My formerly good-natured daughter turned into a monster at nine...is this normal? *Update* - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe it is normal.  The whole "pre-teen" thing.  My daughter used to be insanely helpful.  Happy.  We would talk about anything together.  She would beg to help out around the house.  Would happily go for walks with us as a family. 

 

Now, everything is different.

 

I don't know what caused it, but there are a few contributing factors.  Her father (we are divorced) returned to the country this year and started seeing her and her brother again.  He then got remarried and immediately pregnant, which I know is screwing with her a little bit.  Recently we had two deaths in the family less than a month apart, and she is grieving.  She's in a depression, which is only further escalating the problem.

 

I'm working on getting her into councelling, but nobody is returning my calls. It's currently a waiting game.

 

And it could be none of these things are contributing factors, and it's just the age.  Point being, I don't know how to handle it.

 

  • She is mean to everyone in the house.  Disrespectful and mean.  Her little brother loves her SO much, and she treats him like crap. Complete garbage.  It's sad to see.
  • She's a slob.  She used to be tidy, but now trashes her room on the regular.
  • She's dirty.  I make her shower, she complains and doesn't wash herself properly.  She won't brush her teeth unless forced.  She would wear the same clothes every day if we let her.
  • She's lazy.  If she drops something, she leaves it there.  If she spills something, she leaves it there.  If she empties a toilet paper roll, she leaves it there.  She won't even flush the toilet anymore.
  • She's having trouble at school.  Comes home and says she's being bullied.  But parents are complaining that SHE is bullying THEIR kids.  I have been in to talk to the principal about it.  It's a mess.

 

She looks mopey all the time.  She talks about how hard her life is. 

 

I don't even know where to go with this one. 

 

Any advice, ANY would be appreciated.  Maybe this is normal.  I know kids become difficult as teens, and she's my oldest child so this is all new territory.  But I don't know what to do.

 

It's also straining my relationship with my partner, because he feels I'm not doing enough to punish her for being so completely mean and disrespectful to everyone, and everyone's things.  Currently, my method is to make her do something nice for someone if she does something mean to them.  I tried "grounding" her in the past.  Didn't work.  Time outs?  Useless. 

 

I don't know what to do to help her through this without forcing her away.  We're in a divorce situation.  She has threatened to move out before, because she doesn't get disciplined at her father's house the few times a year she goes there.  How do I discipline her without scaring her away?  Should I even be worrying about that?  Her behaviour has already caused fights with my ex, because he - of course - blames me because she lives with me.

 

Good times. =/

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#2 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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It must be so sad to see such a change in your daughter. I don't have a nine year old but it doesn't seem like such a big change would be typical. Everything you describe sounds like depression, the personality change, mopiness, meanness to her brother, lack of hygiene. It might have to do with all the changes in her life, or it could be hormonal, sometimes puberty hormones trigger depression, or it might be something else.

 

I'd keep trying to get her counseling. What a shame people aren't calling you back. Sometimes having a professional make a referral and set up the initial appointment will make everything happen faster. Does she go to a school that has a counselor, maybe you could start there. Or set up a sick visit with her pediatrician (not a well-visit that you have to wait weeks for, but a my-kid's-sick-so-see-her-today visit) to rule out physical causes, then get a counseling referral from the pedi.


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#3 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I brought it up with her doctor recently, and he gave me a list of child psychologists I cannot afford.  (Three hundred dollars an hour?  Really?  Who can afford that???)  I was trying to get her in through a local group program that helps kids going through divorce/grief, as it might help her to have other kids to talk to about it all.  She's the only one of her friends with divorced parents, currently.  I have her talking to the guidance councellor at school, already.  And I was trying to get her into councelling through work (they provide up to 3 free sessions for employees and children).

 

She needs help.  She is a changed child, truly.  And I feel so helpless because I don't even know how to get through to her.  How to break through this wall she's put up.

 

I tried to get her journelling so that she can get some of her thoughts and feelings down on paper (she used to love to write) but she told me I was stupid for suggesting it.

 

I try taking her for lots of one-on-one time to give her the attention she seems to be craving, but as soon as we get home she reverts back to this miserable kid.

 

I wish there was some sort of magic, easy solution here. =/

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#4 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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nikki - first everything you wrote is very normal. but exacerbated by her personal situation. 

 

i am actually surprised you havent seen this before. most kids start their first level between 5 and 7. i have seen dd go through waves of this. 

 

the first thing you gotta do - is sit down and sort this out in your head. what is going on? and how are you going to evolve to the parent your dd is demanding to be. 

 

first let me tell you punishment is NOT going to work. if you want to destroy your relationship with your child do not punish her. i tell you it does not work. didnt work for dd. her new punishment is (about what she cares about, we talked about this) me eating a bunch of candy in front of her without her getting even one piece. i recently went through a really hard time trying to figure out how to evolve as a parent. however truly i have found when they are misbehaving that is the time to increase and smother her with love. 

 

i know if you didnt have your partner you probably wouldnt be so stressed out about finding a way. 

 

oh one more thing. having 'normal' depression at this age is very normal. i've seen dd and her friends go through this from about 7 to now. when they get out of it, they are back to their happy selves. 

 

first what i would do is find more one on one time with you. if she loves 'touch' find time for that. something like you reading to her with her on your lap. you cannot imagine how deeply theraupitic it is. that closeness also opens up space for her to tell you what is going on. one wonderful way of doing that is find a way to role play. you will be shocked as to how much truth comes out through that. 

 

dont let the miserable child get to you. remember its her way of checking out - does mama still love me even if i am a brat. 

 

so work on yourself first mama. just by the language i can see how upset you are with your dd. you cannot be that way. you have to go into your inner self and be able to watch your dd and not be pulled into emotional reaction. how i feel is HUGE with dd. and i do honestly state my opinion too. that sometimes she's a pill and i dont like being around her. but i also remind her that does not make me not love her. i will always love her no matter what she does and she'll ask me all these situations. and i tell her i may not like her actions, but it wont stop me loving her. your dd needs to hear this and feel it.

 

to feel it first you have to look at your dd from a place of compassion and not helplessness or anger or disappointment. they pick that up FAST. 

 

btw dd has a loving dad who loves her but doesnt get her. so i have to make space in my house for her to vent and show bad behaviour. my roommate has a hard time with this and i asked her to stop correcting dd. my home is her home. home is a place to let your hair hang down. dd has the right to show me every side to her. 'i' am her punching bag. no one else. i would prefer to be her punching bag because then i know something is up with her. 

 

do not doubt she doesnt love her brother. oh and set up very strong boundaries of what is accepted and what isnt accepted behaviour. she still needs boundaries. 

 

how about the big brother and big sister club? can you set her up with a big sister? 

 

poor baby. her world is falling apart.

 

mama let me tell you simple, easy solutions yield simple rewards. difficult hard solutions yield deeply rewarding rewards. 

 

yes yes YES!!! it helps to have other kids to talk to. or even trusted adults. amongst my friends i was the first to separate. all my friends brought their children over to dd so dd could show them that two parent house wasnt that bad. however in our case dd had another family who is like a brother, second mother and second father to her. 

 

however when you say 'changed' child this is serious stuff. do some more research and look for income based therapists in your area. 

 

but first of all you need to find compassion for  your child (not saying that you dont, but saying to a much deeper way) esp. since you have your partner's stress on you too. 

 

however your first priority is making those one on one time happen - with touch if she allows you - every single day. it could just be going for a short walk while your parnter watches your son. she might be horrible the first few times, but then she will slowly let out what is going on. 

 

but you've got to stop her being 'mean' to her brother. but chooose your battle carefully. make sure you dont shame her. so if she does something mean with him, tell him she has to read a book  to her brother or tell him a story. so you are kinda building a relationship between them. but make sure it IS mean behaviour! she might have told him she wants some alone time and he still continues to bug her. she reacts. she should not be punished for that.

 

hugs mama. all your dd is doing with her behaviour is screaming for help.

 

my dd is 10. let me tell you cosleepign has been the best therapy for her. since she turned 10 we cosleep occasionally. every time i see her have trouble, i make sure we cosleep.  i know our cosleeping days are coming to an end, but it is still very therapeutic for her. 

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#5 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 01:56 PM
 
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Some behavior changes as they head toward puberty are normal, but this sounds like it's at least largely about the contributing factors. Does your school have a guidance counselor? Sometimes they have time to meet with children who are having trouble of this sort. I'd give her/him a call if that's an option. Many hugs to you, and her, and your whole family.
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#6 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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Despite what previous posters have said, this seems like such a *sudden* and *drastic* change, it sounds like much more than normal developmental angst to me.

 

And the triggering circumstances you listed could very predictably lead to all this stress.  But changes this sudden are concerning.

 

How much have you spoken to your daughter directly about it?  I understand she's not exactly being warm and fuzzy re: communication, but how much have you told her directly, gently and lovingly about all the changes you've noticed, why you're concerned, and asked her whether she sees herself as different and why she thinks her behavior has changed so much?

 

It's an important conversation to at least try to have, even if she doesn't open up much.  Also asking her open questions, like what is hardest for her right now, what upsets her most, as well as what still makes her happy.

 

And how much do you spend 1 on 1 time with her?  Have you tried carving out some time that's just for you 2 to do something now and then?  How has that gone if you have?

 

Also talk to the school counselor and see if you can get advice there, as well as further insight.  Sometimes the Principal doesn't know what's happening in the classroom (just what he/she is told by teachers).  Talk more to your DD's teachers and the school counselor to get their ideas on what is going on, what she talks about, anything.

 

And definitely definitely keep trying for counseling.  I'd try for counseling for her, as well as family counseling for all of you, since this has been so stressful for your relationship with your partner too.

 

You are doing your best and your DD is lucky to have you (as is your DS and partner!)  It sounds like a terribly stressful time, and the best you can do is take care of YOURSELF as best you can, and keep engaging your daughter and looking for answers, which is exactly what you're already doing.  But remember the "take care of yourself" part, that is easy to forget and is actually REALLY important in being in the best state you can to work this out with your daughter.

 

Best of luck momma!

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#7 of 24 Old 11-20-2012, 08:57 PM
 
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I certainly see a lot of red flags as well. I have a 9 year old who would often be called moody. She struggles with anxiety and depression, she can be a downright nasty, violent child when she is off. Series of events like what your DD is experiencing, completely throw her off. We are in one right now actually, we moved last month, a death in the family, trouble at school, all of it together is far too much for her to handle together and she spirals out of control. She is back in therapy, we go in again tomorrow, her psychiatrist has been notified, we see him in two weeks. She is medicated now with antidepressants but we had to do that after her last spiral earlier this year, then she actually requested medication because she knew she felt so out of control. It has helped enormously and it wash't a decision I took lightly. 

 

Keep calling. Calling therapists, calling psychiatrists, you probably need one of each. A therapist for her to talk to and a child psych to assist in the best course of action. Sometimes there are sliding scales. After our initial one hour intake, we only see her psychiatrist for 20 minutes at a time. Such a drastic, sudden change is not normal, you are not crazy although you may feel so, neither is she. Both of you need help. Keep the one on one time even though it doesn't seem to help, it does, it just might not appear that way right now. 

 

Therapists can help you with the wall some suggestions might be: you mentioned walking, she used to like to take walks. Maybe coming with a grand plan. finding new walking routes, finding the one with the most trees. anything. Try a new hobby with her, something entirely out of box perhaps that you and her do together, cake decorating, clay classes, I don't know, anything again. 

 

When DD1 gets in her funks, I almost have to "retrain" her. She becomes so consumed by all this negativity and worry, she is mean and nasty because that is what she feels like on the inside, hurt and wounded, so she turns around and does it to her siblings or me. So I have to keep her busy, it is my daily tasks of being cheerful and careful of what I say. I make silly little games, I pay $0.25 for a toilet flushed, bake cookies with her to give to a random neighbor, not because I wanted to but because I had to find something that would occupy her mind and hands for 30 minutes, and then oh darn, I found a forgotten library book, let's run and return it! It is exhausting, utterly exhausting to me but it is this or her and I bickering or screaming at each other because she is being a monster and at least this way is saner for her. 


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#8 of 24 Old 11-21-2012, 01:29 AM
 
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When my daughter was around 8 or 9 she went through a phase similar to this. We have had several deaths in our family/circle of friends in the last few years and births and she has a little sister, her dad and I divorced in 2010. But she goes back and forth with it nowadays. She has good days and bad days but mostly good. I encourage her alot on her bad days and just listen to her. She is moody but has been that way for years. She was born moody! :-P


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#9 of 24 Old 11-21-2012, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.  Wow, lots to sift through!  I'm making a huge effort to spend more one-on-one time with her, but it's so hard to balance everything.  I have three kids, one of which is a nursing baby.  I have a partner who feels neglected when I concentrate all of my time on the kids.  I just feel like I'm failing, all the time, because I can't build up one relationship without letting another slip.  It's really hard to juggle all of these little relationships. =P

 

I have "girl time" with DD every night before bed, and she does talk.  A lot. If there's one thing she loves, it's hearing herself talk. ;)  She's a chatty little kid.  So last night we talked. I told her that her and I are going to be working together to help pull her out of this funk, and help "re-train" her to be super nice to everyone, because she used to be that way and I know that she's just forgotten.  She agreed, and laughed and said that she knows she used to be nice to everybody, but now she's feeling like nobody appreciates what she does.  When she makes an effort, nobody notices.  Hah, welcome to my world, kiddo!! ;)  She pointed out that she told my partner yesterday morning that she would carry his lunch out to the car, and he said "No no, that's ok, I've got it", and oddly...something that little was noteworthy.  That it crushed her that she made a valid effort to help and was told not to bother.  So I had a talk with him, afterwards, and just said "Hey, open your eyes!  When she's TRYING to help, let her.  Even if it slows us down.  Because otherwise she will stop trying."

 

It can be so hard with the divorce dynamic.  I hate to blame the divorce, but it really does seem to contribute, here.  We went YEARS living as a peaceful family.  Aside from the Sunday nights they'd come home from their father's house.  There would be a good week of miserable behaviour from both of the kids.  Wind down time, we'd call it.  When he disappeared from their lives to have an adventure with his newest girlfriend in a foreign country, the kids were really hurting.  But we worked through it.  I worked SO hard with them to ensure that they didn't put the blame on themselves (initially they said all the time that he left because he didn't love them.)  And then he came back earlier this year, and everything I've worked so hard for has gone to poop.  My son immediately went through a phase of stealing.  We pulled him out of that.  And now this is happening with my daughter.  She struggles a lot with her relationship with her father.  Says she wishes we had never gotten divorced.  But then he goes and tells her that he and I were a mistake and should never have gotten together.  Which of course translated in her brain to "Daddy wishes I was never born."  Awesome.  He refuses to listen to my concerns.  Jumps on the defensive and prefers to blame me because they live with me.  This does not help the kids.

 

I'll be talking to her teacher again at an appointment next week, and see the principal after school and ask how things are going.  They're on top of it, on that end, and she does regularly see the councellor there.  I didn't even consider big sisters/brothers, as I thought that was only for single parents?  I'll look into that!

 

Thanks again for the helpful advice.  I'm considering everything written!

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#10 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:

 

I had the meeting with her teacher last night, after getting her report card.  She got her first F.  In team-work.  Basically nothing that was a shock to me, as I'm seeing the behaviour at home.  Disregarding people's ideas.  Refusing to work on a team. Refusing to participate.  Shutting down and "putting up a wall" and refusing to speak.  The teacher and I talked for a good half hour about ways to pull her out of this.  Her marks are fantastic.  She's a straight A student, academically, and couldn't do any better.  But she got her first F in a social skill, and that's just not something I know how to teach.  If she failed math, I'd sit with her and we'd practice.  How do you practice teamwork??  She came up with the idea of playing board games with her brother.  I supervised.  Within minutes, she was calling her brother an idiot, telling him he's stupid and doesn't know what he's doing.  I stepped in and told her to choose different words, and that we don't talk to people like that.

 

Where is this coming from???I'

 

I'm just lost, with her.  I looked into Big Brother/Sisters, and don't qualify because it's income based in my area and I make too much.  I can't afford regular therapy because I make too little.  There is nothing out there for the middle class.  I've spent a good two weeks emailing and calling places trying to find SOMETHING, anything, for her.  There's a group councelling organization in my area.  I've tried three contacts - all dead ends.  The teacher promised to look into it to see if she can find anything.  She agreed that DD has had a LOT of heavy things happen this year.  Her father returning to the country, getting remarried, and getting his new wife pregnant all in the same month as she lost two of her grandmothers who she was very close to.  This would impact any child.  But I'm worried that she's using this as an excuse to be a jerk.  Anytime I talk to her about it, she'll respond with - "Well, YOU didn't go through this at my age.  You don't know what it's like.  You don't know how this is making me feel."  And that's her excuse for treating everyone like garbage.

 

I'm so lost.  I don't know how to help her. =/

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#11 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 05:57 AM
 
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oh mama!!!! big hugs. both of you are going through so much. :(

 

i look at anger is another side of pain. 

 

can you afford to sign her up for a very physical class? maybe 3 times a week. she needs to spend that bottled up anger somewhere instead of taking it out on the family. i know for myself when i am going through a funk, the best way is to divert myself in something else - something v. physical that forces me to divert my mind. 


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#12 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll look into that, for sure.  Though we don't have much disposable income right now.  My ex has paid child support 4 times in the four years we've been separated/divorced, so we don't have much extra money and things are very tight.  This, of course, only fuels the fire, as my spouse gets angry that I don't "do enough" to go after my ex (I have tried - it always ALWAYS triggers a custody fight, as he realizes that he won't have to pay child support if he simply takes the kids from me), and the kids get bitter seeing that their step-sister gets to do so much (lavish trips, etc.) at the expense of their father providing the basics to them.  It sucks.

 

She goes to girl guides and spends a lot of energy there.  Plus they've been doing a lot of talking at guides about divorce/separation (we just discovered there are other girls going through it, that she knows) which is an excellent resource for her. She's been bugging to get into gymnastics.  I'll look into it and see if there's anything local.

 

I wish I could take her to the gym with me. =P  She'd love that, and it'd help her to spend some energy AND have solo time, AND allow me to do the one thing I'd love to do (that I can't do right now because she loses her mind completely if I leave the house - I seriously have no life right now at the expense of trying to give her the attention she's craving.  I don't mind this sacrifice, but damn it..I'm getting tubby!)  I wish our gym allowed that. 

 

Oh, karate, too!  She did that for a year and loved it.  I'll see if she's into trying that again.  There are plenty of classes in our area for that.

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#13 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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I was a very disturbed kid. My kids are not yet as old as your daughter so I am not offering anything resembling parenting advice--I just want to offer my perspective. :)

 

I was severely abused, which it doesn't sound like your daughter was. But your daughter has had a number of major life traumas so I expect that the psychological load is kind of similar.

 

I had very low self esteem. If I tried to do something for someone and felt rebuffed I would fall into terrible depressions. In describing your daughter you totally described me. I didn't see any reason to work on "acting nice" since I didn't feel appreciated anyway. Why should I make it easier for people to treat me like I didn't exist?

 

The situation with her brother I don't understand. I was the youngest and my siblings were very abusive. I was quite nice to my niece and nephew who were sibling-like to me. I wanted to keep them safe. So I have no idea.

 

In bullying situations at school it is often very difficult to determine where it starts. It is very chicken and egg.

 

And frankly it sounds like your kid needs to understand some perspective. Around that age I started reading books about children involved in the Holocaust--like Anne Frank. There are a lot of other stories (Hannah Senesh; I think I'm spelling it right) about people who survived. I paid a lot of attention to what sorts of traits made it more likely for people to survive. 

 

From what I've been reading lately about dad involvement--all of her behavior is pretty textbook for how her father has treated her. My dad wasn't involved with my life but had "other kids". Don't underestimate how devastating that is. 

 

You are hunting for a therapist and so I won't badger you. It will help. Ask adults in your community to kind of adopt her. I had different people over the years who did kind of an unofficial big sister/big brother thing with me for months or years at a time. She needs to see other examples of being a grown up. Right now she is rejecting you and your husband and her dad as role models. It's pretty normal. She doesn't like how your life has turned out and she doesn't want to be nice to you or like you. It's pretty common.

 

Give her some wildly diverse role models. When people aren't around give your judgmental opinion of their lives so that your daughter a)gets exposed to lots of kinds of people and b)learns your values. She may rebel hard but if you are kind and consistent and loving she will eventually get back to you. Let her know that it is ok for her to do stuff you don't like--she just can't be nasty as she does it. That is a hard line to teach well. I've seen families do it well. Some of my friends have moms that are so awesome I cry with envy. I wish I had that.

 

I'm sorry this step is so bumpy. That's going to happen sometimes. Also: I love the heck out of this series of books: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Nine-Year-Old-Thoughtful/dp/044050676X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354289452&sr=8-1&keywords=your+nine+year+old It has made my parenting journey much easier.

 

Good luck.


My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#14 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for replying and offering that perspective.  We're working VERY hard on showing her that we appreciate the little things she does.  All she needs is recognition. She's flat out told me this, and we've all been working very hard on being gracious when she does help out.  I'm trying to get DH on board with this method of praising her when she does good, but maybe not completely destroying her everytime she does something bad.  I agree with him that we can't just let everything go.  When she punches her brother, there needs to be a consequence.  But he does tend to nit-pick her because he's trying to "raise her right."  I just think that at this point, we need to be very sensitive of her personality so that she doesn't withdraw further into herself.

 

Despite what DD says/thinks, I did have a very similar upbringing as her.  I DO know what she's going through.  I really do.  I was raised through the experience of a "second family" that I felt was superior to my own.  I was very jealous of my half-siblings.  I get that side of it.  But I'm her mom, not her councellor, and my opinion rarely matters to her these days.

 

We were so so close up until about 6 months ago.  Then everything changed.  She turned nine, her father returned to her life after literally not having contact with them for more than half a year.  I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I lost her, but it's indesputable.  She is not the same person she was six months ago.

 

The bullying is definitely two sided, and the teacher agreed.  It's kind of a back-and-forth thing and there's NO way for the school to deterimine who started it, not that it even matters.  They're dealing with that aspect, thankfully.  I'm trying to get her to have friends over more often so that she can work on her relationships.  I think her confidence would benefit.  She's much more mature than her "BFFs", and I see her acting like a baby in order to fit in, but she's still drifting away from them.

 

I've loaded her e-reader with books about adolescence so that she can try and relate a bit to what others go through.  I hadn't thought of Anne Frank, but will see what I can find for her that's age appropriate.

 

And thank you for the book recommendation.  I found it as an ebook and am going to grab it tonight when I'm home!  Any resources are welcome right now. Councelling is important, but I want to be able to help her, myself, too.  And maybe I can share the ideas with DH so that he understands that her behavior is normal, as well.  Yes, magnified by the horrible two months she's had (it's not often that a child will deal with her father's return, remarriage, death of a grandmother, pregnant stepmother, death of her other favorite grandmother all within the same month!!)  But a lot of the behavior I'm witnessing seems to match perfectly with much of the normal developmental stuff a nine year old goes through.  He grew up with all boys, so he doesn't get it.  His parents don't get it, and just encourage the thought that "there sure is something wrong with that kid!" because they have no experience with girls.  I grew up with all girls. I get it.  I can sympathise.  I just wish he could.

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#15 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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Does the school have a counselor? Sometimes they will take kids out for counseling when the problems affect academics. They can also help pull strings with outside sources. Medicaid might be something to look into so you can afford counseling. The income limit is much higher than the limit for food stamps. If you have insurance you might be able to get approval for some counseling by going through your pediatrician. Be open about your finances with the pediatrician and they may be able to hook up with someone who will lower their rate or take a payment plan.
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#16 of 24 Old 11-30-2012, 03:54 PM
 
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nikki hang in there. just coz dd is trying to cope with everything happening around her - remember the closeness is still there. you probably know this internally already. but i want to support you and tell you this too shall pass without breaking you and your dd apart.

 

keep looking and keep searching. and focus on yourself too (must be the hardest thing to do i know) to get out of the freakout mode. you'd be surprised how many options a calm mind can see that a freaked or panicked mind cant. 

 

sometimes help comes from unthought of places. 

 

also gently mama - i think you need to step back a little. you will always be there, but you may not be the best source of help right now. this is also the independent stage coming up for her where they try to survive outside their own family. so please dont be disheartened if you dont have the answers. right now what she needs from you is an empathetic person. not necessarily the person who will fix things. but a person who she can rely on and who she knows will love her through everything. 

 

it isnt that your dd changed. its both of you. as she grows your parenting has to evolve too. so far 10 has been the hardest. the best way i have been in my dd's life right now is to not be there. to be silent. to be there in the background if she needs a hug. it has been hard to get used to this parenting i tell you. anything before this i was a pro at - intuitively got it. now holy cow. she needs to be in the forefront. and i am discovering silence, and distance since 9 has worked really well for dd. doesnt mean absense. means for her to look around her and as pp pointed out look to others. so its important that she is surrounded by people you trust who will be able to guide her.

 

also remember sometimes she may not want to tell you her real feelings because she doesnt want to hurt you. 


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#17 of 24 Old 12-03-2012, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've had a bit of a breakthrough, which is good.  I'm seeing glimpses of my little girl again.  We've had some serious chats about it.  I think she's actually quite depressed, given everything that's going on.  I sat down with her and told her that I refuse to let her sink into a depression, and I will be here every step of the way.  I'm trying to teach her coping methods.  I've gone through pretty severe PPD, so I do have some idea of how hard it can be to pull yourself out of it.  She agreed to try just as hard as I was, and...well...it's a Christmas miracle. ;)  She's been amazing since the night of her parent-teacher meeting.  I think that was really an eye-opening experience, that her moodiness and attitude are affecting her marks.  She is a perfectionist by nature, so it really killed her to know that even though she's a smart cookie (she still managed to get straight A's for all of the academics), her attitude will affect her marks negatively - hence the F for "teamwork."

 

She's trying really hard.  I'm trying really hard.  I'm trying to devote as much one-on-one time with her as I can, being a mother of three.  I'm not pushing myself at her.  I'm just there when she needs it.  This weekend, she discovered that cleaning the house makes her feel better (bonus?).  So we cleaned together, and that improved her mood.  I also started giving her a children's omega 3, as i've read that that can improve mood, and it certainly helped her brother when he went through a rut.

 

She had one evening of sadness, where she just quietly cried for no reason.  I asked if she wanted to lay with me, and I just stroked her hair as she sat and cried for a bit.  She was ok.  She told me afterwards that her belly was feeling "crampy", so I really am wondering if this is just the beginning of the changes typical to every young teen.  She's only nine!  But her behaviour really does reflect what I was going through at thirteen.  It's just so early!

 

The crappy news is that I learned on the weekend that my grandfather is suddenly very ill.  We don't know much yet, but I'm so worried.  The kids could very well lose a third grandparent within a matter of months.  They've been to more funerals in their short lives than I care to admit. Poor kiddos. =/

 

I've been in contact with her guide leader, who mentioned that there are quite a few girls in their group who have gone through divorce.  So she's going to put DD in touch with a couple of them to ensure she has someone to talk to about it that can relate to what she's been through.  She also plans to bring it up in meetings more often, so that the girls all have a chance to talk.  So that's good.  An outlet, while I wait for other councelling leads to pan out.

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#18 of 24 Old 12-03-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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I'm so happy to hear a positive update. Sometimes I'm afraid to check threads that are updated. ha.

 

Depression is really hard. They have books aimed at young kids for depression. I don't have any specific research on which are good but I've seen them on Amazon. Is she a self directed reader? I bought a Buddhist book about depression when I was sixteen and it made my experience much easier to handle.


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#19 of 24 Old 12-06-2012, 11:17 AM
 
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aaah nikki - that is such great news. so happy that there has been a miraculous breakthrough. 

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She had one evening of sadness, where she just quietly cried for no reason.  I asked if she wanted to lay with me, and I just stroked her hair as she sat and cried for a bit.  She was ok.  She told me afterwards that her belly was feeling "crampy", so I really am wondering if this is just the beginning of the changes typical to every young teen.  She's only nine!  But her behaviour really does reflect what I was going through at thirteen.  It's just so early!

not sure if this applies in your case, but sometimes children express their emotions thru tummy aches. but otherwise yeah premenstrual pains. 

 

The crappy news is that I learned on the weekend that my grandfather is suddenly very ill.  We don't know much yet, but I'm so worried.  The kids could very well lose a third grandparent within a matter of months.  They've been to more funerals in their short lives than I care to admit. Poor kiddos. =/.

does your gpa live far away? can you guys visit regularly? there is a HUGE benefit to taking care of dying people. dd's both gparents died within month sof each other. dd was there with them through the whole hospice process. she was 5 and it really helped with her grieving process. she actually held their hand and read and sang to them as they passed. i think for some kids, it really helps. she sat with them both making goodbye cards while we ran around taking care of business. it really helped dd with her greiving process esp. since she was so close to both of them. she still misses them and weeps once in a while. 


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#20 of 24 Old 12-07-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately, he doesn't live near us.  But we'll definitely make an effort to go out and see him - with the kids - once we get an update on his health (he's undergoing a bunch of tests right now, we still don't know exactly what's wrong).  It makes me sad, but my DD actually told me that she's heartbroken that she didn't get a chance to say goodbye to her grandmother.  She was at her father's that weekend, and we felt it was better for the kids not to go anyway, because the hospital just wasn't a fun place to be. We also - at the time - had no clue that it would be the last time we'd see her.  We thought she'd go home and have home care and at least START chemo/radiation and try to beat the cancer.  It was a shock to all of us to get the call that she died.  At the time, I still thought it was best that the kids hadn't gone to the hospital, because that particular hospital was just a mess, and the kids would have been bored and miserable.  It never occured to me that it would hurt the kids to miss that chance to say goodbye, so I feel horribly guilty for not putting up a fight and insisting they come with us. =/  I explained to DD that her grandmother knows she loved her, and she loved the cards that the kids made and sent along.  But I really do regret not bringing them to see her. I won't make the same mistake again, if I can help it. =/

 

We've had some relapses with DD, but knew it would happen and didn't expect this to be a perfect process.  She's coming up with some oddly selfish and greedy statements.  A few days ago, she mentioned very bluntly that she didn't get very many gifts last year (she did - we went over the top, I thought, and felt stupid for buying too much).  She said it in a way that really rubbed me the wrong way.  "Welp, we didn't get very many gifts last year".  Not really complaining about it, but just stating a fact.  The odd part is that her father got her nothing for christmas.  So you'd think that compared to nothing, what she got at our house would seem like a lot?  It really disturbed me that she ACTUALLY thinks she got jilted last year. 

 

Then last night, she went to guides and they had a cookie exchange.  Granted, the guide leader did nothing to help this situation by starting the night out like this - The kids that forgot to bring cookies were not allowed to participate at all in the exchange.  No concessions made.  Just very bluntly - if you did not bring cookies, you do not get any cookies.  Period.  So DD came home with 18 cookies from the exchange, along with a little gingerbread house she made that night.  In the car on the way home, she said "Well, I hope my brother is in bed when I get home, so I can eat this without him bugging for some."  DH asked if she would share her cookies with her brother and sister, at least, and she says "Well no, obviously. THEY didn't help make the cookies.  THEY don't get to eat the cookies."  So...what.  You're going to eat 18 cookies and a gingerbread house alone? Just for the sake of being greedy?  She got home and they were bickering about it, and I asked what had happened and she says:  "Step-dad is just complaining."  Yeah, he didn't take that well. =P

 

So, a set-back last night, and a new challenge.  How do I get her to stop being selfish and greedy?  Yikes. 

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#21 of 24 Old 12-07-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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Honestly I think children should be allowed to be occasionally greedy and selfish. I think that it is a normal part of being human and everyone should be allowed some of it. Adults certainly do it. Why do children have to be perfect? But I do draw the line at being rude. So for example for my children we use the phrase, "I'm feeling really attached to this and I don't want to share it." That works for mommy's wedding ring and it works for something that a kid has done alone. You can't do it all the time--we do stress that we are overall a sharing family but that starts way back in how I have treated them. I share almost everything--but my wedding rings.

 

My kids are only two and four and they have both already made food and been unwilling to share it. I didn't permit them to gorge--I doled it out and it wasn't that fun for them after a while. Usually they relent on their own. I don't feel like possessiveness about food is a good thing to fight them on. I want to save my fights for who they date. :)


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#22 of 24 Old 12-07-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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I know that you have been making an effort to spend one on one time with her. What about stepDad? It might help her if he also spent some time with just her. Doing a project together. Going out for ice cream. Going for a walk. Seems she could use a good male role model.

 

When my son was about this age, he also had a bit of a rough go. His Dad & I were also divorced. While he didn't have any losses, he did have to deal with the knowledge that his sister was Dad's favorite. Blatantly so. I went out and bought a karate training bag. (They both took karate for a few years.) And told im that I understood that he sometimes got angry or frustrated, but that was not an excuse to be mean to me or his sister. And when he felt the need to be mean, it would be better if he got it out in a productive way - by having it out with the training bag. Can't tell you how many times he'd head to the basement and pound the hell out of it. And he is NOT a physical kid.
 

As for counseling... Look in your yellow pages (yes, the actual book kind) under community services. They will likely be in their own section. A lot of places have county facilities that offer mental health services (i.e. counseling) on a sliding scale.

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#23 of 24 Old 12-10-2012, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  Yellow Pages would NOT have occured to me, so I'll check that out.

 

Man, little girl is a whirling dervish of contradiction.  So after I posted about the selfish, greedy behavior, she DID start sharing with her siblings.  We had a good weekend together, and she went to bed Saturday night kind of late after being allowed to stay up to watch a Christmas movie.

 

When we woke up Sunday morning, there were all sorts of wrapped gifts under the tree?  She went on a crafting binge throughout the night (and slept in HARD on Sunday, lol).  She made gifts for us, her grandparents, etc.  And then went out on Sunday and insisted on spending her own money to buy her sister and brother a Christmas gift.

 

I can't keep up! 

 

I think she'll be ok, ultimately.  She's just trying to sort everything out in her head.  You're right, she does need to spend more time with step-dad.  But they're kind of at each other's throats lately.  He doesn't tolerate disrespect, and she doesn't respond well to his strict approach. He was raised in a very strict home, and I'm teaching him all about gentle discipline, but he's skeptical. ;)  He was also raised with all boys, so girls are a completely foreign thing to him, and he does NOT understand that this hormonal thing really is normal.  It helped to talk to friends this weekend, who have a niece the exact same age as DD, and they told him all about her and it matched PERFECTLY with how DD is acting.  So he's starting to come around, and believe me that she's not just a damaged nutbar, and that a lot of this IS normal girl stuff. =P

 

I warned him that it'll get worse before it gets better (I grew up with FOUR girls, and remember the process well).  He is frightened. =P

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#24 of 24 Old 12-10-2012, 03:28 PM
 
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Quote:
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He doesn't tolerate disrespect, and she doesn't respond well to his strict approach. He was raised in a very strict home, and I'm teaching him all about gentle discipline, but he's skeptical. ;)  He was also raised with all boys, so girls are a completely foreign thing to him, and he does NOT understand that this hormonal thing really is normal.  It helped to talk to friends this weekend, who have a niece the exact same age as DD, and they told him all about her and it matched PERFECTLY with how DD is acting.  So he's starting to come around, and believe me that she's not just a damaged nutbar, and that a lot of this IS normal girl stuff. =P

 

I warned him that it'll get worse before it gets better (I grew up with FOUR girls, and remember the process well).  He is frightened. =P

i am so glad along with your dd - this is working out too. that means less pressure on you. so glad he is coming around

 

and so glad that the other little girl is going through this too. makes others realise this is part of growing up.


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