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My 9 year old daughter has become so exhausting..

She cries when I tell her it's time to take a bath, I mean, c'mon, once every other day. She yells at her 4 year old sister constantly (they share a room). She leaves her clothes, book bag, shoes, toys, everything, EVERYWHERE. She went to live with her dad for 9 months and came back with a lot of bad habits. The lying, not taking care of herself such as clipping her nails, washing her hands, she literally will let herself smell of sweat for days and go without brushing her hair/teeth if I don't make her. I'm tired of sounding like a broken record. Do this, do that. Oh, and the lying. It's getting worse! What do I do? She's acting like a lazy girl but she's super smart and getting "does not use full potential" in school and "not utilizing time".. hmm. Help!

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:26 PM on Jan. 27, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Answers (8)
  • 9? crying like a baby?

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:29 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • I suggest the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

    Answer by Gailll at 5:32 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • In child development, this age is when they wake up to self-consciousness: they notice THEMSELVES isolated within the swirl of the world. Before, they were mostly rolling along, not thinking about it, just feeling like a part of everything. Now, they have to contend with feelings of NOT BELONGING.

    Thus, any incident which highlights her separateness from you, from the world; which highlights any "not-belonging" within her world ... is going to be MUCH more painful than it would have been before.

    How do we cope with pain? One way is by becoming more sleepy, by being lax in our will-power and NOT trying to accomplish anything ... because if we strive for something, and we are all alone and on our own, we have very little confidence that we will succeed. This takes the wind out of our sails before we even start !

    I imagine being removed from home for 9 months would increase this natural anguish of not-belonging (cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:38 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • I imagine her lost sense of not-belonging would be increased exponentially by her recent period of literally not belonging in your home !

    9-year-olds are famous for acting out on their parents, even without any drama / displacement in their lives. Their unconscious assumptions about the world are falling away as they develop into more conscious people. This is a good step in development, but it makes them feel lost, and they need reassurance - every minute of every day - that their parent is on their side, is vitally fascinated about everything that they are thinking, feeling or experiencing in this new world with its sharp outlines.

    Time together, family dinner every evening (with no tv, and with low lighting) is a great bonding time, or board games (again, not tv) played together WITH some snacks to eat. Also, reading a chapter book every night before bed (I heartily recommend James Herriot's books) helps with (cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:45 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • The exact types of behaviors came up with my daughter when she was 10 and her biological father happened to pop into her life. She became impossible and COMPLETELY unpleasant to even be around! I hadn't attributed this horrible behavior (lying, lazyness, stealing, poor progress in school, faking illness, getting in trouble all the time, etc etc etc etc) to her bio-dad coming around, because after all, this was a good thing right? But the behavior lasted until my husband came into our lives (She was 13) and "took her in" like she were HIS would not have known she were not his biological child, except that they look nothing alike. He was/is and INCREDIBLE father to her....but the SECOND he came into our lives, her behavior almost completely changed!!! It had gotten to the point where I really felt like I hated her and hated being her mom - that's how severe her behavior was!!! She just needed a daddy. A REAL one!

    Answer by TLALONDE16 at 5:48 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • Reading an ongoing story before bed also helps with bonding.

    As parents, we do have to keep up various standards. I found myself ALWAYS being forced to get after my 2nd child - I would get up in the morning and say to myself, "Today, I will NOT get on Sean's case ! I WILL be patient and kind ! " ... but he would routinely act up in ways that I could not ignore.

    I discovered that - if I was going to always have a given number of negative encounters with him, then I needed to create that many more GOOD times with him to create a background of warmth, acceptance, affection and delight in him. That way, when the negative moments came, they were trivial against that background of active loving.

    He needed to know, most of all, that I was in his corner, rooting for him, interested in his spelling words, WANTING him to be near me and doing things with me ... ACCEPTED for who he is.

    The reward will be worth every effort !

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:52 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • Oh yeah...her bio dad bowed out of her life after about 6 this contributed even more to her acting out....she already knew rejection (because he had never been around) and then when he bowed out - it became true, real rejection. It killed her spirit and robbed her of joy.

    Thank God for my husband coming into our lives...he's not the best husband, but he is a phenom of a father!!! :)

    I don't know what the remedy is, aside from a father coming in to her life or counseling.... Counseling may be the solution. Despite broken families becoming so commonplace - it still breeds a great deal of grief, confusion, pain, self-blame (for the child), rejection, etc. I wish I had taken my daughter to counseling!!! This is a PRIME time for you to begin taking yours though. So don't miss out on this window where change and necessary adjustments can occur. There will come a time where counseling will be too late......

    Answer by TLALONDE16 at 5:55 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • My dd is 9. I have to initate EVERYTHING for her~the bath taking,and alll that! I have to push her through each day/every day. She is mean to my 5 yr old ds. My dd has ADHD and I am afraid conduct disorder too~thus the hitting,yelling and all. She does well at school,just made the honor roll so I can't complain about that much. She does not hit or sass adults at school(just me and dh are luck ones). If your dd was nothaving some of these issues before the 9 months away from you then I am sure it has to w/that. I know pushing a tween through each and every personal task at home sucks but don't give up on her,she will get it one of these days and you'll be surprised:) At least thats what I am hangin there for.GL


    Answer by momthruivf at 10:01 AM on Jan. 30, 2010

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