How to deal with kid who's lost it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 02-07-2013, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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My dd is 8 years old and mostly a sweetpea. But when something isn't right with her? Watch out! She's very stubborn and seems absolutely determined to escalate things as far as possible. greensad.gif All sorts can set her off, tiredness, illness, disappointment. Heading her off early with distraction or humour works wonders. But sometimes we miss the early signs and off she goes. Her behaviour tends to stuff that cannot be ignored (which is my first instinct as I think a lot of it is attention seeking) like destruction, violence and stopping her brothers sleeping etc. She is an expert button pusher! I desperately need some strategies. Any ideas welcome! She is not open to talking down once she's lost her cool. Anyone got a strong willed kid with a temper and some experience to share?

Ruth, mum to B (9), P (8) and T (5)

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#2 of 4 Old 02-13-2013, 11:42 AM
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My firecracker just turned 11, and is easier than she used to be. However, I do remember.

I think you touched on a few things in this thread: keep snacks around so she doesn't get hungry enough to set her off. And especially protein-based snacks, in my experience. I'll also say that protein-based breakfasts improved my daughter's behavior all day, right through to bedtime.


The distraction and humor are good ideas too when they work. When she's determined to have a tantrum, I would treat it just like the tantrum of a younger child. Let her let off steam, but you apparently need to create some boundaries, so like she's able to go to her room if she needs to blow off steam, but not in the living room, and even in her room where it's just her stuff to break, I'd keep reminding her of your expectation that, while it's understandable to be angry, it is not OK to break things.


There isn't a magic way to settle them. Speaking in an empathetic way can help, just like it does with younger kids. And it can be followed up by reminding her of your expectations. "I see you're frustrated. It would make me angry too, if X happened to me. It's understandable to be angry, but even when you're angry you can't break things." Or if need be shorten it: "It's OK to be angry, but not to break things."


If she is violent enough, it might be a sign of a bigger problem, beyond just discipline. In that case, I'd head to the pediatrician. But since "violence" is paired with keeping people from sleeping, I've answered this with the assumption that it's what I'm imagining in my head - a bit of lashing out but no real serious intent to cause harm. If she is really trying to hurt people, then you might want to have her evaluated to see if something more involved is going on. But if she's like my daughter, if she eats well (protein for breakfast!), and has snacks available, it's probably manageable. Just annoying.


I will also suggest a great book called, "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen." The author's last name is Faber. It has great suggestions of simple wording of things that kids (in my experience anyway) seem to hear and respond to.


Sometimes I wonder if older kids start to act up a bit when they're starting to feel disconnected - like they miss being babied. You might see if some more attention and babying here and there helps when you think of it. Also, the hormones can start up a couple of years or so before her period starts so she might be getting hormonal. There are things that are within her control, like breaking things, but some of the moodiness might be outside of her control. Suggesting her room as a cooling off spot might help her. Maybe if she has a way to listen to some calming music when she's upset? When she's in better spirits you might be able to troubleshoot with her and find a way to set up a spot where she can go and relax when she's upset. Then you could say, "You sound upset! Maybe you want to go to your room and listen to some music to relax."


I've rambled a bit but hopefully something in there is of some help. Good luck!

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#3 of 4 Old 02-13-2013, 08:48 PM
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What about an acceptable outlet for that extreme physical energy -- such as a punching bag.


I have some very stiff clay I use with a child I work with who has explosive tendencies. He can really pound it and squeeze it and have a physical release for his intense emotions.


I'd also try to be as preemptive as possible -- regular meals and snacks, appropriate rest and exercise, etc. And because this is attention seeking, planning in regular times for fun and connection may help.

Does she also do this at school or is this behavior just for at home?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 4 Old 02-13-2013, 10:49 PM
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check out Dr Ross   Greene's CPS - collaborative problm solving approach. Outside the moment we can try have a discussion , not on the behaviors , but the actual unsolved problem , unmet concerns that give rise to the problem. Once we have a clear idea of the kid's concerns, we can put our concerns and expectations on the table and then together try and brainstorm mutually satisfying , realistic and durable solutions. It is messy and not easy , but the CPS process promotes lagging skills 

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