gentle discipline with 9 year old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-05-2003, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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It is increasingly difficult to maintain patience with my 9yo daughter. On the whole things are really great. We started homeschooling this year, have lots more friends, time, activities, better education, etc. Mom and Dad are both moving ahead in freelance/self-employed work.

As a former Waldorf teacher I know there's a lot out there about the "nine year change" and that they can become monstrous at this age- violent mood swings, amazing lack of consideration and manners mixed with lots of consideration/maturity- most of the time we've got a fabulous, smart, funny creative person around. The problem is we have no warning when Beastchild will emerge, and we do get quite angry.

I understand she's moving through an important phase, and that at this age wanting to grow up conflicts sharply with wanting to be a baby forever and the sadness that this can't be, but I would love advice (or just commiseration) from other parents who might be able to help. We don't really punish, ever- part of the problem is she's always been *so* well behaved, easy, kind, cooperative that we have no clue how to cope with this. I vascillate between guilt over expressing anger and the idea that she should know when she's making people angry; between feeling for her: oh she's only nine, and exasperated: she's nine for god's sake!

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#2 of 4 Old 06-05-2003, 03:39 AM
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You might post this on the preteens and teens board, too...

I think puberty-type hormones start affecting behavior a lot earlier than most people expect - definitely by 9 for most kids I've known, even though they were still clearly kids and not adolescents. I talked more about my PMS grumpiness, about feeling irritated by all sorts of little things and learning to identify when I was in that kind of mood. Some of it seems to have taken root. There's also a lot of physical growth during this time, and I and to go back to offering food at intervals, because she wasn't used to needing to eat so often and would go too long and get cranky.

And remember that it's not you. Remembering that is sometimes helpful when she gets angry, so you can avoid getting angry back and keep some distance and let her own her anger... remember it will pass She's doing the best she can at the time, although it doesn't always seem that way!


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#3 of 4 Old 06-05-2003, 08:07 AM
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Without specifics it's hard to help in too much detail, but about the anger thing, I will tell my children when I'm angry. I don't use any scary ways or faces, but usually a more exasperated/annoyed look and voice. I say, "hon, I'm getting annoyed..., or I don't have the patience for this..." or something liek that. I try to use real words that my kids feel comfortable with, I'm losing it, I'm annoyed, etc. I will straight out tell them that this isn't the time to pull this or that.

With your daughter come right out and talk to her when she's bugging you and say something like, I don't like that attitude or when you do such and such. How can you do that or express the same thing in a different way?

At her age I would talk directly with her when she's in a good mood and ask what she'd like when she turns into Beastchild. Does she want some time alone, does she want a bit of teasing and hugging, does she want a journal to write all about her feeligns, does she want a sketch book and some colors to express herself.

Ask her what's going on and what she needs when she's in a good place and if whatever she says doesn't work sit down again and talk about what didnt' work and what to try next. Also tell her you get the whole thing about being 9, but want to help her find ways that work for everyone to help her deal with it.
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#4 of 4 Old 06-06-2003, 08:37 PM
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Try the book "Get out of my life, but first could you drive me to the mall." Great ideas and insight on the pre-teen and teen years. (And you DD hit them early it looks like.)
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