11 answers

Help with Disrespectful 8 Year Old

My 8 year old has the worst attitude when it comes to how she talks to her father and I. I try to talk calmly but she won't let up!! She is an honors student and in the gifted program, an angel at school, but look out whe she is home!! HELP?!?!?!?!?

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You guys are awesome!!! Thank you for all the advice!! We have "House Rules" posted,with cpnsequences for our actions, but she hasn't much cared. They are starving when they get home from school, so they get a healthy snack and I go through backpacks and homeowork. They are allowed 1/2 hour to "decompress", then homework and chosres. There is NO TV allowed until after dinner, and they are in bed by eight. We do have our individual "date nights" with each child individually, and she LOVES that but maybe that should be the first thing to take away. We do use soap in the mouth for lying only. I love the idea of maam and sir. Thank you all so much, I will let you know what happens!!

Featured Answers

We did something similar to the other poster and it also worked well.

My friend and I were just talking about kids' attitudes and we think a lot of it is based on role models on tv. Lots of tv shows portray a kid who is disrespectful to their peers and adults and there's lots of laughing going on while it happens. Anyway, that's something to think about.

Good luck!

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Our 7 year old (almost 8!) was going through a period where she was VERY rude!

Talking to her about it didn't work. Punishing her for it didn't work. Yelling at her didn't work.

So, finally we decided to set a good example. We started being extra polite to each other. If she talked to us in a rude manner we responded politely, but were firm that we would not listen to any requests not made politely.

Boy, did she turn up the drama! Simple requests turned into her storming into her bedroom and slamming the door. We ignored her in her room and continued on what we were doing. If we were eating, we'd continue eating (we put her plate in the fridge). When she came out we'd heat up her plate (without saying a word, and without acting surprised or commenting on her behavior) and she could eat. If we were done eating she had to sit at the table all alone.

We wanted her to realize that her behavior wasn't going to stop us from what we were doing, and that life just keeps going on. You can either participate or not!

We didn't yell at her for her behavior, we just didn't respond when it wasn't polite. Usually, we used a very calm "I'm sorry, I don't care for your tone of voice, so no, you can't have more juice." Then immediately turning my attention to my husband and starting up a cheerful conversation such as "Hey, how about those Cubs?"

If she was polite, we paid a lot of attention to her and gave her lots of positive reinforcement.

It took pushing through the turned-up drama (they turn it up when it doesn't work! But then you know what you're doing is working!) to get her to be more polite. About 2 weeks. Now she's much better! In fact, we just got compliments from all our relatives on how cute and polite she is!

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Wow what great advice so far. Does she have any down time? With no electronics around ? Is in some extra activity she truly enjoys? Kids need time to be kids to play ,to conjure up their own world, this how they come to terms with growing up. Some kids need to decompress after school and eat something.
Also some kids hit a 9 year change where they question everything and have a need to understand what why and the how of everything. Remember it take 2 to argue and you are the grown-up who has to set the example. In all that you do try to be worthy of imitation. Our children are often mirrors of ourselves whether we see it or not. This too shall pass until puberty really sets in.Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

We did something similar to the other poster and it also worked well.

My friend and I were just talking about kids' attitudes and we think a lot of it is based on role models on tv. Lots of tv shows portray a kid who is disrespectful to their peers and adults and there's lots of laughing going on while it happens. Anyway, that's something to think about.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Here's a great article with a very common sense approach.

This web site is a terrific source with numerous suggestions on all types of problems.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

First, I would look at your relationship with you and your husband. Are you kind to each other? Is someone bossy or sarcastic or disrespectful to the other? Is there a lot of arguing? Has something changed in her life to bring out this attitude? If you and he get along great - that's half the battle. A united front is the best!

Next, if she is getting away with this nastiness, you need to find some kind of grounding or punishment that will have an impact. Is there a privilege that she has that she would miss out on, does she detest writing assignments. My children hated "I'm sorry essays" which includes.... describing the wrongdoing, how they are sorry, how they will try to do better...etc..." My neighbor's son wrote his name on a bathroom wall once. His punishment: He had to write his FULL NAME 10,000 times! That's a lot of notebook paper! You've got to find the punishment that sticks and one that fits the crime. And act swiftly...Yes, I grounded my daughter, ONCE, for having a bad attitude and slamming her bedroom door - I removed her bedroom door for 1 week. Be creative!

Personally, I would, both, have a private meeting with her when things are calm and you are not enflamed in the drama. Let her know what you expect from her and what you will not tolerate. She is the role model for her siblings. How you handle her behavior greatly affects the rest of the family. Let her know what is acceptable and what is not. Find out if there is something that is really bothering her. Sadly, I think parents get tired of dealing with the drama and nastiness and tune it out instead of dealing with it. Good for you that you are not that parent. There is no reason why this should be tolerated. You and your husband should not have a yelling household because of her - be calm. She is ruling the home because of this and making everyone walk on eggshells! Use positive reinforcement when she is acting nicely. It will go a lot farther than punishments. Try to carve out 10 - 15 minutes (minimally), daily, just for her - maybe a walk in the neighborhood so that you can enjoy her company again. She may be craving extra time with you too and is acting out instead.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have started looking at the book On Becoming Preteenwise (I'm using Babywise and Childwise with my younger children).

Be consistent and persistent. My daughter is also very dramatic and sometimes we just have a "do over".

Good luck.

Have you tried recording her and playing it back..video is better because sometimes the facial expressions are even more disrespectful. My son is 3 yrs old and when he has a fit I "mirror" him and he doesn't like it and changes his communication style. This would not work with an older child, but actually seeing their own actions and words might make your point.

Hi T.:

I have a six year old son in a gifted school and he is an only child. It sounds like the 8 year old knows she can do whatever she wants and say whatever she wants because she feels as an honor student that is her right. However, as the SUPERNANNY tells all parents, give the child chores so when she comes home each day she must finish the chores, do her homework and then she can have leisure time. If she disregards her chores and disrespects you and her father still, she should be reprimanded by taking away her commodities (i.e. Desert treats, iPOD, DVD Player, hair accessories such as barrets and jewelry, and more importantly her weekly allowance (if applicable). You can also give her an incentive, for example, if you show respect to us as your parents and obey ud both, then you can go to the mall or to the movies or have a sleepover but not until her attitude improves and stay that way for at least a month should you reward her with this last approach.

If she doesn't improve after that, then she should be limited to her home on the weekend and no friends would be allowed to come over and her time on the PC or phone would be on a schedule.

In sum, stand up to her and let her know you are not a punk and you are the boss! Say it and mean it.

Yep. It happens...even w/ Honor students. the pressure is "on" at school and they "release" at home. Not fun.

Our solution was to talk about this in a "non" time, discussing the ability to choose how to respond/talk. Give examples of behavior at home vs. school, friends vs. parents, etc. Then explain that one warning will be given for disrespectful speech (so she understands exactly what you hear), then SOAP in the mouth! I have done this, then warned and it cures pretty quickly. And/or implement Dr. Kevin Leman's "have a new kid by friday" book. Nip it in the bud! xo

You can also show all the children the "toothpaste tale". Give them each a tube of toothpaste (on a paper plate or paper towel).
Ask them to squeeze it all out. When done, ask them to put it back in the tube. That is an example of our words... we can't put them back once they're out! (And sometimes they don't "taste" good...) xo

My daughter is 3 years younger, but we are working on whining and yelling...plus she was jealous our 3 yr old had a potty chart....she gets stickers for no whining or yelling behaviors...she already earned bowling...we went last weekend it was great...now she is working on ice skating. A sticker chart is probably too babish for your girl but maybe something like it. Marble jar...marbles addes for good behavior and taken away for slip ups. She could earn a special trip with you guys, like bowling or skating. I am trying to stay away from earning a material thing, they only earn a special trip with us

I totally agree with you, Jen O. Great advice! Down time, decompression, no media. Just give her time to chill out, read books, play with her dolls, play with you, and have some friends over on occasion. Model positive engagement.

Beth, I am going to 110% disagree with your advice to place soap in the mouth of a child, or anyone else for that matter. I believe that is controlling, abusive and so harmful on several different levels that your child may be impacted into their adult years. Even a trace amount. There are so many more effective ways to encourage positive engagement with a child that parents should not feel that this is a necessary or helpful method.

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