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Attitude issues in DD8


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20 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

DD4, who's at the tantrum age.) But that's not a punishment, just a break from whatever is causing the intense feelings. (I've tried giving hugs instead of a break instead, and it emphatically doesn't work. She needs a break from me.) 

I agree completely with you on this. I wouldn’t call time out for a 4 year old punishment.  
 

It just didn’t work for me. 10 years ago I put my 4 year old in time out. Somehow, she snuck into the kitchen and got bacon and put herself back in time out. Then she opined about how she was never going to leave time out because time out has the very very best bacon. 

So the next time I put her in time out in her room. She locked her bedroom door. She just kept riding her bouncy horse in her room and waving happily at us through her window. I had to leave and let my oldest talk her into unlocking the window so we could climb in and unlock her door. 
 

That is probably the same time that I decided we needed to be on the same team. LOL! 

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Sorry this is stressful for you. It sounds like academically your dd is advanced. But keep in mind that maturity in academics does not translate to maturity in life. If she's doing 8th grade math, she

Her “not taking responsibility in a way that she ought to” sounds like the normal immaturity to be expected of an 8 year old.    It sounds like you want her to be immediately and cheerfully com

Ok, so help me out. Did I misread something? Wasn't one of your challenges with her that she isn't engaging with the curriculum the way you want? That she's getting sloppy and not trying (jam jar)? So

5 minutes ago, Amy Gen said:

I agree completely with you on this. I wouldn’t call time out for a 4 year old punishment.  
 

It just didn’t work for me. 10 years ago I put my 4 year old in time out. Somehow, she snuck into the kitchen and got bacon and put herself back in time out. Then she opined about how she was never going to leave time out because time out has the very very best bacon. 

So the next time I put her in time out in her room. She locked her bedroom door. She just kept riding her bouncy horse in her room and waving happily at us through her window. I had to leave and let my oldest talk her into unlocking the window so we could climb in and unlock her door. 
 

That is probably the same time that I decided we needed to be on the same team. LOL! 

Hahahaha, that's awesome!! We really just do it when she's screaming uncontrollably and begging for something at the same time. Then we know she needs a break until she's able to talk to us in a normal way 🙂 . It's usually only a few minutes. 

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11 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Also, if you can get her to wear a sleep cap or a do-rag, especially one made of some nice silk or at least something with a very high thread count, that'll help as well. Keeps everything from getting frizzed while she tosses and turns.

Thank you for the suggestion!! I have very fine and straight hair that doesn't tangle easily, so this isn't something I know about. Right now, mine is considerably past shoulder length and I still don't need to brush it... 

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The passive, mind a million miles away stuff drives me crazy too. I warn you that this may get worse before it gets better. I have a wider age range than you, so I apologize if some of these ideas aren’t exactly relevant to your situation.  
 

A few things that have helped us:

Hair: Daily shower, they comb hair in shower, routine is to come to me for a check after shower (while hair is still wet) to confirm hair is thoroughly combed. Hair combing is tied to the daily shower and it’s easier for me to deal with detangling if it’s already wet. My oldest is 11 and still needs help sometimes. 
 

Jam jar: I can so see this scenario happening in my house with one of my kids. I can see myself getting increasingly frustrated and the pressure on the kid going up and up and up to just. Find. The. Word. What I usually do is find a reason to leave the room for 1-5 minutes. Bathroom trip, checking for a package, changing baby’s diaper, need a hoodie, etc. It defuses the situation. About 75 percent of the time when I come back, they’ve found the word. (Sometimes they yell it at me while I’m in the other room, in fact...) If not, I might drop it, “forgetting” where we were, maybe holding up the butter next, or the chocolate spread, or whatever else. But I’d also find a way for them to come across that word later in the day, maybe asking another child to get the jam for my bread, or if they wanted me to buy jam at the grocery store or something. 
 

Passive disengagement with schoolwork: i kind of think some of this is brain fog. We eat a lot of snacks during math and extra sleep helps a lot around here. In any case, I know how much generally I want to get through and if it is a slow day, it’s a slow day. I try not to let it get under my skin too much. (Exceptions for situations where I genuinely miscalculate how much is reasonable of course, or if the child is very engaged but obviously having trouble.) but if it’s going to take you 25 minutes to graph a line because all your points have to be perfect circles and your line needs to go through the exact center of each, and you need a pretty border down the side of your page, that is okay. But it’s also not fair to cut back on the assignment either. It’s time management and it’s a life skill. 

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8 minutes ago, bensonduck said:

Jam jar: I can so see this scenario happening in my house with one of my kids. I can see myself getting increasingly frustrated and the pressure on the kid going up and up and up to just. Find. The. Word. What I usually do is find a reason to leave the room for 1-5 minutes. Bathroom trip, checking for a package, changing baby’s diaper, need a hoodie, etc. It defuses the situation. About 75 percent of the time when I come back, they’ve found the word. (Sometimes they yell it at me while I’m in the other room, in fact...) If not, I might drop it, “forgetting” where we were, maybe holding up the butter next, or the chocolate spread, or whatever else. But I’d also find a way for them to come across that word later in the day, maybe asking another child to get the jam for my bread, or if they wanted me to buy jam at the grocery store or something. 

Yeah. I think figuring out how to take breaks is going to be key. I'm just VERY BAD at that at the moment. And I think some other posters are right that the right way to address this is to get better at this. 

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah. I think figuring out how to take breaks is going to be key. I'm just VERY BAD at that at the moment. And I think some other posters are right that the right way to address this is to get better at this. 

Just make sure to give yourself some grace too. It’s hard in the moment, I know. 
 

would your kids enjoy playing “restaurant” and ordering a snack in Russian and being served by Mom, the silly waiter? And then Vice versa?

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Just now, bensonduck said:

Just make sure to give yourself some grace too. It’s hard in the moment, I know. 
 

would your kids enjoy playing “restaurant” and ordering a snack in Russian and being served by Mom, the silly waiter? And then Vice versa?

That's a really fun idea! 🙂. I should do that some time. 

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A few thoughts:

Emotions affect actions. Children often have trouble articulating their emotions which is key to developing emotional regulation. Identifying the best term for the many subtle nuances of emotions—emotional granulation—as opposed to using very general terms such as mad, sad, glad, can help individuals regulate themselves and then devise plans and remedies to solve the hurdles they’ll face in life.

Yale has been studying this for years, particularly in children. They developed an app called Mood Meter that anyone can download and use. App and more info here:

https://moodmeterapp.com/science/

Learning how to use motivational interviewing (MI) led to my kids taking on responsibilities themselves and I no longer had to be the dictator. My youngest in particular was extremely obstinate. What MI taught me was that removing his autonomy in the situation was causing our conflicts. Autonomy is ridiculously important. It had an almost magical effect. The 5 principles:

  • Express empathy through reflective listening.
  • Develop discrepancy between individuals’ goals or values and their current behavior.
  • Avoid argument and direct confrontation.
  • Adjust to resistance rather than opposing it directly.
  • Support self-efficacy and optimism.

For a source, something short with good reviews should suffice.

For daily routines, we wrote down what needed to be done on index cards, one for morning and one for evening. Just a few things. Ex, brush teeth, brush hair, make bed.

A few books that might help:

  • Robert Cialdini’s Influence: the Power of Persuasion
  • Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed, the section on motivation
  • Madeline Levine’s The Price of Privilege the part where she talks about extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation

It sounds like you’re doing a great job, though.

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Wow...this thread got long! I was going to comment on the hair part, got distracted (for several hours), and now there are so many replies. I apologize if I am just repeating. 
 

My now 13 year old dd has long, thick, wavy hair. She is also extremely tender-headed, which made things difficult when she was younger. He hair was always tangled. Seriously, it was matted in the back and looked horrible. She would scream and cry when I would brush it (I would lather conditioner on it and go through it with a wide tooth comb while she was in the shower). But my sweet girl loved her long hair, so we had to find a solution. 
 

What worked for us then (and still now) - braids. Every night before bed, I would braid dd’s hair into two braids. She still does this today. Her hair doesn’t get all matted while she is sleeping and makes it so much easier to care for during the day. 
 

Other things - instead is using detangler, I mixed some conditioner with water and she sprays that on her hair instead (dd’s hair is on the dry side so this does not make it oily). Something in the detangler was not good for her hair. I also bought her a satin pillowcase. This also helped preventing tangling while sleeping. 
 

Dd was difficult when she was 8. She is still a bit difficult today (hello teenage years!). But she is also sweet, kind, and so much fun. You will get through this and your dd will be a teen before you know it. Hugs as you try to find your way through. 

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Thank you for the suggestion!! I have very fine and straight hair that doesn't tangle easily, so this isn't something I know about. Right now, mine is considerably past shoulder length and I still don't need to brush it... 

 

If her hair is even a bit more curly than yours, get the Curly Girl book. You will not regret it.

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11 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

If her hair is even a bit more curly than yours, get the Curly Girl book. You will not regret it.

It used to be a bit curly as a toddler, but it’s pretty straight now. Still useful?

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9 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

No, sitting with her more is terrible. The more independence she has, the better things go. She really NEEDS to take ownership of things, since it doesn't go well if she doesn't. I just need her to pay attention when I teach her. 

Perhaps sounds like a power struggle with her knowing what sets you off. Maybe consider if she would do well with online classes instead that afford a fairly large amount of independence and self-directed learning. It's still home education and if necessary gaps can be filled in.

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1 hour ago, BeachGal said:
  • Express empathy through reflective listening.
  • Develop discrepancy between individuals’ goals or values and their current behavior.
  • Avoid argument and direct confrontation.
  • Adjust to resistance rather than opposing it directly.
  • Support self-efficacy and optimism.

 

These are excellent. This is basically what we use with clients and it seems to build rapport quickly.

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She sounds pretty typical. I would expect an 8 yr old to throw attitude sometimes. It's not personal. Or maybe it is personal but it's just because you happen to be the person there. Since you say most of the time she's pretty compliant and it's not an all the time thing, I would not push consequences for attitude or a day with sloppy effort. It's normal. It would become a problem if the norm was lack of effort and refusal to work. I imagine that some would fear that allowing attitude and sloppiness with no consequence would lead to patterns but I doubt it. If your DD genuinely enjoys learning she's not going to stop because she's not punished, kwim? She's more likely to develop a pattern of no longer enjoying anything because of the punishment. 

I would model patience and a good attitude back to her and trust that she will appreciate it eventually. You can't use attitude to correct attitude. Of course, this is me in the ideal world of what perfect Paige would do. She doesn't exist. But my plan, ideal, and goal would be to think to myself that I may get some push back or what I consider laziness. I'd have some fairly neutral natural consequence in mind to respond with but also consider that not every infraction needs a consequence. Sometimes attitude means the kid feels bad, is having a generally upsetting time for who knows what reason, and that is enough of a consequence. They need hugs, sympathy, a cookie, and an "it's ok. we can do this later." One of my favorite parenting books stressed that when you expect and plan for a behavior it no longer becomes your problem- it's more "the way things are," like red lights are. I expect red lights, so they don't surprise or upset me. It's just part of the drive. You don't have to predict the specific bad attitude if what you're predicting is bad attitude.

Hair- You're expecting too much. Hair battles are common and 8 is young. My hair sounds much like yours. My kids have thick hair. A few have curly hair. The texture is coarser than mine too. It's much harder to deal with and I had battles with my mom over my baby fine thin super easy hair! I don't think cutting it will get you what you want unless what you want is tears and resentment. For my DD with the most difficult hair, we went through a period where we kept it in some kind of braid often. If it's in a braid, it's not going to tangle and it can stay that way for a while. She needed spray conditioner to brush it out after a bath, a wide comb, and the braid can be put in fairly loose at the top. Don't try to make the top tight- it should stay in place well enough if the sides are tight enough. And then, just expect some tears. It's not going to stop until she's closer to 10-12. If the braid is messy after she wakes, if you are lucky, it's still in enough that brushing it out and rebraiding- loosely!- is easy enough. My 13 yo will still have trouble brushing her hair because her hair is hard to brush! It's not her fault. If I get my hair in the wind, I can brush it out in 5 min. Hers will take an hour and even now she lacks the patience.

Jam and math...so, so, relatable. They will regress and forget what they've been taught at random times. They won't get what I feel is so obviously and perfectly conveyed. I'd give her something like 2 chances and then just explain it and move on. If she gets upset about it- not my problem!! I no longer care if there's pouting or attitude.

I'm one of those old ladies sitting around with no cares to give anymore about just about anything they can say or do. I didn't get to this point without caring way too much and having my own temper issues when I was younger. You just have to work on it. I would keep a little rubber band (ponytail holder) on my wrist and snap it when I felt myself getting grumpy. It was a reminder to calm down and take a break. Sometimes, too, you end up with serious issues in life that make you realize that nothing you cared about mattered. I'm firmly on the side that the most important thing- the only thing that matters- is creating and maintaining a positive relationship and looking out for everyone's mental health, positive sense of self, and building memories. The academics don't matter if that stuff doesn't come first. 

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