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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My daughter is almost 8 yrs old and has always been a loving,

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My daughter is almost 8 yrs old and has always been a loving, caring, respectful little girl. Her father and I are divorced and have not been together since she was three months old. She lives with her dad in the summer and since she came home for the school year she has been disrespectful. She doesn't listen in class or at home and has been being very rude. Please tell me what to do. I have tried talking with her and have taken things away but nothing seems to help. Thank you,

Dr. Z. :

Hello I believe I can help with your concern about your daughter.

Dr. Z. :

I am so sorry that you daughter is behaving in this matter, I can imagine how this must distress you

Dr. Z. :

I would like to ask a couple questions to get some more information, so that I can give you the best possible answer

Dr. Z. :

Has your daughter been disrespectful to authority figures only or also to her peers in class?

Dr. Z. :

Has your daughter had any explosive temper tantrums at all?

Customer: Both authority figures and peers
Customer: Yes. And she has not done this since she was a toddler
Dr. Z. :

And I know you mentioned that she was with her father for the summer, how did she react with him during that time?

Customer: He said he has been having the same issues at his house
Dr. Z. :

And how has she been sleeping lately, any insomnia? Or any bountiful periods of energy that can be considered uncharacteristic of her?

Customer: She goes to bed the same time every night but I don't believe she is going right to sleep. I have not noticed any extra energy.
Dr. Z. :

And the last question I have, when she gets in trouble in school or possibly with you, does she blame others for her behavior?

Dr. Z. :

Basically does she refuse to take responsibility for her actions?

Customer: Yes, every single time!
Customer: She refuses to take responsibility
Dr. Z. :

Okay, well I believe your daughter may have a disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Here is a link that can explain this more to you

Dr. Z. :

Here is also a good book that can provide further detail for you as well.

Dr. Z. :

The good news is that for a majority of children, this issue goes away on its own within 3 years at most, but you can use some techniques to hasten the process.

Customer: What causes this to happen?
Dr. Z. :

We are not entirely sure why this occurs, it usually spontaneously occurs and also spontaneously disappears as well. We do know that there is a genetic link as siblings commonly have them at high rates.

Dr. Z. :

One thing that your daughter is doing is having a difficult time expressing her negative emotions, namely anger/frustration, so this is why she is being disrespectful. So because she is almost 8 years old, she can understand how to be more assertive with her anger and how to express her anger in an assertive and productive way. Here is a good worksheet that can help with this.

Dr. Z. :

This will help her be more assertive and let out her negative emotions in a way that will be beneficial

Dr. Z. :

Another therapy that has been very useful for children her age is called narrative therapy, where she reads stories that teach empathy and morals and then apply them to her own life.

Dr. Z. :

Also this can lead to roleplay, where she can learn how her actions hurt others and how she can change her behavior. A good child therapist can help with narrative therapy, unless you would like to try on your own because I can recommend some books.

Customer: Do you feel therapy would be beneficial?
Dr. Z. :

It definitely can be beneficial, sometimes the children prefer talking about these issues with someone who is not a family member. Also most child therapists have a wide variety of narrative therapy stories that can help your daughter too.

Dr. Z. :

The website does not tell what country you are in, but if you are in the United States, I can recommend some good child therapists in your area.

Customer: I will definitely look into finding someone in my area.
Customer: I am in Lees Summit, Missouri
Dr. Z. :

I think that would definitely be beneficial, I would also like to recommend these impulse control books as I found them very beneficial for ODD

Dr. Z. :

Sure, give me a few minutes to compile a list of child therapists in your area.

Dr. Z. :

Here are three good child therapists in your area that have a specialty in treating ODD

Dr. Z. :

Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?

Customer: No thank you very much.
Dr. Z. :

Well I want to wish you and your daughter the best of luck with everything. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

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