My daughter who is 8 suddenly has so much anger inside her and explodes at the tiniest things. For example this morning, I asked her what she wanted for breakfast, she said a breakfast burrito. A minute later I asked her if she wanted a whole one or just a half. She exploded, "Whatever, just make it." she yells with so much anger. This is one small example. The explosions are constant. They are mostly directed at me. Her dad and sister get a bit of it, but I'm the usual target. I feel like I can't say anything to her without her exploding at me. And she says things that aren't true. One evening I spent more than half an hour very patiently helping her with her math homework. I walked her through every problem. Not a minute after I left she starts screaming at me that I never help her. And when I asked her once why she had so much anger, she says, "I learned it from you and dad, you are always so mean to each other." WHAT?! Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't think my husband and I have ever had a real fight. We've disagreed about things but it's always been pretty laid back, we're almost always on the same page about things and I have faith in his intentions always and that defuses just about every disagreement.
She's not a bad kid, really. She's so empathetic. She's the first to come running if I'm hurt or don't feel well. She feels terrible about her explosions and usually apologizes in person or with a note. I always get little love notes from her.
What's going on? Is it early puberty hormones? Is there some undiagnosed mental issue? There are a million books about dealing with teenagers, what books are about dealing with angry 8 year olds?
I'm trying so hard to be patient, but I can only be yelled at so many times before I snap and yell back. I know I shouldn't but I'm really starting to feel like her punching bag. I really don't know what to do. Punishing her doesn't seem right because I don't believe she has control of herself.
Anyone have any ideas? :-(
Have you asked her what is going on? She may or may not be able to express herself but I think it is worth asking. Maybe she has something to be angry about! Perhaps her anger is a cover for anxiety? I would mention to the teacher, is she having any problems at school?
Since it is targeted at just you I would guess it has more to do with how much you are accepting and if that is the case I suggest you decide to either accept it or demand an end to it. IME verbally demanding an end is effective and consequences aren't necessary. At the same time I also suggest doing a few things just with her like a cocoa date, bagel date, or just cuddling with her for an extra long time before bed. Make sure the bagel or coffee dates occur far from home because the drive is key to getting the conversation going.