Ask an expert

17 Nov 2011

difficult 7 year old duaghter
Good day,

I need some advice on how to handle my 7 year old daughter, She goes to school till 12:45 and then goes to her grandmother thereafter till i get home to pick her up at about 17:30. The ehing is that she is busy giving her grandmother a very hard time at this stage and she does not know how to deal with it anymore, she had to drink calmeds yesturday because my daughter had really upset her yesturday. Here follows a list of things she is doing:

Slamming Doors:

She slams doors when she doesn''t get her way or you tell her no for something. she slammed the door in her grandmothers face 3 times yesturday


She trows such bad tantrums when she doesn''t get her way that she will throw herself on the floor and start screaming and crying so hard and ugly it sounds as if someone is busy killing her. She threw a tantrum in this week when she and grandma quickly went to visit her mother and when it was time to leave she wanted to stay there and grandma told her no they are leaving then she threw a tantrum right there in the driveway. Before they went to the grand grandmother, grandma explained to her that they are just quickly going there and that she is not going to stay there and that she will be coming back home with her and she was fine with all that but then trew a tantrum when it was time to leave

Talking Back

She talks back to everybody about every thing and rolls her eyes when she is asked to brush her teeth she tells you that she dont want to or not now. she doesnt want to get her hair brushed or get dressed, i usually pack her clothes for after school when she is at her grandmother but then she tells her grandmother that she does not want to wear that and then refuse to get changed


When it is time to eat she doesn''t want to eat and realy actually refuse to eat or she tells you she doesn''t eat this or that then when it is time for bed and i ask her to getr into bed she doesnt want to she will come up with the excuse of she is hungry and thursty, i will then go make her something to eat and drink just so that she can take one or two bites and leave the rest so she is actually just buying time for herself and wasting mine.

please help as we are now at the end of our rope with her. she does not have any siblings. is there a motivational chart that we can set up? how do we deal with these thing when it happens etc.

Thanx in advance for any replies

Kind regards
Answer 445 views

01 Jan 0001

Totally unacceptable behaviour. Tantrums like that, occur at some stage in the lives of many children ; and there's the unfortunate element that the child is sensing her grandmother's degree of frailty and taking advantage of it.
The tantrum is about POWER, not about wanting to stay longer on a visit, or whatever.
You don't mention a husband, so Im guessing you're a single mother ( also a situation a child can recognize she can take advantage of ).
Before the child becomes too skillful as a brat, you need to ( maybe with the help and support of your mother and anyone else who needs at times to take care of her, to draw up a very clear list of rules of the family, which she must keep to at all times, with unpleaant consequences if she doesn't ( smacking, etc., doesn't work, but loss of cell-phone use for 2 days for each offense, loss of TV time, and whatever else she really wants, works wonders ). Consistently keeping the rules leads to small rewards and loads of praise and obvious love.
You explain that the same rules and consequences apply whether she's with you, or your mother, or anyone else. And that none of it is debatable or open to negotiation. It doesn't matter whether or not she WANTS to brush her teeth - teeth must get washed. She doesn't have to want to do it, but she does have to do it.
If she refuses to change to the school clothes you have chosen for her, then she must be told she'll have to go to school in her pyjamas, and let the other children laugh at her for being so foolish.
If she doesn't east and drink whatever you prepare for her, then that's it - it doesn't matter at all if she is hungry or thirsty, the next food and drink ( other than tap water ) will be provided at the next proper meal-time. Again, nothing to be negotiated.
There will be some tantrums ( explain in advance that tantrums just make her look silly, and will be ignored ) but she'll get the hand of it surprisingly soon, if you all stick strictly to the rules and consequences.
Inconsistency, and any sense that she can gain power by refusing to cooperate, defeats it all.
If you or people you know have DSTV access, try to see some episodes of the Supernanny series, which demontstrates the use of such methods convincingly. A child psychologist could also help draw up and encourage such a system, if your daughter seems determined to resist.
Children ALWAYS need structure and rules and limits in their lives, and are actually happier within a structured, predictable and fair system.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.