I need some GD advice for my 8 year old. Within the past 3 months or so I feel as if our relationship has struggled. The backtalk in my house is at an all-time high. Everything we say to her always has a response. We seem to make her angry (along with her 6.5 year old sister) pretty much all the time. I understand we all live together and people can get frustrated with each other, but what bothers me is the way she talks to me (and her Dad). Rolling of the eyes, huffing, slouching, backtalk, just generally disrespectful. I am not a yeller, and I don't believe that taking things away from her/punishing her for her behavior works (we have tried taking some privileges away in the past, only to have the behavior continue). I have explained that it's ok to be upset with me, but it's the way she tells me she's upset that bothers me. I'm looking for suggestions to help us out? Wondering if at this point more responsibility on her end might help, etc. I've heard from her "I wouldn't be angry if you and Dad would just do what I want!"... She's my oldest, and to be honest I expected this behavior more towards her teenage years. She is a compassionate, kind, friendly child, the only time I see this behavior is with her Dad and myself. I just want to be able to enjoy our days together more, with less conflict. Any ideas would be appreciated.
This reminds me of a time when my oldest son who had always been so understanding and kind became argumentative on about everything that I said. When I asked him what was going on as it hurt my feelings that he had become so negative towards me, he said that it was just matter of roles--he was doing his role as a teenager and I was doing my role as a parent in setting limits, but that he didn't mean anything against me. Fortunately, after a few months, things were back to normal. Hopefully, you will keep the lines of communication open and your daughter's early pre-teen negative behavior will also be short-lived.
Remember to love her and be thankful that you have her. The sad ending of this story is that my son died unexpectedly at the age of 29 and I am thankful that except for that brief period of testing limits, we had always had a close relationship.
My style (not exactly advice, because it isn't exactly GD! ) is to not take it all too seriously. I respond with humor most of the time - not the anticipated result, and definitely improves the overall climate of the house. Gentle mockery - eye-rolling and deep sighs in return, pretending to be really hurt by insults (in a silly, melodramatic way), I have even mimicked tantrums. Other times, I just ignore it. The message I intend to playfully teach, is that if you want me to take you seriously, you need to be treating me respectfully. I might sometimes spell out that point bluntly, "Do you really think I want to do something nice for someone who speaks to me like that?" or "Try asking me politely and see if you get a better response". I have said, on more than one occasion, "Luckily, my self-esteem is in no way predicated on an eight year old's opinion of me". More often, I leave it up to the kid to notice the cause and effect relationship happening here. That kind of attitude just doesn't work. Generally, my kids have gotten through this stage pretty quickly.
With ElderSon, my first, I tried correcting him in these situations. I don't remember that having much impact at all. With my later kids (both bio and foster), my style has become more like the above, and if the stage didn't pass any more quickly, at least it was more fun to live through!
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)