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Question
Posted by: mommy | 2011/11/17

difficult 7 year old duaghter

Good day,

I need some advice on how to handle my 7 year old daughter, She goes to school till 12:45 and then goes to her grandmother thereafter till i get home to pick her up at about 17:30. The ehing is that she is busy giving her grandmother a very hard time at this stage and she does not know how to deal with it anymore, she had to drink calmeds yesturday because my daughter had really upset her yesturday. Here follows a list of things she is doing:

Slamming Doors:

She slams doors when she doesn''t get her way or you tell her no for something. she slammed the door in her grandmothers face 3 times yesturday

Tantrums:

She trows such bad tantrums when she doesn''t get her way that she will throw herself on the floor and start screaming and crying so hard and ugly it sounds as if someone is busy killing her. She threw a tantrum in this week when she and grandma quickly went to visit her mother and when it was time to leave she wanted to stay there and grandma told her no they are leaving then she threw a tantrum right there in the driveway. Before they went to the grand grandmother, grandma explained to her that they are just quickly going there and that she is not going to stay there and that she will be coming back home with her and she was fine with all that but then trew a tantrum when it was time to leave

Talking Back

She talks back to everybody about every thing and rolls her eyes when she is asked to brush her teeth she tells you that she dont want to or not now. she doesnt want to get her hair brushed or get dressed, i usually pack her clothes for after school when she is at her grandmother but then she tells her grandmother that she does not want to wear that and then refuse to get changed

Eating:

When it is time to eat she doesn''t want to eat and realy actually refuse to eat or she tells you she doesn''t eat this or that then when it is time for bed and i ask her to getr into bed she doesnt want to she will come up with the excuse of she is hungry and thursty, i will then go make her something to eat and drink just so that she can take one or two bites and leave the rest so she is actually just buying time for herself and wasting mine.

please help as we are now at the end of our rope with her. she does not have any siblings. is there a motivational chart that we can set up? how do we deal with these thing when it happens etc.

Thanx in advance for any replies

Kind regards
mommy

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Totally unacceptable behaviour. Tantrums like that, occur at some stage in the lives of many children ; and there's the unfortunate element that the child is sensing her grandmother's degree of frailty and taking advantage of it.
The tantrum is about POWER, not about wanting to stay longer on a visit, or whatever.
You don't mention a husband, so Im guessing you're a single mother ( also a situation a child can recognize she can take advantage of ).
Before the child becomes too skillful as a brat, you need to ( maybe with the help and support of your mother and anyone else who needs at times to take care of her, to draw up a very clear list of rules of the family, which she must keep to at all times, with unpleaant consequences if she doesn't ( smacking, etc., doesn't work, but loss of cell-phone use for 2 days for each offense, loss of TV time, and whatever else she really wants, works wonders ). Consistently keeping the rules leads to small rewards and loads of praise and obvious love.
You explain that the same rules and consequences apply whether she's with you, or your mother, or anyone else. And that none of it is debatable or open to negotiation. It doesn't matter whether or not she WANTS to brush her teeth - teeth must get washed. She doesn't have to want to do it, but she does have to do it.
If she refuses to change to the school clothes you have chosen for her, then she must be told she'll have to go to school in her pyjamas, and let the other children laugh at her for being so foolish.
If she doesn't east and drink whatever you prepare for her, then that's it - it doesn't matter at all if she is hungry or thirsty, the next food and drink ( other than tap water ) will be provided at the next proper meal-time. Again, nothing to be negotiated.
There will be some tantrums ( explain in advance that tantrums just make her look silly, and will be ignored ) but she'll get the hand of it surprisingly soon, if you all stick strictly to the rules and consequences.
Inconsistency, and any sense that she can gain power by refusing to cooperate, defeats it all.
If you or people you know have DSTV access, try to see some episodes of the Supernanny series, which demontstrates the use of such methods convincingly. A child psychologist could also help draw up and encourage such a system, if your daughter seems determined to resist.
Children ALWAYS need structure and rules and limits in their lives, and are actually happier within a structured, predictable and fair system.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

4
Our users say:
Posted by: Just saying | 2011/11/17

I''m wondering why your daughter is being taken care of by her grandmother? Is it not possible that she go to an aftercare. The chances are she is bored at grandma''s house, and is not being stimulated. Imagine a 7 year old being in the company of a senior person every day, with no one to play with? I''m guessing she is bored and frustrated, therefore her behaviour, because she does not want to go home to grandma''s house where it''s boring. While I''m in no way condoning her behaviour, I do believe that there are underlying issues which are causing her to behave in this manner, and it''s not just a matter of being naughty. She could be looking for attention, and this may be her way of eliciting such? Negative attention is afterall better than no attention, so this strategy is working for her because she''s getting the attention she craves.

I hiope things get better for you and her.

Try to explore the option of her going to a playgroup where she can interact with children of her age, and be in a controlled environment.

Reply to Just saying
Posted by: Purple | 2011/11/17

I have a seven year old and many friends with 7 year olds too. This is quite normal for the age, so please don''t think your child is going to grow up to be a delinquent.

I was also at the end of my tether (I told some friends I was ready to advertise my son on gum tree).

Two peole recommended a book to me - " How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk" .

I read it the week before last and started applying things (I was doing things in a similar way already, but tweaked here and there) and what a difference. Suddenly I have a child who is more compliant, shares his feelings more openly and I don''t feel the need to take on his troubles, just be a support.

The one person who recommended it has older (and beautifully behaved) children, so I really listened when she recommended it (she does have 3 kids - 2 boys and a girl), and the other person was a friend of mine with a very difficult 8 year old, who it had got to the point where I was no longer willing to have this child around (and I''m a pretty patient person). I had noticed a change in the child''s behaviour and mentioned it to her, and she told me about the book (which I was already planning to buy). Last week I baby sat her son, and he was a pleasure.

My husband and I were finding that as my son''s behaviour got worse, we were getting harder and harder on him. Trying the books suggestions (stating facts rather than giving him instructions, asking how he feels when he has a problem - and not giving him suggestions to solve it amongst many other things) has seen him crying with frustration rather than throwing a toy on the floor, venting his feelings and deciding on a course of action for himself, him wanting to take responsibility for doing things like making his own bed. We have gone from having door slamming and refusing to bath as a nightly occurence to not a single incident in the last two weeks.

I had been convinced my son was acting up becuase we have a new baby and I needed to get him back in line, and I was upset with myself because I was giving him as much attention as I possibly could and it wasn''t working etc. I realised that at this age, they need more independence and responsibility than we give them, and that they will live up to our expectations.

My parenting philosophy is already gentle and loving within boundaries and this book fits with my overall outlook. The results I have seen are impressive. Its a really old book, it was published in about 1980, but its still in print and available at most book stores. Its not a long book, and its not expensive.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Liza | 2011/11/17

You''re going to have to change your parenting style. She continues being difficult because she knows that she gets away with everything and that throwing a tantrum helps so that she gets her own way.

The most important thing to remember, is that children should face the consequences of their actions. There are far too many parents these days who protect their children from the consequences of the childs'' actions. When children cannot learn from the consequences of their own mistakes, they''ll keep on making exactly the same mistakes over and over again.

Make a list of unacceptable behaviors as well as the corresponding punishment should she behave badly and put the list on the wall. e.g. If she doesn''t want to eat what''s being served and when it is being serverd, she doesn''t have to eat it BUT she will not get something to eat later when she''s hungry. Going to bed hungry will make her less fussy very fast. If she''s rude,rolls her eyes or slams the door in someone''s face, take away her tv priviledges. If she doesn''t want to brush her teeth - tell her that it''s fine - it''s her teeth that will become rotten and fall out and then she mustn''t come and complain about it to you.

And about the tantrums. Let her throw the tantrum. Let her scream blue murder if she wants to. I know this is difficult and I know other people give you funny looks but the trick is to let her throw her tantrum and just wait patiently for her to finish - even if you''re in public. When my kids threw tantrums, I would stand and look at them without responding to the tantrum and wait for them to finish. When they finally stopped, I would continue as if they hadn''t thrown a tantrum. After a couple of times, they realized that a tantrum gains them absolutely nothing and they never threw a tantrum again.

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/11/17

Totally unacceptable behaviour. Tantrums like that, occur at some stage in the lives of many children ; and there's the unfortunate element that the child is sensing her grandmother's degree of frailty and taking advantage of it.
The tantrum is about POWER, not about wanting to stay longer on a visit, or whatever.
You don't mention a husband, so Im guessing you're a single mother ( also a situation a child can recognize she can take advantage of ).
Before the child becomes too skillful as a brat, you need to ( maybe with the help and support of your mother and anyone else who needs at times to take care of her, to draw up a very clear list of rules of the family, which she must keep to at all times, with unpleaant consequences if she doesn't ( smacking, etc., doesn't work, but loss of cell-phone use for 2 days for each offense, loss of TV time, and whatever else she really wants, works wonders ). Consistently keeping the rules leads to small rewards and loads of praise and obvious love.
You explain that the same rules and consequences apply whether she's with you, or your mother, or anyone else. And that none of it is debatable or open to negotiation. It doesn't matter whether or not she WANTS to brush her teeth - teeth must get washed. She doesn't have to want to do it, but she does have to do it.
If she refuses to change to the school clothes you have chosen for her, then she must be told she'll have to go to school in her pyjamas, and let the other children laugh at her for being so foolish.
If she doesn't east and drink whatever you prepare for her, then that's it - it doesn't matter at all if she is hungry or thirsty, the next food and drink ( other than tap water ) will be provided at the next proper meal-time. Again, nothing to be negotiated.
There will be some tantrums ( explain in advance that tantrums just make her look silly, and will be ignored ) but she'll get the hand of it surprisingly soon, if you all stick strictly to the rules and consequences.
Inconsistency, and any sense that she can gain power by refusing to cooperate, defeats it all.
If you or people you know have DSTV access, try to see some episodes of the Supernanny series, which demontstrates the use of such methods convincingly. A child psychologist could also help draw up and encourage such a system, if your daughter seems determined to resist.
Children ALWAYS need structure and rules and limits in their lives, and are actually happier within a structured, predictable and fair system.

Reply to cybershrink

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