My 8 year old daughter shows no respect for her father and I. She is a sweet girl in schools and with other relatives and friends. But at home, she wants attention all day, loves to yell at us, loves to slam everything around, and is up to the point of trying to hit us and calling us names. She constantly cries and whines and says we mistreat her and claims we are mean with her. When it's time to do her homework, she wants us to sit next to her and give her answers which we don't. She spends hours, about 2 or 3, completing her homework because she mostly cries and whines. Bedtime is another hassle, she doesn't want to fall asleep alone in her room, she would constantly get out of bed saying she can't sleep. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she wants one of us in there with her. She is the only child. She is the only grandchild on my side. For five years, we all lived with my parents and they would spoil her. If she is angry with us, she grabs the phone to call my parents but I don't allow it. Christmas is around the corner and I'm considering returning the gift we purchased for her. My parents purchased a couple of things for her as well (electronics and toys) and I believe she shouldn't have those either. Family and friends purchased a couple of things for her as well. I don't know what to do at this point. How can we help improve her behavior? Is it wise to return her gifts and not let her have any to open on Christmas? Any suggestions will be helpful.
Hi there. First, I don't think it is appropriate to return her Christmas gifts. If you want to cut down, that is one thing but that is a pretty big consequence when you've not listed anything you do on a daily basis to help her with her behavior.
What types of discipline do you use? I am a huge fan of the "love and logic' series which is the discipline style that my school system supports and trains parents to use at home. It's all about consequences being the teacher.
Example--- she wants you to give her answers to her homework. Well, you say "I'm sorry. I can show you one problem but then you must do the rest. (just to cover that she knows how to do it)." If she doesn't do her homework, then that is fine. That is HER choice. Send it in incomplete. Send an email to the teacher about what is going on. Then she faces that at school consequences of not having her homework done which can be embarrassing to an 8 year old. THAT is her consequence.
I would set up the boundaries calmly with her. If she screams, have a consequence set up ahead of time. Perhaps it is a time out in her room (some do it a minute per years she is and it STARTS when she is calm). I never speak to my children if the yell or whine. I tell them that they can have my attention when they use their normal or 'happy' voice. Then I ignore them completely. If they escalate, then it is a consequence. Again, set up the consequence ahead of time. My kids respond to having things taken away. they are more upset about that than time outs so it is a more affective route for me. I never threaten anything I don't follow up on.
I also go really mean mom and if they get in trouble with their mouth, they get a dollup of apple cider vinegar on their tongue. It's happened maybe 3 times in almost 10 years to one son and once to the other who is also 8. but I *will* bring it out of the pantry and place it on the counter. Very good deterrent. My kids will speak to me respectfully or that is the consequence. Works pretty darn well.
Sleep is a bit harder. That is not so much bad behavior but rather habit and her form of manipulation. If she's had someone lay with her when she goes to bed, it is her normal and she wants it to feel cozy and comfy for bed time. That is as much the fault of whomever started this practice as hers and hence, in overcoming it, you must be empathetic. What I did is talk a lot about good sleep with my kids. That good sleep is essential for a good day and hence, we all have to get it. My kids really buy into that and when they have a bad moment, I point out that it could be because of lack of good sleep. anyway, I will tell my sons to get in bed. We say our prayers, we give a hug, we turn out the light. But when we had a bad pattern going on, I would say "okay, I have to do X, you need to go to sleep so you try and I'll check on you in 5 minutes." Then I'd come back and look in and if he was still awake, I'd say "I'm not finished yet. You keep trying, and I'll be back in a few minutes (and I'd make it 10 this time)." and I'd just keep doing that. My kids almost always fell asleep. The only other option is to explain that you love her but you have to get your own rest and so you can't lay with her. And make that the rule. No more staying in her room at night period. start it at the weekend though and beforehand, go pick out a super cool night light, something cute for her to cuddle (yes, a new one to make this a special thing), etc. If she calls out to you at night, walk her back silently and put her in bed. Walk right back out. If she gets up again, keep doing that. Don't give in no matter how tired you all are because it won't last forever. She'll get it eventually that she has to put herself back to sleep without you.
What do you do to reward her if she has good behavior? you also want to catch her doing GOOD/ right things.
Back to love and logic. You can find this book at your local library and it is by Jim Fey. Lots of good advice in it that will help you.
Lastly, keep an eye on things. If she starts to have issues in other places such as school especially, she may indeed have something going on that is an issue. It shouldn't take 2 to 3 hours for homework. Homework is practice and review, especially at 8 yrs old. Let her teacher know how long it is taking her even if you believe she knows the answers and is just being difficult. there could be more to that piece of this than just being difficult. She could have a learning issue or a neurological issue/learning issue.
Completely agree with Specialmom on EVERY thing she says (especially the xmas gift).
Adding a bit more to her last paragraph. 2 to 3 hours is way too long for homework. Question is why? Does she cry and whine because she has no clue how to do it, or does she start and then quickly become distracted? How are her grades? Does her teacher feel like she is working up to her ability? Many times if you have a sweet little girl in class its easy to overlook the fact that they are struggling. And the sleep issue is also important.
I am also the CL on the ADHD forum and I do see issues like this over there. She is showing many of the symptoms of ADHD or ADD. You might want to check out this site and see if any of it applies to her --
If she does have something like ADHD, then that could explain what is going on. All of Specialmoms recommendations for behavioral change still would apply. Its just that change would take a lot longer to happen.
Please post here or over there - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175 if you have any questions about the possibility of ADHD.
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