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Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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My middle child (11years old) keeps to herself: shy in

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hello. my middle child (11years old) keeps to herself: shy in school, a very good student, she is fun at home; but gets aggressive ( she is very strong) with her siblings ( 13, and 6)< and goes into her shell after arguing with me (isolates herself in her room): i don't know how to stop her from being physical ( chasing after them with scissors, punching,...) with her sisters, so I become angry as well ( i have a bad temper), and so on. it's a chain... we need help, please.
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this very concerning situation.



Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Each child has her-his own predispositions, something that genetics define, but it is from concrete experiences that parents literally shape their personalities and behaviors.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello. Weren't you able to understand my initial statements?


am i talking to a robot?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry, my name is ***** ***** I am a psychotherapist.


what are you sorry about?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You thought I was a robot. This website offers answers by experts to people's specific questions, there are no robots involved in this process.


can we get to business then MR robot, and answer?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see you do not feel comfortable with this interface. Let me leave your question open for any other expert who could answer it supports you the way you need and deserve.


suit yourself

I would like to help you with your question.

I can understand that you are concerned about your 11 year old daughter's behavior.
She seems to vacilate between being shy and being agressive, fun at times and then isolating at others. It is good that you recognize this pattern and want to end it.

In order to best help you, I would like a little more information about her and about some of the incidences.

You write that she is a good student and is shy in school. What feedback to you get from her teachers about her behavior in school? Is there anything in particular that leads her to be shy at school? Is she "picked on" or "bullied"? Is she tall for her age? short for her age? anything that might cause her to shut down emotionally at school?

You describe her as fun at home...tell me more about this. Does she make everyone laugh?

When you think about her as independent of her siblings...what stand out about her...what makes her special?

Why do you think she terrorizes her siblings? Is she jealous of them? Do they "bug" her?

You mention that you have anger issues yourself. Do you think she is more like you then the other kids?

Any additional information you can provide will be helpful.
Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


she is very tall and a bit heavier... at school she hangs out with other taller girls, and sometimes boys. she helps with K-garden kids. recently she stopped taking lunches at school because she was called "fat ass". i believe that her teacher had a nice chat with her to help her emotionally to get throught it . she didn't mention a ward to me about incident, but left a paper note on dining table written with her blood from her fingertip "help". her silence scared me. for now i find out about it from her older sis. her older sister is almost never home: she is at dance studio all the time.

her older sibling does provoke her sometimes, and a little one adors to play with her but is on the oldest' side when three of them are together.

she is very gentle with little sister, and they play very well together.

she complains about how boring some classes are and how "stupid" some students are ( she is one of the best ).

plays guitar very well but too shy to do exams; has a great sense of humour and sometimes sounds too wise for her age.

and yes, she is more like her mother in terms of being shy, or angry, or creative. thank you

Dear Mom,
I am so sorry that the kids at school teased her...while it is wonderful that her teacher helped her through this...I would want to go a step further an make sure that the kids who did the teasing were talked to ... along with their parents. That may sound harsh to you...but the thing is that bullying in schools has reached epidemic proportions and early intervention is needed. Your daughter needs to know that school is a safe place for her...and writing a note to you in her own blood surely showed you how unsafe, hurt, and disraught she was by this entire situation!

I am glad that she hangs out with the girls and boys that are her height...that certainly does show that she can - and does -make friends. In time...those short girls may grow taller..and certainly the boys will too. Still...the school ought to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and their ought to be a strong message of acceptance for differences throughout the school. That message needs to come from the administration down through all the staff.

You acknowledge that you are shy too. So...what have you done to break out of your shell? Does your daughter understand that you are shy too? This might be the perfect thing for the two of you to you have handled it, how she has handled it, what more you wish to do, and the two of you can strategize together on how to be more friendly and less shy. Rather than seeing this as a negative...perhaps you two can have fun talking about it and coming up with silly scenarios on how best to handle some of the akward situations you find yourselves in. I encourage you to turn this from a negative to a positive! As you know...the world cannot be strictly all outgoing people, nor strictly quiet people. We need a mix.

When she says she is bored at school...what do you make of that? Do you see her as a hard-working student? Does she eagerly soak up new material? Is she an avid reader...and likes intellectual challenge?

If you answer yes to these questions...then I would encourage you to consider talking to her teachers about more advanced material. Often, very bright children are terribly bored with classes because they learn the material so quickly and then are left to wait for the other children to catch up. If you think this describes her situation...then the remedy is that she gets special work that is more advanced, works at times with a higher grade level, or even advances a grade. Please consider this and let me know how you feel.

Every family member has a role in the family dynamics. The middle child is often the one who keeps the family together...sort of like a bridge between the older and the younger. That she plays well with her younger sibling (and is helpful with the K-garden kids) makes sense to me. And..if her older sibling is away much...then there could be some real pain there around not having the type of bond she would prefer. Tell me what you think of this.

I know I have given you several things to think about. I just want to stimulate your thinking as to some possibilities of what is happening to this precious child!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I've tried what you have suggested, but will do it again; and will see her teacher for sure. thank you.

That comparison with "bridge", and a family keeper is something that touched me: you said that "there could be some real pain there around not having the type of bond she would prefer" referring to her oldest sister. is there something we can do about it? any books that you can suggest? thank you, mom

I would encourage you to create some special activities that the two girls can do days, movie afternoons, lunches at a cafe together....any such activites that would get the two talking and bonding. They are close in age...yet not exactly at the same place developmentally. And...the older is the "big sister"...does she really treat the 11 year old like that?...that is, does she big sister her and help to support, befriend, and be there like a big sister should?

Do you notice how the 11 year old is with the k-gardeners? She is big sistering them...right?! me...there may be some feeling on her part of wanting her own big sister to sister her.

I have just done a bit of looking and cannot find a book that addresses this directly. I will see if I can find any articles or materials. If I do, I will post back to you.

I hope this chat has helped!!!

You could read through this article and perhaps share it with your older daughter...
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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