28 answers

8 Year Old Daughter Argues with Everything I Say.

My eight year old daughter constantly argues with me, no matter what we are talking about. I know at her age it is normal to question some things in life your parents tell you, but I think she does it to upset me and after constantly hearing it all day she does push my buttons and as hard as I try not to get upset, I do. I am not really sure how to handle it and know that she struggles in life between divided households and as much as I do not want to give her slack for her struggles, I know sometimes I do. I love my daughter so much and she has started counseling this year for a nasty divorce that took place 5 years ago that she is still struggling with. I need advice on a better way to talk with my daughter and get her to learn to respect me more and not always argue with me about everything! :)

1 mom found this helpful

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I have an 8 year old daughter who is exactly the same way. She will argue till the moon is blue, and if you tell her its black she will say its white.

We have started taking away privelages. She loves her game boy and her cd walkman and her cd player. These have all been taken from her because of her arguing. IT has helped, also she has lost being able to use the phone to call friends, and have friends come over for the night. Basically we took everything and she has had to earn it back. It is helping, its slow going, but there have been improvements.

The center for nonviolent communication has some interesting information about changing how we communicate
Good luck!

More Answers

I took a parenting course that advised saying the following when your child tries to argue with you: "I love you too much to argue with you."
"Arguing" takes two people. YOU can refuse to argue and then she will have no motivation to try to get you to argue.
Don't let your guilt over the divorce keep you from being a firm Momma who expects her instructions to be obeyed without arguing -- after all, I'm sure your instructions are reasonable and for the good of the whole family. So, for example, you say: "I'd like you to unload the dishwasher please." She says, "BUT ..." (fill in favorite protest) "that's not fair!" "I'm too tired!" "I hate that job!" "You're so mean!" ... You point to the dishwasher and say, calmly, pleasantly, "I love you too much to argue with you." And that's IT! Don't be drawn in! She's an intelligent girl and knows what you want -- you don't have to repeat yourself. If she refuses, then she has DISOBEYED you and it is time to institute CONSEQUENCES. I don't know what the consequences in your family are, but don't backtrack into why she OUGHT to do as you ask (which only invites an argument), move forward by saying, "Sweetheart, I asked you to unload the dishwasher. You did not cooperate. Therefore ..." whatever your consequences are. If you want a cooperative daughter, you need to hold her accountable when she is NOT cooperative. If you let her get away with such behaviors as arguing, naturally she will continue to do them.
Even if you are not arguing about an instruction but just an opinion, like "The Mariners are the best baseball team," that phrase I mentioned at the top is still helpful. Good luck; I really hope you succeed.

3 moms found this helpful

I went through something similar with my daughter - 11 through 14 years at the time. (She has always been "fiercly independent" and started arguing at the age of 7) She is now 17 and although she still pushes my buttons when she's feeling upset about something, I've learned not to react. My daughter's councelor helped me understand that I am the safe parent; i.e. I love her no matter what her behavior and she feels comfortable acting out. She also taught me to RESPOND instead of REACT, which was a really hard lesson to learn. Instead of blowing up when I was angry, I needed to state my wishes/orders clearly and calmly (even when she was yelling and fuming!) and then either hang up, if we were on the phone, or walk away. While I was learning to do that, she was learning to communicate her anger (due to a combination of divorce and death of her grandfather) verbally. I would not go so far as to say things are a field of roses...Maybe they are and I just run into a lot of thorns...but we do get on much better. Keep up the counceling and feel free to talk to her counselor about your fights as well. It may feel like it's not working, but in the long run (3 years for us) it will pay off.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not certain what you're arguing about, but my 12-yr-old was contentous -- with ME -- since she was in elementary. I'm not talking about arguing about doing chores, I'm talking about contrariness. If I said the sky was blue, she'd counter that it was actually purple. If I told her not to kick her feet under the table, she'd say "Im not" when she certainly was.
She would often deny things I saw/heard on my own...or argue about things she had no ground to argue (whether or not I had ever seen anyone perform rap--like you could live in the US without seeing a rapper on TV)...
It's a bad personality trait of hers that stems directly from my dad (my sister got it too). They like to argue--especially if it deflects the conversation from other things.
Our counselor suggested we find a way to difuse it. Just ignoring her, or trying to reason with her did not work. She's a pitbull when it came to arguing. We decided on a silly keyword when things start to escalate. Our's is "pickle" so when she starts I just go "Really, well pickle, pickle, pickle." We both start laughing and the argument is over.
This may not apply to your situation, but I would suggest spending some time with a counselor. We only needed a few sessions to get us over this hump.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.,
Your daughter had gotten in the habit of pushing your buttons for a response and attention. If you tell her something or ask her to do something insist that there will be no debate. Turn off. I know this sounds harsh, but if she is truly ragging on you, it is a good way to teach here that the Mommy listening devise is unavailable. It is going to be difficult for you at first, but, please give it a go. Your daughter is going to begin doing this same thing at school, with friends and with others in her world and everyone will simply become annoyed with her and leave her alone. I have met many adults who believe a bit of hardship in their lives gives them the right to torture others. This is not ok. You need to sit your daughter down and explain the new rules and follow through.
Good Luck,
J. S

1 mom found this helpful

It is normal for girls this age to start this attitude, but if you don't get it under control now, you will have a nasty teenager.

When she speaks to you like that, just calmly interrupt her and say “I will not talk with you this way. When you are ready to be respectful, I will listen.” Then walk away. She wants to be confrontational because it makes her feel powerful. When she does talk to you respectfully, listen and treat her with respect as well. Try some one-on-one bonding with her and let her know that it hurts your feelings when she speaks to you like that. You love her so much, but when she back talks all the time, it doesn’t feel like she loves you back. Be totally honest with her about what kind of relationship you would like to have with her and discuss together how to get there. Listen to her complaints about how you treat her and agree that you both will work on it. How you feel when she acts like this has not even crossed her mind. She is probably feeling lonely and sad and just needs some attention. My daughter is much younger, but when she starts back talking or arguing, it sometimes helps to just give her a big snuggle and say “I am sorry that you are not having a good day. Do you need a hug?” Being that she is still a pre-teen, this may work with her as well. I really think she is just begging for some attention.

The center for nonviolent communication has some interesting information about changing how we communicate
Good luck!

I have a seven year old daughter, who can also be quite argumentative. I have found, and fell in love with, Love and Logic. There are books, books on CD, and DVD's. I have learned so very much from the different CD's I have purchased. My favorite strategy right now, that may work just as well for you, is "I love you too much to argue." I just keep saying it over and over again. It never seems to fail. She gets fed up and quits arguing! I also have a five year old, who is a lot less challenging, that I have used some of the strategies with. I highly recommend Love and Logic. The website is loveandlogic.com. Best of luck!

Hi H.,
I too have an 8yr old and a divided household. I noticed that my daughter started talking back and saying hurtful things to me when her father and I separated. It's very hard to not take some of the things she says to heart. I found myself crying and blaming myself for her behavior.
Remember that she loves you no matter what hurtful things she does or says. She will say things about you to get a reaction and will often pin you against your ex. What I found helpful with my daughter is telling her that when she says things like that, it hurts my feelings, and I try really hard to give her everything she wants, but often can't.

Just remember that she needs some alone time, and time with just you and her. If you can, have your family members watch your other daughter while you too do something together. It shows her that you care, and it gives you a chance to talk to her and get to know more about what she is feeling and thinking. At this age, they are going through so many changes and she probably has many questions for you.

Good luck and I hope everything goes well for you and your family.

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