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Old 02-19-2008, 12:57 PM   #1
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What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

Hi, I'm living with my girlfriend of 2 years and she has a 10 year old daughter as her only child. The daughter is always needing attention and interaction from her Mother, all day long it's Mommy, Momma...

Up to a month ago we were dealing with her talking like a baby and acting 'dumb' nearly 60%-70% of the time. It was driving me absolutely insane and it sparked many arguments with her Mom and me. Just recently, but after months of discipline, she pretty much stopped that behavior, but it was replaced by fidgetiness and the inability to sit or stand still.

I have two kids of my own 10 and 12, and when they're over, everything seems great. When my kids go back to their Moms and it's just me, my girlfriend, and her daughter, the frustration begins again. As I said, the daughter is constantly talking, easily distracted, and always needing her Moms attention.

Please offer some advice

 
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:59 AM   #2
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

Hi, what I have always found is that if a child is craving attention then give it to her in enormous (but healthy) amounts. She sounds insecure and it sounds like she is insecure with her mom paying attention to you? I know how irritating a lot of behavior can be but if you could take the lead and direct her behavior into a more positive direction? Kids love one on one attention from an adult. Could you play a game with her or something?

I have seen this stuff before. I child acts irritatingly, etc. and the adult gets repulsed so the child gets more insecure and repeats the behavior. If the adult redirects the behavior into a more acceptable area then the adult can enjoy the child and this decreases the child's insecurity and stops their irritating behavior.

 
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

It sounds like her life is causing her to be this why. She no longer lives with her dad, but mom has a live in boyfreind. His kids come over on the weekend and where does all of this leave her? She is probably insecure, confused, mad, her life is chaotic. These situations effect children more than many adults realize, there is no stability and now her mom is finding a new man that has kids too. She feels like this is her way to get attention and it sounds like it is working. I would think about how this effects her and not punish her.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

The child needs attention and deserves it. Although how she is doing it may be annoying and childish, I think the mother needs to focus more one-on-one time with her daughter - without you around. The girl is in school all day and needs her mommy afterwards. You are the person in her house and life that is most likely causing this behavior, so keep that in mind. She is only 10 years old and this kind of adjustment is hard for a child.

Give the child plenty of attention, but remind her she can't act like a baby. If you want alone time with your girlfriend, do it once the child is in bed.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 11:24 AM   #5
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

I'd gracefully bow out and let the mother give her daughter all the attention she needs.......come back in about 10 years if you're still up for it.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 01:45 PM   #6
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

I agree with Rose and the reason is this situation may evolve into something worse through her teenage years. Children need stability in a home. My mom should focus only on raising her daughter and spending time with her and not other people's children, boyfreinds, men. Trust me, when homes are broken and girls that do not have a positive male role model or preferably a father, they tend to act out, or become promiscuous early, especually when they mother is busy and doesn't pay her the attention she needs. It is a complicated situation, but put yourself in her shoes as a child.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 01:59 PM   #7
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

are you planning on staying in this woman's life forever? as in are you planning on marrying her??? if you are, then do what you can to befriend the 10 year old and get to know her. spend time with only her and let her know that you are a person who can be trusted in her life. listen to the advice of all the previous posters here!

if you aren't planning on marrying this woman, the best thing you could do for the child (and your own children) is to stop the relationship now.... it's harsh, but if you're truly looking out for the best interest of the children involved, then that's what you ought to do.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

I think you can be a very positive role model in this child's life. Like Alexa said, children need positive male figures.

My mom married my step dad and we moved into his house when I was 12 years old. I had to change schools and start new. The change to a new school was hard, but my stepfather changed our quality of life in a really great way. I will never forget my first Christmas with my mom and stepdad; I thought I had hit the jackpot with all the nice gifts. Looking back, it wasn't even like I got anything big or expensive, but my mom and stepdad gave me a lot of nice clothes, shoes, and a boom box that my mom could have never have gotten on her own. We had our first family vacation that next year. I had never had one before b/c my mom couldn't afford it. My step father was great and I think you can do the same for this young girl if you choose to marry the mother. But like MCR said, I hope you are living together because you are in this for the long haul.

 
Old 02-21-2008, 10:29 AM   #9
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

Thanks to all for your understanding and advice, I should clarify that the daughter gets a ton of one-one attention from her Mom. I can be in a different room with the door shut and still hear the constant chatter between the two. In my opinion it's a Mother trying to compensate for her daughters misfortune as well as her own, trying to overcompensate. The Mom and I have had several discussions on the issues and most of the time it makes sense to her that this type of behavior is unacceptable, I don't think I'm forcing my opinion on her, I think she can really see the issue. When it's just the daughter and me, we do really good, introduce the Mom and it rotates 180 degrees.

Yes, I plan on being with this woman forever, and yes I've also contemplated leaving due to the stress of this issue, but the benefits of sticking it out are huge.

Thanks

 
Old 02-21-2008, 10:36 AM   #10
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by bepersistent View Post
Yes, I plan on being with this woman forever, and yes I've also contemplated leaving due to the stress of this issue, but the benefits of sticking it out are huge.

Thanks
what are the huge benefits?

 
Old 02-21-2008, 11:43 AM   #11
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

All the goods things, excluding money. I'm not in it for the money and neither is she.

 
Old 02-21-2008, 04:24 PM   #12
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

I understand what you mean.

Last edited by AlexaIn2006; 02-22-2008 at 09:56 AM.

 
Old 02-22-2008, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

You are all caught up in a nice triangle there. You will need to work very hard on developing relationships one-on-one (mom daughter, you daughter, you mom) where everyone can feel safe, and where everyone can find a place to feel happy BUT also be upset and angry, and say "I am not sure I trust you". Everyone will need to find words to express their feelings, instead of acting out. This is already very hard if "nothing" is going on, so the daughter will need a lot of help with that.
How long have you been an part of this family? If it isn't too long, you will need to give it time and the more you get on moms nerves about the attention the daughter wants, to worse you will make it (IMHO).

Maybe the girl needs to know from you that you love her mom, that you are not planning on running out on them, and that if she ever wants to talk, or has any questions, that you will be there for her. I don't know, has the mom had other boyfriends? If so, it will be harder on you, because - obviously - the daughter has seen other men come and go...

Also, it will be hard to decide what is normal 10year old girl stuff, and what should be labeled as acting out. Baby talk? Not acceptable. Whining? Not acceptable. Wanting moms attention? Well... Doing the "talk to the hand" routine? Very common (and very annoying)

And - for the record - I absolutely disagree with the idea that moms who raise their kids alone because of divorce or anything like that, should stay alone and raise there kids alone and not get into boyfriends.
Moms have needs too, and as long as it doesn't hurt their kids, more power to them! Relationships take work, it is good for kids to see that it is possible to find a new loving partner later in life. Life isn't over after divorce, love isn't gone from life forever...

Good luck!

L.

 
Old 02-22-2008, 11:06 AM   #14
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Re: What to do with a 10 year old that needs constant attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by bepersistent View Post
the daughter gets a ton of one-one attention from her Mom.

In my opinion it's a Mother trying to compensate for her daughters misfortune as well as her own, trying to overcompensate.
Balance is always the healthiest route. Too much of anything is not good either. Do you think that the mom could step back a bit and teach her daughter a bit of independence?

I also agree that single moms shouldn't have to have a life without a bf unless they hop from one to the next and it creates instability for their children.

 
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