Desperate for help with our 9 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-06-2011, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Dh and I really need some help with our just turned 9 year old.

She has always been a spirited child.

We really think that we need some kind of family counselling, but unfortunately our insurance does not offer "mental health" and we cannot pay for it out of pocket.

So our next best idea is for us to read up on some strategies, pick some that will fit our situation and try to implent them to help us parent our daughter better.


Her behaviour is really out of control. The way that she talks to everyone, is really disrecpectful, she flys off the handle at everything, and just generally makes life quite miserable for us all.

She is a very sweet child, compassionate and loving underneath that intense exterior. She does not behave this way at school, or at others houses, just when she is at home with us, she really lets it all hang out.


We need some help figuring this out, from other parents who have been there, done that, and had success with certain books or strategies.

Thanks for reading, and we are anxiously awaiting suggestions :)






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#2 of 4 Old 12-07-2011, 01:58 AM
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have you read "Your 9 Year Old" by Louise Aimes Bates? here is the intro to the book from amazon. however this book is good to understand what is going on with your dd inside her - but not for strategies for you to use to parent. 



What happened to that sunny outgoing child of eight?  As parents of nine-year-olds often discover, nine is a tricky age.  Children are more distant from Mother and Father; they're more independant and rely on friends for companionship, or they have a tendency to spend time alone.  Some nines are boisterous and wild, others thoughtful and withdrawn.  Helping parents learn how to cope with the unpredictable nine-year-old is the aim of this practical guide from the Gesell Institute.

Nine-year-olds are hovering on the brink of adolescence, and this in part contributes to their up-and-down nature.  Dr. Louis Bates Ames and Carol Chase Haber paint a vivid picture of the child at this age and offer useful advice to make life easier for parents and children alike.

With a spirited 9 year old its hard. i think the bolded and underlined part of the above is the key. 


your words "She does not behave this way at school, or at others houses, just when she is at home with us, she really lets it all hang out."

i take this as a compliment. can you imagine how safe and secure she feels in the knowledge that no matter what she will always be loved. that she has the freedom to be who she wants to be at home. honestly given the other picture i'd prefer her behave badly at home rather than outside. 


i kinda feel this is more about us than about them. our parenting is changing. and we as parents are struggling what to do. it is no longer you vs. ur child. how should i put it better. you spoke, they followed. 


now its turning more mutual. its both of you understanding each other and coming to a solution.


what can you do as a parent?


- make sure you as a parent are not stressed, that you are relaxed with the best ability to understand

- that you can listen no matter what - to what she says - to understand the underlying issue - rather than her exact words. 

- make sure she still follows the 3 golden rules - enough sleep, - not hungry - enough physical activity. now esp. important.

- (for me at least) look through different lens - not as 'my child' but as a little person trying to grow up and learning in society how to assert herself, how to express the extreme turmoil brewing inside her.

- that means for me - i have to have extreme patience - NEVER EVER rise to the bait of her behaviour and maintain even keel (dont worry i do fly off at times - two days ago i showed my anger in a way i hadnt for a very long time - both dd and i were very very VERY angry). 


the thing that helps at this time is our already set up foundation. how we have worked as a team before. for us it works for dd to let go off her steam and i stay quiet without reacting or stopping her. for us it never worked for me to say please express ur request in a kinder voice or .... it made things a thousand times worse. instead once she had cooled down i'd broach the subject if dd hadnt broached it herself. and she'd acknowledge that yes she was unfair. 


the thing is i have watched dd go thru this since she was 5. it was partly being 5 and partly the beginning of puberty (puberty begins with emotional changes). and at 6 dd got body odor. by 8 breast buds. nothing else so far. so we have already gone thru this since 6 when it was more volatile. that's when we set up our limits. what was ok and not ok to say. i had to even today allow her certain ways to show her anger - quiet but dirty looks, ignore me and not talk to me. in other words i need to give HER the space to recover. not correcting her when seh is in the thick of it has worked very well for us. it hasnt meant she continues to do the same even now. no she has matured and understood that certain kinds of expression will not be tolerated. hurtful words, hitting. she is allowed attitude. 


the one thing. the one thing imho that has helped a LOT are chores. responsibilities. huge. not as i am a slave master and she is the slave, but as in it would really help the family out if she helped. i no longer make a decision over junk food intake. she has to figure it out. she is old enough to know when to stop coz if she has a stomach ache then dont come to me for help. she does a lot in the house. dishes, laundry and her particular favourite - cooking. weekends she is the breakfast cook and i stay in bed. she sets the menu and its mostly lunch/brunch kinda thing. elaborate. somedays she sweeps and mops the kitchen floor. not just at my house. at my friends houses too. she helps. for instance (since cooking is her favourite) friend might have an issue with teh stove adn dd. so then dd comes up with the salad dressing. she is allowed thru the fridge and the cupboards to figure out her options. 


you said you need help to "help us parent our dd better". instead i would say how to 'unparent' our child and unlearn everything we have learnt so far. that we are the guide and gotta be there next to her. now you are in the background ready to catch her as she falls. you are there for support as she goes out and ventures on her own. now what matters is silence - rather all the talking and role playing from the 3 and 4 year old you are accustomed to. 


you literally have to figure out "how to talk to kids so they will listen, and how to listen when they talk." as the book title says it all. 


but patience and understanding is key. for that you have to make sure that your needs as individuals are met. 



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#3 of 4 Old 12-07-2011, 02:59 AM
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Has she always been like this or is her behavior something new? I ask  because i could has written this post about my 8 yo son. SAME behavior. Wonderful in school, kind and caring deep down, verbally abusive and flys off the handle daily at home. He does have some sensory issues with clothing,although they have gotten much better as he gets older. Very bright, very "intense".


Just helps me to know there is someone else having the same issues as me. Sorry no advise!


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#4 of 4 Old 12-08-2011, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks both for your responses.


meemee, I believe that we have had this conversation before, and you rec'd the books, which I did get at the library. I also checked out the american girl books,"feelings/emotion"s and "the care and keeping of you" for her to look at.

I do feel like this has been a problem for a while now.

They did help both of us, at the time, but I do think that I have to be firmer with her, talk to her at the start of the problem phase, rather than let it go for 2/3/4 hours and just loose my mind at bed time, and be totally miserable when she, and the other children are at home. This is the strategy that I implemented last night, and kept on gently reminding her when she did get particularily moody, whiny or mean about something. I also ignored a lot of the negativity and praised the good which is key!!


BAU3, she has always been a challenge. Right from the beginning. And I hate to say that, as she has a totally different side to her personality that is amazing! She shows such compassion and has such a zest for life.

I have talked with her many times about her mood. She just says that she is grumpy sometimes, and does not know why. I put that down to hormones, which i try to understand. She is on the brink of puberty, definately. I started my periods at 10, I was just 10 too. Which is way too young, and totally unfair. I hope it is different for dd1.


I am just trying to take baby steps with her, and keep calm, always! Thanks for your help!!

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