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Moody, difficult 8 year old

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Please, please, please...any insights or anything re my DS who is 8.

The talking back, the moodiness, the rudeness to me. I can't bear it anymore. He's not my 'little' boy - he's become a surly kid but he's only 8. I don't know how to cope with it. I do time outs and stand my ground with him but it's horrible.
post #2 of 25
Hi there,

My 8 year old dd can be difficult as well...very moody and sensitive, and tends to always see the negative in a situation, rather than the positive. I know I feel like I could use lots of advice on ways to help her through this!

I do try to start with listening to how she's feeling...she won't always open up and talk, but when she will, that always seems to help. When she knows that I understand (and am willing to spend the time listening to what's going on for her), she clearly appreciates it.

What kinds of things are going on with your ds? When my 8 year old (and my 10 year old!) are mouthy/talking back/etc, I let them know clearly that I don't like to be spoken to that way/that it hurts my feelings, and then I usually disengage. In my experience, when they are in those kinds of moods, lectures about their attitude just make them dig their heels in and act even worse.

But if I express my displeasure (in words that talk about how it makes me feel, not about them being 'bad') and then walk away - I can often come back a bit later, and they are able to talk about how they were feeling, how their behaviour made me feel, and how we can work to express anger/upset feelings in more appropriate ways.

It's difficult and I'm right there with you (sigh)...who knew being a mother was so difficult?
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mommiska View Post
It's difficult and I'm right there with you (sigh)...who knew being a mother was so difficult?
Oh thank goodness there is one other person struggling out there! Does everyone else have perfect 8 year olds?!

It's the constant need to have the last word, the back-chat, the defiance, grumpy for reasons that he can't or won't explain. I do try and chat with him, and engage with him but he can be surly and then not want me in his face. I can't force him to tell me things, but I am always physically present but whether that's enough i just don't know.

Thank you x 236574828378!
post #4 of 25
Will he engage about other issues - like talking about a favourite TV programme/etc? Might be an idea (although it might be something you've already tried).

I really would get the Faber and Mazlish book...it's been a godsend in this household! Kids grow up so fast these days...they turn all 'teen-ager-ish' way earlier than we did, I think...(sigh)
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Is the Faber book the 'Talk to Kids' or something like that?
post #6 of 25
Yes, that's the one - have you read it? I have a couple of copies floating around my house and I re-read them periodically.
post #7 of 25
Yes. DS is 7.5 and really into a phase of being moody, nasty to me, being really negative, combative.... but then when he is calmed down he is sweet and often apologizes for his rude behavior. He can be such a joy to be around sometimes.

Sometimes what he says disturbs me a little. He told me one day that we didn't care about him because he was an accidental pregnancy! Which could not be further from the truth and I explained that but he refused to believe me and he was really upset for an hour. Sometimes he claims we are "always mean" to him even if we just took him ice skating and bought him ice cream! He will cry hysterically and still throws screaming and stomping fits if he's asked to do even a tiny household task.

I did read in the Your Six Year Old book that at 7 they get very moody but sadly I haven't gotten the next book in the series.
post #8 of 25
also read the book your 8 year old by louise m bates. its my parenting bible.

one of the things i think we are not aware of are the first stages of puberty.

it starts around 7. and it starts just like your son. i call my dd hormonal. because thats exactly how it is for her. it is a HUGE struggle for her. she doesnt really want to be that way but that's the way she is now.

she might be doing an activity. and looks like she is having fun. but if you ask her she will says its ok. not that fun.

i see this as first stage teenagehood. i dont want it to become me holding the upper hand, me always having to guide.

instead i have involved dd a lot. first i know in some cases she cant help her behaviour. she really cant. no matter how inappropriate. she has even told me sometimes she feels someone else is inside her and she cant control her.

i dont usually discipline my dd - unless she is over the top. we have though started talking a lot more. justing sitting down and talking about whats going on in our lives. what's great, waht's not. amazing the insight you will get from him. dont do the talking when he is moody. but when you guys are having a great time together. or snuggling. or at bed time.

what's really helped me is to just watch my dd when she is going thru her 'tantrums'. i watch her - and i can see how much she is not herself. the back talk i carry on. as long as she is logical why not.

i have noticed the KEY here is myself. and my own perceptions. i change my mind sometimes. sometimes dd makes sense. and i am like ok i will try your way. totally surprises her.

i think we are seeing the beginning of the growing out of the children to the more adult child. sometimes they want to be treated as a little child and sometimes they ABSOLutely dont want to. its just when and how that confuses them.

life is hard. i think this is the time now to reeeeaaaaaaaaaaally lay off the discipline and try and do it the other way. just by listening and talking. and learning ourselves to listen.

oh yeah i get the 'always mean' comment too. i just ignore it. because i know that's not true, however whatever dd was going thru at that time - that's what it felt like to her. so in a sense i see that as an honest expression of her feelings at that time.

some simple little thing can upset her so easily.
post #9 of 25
I've got a moody 7 1/2 year old....
post #10 of 25
Originally Posted by mystic~mama View Post
she is hungry all the time yet she is SO picky!!!

She is moody and nothing seems to make her happy and it is really hard to deal with.

I am home with her this weekend, and I was running through my list of friends thinking who I could send her with..

I feel drained just trying to feed her breakfast....
ooooooh that's how my dd gets in summer. seh gets her growth spurt in summer. she turns round and fat. and then suddenly sometime in fall she shoots up. almost overnight. all her school uniform dresses her dad got her when school started are now 'tops'. when you look at her you can see the change. from short and square to elongated.

yup dd eats two bfasts, two lunches, two dinners. and in between. and moody. yeah!!!

every summer without fail since she was about 4.
post #11 of 25
My 6yo is extremely moody, back talks, says I'm mean, all of the above and plus. So, for those with older kids, did it start younger or at around 8? My dh and I have often commented that he is already like a teenager.

No advice. I also do my best to ignore it, shrug my shoulders and walk away. I like the pp idea of more talking and less disciplining. I feel like there are days when all I do is get frustrated by his behavior. Probably if I changed my perception of it first, walked away more, and came back for a lovely chat when it's over it would all be better.
post #12 of 25

Oh God - I am so glad there are others feeling the grumpy 7 year old blues.  What happened to my sweet child?  I am feeling like we both may need a break from each other, and plan to look for some short (3 hour) camps to fill the few weeks of summer that aren't already structured. 


Other than that I appreciate the advice about listening to feelings, but not random accusations (you're mean, I hate you, you always make everything worse, you make every day miserable). 


Last night I lay with him during horrible temper tantrum.  He didn't want to be touched, but was ok with my lying there.  I told him he could scream all he wanted, (he wasn't screaming at me).  It felt like the right thing to do.  Feels more difficult when the rage is directed at me. 


Anyway, thanks for all the advice everyone.

post #13 of 25

I have an 8yr old son who has turned into a demonic scary being.  He is usually the quiet type that never puts a foot wrong but over the last few weeks he has totally lost the plot screaming, angry, answering back with all types of comments that I could never have imagined would come out of his mouth.  It doesnt matter how firm I am with him time outs, confescating items that he loves it just seems to turn up the behviour more and more followed by a complete histerical breakdown.  Have been at a total loss, it seems the harder I try the worse it gets.

post #14 of 25
I have a moody 9 year old too. Thing is he's always been moody. Feel like never know what will set him off lately. And even just talking to him we are "always yelling at him". Often he says "just leave me alone". He can be really funny and sweet too. I always thought it was just his personality and lately maybe a bit of early puberty too. Of course he's not allowed. To verbally abuse us. He's happy to go to his room though
post #15 of 25

I am so grateful to read the stories of other moms! I have been beyond frustrated with my 8-year-old daughter's behavior. I have never been one to walk on eggshells around anyone, but now I feel I have to just to maintain some sort of peace in my house. And the slightest thing will set off a rampage. Today, she just spend an hour of fun at the local pool playing with other kids, then as she was getting dressed she wanted to get a snack out of the vending machines. I said "no" because we were going to get dinner on the way home and she turned from happy-go-lucky to disrespectful and difficult in an instant. She refused to have any dinner (because I wouldn't let her have a snack??huh??) and then I gave her consequences for her treatment of me after doing something so nice for her (taking her to swim after I got off work) and she kept saying "I don't care." Unbelievable! I never spoke to my mom like that!

post #16 of 25
I have a 5 y/o DD & almost 9 y/o DD. we had a huge issue with talking back, anger, and plain old misery with our 8 y/o. She has anxiety issues, which with lots of hard work this year is getting much better. But I was at my wit's end how to teach my children to respect my DH & I as parents, and to respect authority. My DH's niece is a teacher, and she suggested a reward system. We've had a system in place for a few months now, and I have to say, my house is a MUCH calmer, loving home.
The first thing we did together, as a family, was make house rules. They are:
1. Treat everyone the way that you want to be treated.
2. Treat everyone with love, kindness and respect.
3. Talk kindly to each other in a kind tone.

We wrote them down, we all signed it, and it hangs in our front entrance way. It works like MAGIC!! When my of my kids are mad and start yelling, I simply ask them "are you speaking to me kindly right now? Would you like me to speak to you like you're speaking to me?" The answer is always no, and I find the house rules are quite effective at diffusing situations. I like that my kids helped write the rules, and that by signing them, they take responsibility in following them. My DH and I also follow these rules, and trust me, my kids will always call us out if one of us raises our voices! LOL
For the reward system, we've simply put into place a green card, yellow card, red card system. You start the day always with a green card. If you don't follow house rules, you get a warning; do it again you get a yellow card. Once you have yellow, if you do something again, ie talkback or yelling, you get red carded for the day. We have an absolute no hitting or hurting rule in our house, so if you do, it's an automatic red card, no warnings or second chances. We're trying to teach our kids to resolve issues with words, not fighting.
If at the end of the day you have a green or yellow card, you earn a bead. My kids put their earned beads into a jar; once they've earned 10 beads, they earn a reward of their choice. We've had rewards such as sushi lunch at school, a pair of earrings from Claire's to a movie date with mama. This system has worked so well for us. My house is a much different environment than it was 6 months ago....call it bribery if you will, but I call it peace. smile.gif
post #17 of 25

My 8 year old DS sounds so similar to what you all are describing!  Sometimes he is just the sweetest, most considerate and loving child on the planet and other times he's storming through the house screaming obscenities and throwing pillows.  And for the life of me, I frequently can't figure out what the issue is.  Sometimes he is just in a mood to be "in a mood" and we all have to ride it out.  


We have found a few of things that make a big difference:


1.  Physical activity.  My DS needs a LOT!!!  At least 30 minutes, and ideally more than an hour OUTSIDE playing hard.  He loves to go for bike or scooter rides, skateboard at the skate park, shoot hoops or run around with friends.  But really, anything that gets him outside and moving is good enough, as long as it is for at least 30mins.  We've had a tough winter because his school cancels recess anytime it is "wet" (even if it isn't raining - mud is enough!) or under 32F.  (This infuriates me, but that's another story!)


2.  Food.  DS seems to be in a growth spurt and needs at least 4 "full" meals each day.  Each with protein and whole grains.  If I don't get a proper meal in him right when he comes home from school the afternoon is a guaranteed disaster.  There are energy bars in my car, a huge bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter at all times, etc etc etc.  Sometimes he doesn't want to eat, or doesn't stop to realize he's hungry so I find it best to just hand him a sandwich or something without any discussion first.  That way he eats and we don't have to debate.


3.  Super simple and consistent rules and consequences.  This is the biggest one, I think.  Under all of the drama and bluster DS seems like he's feeling insecure about his changing self and changing relationships and is seeking comfort and consistency.  We adopted a 3 Rules/4 Questions system and eliminated all punishment and that has made all the difference.  


4.  More one-on-one play time with Mom/Dad.  Life has gotten so busy, what with more homework, more activities and so on, but it is more important than ever to carve out time to just be together with DS, on his terms.  He is beginning to test his wings and simultaneously craving extra reassurance that he can't always articulate.  So I play whatever crazy thing he wants to play and I baby him and I read to him and I have him cook with me - all things he loves but doesn't always ask for.  I think it helps especially when DH or I seek him out for time together.  


5.  Consistency.  The more of DS's life that is predictable, the better.  That might just be his personality, but when he knows the schedule and the plan, he is a lot mellower.  


Hope this helps!  Hang in there everyone.  I also have a 14 year old so I can promise you that this stage will pass.  love.gif

post #18 of 25

wagz-  what is a 3 Rules/4 Questions system?

post #19 of 25

I'm not sure who came up with it - it was suggested to us by our kids' doctor.  


There are only 3 Rules: (but they pretty much cover everything!)

1.  Obey all parent (or teacher) requests immediately and without argument.

2.  Treat people and property with respect.

3.  Work and play at the right times and in the right places.


When a kid breaks one of the rules we go to the kid (or bring the kid to where the fridge where the rules are posted) and start the 4 Questions:

1.  What rule did you break?  


After the kid answers that question they go to their room until they are ready to answer the rest of the questions (and act on those answers):

2.  What got hurt or damaged when you broke the rule?

3.  What are you going to do to fix things right now?

4.  What are you going to do differently next time?


In my house there is often a lot of baloney after we ask Question 1 (especially from my 14 year old!) but the trick is to just keep repeating the question (and not do or say anything else, no matter how mad you get!) until the kid answers and goes to their room. When they come back we do the other 3 questions and that's the end of it.


I really like this strategy for a couple of reasons.  First, it takes me out of an antagonistic role with my kids.  Second, it puts all the control in my kids' hands - it is up to them how long they want to drag things out, and how they will fix things and move on.  Third, I don't have to deal with making up or enforcing punishments.  And last, it mimics the process that all people (ought to!) go through when they mess up in the real world: We have to figure out what we did wrong, what damage we caused, how we'll fix it and how we will avoid doing the same thing in the future. The 3 Rules/4 Questions just makes that process explicit and give the kids a chance to work through it with parental guidance and support.  


Totally revolutionized our parenting, and we have tried all manner of gentle discipline strategy over the years.  

post #20 of 25

I came here tonight hoping to find something that would help me move forward with my dd (or at least my attitude toward her behavior).


She is 6, and has started to do a lot of yelling and screaming, and arguing and fit-throwing.  This thread has been good for me to read.  It's always good to have a reminder about changing things that aren't working, and great to read about what works for other people.  And, of course, it's nice to know we're not alone in what we're experiencing.


I really think, with her, that it could mostly be diffused or prevented by more one-on-one time and focused attention from me (and probably dh too).  When she acts rude, I know I could just stop what I'm doing and offer to read her a book or something and it would be over.  The thing is, it often happens when I'm making dinner and everyone's hungry or some other inopportune time.


She also gets upset at bedtime most nights, begging for food or "daddy time" even though both of these have been offered during the evening.


I have found that if I (or dh) push (with time-out, threats to lose privileges, taking things away, etc.) that she escalates into a full blown screaming fit that is difficult to diffuse.


I definitely tell her how I feel about how she's treating me, I try to offer her solutions or alternatives to what she wants that she can't have or what she's doing that's unacceptable.  I'm trying to stop sending her away from me because it always makes her more upset and makes the episode worse and longer.  If I can stop what I'm doing and give her my full attention, I do, preferably with a snack or tea and physical contact.  If I can't stop what I'm doing, I at least try to talk with her and make a mental note to give her more focused attention as soon as possible.


I also think other things mentioned here make a huge difference:  routine, outdoor time, physical activity, regular meals and snacks (and plenty of them!).


Thank you!

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