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Question
Posted by: Julie | 2011/07/11

At a total loss....

with my 10 yr old daughter. She is disobedient, stubborn and never seems to be happy. Nothing that I do is good enough (unless it is in her favour). I am a single mother and find it very difficult to be both the disciplinarian and the " good guy" . I have grounded her, taken her phone away, stopped friends sleeping and even given her a couple of hidings. NOTHING seems to get results. She has issues with her father not seeing her regularly (he lives in the same town as us) and takes her frustration out on me. Any suggestions??

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Being a mother isn't easy, of course, and being a single mother even less easy, as there's no-one at hand with whom to share such problems and with whome to seek solutions. Hidings don't work, as yolu have discovered. Sounds like the child is being given far too much adult power to evaluate you, to set examinations and give you marks. Maybe there's a problem within the idea of trying to be "both disciplinarian and the 'good guy".
What all children need and respond to is clear rules about important issues ( not bothering about trivial stiff ) with an absolutely consistent set of consequences, pleasant and unpleasant, for the behaviour choices they make, good and bad. You are the lawmaker and enforcer.
Often, a well-meaning and kindly mom lurches between different responses, trying desperately to handle bad behaviour, now threatening, now appeasing, and being inconistent.
YOu then sit down and explain the rules to her, calmly and clearly at a time when there is no big crisis under way. When she chooses bad behaviour that breaks the rules you remind her of the rule and why there is an unpleasant consequence, and apply those on a sliding scale for the awfulness of the breach or its repetitiveness. There needs to be a sequence of groundings, no friend visits, and what most kids these days seem to consider fully equivalent to the death penalty, temporary loss of cell phone.
Things she realy likes perhaps including airtime, which need not be given automatically and willy nilly, are linked to specified GOOD behaviours, including sharing some of the home chores, cleaning her room, and so on. So bad behaviour is not rewarded and has consequences she would prefer to avoid ; and good behaviour has consequences she would appreciate and seek.
Try to catch her doing things RIGHT, and reward this with praise and good feelings.
It really is possible to shape behaviour in favourable directions.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: denise | 2011/07/21

my son is highperactive and struggle to consentrate in class he is 10yrs old now the school is sending him to a school for disabled kids with out him seeing a doctor where do i start to help him

Reply to denise
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/07/11

Being a mother isn't easy, of course, and being a single mother even less easy, as there's no-one at hand with whom to share such problems and with whome to seek solutions. Hidings don't work, as yolu have discovered. Sounds like the child is being given far too much adult power to evaluate you, to set examinations and give you marks. Maybe there's a problem within the idea of trying to be "both disciplinarian and the 'good guy".
What all children need and respond to is clear rules about important issues ( not bothering about trivial stiff ) with an absolutely consistent set of consequences, pleasant and unpleasant, for the behaviour choices they make, good and bad. You are the lawmaker and enforcer.
Often, a well-meaning and kindly mom lurches between different responses, trying desperately to handle bad behaviour, now threatening, now appeasing, and being inconistent.
YOu then sit down and explain the rules to her, calmly and clearly at a time when there is no big crisis under way. When she chooses bad behaviour that breaks the rules you remind her of the rule and why there is an unpleasant consequence, and apply those on a sliding scale for the awfulness of the breach or its repetitiveness. There needs to be a sequence of groundings, no friend visits, and what most kids these days seem to consider fully equivalent to the death penalty, temporary loss of cell phone.
Things she realy likes perhaps including airtime, which need not be given automatically and willy nilly, are linked to specified GOOD behaviours, including sharing some of the home chores, cleaning her room, and so on. So bad behaviour is not rewarded and has consequences she would prefer to avoid ; and good behaviour has consequences she would appreciate and seek.
Try to catch her doing things RIGHT, and reward this with praise and good feelings.
It really is possible to shape behaviour in favourable directions.

Reply to cybershrink

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