try and come to a compromise about things.

You say that it's often trivial things which start it - try and look at the triggers. Eg sweets - my kids have a sweetie day and that's it. Arguements about meals - involve her in planning the menu for the week so that she can see you include plenty that she does like.

It sounds as if you have got into a spiral of behaviour that she is finding it hard to break out of - and that she perceives herself as 'bad' twin and her sister as 'good' twin. Would she respond if you talked to her calmly and tried to come up with ways to improve her behaviour together? It must be making her as unhappy as you. Could you think of some physical things she can do when she finds her temper flaring up - punch a cushion, run round the garden, do 20 star jumps. Just to try and change the conflict dynamic? Could you both agree to a 'time-out' when things are getting heated - ie you both say 'ok we need to calm down, lets set the timer and talk again in 10 minutes.

What does your DP do differently (you said he's more successful?

Gorionine Mon 12-Jan-09 13:01:55

DS2 can have his moments too (he is 7) I just refuse to listen to ANY argument until he calms down. So far it has been the thing that works best for him and myself (compared to sending to bedroom or taking privileges away). It is possible that someone who does not know me and hears me tell to him "I do not want to hear it" in a very stearn voice would find me a bit harsh but he usually gathers himself very fast and CAN talk to me nicely.

Smee Mon 12-Jan-09 14:00:23

Poor you, she sounds more than feisty. Basement Bear's idea about sitting her down and making a list might work. + what pollyc says about a spiral of behaviour too. Could you maybe ask how she feels when you get cross and ask her how you can avoid that for both of you. Get her to agree a plan of behaviour - for you as well as for her to take it all off her, and then plot a treat for a little way ahead. Something that's just you and her - ie make her feel special. A day out with you or something to somewhere she really wants to go. I know it'd be odd for the other twin, but maybe it'd be a way through to another side.

Bink Mon 12-Jan-09 14:10:00

Sorry if you've said this and I've missed it, but what does calm her down in the end? Or, if there isn't a specific thing, how does she get to be calm (however eventually)?

And can you then, by reference to whatever the calming effect is, do some reverse engineering?

So ... from our experience, dd (who's 8) used to have furies when she was younger, and her thing was Attention - if you coaxed her and indulged her enough she would come round. SO what I very consciously did was praise her massively whenever she managed to calm herself down, ie without all the coaxing.

And through the years I've tried to keep up a consistent message that she is capable of managing her own emotions, and even if that's difficult what a brilliant thing it is to try, and isn't she fantastic for doing it ... etc. And I do clearly see that she has taken that on board now.

I do think dd sounds different from your DTD1, but this is just an example of working backwards to change the pattern.

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