I'm worried that 11yo DD is naturally not a nice person :((26 Posts)
DD is almost 12yo and she's just horrible We have all the usual preteen answering-back, stroppiness, door-slamming etc, and I expected all that but she just seems generally not a nice person and I'm starting to worry about it. She isn't actively horrible, she just isn't nice and doesn't seem to consider other people's feelings at all. She always thinks the worst of her younger brother and her favourite thing in the world is to correct him, put him down, show that she's better than him etc. It seems more to me that just 'normal' sibling rivalry. And with us she can be really nasty - she doesn't seem to be able to consider our feelings at all and when we explain, nicely and calmly, to her that she is upsetting us she genuinely can't see that she's wrong. It's not just with family, either - there have been a few instances where a friend of hers has had a problem and when I've later asked DD how the friend is she shrugs "dunno... haven't asked...". Do you think this could just be preteen stuff and that she might come out ok the other side - or is this just her? We can talk to her, discipline, reward and so on but I am worried that the basic kindness and caring that should come naturally to a human isn't there with her.
This sounds like quite standard teen behaviour to me. Remember their brains are NOT developed like an adults. So you get mature language and behaviour but without adult levels of compassion and insight. I would try and avoid saying her behaviour upsets you. I suspect she doesn't know how to process that and it will just result in more aggro from her as she becomes frustrated with herself.
You do need to protect ds's self esteem. Tbh I would try and manage things so she has little opportunity to put him down and shut it down if she starts but also try to ensure both have time alone with one parent or the other to get the 'strokes' they need.
Other than that I wouldn't go on about this. Just watch and wait. Does she have a pet btw? Would she like one if not? A cat is a great pet for a teen prone to moodiness. Companionable and cuddly but without too much to do for it.
Is anyone else concerned? Some things like adhd aspergers etc can show lack of empathy as part of their diagnosis. Depends what else your seeing here.
Equally she could be self absorbed. Is she not concerned because you are asking? As in "oh anything to shut mum up" huffy or does it surprise her you consider it?
See, teens to 25 don't have much ability to show empathy. It is a developmental thing, hand in hand with teens predilection for risk taking. And changes per individual. So one can be highly empathetic and snother nary a clue.
Two things I'd say, teens expect themselves as the sun. Everything revolves round them.
Secondly even weeds are plants. They just grow in the wrong place. Be careful you don't talk yourself into a fug. She could just be a diff personality type to you?
I'm going to say that I think it is just preteen stuff, at least I hope it is because my DD1 (almost 13) is exactly the same. She has an older brother and 2 younger siblings but she cannot speak to them with a civil tongue a lot of the time. Within minutes of her waking at weekends you can hear her nasty words, she is particularly rude to DH in the mornings when he is waiting to take her to the school bus.
Like your DD she also has no interest in what is happening with her friends and if I ask about them I too get the "I didn't ask" thing. My DD2 (almost 8) is the opposite - she will offer to make breakfast for herself and DS2 (3) and help him at the toilet if I am busy but ask DD1 and it's No, No, No.
We do discipline her too and she has missed out on visits with friends because of it in the past but I have worried about her like of kindness and empathy with others.
She can be nice with me and when she's tired will cuddle up but it has to be on her terms, plus apparently she's lovely and school and helpful .
I have a very similar 11yo DD. I'm hoping it is normal proto-teen self absorption.
I thought this about dd1. She can be a total cow at home and with dd2 and seems to get bullied a lot by a particular group of girls. When I spoke to her class teacher about the bullying and asked whether any of it could have been exacerbated by her "me, me, me" attitude, he looked confused and told me that he couldn't understand why this group of girls have an issue with her because she is a genuinely lovely person and one of the nicest, kindest girls he's ever taught
I think it's an age thing and they are more comfortable showing their frustrations at home. They're probably very different at school. DD1 must be, "genuinely lovely and an all round nice person" is not how I'd describe her lately
Don't write her off.
DH used to get very angry with DS1 as he seemed uncaring and unkind to his you ger brother/friends. Part of this (almost all of it) was due to DS1 not showing emotion in his face or acting "bothered" when he had done something wrong.
I remember him pushing his brother too hard on the swing (on purpose) and brother fell and hurt his head.
DS1 was just standing there. But just because he did not show emotion, does not mean he does not feel it. He was very upset and went to hide and cry. Bit he did not know how to mske things ok again.
They are still learning at this age. You can teach empathy by leading by example and also by steering them in the right direction with simple instructions:" x is sad, it would be good if you went iver to ask how he is, so he knows you care"
At 11/12 they are still children and haven't learned all the social rules yet.
An occasional "be nice to your brother" dies no harm either.
Make sure she knows you expect "better" behaviour of her without her feeling picked on.
Thanks everyone. It makes me feel better that other children are like this too (we can't all be raising serial killers ) but sorry that you are going through it too! Nobody outside the family is concerned and another mother said to me recently that DD was delightful I have read that children's brains are rewiring at this age and they aren't as capable of empathy as they used to be but I keep thinking that surely they should still have some basic understanding of niceness... she goes out of her way to try and hurt DS (verbally, not physically) - which his so sad as he hero-worships her
Northern, she has a pet - whilst she professes to love it, she ignores it the whole time
Add my DD 13 to the list , no empathy and very self centred BUT she is vegetarian and icky about blood so I am pretty certain she wont become a serial killer
I was just like that at her age. Horrible to my younger brother and my parents. But I was fine outside of the house and everyone used to tell my mum I was really well behaved.
I think that the house was sort of the place were I could let all my emotions go because I knew my family would always be there and at that age I just wanted to fit in with friends etc so I used to bottle up any emotions till I was home which usually meant my parents or brother got it.
Also I could get really jealous of my brother because I thought he was the favourite as I was told off more (rightly so most of the time but I didn't see it like that) and I was putting him down because he was better than me at some things which I didn't really like because I wanted to be the big sister.
I would also avoid telling her it upsets you as it can be quite hard to understand when your that age. My parents did the same and I thought they were lying to me to try and me apologise or to try and make feel bad.
Just remember it will get better. I am a totally normal(ish) human I have 3 DCs and I am generally known as the mother hen within my group of friends so all is not lost.
I also now have my own 12 year old DD who is pretty much the same. I don't let her get away with putting her sibilings down and she has privileges taken away which tends to make it better. I also make alone time for each of them. DD also has a note pad and a money box with a key in her room so she can write her thoughts down and put them in the box and no one else has a key to get in to it. She also has a slightly later bedtime were I sit on her bed and we can just talk we call it free-quarter because for that 15 minutes (or more if she wants) she can talk to about anything at all with no punishments and it won't leave the room and doesn't have to be talked about again outside of that time.
Also if she starts to tantrum I tend to leave the room or tell her to get in hers and just leave her until she bothers to come and find me or until I am sure she is calm. If she follows me I ignore her and I don't punish her if she does something bad whilst tantruming till she has finished because otherwise it just makes it worse.
Remember it will pass and if other people think she is delightful then it does mean that she has the skills and don't give up on her.
I should also add that I now have a great relationship with my brother and we are pretty close.
Thanks, Stars. I do wonder whether we have been making it worse by praising DS (who is the most thoughtful, caring child you could ever imagine) so I am making an effort to praise him out of her earshot. There is very little to praise her about but we do try to find things - the other day I praised her for not shouting at me when I asked her to have a shower
I love your free-quarter idea. I will definitely adopt that, that's a fantastic idea.
The free-quarter can take time for them to full trust it,and of course you have to stick to it no matter what they say.
(DD once told me that she had deliberately taken something of DSs and hid it in his room to get him in trouble for losing it. I was rather annoyed but I just focused on asking her why she felt she had to do it instead of getting angry)
Honestly with the praising just praise everything that she does that is even a little bit good. Hanging a coat up, or just sitting quietly if she is better around other people then praise her whilst she is there.
It can be difficult but it does get easier.
I have a dd like this also. Its just part of growing up, starting the transition into a more independent world. I worry too, mainly because I remember being horrid to other girls at this age and I don't want her to be. It's part of a process. Atleast I hope so, if not there are going to be alot of us visiting our sociopathic dd in prison in a decade! We could do a mumsnet lift share!
praising her for doing what you ask of her without fuss is a good start. Whether she turns out (in your opinion) to be nice or not nice isnt something you should stress about too much. Its a tricky age. Children do have compassion but not often for their brothers and sisters.
Have you spoken to her teacher maybe? Put your mind at rest?
You say shes not actively horrible. Maybe its just you need to do something bonding, just you and her?
Is there anything specifically shes into? A museum or something shed enjoy or a show?
Don't worry. This is normal behaviour. Girls are vocal and can use this in toe with stroppiness. She may have said to you she doesn't know how her friend is because your not worthy of an answer or have the right to know in her opinion.
Read - get out my life but first take me and Alex into town. It's a life saver. I can't recommend it highly enough. Your d like mine was is at the higher end of stroppy teen stuff. This will help you understand what's going on in her brain and help you deal with her. It made our house much calmer once I read it. Good luck !
when we explain, nicely and calmly, to her that she is upsetting us she genuinely can't see that she's wrong
If the calm explaining really didn't work I think at some point I would yell at the top of my voice and ask her how she likes this sort of treatment. She will jump out of her skin, and might think twice herself in the future. But from you posts I would guess that would be unacceptable to you.
Years ago I would have said you were correct to be proud of your kind, caring son but now, with adult DCs, the being kind can be quite a burden. It has meant, to some in in my family, they can't get/take what they want in life, as that's considered being selfish. The upshot has been some anxiety and depressive spells.
There is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and getting what you want in life. Everyone is different.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
OP - as a cautionary tale you should read the post I've just started about what can go wrong if you become overly critical of a stroppy teen...there is a risk that she will feel that you don't understand her and just withdraw further inside herself and your relationship can be badly damaged. Sorry, realise that might sound a bit OTT and don't mean to worry you, but think this is how my relationship started to break down with my own mother many years ago. Really good advice on here about not being too critical and instead trying to praise, role model good behaviours and keep the channels of communication open and non-judgemental.
lickingstars ... You took the words out of my mouth. I was incredibly rude and selfish as a teenager. I'm so embarrassed now. Both my mother's parents died while I was a teenager and I feel bad at the lack of support I gave her. I was so self-absorbed. I grew out of it, I realise now what it is to treat people well. I wish I had learnt it sooner, but I don't know that my parents could have taught me any more than they did. I had to learn it for myself. Hang in there lucas - if you can put up with her, and if she knows enough to behave well 'out of home', it sounds like you're doing a great job!
Oh and on the point about not being able to see she's wrong....
From my experience, I sometimes could see it (when pointed out to me) but I was too arrogant and/or embarrassed to admit it....
Oh god I thought this about my dd1. She as bloody horrid. She would actually look at me as if I had shit dangling through my teeth. They come out the other end though honestly!!!
Thanks again, everybody. Some really good advice there. Lulu, I'll have a look at your thread - hope you are ok.
For the first time in a while you have all made me feel better about my dd11.
I've got 2 amazing teenagers aged 18 and 16 who I was incredibly lucky with and aside from messy rooms and the odd bit of cheek I never had any bother with.
Then there's dd2 aged 11. She's vile. Speaks to me like I'm crap on her shoe and takes no responsibility for anything. Everything is someone else's fault (usually mine).
She has many good points which I try to focus on but when she's slamming doors on me and giving me evils it's difficult.
I'm worried if she's like this at 11 wtf am I going to have to deal with at 13?
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