Please please help me with dd' (12) behaviour

(97 Posts)
Sonnet Wed 24-Apr-13 21:13:05

Please help, I don't know where to turn.

I have a stroppy spoilt bad tempered 12 year old. She continually demands and then has temper tantrums of huge proportions when she dosn't get her own way. The whole family walk on egg shells around her. Every weekend and most evenings descend in to caos with DH and I falling out over it all. She refuses to do homework, and when she does it is a scrappy affair.

I can't go on like this, I just want to run away.

Takver Thu 25-Apr-13 20:25:02

Sorry to offer yet another book, but you might find The Explosive Child helpful. A lot of the children discussed in the book have more severe problems (diagnosed ADHD / ASDs), and it is rather American (including discussing medication). BUT, IMO it is fantastic for several reasons, the first being that it points out repeatedly that this kind of behaviour is horrible for the children concerned, not just for the adults suffering the acting out. Also that this isn't about your bad parenting (maybe easier if you have an older child who doesn't have these issues?)

I would definitely second the suggestion to seek help from the school / CAMHS or whoever. DD used to (I say 'used to' with extreme trepidation - but she hasn't this school year) have pretty full on melt downs at school. The Ed Psych was fantastic in helping - firstly by pointing out that the initial need was to deal with her anxiety and identifying the 'flashpoints', and then figuring out a way forward.

drjohnsonscat Thu 25-Apr-13 21:01:18

Sonnet sounds like you've had a better day and I love the dancing analogy. You are just not dancing.

It sounds like there's a blood sugar issue there too with this kicking off every day after school. Would she drink a chocolate milk in the car? I guess not but it does sound she needs some fuel before she can behave properly. Can you make a snack in the car a condition of setting off for home?

Hope the books help but also do talk to your GP. We all need all the help we can get and it sounds very much like DH needs to know how to be part of the solution. I agree that he is part of the problem if he's coming out with "you two are just as bad as each other" thereby undermining your position in the hierarchy and giving your daughter fuel for her hostility ("Even he says mum's awful so she must be...") That's got to stop.

AmiorEzzy Thu 25-Apr-13 21:18:18

You need to start taking more action and take her phone away if she is acting like this. I mean hen I was 12 everyone was out playing or being a child which she still is!

Flicktheswitch Thu 25-Apr-13 21:30:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IdreamofFairies Thu 25-Apr-13 22:21:55

what about talking to the school most schools around here have a counselor (sp ?) my son finds it very helpful to have someone to talk to he works through sheets that help him with his anger and ones that help him improve his self esteem. they should be able to sort something out almost immediately rather than have to wait for referral from gp which can take time.

i am glad you have had a better day today.

what about asking if there are any parenting programmes near you a teenage one i think would be great for you. this would be more about getting support helping you to keep to things that sort of thing, books are fab but nothing beats some rl moral support.

if you are going to decrease your negative attention (arguing back giving in etc) then you need to increase the amount of positive attention you give. lots of praise if you have enjoyed doing something with her say that you have. never say anything negative about her in her hearing (this will just lower her self esteem more)* never* compare her to her sibling (this will just lower her self esteem more).

the more you praise her and build her self esteem the better her behavior will be. i know its hard when they are challenging you at every turn but as said before pick your battles, if you have to with the praise start small and build on it as her behavior improves. bear in mind as well that if her self esteem is low she might find it difficult to hear praise so be honest about things i.e thanks its a great help to me getting to work on time when you get ready when i ask. that sort of thing

Googleit Thu 25-Apr-13 23:25:00

I wouldn't waste time reading parenting books...use your time being a parent. She is crying out for attention so give it to her.Find out what is the problem because there is obviously one. She cannot change her behaviour until you change yours.

Ignoring her is not the answer the more time and attention you give now will mean less behavioural problems later.

It is easier to ignor the problem then address it but it is the only way to change her behaviour and to help her. The more effort you put in now will reap benefits later. Saying one child is fine therefore Ijust have being doing something right puts you off addressing the problems with the child that needs help.

I have been there with the kicking off and extreme tantrums also the dread of what will kick off next. These are symptoms of lack of attention. when i changed so did my child.

Despite how you feel show how happy you are to see her and hug her even if she is into one. Talk andfind out whats happening in her life and above all go to the school and find out if she can get more help with her school work as I think this is the root of it.

bigbuttons Fri 26-Apr-13 07:12:55

googleit you ignore the bad behaviour, not the child. Thats very harsh to imply that the op has brought this one herself by not giving her dd enough attention.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 09:27:18

Thank you all for your responses, all have given me food for thought.

An update: last night went well. After the normal whinge about why she had to do homework, couldn't be bothered etc she settled down and worked hard at her maths prep. I then helped her revise for a history test and I was so pleased at how well she focused. I would also like to add that we were both laughing and interacting positively while this was going on. We had a cuddle at bedtime too. DH played rounders outside with her and they had a cuddle too. A very calm and pleasant dd last night. Unfortunately DH thinks it is only a reaction to the previous night and will revert back soon. I am trying to be more positive and just concentrate on moving forward. I will hold last night in my head of how I want life to be like smile This morning also went well, up, breakfast and out. I share the school run so don't do Friday but as she left the house she was laughing with us and I got a big smile and thumbs up from the car.

She has not had her phone back yet.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 09:53:35

tobylerone I have asked him to bear with me and whilst last night he was supportive he still remains negative for anything to change other than the short term.
bigbuttons I held that in my mind at the start of homework and again when I went in to wake her this morning grin
googleit it is interesting about saying she needs more of my time. She has always had a lot if one on one as that is when she responds best. Maybe I have given her the impression that family life revolves around her. I am not ignoring her, I am ignoring her behaviour. You are right when you say I have to get to the bottom of her unhappiness. Her learning issues have just been uncovered. She has gone from being a bright little girl, always in top groups to being unhappy, withdrawn and in bottom sets. Every school year she dropped down the ability scale. With this came a massive drop in self confidence and self esteem. I am possibly to blame for not tackling this sooner with the school. A year ago she was diagnosed with tracking issues with her eyes. She now has a pair of glasses with tinted lenses which make the world of difference to her reading speed. In February this year she was diagnosed as slightly dyslexic, a slow processing speed and a very poor working memory. I am in no doubt at all that this is the root cause if her behaviour.

TobyLerone Fri 26-Apr-13 09:56:21

God, he's so negative! That must be hard.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:00:49

It also came to light a few weeks ago via a chat dd had with one of her teachers that she avoids ever having to fail. Her science teacher phoned me as she was concerned about Dd's performance in her end of unit tests. Dd never revised for her tests as then when she did badly she could say 'oh but it is okay as I never revised'. Her science teacher, with my support, made her resit her 3 worse ones. I will never forget the look on that little girls face when she told me she got 94%, 92% And 94% respectively. So that is why I will support and help her with revision. She is scared, worried and dosn't understand why school work use to be so easy and is now so hard

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:02:02

It is tobyLerone. He is also a very negative person in general iyswim. Me, I'm the optimistic sort smile

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:07:56

drjohnsonscat good idea re snack. Her blood sugars are low. She has a very healthy appetite. The snack I have bought can also be a flash point though so it is rather like walking on eggshells.. In an ideal world I would take her a sandwich but as I am at work all day a sandwich that has hung around in the car until 4pm is not very appealing. Last night she had a small bag of salted popcorn in the car and then a cheese sandwich when she got home. I think that really did help!

Her lack of drinking dosn't help either but as it has been warmer she has also been drinking the 2 bottles of water she takes in with her.

musickeepsmesane Fri 26-Apr-13 10:14:27

I am a foster carer and am looking after a child with learning difficulties. FC came to me because child was very angry, abusive, swearing, challenging etc. Not dancing is the way to go. In a very short time FC has changed behaviours. We never see anything of previous behaviours. Once you get the hang of ignoring and being positive it is amazing how any child responds. Also, having boundaries/consequences make children feel safe and calm. You have done very well so far, you should show your hubby this thread, he needs to be fully engaged and positive too. Good luck flowers

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:14:33

Amiorezzy - she has not had her phone back. She has no laptop or tablet either.
Flicktheswitch- thank you, something to think about. She goes at 9pm and I wake her just before 7pm. I think her social life is too busy and she is tired. Believe it or not she is a very popular girl with her peers and is always being invited somewhere or other which often includes sleepovers. I am cutting back on that, particularly the sleepovers, until half term to see if it makes a difference.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:24:39

idreamoffairies thank you for such a helpful post. I have spoken to the head of learning support this morning who is going to have a chat with dd today. Dd really opens up to her. She reminded me today of a conversation we had had in December. In her opinion Dd's core self esteem is still there. She thinks that because dd asked to go on a ski-ing trip when she had never skied before and none of her friends were going. She went, joined in and had a fab timesmile

The school does provide a councillor, thanks for the reminder...
I am trying to positively praise as in 'calmer, easier. Happier parenting. I am trying to notice and comment appropriately for everything she does well or okay. The frustrating thing is I know she responds to praise I just forget to do it.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:32:27

What a positive story musickeepsmesane oh how I needed to hear that smile
Honestly, thank you, all of you. Your comments, feedback and support is really helping me face this problem. Thanks takver for the explosive child book recommendation. I am finding the current book a real support too and to whoever said I should ditch the book and spend the reading time with DD I only read in bed at night and during my lunch break while working smile
I will keep posting my journey on here if no one minds

drjohnsonscat Fri 26-Apr-13 10:44:49

Sonnet your posts about how her face lit up with the test results and the cuddles you had tell you that your lovely girl is in there somewhere which is great.

It sounds as though you are getting the right people on board to help you (need to work on DH though!). And then you can work on building those firm foundations around DD so she doesn't feel out of control when she has those bouts of temper, low sugar, tiredness, fear, depression. If she starts to go off on one you know that you have strong supports around all of you and the worst that can happen is that she gives herself a sore throat through shouting. She cannot actually overturn your foundations because they (you) are too strong for that. So you are free to withdraw (not dance) because you know she doesn't have sufficient power to overcome you all. She's just louder.

musickeepsmesane Fri 26-Apr-13 10:46:51

Keeping posting on here will give you the extra strength you need. I hope she keeps responding so well. Probably be a few bumps along the way tho'! Also, when it comes to being stuck for snacks I use popcorn a lot. I have a machine and FC is very proud of making her own. I have been toying with the idea of getting her to make her own drinks too. My own kids used to make ginger beer TBH the idea of being ruled by the ginger beer plant again fills me with dread but kids love it.

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 10:59:47

I like your post drjohnsonscat - building firm foundations smile

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 11:49:10

Lots going through my head, doing a brain dump: Dd went off the rails at school December/January this year which corresponds directly with my Aunt, who I was very close to, been diagnosed and dying from cancer. I was up and down the motorway visiting whilst still holding a job and family life down. It is fair to say my eye was off the ball and she had very little of my attention

musickeepsmesane Fri 26-Apr-13 15:14:09

hoping this afternoon goes well for you. You are probably bang on the button with the reason she has changed, should help get things back on track. She may also have become aware of your mortality sad

Sonnet Fri 26-Apr-13 17:29:40

Thanks musickeepsmestrong, just waiting for them now. We also lost an uncle last August very suddenly too.

MrsFletch Fri 26-Apr-13 19:09:36

I sympathise. I have 12 year old boy, not dissimilar on occasions. Tonight he screamed and shouted at his dad when his xbox game was interrupted, telling him to get lost and calling him a retard. I pulled the plug out. I can only guess it's hormones. I told him in no uncertain terms how cross I was, disappointed etc and no more xbox tonight. He does calm down and is genuinely sorry and knows he has done wrong. I don't find that punishments work very well (loss of phone etc). My son is better dealt with by lack of attention and affection. If I ignore him and look sad (not too difficult after an outburst) he eventually feels really bad and apologetic. I think it is a self control issue that they can't quite get to grips with yet - and let's face it quite a few adults can't! Definately got to grit your teeth and stay calm. If you fight fire with fire it just explodes! I would pick up on the point that she doesn't drink enough - dehydration can do awful things to your mood and behaviour. I still plant drinks in front of mine at regular intervals and insist it is drank (drunk?!).

MrsFletch Fri 26-Apr-13 19:15:15

I am new to this and only just realised I had only just read up until Wednesday before posting so most people had beaten me to it with more helpful stuff!!

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