what is 'normal' 8 year old girl behavior - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-05-2008, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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My dd has been struggling with friends (and family) lately and I don't know what to think. Just a few weeks ago I was thinking 8 was great. My dd has always been very spirited and strong willed but the first few months of 8 were very smooth. Until I started mentioning how great things were going . I've seen her controlling and manipulating her brothers and dh and myself and when she does it I can't believe the lengths she will go to. But then when I see her with her friends I feel she is just holding her own, that they are all that way. They all talk horribly to each other and are constantly trying to manipulate each other. I don't know what to make of it. Dh and i have been working to get dd to recognize it in herself and in her friends but I don't feel like we've made much progress. Is manipulation and controlling behavior 'normal' for this age? Are there any good books out there for understanding this age better, specifically for girls. I'm feeling really lost and not sure if I should be concerned or recognize this as a normal stage the girls go through?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Micky
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#2 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 03:43 AM
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I am kind of going through the same thing with my dd. She is closer to 9 now but looking back on this year; I slowly saw those same behaviors you are seeing. She has 2 other friends who are neighbors of our so they play all the time; they constantly fight over what to play and when each gets mad; they will say to each other that they are being a brat.
I don't know where this all came from since we never talk to each other that way and have always encouraged talking through problems/issues; not name calling. I think that since she is strong willed and is dealing with someone other than her siblings; she is testing out what she can and can't do with friends of hers.

An example of trying to get away with something was when we went to a friends house and her and my friends dd had the same build-a-bear. She got to try on her bears outfits that she didn't have and was trying to talk my friends dd into letting her have them. I smiled at her and said no, that when we leave the new clothes stay here; they don't belong to her. When it came time to go and she went up to get her bear it still had the clothes on and I noticed it. I waited for her to say "Oh, let me give you back the clothes" but I could see on her face she was hoping to be able to leave with them still on her bear! This made me mad although I did not tell her that; I just "happened to notice" and reminded her to give the bear clothes back.

I don't really know of any books on this subject. I just wanted to reply because your post sounded exactly what I go through/see in my dd. I am not too concerned and am chalking it up to testing boundaried and learning experiences.
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#3 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 07:47 AM
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I don't know of any books offhand, just wanted to commiserate with you. I saw the difference at around age 8 too, and 8-13 were our 'difficult' years. Things have gotten better with my DD now, but it's not just a 'girl thing' niether, as I'm in the midst of it with my once good-natured 12 year old DS too.
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#4 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 02:20 PM
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My dd just had her ninth birthday party. She had four friends come for a sleep over and those girls just went at it. They had a great time but everything was an argument first. We went and saw a play and they spent a good half hour before the play hashing out seats. Then they were hashing out who did guitar hero in what order. It was absolutely exhausting. Dh said he would take oldest dd's friends (age 11) for a week before he had the 8/9 yos again!
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#5 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 02:59 PM
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I don't think it's necessarily normal behavior. I do think it's learned. So either they are acting out what they are seeing at home, or seeing at school or experiencing in their peer groups. Kids that have little say so over their lives are much more likely to be manipulative as control is associated with power. The more power they have over their own lives and what happens in it the less they should feel the need to seize power over others.

My dd was on the recieving end of some highly manipulative behavior from a friend of hers at about that age, which was a pretty uncommon experience for her since we are unschoolers and practice CL. She took self imposed breaks from playing with her and her other schooled friends that treated her that way and I worked even harder with her in deciphering what she wanted to do and setting boundries. I always gave her the choice though.

Interestingly today they are no longer friends at my daughters choice. She just doesn't like being around manipulative people.
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#6 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 11:39 PM
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Im seeing it to, with my homeschooled 8 yr old. She has always been a spirited girl, but boy, starting around age 3, she just started working the manipulation. Seriously. It is in her hard wiring... nothing learned. There was no manipulating going on in our house, she had hardly ever been babysat, no preschool, nowhere she could learn it at that age!

You can look through the 6 types of manipulation, and if one doesnt work, she moves to the next one, and then the one after that... its just part of her personality to be that way.

Its getting harder, but I am becoming more savvy at recognizing it and squashing it when she tries it with me. If I hear her doing it to her siblings, I call her on it then as well.
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#7 of 7 Old 05-06-2008, 11:57 PM
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First, I'm gonna say that, imo, a question about an 8 year old belongs in childhood, not preteen. But that's just me.

Ime, disequilibrium happens at each half year mark. I think that's one of the theories in the the Your Whatever Year Old series. I personally have found it to be true.

I don't tend to think of children as being manipulative just for the sake of it. I tend to think there is an underlying issue or need that might have to be addressed.

My dd's disequalibrium was in being argumentative with me over nothing. She is very empathic with siblings and friends, however. She is also not one who will play with kids who are bossy. Right now, I think she is down to two friiends she will consistently play with in our hsing group. I think bossiness is more a personality trait than anything, ime.
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