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I feel I’m going to lose my mind! I’ve tried to parent by putting myself in their positions and trying to imagine how I would feel under certain circumstances. With that said, I have probably been inconsistent in my parenting with my oldest. Her bio-father and I haven’t been together since she was a baby and his views of parenting are pretty much non-existent. Because of that, I’ve tried not to be too hard on her on many things because I would imagine it would be difficult to go from a place with no discipline/parenting every other weekend to home where there is structure and discipline – confusing for her, I always felt. Now, she’s 11 and I’m starting to second guess every move I’ve made thus far and what my next should be. She admittedly has behavior problems and comes to talk to me about it and tells me she wants to change them and is going to work really hard on a lot of the issues. She is a very sweet child sometimes; very loving and sensitive but seems to completely change in an instant and become so hateful, spiteful and angry! This applies to me, my husband, her sisters, pretty much everyone and her attitude is mostly rude. If she's intentionally irritating her sisters and I ask her to please not do that, she has actually looked at me and said "why? what are you going to do? you don't believe in spanking" while she continued to do it. It’s like she lives in this “all about me” world, kind of like how a 3 yr old thinks the world is all about pleasing themselves with no regards to others. Only, they are 3 and really aren’t able to understand the affects of their actions – is it too much to ask an 11 yr old to consider other people? Shouldn’t she be capable of understanding that by now? I’m really asking because with her being my oldest, I don’t have experience in this age group yet but it is beginning to take a toll on the entire family - family outtings have become such a hassle more due to our 11 yr old than our 3 yr old and feel this also isn't fair to our other 2 girls. I want to consider dd1 feelings and try to let her work through this but feel I'm neglecting dd2 & dd3's feelings and needs by allowing her to cause such drama all the time.<br><br>
Now, I’m at a crossroad. I’ve been advised to seek counseling for her from some boards but I fear if that isn’t what is needed and I do it, it may push her further in the opposite direction and she will begin to feel there is something wrong with her when there isn’t – kwim? She started developing at a young age, so then I wonder if maybe hormones are beginning to take their toll and it is beyond her control. Then again, I wonder if I’m just being naïve & making excuses for her when I think that and maybe ignoring a need for something that will cause major problems within the next few years if I don’t do something now.<br><br>
Rambling a bit, I know and I apologize. Like I said, I’ve tried to parent all my girls by getting inside their heads to figure what triggers certain reactions so I can better help them understand other ways of coping and expressing but her mood changes are so sporadic that I just don’t know what to do anymore and can’t figure what in the world would cause her to react the way she did or behave in that manner – absolute defiance and seems sometimes her only goal in the things she does is to intentionally irritate, hurt someone or make someone feel bad about themselves, and I hate feeling that way about my child.<br><br>
For those with experience with older children, is this typical hormonal behavior? Is there perhaps some sort of behavioral disorder I need to see about (I’ve been told from some to check into ODD or ADHD or something similar, also)? How have you kept your sanity???
 

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I don't think she sounds ODD or ADHD. Two years ago my DS (now 10) was acting out much as you desribe your DD. We had just experienced a family tragedy ( stillbirth) and after a few months I FINALLY took him to a good play therapist. She allayed my fears that there was something wrong with him-he was just under extreme mental stress. (Which may result from the differences in structure between yours and bio-dad's). He spent a year visiting her, and never once expressed feeling there was something wrong with him. Also, your DD sounds very intelligent and that can makes things harder emotionally- we often unconciously treat them like their intellctual age, not their emotional one.<br>
HTH.
 

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Can you be more specific? I hate to say it, but I don't think she sounds abnormal at all. Maybe if you could give specific stuff--what makes the family outings difficult?<br><br>
I've got a ten year old, who is fast becoming a preteen and while he doesn't say things like this to me, I can tell he's thinking it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>onlyboys</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7290976"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can you be more specific? I hate to say it, but I don't think she sounds abnormal at all. Maybe if you could give specific stuff--what makes the family outings difficult?<br><br>
I've got a ten year old, who is fast becoming a preteen and while he doesn't say things like this to me, I can tell he's thinking it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I'm sorry - I had to laugh because there are times I can tell also even when she isn't saying it. I don't have much time now but I will try and post more detail tonight.
 

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My children were all like that at eleven. It's a tough age for them too. "You 10-14 year old" is a good, reassuring book.<br><br>
For advice...I don't know. Time seemed to work best with my kids. You might try giving her some extra time with you.<br><br>
You could try problem solving. "What can I do to help you deal calmly with xyz?" Her ideas may seem a little wacky, but try them. You may be surprised.
 

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It sounds like normal preteen hormones to me. According to my mom, I turned into demon spawn when I was that age.<br><br>
I know you don't like to be rigid, but I would set some solid ground rules or boundaries (because she's all about testing them right now) and stick to them. Treating others with respect should always be a rule, and if she can't treat others with respect, she needs to have some sort of consequence.<br><br>
It's probably doubly hard when she's going from you to her dad and there's no true boundaries with him and yours are shifting based on their needs. Not a bad thing, but maybe she needs something a little more solid right now.
 

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I also agree that much of this is normal and goes with the territory. Much of it reminds me of living with my 10 yo!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I have probably been inconsistent in my parenting with my oldest. Her bio-father and I haven’t been together since she was a baby and his views of parenting are pretty much non-existent. Because of that, I’ve tried not to be too hard on her on many things because I would imagine it would be difficult to go from a place with no discipline/parenting every other weekend to home where there is structure and discipline – confusing for her, I always felt.</td>
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I can understand why you took this approach, and I might have done the same in your shoes. Looking at it objectively though, I think it is a mistake. For her, this way of life is normal, and by making constant allowances and concessions, you are giving her the message that she can't deal with it. But she can, and she deserves more credit than this. Very small children can understand having different rules in different homes or at school -- an eleven year old certainly can. I am NOT suggesting that you "lay down the law" or any such nonsense as that. But I do think you can raise your expectations and set some boundries. You and other family members should not willingly play the role of emotional doormat, kwim?<br><br>
One of the most important things in a child's life is having a sense of normalacy and routine.... you need to provide her with that to whatever extent that its reasonable. Her life is richer and fuller than the lives of many many children in this world - she <i>can</i> cope with what it has thrown at her. She needs empowerment.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I’ve tried to parent all my girls by getting inside their heads to figure what triggers certain reactions so I can better help them understand other ways of coping and expressing but her mood changes are so sporadic that I just don’t know what to do anymore and can’t figure what in the world would cause her to react the way she did or behave in that manner</td>
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Sometimes, in the moment, you need to detach yourself emotionally. Meaning -- you can understand and empathize with what she feels, but you don't have to feel it too. You can be objective for her. There are very good friends in my life who are able to play this role for me, and I appreciate it a great deal. Everyone needs this sometimes -- someone who is not going to get so sucked in that they can't be rational. There is safety in that.<br><br>
I think that by challenging you about spanking, etc. -- she is asking for boundries. I know its very hard to figure out how to set boundries! Isn't it?<br><br>
There is a book that might help - "Liberated Kids, Liberated Parents," by Faber and Mazlish. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLiberated-Parents-Children-Happier-Family%2Fdp%2F0380711346%2Fref%3Dcm_lmf_tit_3_rsrsrs0%2F104-8872218-7063168" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Liberated-Pare...872218-7063168</a><br>
Look at that - only one cent, used! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As far as counseling -- what does she think about that idea? Many 11 year old girls would jump at the chance. If she could get on board, and you can find a nice woman for her to meet with, I can't see what it would hurt. Is she in school? Perhaps her school counselor already runs groups for children with separated parents. Or would meet with her 1:1 to chat sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamaduck</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7296885"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I also agree that much of this is normal and goes with the territory. Much of it reminds me of living with my 10 yo!<br><br><br><br>
I can understand why you took this approach, and I might have done the same in your shoes. Looking at it objectively though, I think it is a mistake. For her, this way of life is normal, and by making constant allowances and concessions, you are giving her the message that she can't deal with it. But she can, and she deserves more credit than this. Very small children can understand having different rules in different homes or at school -- an eleven year old certainly can. I am NOT suggesting that you "lay down the law" or any such nonsense as that. But I do think you can raise your expectations and set some boundries. You and other family members should not willingly play the role of emotional doormat, kwim?<br><br>
One of the most important things in a child's life is having a sense of normalacy and routine.... you need to provide her with that to whatever extent that its reasonable. Her life is richer and fuller than the lives of many many children in this world - she <i>can</i> cope with what it has thrown at her. She needs empowerment.<br><br><br><br>
Sometimes, in the moment, you need to detach yourself emotionally. Meaning -- you can understand and empathize with what she feels, but you don't have to feel it too. You can be objective for her. There are very good friends in my life who are able to play this role for me, and I appreciate it a great deal. Everyone needs this sometimes -- someone who is not going to get so sucked in that they can't be rational. There is safety in that.<br><br>
I think that by challenging you about spanking, etc. -- she is asking for boundries. I know its very hard to figure out how to set boundries! Isn't it?<br><br>
There is a book that might help - "Liberated Kids, Liberated Parents," by Faber and Mazlish. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLiberated-Parents-Children-Happier-Family%2Fdp%2F0380711346%2Fref%3Dcm_lmf_tit_3_rsrsrs0%2F104-8872218-7063168" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Liberated-Pare...872218-7063168</a><br>
Look at that - only one cent, used! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As far as counseling -- what does she think about that idea? Many 11 year old girls would jump at the chance. If she could get on board, and you can find a nice woman for her to meet with, I can't see what it would hurt. Is she in school? Perhaps her school counselor already runs groups for children with separated parents. Or would meet with her 1:1 to chat sometime.</div>
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Thanks for the advice. She is in school but her school counselor was the one who recommended I have her tested for ODD because she had to meet with her once and said you absolutely can NOT talk to her because she instantly shuts you out - that and other signs. I've read on it though and some of the descriptions sounded exactly like our situation (feeling guilt for being too hard so in turn end up going to opposite). I wasn't feeling guilty but thought I would if I were too hard on her given her situation. I was also afraid she would feel we were picking on her because her younger sister (8 yo) rarely gets in any trouble (not influenced by dd1's bio-dad, I think!)<br><br>
The counselor did recommend an office so I will probably go speak with them. She said dd is a "difficult child" and we may benefit from going as well some to vent and learn techniques to help everyone get through this with our sanity and in one piece! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
Thanks for everyone's help and advice! Luckily, we have lived 9 hrs from dd1 bio-dad for the last 2 years. Things have slowed a lot since but for some reason this complete defiance started suddenly over the past 2 months. After speaking with her about some of the changes @ her bio-dad's, I realized this may be the culprit (new GF trying to discipline very authoritarian and she isn't used to that, and they just had a new baby). I hate this though because these are things that I have no control over and can't do a thing about! It sucks that he can't see/doesn't care about what his actions do to her - I don't understand how anyone parents like that, when everything I EVER do is done with concern of how it will affect them first. ARGH! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
Thanks for letting me vent a bit - I may end up using this counselor more than she does when all is said and done! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Thanks for letting me vent a bit - I may end up using this counselor more than she does when all is said and done!</td>
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Vent as often as you like! This is what we are here for. I think a counselor for *you* is an excellent idea! As I understand it, treating ODD involves retraining the parent, so I'm glad you are open to that. 1:1 counseling with the actual child can only get you so far, because she is not communicative. KWIM? If that is even her diagnosis. I'm still skeptical! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Its a tough age.<br><br>
You are a wonderful mom -- I think you and I would make excellent friends. You are so sensitive and caring!
 
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