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I am fed up! 8yr old DD with major attitude

I can't take it anymore! My 8yr old DD is pushing me to my brink. She spends most weekends with her dad and stepmother and has very little rules and boundaries when she is there. I expect obedience and respect. She is constantly pitching a fit when I tell her to do something and rolling her eyes and huffing and puffing at me. I need to break of this! I need help!!!

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Asked by MChildressDem at 12:38 PM on Apr. 14, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 20 (9,966 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Ohh you're in the gearing up for puberty phase. Have fun.

    Answer by funlovinlady at 12:39 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • Continue to be consistent and don't let her see you get mad at her behavior. Basically, don't give the kid any ammunition towards thinking she might be pushing you to the point of caving. Kids are more than capable of figuring out it's fine to behave one way in one place, and then act differently somewhere else with someone else.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 12:48 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • It's time to crack down, Mama, before she cracks you! Tell her the way she acts at her dad's house is up to him, but that treating you with respect is nonnegotiable. What I did with my stepson was to consistently ignore any huffing or fit pitching, any interactionwhere he wasn't treating me the way he would want me to treat him. When he got tired of being ignored, he would usually come back and apologize. If he talked back or had a temper tantum, he knew the next request he made, if it wasn't something essential like dinner or laundry, wouldn't happen. The flip side was that I made a real effort to listen to him, even if I wasn't interested in the subject, like talking about Star Wars for the zillionthtime. I'd laugh when he said something meant to be funny, even if I didn't think it particularly was. Having fun together de-escalated the battle; he felt respected and I modeled the way I expected to be treated.

    Answer by Ballad at 1:08 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • I know it's tough. Start where you both are, and respond in ways that will help you move toward where you want to be.
    Consider those things (her huffing & puffing, her eye-rolling) her reactions of displeasure to what you're asking or expecting. Hold limits but also make space for her feelings & reactions, so it's permissible for her to feel something other than "joy" about the way your expectations impact her. It doesn't mean you're unreasonable; it doesn't mean she's a bad (disrespectful) kid. It means she has some feelings.
    At those times, consider offering her respect & acknowledgment. (This models what you want FROM her.) Instead of taking issue with HOW she speaks/acts, show empathy for the resistance (or annoyance, frustration) it communicates. That is making space for the feelings AND modeling a more mature/acceptable way of communicating the very same things. Offering (versus insisting on) respect builds relationship.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:42 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

  • When you offer acceptance rather than automatic resistance (because the tone was upsetting to you), it doesn't reinforce the behavior. It gives the person some space to "have" those feelings & process them a bit, and the space to reflect on their tone/attitude or words. When you resist, they default to counter-resistance.
    If you use reflective listening (active listening) & "translate" primitive communication for its valid emotional content, showing acceptance for that (even if it doesn't change things, as far as what you're asking or expecting), you are not trying to FORCE the kid into behaving a certain way, which gives room for their OTHER feelings & sociability to emerge. That is where you might encounter a "Sorry about my tone" comment, or a non-verbal indication of remorse/caring. And overall, you begin to move toward a more constructive, more gratifying & less adversarial way of relating as your relationship improves.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:53 PM on Apr. 14, 2013

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