How to deal with a mouthy entitled 9 year old girl

Tracey - posted on 01/09/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Our youngest daughter, child #3 of 4 has, in the recent 3 years become extremely mouthy & disrespectful & to be brutally honest, will not shut up ever. She will "pick a fight" first thing in the morning and it can be about anything, literally anything, that she will throw a fit over & the mouthy disrespectful garbage starts spilling out of her mouth & we've tried everything aside from a good whack, to stop it. Granted all 4 get mouthy from time to time, but nothing like our 9 yr old. If I wrote some of the things this child says I know some ppl would be shocked! And I know it affects our 3 year old, all he wants to do is play with his sister & when she does finally play with him it's only because he has something she wants & if he doesn't play the way she thinks he should or do what she wants him to do the way she wants him to she aggravates him into a screaming toddler fit which he normally does not do. I'm just looking for some ideas on discipline. We don't spank or smack so that's out although sometimes I wonder had we given a little pat back when she was younger would we be in this situation now? But I can't sit around wondering what if I had done this or that differently, can't change the past. Like I said we have 4 children that we unschool and we currently are living in a rather small home and are in the process of moving so the bedroom she used to share with her 1 older (10 years) sister is packed up and basically un-useable as a send her to her room type of consequence. When we do move in the next few weeks she will have her bedroom back & be again sharing it with her 1 sister. The place is a lot larger than our current home & I know that can cause issues having 6 people so close all the time. I expect things to change quite a bit when we move but, I need to be armed & ready to deal with this mouthy issue and resolve it as quickly as possible and any ideas now are of great help. Her behavior has seriously affected all of us and is hindering our homeschooling. I just told her this morning to remember that she is 9 years old, not an adult and she needs to start behaving as such, that when an adult tells her to stop doing something, she needs to stop immediately. I was speaking in a firm voice, not yelling, I cannot stand yelling, and she immediately shoots back at me but getting her 3 year old bother involved saying to him: sorry bear I can't play with you because mama told me I can't talk. I had told her to stop speaking to me the way she was. We are trying to get this under control before we move as we are moving in with my inlaws to help them, my FIL is having open heart surgery soon and my MIL is not capable of caring for him by herself during his recovery. My FIL is, due to health reasons, being forced into an early semi retirement. So by moving into their huge home & combining our resources & helping maintain their home. Things will be easier on everyone involved but having an out of control mouthy child will not only continue the stress on our family but it will prompt my inlaws to feel like they need to "parent" her. I know them very well and although having someone else reprimand or discipline her might actually help I don't want them to feel any added stress. How we used to handle this when she had her own room and how we are planning to deal when we move is: when/if she has these frequent mouthy outbursts she will spend time alone in her room with no luxury's at all. The more frequent the outbursts, the more time she spends alone in her room but, this child has no fear whatsoever & has in the past, threatened to run away. Her new bedroom has a window that she could actually climb out onto the roof of the house. It's a 3 story home! So her room is on the 2nd story. I already asked my husband to be ready to bolt that window bc I will not be worried about one of my kids falling from the roof. There are 3 windows in her bedroom and just the 1 window has roof access. And it's just a small part of the roof like an overhang which is the roof of the front porch. It's very small & the house is very old but it's big enough to fit a person or two. Sorry, I know I'm rambling. I guess I just needed to vent a bit. Any helpful ideas for the short term are very welcome. Thank you in advance and thanks for taking the time to read.

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Tracey - posted on 01/09/2014

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I re-read your response Chet. Thank you again so much. Your response has been very helpful to me.

Tracey - posted on 01/09/2014

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Thank you Chet. I truly appreciate your response. I should have mentioned that I have been trying to see if there is a pattern & as u stated I really do not do well with "discipline" I too am trying to understand her & why & the reasons behind her outbursts. Yes it is chronic behavior. And we too have tried so very hard to get her to understand that she is entitled to her opinions & feeling but, trying to teach her how to express them in a positive way is where we are struggling with her. Our other 3 do not act or behave like she does. And I've often wondered what u stated: does she feel undervalued and such. I do not believe that is the case. I've flat out asked her. See, she was "the baby" of the family until her baby brother came along and perhaps I tried too hard to make her not feel undervalued. I knew she was losing her "status" as the baby and I know I overcompensated. I think that I created a monster so to speak because she never used to behave like she does now. And it took time. I've watched her get progressively worse & nothing we do seems to make a difference. My husband & her father is almost too understanding. He sees her in her rage & does everything he can to make her feel better. But, he coddles her. He will buy her something she's been wanting, and the like as where I do not. So to her daddy is the nice, give her everything she wants & I am the not nice one. Good cop bad cop it's turned into. I'm sorry, I do not believe in buying my children anything they haven't earned. This is the one & only area my husband & I are not on the same page & I worry that it's causing major issues with our youngest daughter. I have spoken to him & he has agreed with me that with "k" he's a softy & just wants to end the turmoil no matter what it takes. I do not agree with that. I will take ur advise & try to see & understand her better. I do fear that there is more behind her behavior. There are hurt feelings or something more to it. Thank you.

Chet - posted on 01/09/2014

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Is it possible that your 9 year old is generally angry or upset about something - do you think she feels undervalued, or insecure, or inadequate in some way? Lashing out is typically something people do to hide their vulnerabilities.

I would look for patterns in how she interacts with people. That may help you to understand her behaviour and what triggers it. Does she have anybody she gets along with well? Are there times when she is easy to be with? You make it sound like her behaviour is chronic, and I hope that she has some loving, friendly, connected interactions with others. Does she have friends? Does she get along with people outside of your family?

Like you, we have four children and one thing I focus on is that you have the right to your opinion, and you have the right to feel how you feel, but you need to express your thoughts and feelings appropriately. It not only shows respect for other people, but other people are going to listen to you and help you more easily if you aren't being rude and mean about your opinion or your problem.

I also don't believe is using praise and punishment to manipulate a child's behaviour. I really try hard to focus on developing a true understanding of what is right and wrong, and why. I don't want proper behaviour to be about me asserting power over our kids, but rather I want to help them to develop a real moral compass.

In summary, I would work at understanding your daughter more than looking for the right punishment or discipline.strategy.

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