Need advice on my 6 year old daughter's new behavior issue

Emily - posted on 01/31/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have a 6 year old daughter who is in 1st grade. She went to full day kindergarten last year and the only trouble she ever got into was for talking and being social when they were supposed to be working. This year though seems to be a whole different story. She is so smart and has always been super social but now I see her closing off. She is refusing to do homework, acting out, throwing away notes from the teacher, and getting on Red 2-3 days a week at school. (They have a stoplight behavior system.) My funny, sweet, smart, and social girl has turned into a an insider who refuses to read or write stating that she is either "bad at it" or "too tired".

I have seen that is has been getting worse and worse as time go by so I proactively set up a meeting with the counselor at the school. My husband and I have some very bad news about her father that we will be telling her in the next month or so and want to make sure we are fully prepared to handle the fallout. (She has not seen him in a long time but asks here and there about him, and we just found he is going to be incarcerated for a very long time, but we don't want to tell her until after he is sentenced and have her set up with someone she can talk to.)

The meeting with the counselor went well and she confirmed that I have been handling the situation in the best way possible and I know that she has been meeting with my daughter a couple times this week and I am hoping we will get some useful feedback from her but until then I can't keep from racking my brain on what is going on and how to fix it. It seems everything I try doesn't help and I am feeling very overwhelmed.

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Tina - posted on 02/02/2013

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Wow- I really feel for you, Mum. You have an incredible amount on your plate, so of course you are overwhelmed! Let's take one issue at a time. Your daughter may know more than you think, and she may be resenting you for not "letting her in on it". Has your daughter had her IQ tested? She may need instruction one-on-one for awhile. You may want to try both Family and Individual therapy with a therapist who is trained in these matters. What is your daughter like around your husband, whom I am assuming is her step-dad? Can you think back and try to notice if the beginning of this change in behavior coincided with any kind of incident or happening? You may need to be firm with your daughter and respond to her by saying that you know what, I am tired too, but I want to help you with your homework. Give her positive feedback. If she does not cooperate nad flat out refuses. Start taking privileges away, starting with the thing she spends the most time doing, such as her video-game system if she has one, or her TV if she has one of those. My son started heading south, so my husband and I talked with my son, and it eventually came out the he is bored with the classwork. He feels it is baby work. My son actually WANTS harder work! When he gets a little older, I want to get him tested to see where he is ability wise. He gets all the answers right, but his handwriting is increddibly sloppy because he is always in a hurry. Every night after school, I have him get something to drink and a snack and my husband and I practice tag-team parenting. My husband does the math, Matthew gets a 10 minute break, and then I start working with him. We do vocabulary, I test his spelling on the vocabulary lessons, and we also do reading, whether assigned or not. My son, even though he kind of chomps at the bit as we get started each day, really seems to enjoy working with us. His handwriting has improved because I became a hand-writing Nazi. (I hate that word). He still needs reminded to take his time to write neatly and his handwriting at home has become beautiful. They haven't started cursive writing yet, for which I am eternally grateful!

I suspect, as I said earlier, that your daughter is tuning in to some vibe you or your husband are sending out unintentionally, and that may be where she gets her "I'm just bad at it" attitude. Again, I would suggest professional counselling for the family, but especially for your daughter. I wish you the best of luck and hope things improve not only for your daughter, but for you and your husband as well. May God Bless you in a very special way... AMEN

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