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I have a 10 yo dsd who is extremely orally fixated, has pretty lousy table manners, and loves to teach her little sis (my 2 yo dd) "tricks" like inhaling food off her plate, making faces with mouth full of food, pretend crying, etc. and encourages games that leave little sis in an uncomfortable state (like wading into a pond up to her waist so her pants and undies are soaked for a walk home on a cool evening or pouring water over her head in the kitchen when the two of them are playing at the water table or pretending to not understand what the 2 yo is saying to the point where 2 yo gets frustrated and starts fussing, or waiting as long as possible - again more fussing and sometimes tears - before giving back something that 2 yo has asked for).

So, in addition to the numerous challenges raising a 2 yo presents, I have the added challenges of encouraging a toddler who likes to copy to not put her fingers in her mouth whenever she sees her big sis do it, not put her elbows on the table or make faces for a reaction at dinnertime, and also encouraging the 10 yo not to use her developmental sophistication to take advantage of her younger sister or act like a 2 yo herself by doing things that make her sister cry ("I have power over you").

Any suggestions? I feel that maybe I am much more irritated and angry than I would be if dsd was my biological offspring. I also feel that maybe my expectations are too high for dsd, and I'm thinking she should know better at her age or be able to handle a 2 year old's different needs without acting like one herself when really this is normal behavior for a 10 yo. Is it?
 

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yes...it is normal behaviour for a 10 year old...if that's the way she is...I have a 13 year old who does similar things...

Plus she probably has some jeleousy issues around the younger child and may be subconsciously trying to make the younger child "bad" so you don't love her more...

Have you read "Siblings without Rivalry"? invaluable especially when raising children that far apart.

watch watch watch for the littlest "good" behavior and notice it...don't over praise, just say "I noticed you held your sister's hand when you went across the parking lot" but just ignore, bored bored bored wth unacceptable behaviour...she is getting enough reaction out of the 2 year old without your added reaction also...

Also acknowledge her feelings as often as you can...if she acts mad at her sister, make sure she knows its ok and appropriate..."you mad at the baby? yeah, 2 year olds can be frustrating at times" often will difuse the situation as well.

She should be a positive role model but that's a lot to expect of a 10 year old...they are so busy just being 10...work on her behaviour outside the context of how it affects her sister...and show her lots and lots of affection...they are needy at that age..it's real close to puberty.

Good Luck...btw I have a 10 year old as well...interesting age...and she is also very orally fixated...funny eh? I hope she outgrows it...

Apparantly I was too and I outgrew it...
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sylviamama
I have a 10 yo dsd who is extremely orally fixated, has pretty lousy table manners, and loves to teach her little sis (my 2 yo dd) "tricks" like inhaling food off her plate, making faces with mouth full of food, pretend crying, etc. and encourages games that leave little sis in an uncomfortable state (like wading into a pond up to her waist so her pants and undies are soaked for a walk home on a cool evening or pouring water over her head in the kitchen when the two of them are playing at the water table or pretending to not understand what the 2 yo is saying to the point where 2 yo gets frustrated and starts fussing, or waiting as long as possible - again more fussing and sometimes tears - before giving back something that 2 yo has asked for).
IMO, this is not normal 10-year-old behavior. My kids are still very young, but I've had a ton of experience with children this age (I was a teacher and have worked with kids in various situations for most of my adult life), and I'd say that 10-year-olds can be held to a higher standard. Not overnight, but in the long-run. At ten, I was babysitting three kids under the age of five. Not to say that is right, but there is no way that I would have gotten away with pulling the things you speak of here.

After thinking about this, I realize that I can't really compare maturity levels of my personal experience or even those kids I've worked with. It's not fair and I've never met your dsd. Here are some common characteristics of 10-year-olds that I found:

10 Years Old

Nobody nicer
Still exhibits admiration for adults, teachers
Harmonious same sex relationships
Care of clothes/room at dismal low
Still needs considerable amount of supervision to get things done, needs clues to organization
Enjoys outdoor play activities, sports, collections, Cub Scouts, T.V., and video games
Responsive to anger often violent and immediate
Just over 50% admit that some of the kids have smoked
Enjoys listening to stories
Interest span still somewhat short
Needs certain amount of liberty to move around
Concerned about fairness
Humor is corny, sometimes smutty
Girls about even in size, maturity
Girls may begin to show signs of approaching adolescence
Girls more than boys are more likely be embarrassed about sex information
Not yet aware of when they are tired and need to go to bed
Will accept bathing schedule if it doesn't interfere with activities
Not necessarily a worker
Fears at a low ebb
Have sudden bursts of affection
Greatest difficulties in relation to siblings
Last age (for a while) when child goes happily on family outings
More "getting mad," "not speaking" among girls than boys

It sounds like your dsd has some impule-control issues and is seeking attention in a big way. I'm sure you've talked to her about specific behaviors she is doing that are not appropriate? Naming the behaviors and coming up with solutions (with her, if she's interested) gives her control of the solution.

Quote:
Any suggestions? I feel that maybe I am much more irritated and angry than I would be if dsd was my biological offspring. I also feel that maybe my expectations are too high for dsd, and I'm thinking she should know better at her age or be able to handle a 2 year old's different needs without acting like one herself when really this is normal behavior for a 10 yo. Is it?
As a step-daughter in a very bad step-mother/daughter relationship, I would say that your concern about your irritation is valid and one that needs to be addressed. I also think that the behaviors she is exhibiting are very annoying and probably play into how you view/treat dsd. Can you guys go to family therapy?

Like I said before, I don't think her behavior is normal and at the end of the day, if it is causing you angst, then it doesn't matter if it's normal or not. It needs to be addressed in some fashion. Talk to her, talk to your dh, talk to a therapist and see if you can come up with a game-plan to get the positive vibes flowing again...or for the first time.

Jesse
 
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