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Delaying tactics, lack of enthusiasm and horrid tone of voice - where's this come from & why?

(33 Posts)
EnglishFizz Sat 16-Feb-13 08:11:40

My Sept born year 5 daughter has changed.

She used to be dead chuffed if she'd been given some homework & bounced in gathering the bits she needed before I had even taken my coat off. At every parents eve right through school we were told by every teacher that she had a wonderful enthusiastic, helpful, hardworking attitude. Her results have been great from day one & she has progressed in linear fashion throughout - keeping ahead of average.

Gradually over the last 8-12 months she has lost her enthusiaim. Delays homework until last minute as she does now with anything that's not her absolute ideal choice - her (minimal) household chores for example. When I request she does these things I am met with a stroppy (bordering on frankly rude) attitude. If I say come on close laptop/turn off TV etc now (often for 2nd or 3rd time) the reply is "I AM" (when she isn't but then does) in a squeally raised voice with but emphasis on the AM (if you've had it you'll know!).

Her default position is TV (or watching TV progs) via iplayer etc on the iPad. She has a much younger sibling in year 1 who takes up biggest chunks of my time between 4-6 along with making supper, clearing up etc but rather than be with us in the hub, chatting as I unload the dishwasher etc she goes off to watch TV or play on Club Penguin alone. To be fair her sibling is noisy so doing quiet work with us in the kitchen isn't possible.

Where has her sparkle gone? Why?
It comes back if things go her way, we do things that she loves but we can't always be going to Pizza Hut or having a holiday or ice skating or going on play dates can we? The second it's not perfect for her the strop comes back or the fizz goes (popping into a shop on way back from Pizza Hut, being expected to help pack/unpack for the holiday, having an early night after a sleepover/play date). She doesn't seem grateful for anything and her self awareness around attitude and manners in front of others is worrying me. Her academic progress has slipped a bit and she's not keen to put in effort which she now needs to having sailed through school getting exceptional marks without effort.

We do have real concerns over her school. It is/was a good school but has gone downhill in last couple of years. She's in year 6 class with her & six other year 5s. There are some v boisterous boys in yr six who take up teachers time & whose behaviour & attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Could this be the reason? don't know!

Help. Pleeeese!

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 11:53:57

Negative preteen attitudes

Male doctor here describing the preteen attitude problem

Ronaldo Sun 17-Feb-13 11:54:43

The OP has also said herself that she has a sibling issue - so maybe she has identified it herself?

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 12:01:27

Yes, there may be a sibling issue, as in the OP's daughter finds her younger sibling annoying and does not want to share attention with him/her, or takes out her frustrations on him/her, but that is also completely normal.

Quote from the second of the two articles I linked to above:

"Taking Negativity out on Others

No wonder your early adolescent feels negative. She's rejecting the idea of being a child and the interests and attachments that went with it, and doesn't yet have anything positive to replace the loss, so her self-esteem drops. More in life seems to be going wrong than right.

So, after a socially difficult day at school, your 11-year-old comes home brimming with negativity, immediately picking on a younger brother or sister, driving the child to tears, just to take out bad feelings on someone else. Now negativity about self has turned into meanness toward others, just as it does in peer relationships at school at this age."

Fairenuff Sun 17-Feb-13 12:12:12

OP the best advice I can give is to keep your boundaries firm. Let your dd know what you will not accept. Reinforce the boundaries - she is just pushing them to test that they are still there.

Don't get into drawn out arguments, just state your expectations and let her know the consequences if she chooses to ignore them. Then follow through. Don't try to make everything easier for her by more treats, or extra special attention. Just be there, let her know you love her even when she's being difficult.

My dd can completely change from angst ridden to sunny smiles, in a heartbeat. Try not to take anything she says personally, be understanding, be supportive but also stay strong.

It will help her enormously to know that some things are consistent and reliable whilst everything else around her seems so out of control at the moment.

Good luck.

Elibean Sun 17-Feb-13 12:56:40

OP, I started noticing a lot of this in my Y4 dd1 who is a tad precocious, physically.

I bought a book called 'Talking to Tweenies' for almost nothing, on Amazon (second hand) - it holds a lot of sense, and I found it quite reassuring!

Personally, I would put a large chunk down to development/hormones, but also keep the possibility of her being affected by other things (school, sibling, etc) in mind and try and keep channels of communication open. I find having special dd1/mummy time every couple of weeks helps a lot - I ask her what she'd like to do, if she'd like some time with me, and then try to do the thing she wants.

But the thing that helped the most was talking to my dd about the fact that she was growing up, might feel moody/down/cross without knowing why sometimes. I also talked about her growing need for independence, a bit more privacy from her (also Y1) sister, etc. Her moodiness turned to excitement, and suddenly she wanted to have 'girly talks' with mummy etc - as if I'd switched a light on, without knowing it. Doesn't last, but I know how to get the contact back - woman to woman, as it were - now smile

Elibean Sun 17-Feb-13 12:57:19

Meant to say, yes, firm boundaries are also important - but I had to somehow acknowledge her need for more of a say whilst holding on to my authority.

EnglishFizz Mon 18-Feb-13 15:32:27

Thanks everyone.

Ronaldo and Exexpat just to clarify - I didn't say we had a sibling issue. Far from it. My ten year is old great with her sister and of course they have the odd squabble but there is no issue. The reference I made was simply to say that it was understandable that my eldest may decide to go off to her room as her noisy sister is usually in the kitchen. The stroppy tone she uses to me is sometimes used to her sister too but it is used to all of the family - she doesn't single her sister out for this or treat her badly. I don't like any of us spoken to that way though and of course I don't like the influence on her younger sibling.

Elibean and Fairenuff thanks for understanding words and sound advice. i can relate to everything you say! Thanks to the posters on the last page whose names I can't copy and type - thank you very much for the insights. All appreciated and food for thought.

exexpat Mon 18-Feb-13 17:13:06

I think that was just Ronaldo spotting your fleeting mention of a sibling and interpreting everything in the light of his own unhappy teenage years...

But I do have to say that in my experience (of my DS and lots of friends' children) it is extremely common for preteens/early teenagers to start being absolutely beastly to their younger siblings, putting them down at every opportunity etc. It's great that your DD isn't doing that (yet) but be prepared for that to be the next unpleasant new behaviour to crop up.

I hope the various things I linked to will help reassure you that it's all a perfectly normal phase, and they do usually emerge the other side of it as a fairly normal, polite human being again (my DS did).

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