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Physical Altercation with 10 yr old - Help!

(16 Posts)
Cheddar1976 Sat 03-Aug-13 16:32:52

Please help me sense check the last 48 hrs which has resulted in the lowest moment of my life as a parent:

It was a long agreed plan with my DD (10) and DS (9) that yesterday was uniform and shoe shopping day along with opticians appts. We had agreed 1 boring day would get it all over with. My DS is not good shopping in any way but was willing to go along with this 1 day plan of getting it all done! We'd all agreed on a treat for tea as a reward for this.

At 9am I ask them both to shower and be dressed by 11am. My DD advised she had no intention to shower until that night. I left her alone for 20mins. I then asked her again and explained that she had been swimming the day before had been out in the sun and had a sweaty nights sleep and she really needed to shower. She refused again. I removed myself again and then about 10am explained that she was going to be in close contact with other people in shops and opticians and she had to shower and be ready to go by 11am. She continued to refuse to have a shower and get dressed. I was not prepared to relent as she really smelt and I did not want her to think it was acceptable to go out knowing this. (as part of discussing puberty over the last few months we had agreed that she would prefer me to tell her if she needed to shower!!!).

She continued refusing to shower and the day was ruined the appointments were cancelled, my son was punished as he had to hang around all day with no plans and now face another day of shopping in the future. I removed my daughters Nexus and Furbys over the course of the day which resulted in being screamed and verbally assaulted and her actually packing bags to runaway, trashing her bedroom in the process. She screamed so much a neighbour came around to check in, I asked her to stay with me to evidence that I was not even in the same room as my DD, my neighbour saved me for an hour.

By teatime DD had calmed enough to eat with us and today I hoped would be better.

Good morning, up dressed, showered, over the course of the morning I refused her 10p to buy some sweets. In front of other parents she physically attempted to snatch my purse and took my phone and refused to return it, she was rude and challenging to the point other parents didn't know what to say. I just completely blanked her not knowing really how to react.

We got home at 12noon and I explained that she needed to tidy her room (due to the mess created from the day before) before 4pm, another screaming session and verbal abuse battering ensued. I held on remaining calm and repeating myself. This time I refused to allow my son to have to wait for this to resolve, so I allowed him to walk to his Granny's alone a very rare exceptional (short walk) and 1st time on his own!

My DD was even more outraged at this and attempted to leave the house with him. This resulted in my loosing my temper and physically restraining her from leaving the house, holding the tops of her arms and standing in front of her. She struggled and fought me and I pushed and shoved her into her bedroom and closed the door. This happened at 2pmish.

I have since burst into tears, hit the internet for advice while I sit this out. I have just joined Mumsnet now, I feel that this is all out of control and just unnecessary. My Husband is due home soon and we should be going out for a meal this evening which we were both looking forward to as it's a rare treat. I am meant to drop my daughter off at Granny's at 4pm, and she has not tidied her room.

How do I make this situation better?? Do I apologise? Do I insist that she still tidies her room, if I relent is the same thing going to happen tomorrow? Do we cancel our plans again because of her behaviour?


TeenAndTween Sat 03-Aug-13 17:27:22

Poor you. Sorry no particular suggestions.

Is she usually like this? Volatile and uncooperative?

Is she getting overtired? I only ask as my children keep to more or less the same bedtimes in the holidays, and I expect them to be up by 9am, not 11am.

Could there be something bothering her?
Has she started her periods yet? Could this be very bad PMT?

If she is calm, you could ask her why she has reacted as she did.

I would still go out, but say Granny is to call if there are any problems.

It is difficult as she is 10 and therefore you can't leave her. You can give 9yr lots of positive attention though instead.

Maybe say if she can't tidy her room, you will help her.
Or maybe say if she won't tidy her room you will make it easier for her by removing a load of her stuff. But that could escalate.

Maybe when DH is around, one of you stays home with DD, whilst other goes out and has fun with DS.

Best wishes

EvaBeaversProtege Sat 03-Aug-13 20:39:31

How are you now?

Try & choose a time when your dd's calm & ask her what happened.

Saying that, I have an 11-year-old & no answers.

Notmyidea Sat 03-Aug-13 22:02:19

once upon a time I joined mn to make a very similar post. Nothing so scary as an argument with your child crossing boundaries of what is legal to make you feel crap. Her extreme behavior is largely par for the course at their age, my eldest dd is largely out the other side going into year 8, although her confidence is low and we're working on that.
I don't know if it's fortunate or not that her explosive behaviour has never prompted a neighbour to call in. You seem a bit frightened of allegations of abuse. Awareness of your own behaviour is fab, but maybe your dd is sensing that as a weakness in your authority and is pushing harder so stuff is escalating. Mine reigned in the physical responses when, in a calmer moment, I talked to her about the age of criminal responsibility, and the fact she was over it! That it was my job to try to bring her up to be someone who could one day have a family of her own and it was also my job to make a safe, happy home for her siblings. If her behaviour made that difficult and I had to involve the police I would. (thankfully I've not had to see that through.)
Ask her why she thinks it's happening, is there anything you can do to improve her diet/sleep/stress levels to help her cope with the upheaval of puberty? Remind her that a chat with the gp is an option if she feels she needs more.

Notmyidea Sat 03-Aug-13 22:08:14

I hope you're out now, having a lovely time with your dh. No, she's the one who needs to apologise, not you. Be strongsmile

Earlybird Sat 03-Aug-13 22:17:12

Does your dh have any suggestions about how to handle this? Sounds worrying.

JakeBullet Sun 04-Aug-13 07:44:46

I am interested in the replies here too. My DS is 10 and often "crosses the line" in arguments. I recognise the physical stuff as we have had this too.

I am echoing the advice about discussion regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in legal terms. Explain about criminal responsibility too.

You have done nothing wrong. She owes you a massive apology.

Cheddar1976 Sun 04-Aug-13 08:53:14

thank you so much for your replies, it really helps to know that it's not just me! By 6.30 last night she had tidied her room (and done a very good job actually, not her usual half hearted attempt) she then stormed out the house, making comments that I had attempted to strangle her! I decided to let it go and she arrived at granny's and from all accounts has been a pleasure!

DH got the brunt of it when he arrived home, his suggestion is I film her behaviour when it happens. We did go out for a meal & I drank for a chang!

DH and I are going to take your advice to talk to her today about accountability/GP/hormones etc and try and ask her why she is so angry.

Until next time............

Notmyidea Sun 04-Aug-13 13:54:27

glad your dh is supportive and got your evening out and a drink. The very best of luck to you. They are still our babies and the last thing they need is for us to find them big and scary.

Earlybird Sun 04-Aug-13 14:07:36

A few stream of consciousness thoughts:

i doubt she will be able to explain why she is so angry, but will be interesting to see what she has to say.

I would speak to her about self control and impulses. A baby and young children act without thinking. They simply feel their emotions - upset, afraid, angry, tired, hungry etc. But a child of 10 should be exhibiting some self control. Presumably she can do that in school, so she needs to also put it into practise at home. And attributing it to hormones etc - while somewhat accurate perhaps - is not acceptable to me as it lets people justify bad behaviour without taking responsibility.

I'd also talk to her about appropriate ways to express her anger. Obviously hitting you and trashing her room are completely inappropriate. Screaming into a pillow, hitting a pillow, going outside and running until she has exhausted herself, etc are all better options - along with whatever alternatives might suit her personally. She should start to learn to recognise her feelings of anger/rage when they are building up, and begin to learn to take deep breaths, count to 10, remove herself from inflammatory situations etc.

And you can also say something like ' we're both feeling too upset to talk about X reasonably right now, so I think we should leave it until we've calmed down. But until then, let's both try to think of some good solutions/options that we can discuss later.' Or something to that effect, so you can diffuse those heat-of-the-moment situations that can easily spin out of control.

At 10 they are wanting more independence and freedom, but responsibility and maturity comes with that. Talk to her about that concept, and explain if she is unable to exhibit more self control and responsibility for her actions/behaviour, you will be unable to allow her more freedom.

Talk to her about how she treats you. You treat her with respect and kindness, and she owes you the same - even when she is angry with you and disagrees with you.

Ask her what she thinks the consequences should be when she behaves as she did yesterday. Talk about how it can't/won't continue, and agree in advance what will happen when/if she 'crosses the line'. Maybe set up an advance warning system of 'three strikes and you're out' sort of thing for letting her know when she is getting close to going too far.

Finally, praise her to the skies when she behaves well and does things right. So many times we as parents don't pass comment on good behaviour because we think that it is 'normal' and that it shows things are as they should be. Reinforce the positives with as much energy as you deal with the negatives.

it is very hard. Not sure any of the above will be of use, but it gives a starting point for thinking/discussing.

Notmyidea Sun 04-Aug-13 21:24:51

Earlybird, your comment about attributing behaviour to hormones is sitting rather uncomfortably with me. I don't think anyone on this thread has used them as a justification for such worrying behaviour. They do however offer an explanation which may have a physical cause and need both medical attention and sympathetic management. When mothers post on the higher-traffic areas of this site that they are, in effect, neglecting their children because of post natal depression it is hugely encouraging to see that the vast majority of posters reach out in supportive sympathy and advocate both psychological and pharmaceutical therapy. I think our children deserve the same kindness, together with whatever discipline they also need from us.

weebleswillwobble Sun 04-Aug-13 21:32:31

Possibly not at age 11, but probably not too many years after after - I WAS YOUR DAUGHTER. Everything you describe. But I 'recovered', and my mum and I now get on amazingly, and I feel so awful about what I put her through. Just saying, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Inkspellme Sun 04-Aug-13 22:49:28


I remember my dd at this age - she's 15 now. I do remember one night going out to my usual monday evening quilt group. As I left my dd was attempting to climb out my bedroom window screaming "don't go!". (we live in a bungalow). My dh brought her in screaming and I did go out. talking to her the next day she def did not know why she did it. I do believe its hormones. One thing she did say was that sometimes she got angry and she didn't know why. She said she found herself fighting and didn't want to be. We decided on a codeword. Ours was "spiders". If she said this word the agreement was that we would immediately both stop the argument there and then. The system worked and she only used the word on a few occasions. She said when she was older that knowing there was a word somehow stopped her needing it. Not very logical but thats how she felt. It will pass - just try and keep communication open and be the calm one, it does help. (although it's not always easy)

Earlybird Mon 05-Aug-13 20:42:02

I see your point, notmyidea, and am sorry if I seemed insensitive. The tone of my post was intended to be helpful.

jennifersofia Mon 05-Aug-13 23:28:40

I like to think of my 12 year old as a big toddler. Very unreasonable, and when in an emotional state, hard to reason with. I try to keep it calm and consistent and let her know in advance what the consequences are if certain boundries are crossed (physically hurting others is not allowed, for example). I often don't succeed with this, but sometimes I can.
It also might be worth being aware that many girls at this age are reactive to showering/ keeping clean. I think it is to do with finding it confronting or difficult to deal with scary body changes.

Openyourheart Sun 18-Aug-13 17:44:02

She was in the wrong so I hope you did not apologise.

I have a child who can be challenging like this. When he eventually calms down he is very apologetic. All I can suggest is keep strong and keep up the punishments when she behaves like this.

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