Worried about immature, petulant 11 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 02-11-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really starting to worry about my 11.5 year old daughter. She has always been a little immature, but I chalked it up to being a younger sibling... until the last year or two. She clearly has developed learned helplessness somehow (not at our house at least, but clearly *someone's* been teaching her to think she shouldn't have to do anything for herself), and has had a horrible attitude and sense of entitlement lately.

 

I would like to know if there's some kind of "developmental milestones" type list for 11 year olds/ 5th graders out there, because I feel like I may not have a good gauge on what a kid her age should be able to do. I know she's definitely behind compared to her 14 year old sister at her age and both my partner and I at her age, but I don't know if we were highly advanced or if she's just immature. At her age, my partner and I had both had our first kisses, would ride our bikes a mile or two away from our houses, and had jobs like mowing the lawn or babysitting. She maintains she can't drain water from a 1 quart stock pot or get herself down a bowl from the cabinet with a stepstool that makes her only an inch shorter than her sister who has no problem doing these things. She rarely sleeps in her own bed, she ends up in bed with her sister most nights (who is about to be in high school and really doesn't need little sister in her bed at night) and refuses to even start in her own bed when sister isn't home, just comes into our room and sets up her sleeping bag without even trying even though we've been telling her "next time you start in your own bed" for the last year. Which brings us to (dah dah dah) the wall eyed fit she throws when we try to make her sleep in her own bed, the indignant attitude about anything we expect her to do (like helping out with the dishes or switching out laundry, it's just sooooo unfair and she shouldn't have to do it). She literally yelled at me yesterday that she would not clean the mud she got all over the backseat of the car because there was a Vitamin water bottle in the backseat that she didn't put there and she won't take any responsibility for anything she does if someone else is guilty of the same thing, according to her. She won't hang her backpack up where it goes if someone else left their shoes by the door, etc. I have no idea where she got this spoiled attitude from. She has always been a negative child, but it's getting out of hand.

 

I like to think we are very fair and don't expect her to even do things an 11 year old should, honestly our expectations would be acceptable for an 8 or 9 year old even, yet she takes it as some kind of personal affront. She tries to argue with us every day about how she thinks it's so unfair that we make her carry a dummy cell phone around for 6 months until she can get a real one, without losing it or breaking it, because her sister didn't have to. We explained that she is not her sister, her sister was way more mature, complained less, helped out more, and NEVER ONCE left something at school like she does on a weekly basis. She has lost at least $200 in clothing at school and is confused why she can't have a phone, gee I wonder. She doesn't understand that a phone or TV is a privilege, and she will literally bawl if she doesn't get what she wants. She acts like a 6 year old. She also talks like a 6 year old. She doesn't care enough to remember precise words for anything that isn't something she feels strongly about. Example: samosas, we eat them all the time, she's been eating them her whole life, she likes them okay but they aren't her favorite, STILL doesn't remember what they're called, she just says "sama mumble mumble" instead. This game is getting real old real fast. It's like idiocracy over here. I have threatened to take away screens entirely if she doesn't try to use precise words and do what we ask her to do without complaining (she even gets allowance for the chores she does, so she has incentive not to complain), but it still isn't helping.


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#2 of 34 Old 02-11-2012, 07:06 AM
 
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I don't have time for a lengthy reply right now, but wanted to respond. Your frustration is obvious. Two things jumped out at me: 

 

1. Comparisons to her sister - it's hard, but you have to stop doing this. It isn't helping the situation and it's creating resentment and frustration on both sides. You are frustrated that she isn't more like her sister. She's frustrated about it too, because it's awful to be constantly coming up short when measured against someone else. 

 

2. Positive facets of your younger DD - I didn't read any (admittedly I only skimmed). There must be some. It might help to focus on her positive attributes and work on building a positive relationship with her.  

 

Back later. Sorry. 

 

 

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#3 of 34 Old 02-11-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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OP, I get all the negatives.  Give us some positives.  If there are some positives it might be easier to work through. 

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#4 of 34 Old 02-11-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jdsf View Post

 

 At her age, my partner and I had both had our first kisses, would ride our bikes a mile or two away from our houses, and had jobs like mowing the lawn or babysitting.

 

 

I think its seriously weird that your list starts with kisses. Weird.

 

Has your daughter been evaluated for special needs or learning disabilities?  I see flags for special needs in you post.

 


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#5 of 34 Old 02-11-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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I've got a 10 year old in fifth grade. He's also not the most mature kid in the world.

 

I too think it's weird that you START with first kisses. There is NO WAY ds will have had his first kiss by the end of 5th grade. OK, he's a boy but still, he's not showing any physical signs of puberty, and only a very very few emotional ones.

 

This is what our son is expected to do:

-Putting away his backpack (we're not very good about shoes ourselves, so we don't enforce that one)

-Keep track of his own homework

-Let us know when his laundry needs doing

-Making sure his sports uniform of the season is clean before the game (which usually means telling us it needs to be washed).

-15-20 minutes of family chores every night -- the thing about family chores that we've stressed since our kids were 4-5 is that it doesn't make a difference who made the mess. The family lives in the house and the family helps clean up. Family chores include things like mopping floors, vacuuming, cleaning the sink and the toilet in the bathroom, starting laundry, picking up clutter, folding and putting away laundry, helping with garbage and recycling. (The key for making this work for our family is that we do this together.)

-Emptying the dishwasher daily.

-Getting one of his two bedtime snacks.

 

Ds likes to be served. If you've ever read "The 5 Love Languages of Children", there's love language called "acts of service" and that's ds all over again. We're working with him to increase his competence in terms of preparing his own food. But since he's so good about so may other things ,I'm not feeling a great urgency for that yet. I'm thinking that when he's in 6th grade, we'll start some cooking lessons. So, we prepare his first bedtime snack, and he gets the second.

 

He also tends to roll his eyes and look put upon when we ask him to do something.  Just this afternoon he argued with me after lunch because my dh had said he could play Wii, but I asked him to unload the dishwasher. It was a mild argument. We compromised on him working for 5 minutes and then playing Wii. If there were any dishes left, he could empty them later. He set the timer for 5 minutes, and lo and behold, was done! (He actually worked for 30 seconds beyond the 5 minutes because there were just a few dishes left.)

 

I will also say that he's become emotionally more labile these days. He used to be disappointed when his favorite basketball team. Now he is testy, may throw stuffed animals around the room, and is somewhat snippy.

 

He does mostly sleep in his own bed, but he will come in and sleep on our floor every once in awhile when he's had a bad dream. When his dad is out of town (not all that often), he likes to share a bed with me. (So does his little sister, so we have to alternate.)


Several things that you've said concern me:

"She has always been a negative child, but it's getting out of hand"

the "fit she throws when we try to make her sleep in her own bed"

"We explained that she is not her sister, her sister was way more mature, complained less, helped out more, and NEVER ONCE left something at school"

"She acts like a 6 year old. She also talks like a 6 year old. She doesn't care enough to remember precise words for anything that isn't something she feels strongly about."

 

The first two make me wonder if there's anxiety and/or depression that is going untreated.

 

The third ('her sister was way more mature') suggest to me that you need family counseling to find out whether her issues are behavioral or depression. Do you not think that your younger daughter sees the implicit criticism of not being as mature as  her sister was? She clearly can't keep up with her sister's maturity, so one clear way to make herself different is to not be competent at all.

 

Finally, like Linda, what you said about her language really makes me wonder about a learning disability. Not being able to learn a word for an item commonly eaten at home is more than "not caring". It could well be a sign that she's got a learning disability. If she does, she may well not be able to do what you expect of an 11 year old, she may have trouble learning things. She may be negative and hostile because she's frustrated or really cannot understand the importance of what you're asking of her.

 

Whatever it is, if the family dynamic is really what you describe, I would be seeking outside help. It's very easy to fall into negative patterns and sometimes hard to get out. By seeking out counseling, and perhaps an assessment for your daughter, you would be modeling what mature people do when they are in over their heads. It sounds like she's reacting as if she's in over her head.

 

Two books to recommend:

1. The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine

2. Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

 

If it turns out to be behavioral (and not a mental health and/or learning issue), you might also look at "Love and Logic". I'm not a real fan of Love and Logic, but it does have some ideas for helping kids learn to take responsibility for their own actions.


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#6 of 34 Old 02-12-2012, 12:23 AM
 
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It sounds like you are giving a lot of threats but not much follow through.  I think you need to decide on one thing that you really want to see change now and come up with a plan that you can stick to, if it includes a consequence you need to find one you will follow through with instead of just use as a threat for a year.  Even if she does have special needs whether your dd throws a fit or not.  Even if she does have special needs that wouldn't bump her down to an age where having a full blown tantrum would be an excusable behavior. 

 

It sounds like she is acting partly out of resentment and partly out of not caring if you see her having a tantrum as long as it gets her her own way.  A ccounselor may be able to help you and her gain some insight into what is driving her childish behavior so you can work together to find a solution.  If you haven't read How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk then I really suggest it.  It can also help you open up some dialogue in a respectful way so you can come up with solutions together. 

 

Have her teachers commented on her behavior?  If they have then I think you should be worried about what is going on with her, if not it may be because she knows where she can and can't get her way by having a fit and acting like a toddler.  If they have commented then I think you really need to try to get her some testing for special needs. 

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#7 of 34 Old 02-12-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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I can hear your frustration. I'm certain your child can too, but it's unlikely to have the effect you would like it to have on her. Negative feelings rarely engender positive results. When my dd (now 14) was your dd's age, she suffered from anxiety and depression. She had some trouble doing things on her own for a few reasons: 1) motivation, 2) memory issues (anxiety and depression both inhibit brain function so it's hard for people to think clearly or remember things) 3) what a pp mentioned: wanting to be served. That was a big thing for her. When we did things for her, she felt loved and valued. She was having a hard time feeling loved and valued intrinsically, but having us do things for her tangibly reinforced her feelings of being cared for, valued, safe and comforted. It was a difficult thing for us to get our heads around - we often wanted to just say "Do it yourself!" - and although we didn't have an older sibling to compare her to, I admit I occasionally compared her to friends at school ("So and so always seems to fit everything into her backpack and get to her locker between classes - why is it so hard for you?"). I did realize eventually that that was unfair to dd and was not in any way helpful or motivating for her. I imagine it is even worse for your dd to be compared to her sister. If your dd herself brings it up (as when she says "sister didn't have to do _____"), it would probably be wise to discourage comparison without making your dd feel 'lesser than.'  Feeling bad about herself will probably not help her be motivated to do better.

 

 I'm concerned that you threaten to punish her because she doesn't use "precise words." As pp have mentioned, there could be many reasons she's not remembering the word for samosas even though you eat them all the time. I personally have a really hard time sometimes thinking of words I should know. Sometimes I just stop in the middle of a sentence because I can't remember the word for what I want to say. If I were to be threatened the loss of something I valued because of that flaw, it would make me feel really crappy, but it would not help my memory.

 

Finally, I think having her carry around a dummy cell phone for six months seems punitive and a little demeaning. Obviously you can make your own rules about getting her a phone, and this is just my opinion -- but six months seems like a long time to have to do something just to "prove" herself. If it were me being required to do that, I'd probably refuse. The fact that she's only complaining about it means she might be more compliant than you realize. I know it must be really frustrating for you that she's lost clothes and has trouble keeping track of her belongings  -- I dealt with this too and I feel you, truly., But somehow the dummy phone just seems calculated to remind her every day of her shortcomings.

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#8 of 34 Old 02-12-2012, 08:43 PM
 
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If she refuses to get the bowl down does someone else do it for her?  If she won't drain the water from the pot who does it?  What happens if she doesn't put her backpack up or clean the car etc?  

 

You say she isn't learning these behaviours at your house but if she is getting away with acting like that then she is learning it at your house & will continue to do it.

 

She sounds typical & normal for a hormonal 11yo

 

 

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#9 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 12:30 PM
 
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I was struck by how different and difficult you find your daughter compared to everyone else in the family. It suggests that she is "odd man out" in the family. There is a phenomenon that sometimes happens in families where one person is scapegoated by everyone else. Any behaviour that is out of the ordinary (as defined by the so-called "normal" members of the household) is held up as evidence that this person is somehow inferior or a trouble-maker, and as such, the source of all family aggravation. Hopefully, I'm getting an unfair impression because you just needed a place to vent your worst concerns so there's a lot more to the picture, and this interpretation isn't at all valid.  

 

Some behaviours described may indicate a sensitive kid, some may be due to unidentified special needs, and some of it may be adolescent hormones. Maturity seems to be your biggest issue. I'd think about what maturity really means and work on those areas with her. It sounds like what you really want to see is more responsibility and trustworthiness on her part. Early romantic or sexual involvement isn't a good indicator of maturity. Sleeping alone isn't necessarily one either. Some people just aren't good at organization and keeping track of their belongings. I know a few forgetful "nutty professor" genius types who lose stuff all the time - because their minds are fully occupied elsewhere on abstract ideas. No one accuses them of not being mature. Their parents spent a lot of time on creating ways to help them out - lists and reminders and agendas and other systems that support them. And, their parents have learned some tolerance when those systems fail, as all systems inevitably do, and the kids come home without their lunchbags or gym clothes or sweaters or boots (how do you lose boots in the middle of January??). 

 

The suggestions for some investigations and counseling are helpful because you may not see a lot of progress in improving responsibility and trust if she is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other special needs and if the entire family is caught in a negative dynamic. 

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#10 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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I would sign up for counseling- and have her evaluated... I would also suggest you get counseling for the whole family and for yourself.

This does not sound good- I know you were venting but it is obvious there are some things going on here that are not ok.


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#11 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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My daughter was not very mature at that age either.  

 

I'd kill her if she was kissing anybody at that age.

 

I was also riding bikes all over the city by that age... I was riding the trains and buses by that age too.

 

However, things are different these days.  We can't let our kids ride bikes in the neighborhood without a visit from CPS, and our kids can't kiss each other without someone announcing it on facebook, and the kids have a bad reputation forever.  (seriously, I'd flip out if my 11 yr old were kissing)  My daughter still listened to children's music at that age, and still couldn't watch PG13 movies.  I wanted my child to be a child.

 

I'd just make things easy enough to work with.  If she can't drain the water, give her a colander and tell her to pour it in there, then pour the pasta back in the pot.  I'd move the kid's bowls to her level.  Make it all do-able, then tell her to try... if she tries, and still can't do it, she'll be fine until the next meal, or she can choose something that doesn't require a bowl or hot food.  "There's a banana on the counter, you can eat that instead".  You'll be surprised how fast they can learn something when nobody else will do it for them.

 

By 11, she should be able to do a load of laundry with supervision.  (and it won't be perfect... she'll forget it's in the dryer..then she won't hang anything up)

 

At age 11, they tell you about a big project that is due the next day.. but they tell you at 9:00 p.m, after they've gone to bed, and they remember that they need a posterboard, a calculator and some tempra paint...so you at 9:45, you are the last person in walgreens buying posterboard and paints, then you are both up til 11:30 doing the project, and the next morning, she's all crabby and impossible to wake up for school.  

 

Don't worry too much about the pre-teen dingy-ness.  They can remember all the words to the Sponge Bob square pants song, but can't remember when to bring lunch money to school.  It's just a part of development.

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#12 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, a couple of points of clarification:

 

I am not condoning or encouraging 11 year olds to kiss, I was trying to illustrate that my partner and I were quite mature for 11 and our experiences were not indicative of "normal" 11 year old behavior, especially not in this century. I would barely let my 14 year old ride a city bus, and certainly not alone, much less the 11 year old.

 

The girls spend 6 or 7 days a month with their dad, who manages to undo all the work we've been doing every other weekend and one night a week, maybe. He is in his early forties and has an 11 month old baby with his current partner, and they are raising a teenager together as well, so he honestly doesn't seem to have the energy to parent them all when they're all together. They are in couples counseling and their therapist has suggested family therapy, but they don't have a vehicle big enough to fit everybody in. Yeah, they can never go anywhere or do anything together, which isn't helping the situation. We want the kids to spend time with their baby half brother, especially since they are so much older and will be moving out before he's even out of elementary school, but the situation over there is not too good.

 

Anyway, the behavior situation with dd11 is like night and day when it comes to school. She is the perfect student, her teachers love her, and she is doing great academically. She is in a special math group with one other kid in her grade, and they are doing 6th grade work. She reads on a late 8th/early 9th grade level. She only gets in trouble for trying to do her homework when she's done with her other work and waiting on the other kids. She was tested for learning disabilities in 1st grade, not on our part, we believe kids will read when they're ready and tried to avoid any kind of shaming about her not reading at that age. The reading specialist found no problems, the behavior specialist said she was doing great socially and had no worries about her, and she was reading chapter books by the end of 2nd grade. She goes to a school with combined grades, so she has been one of the older kids in her class for the last couple of years. Most of her friends are 4th graders, so I have a hard time gauging her maturity against her peers. Young 10 is very different from middle 11, a lot of things seem to change around then.

 

We try to make things easy for her, she has a stepstool in the kitchen she can use when she can't reach something. All of the bowls, cups, and plates are on the lower shelves, and the stool makes her only 1 inch shorter than her sister who can reach things fine. We always make her do it herself, but at her dad's house, she gets him to do it for her, or her stepsister. My partner and I do plenty of things for her to be nice, for instance, I will make her a snack if she has a bunch of homework or has gone out of her way to do something for someone else, but if she has nothing to do but watch a show or play a game, I make her do it herself. It is nice to be waited on, but you shouldn't expect it and become indignant if someone legitimately has something they need to be doing instead. She is very thoughtful and generous most of the time, but it's the entitlement that makes it difficult to deal with her sometimes, because she is convinced she's in the right and the other person is "being mean to her". If I had a dollar for every time she started a sentence with "_____'s being mean to me" when they really aren't being mean at all, they just aren't doing what she wants them to do. I don't know where she's gotten this victim mentality from, but I suspect it might have something to do with dad's wife. I do think she is a little overly sensitive at times, and she does compare herself to her sister a lot. We make it a point not to compare her to her sister unless she brings something up as "if she can have it why can't I", so then we have to explain why her sister gets the thing and she doesn't. Usually the answer is when you're her age, you can, too, but the phone issue is much deeper than that. She has already left the dummy phone somewhere twice and not known where it was several times, so it is a legitimate issue. She also doesn't have any friends with phones, and it's an expense we can't really afford, so it's not something we can just take a chance on, nor does she need a phone yet. She has a tablet and an mp3 player already, but those aren't allowed to leave the house unless we're going on a trip somewhere.

 

So far as setting her up for success, we make her checklists, we remind her to do things, we try to give her as many choices as possible to make her feel empowered, we always comment on positive behavior and avoid "punishment" for shortcomings. The worst thing that happens is privileges get removed if the behavior continues after two consecutive warnings, or some "cool off" time if there's yelling involved. She seems to have good self esteem, she's not generally afraid to try new things, and she seems pretty confident most of the time, she's only shy in new social situations. I haven't observed any anxious behavior. I have had anxiety issues since I was a teenager and I don't see any warning signs in her.

 

I didn't mean to sound so down on her, she really is a great kid, but I'm in this forum for help with problems, not to brag about how awesome my kid is ;) She has great style, she is one of the funniest people I've ever known, and she has a huge heart and loves everyone and everything, most of the time. I think she knows we think those things about her, too.


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#13 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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She sounds smart.  And smart can be pretty interesting sometimes.  I get you were ranting a bit.  It can be hard. I get it.  I hope the best for you guys.  Honestly, she's trying to gauge who she is.  She's not the baby anymore with an infant at dads, but she's still the baby at home?  I don't know, I would consider holding her to more mature things.  Doing for herself when she is actually able and leave it at the.  I'd also tell her you really can't get her that phone financially, the dummy is kind of mean trick. 

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#14 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 08:14 PM
 
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My DD isn't 11 yet, but I notice she is trying out some attitude and a lot of moping about her unfair life when things aren't going her way. She especially sticks to a couple lines she has gotten a reaction for using because she knows using them tends to get her what she wants until I figure out what is going on. Maybe your DD has just come into this phase a little later than other kids. It may also be that she skipped it the first time around but is noticing her friends attitudes and mimicking them. My dd's friends seem to have a lot of attitude with each other from what she describes.
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#15 of 34 Old 02-13-2012, 08:43 PM
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A lot of kids regress when they have a new baby sibling.  I know you have to hold the line on a lot of things - she has responsibilities, she isn't getting a cell phone until she keeps better track of her possessions, she needs to sleep in her own bed.  But it sounds like she also needs a little TLC.  It's not going to kill you to grab the bowl for her every now and then, and it might help her feel more secure about her role in the family.  If you can, I would set aside some one-on-one time for her when she can have your undivided attention and you can do something positive with her while you all get through this difficult time.  New sibling after 11 years of being the youngest + hormones = a lot of crazy change all at once.

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#16 of 34 Old 02-14-2012, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I do think hormones and possibly the baby are factors here. She's never been a fan of boys her age, but lately she's taken an interest in a couple of 13 year old boys who are friends of her sister recently, and she definitely gets that manic giggly thing that hormonal teenage girls have. I think it might also influence how "everything is so unfair", I know that's a common theme around middle school as well. She absolutely adores her baby brother and I'm sure any feelings she has regarding not being the baby anymore are subconscious at this point. We do try to make her feel special, when I have one on one time with her, I get her treats or let her ride in the front seat, and I know my partner does the same. Still, I think she might feel a little lost in the mix at her dad's house, older sister and stepsister are in the same grade at the same school and are off in their own little 8th grade universe.

 

She is very smart, and also very much an artist, so she tends to think creatively and often comes out of left field with her ideas. There's no stopping her once she's gotten something into her head. She is quite strong-willed, which, while being a positive quality, is kind of nuts at this age. She won't let anyone tell her she can't do something, even if it honestly is beyond her capabilities. That makes her both awesome and difficult to parent at times. If she really needed the phone, we could figure out a way to do it, but it would mean sacrificing something else.


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#17 of 34 Old 02-14-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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I think I would be happy my 11 year old was not into boys- kids grow up so fast... so what if she is not into boys.  I don't get your thoughts on this.


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#18 of 34 Old 02-14-2012, 03:53 PM
 
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Oh, a new sibling/changes at her dad's house ... I could definitely see that having something to do with some of the clinginess and helplessness.My dd's issues happened when we had a baby, and she was the same age as your dd. Even if she's not depressed, it seems really plausible that the changes are exacerbating her desire not to sleep alone and her more emotionally demanding attitude. Even if you bring it up with her, she may not consciously know it's a cause. And with an artistic temperament - sounds like she feels things really strongly (and acts them out).  She'll likely chill out in the next year or so, but I agree with the above - a little extra TLC might go a long way to helping her attitude improve. With my dd, giving her, say, an extra hour of my time purely devoted to her (and not running errands or anything else - really one on one, like playing a game together) made her a LOT more easy-going and self-reliant. It had a pretty amazing effect.

Your dd won't want to sleep in your room or with her sister forever, either ... I understand the instinct to want to help her become more independent, but I really think it happens naturally as she matures, and it'll come soon enough ... even more so as her emotional needs are met and she feels more secure in her place in both families.

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#19 of 34 Old 02-15-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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I can see how you've got some challenges on your hands. It is hard to hear "everything is so unfair" all the time. For something like a phone, it may help to get her involved in the decision-making for that kind of item, rather than framing it as something you can't trust her with yet. If she doesn't really need it (and many 11 y.o's don't need a phone), then that's a good reason to wait. Of course, if she's so strong-minded, she may not accept your reasons and still get hung up on "it's so unfair" eyesroll.gif . 

 

A compromise might be to get an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone that she gets to take on those occasions when she might need one. It reinforces the idea that a phone has a purpose and she'll get one when she really needs one. She'll probably feel a little better about carrying it than a fake phone. If it gets lost, it isn't a financial disaster. 

 

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by jdsf View Post

Thanks for the responses. I do think hormones and possibly the baby are factors here. She's never been a fan of boys her age, but lately she's taken an interest in a couple of 13 year old boys who are friends of her sister recently, and she definitely gets that manic giggly thing that hormonal teenage girls have. I think it might also influence how "everything is so unfair", I know that's a common theme around middle school as well. She absolutely adores her baby brother and I'm sure any feelings she has regarding not being the baby anymore are subconscious at this point. We do try to make her feel special, when I have one on one time with her, I get her treats or let her ride in the front seat, and I know my partner does the same. Still, I think she might feel a little lost in the mix at her dad's house, older sister and stepsister are in the same grade at the same school and are off in their own little 8th grade universe.

 

She is very smart, and also very much an artist, so she tends to think creatively and often comes out of left field with her ideas. There's no stopping her once she's gotten something into her head. She is quite strong-willed, which, while being a positive quality, is kind of nuts at this age. She won't let anyone tell her she can't do something, even if it honestly is beyond her capabilities. That makes her both awesome and difficult to parent at times. If she really needed the phone, we could figure out a way to do it, but it would mean sacrificing something else.



 

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#20 of 34 Old 02-15-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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Just a thought here, may or may not apply to you, OP.  I have found, often in retrospect, that when my now teen was at her clingiest, or most petulant, or what have you, that there was some big developmental piece happening, and she needed to regress a little before moving forward?  Does that make sense?  I find it even now.  For some kids, moving through the stages of pre and early adolescence goes on with minor bumps.  For others, it's not quite so smooth, and you do see some regression, or difficult or needy behavior.  I can almost guarantee you that as much as you don't understand the behavior, neither does she.  This is a confusing time and requires a lot of patience.

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#21 of 34 Old 02-19-2012, 12:52 PM
 
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She sounds a little like I was. I have a really hard pronouncing some words, especially of I haven't seen them written down. I had never eaten a samosa until I was in law school, and didn't know how to say the word until I saw it written down on a takeout menu (a few years later, and I was in my twenties). Same with other words as well, it's funny to because my name can be hard to pronounce, but seeing it written down makes it harder to say not easier. I had a lot of ear infections when I was a kid, and I have tons of scar tissue in them, which I think makes it hard for me to hear how certain words are pronounced (especially if they are from a different culture).

Honestly, she's at a rough age.

As for the phone, tell her you can't afford to get her one right now, that she doesn't really need on anyway, and that you will reevaluate in a year or so. The dummy phone isn't necessary, and because you know she wont keep track of it, it's really just a tool that will end up making her feel badly about herself.
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#22 of 34 Old 02-19-2012, 03:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

The dummy phone isn't necessary, and because you know she wont keep track of it, it's really just a tool that will end up making her feel badly about herself.


I really agree with this. I keep track of my phone and zillions of other things but I couldn't hold on to a dummy phone because it's meaningless.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 34 Old 02-19-2012, 06:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

The dummy phone isn't necessary, and because you know she wont keep track of it, it's really just a tool that will end up making her feel badly about herself.


I really agree with this. I keep track of my phone and zillions of other things but I couldn't hold on to a dummy phone because it's meaningless.

 


I just wanted to clarify that I understand you aren't intentionally trying to make her feel bad about it, but it's not always the intent that matters.
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#24 of 34 Old 03-09-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, for what it's worth, the dummy phone was her idea. Since I wrote the original post, she has realized on her own that she doesn't need a phone and stopped trying to get one. Just putting that out there since a lot of people seemed hung up on that one.


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#25 of 34 Old 03-09-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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You have a lot to contend with.  I wish for you all the resources that you are going to need to see your daughter happily on her way towards womanhood. 

Some of what you write sounds normal.  Hard to handle, but normal.

Some of what you write sounds more extreme.  It makes me wonder - what problem is she trying to solve by this immature behaviour?  Your daughter clearly has the capacity to be a bright, responsible and well-mannered person (at school) so I wonder what is driving her poor behaviour at home. 

She won't have the answers herself I imagine - so it will be futile asking her "Why?" "Why are you so...?"  "Why don't you grow up?"

You may not find the answers yourself either, but do search for them.

Deep down your daughter wants to be loved and accepted by you, however it may seem.  But she's not acting that way.  So, win her back.  Take her away - just you and her - for a few days, and have fun together.  Treat her.  Enjoy each others company.  Take her away from everything that is going on at home and see what happens.  Activities that require you to cooperate together and asking her to take responsibility for something rather than asking her to help you (cooking a meal, canoeing, rock climbing, map-reading etc)   will give her the opportunity to behave more maturely.

I would not be surprised if she lets you in and you'll get some insight into what is troubling her.

There are also things that you can do to help her to mature and grow up. 

"A rite of passage creates a shift in self-perception which moves a person along the path of maturity."

http://ritesforgirls.com/journeying-towards-womanhood/why-perform-a-rite-of-passage/

 

 

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#26 of 34 Old 04-04-2012, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just took her on a "date" Saturday. We went to the candy store, saw a movie, had a nice lunch at an italian restaurant and I even bought her clothes. She is worse than ever this week. I try to do something special with her every week and it doesn't change anything. She is very negative and constantly blaming everything on other people.

 

I think I'm going to take her to therapy. I'm voting for oppositional defiant disorder.


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#27 of 34 Old 04-05-2012, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsf View Post

I just took her on a "date" Saturday. We went to the candy store, saw a movie, had a nice lunch at an italian restaurant and I even bought her clothes. She is worse than ever this week. I try to do something special with her every week and it doesn't change anything. She is very negative and constantly blaming everything on other people.

 

I think I'm going to take her to therapy. I'm voting for oppositional defiant disorder.



I think therapy is a good idea.  Jumping to conclusions about oppositional defiant disorder maybe not.  This type of behavior sometimes can happen when kids have discouraged about themselves or about their relationship in the family.  Kind of a self sabotaging behavior, like when adults have a new job or date that seems to go well and screw it up for some reason.  Sure, she could have a disorder, but maybe you need some time to work on the relationship just because of half sibling issues, blended family, sibling comparison, figuring out where she fits in as she reaches puberty, all that.  You can see in those posts there is a lot on her plate.

 

I used to facilitate early childhood STEP and my co-worker facilitated teen STEP (systematic training for effective parenting).  If you can find a program, it might help you learn about finding motive for behavior, and you may see where I'm coming from about the discouragement.  I also recommend the book (or the program, if you have access) "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen".  Brushing up on communication skills is always helpful, certainly can't harm, and you may learn some good techniques for encouraging positive behavior in a non-punishing and non-discouraging way.  Working on yourself and the whole family is just as important as finding direct help for your daughter.

 

Here's a link about the STEP program:http://www.steppublishers.com/


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#28 of 34 Old 04-05-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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NOT a vote I would make for my child.  Really?  Read what you are writing.  I mean man my kids drive me nuts but come on mom.  You can do better than this.


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#29 of 34 Old 04-05-2012, 06:57 PM
 
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I think she sounds TOTALLY within the realm of NORMAL for an 11 yr old girl. Some of her behaviors may be a little more on one end of the spectrum than in the middle, but I really don't think it's anything to worry about. I wouldn't take her to therapy for any of the things you've mentioned. 

 

As far as the needing someone to sleep with when her sister is not available (or if her sister is not into) it I would try to make her bedtime in her own bed a little more special with maybe a read aloud (poems might be nice for her if you don't want to get into a big chapter book like Harry Potter 4, our current read) and some snuggles until she falls asleep. We still snuggle our 11 yr old and 8 yr old to sleep. And our 11 yr old definitely likes to sleep with someone (sisters are so convenient). I don't make a big deal out of it if she wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to come into our room, but unless they're sick or something they definitely need to start the night in their own room. Most of the time once they're asleep they stay in their room. Our 11 yr old is actually the one who comes in our room more often, though. She's got a more anxious and more artistic personality. 

 

Our 8 yr old is the negative it's-not-fair queen. Most of the time she's actually a super great kid, but when she gets grumpy it's all somebody else's fault. What helps with us is actively practicing gratitude. We practice looking for the good things in life and not looking for the bad things. Enough bad things will find you without you going to look for them. You might try working on gratitude journals. I think it's a good practice for anyone and so does Oprah, too, I guess. Apparently there's even an app for that now, too! I would either do it as a family or as a mom-daughter thing and don't make it all be her problem. Tell her you want to practice gratitude and positivity, too. You might pick up a couple of pre-made gratitude journals at the store (could make her feel grown up) or make your own. What we often do is go around the table at supper and tell our best things/worst things that happened to us that day. Sometimes we add funniest thing or craziest thing, too.

 

One thing our girls have enjoyed this year is Girls On The Run. I don't know if they have a program in your area, but it's a very positive program that "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident". There is a program for older girls in some areas, too, Girls On Track. 

 

When my girls want help getting a bowl down, etc, I just take a no big deal approach and ask them to give it another try. I don't get emotionally involved, but I certainly don't jump up and do it for them either. If they won't try again after I'm done doing what I'm doing I will go over to the cabinet with them and basically coach them thru getting the bowl in a non-condescending manner. Basically my girls do it if they want some attention, so I give them some attention w/o doing it for them. 

 

hth


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#30 of 34 Old 04-05-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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I'm hearing so much negativity, and she's got to be hearing it too, and I wonder if she's just mirroring that. She might feel very bad, being compared to her sister and being told how she's not measuring up. It doesn't sound like she has ODD or anything like that, just that you and she are locked in a cycle of negativity together. Though therapy will probably be a great help in that.

But I think you're the one who has to take the lead in getting out of the cycle since you're an adult. Does it really matter whether she speaks precisely? Prioritize. How she feels about herself and her place in your family is more important than that. Maybe she's acting like a baby because she feels a need to be babied. Baby her and let her feel that unconditional love that we so easily give to babies but have a harder time giving to pre-teens.
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