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  1. #1
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    Default Tantrums with 9 year old

    Hi, hope this is the right section.

    DSD has been having tantrums a lot lately. At the moment it is only at her mother's house, but I want to be prepared in case it starts here.

    My initial thought is to send her somewhere to calm down, and then talk through what upset her, why, and ways to deal with it in future.

    As she hasn't had one with us, I have no idea if it will be effective. I have never had to deal with tantrums with older children.
    I am also very aware that it may never be an issue in our house (like past things) but there's no harm in preparing, right?

    We have had a few chats with her about appropriate behaviour, ways to deal with things, being respectful, etc, as she needs to know we do not accept what she is doing at her mums, and that we won't tolerate it.

    I have a feeling that it is an issue at her mum's and not here, because she tends to lose her cool and shout, whereas we have rarely done that.

    Her tantrums can be for the smallest things, or the biggest things.

    I also want to point out that DSD has been spoiled all her life- she's the princess, her mum's favourite (and treated so), and has never taken no well. But she has always articulated her displeasure with us, and always huffed and stormed off with her mum, so I guess the tantrums have been building there. She does talk back a lot with us, but we are swift with enforcing consequences with that.

    So, anyone have experience dealing with older (8+) children who have tantrums? Looking for advice on how to deal with it, if it comes up.

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    I would be looking at doing some emotion coaching with her (Gottman has a lovely dvd about this which is great to understand children’s emotions and our style of parenting). Often tantrums are done in a child’s safest environment as they can predict the consequences of their behaviour. What skills does she have for coping with her emotions when she starts to lose her cool and when she completely loses her cool? These skills take a lot of practice for children- I know my almost 8 yo still struggles. I would also be wondering if she has enough verbal language to describe how she is feeling. Lots of kids have a limited vocab and mixed with an environment that doesn’t allow expressions of strong emotions, children can present as huffy/puffy (ie passive/aggressive). Not saying you don’t allow strong emotions but would be interested to know how she articulates her displeasure with you. I also wonder how your perception of her as the ‘spoilt child’ rather than the ‘lucky child’ impacts on your relationship. What things does she get to control when she is in your company?

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BbBbBh View Post
    I would be looking at doing some emotion coaching with her (Gottman has a lovely dvd about this which is great to understand children’s emotions and our style of parenting). Often tantrums are done in a child’s safest environment as they can predict the consequences of their behaviour. What skills does she have for coping with her emotions when she starts to lose her cool and when she completely loses her cool? These skills take a lot of practice for children- I know my almost 8 yo still struggles. I would also be wondering if she has enough verbal language to describe how she is feeling. Lots of kids have a limited vocab and mixed with an environment that doesn’t allow expressions of strong emotions, children can present as huffy/puffy (ie passive/aggressive). Not saying you don’t allow strong emotions but would be interested to know how she articulates her displeasure with you. I also wonder how your perception of her as the ‘spoilt child’ rather than the ‘lucky child’ impacts on your relationship. What things does she get to control when she is in your company?
    The problem is that her mum won't do any 'coaching' with her. Or anything we implement. Is her safest environment at her mums, where she spends 80% or her time, or with us where she doesn't have tantrums?
    She has never lost it with us... (oh no there was once but it was with her brother, and he was taunting her relentlessly so it was understandable, and we stepped in, as it was only going to escalate).
    I have encouraged her to count to ten at her mums, she tried it and her mum hounded her to speak (she was counting to calm down to get the right words out) and DSD lost it. So, I encouraged her to count out loud, so her mum knew to give her time, but her mum told her to "stop counting and answer me now"... she has zero patience.

    Her verbal skills are wonderful, and when she is upset at ours, she says "I'm upset" and we back off and later discuss it.

    As for the "spoiled" thing, it is not my perception. I have not said she is spoiled, and never will.
    DSD has been spoiled, and calls herself spoiled, we are quick to tell her that she "is not spoiled, but has been spoiled", which is different.
    Her mum rarely said no, but would yell when it started to annoy her, e.g. DSD jumping on the couch was fine, but mum would randomly yell at her to stop. She doesn't instill boundaries, or enforce consequences, and I think this is a huge contributor.

    I'm not looking for reasons behind her behaviour, only DSD can explain that... but as it's not happening at ours, and it has been more than 24 hours since the occurrence she struggles with recalling why it happened, other than "mum was yelling again".

    I'm looking for ways to deal with it. If letting her calm down, talk it through and move on doesn't work... do we then enforce consequences for it?

    ETA: Things she can control at ours, is hard because we only have 3 nights/2 days a fortnight, and are big on earning the right to be responsible (the kids understand and are happy with this).
    So far, she is allowed to tell us when she needs a break (both are) or needs to walk away. On Sat nights, she is allowed to choose her bed time, but has to deal with being tired the next day if so, as we go to grandma's early- she can also do this on Sun nights during hols. Never Fri as she has training Fri night, and games Sat morn (so does DSS) and it's not worth the chance, and she's ok with that.
    There are lots of little things actually. We include them in discipline choices, problem-solving. She has more freedom with money than DSS, but he is getting there too- their pocket-money is theirs to spend on anything they like, provided it's age appropriate.
    Last edited by DT75; 07-04-2015 at 12:14.

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    Oh she also gets to choose her chores now- she picks them on Friday evening (or the start of the week if on hols) and know there is no changing and they have to be done (also fine with beds being made and room tidy being non-negotiable).

    DSS will get to do this next year, but actually enjoys the chores we give him so he will probably stick to them.

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    I've mostly dealt with this kind of behaviour with kids I work with.
    My first step would be to do what you're doing - encouraging expression, giving her space to cool down, discussing how she feels and what you can do together to solve problems.
    Other than that, it depends really on what behaviours she has. Do you know what she does? Things like breaking objects, hitting people etc...anything that you consider to be unacceptable, that's where I'd draw the line and have consequences.
    It also depends on what triggers the behaviour. If it's being pushed to answer answer answer etc. when she's trying to calm down, then honestly, I don't blame the kid. I'd likely scream at someone too :P
    If it's just somebody saying no when she wants something, which is a common trigger, then I find 90% of the time the following works: stay calm, repeat yourself, don't go into detail. "No, you can't have a biscuit. You had an iceblock earlier" "but..." "you can't have a biscuit" "You're so mean." "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you can't have a biscuit" "I'm sorry to hear that; you can't have a biscuit". etc.... most kids give up pretty quickly if you don't give them anything extra to argue with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn View Post
    I've mostly dealt with this kind of behaviour with kids I work with.
    My first step would be to do what you're doing - encouraging expression, giving her space to cool down, discussing how she feels and what you can do together to solve problems.
    Other than that, it depends really on what behaviours she has. Do you know what she does? Things like breaking objects, hitting people etc...anything that you consider to be unacceptable, that's where I'd draw the line and have consequences.
    It also depends on what triggers the behaviour. If it's being pushed to answer answer answer etc. when she's trying to calm down, then honestly, I don't blame the kid. I'd likely scream at someone too :P
    If it's just somebody saying no when she wants something, which is a common trigger, then I find 90% of the time the following works: stay calm, repeat yourself, don't go into detail. "No, you can't have a biscuit. You had an iceblock earlier" "but..." "you can't have a biscuit" "You're so mean." "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you can't have a biscuit" "I'm sorry to hear that; you can't have a biscuit". etc.... most kids give up pretty quickly if you don't give them anything extra to argue with.
    My bold- this is what we do, but I don't consider this a tantrum.

    According to her mum, and DSD (and DSS) have said it's true, she has a full-blown tantrum- throwing herself on the floor, kicking, screaming, etc.

    Her mum does yell at her, and isn't patient... but she is like that in response to something. From what we are told, she says no to something, and DSD goes nuclear, then her mum yells back...

    I just don't know though, as it hasn't happened with us. Sure, we get attitude (a lot, actually), but nothing like what we are hearing about.


 

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