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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Issue: DD, 7, speaks very disrespectfully to me when she does not get her way and/or throws a RAGING temper tantrum to accompany the disrespectful words, tone and body language (imagine someone speaking to you like you are the biggest a-hole in the world, and clinically idiotic also, and that's DD sometimes). She does this less to her dad than me, and to no one else.<br><br>
We are consistent in the sense that we have never given in to wheedling nagging (and by "we" I guess I can only safely speak for myself, not DH). I am very aware that DH and I need to really do some work on how we speak to each other, and we are trying that. And I need to not yell (also working on that, with mostly good results as long as I stay mindful and remind myself as the conflict is occurring).<br><br>
In the interim, however, what do I do? Last night we had a huge blow-up because DD didn't want to leave the barn, and then she didn't want to do flashcards (or something, I can't even remember). So she starts being her disrespectful self; I tried to joke out of it, she had multiple opportunities to stop, but she didn't. So the end consequence was dinner then DD in her room until bedtime (which would end up being about 45 minutes alone, total). It was not good. She cried, said she was a bad person. She argued, was insulting and just nasty. I gave her two more opportunities to change the scenario, and she didn't, then tried to change again, and when I said no it was crying all over again. This is a summary. She ended up spending only about 10 minutes alone in her room while I took a shower. At one point she refused to go into her room, and I told her straight out that I would not be able to calmly place her there, that it would end in yelling and probably a spanking. This was not a threat, AT ALL, just a statement that I was not going to try to make her go into her room.<br><br>
What else can I do? I don't know how to handle this behavior from her. Yes, I am working on myself, but what to do while I work on myself?
 

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What you can't do is *make* your child behave in a respectful way. What you CAN do is not take it personally. When someone is disrespectful, it is about *them* not us. At a time that the issue is not too recent, you can certainly say, "I hear when you are angry. However, I am not willing to listen to abuse. How might you express your anger without being hurtful?" And help her work out some more useful expression. Try to avoid any hint that you own her anger or that she owns yours. IOWs, do not say or imply that she *makes* you mad. Instead, own your own feelings. "When I hear those words, I feel (sad, mad, hurt)." Also, do not apologize too much. Instead, acknowledge. "I yelled when you dropped the vase. I wish I hadn't." This way, we don't burden our DCs with too much responsibilty for our feelings. This can help free them to take responsibility for their actions anstead of trying to "fix" our emotions. (This can take many forms, from outright rebellion to (gah) people pleasing; not a healthy thing for anyone).<br>
If it is an issue of her taking responsibility for say, a mess, remember to value the outcome, not your ability to force her to do something. So, if you want the mess cleaned up, do it yourself, cheerfully. This way you show that her feelings are more important to you than control. She will be much more likely to contribute to the overall upkeep of your environment if you remove the power struggle. And, hey, if that means you then don't have time to take her someplace....(but do this cheerfully too. Any hint of 'so there' will ruin the effect completely) HTH!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>laoxinat</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9934226"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What you can't do is *make* your child behave in a respectful way. What you CAN do is not take it personally. When someone is disrespectful, it is about *them* not us. At a time that the issue is not too recent, you can certainly say, "I hear when you are angry. However, I am not willing to listen to abuse. How might you express your anger without being hurtful?" And help her work out some more useful expression. Try to avoid any hint that you own her anger or that she owns yours. IOWs, do not say or imply that she *makes* you mad. Instead, own your own feelings. "When I hear those words, I feel (sad, mad, hurt)." Also, do not apologize too much. Instead, acknowledge. "I yelled when you dropped the vase. I wish I hadn't." This way, we don't burden our DCs with too much responsibilty for our feelings. This can help free them to take responsibility for their actions anstead of trying to "fix" our emotions. (This can take many forms, from outright rebellion to (gah) people pleasing; not a healthy thing for anyone).</div>
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I need to try this more, certainly. DD is intellectually gifted, and I think we expect more from her than she is ready for, emotionally. My next question though, is what to do when she doesn't give a d*mn about me not wanting to listen to her abuse? Walk away? In her room? She has been known to follow me around, which results in me feeling very trapped, and I tend to get a little frantic when that happens. So if I walked away, she may follow me, just repeating something overandoverandovernadover....
 

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I mean this sincerely and kindly:<br><br>
If she doesn't get her way, she will yell and become violent (tantrum).<br>
If you don't get your way, you will yell and become violent (hit).<br><br>
It sounds like she is expressing herself in the same way you are.
 

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I found that with my kids, especially with my very challening 8 year old, we get more respect when we are willing to listen to their feelings and concerns without minimizing them or brushing them off, and when we speak respectfully and calmly to them. (So this means: "You don't want to leave the barn. What's up?...you're having fun and you don't want to go in. I understand, it is fun to be out here. It's hard to stop playing. Thing is, I really want to start cooking dinner. I'm concerned that if I don't start cooking soon we'll be eating really late, then you'll get to bed late and be tired tomorrow, and it's not safe for you to stay here yourself. What about staying for one more minute?/[insert other idea or invitation to the child to come up with ideas here].")<br><br>
I find that taking that time to listen, using active listening, gives me an opportunity to help her learn better ways of expressing herself. So if your dd is using disrespectful words, tone and body language, maybe rather than walking away you can "translate" for her through active listening: "you sound angry....you didn't like/you're angry about....what didn't you like about that?..."<br><br>
Some kids have trouble with skills like shifting gears (like making transitions such as leaving the barn), and when we try to just make them do it they have trouble coping adaptively. Some kids have trouble being flexible (imagine wanting to do one thing, and someone comes along and wants you to do something else like flashcards-to set aside your agenda and go along with someone else's requires both shifting gears and flexibility), and behave in unpleasant ways when flexibility is demanded of them and they're frustrated. Some kids just in general have trouble staying calm when frustrated, and if they can't stay calm they can't think and they can't behave as adaptively as we'd like them to. These are things my oldest struggles with and I find that when we slow down and take time to listen to her feelings/frustrations/concerns and work *with* her, then she has the opportunity to learn/improve these skills, and this helps her behave more adaptively/appropriately. It also helps our frustration level to remember that it takes time for kids to learn and mature.<br><br>
And also, it's hard for a child to learn to be flexible and tolerate frustration when his role models become inflexible in response to his inflexibility and frustration. So really, I would recommend working on being willing to be more flexible yourselves and working *with* her more often rather than just imposing your will (which doesn't mean letting her just do whatever she wants, you can be flexible and still have boundaries)--this was an important thing for me to learn to do, it's really been helpful and has brought more harmony to our home.<br><br>
I love the book The Explosive Child and highly recommend it, it has helped our family enormously. <a href="http://www.thinkkids.org" target="_blank">www.thinkkids.org</a> has some information about the book, it's philosophy and approach to working with challenging kids.<br><br>
And be patient with yourselves and with her. There are no quick fixes. Just keep doing the best you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I cannot tell you the comfort that the last two responses just gave me. I really, really appreciate your responses. Very much food for thought and things to work on. Thank you.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Suzannah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9934365"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She has been known to follow me around, which results in me feeling very trapped, and I tend to get a little frantic when that happens. So if I walked away, she may follow me, just repeating something overandoverandovernadover....</div>
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So, if things get out of hand and she enters "pick on Mom" mode...can you learn to really ignore her or at least pretend? "I hear that you are angry, but I feel x when I hear you say y. When you are ready to talk to me differently, I'll be ready to listen." And then completely ignore her (even if you're boiling mad) until she changes her method? She might follow you, but that doesn't stop you from making dinner, folding laundry, checking email, etc...while taking deep breaths of course! I used to do this with certain children I took care of and it worked really well, in that, they didn't get what they wanted from their behavior (a rise out of me) and had to change the way they behaved toward me in order to get any interaction.
 
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