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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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Hi there, I am a single parent to a 9 year old girl.I am

Customer Question

Hi there, I am a single parent to a 9 year old girl.

I am after some advice as i feel that i am fighting a losing battle with my daughter.

I have always done reward charts and recently i have started a chore chart. This new chart has simple chores on that she does and at the end of each week gets to choose a reward from a selection of coupons i made. She puts her reward coupon at the bottom of the chart so she can see what she is working towards etc. She is doing this really well. The problem i have is attitude and answearing me back and being negative about her self. This evening we both took turns to read a new book. She struggled with a couple of new words but done brill. she is known as a free reader at school. she is at a high level for her age.It was a nice evening then as soon as i go to walk out of her room she starts saying i am a rubbish reader. I said that she did a great job and that it can be difficult when it comes to reading a new word. She then continued to answear me back when i said enough and its bedtime. crocodile tears and paddies. i have had enough. any suggestions on what i can do. she will be 10 in march and i know that hormones are playing a big part at the moment.

Thankyou.
Parent
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 4 years ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

Yes...I do believe that hormone changes might be playing a part in all of this. I'm going to suggest a very good book for you to read and their website so that you can gain even more support and perhaps some new strategies. At the same time, I will give you a different way to approach her so that you don't get so frustrated and she keeps the affirmation and support she is looking for.

Dr. L :

What seems to be happening is that her self-worth gets beat up when she doesn't perform exactly as she wishes. While it was no big deal for her when she struggled with new words...it seems to have been a "crisis" in her mind. Children are ego-centric and so everything is about "them"...this is normal and natural...and that's where the extra validation come in handy. Still, you don't want to give in to her negativity.

Dr. L :

So...let's look at what you could have said last night that might have had a better outcome:

Dr. L :

When she called you a rubbish reader...you could have said. "Darling that was very unkind of you to say that. I can understand that you might have been frustrated with our reading together, but speaking to me in a disrespectful manner is not okay. I think you did a marvelous job reading and I enjoyed our time together. Was there something you wish would have been different?"

Dr. L :

If she doesn't offer what she would like to have done differently. Then you can go on to say. "I see that something did upset you. Would you like to tell me about that? I am here. I will listen. If you need a moment or two to get your thoughts together that is fine and I am happy to sit here with you."

Dr. L :

If she continues to be negative and unwilling to talk in a respectful voice about what she is feeling and thinking.Then you can say, "I see that you are unwilling to talk about this now. I want to listen and I will. We can do this in the morning if you want, or tomorrow, or whenever you chose. For now, I will say goodnight." You can bring her a tissue if she is crying, give her a good hug...and then leave.

Dr. L :

What I am suggesting is to acknowledge her feelings...she is frustrated and upset...likely in this case because she was not a perfect reader. But striking out verbally at you was inappropriate and so she needs to hear that you "see" that she is upset, but you also set a boundary on how she can't abuse you in the process of trying to understand her feelings. Then by saying that you are listening..and really listening...you are giving her permission to have her feelings and have your support for those feelings! What we don't want to do here is to say that she is that her feelings are wrong or unnecessary. She's only 9 (nearly 10) but the world of emotions is still something she is trying to figure out.

Dr. L :

I think you did a wonderful job of listening and trying to soothe her. All I am offering is another way to look at it.

Dr. L :

I think your chart ideas are marvelous and they seem to be working very good.

Dr. L :

It's just that self-worth part...and truly it is hard to be 9 almost 10! Feeling insecure about yourself is what happens...so by your listening and acknowledging her tender feelings you are doing precisely what needs to happen...

Dr. L :

Being a parent...and a single parent...is a difficult and demanding responsibility.

Dr. L :

You are being thoughtful and responsible....and as I said...much of this has to do with her age.

Dr. L :

The book I highly suggest is:

Dr. L :

Parenting with Love and Logic. Please see this website for more information about this parenting program and to get more tips from professionals and parents:

Dr. L :

www.loveandlogic.com

Dr. L :

Please let me know if my response has been helpful or if you would like to chat more.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

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