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Walter
Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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My 11 year old daughter hurts my 2 year old son, ...

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My 11 year old daughter hurts my 2 year old son, daily. She says he is a liar and nobody believes her. She tells me she hates me. I am at the point where I just want her to go away. She ruins EVERYDAY, every outing, every dinner. I don''t know what to do anymore.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Walter replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

I would be more then happy to help you today if you can give me some background information so I can see if there is a behavior route you can take to get your family back on track and working as it should.

How long has she been acting out?

  • Does she only act out in your home or is this in school as well?
  • If it is in school what is she doing and how is her grades?
  • Does she have friends outside of the home she plays with?
  • If yes then how is those relationships?
  • If no why?

Is her father in her life?

  • If yes does she act out with him?
  • How does he handle her behavior?
  • If no does she have any male influences such as a stepfather, older brother, etc?

When she hits her little brother what do you do?

  • When does she hit him?
  • Is there a reason?
  • What type of punishments have you tried and do any work?
  • How bad has it gotten is it just little hits or is she really violent and if so how?

When you say she ruins everyday how so?

  • How is her actions outside of the home compared to in the home?
  • Does she have any outside activity's such as girl scouts, sports, or tumbling?
  • If no why?
  • If yes how is her behavior at these functions?

Tell me a little bit about her privileges and things?

  • Does she have her own room?
  • If no why?
  • If yes does she respect her space and things?
  • Does she have the typical preteen things such as computer, TV, Cell Phone, toys etc?
  • If yes does she care for these things?
  • Does she do any chores or household help?
  • And last does she has a area she can go to to get away from her brother?

I know this is a lot of questions, but children are complex sometimes and little things can make all the difference in deciding how to handle the actions and behavior. If you could please let me know the answers I would be more then happy to help you learn how to curb the behavior and get her back on track.

Walter

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She has been acting like this since I got pregnant with my son. May of 2005. It gets worse every day.
She does not act out at school like this, but she did almost fail 5th grade. She pulled it together with her grades at the end of the year and passed.
She does not have friends out side of our home. I don't know why, mostly she doesn't deserve to go anywhere.
Her Father is not in her life; he visits her for 2hours about 4 times a year.
No male influence in her life - none of the family has a male influence. I recently started to date a very nice guy, but she hates that situation also.
When I see her hurt him I get mad and yell at her and tell her to get away. She has made him bleed and that is when I lost it the most. Today I didn't see what happened so I asked him what happened, he said she pushed him so I went to go get her side of the story and she was crying and started saying nobody believes her and that she hates me. So I took back the purse I bought her yesterday and sent her to her room, where she continues to throw things at the door.
Nothing works. I've tried counseling. I have taken everything away from her. I've spanked her. When she wants something for 2 minutes she can be nice, but the second she gets what she wants she is back to her mean self.
It is mostly little hits, but there was one time that she through a plastic baseball bat at him with all her might and he got a bloody nose and bumb on his eye.
When we are going somewhere she starts telling us she hates us; she says things to make my son cry, like takes away what he is playing with. She screams and makes my son chase her and she yells. Says she doesn't want to go with us. Says we don't want her, when I say she can't go, (which I have to take her because I have noone to leave her with).
She acts the same inside and outside the home. No outside activities; she doesn't have an interest in anything. I have forced her into tutoring and although the tutor thinks the world of her - when she gets home she tells me she hates it and doesn't want to go back.
She has had no privileges because she deserves none. I do alot of family things like weekend trips and shopping, but she has no TV, I take the computer away from her regularly and I will not allow her a cell phone until at least 16, but she asks for one EVERYDAY. She will take care of things until she gets bored which is usually within a few days, then it is missing or destroyed.
She will not do chores; she tells me I'm not her boss. Another reason she has NO privileges.
Yes, she will go into my room and stay away from everybody.
Expert:  Walter replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Thank you for the additional information, often times if we can take a step back and view it as not part of the family it is easier to see what the problem is and the best route to take.

When talking about preteens we tend to label it as behavior modification. We do not want to try a battle of wills.........because in the end the child will fight it and you will give up. Parenting a rebellious child is not easy, and sometimes we get exasperated and simply wish it was over already. But we must keep in mind that the child is not working with the same adult mentality that you are. She simply knows that she is hurt, angry, and wants attention. You hand out the punishments so you are the bad guy in all this.

The key is to shape her behavior with a series of rewards and punishments and to include her in the process. She is old enough to sit down and help you come up with the plan. The key is making it enticing enough that she wants to change.

The first step is to find some alone time.........maybe speak with her today and ask her if once the baby is in bed and asleep if you both can sit down and talk about some of the issues and how you can work together to solve the issues.

Once the baby is in bed you can explain to her that the recent upset is causing everyone stress and causing her pain that you do not want to see her in. Let her know that today is the day for change. You will likely see some attitude or her roll her eyes....let it go for now. Ask her a few key questions

  • What do you want?

This is a simple straight forward question. Ask her if she would like some new chances for freedom such as inviting friends over or going to places kids her age like such as movies with her friends once a month or rollerskating. Maybe it is the elusive cell phone or more time on the computer. What ever it is before you say no.........write it down.

Let her know that the ways things are going simply can not continue and from this point on you both are going to work as a team to change the home life. Let her know that there are going to be some new rules. For everyone including yourself. Grab a sheet of construction paper and write on it "Home rules" Then under that in smaller letters write your daughters name then your sons name then your name. Each person should have at least 5 rules, but no more then 10.

Ask her what she thinks some of these rules should be. On a piece of paper jot down her ideas as well as your own for each member of the family. Now is the time for negotiations. If she thinks the rule that she must clean her room everyday is to much....consider having her clean it once a week. The hitting should definitely be in there.....she can not hit and this is a important rule. Though this rule should also be on your sons list. While he is to little to understand it. You can place him in time out for one minute each year of age to show him hitting is not OK if he does this.

Explain to her that you are going to work on a rewards and punishment plan. Starting today she has all rights and privileges. She can play on the computer as long as you originally allow and may have back her original privileges. Keep in mind often it is easier to work on changing if you see what you have to lose. If she bucks up and starts following the rules then you should reward her. Being a good kid is not as easy as it looks mom.........sometimes it is so much easier to be bad Laughing Reward her once a month for effort. That does not mean that little slip ups should prevent a reward....it simply means that if the slip up happens that she loses the privileges for that day. If it is occurring more often then the privileges are gone for the week. If after six months she has shown a marked improvement consider getting her one of the prepaid cell phones. Often these are less then 15.00 and should she start acting up you have no contract to cancel.

Now for the hard part. Should she simply blow off the idea or continue on or start back up then it is time for some drastic intervention. As a parent we are required to do a few things by law. We must provide a roof over the child's head, a area to sleep and bath and food. We are not required to make that stay comfortable or fun.

I sometimes advise in serious situations a total strip down. This means a bed, linen, and the necessary bathing things. This means remove all toys, TVs, games, books (Except educational) etc from her. Inform her that she has no right to these things and these things are given to her to make her comfortable and happy but if she insists on being unhappy and making everyone around her unhappy then she has no right to them.

With this being summer this is far easier then while school is in session. Explain to her that once she begins following the rules consistently you will begin allowing her to have her things and rights back. For every week that she has shown marked improvement (And again allow for small slip ups) she may choose one thing she wants back. Should she have a bad week you may choose the item you are taking back. If she has 3 consistent back to back weeks then all her things are removed again.

Once she has earned back her things you can start with the rewards as outlined above. This may take a few weeks up to a few months to get her back in order. If you pay out for expensive name brands or allow her to pick her cloths inform her that should she not have her privileges back you will be making the choices in her clothes and there will be no name brand or expensive purchases. If she does not pick out her clothes this may be a great reward as well.

This is not going to be easy......that is a fact. But if you stick with your guns and stick with the program she will eventually tire of the games and get on track. She should have daily chores and this should be part of the rules as well. Consider offering a allowance as well for the chores as this should be a reward as well. If she does not do the chore then no allowance as well as this counts against her for the week.

I have seen parents who have been at their wits end.......after a few months on this program most of the children got back in shape real quick. Just remember that there must be a reward......if all she gets is a nod or a smile then why bother?

Walter

Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 11528
Experience: Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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