I Dont Know How to Get Along with My 9 Year Old Daughter.

Updated on March 14, 2011
C.A. asks from Deep Gap, NC
17 answers

My 9 year old daughter argues with everything I say. I don't care what I ask her to do she has some kind of remark or argument. It starts from the time she wakes up until she is arguing with me about going to bed at night. I really don't know how to handle her. I find myself getting very angry and constantly arguing back. I try to ignore it some and she just pushes and pushes until i cant. She has a 4 year old brother and he is learning from her bad habits. I feel like there is always so much tension in our house. Even when we are all doing something fun there is always something that happens to fuel someones fire. There are times that her and I get along so good. Every now and then she gets in a relaxed mood and she is so pleasant. The rest of the time she does not know how to relax. She is constantly on edge which causes me to be on edge. My husband and I totally disagree on how to handle her so that does not help either. I really just need some peace and harmony in my home. I think all four of us are very defensive and stubborn. How can i create the peace and harmony my family needs so desperately?

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So What Happened?

I only asked this question about this time last night and I have had so many helpful responses. Last night I got a few responses within five minutes and they made me realize that the first thing that had to happen is having a heart to heart with my husband. We stayed up until 2am talking. We both agreed that the first thing we had to do to help our daughter is to help ourselves. My house hold seems so loud lately. From my 4 and 9 year old to my husband and I, the dogs and things like tv, phones etc. the noise level has been out of control. We all have to be loud to be heard over all the noise. My husband and I decided to get up this morning and start our day off calm and quite. We did not raise our voices one time today. Both my son and daughter were much more relaxed today. I understand that I am fueling her fire to argue and I know now that has to stop. Today she started arguing with me over ending her turn on the Wii. I very calmly told her that when she wanted to talk to me nicely I would discuss it with her. She took and deep breath and we came up with a solution we could both be happy with and my blood pressure stayed down the entire time. I know we have a long way to go but my husband and I are now in complete agreement of what needs to happen. Because of that we can start now and change the dynamic of our household. Anytime my daughter is away from home with family and friends I hear nothing but how nice and polite she is. She has never been in trouble at school so I must be doing something right. I really want my kids to be able to come home to a positive environment. I can not believe how negativity can take over. I was raised in a very positive environment. I have nothing but wonderful memories from my childhood. I want so much for my kids to think back on there childhood as adults and smile. My husband did not have such a great childhood as I did. He strives on making sure he only takes the positive things he got from his Mom. I hope and pray we can turn this around. My daughter is such an exceptional child. She has so many wonderful things about her and we are going to start concentrating on the good more instead of the bad. After one day of trying to change has helped everyone in my household. I know that if we keep it up we will turn this around and we can all be happier as individuals and as a family. Thanks so much for all the wonderful responses. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers to help us be able to continue to change our negative ways and giving my children the chance to be the happy kids they deserve to be. We have had so many happy times in our family and I intend on making sure that they continue. We plan to focus on making the good things more important than the bad.

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answers from Fayetteville on

I havea ten year old son who is exactly like that also. It is very hard and also very frustrating. I started by not argueing back,and basically ignoring the behavior,this really helped. I simply informed him that if he was going to act that way,I was not goig to talk to him until he stopped. we also started taking away his allowence when he actedthat way also. at the beigining of the week he starts with a certain amount, if he engages in any undesirable behavior, he loses money. This has been very effective. I hope these ideas help.

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answers from Boise on

I have a 13 yr old girl- so I know how that goes!

But this is helpful-

Cod liver oil, 1 tbsp a day
b complex liquid drops under the tounge daily
Magnesium malate 2 pills, daily.
And lots of water - the nerves run on hydro electricity. Dehydration creates cranky people.

All of the above support and maintain calm because they support the nervous system. In fact my whole family is on this regime and we get along so good now. The other thing I don't do anymore if caffeinated coffee. It definitely created anger for me- the kind where you snap and it doesnt feel like its you.....

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answers from Minneapolis on

I was about 8 when this started in my household growing up. I look back at my adolescence, and I wish that someone, somewhere would have said, "This is not normal," and gotten me the help that I needed. Instead, people chalked my argumentative, moody behavior up to simply being an adolescent. It wasn't. You say that your daughter seems "on edge" all the time. Please, please talk to her pediatrician about this. For me, this was the start of my struggle with bipolar disorder, which really blossomed later in adolescence (about 15/16). I now take a mixture of Fish oil, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin D in addition to my medication - and they have helped me a lot.

Even if there is no underlying medical condition causing her change in mood - it may help you to evaluate if there has been some change or stress in her life that may be causing this new behavior. Dig a little into her life. What is going on at school? What is happening with her friends? Is there increased stress at home? There might be something you can do to lessen her stress.

It's not unusual for a nine-year old girl in the U.S. to be entering adolescence.
I work with adolescents, and I often find that they argue because it gives them some sense of control when the rest of their life seems out of control. Can you help find her something in her life that she can control? Horseback riding is a great sport for adolescent girls - because it lets them feel like they are powerful - they can control this strong, big animal all with small movements. It also allows them to feel responsible when they take care of another creature, and tired - which is all to the good. :)

In the meantime, I recommend David Walsh's book, "Why do they Act That Way?" and the book, "Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parents of Tweens" by Laura S. Kastner.

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

First off you need to talk to your husband in private. Ask him to never disagree in front of the kids about punishment, handling of a certain situation and you agree to do the same. You both have to present a united front and talk about the issues with the situation in private away from the kids. Next make sure she is getting plenty of sleep as alot of times this is the age where bedtimes are adjusted allowing for staying up later and this is the time where they start to enter puberty and need more sleep than ever. Sit down and have a talk with her and let her know the easier things go, how she listens to you, responds to you and Dad the more fun she will get to have. Make sure you make your point clear...as in arguing for the sake of arguing will get things removed from her life, like a TV from her room, computer from her room or whatever she has that is a bonus. If it gets bad enough remind her and then if needed follow through on the only thing required by law is to receive enough food, clothing, and shelter and to get her to and from school. Pull in the reigns now as this is your shot before the teen years.

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answers from Chicago on

The arguing seems common for that age group, my 8-year old is just getting into that stage and her friend's moms and I always commiserate!

At that age they are trying to be more independent (think terrible twos on a whole new level) and yet they still lack the responsibility level so they still need to be told what to do.

What I've found is that giving responsibilities that she can do, or giving her things to do in a way she can be independent helps a lot. You know how two-year-olds will always want the thing you DIDN'T offer them? Well 9-year olds seem to be that way on a whole new level too! So handling them the way you would a two-year-old (but on that higher level) seems to work for me.

For example, my 8-year old wants to dress herself, but she picks the most horrendous combinations! Sometimes I let it slide, but some of her outfits are too horrible to take her in public. But if I say anything it's an argument and she wants to wear what I've said she can't even more. She always wants to be right. So, I try to make situations where she can be right and she stops fighting. We pick out her clothes together, or I let her select from several outfits I have put together.

Sometimes I just let her be right. Once she insisted that "papaw" was spelled "payapa" and it turned into a big argument. So I said "ok, that's the way it's spelled." and left it at that. Later on she addressed a card to her papaw and spelled it her way and he read it and said "who is pay a pa?" After that she spelled it right! Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. She also refused to wear a heavy jacket and gloves. So I let her wear what she wanted and she was so cold! I said "that's too bad you're cold." and left it at that.

I guess that age they just want to be independent and right. So if you just let them be right (even when they are wrong) they figure it out in a hurry. Also, sometimes she tries to start an argument and one time I just scooped her up in my arms and gave her a big hug and a kiss and said "you know, I love you so much because you are so good at arguing!" She didn't know what to do with that...and it ended the argument in a hurry!

You are the adult and you have to be the diffuser. I also agree that making sure she's getting enough sleep and getting her vitamins in would help too. And when she's escalating the argument, know she's trying harder to assert her independence...so what can you do to help that!

Good luck! I know it's hard!

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answers from Portland on

You've had some good suggestions, C.. I agree that your daughter might have some physical need that is going lacking, possibly sleep, or nutrition.

If that's not the case, check out the possibility that she's being exposed to something she's sensitive to. I have developed chemical sensitivities that have me frequently irritable, anxious, and uncomfortable. Lots of kids these days have sensitivities because new, untested chemicals are so common in household products like fabric softeners, air fresheners, cleaning products, even cosmetics and foods.

Your daughter sounds quite a bit like my younger sister, who was a handful from a very young age. My sister went on to develop very serious bipolar disorder, which went unrecognized until she was in her 30's. She would have done so much better had she been treated early in her life. As it is, she developed many negative and reactive habits because nobody, including her, understood that she had a medical problem.

Good luck. I hope it's nothing that severe. While you search for answers, read some good parenting books. I have heard that How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber, is helpful to many parents. (I plan to read that one myself, soon).

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answers from Nashville on

A book that I've found extremely helpful is called "Parenting With Love and Logic." Instead of arguing back and forth, you give her choices. For example, You can either clean up your room or lose tv privileges for a week. With my younger ones I'll ask them things like which toys they want to clean up first and give them a choice of two. The premise is that everyone needs to feel a certain amount of control over their lives. If she starts to argue you just repeat your choices. Arguing may be her way of distracting you so she can get out of something. At this age she's getting ready to start puberty too, so hormones start coming into play. So things may be okay one minute and the world ending the next. If you want peace and harmony in your home, one way to encourage a bit of that is pointing out when you see her (and your hubby) doing something good. Make it specific and genuine. It only takes one person to start to break the cycle of negativity. Good luck to you!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I use a bit of the love and logic as well, and it's good. I also really enjoy John Rosemond (www.rosemond.com) and his books. His Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children is excellent. He has a new book out on discipline, but I haven't read it yet. You might check the library, or I get them used on amazon.


answers from Albuquerque on

Hi C.,
Sounds like a 9 year old, to me. But are you going to continue letting a 9 year old run the parent-child relationship? Because that's what it sounds like: she's running things.

Now is not the time to make friends. She needs her "mama" first. You guys can be friends when she's 21. Peace and harmony is all up to you, don't leave it up to her.



answers from Chicago on

Hi there,

I'm sorry your daughter is creating so much tension in your house. There could be many factors leading to her behavior. Nothing will be resolved until you and your husband begin to agree on some parenting strategies. If you two cannot come to an agreement, you might want to consider seeing a counselor who can help you create a parenting plan that works for you both, which might very well include some family therapy to help your daughter understand her reactive behavior, and for you to understand better ways of responding to her when she's in a "mood". You mentioned that all four of you are "stubborn and defensive" and that she is "constantly on edge"...in my opinion, I would strongly recommend some therapy sessions with a skilled marriage and family therapist who can help all of you understand some of the underlying dynamics causing this tension, and perhaps help your little girl learn some strategies for managing her emotions. Hope that helps!



answers from Raleigh on

Your daughter cannot have an argument by herself. She has to have a willing partner and that seems to be you. You seem to let yourself be influenced by her moods instead of the other way around. The only one you have any control over is yourself. You may want to investigate why you are so "defensive and stubborn." Children learn by watching and she certainly is learning from you. I recommend Scream-Free Parenting by Hal Runkel to help you learn to manage your own emotions and parent from a place of calm. Good luck.



answers from Austin on

Hi C.,
I second the idea that you should look into some family therapy. It sounds like there's a lot going on, and you could use some help to reset your family dynamics. One suggestion I've heard: when your daughter is acting up, calmly explain to her that it makes you sad when the two of you argue. Tell her how much you want everyone to get along and ask her what she thinks about why there's so much arguing and what everyone could do to change that. You don't have to implement all of her "solutions", but it would help her empathize with you and also feel like she's being listened to. Good luck!



answers from Memphis on

"The Heart of Anger" by Lou Priolo is an excellent book, as is "Shepherding a Child's Heart"; perhaps it can get you and your husband on the same page in this issue -- which is probably an underlying problem, though you may not realize it. She may be exploiting this "parental rift".



answers from Louisville on

you have answered your own question here. you hubby and you dont agree, SHE KNOWS THIS trust me lol. try to find a therapist in your area that deals with children and they can help guide you. I know shes only 9 but have you asked her if she has started her period yet she could be going through puberty. Its happening younger and younger and that could deff be a cause of mood swings.



answers from San Francisco on

Remember you are the parent and she is the child! Get along! This didn't just start you have a big job to provide her with limits now. I agree with Barb A you and your husband need to talk and come up with a consistent response to her poor behavior. Let her know that there are consequences to bad disrespectful behavior.

How is she in school does she exhibit this behavior in school with adults in school? Stop this now it will only get worse as she gets older.

Good luck and stick to what you know is right.



answers from Honolulu on

Here is an interesting link:

its about a different aged girl and her tantrums, but it basically is about a child that acts out... when not getting her way and she has inappropriate reactions.

Now... does your daughter act this way ANYWHERE, anyplace... or just at home or with you? If it is only happening at home or with you and at school she is fine... then it is a situational thing perhaps... versus a "clinical" problem. Because if she had a clinical problem, it would be happening anywhere... not just at home.

Also, you may look into if certain foods affects her moods. Hypoglycemia for example makes kids edgy. Or they are sensitive to certain foods and it affects them.

But if it is a relationship dynamic & problem... then take a look at the home dynamics... and interrelationships there. AND of course, YOUR relationship with her. AND it will take EVERYONE to comply... with improving the atmosphere. ie: if EVERYONE in the house is "defensive & stubborn" as you said... well, this can REALLY REALLY negatively affect a child and their happiness. So, that may HAVE To be corrected... because it is affecting her OVERALL well-being.... and no child can cope when their household is just not a positive place. Maybe she is thus... always on edge... because of it. REALLY take a look at that. It is not just HER... but her as a RESULT OF the overall dynamics in the home and the usual "defensive & Stubborn" reactions of the family members. It is stressful I am sure, being around that kind of atmosphere I am sure... and she is reacting to it. Imagine being in an office where the boss and all the employees were all "defensive & stubborn"... WOULD YOU be happy there and nice and pleasant feeling? No. It would cause stress/unhappiness/irritability etc. And some employees may even quit or that company would have a HIGH turn-over rate.
So... for a young child being in an atmosphere like that, at home... I can imagine it being real hard for her. She is just trying to "COPE"...
Some kids...are VERY sensitive and deeply affected by the negative personalities/dynamics of their family members... especially if they are always "defensive & stubborn."
To me, she is just replicating that... and doing the SAME thing.
** A CHILD cannot become better... if what is going on at home is not better. They CANNOT act alone. They are only becoming or copying what is going on at home... or acting out of frustration. A CHILD cannot "fix" everything. The "Parent" has to lead... they are the "Leader" in the family...

Perhaps she takes it out on you... because she feels closest to you and safest. OFTEN times, a person will take out their frustrations on the closest person to them. So it is a double-edged sword.

YOu really have to get her disciplined etc. But you already know that, as most Moms do.
Here is a link:

There is also a GREAT book called: "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk." Which you can find on www.amazon.com
Its a great book. I recommend it.

It may also be that "emotionally" she is not mature yet, in comparison with her numeric "age." So, perhaps teaching her "COPING SKILLS" can help... to learn alternate & acceptable ways of behaving... while at the same time being ALLOWED to express herself. Lots of times too... a child needs Validation... actually acknowledging them even though they are feeling negative... but then redirecting them as well. ie: "I know you are upset and feel irked... so can you tell me why? I want to help you... if I don't understand, can you tell me so I know how you feel?" Then talk about it... openly without judgment or scolding.

If also a child is constantly getting scolded... they sort of just snap all the time. Its too much "pressure" to be acting "perfect" ALL the time. So how can she feel better about that AND herself? Does she perhaps feel junk about herself... and so she takes it out on others? This happens even with adults. Self-esteem... how is hers?

Don't "argue" with her. Tell her "I will not argue with you...I am your Mommy...I love you..." Then don't engage until she can calm down.

Just some ideas, I know it is not easy.
All the best,



answers from Nashville on

I am so glad you posted this. I actually found it by doing a Google search for the exact same problem. My children are also 9 and 4, but are both boys. Our households seem identical! Anyway, thanks to everyone's posts. They are great strategies and I will be trying some of these things as well. Sometimes it just takes stepping back and seeing things from another person's perspective to get back on track. :)

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