How do I handle tantrums/meltdowns in a 9 yr. old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 03-15-2010, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know what to do. It's a major trigger for me and I have such a hard time controlling my temper when it happens because I just feel like she should be old enough to control herself better by now.
She has multiple tantrums and meltdowns over all sorts of things. It can be as simple as being corrected. EX) She speaks rudely to someone so either DH or myself will remind her that she needs to speak nicely. She responds by pouting and then starts whining, which is responded to by us telling her that she can use her 9 yr old voice, which results in her melting down more and more by the second, with us asking her to calm down. Reminding her that if she continues to act this way, there will be a consequence (such as losing a toy or tv time or such). To which she responds with more whining that she doesn't want _____ (whatever consequence we've stated) until she's throwing a huge fit...crying and often screaming "no" at us repeatedly.

What can we do to difuse the situation before it escalates like this? How do we handle her "sensitivity" to any kind of correction or being told no to something?
Also, how do I control my temper and reactions to her, often public, meltdowns? (My jaw is still hurting from gritting my teeth so hard during today's struggle)

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#2 of 23 Old 03-15-2010, 02:53 AM
 
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Meltdowns are so hard in older children, aren't they? (((hugs))) I've experienced this with all 3 of my boys.

First, I would say in your first situation, after you tell her that you expect her to speak politely to you and she continues whining, I would stop the back and forth stuff. That can go on and on. With my 8yo who still has meltdowns, I might tell him an expectation that I have and if he starts whining, I busy myself with something else until he calms down and then approaches me without the whining. Kwim?

Believe me when I say I UNDERSTAND the difficulty controlling yourself when they are tantruming. It is so HARD. Basic things like eating good and getting enough sleep for yourself will help. I've tried countless tactics over the years for controlling myself: writing positive statements and placing them all over the house where I will remember them, pretending that someone is watching me, calling a supportive friend or family member and telling htem that I am feeling so angry (this helps me feel like I am keeping myself accountable), an immediate change of scenery if possible (if ds is having a meltdown, I will bring him out on the deck with me. Sometimes it just shakes him up enough to be somewhere different where his siblings aren't watching and being brought into his bedroom usually triggers more tantrumy behavior). THat's all I can think of right now.

And if you do lose your temper, you can always go back and hug her, talk about it, explain that mommies are human too and it's hard for everyone to deal with their anger sometimes. It's important to forgive yourself too!

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#3 of 23 Old 03-15-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. It is very hard.
I always end up saying someting along the lines of jeesh, you are 9 years old, not 3! I have such a hard time with this I think mainly because she IS older and secondly, because it happens so often and over almost anything.

We will work on not engaging her. In the car yesterday we tried our best. I had to hold DH's hand and keep whispering for him to "ignore it" when she was melting down. She just kept on whining "Daddy" every 3 seconds for about 5 minutes. Oh, it was so hard!!! Then she changed to whining "I just want to talk" every 5 seconds for another 5 minutes. When we finally asked her if she was ready to talk normally. She whined....I DON'T want to be in trouble! And burst out crying
It's a team effort every. single. time. And I'm so sick of the way she ends up ruining or controlling every outing and every situation and the other 2 kids are screwed.

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#4 of 23 Old 03-15-2010, 05:02 PM
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If the behavior is new (or recently worse) it could be prepubescent hormones. In that case she may not be able to help the overemotional responses, but it should be a bit better in a year or so. I remember being emotionally fragile when I was 10 and my mother ignoring it. I don't think that was the best reaction but it was better than being punished for being upset would have been. Your DD may not have "her 9 yr old voice" when she's really upset. Counseling could probably help, it's that's a possible option for you. As for helping her deal with "nos" or verbal correction, when every one is calm you can talk about why being corrected and hearing no happens to everyone and why we shouldn't take it as a personal attack. My youngest, and only still home, DD and I have talked about what kind of person she wants to be and how her chosen behavior effects how people view her. When she's being rude I calmly let her know the behavior she's chosen is rude. I make a point of emphasizing that it is the behavior and not her that's rude. Some kids get caught up in the idea that they are their mistakes and it becomes hard to admit they make them and very hard to correct them because they get so upset.
If the emotional fragility is a temperament trait your DD needs help dealing with it. Kids Parents and Power Struggles by Mary Kurcinka is a good book.
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#5 of 23 Old 03-15-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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Said gently - you mention your own challenges in controlling your feelings, and you and DH supporting each other to control your feelings. Who's helping DD, who's 9, to regain control of her feelings?

It sounds like there's no payoff to the behaviour, so I would assume she needs help, regardless of her age.

What about trying to connect with her before correcting? So, if she's speaking rudely, taking her hand, gaining eye contact and gently saying "is that the tone you meant to use?" It takes more work but you won't always need to engage so thoroughly as she acclimates.

I also highly, highly recommend the Kids, Parents and Power Struggles book.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#6 of 23 Old 03-17-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Said gently - you mention your own challenges in controlling your feelings, and you and DH supporting each other to control your feelings. Who's helping DD, who's 9, to regain control of her feelings?

It sounds like there's no payoff to the behaviour, so I would assume she needs help, regardless of her age.

What about trying to connect with her before correcting? So, if she's speaking rudely, taking her hand, gaining eye contact and gently saying "is that the tone you meant to use?" It takes more work but you won't always need to engage so thoroughly as she acclimates.

I also highly, highly recommend the Kids, Parents and Power Struggles book.
Great advise! My 9yo is hormonal but I think this will help her as well.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#7 of 23 Old 03-17-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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My first thought is to try to avoid correcting her in a way that makes her feel like she did something wrong and is being corrected. I know some people are really sensitive to this, and maybe it makes her feel like you think she's been "bad" and then she lives up to the expectation!

I don't know exactly how you could correct her without her taking offense but you could try pp's advice, or say something like, "Do you remember what we discussed about speaking to people?" Or, "Try saying it in a way that makes *so-and-so* feel good." Or whatever applies. But say it to her in a friendly way, rather than a scoldy tone. Consider that you're helping her remember, rather than disappointed that she forgot.

I've had good luck with my (admittedly younger) dd being real playful when I say things like, "Did you forget how to talk to our friends?" or, "Wait a minute, you! Isn't this person being nice to you? Be nice back, like I know you can!"

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#8 of 23 Old 03-18-2010, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tips. I will try to find some ways to communicate with her that don't put her on the defensive.
It's just tough because we feel like we are walking on eggshells with her. She wants everything to go her way and to do what she wants, eat what/where she wants, etc. and if it doesn't go exactly how she wants we end up with a tantrum. It just makes it so hard to enjoy spending time with her

Also, it has not gotten worse. It's actually gotten a little better as she's gotten older. We used to have to stop the car because she would scream & kick the seats and cause it to be unsafe to drive. Now she makes it miserable in the car by crying and whining....I guess it is an improvement

I'm just wondering if it's something we should have evaluated by a professional because she IS 9 and her behavior is so....umm...immature? I don't know...we've just been trying to deal with this type thing since she was 5 (or so) and it's not really getting that much better.

We've tried preparing her ahead of time ex) we are going to the mall to return a pair of shoes. She asks if we are going to Build-a-bear. NO, we are only going to return the shoes. "But I want to go to Build-a-bear". Not this time, we are ONLY going to return the shoes. (whining) "but, I really want to go to Build-a-bear.... boo-hoo...why can't I ever go?? I want to go...." Then she bursts out crying and sobbing and having a tantrum. Then she continues to whine and ask for the entire trip to the mall (we are not answering her at this point because when she whines, we ignore untill she speaks properly) Then she is told she will have to wait in the car with Daddy, while I return the shoes because she couldn't behave properly. This is met with more screaming and crying...which usually will continue the rest of the afternoon.
This happens over almost EVERYTHING and we are at our breaking point. We can't leave her home all the time. There are other members of this family and we can't let her outbursts control everything. What are we supposed to do????

DS-(1996), DSD-(2001), and our miracle baby girl-(7/7/09) and Always remembering my 3 brokenheart.gif angel babies
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#9 of 23 Old 03-18-2010, 08:32 PM
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Have you tried sympathizing, sort of "I know you want to go to build a bear I'd like to xyz, it's hard to want to do something when you can't" or maybe give her a reason why you can't go to build a bear ....... assuming there is a good reason why it just can't happen this trip. She sounds really very emotional and having to stay in the car would make alot of kids scream and cry. I really think ignoring her because she can't respond to you in a way that meets your standards is probably escalating the emotional outbursts. Being ignored because my communication isn't good enough would make me feel rejected and hurt. If my DD says something and we don't respond she repeats herself until we do. With us it's we're distracted because we' doing something else (like my DH is working on a website). It's a normal response to being ignored. Have you tried saying yes more, even saying yes but later. For example "We really only have time to stop at the shoe store because we have to be xyz by whatever soon time, but we'll go next time we're at the mall.

Seeing a counselor would be a good idea. As for having her evaluated, being emotionally sensitive or having an intense personality are temperament traits. If your DD is also unable to enjoy doing things that she usually likes, having trouble sleeping or sleeping way to much, a mental health evaluation would be needed.
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#10 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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My heart goes out to you . . . Reading your post is like reading a day in my life (for the last 9 yrs!). My 9 yr old dd is easily frustrated and can go from calm to tantrum in 60 secs at times. She has had these tantrums all of the time since she was a baby.

I know she is allergic to corn and when she is on a corn free diet, she is much better at regulating her emotions. Currently, we're lax about the corn free diet (this means no food w/o corn syrup too which is in a lot of foods) and her ability to regulate her emotions has been extremely difficult this summer. You might want to check food allergies or other allergies that may make it more difficult to regulate her emotions.

We see our dd's inability to regulate her emotions in all venues (home, public, school, etc.). She is seeing a psychologist who is helping her develop tools to use to calm her down in these situations.

She has been diagnosed w/anxiety which can trigger these outbursts. Anxiety in the way that feels when she wants something to go her way (what we call getting "stuck" on something), something unexpected happens (forgot her homework) and her body reacts w/an anxious feeling. She is able to describe how her body feels when she starts into a tantrum.

I encourage you to talk w/your daughter when she is calm. Let her know that you want everyone to see the loving kind person she is and that it appears she is having trouble "settling down". or controlling her emotions.

I encourage you to ask her why she thinks this is happening; how her body feels when she begins to start acting this way; why she thinks she can't settle down - what is causing her not to stop, etc.

I've also asked my daughter whether she wants to act like this - and my daughter really doesn't want to get out of control, but seems to not be able to control it (we have tried very consistent boundries, consequences, etc. everything in the book).

See if you can find some classes through your dr. or in your city that deals with Emotional Regulation, Anxiety, Expected Behaviors, etc. These are some key words I have found and classes my daughter has attended (you can google these words and your area to see if anything comes up). www.communicationsworks.com is a place in our area (CA) that has these resources. You can log on there to see the kinds of services they provide in trying to find something similar in your area. You could also email them to see if they have a recommendation in your area. It took me a long time to find resources as I didn't know what I was dealing with (and am still trying to figure it all out).

In an Emotional Regulation workshop that I went to, they explained they teach the kids Green light - feeling calm/handling the situation, Yellow light - feeling upset/agitated, Red light - tantrum.

They teach the kids to use their tools at yellow light to get back to green w/the objective to not go to red. This concept has helped me to talk w/my daughter about her emotions and how to deal w/them as they come.

My daughter recently id'd 3 stages: 1. Feeling upset about something (a lot of times not getting her own way); 2. sweating and feeling weird inside; 3. tantrum. She has agreed to find a tool at Stage 1 and try to avoid Stage 2. This is something she came up with on her own over the course of several months, so I think it works better because it's something she designed for herself, so she's open to hearing me when I remind her that she's in Stage 1.

We have been able to put together a tool box of things that help her to settledown - playdoh, clay, and a "balloon filled w/starch" (that is usually used for people to strengthen their hands.) , her blanket. Also, pleasing thoughts in case those items aren't around - thinking of her pets, a movie, a video game, etc. Many times, I have to remind her, go get "starchie" Or, you need to settledown before we can talk. At times, I'll ask her to hold my hand.

Another thing I am going to look into is Sensory Processing (or Integration) Disorder. Take a look online http://www.sensory-processing-disord...checklist.html to learn more about it. I think this has a part in her "getting stuck" too.

I know it seems that your daughter is acting out because she is defiant, etc. - not getting her own way, etc., but I have learned that it's more w/not being able to deal w/the unexpected, regulating her emotions (disappointment, etc.). Consistent boundries and consequences are still needed, but I am more successful w/her if I tell her the consequences after she is calm. If I don't, then the tantrum is much longer.

A couple of books you might want to read are Love and Logic as well as The Out of Sync Child (which deals w/sensory issues - I haven't read this yet, but plan to). Since things tend to stop working w/our dd after sometime, I use different strategies that I learn from others, books, etc.

I hope this helps and hope that this response finds you in a place which is better than when you first posted. With our girls in the tween years and soon to be in the teen years, I hope we both can find a solution for them before their hormones start flowing, so they can have a smoother puberty. I feel like I've been going through puberty w/her all of her life on the emotional side.

Take care.
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#11 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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I personally did have tantrums until that age, and older I guess, and I think it was a loss of control and letting off steam. I did have anxiety and that was probably related. It was awful to go through. That's what I always think when I see a child of any age having a tantrum. As hard as it is to watch, it's much harder to go through it.

Big hugs to you, and I hope some of the suggestions people have given help.
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#12 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TXmom2 View Post
Thanks for the tips. I will try to find some ways to communicate with her that don't put her on the defensive.
It's just tough because we feel like we are walking on eggshells with her. She wants everything to go her way and to do what she wants, eat what/where she wants, etc. and if it doesn't go exactly how she wants we end up with a tantrum. It just makes it so hard to enjoy spending time with her

Also, it has not gotten worse. It's actually gotten a little better as she's gotten older. We used to have to stop the car because she would scream & kick the seats and cause it to be unsafe to drive. Now she makes it miserable in the car by crying and whining....I guess it is an improvement

I'm just wondering if it's something we should have evaluated by a professional because she IS 9 and her behavior is so....umm...immature? I don't know...we've just been trying to deal with this type thing since she was 5 (or so) and it's not really getting that much better.

We've tried preparing her ahead of time ex) we are going to the mall to return a pair of shoes. She asks if we are going to Build-a-bear. NO, we are only going to return the shoes. "But I want to go to Build-a-bear". Not this time, we are ONLY going to return the shoes. (whining) "but, I really want to go to Build-a-bear.... boo-hoo...why can't I ever go?? I want to go...." Then she bursts out crying and sobbing and having a tantrum. Then she continues to whine and ask for the entire trip to the mall (we are not answering her at this point because when she whines, we ignore untill she speaks properly) Then she is told she will have to wait in the car with Daddy, while I return the shoes because she couldn't behave properly. This is met with more screaming and crying...which usually will continue the rest of the afternoon.
This happens over almost EVERYTHING and we are at our breaking point. We can't leave her home all the time. There are other members of this family and we can't let her outbursts control everything. What are we supposed to do????
Have you had conversations with her where you tell her what you notice and how you feel about it and ask her to come up with a solution to fix the behavior? I find that conversations are very helpful with my child, though she is younger, and they were also helpful for me when I was a kid. I didn't realize that my behavior negatively affected my family until we started family counseling. I knew that I got in trouble and that often affected how much I let myself escalate, though once I reached a certain point I couldn't pull back, but I didn't care about getting in trouble. I did care about my family and how they felt though. These tantrums seem very extreme for a child of that age if there is no reinforcement of the tantrum to make it pay off. I really like the book Raising a Thinking Pre-Teen also because it walks you through some very good exercises to do as a family in order to start to recognize emotions and think about your behavior in terms of how it will affect other people. Family counseling can also be very effective if you are out of ideas as a family, it was very valuable for our family when I was a child.
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#13 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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It's just tough because we feel like we are walking on eggshells with her. She wants everything to go her way and to do what she wants, eat what/where she wants, etc. and if it doesn't go exactly how she wants we end up with a tantrum. It just makes it so hard to enjoy spending time with her >>>>>

Perhaps she feels like she doesn't get to control a lot in her life and this is her response, wanting to control other things. Although 9 is older and you would expect less tantruming her brain is still growing and processing and may not be able to handle conflicting feelings. Perhaps you could just have a sign/signal for say talking rudely to someone that way no one else knows. With my kids I just gently say "rephrase". I also suggest Raising a Thinking preteen and Kids, Parents and Power Struggles. There are also a series of books by Louise Bates Ames that go through each year of life and explain behaviors/feelings, etc most kids go through. I wouldn't use it for discipline advice but just a what to expect at this age sort of thing.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#14 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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If it were my family, I would probably seek out counseling. It sounds like she gets into ruts and she can't get out of them. She's old enough now that cognitive behavioral therapy or even talk therapy might help. A good family therapist can look at the family dynamics and patterns and look at ways to work with your child.

Her behavior does not sound typical for a 9 year old, and it's going to get rougher, rather than easier with puberty. She should be able to handle the disappointment of not going to Build-A-Bear without a 1/2 day tantrum.

I've got an admittedly mellow 9 year old, but even my intense 6 year old can usually get over things. I am, however, considering counseling for us because she gets into panic attacks and cannot stop. The fact that your 9 year old cannot stop this behavior would worry me. She's clearly having issues with self-regulation that are much more than most kids her age have. Learning strategies now for self-regulation would really help her later in life.

A couple books that might be interesting for you:
The Explosive Child
The Challenging Child

As another poster suggested, is there any suggestion of anxiety, sensory issues or ADHD with her? Difficulties in self-regulation are often found in more than on area of life. My kids have sensory issues (one needed occupational therapy, one hasn't so far).

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#15 of 23 Old 11-23-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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I completely understand what TXmom2 is saying. I wonder if anything has changed sine a year ago and what technique she tried. My daughters almost 10 and I have the stressful issues.........very strong willed. I have tried,seems like everything, but I go nuts. My daughter can last hours of crying whining saying no not doing what's told continues talk back. I end up taking things away, not letting her go places, cancelling her friends from coming over. I speak calm and explain the that she's going to lose out. She'll came down and in seconds act up. I feel its because she thinks she's in control. I keep reminding her I'm the adult and parent not you.she gets plenty of attention so that's not an excuse. I think she just wants instant satisfaction and things her way. So not going to happen nor will society be acceptable to this behavior. So the question is so this does turn into horrible teens.........what does a person actually do when a child has a fit cause things don't go their way? If you not a parent please don't response.
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#16 of 23 Old 11-23-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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This reply is long (what's new?) and it's just to share my experience with this in the hopes that it will help.

 

My son has been like this, and the thing that turns it around is when I stop being punitive and "top-down" (i.e. "you need to be behave this way because of XYZ that I or society say"). When I instead remember that he is a human being that wants to be heard, wants to be treated with dignity, and needs to be quietly held accountable, things do improve. When he acts petulant or demanding, the very WORST thing I can do is lecture, threaten, or get angry. It will escalate. It's better for us when I teach an appropriate behavior in a non-confrontational way. He is very sensitive and very bright, and I think he's in tune to when things don't feel fair, and, like the other parents have said, when he doesn't have control.

A familiar refrain of my son's is "I want to be king of the world and have all the power so everyone would have to obey ME". When he says that, it reveals to me that as fair as we think we've been, he still feels like he is being forced and coerced and has no power. I don't happen to want our family to be about power. I want it to be about respect and accountability, so when my parenting strays from that, I need to get it back on track.

The other day when he said that, I took a gulp and said "Ok, just let me finish up a few things here.....then you are going to be in charge." So I did that. I went over to him, sat on the floor, and I "became the kid" for the rest of the afternoon. WOW was it enlightening. On the one hand it was fun, in that I made no decisions and just said "what do I do now?" "What should I do with this?" and handed all decisions over to him. (like about what to do with the dirty plates from the table, or the socks that were on the floor...little decisions). On the other hand it was sort of torture. The first thing he wanted me to do was go and play with Lincoln Logs and some of his toys in imaginative play. He loves this; I don't. But he was "the parent with power" in this role play, so I did it. And I found myself getting bored. Sleepy. Hungry. More bored. BOY did I want to change to another activity. But he didn't want to, and I had promised to let him be in charge. At one point I had to ask if I could eat. Luckily he said Yes! Talk about walking in his shoes--This is what it's like for him! We are always dragging him here or there, telling him how to behave, stop fidgeting, stop talking, do this, do that, learn this, learn that, eat this, don't eat that…..He does this every day and I was only doing it for an afternoon and was ready to jump out of my skin. (By the way, he LOVED this experiment.)

So anyway, once I knew how NOT to react (confrontationally, punitively) because it would just escalate, the question became how DO I react and/or teach things that he needs to do better? Well, one thing is prevention. "First, do no harm," as the saying goes. I tell myself, Don't badger him endlessly. Don't be in his face about everything, fidgeting with him, correcting him, wiping his mouth for him, you know those little million fidgets that parents do all day just out of habit because we used to when they were babies. That way when something important comes up that I do need to speak to him about, he's not already feeling micromanaged. Respect him, listen to him. When he has a strong feeling, don't evaluate it, judge it, minimize it or try and talk him out of it. Just let him have it. When I need him to do something, say it just once. And if he doesn't do it, then afterward I hold him accountable. Not with anger or chastisement, but because he had been warned and made the choice.  This method has worked wonders with us. Wonders.

For ideas on how to do all this, see the book "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso. This is how I learned all this. Also, my two other favorite books: Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish. Both of the latter two books were instrumental in helping me realize how the way I talked to my child was perceived by him. We parents can unwittingly be very demeaning and disrespectful, and a lot of it is just what we inherited from our own upbringings. These books give very good tips on how to speak to children in a way that doesn't accuse them, put them on the defensive, and which respects them.

It's hard parenting a very intelligent, very intense child. It definitely makes you have to try different things than the majority of your friends may do. But once you discover that, and do make those changes, you can have great success. I don't know if any of what I have said applies to the OP, but I just like to tell my own experience and people can take what's helpful and leave the rest. :-)
 

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#17 of 23 Old 11-25-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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I have twin 9 year olds with completely different temperaments, so I feel I do have some experience with the age! :)  I agree with others that family counseling might help get out of a dynamic that's playing out right now.  It does sound like your dd is a little unusual for her age in her inability to move on from disappointment, and her tantrums. That would concern me a bit.   

 

If my kids were throwing fits like you describe, first, in a calm moment, I would have a family talk about the kind of family we wanted to be in and the kind of people we wanted to be individually and to each other. (We've done this and it was both enlightening and successful.) I would also discuss what we should do when one of us doesn't behave the way we discussed and what kinds of consequences or reminders would be necessarily. I was always surprised at how aware my boys were of their behavior and the insight they had into its sources and ways to improve the behavior.  In your situation,  I would bring up the car trip whines and the Build-a-Bear behavior and ask her what she thinks of it and whether it ever helps her get her way, or if the behavior is just a source of more frustration.   I used to ask my kids if whining and repeatedly asking for something EVER got them what they wanted and they would sheepishly grin and say no, and move on.  DURING a fit, I might do a couple of things different than what you're doing.  In the Build-A-Bear scenario, I might have said, "Oh we don't have time/budget/etc. today but that would be fun, wouldn't it?  What did you have in mind buying there?"   Empathizing with her, in other words. I figured this out once when my dd was about 3 1/2 and I said no to some request and when she brought it up again I rudely tried to shut her down and said, "I told you we're not doing that today."  And she said "I know, but I just want to talk about it."  :) Bless her heart, she just wanted to explore the idea, just as I do on some things I like, and I'm so glad she was able to articulate that to me.  We often talk about things she wants to buy or wants to do, even if its outlandish, and it really validates her feelings and dreams.   

 

The car scenario would drive me crazy.  I think in a calm moment I would talk to her about her car behavior and try to figure out a solution together.  She's way too old to behaving so poorly in a car.  

 

One other observation is that my 9-year-olds are boys and my 5 yo is my girl.  She is MUCH more sensitive than the boys and even a hint of irritation in my voice hurts her feelings and can lead her to tears, just as you describe with your dd.  I've had to parent her much more gently than either of the boys and expect it will always be that way.  Her temperament is just more tender.  We also talk things through with her much more and rely on encouragement and positive reinforcement to get to the behavior we want, rather than punishments.  "Ignoring" would devastate her.   But then again, she's only 5 and she'll probably toughen up quite a bit by nine. Still,  my boys are the same age as your dd and they don't tantrum; in fact I can't think of any of their girl friends who do either.  So I would definitely take a serious approach about the behavior because I don't think it's typical at this age. 

 

 

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#18 of 23 Old 11-27-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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Have you talked with her about her whining at another time?  I'm thinking back to myself at 9, and I would not have liked to be reminded in a way that I felt was "for babies."  Not that I'm saying that's what she thinks, or that is what you're doing. but that could be part of the problem.  You won't know though unless you ask her.  I also hated to have anything dealt with publicly or in a way that everyone noticed.  I also just really wanted to be heard, which did not happen for me.  I was an only child--half-siblings were adults before I was adopted--and I felt a very them-vs.-me dynamic.  That was the main source of my frustrations and our problems.

 

For the car behavior, I would think it might be perfectly appropriate--though somebody would have to stay with her--to keep her home from the next car trip.  The mall, if she can't handle not going to Build-A-Bear, give her the option to stay home with someone.  Or enforce that as the consequence for starting the whining about it at home.  You know where it's going to lead, and I certainly would not want to be at the mall with a child who is acting like that, age doesn't matter.  It doesn't have to be punitive, it can be as simple as "OK, I am going to the mall to return these shoes, alone."  (I *love* getting out without mine to do routine stuff like that anyway.)

 

 


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#19 of 23 Old 12-13-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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I really love your reply. Your son sounds a lot like mine, in regard to being highly sensitive, in tune, and especially wanting lots of power, well all of the power. Your son articulates the words, wow! Mine says it with his actions ...I think I'd prefer the words : ) Anyway would you PLEASE elaborate on how you hold him accountable? Can you give some examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

This reply is long (what's new?) and it's just to share my experience with this in the hopes that it will help.

 

My son has been like this, and the thing that turns it around is when I stop being punitive and "top-down" (i.e. "you need to be behave this way because of XYZ that I or society say"). When I instead remember that he is a human being that wants to be heard, wants to be treated with dignity, and needs to be quietly held accountable, things do improve. When he acts petulant or demanding, the very WORST thing I can do is lecture, threaten, or get angry. It will escalate. It's better for us when I teach an appropriate behavior in a non-confrontational way. He is very sensitive and very bright, and I think he's in tune to when things don't feel fair, and, like the other parents have said, when he doesn't have control.

A familiar refrain of my son's is "I want to be king of the world and have all the power so everyone would have to obey ME". When he says that, it reveals to me that as fair as we think we've been, he still feels like he is being forced and coerced and has no power. I don't happen to want our family to be about power. I want it to be about respect and accountability, so when my parenting strays from that, I need to get it back on track.

The other day when he said that, I took a gulp and said "Ok, just let me finish up a few things here.....then you are going to be in charge." So I did that. I went over to him, sat on the floor, and I "became the kid" for the rest of the afternoon. WOW was it enlightening. On the one hand it was fun, in that I made no decisions and just said "what do I do now?" "What should I do with this?" and handed all decisions over to him. (like about what to do with the dirty plates from the table, or the socks that were on the floor...little decisions). On the other hand it was sort of torture. The first thing he wanted me to do was go and play with Lincoln Logs and some of his toys in imaginative play. He loves this; I don't. But he was "the parent with power" in this role play, so I did it. And I found myself getting bored. Sleepy. Hungry. More bored. BOY did I want to change to another activity. But he didn't want to, and I had promised to let him be in charge. At one point I had to ask if I could eat. Luckily he said Yes! Talk about walking in his shoes--This is what it's like for him! We are always dragging him here or there, telling him how to behave, stop fidgeting, stop talking, do this, do that, learn this, learn that, eat this, don't eat that…..He does this every day and I was only doing it for an afternoon and was ready to jump out of my skin. (By the way, he LOVED this experiment.)

So anyway, once I knew how NOT to react (confrontationally, punitively) because it would just escalate, the question became how DO I react and/or teach things that he needs to do better? Well, one thing is prevention. "First, do no harm," as the saying goes. I tell myself, Don't badger him endlessly. Don't be in his face about everything, fidgeting with him, correcting him, wiping his mouth for him, you know those little million fidgets that parents do all day just out of habit because we used to when they were babies. That way when something important comes up that I do need to speak to him about, he's not already feeling micromanaged. Respect him, listen to him. When he has a strong feeling, don't evaluate it, judge it, minimize it or try and talk him out of it. Just let him have it. When I need him to do something, say it just once. And if he doesn't do it, then afterward I hold him accountable. Not with anger or chastisement, but because he had been warned and made the choice.  This method has worked wonders with us. Wonders.

For ideas on how to do all this, see the book "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso. This is how I learned all this. Also, my two other favorite books: Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish. Both of the latter two books were instrumental in helping me realize how the way I talked to my child was perceived by him. We parents can unwittingly be very demeaning and disrespectful, and a lot of it is just what we inherited from our own upbringings. These books give very good tips on how to speak to children in a way that doesn't accuse them, put them on the defensive, and which respects them.

It's hard parenting a very intelligent, very intense child. It definitely makes you have to try different things than the majority of your friends may do. But once you discover that, and do make those changes, you can have great success. I don't know if any of what I have said applies to the OP, but I just like to tell my own experience and people can take what's helpful and leave the rest. :-)
 



 

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#20 of 23 Old 10-22-2012, 05:44 AM
 
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Hi: I was wondering if there was any improvement in your daughter now that a fews years have passed since you wrote this? I am experiencing the same type of problems with my 9 year old son who has had temper tantrums since we adopted him at the age of 1 year old. If so, what seemed to work for you? I have just made an appt. for him to see a psychiatrist at the end of the month. Looking forward to here from you> M

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#21 of 23 Old 10-24-2012, 01:44 PM
 
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a parenting coach suggested saying to my son who is almost 7 and does this a lot, is "i know you really want that, but I can't let you have it this time."
 

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#22 of 23 Old 10-30-2012, 02:52 PM
 
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Hi,
I realize that you posted this a couple of years ago. I just found it and it was as if I wrote it about my own 9 year old daughter. She is corn allergic and the link between her tantrums and the corn is irrufutable. It's like she's two different children. I'm curious if your daughter has outgrown either the allergy or the behavior. Thank you!!
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#23 of 23 Old 11-02-2012, 10:54 PM
 
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So many great advices. Just wanted to add my hugs.

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