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At wit's end with 11 year old dd - what to do?

(12 Posts)
LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Thu 22-Sep-11 13:59:10

My darling darling dd is driving me round the bend. It seems like sometines I barely have time to breathe or turn around in between discovering and dealing with one naughty/idiotic/unkind thing she has done and the next one. In calmer moments we have rational conversations, hugs, declare our love for each other, make each other laugh, and get on fine.

This has been going on for years really - she's always been one to push boundaries and suck up any punishment with no apparent effect. Currently we are having a lot of problems with dh, she has just started secondary school, and she is obviously tired and hormonal, and I don't know if this is all making it worse or making me less tolerant.

In the last 24 hours she has

Taken £50 out of my bank account when I trusted her with my card (as an experiment) to get £10 out (she has also been stealing from my purse recently)

Stuck chewing gum onto a light switch

Taken all the clean clothes she has failed to put away for the last 2 months off her top bunk where the cat had been sleeping on them and stuffed them into the clean linen store rather than putting them away in her drawers

Sharpened an eyeliner in her bedroom all over her pale beige carpet and trodden in the sharpenings so the carpet has about 25 black blobs and streaks on it.

Taunted and wound up her 6 year old brother to tears, pulled his hair and been generally vicious towards him

This is not unusual for a 24 hour period - she steals food and stuffs wrappers down the sofa, lies about internet use, etc, every day.

I have threatened her with grounding if she has not got her room spotless by the time I get home today (should give her about an hour after she gets home from school).

I feel as though I am always on her back and want to break the cycle but it seems she will do NOTHING unless I go on at her. I do try to praise her when she does anything positive but it seems like she instantly does something bad to ruin it!

HELP!

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Thu 22-Sep-11 15:37:01

Another thing in the 24 hours was setting fire to a piece of paper in the coal-effect gas fire 10 minutes after I had lit it and reminded her nothing must be burnt in it (as she had a friend round and I wanted the friend to be aware it was not a real fire in case she was used to chucking things into one at home)

CeliaFate Fri 23-Sep-11 16:37:25

*In the last 24 hours she has

Taken £50 out of my bank account when I trusted her with my card (as an experiment) to get £10 out (she has also been stealing from my purse recently)

Stuck chewing gum onto a light switch

Taken all the clean clothes she has failed to put away for the last 2 months off her top bunk where the cat had been sleeping on them and stuffed them into the clean linen store rather than putting them away in her drawers

Sharpened an eyeliner in her bedroom all over her pale beige carpet and trodden in the sharpenings so the carpet has about 25 black blobs and streaks on it.

Taunted and wound up her 6 year old brother to tears, pulled his hair and been generally vicious towards him*

I am shock that after she's done all this, you're "thinking of grounding her"!!!!!
I think the problem is she can do what the hell she likes with no fear of punishment or consequence.
If my dd did that, she'd be grounded, refused pocket money for a week, have things like ipod, ds etc taken away, no treats or niceties until there was a vast improvement in her behaviour. You're being too soft on her and she's taking the piss, frankly.

NiecieTheTerminator Fri 23-Sep-11 16:43:03

I have to agree - the threat isn't enough. She has done enough things wrong today to be grounded for at least a week, and I would be expecting her to clear up as well.

How do you normally punish her? How long do you keep up the same punishment and are you consistent?

emkana Fri 23-Sep-11 21:33:35

I agree with the previous posters. If my dd did just one of these things, shed be in enormous trouble.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 26-Sep-11 12:41:48

Thanks for your replies and sorry I haven't been able to get online over the weekend to respond.
She has had to clear up the mess.
She has to pay me back out of the next 2 months allowance (this is £25 a month I allow her from her savings which is money she has been given for birthdays etc since birth from grandparents mostly) plus I have said she can have £5 a week from me if she manages to keep her room reasonable (which she has never managed yet, but did do this weekend!)
Since my first post she has taken another £10 out of my purse and put it in her friend's birthday card.
I have at various times confiscated her camera, phone, stopped buying crisps or sweets for periods of time, switch off TV, ban her from computer, and send her to her room (where she has no electronic diversions) but none of these seem to have any effect.
I have never actually grounded her 'properly' although I do think she knows I really will do it if I say it's going to happen. The threat of it usually does the trick but I hate to live like this.
I am really worried that the difficulties we have been having with her alcoholic dad, combined with the hormonal stage she is going through and the upheaval of starting secondary are making her act up in this way for attention, and she is crying out for help. It is for these reasons I have not felt able to come down hard on her. Also it is often difficult to enforce something on her which does not affect her brother or somebody else, and I hate to keep her out of activities which a) I have paid for and b) give me a few hours' peace and quiet!
I am really wondering if we need to see a counsellor or something...

Scootergrrrl Mon 26-Sep-11 12:52:18

It sounds really rough. I hope you're bearing up ok. If it was my child, I would make her earn back everything she has. My daughter, who's almost 8, sometimes gets this sense of entitlement, it seems, where she doesn't actually appreciate what she's got and it sounds as if yours is the same with extra issues on top!
Perhaps you could start completely fron scratch - no ipod, treats, TV, friends round etc, unless she's earned them by behaving well for a day or whatever you decide. Something which has worked well for us in the past has been the bored policeman approach - imagine you're a bored but basically kind policeman trying to get a group of rowdy football fans to do what you want (courtesy of Libby Purves!). Don't get angry, don't really enagage when they're misbehaving but just keep repeating yourself calmly until you get the outcome you're after.

lljkk Mon 26-Sep-11 13:06:55

It sounds to me like lots (& lots) of attention seeking behaviour.
Combined with usual doziness "ego-centric" attitude, typical of this age...

My first thought would be to focus on spending quality one-to-one time just talking to her. I find sitting on their beds with lights almost out, bedtime, just idly chatting together, to be a great time to get them to open up.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 26-Sep-11 13:23:38

Thanks - the 'quality time' at bedtime is something we both enjoy - the difficulty is if I have been sorely tested for hours on end up to then it can be real slog to make it into a positive experience - i.e. I am just worn out and do not feel like it.
Strange how she does not really seem to want my attention or company a lot of the time when it is available. I often offer her half an hour or so just for her to play a Wii or board game for example and she never wants to. Also we went to Camp Bestival together and she kept going off to the front by herself and getting lost!

mamadordogne Sat 01-Oct-11 18:52:26

I know this may sound silly, but when I was this age I was very similar to your DD. I was being bullied and this may not be the cause of her behaviour but I will throw it in the pot for consideration. I never thought anything through as my mind was always wrapped in knots thinking about the next day at school, I could lash out and it was not behaviour I learnt at home it came from frustration and wanting to have a little bit of power. I stole small amounts of money from my parents to use as bribes to make me more popular and later to escape into town. This is just a thought and I hope this is not the case for your dd, but as I was going through puberty at the time my behaviour was dismissed as typical Teenager.

Madlizzy Sat 01-Oct-11 18:59:28

It would be worth her having some counselling. Stealing is often a cry for attention and as you have a lot going on in the house with your DH, maybe she could do with some outside support. In the meantime, keep boundaries firm and consistent, making sure you notice when she displays desirable behaviour.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 03-Oct-11 11:42:29

Thanks folks. There has been a bit of an improvement this weekend - she actually confessed to me that she had taken her mobile phone up to bed ( I have said she is only to use it for important stuff for the next month or two, as I am paying for the top-ups). I praised her for this and also for any time she has taken her plate to put in the dishwasher, etc. She also cleaned out her gerbils and tidied her room with not too much fuss, so another £5 has gone off the debt.
I don't think she is being exactly bullied, but there was a nasty texting incident after the first day of term from one of her old primary school friends. This seems to have been sorted out now, but definitely think friendships are shifting around and she is trying to impress some of her new friends (e.g. the £10 note in the birthday card - she has only known this girl a few weeks!)
I am making a concerted effort to be less shouty. This whole situation has taken its toll on me and I am having counselling. So far when I have mentioned it to dd she has not liked the idea at all, but I will continue to offer it. She is nearly old enough to attend Al-a-Teen, which she could go to every other week while I attend Al Anon.

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