My DD just turned 11 in November. She has had her period for over a year now, unfortunately for her, is a size 34D bra already, and is bigger than most of the kids in her 5th grade class. We have had a lot of problems with her attitude - lying excessively, failing grades, lack of initiative and responsibility completely. She also has a very smart mouth. I recently caught her saying things like "die, I hate you, I'm going to kill you" to my 3 year old son who is now repeating that and it is extremely embarassing to both my husband and I.
We have tried traditional discipline like grounding, taking away priviledges she enjoys. Nothing is working though. She continues to get poor grades and is increasingly more ornery to everyone. She never wants to take responsibility for her actions and NEVER listens. I don't know what other route to take.... I don't know what's causing it either. I am so frustrated and mad most of the time but I manage to have rational conversations with her almost every single day about how she needs to behave and start to grow up a little bit.
I feel like the situation is out of control and I don't know what to do. I was considering counseling - maybe this is an emotional issue? All I do know is that we need to have some intervention or something. Has anyone had a similar situation?
I definetly think counseling would be a good idea. Being 11 is hard as they are going through puberty and emotions are all over the place. Also 11 year olds want to be like everyone else. If she is a 34 D then she is already feeling different from the other girls and most likely the boys are teasing her or flirting with her. I think counseling for her and also for the whole family will help. She needs to build up her self confidence which I think will help the grades. I have seen many well developed children start to do bad in school because they start to think that their body will get them more attention than good grades. It is almost a love hate relationship with their body. However, I really do not think, from what you said, that you are to blame. I know that I would not exactly know how to handle this in my house. A counselor who can look at the whole situation and then give you ideas about how to deal with it can help. I do recommend staying on top of her, know who her friends are and where she is always. She will hate it now but in a few years she will appreciate it. (O.K. maybe like 20 years- but she will appreciate it) Also, if her friends are not very good influences try taking her to different activities where she can meet better friends, soccer, girl scouts, etc. Keep the communication lines open also. Let her know that she can talk to you about anything. You might not always like to hear it, but you can give advice and help protect her this way. Good luck- shes lucky to have a mom that cares so much!
Yes, we've already had instances where she's come home and told us of boys talking about her bra size or yesterday, one asked if hers were bigger than mine So my other focus is to raise my son to be the kind of boy who does not do this lol!
It's also hard for me because I was normal in development,had some attitude/behavior problems as well but always excelled in school so I cannot understand the desire to do anything else. It's difficult to accept the differences like these in your kids...I will admit that. DH is not a fan of counseling so I am going to just have to make him participate. I am willing because I want to know what we can do to change these patterns - her coming home grumpy, with a flunked test and me flying off my hinges after she is mean to her brother. It's like this vicious cycle, a bad time loop we're stuck in. It really sucks, to be plain honest.
Thanks for the tips, some of what you mentioned about her being different are things I suspected may be at the root of it. Hopefully, with some professional help we can get it under control.
WOW...sounds like your really having a hard time with her... i just thought i would let you know the way me and my dh were raised... back when i was growing up my parents spanked me... i mean they really lit me up good any time i talked back... my parents never argued in front of me so as far as i knew they never argued... and thats very important.. if she sees you and your husband aruging (SP?) then she thinks she can do it also and get away with it... this is a BIG no no where i come from... now i dont beleave in counsilers just because if you go to them for answers, then your child never learns to go to her parents for answers ... but this is just my opnion(SP?)... its to bad cause she seems to be running the house hold... you know... being all grumpy and making eveyone else upset.... also as far as having friends, my parents knew all my friends and there parents, and i was not allowed to go over to friends houses with out my mom or my dad going with me... i was just used to that... but for your girl it would be a big adjustment, if she is used to going by herself... but... she will soon consider you her friend and not her enemy in time... as far as her grades, im folks would make me bring home a report from my teachers every friday with where my grade was as of that week... and if it fell below a C- then i lost all privlidges and was some times disciplined with a spanking on my butt and once i got older and got bad grades i got spanked with a wooden spoon or belt on my butt... a few times of that and i was singing a differnt toon and getting good grades... and if i ever slacked off, they would have to give me a reminder... and i am sooooooooooooooooo veryyyyyy greatful for being brought up strickly... and i was never bruised or hurt badly... just enough to not want it again... my last spanking was when i was 14... and i have such a great respect for my parents taking that stand just so i would be a good kid and stay out of trouble... and im married now and we raise our kids as we were raised.... just an idea... both my husband and i have never been in trouble as teenagers or adults as a result of both our parents raising us the same way... let me know what you think... hope i gave you some ideas...
Picksie, I can really feel for what both you and your daughter are going through. I would really encourage you though to NOT get into physical punishment with her, I think it would make matters worse, and may ultimately negatively affect your relationship. I am speaking from experience on this topic. I was exactly where your daughter is when I was 11. When I was in about the 5th grade, I started to develop breasts, and they never seemed to stop! I wore a 34C by the 6th grade, and eventually a 36DD! I was also the first girl at school to get my period. Boys AND girls teased me all the time. The boys would grab my chest when they walked past, and the girls called me a '****', simply because I had a big chest. The damage this does to a girls fragile self-esteem cannot be underestimated! I went for many of the same behaviors your dd is exhibiting. She doesn't hate her little brother, she likely feels like she hates her self. She is in the midst of a situation she can't control, and doesn't have the skills yet to figure out how to address the pressures she's up against.
My parents went for hitting solution. I moved out of thier house when I was 15, the cops were called several times, and our relationship has never been the same. Hitting can damage more than just a child's body! She is counting on you to support her and help her, even though it may not seem like it. I would hazard a guess she is very frightened, and from what you describe, may be suffering from some depression. Does she have friends she hangs out with? Here's a possible scenario of what she's dealing with: At 11, many girls are still little girls, or little tomboys. They are still playing, active in sports, etc. Your daughter has 'crossed-over', whether she wanted to or not, by virtue of her physical attributes. When she plays with her friends, they view her differently. she probably can't run or play sports very comfortably with her bra size, and is more woman in thier eyes than girl.... she doesn't fit in anymore. Get her some help by finding her a qualified counselor (and one that she is comfortable with as well) that can help her and you figure out some strategies for her to deal with what nature has dealt her. It's not a cop-out, it's being a responsible parent and acknowledging that as parents we don't have all the answers, but we can still help our kids find the way. Many of her peers won't catch up for several years, which is a long time for her to deal with this (and you)!
Mind you, I am not suggesting that you accept her current behavior, or condone it. But it may be that what she is looking for is parental attention, she just doesn't know how to get the kind she needs, and so is getting what she can. It's hard to talk to your parents about these things! Good luck to all of you.
Thanks mamadeamo, your post is really helpful and supportive. As I described I, too, had some issues growing up but it wasn't because of maturing quickly. My parents put me into counseling and actually into a hospital for a 28 day inpatient program when I was 15.... it helped tremendously. I was diagnosed with Bipolar/Manic Depression and put on medications. That combined with weekly therapy sessions made a huge improvement on my mental health and ability to cope and make good decisions. I still got in occasional trouble but by grades were always on point and I knew when to straighten up. Kids will be kids to some extent but there is a line that should not be crossed. Now as an adult, I no longer am medicated and I believe that's because I learned very necessary skills that enable me to handle stress and conflict in a different manner. But it's very hard to teach a child how to do that, at least for me because I'm neither a counselor nor a teacher.
DH was spanked with switches as a child, his Dad did not play around. I got my butt whipped a few times as well but to me, that was not a deterrent from misbehaving. I was damn tempted a few weeks ago to whip out the belt on her but I don't want her to hate me later for doing it - under normal circumstances with a child who has a fairly healthy sense of self, it probably would be okay but her thoughts and views are so very distorted right now I'm afraid to cause more damage than good.
I just want a nice peaceful, somewhat normal house where I don't hear everyone screaming and shouting "die, I'll kill you, I hate you" every 5 seconds! I want the kids to remember their childhood as disciplined but still fun. Those are the best adults, in my opinion. I want to be the Mom that all the kids like and respect.... but that respect has to be earned!
Thanks again for the replies, gives me some perspective and good insight!
Picksie, I found your reply really interesting. I too was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but not until much later. Don't know if it applied then, but it would have been helpful to find out, I am sure!
One thing I forgot to add to my original post. The thing about corporeal punishment as I see it is this; it becomes about a struggle for power and most importantly, control. You have a child (and at 11 she is definitely still that!) who probably feels like things are really OUT of control for her right now. Her misbehavior could be a way for her to seek some control- ie: the last word, pushing your buttons, etc. She's in charge in her view. Rather than fighting her for it (which IMO is a lose/lose proposition), could you find some areas in which you could give her control? Maybe some decisions that are clearly hers alone to make, etc. Also, you could talk to her more specifically about what she's dealing with- about how she can't control the decisions her body is making right now, but she can control how she chooses to react to the things that are coming up, and help her see what her choices are. It may be that she doesn't feel like she has any. It's such a tough age- I don't miss it one bit! anyway, just wanted to throw this in!
mamadeamo, I think you raise some very good points about putting her in situations where she has sole control in what happens. The problem I am encountering is what those are LOL! The funny thing is I apply this very same principal in dog training LMAO - always make it to their advantage so they "win" and finish training on a positive note. Who knew raising dogs and children were so akin!
You'd think being a longtime mental patient would help me to resolve her issues but they are just so different from my own that I don't know where to start because I cannot identify with her.
I spoke with my husband last night who is giving me trouble about going to counseling. He is firmly against it, although if you knew his family you'd know they surely could have benefited from it! Anyway, he is refusing but I hope he changes his mind. What I want to accomplish as a side effect, but don't want him to know my underlying motives, is that we both become better abled to handle conflict and misbehavior in our family. He has a HORRIBLE temper and is a yeller. He has no patience whatsoever and goes about correction very wrong - I think similar probably to how he was punished as a child which I don't agree with. There was just no love in his childhood, it's a sad sad thing. Still none to this day, but thats a whole other story!