Communication break down with almost 10 y/o dd - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know how to speak preteen?

I am so baffled by my dd these days. We are in the throws of a serious communication break down. I look her in the eye and tell her something and she completely turns it around and is convinced I have said the complete opposite.
example:
Me to dd: "I love you."
Dd to me: "You don't love me, you think I am an idiot!"

I tell her I love her several times a day (when she leaves for school, when I am proud of her, when she makes me smile, when she goes to bed etc.) yet she claims I never tell her I love her. I will be telling her I love her and she will say "no you don't you never tell me you love me" sometimes attaching it to the fact that in her eyes "I love her sister more".

Recently, dh and I have made a point of doing really special things with her. Some examples include her and dh having date night with dinner out and a movie, I took her to the symphony, We spent a day at the mall with one of her friends, spent a day allowing her to plan the days meals, went grocery shopping for all the items and let her prepare all the meals for the day - while I did the clean up! And if you ask her we don't do anything nice for her.

We try to consistently speak to her respectfully yet a simple request to have her pick up her coat from the floor results in her accusing us of treating her like an animal not a human girl.

We tell her often how smart and bright she is yet she says we think she is an idiot. We don't name call in our house yet she often believes we put her down. When I tell her we treasure her again she says we don't like her.

She has been very needy and demanding for so long now that her younger sister is afraid of upsetting her, is generally afraid of her. We all feel like we have to tiptoe around her and regardless of how careful we are around her there is atleast one outburst a day.

I really feel for all of us and especially my younger dd (who is 8). The older dd feels like we are only ever nice to the younger sibling but the reality is that she (the almost 10y/o) is so demanding of our time and attention that the 8 y/o is just watching from the sidelines. And again it is a complete contradiction from how the older dd sees things.

I am baffled.

I try to listen to her and talk to her about how she is feeling. I tell her I am sorry that she feels like we don't love her and she combats me with words that I should prove it etc. I am exhausted and don't know where we are going wrong...why can't she see we are doing so much for her?

I write love notes to her.
I let her vent to me.
I allow her space for her interests.
I play with her.
I encourage her.

But nothing seems to work. What does she really want to hear from me when she is accusing me of not loving/liking her and accusing me of treating her badly. Do I just breathe through it and wait for the moment to pass till she is back to normal again.

Please help from a distressed - feeling helpless mother of a preteen girl!!!

BTW, I totally remember feeling the same about my mom when I was a preteen, the feeling that nobody loved me, but still I don't know how to handle it now that the table has turned. If she is like me she truly believes what she says and I suffered with self esteem through my entire adolescence and young adult hood. I don't want her to have to suffer the same fate. Hummpphh. What to do.
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#2 of 9 Old 03-05-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rosebuds View Post
Does anyone know how to speak preteen?

I am so baffled by my dd these days. We are in the throws of a serious communication break down. I look her in the eye and tell her something and she completely turns it around and is convinced I have said the complete opposite.
example:
Me to dd: "I love you."
Dd to me: "You don't love me, you think I am an idiot!"


According to this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Could-Drive-Cheryl/dp/0374528535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267828228&sr=8-1

what she is really saying "will you agrue with me right now?" and nearly anything you say back will be understood as saying "yes, I will agrue with you right now."

no advice.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 10:05 AM
 
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Have you read The Five Love Languages? There are versions for children and teens. It sounds to me as though you and your 10yo are speaking in different languages - you think you're telling/showing her how much she's loved, but she doesn't understand the language you're speaking. Might be worth looking at.
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#4 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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My Dd (almost 10) has been acting the same way. She doesn't say we don't love her but she is moody, volitale, says "stop it" instead of answering us.

After much probing it finally came out that she thought we were treating her like a baby because she still has a booster (she is very short for her age), doesn't stay home alone and doesn't have pierced ears. These are all things that set her apart from friends at school. I had no idea these things were bothering her. She swears she has told me but I know I would remember.

I guess my point being is that they think you should be able to read their minds! I am trying to take more time to go places and not just do things together, but talk. Talk about what makes her happy, friends, how it feels to be growing up. It takes my DD a while to open up but eventually she will.

Can you ask your daughter what makes her feel unloved? When she does feel loved? What is underneath that statement that you don't love her is some kind of fear. Fear of what?

For mine, it is fear of intimacy (or lack of intimacy) with peers. She craves it but has no idea how to get it. She see everyone else laughing and joking with peers in that secret preteen language, sharing private jokes, etc. and she wants it but is too reserved.

We got the "Care and Keeping of You " book last night and read it together. That was good at addressing fears of growing up. It is a very scary time for some of them (and us parents!). You feel like they are slipping away from you.

I will be seeing what great advice others have. Hang in there!
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#5 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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Sometimes I think what our kids put out to us mirrors what's going on inside for them. If you're confused and feeling uncertain, it's a good bet your dd is as well!

What I'm trying to do now: figure out the times and places where it's most likely that my dd will open up to me. I know that after we get some food is usually a good time (she is always (!) hungry), and riding alone together in the car, listening to music she likes, is also a good time. Nighttime, when we cuddle before she goes to sleep, is a good time for me to express, and her to receive, my loving thoughts. It's the calmest part of the day, and a building block of connection to fall back on.

Good luck-this isn't easy.
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#6 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Nighttime, when we cuddle before she goes to sleep, is a good time for me to express, and her to receive, my loving thoughts. It's the calmest part of the day, and a building block of connection to fall back on.
This is a really good part of the day for us, too. I read my girls (who are 13 and 11) a chapter of a book every night while they trim their nails, put on lotion, etc. It's a very mellow comfy time. I tell them every night before bed how much I love them and how lucky I feel to get to be their mom.

Days can be rough around here, but nights are cuddle and nice.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 9 Old 03-06-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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I have the exact same daughters! Only mine are 10, 6 & 1. I am exhausted by the end of the day trying to keep up with their emotional *and* tangible needs.

I don't have the answers, but if it's any consolation, it's normal. I'm trying to carve out time to read the 5 Love Languages for children, hoping it will help.

--janis

Mama to 3 girls 12,8,3
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#8 of 9 Old 03-10-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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One thing I say to my dd daily (or almost daily) is "Did I tell you I love you today?" and she rolls her terrible eyes and gnashes her terrible teeth and I say "I love you today!". It's silly and fun, and reminds her that I DO love her. Another thing I try to do is when she is really sad or po'd or in trouble, I reach out and just touch her arm or shoulder or head and I tell her "I love you, no matter WHAT, sweetie!". Another moment. You can leave her love notes under her pillow that tell her that you will always, under any and all circumstances, love her. It seems like you are already doing that kind of thing, so just keep doing it! Don't stop, don't stop ever! Coming from someone who's mom just kind of stopped because I was moody, please just keep letting her know in your own ways that you DO love her. It'll sink through eventually!! Just to let you know, though, this phase could easily last 3-5 yrs. Get some basic boundaries, like she is not allowed to call you (or dd2 or dad or whomever) names, she is only allowed to have friends in certain areas of the house, whatever your rules are, and there is loss of privilege associated w/breaking those rules. She will not like it, but those boundaries are imperative. Keep going, mama. She may not, as a teen, ever appreciate all the things you do for her, but her life is just beginning! You and she have loads of time to appreciate each other on other levels when she is really more mature and ready for that. hugs!!!

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
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#9 of 9 Old 03-26-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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OH my gosh!! You have just described my 10yr old DD. Your day is my day. I've grown so tired of the fight. I just pray daily to make it through. It helps to see that my DD is showing normal behavior--not desirable though. I feel for all of us that must endure. Press on!!!
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