Typical for 7 Year Old Girl? VENT!

Updated on January 11, 2015
K.B. asks from Detroit, MI
20 answers

Hi there -

Haven't been on here in some time but felt the need to ask about my daughter at this stage in her life, and get some feedback if this is "normal" for girls/kids her age...or maybe I just need to vent.

She is now almost 7 and 1/2 and in second grade. School is going well, getting almost all A's, has lots of friends. She has always been strong-willed and independent, and over the past few months seems to be intent on trying out new behaviors that I wonder is just more "testing the waters" and trying to push my buttons than anything else.

She gets really emotional at times and melodramatic. Mostly when she is overtired, she will still have meltdowns over not getting her way or me saying no to something she wants. There is a lot of telling me how mean I am, and why can't I be nice - which is really, why can't I just let her have her way. She will also start telling us how she doesn't have any friends, everyone is mean to her at school, everyone thinks she is a big dummy - none of which is true so I think it's just a bunch of manipulation on her part to get me to feel sorry for her.

She wants to play Minecraft all the time but when gets mad when I enforce the rules we put in place (time limits, etc.) - now because she has thrown fits when her Minecraft time is up, and she's yelled and been rude when I've told her she's done, she's no longer allowed to play it. When she's been given consequences for not cooperating, she's started crying and yelling that she's sorry and she wants another chance - but it's happened so many times without any change in her behavior that I've just reached a point that she's not allowed on Minecraft at all any longer. She always "promises" that she will do better if I just give her another chance - but then the next day, or the next week, it's the same thing all over again, so now, we're done. She's also not allowed to watch any more videos about Minecraft on the computer because again, she couldn't handle us putting reasonable limits on it and it was just too much of a problem. She kept wanting to watch the videos on the iPad in her bedroom witht he door shut and wouldn't want us in there seeing or knowing what she was watching - something that I absolutely would not allow. She also would swear that she would behave better if only I would just let her do what she wanted to do (i.e. play Minecraft and watch videos until her eyeballs fall out and her brain turns into cheese). The final straw was when I found out she was lying to us and not doing her Xtra Math for school like she was supposed to be doing - she would log in so that it would show that she had logged in but then she wasn't actually doing any of the problems. She's a much nicer kid in general now that Minecraft and Minecraft videos are not allowed at all. I've had to remind her repeatedly that Mom is in charge, not her - she can't bargain with me, negoiate with me, or call the shots.

Still, seemingly little things will make her cry at the drop of a hat. Our neighbor friends did not host a NYE party this year, so that made her cry. I told her we needed to get her hair cut - just a little trim to help keep her hair healthy. She didn't want it done and she began to cry. We are having chicken for dinner and she doesn't want chicken, so she cries. Can't sleep over one weekend at a friend's house - cries. OMG, I wonder, what is up with all the crying? And every thing that happens that makes her cry, it's because I "hurt her feelings." I've hurt her feelings by telling her she has to wear her winter coat right now instead of just a hoodie when it's 5 degrees outside. When it gets excessive, she gets sent to her room, because I've told her I am not going to listen to all the whining and crying. But sometimes I've found out later she had a tough day at school - her and a friend are not getting along or some other such thing.

And she's always ducking away and trying to avoid me hugging and kissing her - like she's trying to be funny and she thinks it's hilarious. Try to kiss her goodnight, she's covering herself up with the blanket so I can't. Trying to reach over and give her a hug, she steps away. Try to pat her on the head, she ducks and tells me not to touch her. She will kiss me goodbye when I drop her off at school - in front of everyone, no problem. Anywhere else, forget it. She doesn't act "mean" about it in any way, just more like she thinks it's funny to essentially push Mom away. She NEVER does this with Daddy - Daddy is her hero and she always wants cuddles with him in the evening and a piggyback ride to bed.

Is a lot of this her trying to assert her independence and at the same time, still being a little kid that can only handle so much and sometimes is having a rough day? What is reasonable to expect behavior-wise out of a kid this age? I feel like I am dealing with some of kind of combination of a toddler and a teenager all at once!

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for all your answers and input. For now, we are trying to let her play Minecraft again for limited amounts of time, but no watching videos on the iPad. I've explained to her that if she starts have difficulty again with the limits we set on playing Minecraft, we'll have to make her take a break from it for a while - and she will only be allowed to play once she has actually done her school work and she's been better behaved and cooperative at all other times. I think it's just tough trying to keep her engaged and entertained when she's home, since she is an only child and we can't always have a friend over for playdates and Mom and Dad can't be expected to always play with her either. She often complains about being bored when she is not allowed access to electronics but I keep telling her she needs to figure out other things she can do to keep herself happy. It's not like she doesn't have plenty toys, books and crafting materials to do stuff with instead!

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answers from San Francisco on

It sounds like it's her personality type, and yes, it's normal.

It sounds like you are handling it just fine and are not giving into her manipulation. Keep giving her the kisses against her will -- she secretly likes it. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I can tell you from my own experience that Minecraft and the videos are like drugs to kids. My daughter will use them all day if I don't intervene and set time limits. I have even caught her in the middle of the night playing on the laptop (she lost it for a week).

My daughter is 8 and she also gets emotional. Sometimes I think she's doing it to get her way and sometimes I think its her hormones starting to change. I feel the same way about dealing with a toddler/teenager. I remember my SD being this way at the same age.

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answers from Washington DC on

Please get this book, "Your Seven Year Old Child" by Ames and Haber:

Your school counselor may also have a copy you can borrow.

What you describe is normal. At seven and eight, children are between little-kid need and craving for you, and their instinct to assert themselves. Also normal for one parent to be pushed away while the other is a hero (does dad work outside the home but you are a stay at home mom or work at home mom? If she sees much more of you and you are the one who has to enforce "no" more often or deliver news she doesn't like, she sees you right now as just that -- the enforcer who's always always around -- and daddy comes home shiny and new and not saying "no" each night with hugs and happiness just to see her. Typical, typical, typical, and it will pass IF you don't either crack down too hard on her or try to win her over by not saying no at all.)

Just get the book. It will reassure you that this is a normal stage of development and she is not consciously out to hurt you, or avoiding your hugs out of some aversion to your touch.

Doesn't this summary of the book sound a LOT like her at this point?

"Your Seven-Year-Old is devoted to the delightful but often anxious and withdrawn child of Seven. Although any seven-year-old will have moments of exuberance, security, and happiness, in general this is an age of introspection. As it begins, parents and teachers may welcome the quiet after the tussles and tangles of Six. But once the child of Seven starts to withdraw it’s almost as though he doesn't know where or when to stop. Seven-year-olds feel picked on by family, friends, and teachers alike; they worry that no one likes them; they expect every little task to prove too difficult to handle; tears come easily at this age."

Some objective reading about this really will help -- it helped me when my daughter was this age. You'll realize it's all about "the age and the stage" and is not a reflection of how she really feels about you or her dad or herself. She really IS that "combination of a todder and a teenager" that you think she is -- she is both wanting to be your baby and trying to break away. The book will give you ideas on handling it.

I remember very well talking with other moms of my daughter's friends when the girls were all seven and eight years old (yep, this is all typical of eight too, so get ready for that). The moms all said variations on what you say here: "Why does she cry at absolutely nothing? Why does she act so balky about the same hugs I used to give her? Why does she dash away from me at school dropoff and act like she doesn't want to be seen with me? Why does she say I, or her sibling, or her friend or her teacher 'hurt her feelings' all the time and then she's sunny and fine later?"

So...normal, not fun, but something you and she can get through.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't know if my experience is relevant to yours, but I will share in case it is. My 9 year old has always been emotional and dramatic, and she has certain things that she's so intent about (Minecraft and Minecraft videos were among them not long ago - it was almost like she was in a trance when she was doing Minecraft or watching the videos, and she would build these amazing structures). Anyway, the long and the short of it was that she has ADHD. She's always been what you'd call "high energy" (and that is putting it mildly - it's like she has a motor that just never stops), and unless she is totally fascinated by something, her attention span is about 2.3 seconds. She's dramatic and emotional, as I said, and will totally melt down at the drop of a hat. When she was younger, we chalked it up to being a terrible 2... and then a terrible 3... and then an immature 4... and then a difficult 5... by the time she was 7 I realized something more was happening, and that's when we had her tested. She has a diagnosis of ADHD-Combined, which means she is hyperactive and inattentive. Yay us.

All that said, I realized that traditional school wasn't working for her. The busywork, the lack of opportunities to get up and move, the lack of hands-on work (to be clear, I don't blame her teachers - with 30+ kids in a class, it is what it is). My husband and I sat down and talked it through, looked at our options, and finally decided we would homeschool. If budget were not a concern, we might have chosen a Waldorf private school instead. And I have to say, although we still have crazy days, she has gotten a LOT better. She loves her schoolwork most days, she has made friends in our homeschool group, she is attentive and polite in her ballet lessons.

Even kids who have no medical issues at all probably have issues sometimes. I mean, think about it. Have you ever had a job you hated? Your boss was awful and unreasonable, the work was boring? I think for a child who hates their teacher, or the way they're being taught simply doesn't match their style of learning, it can affect their entire lives - at home, at recess, their sleep patterns. All of it. Kids don't have the same tools to combat stress that adults do, and they have a lot less control over their lives. Is her school really working for her? I think it's worth looking into a bit more, in case that's her issue.

Like I said, maybe this is totally not the case with your daughter, and she's going through a phase. But 7 was the year when we had that moment when we realized something was going on with our child, and it was kind of a struggle to figure it all out, so I thought I'd share in case our experience helps you. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

nice to see you back, ms vet! i've missed you!
a lot of this is normal. some of it, though, seems to be ongoing and evolving renditions of some of the struggles you've had with your daughter for a while now. it seems as if she's always been pretty melodramatic, and it does sound as if you're handling it sensibly (refusing to deal with ongoing minecraft meltdowns, sending her to her room when she ratchets up the whining.)
and it's a true fact that sometimes we get a kid who's just not a great personality fit for us. and it can be hard to untangle what's a parenting issue, and what's an incompatibility issue that WE just have to suck up and figure out.
she's always been a crier, and a fit-thrower, so to some degree at least, it's just her. so i think there's a big component in here of you just learning to shield out what doesn't jive with you, while continuing to actively parent and respond to the bits that require responses.
you're a busy professional woman, and a caring involved mother. my dear, there's nothing wrong with getting some help from time to time to deal with a high-maintenance kid. you wouldn't be admitting failure by investing in a little family counseling. it sounds like you just need some different tools to communicate effectively with your little girl, who is wired so differently from you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The book 1,2,3 magic might help. It's wonderful for curbing the whining crying bratty behavior.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Some of this is normal, but some of this is indicative of an obsessive personality. Your daughter isn't the only child who obsesses over these games.

I have to say that I think that you should ONLY give her access to electronics AFTER she has been good. She has to earn it.

You are right about the combination of a toddler and a teen. She is very strong-willed. IF you handle her right now, she'll make a great attorney when she grows up.

She is playing you about the hugs. It's her way of trying to manipulate you. It's important not to let it rattle you or to unconsciously give in to her manipulations in order to get her to accept your affection.

One of the things you will find, if you continue to allow her behavior and the minecraft problem, is that minecraft isn't the only thing she will be obsessive about. It will only get harder. Work on this now.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest reading the book by Adele Faber entitled How to talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. Often a change of our approach when talking with our children helps to get a different response.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

She's 7, she's tried out some bad behavior that have provided the desired results, and other s that haven't. She's not tryint to be manipulative - she's 7 she does stuff and when it works her brain logs in the fact that it worked and she tries it again.

the melodrama and crying are all typical girl behavior - some comes along with the XX chromosomes, some is learned, and some is reinforced. let's face it - crying can feel good at times - it releases endorphines that help us feel better.

Your goal as mom is to remain level and to control yourself and not to take any of it personally. She's the kid and is trying to figure out how to control her emotions - so she needs to see you showing her a good example. When she sees how you handle disappointment, or anger or betrayal by a friend - she'll learn by ovservation. (More is caught than taught.) Right now she's watching her friends and learning from other 7-8 yr olds. YIKES!

Strap yourself in momma it's going to be a rough tide! 7 yr old girls turn into tweens who turn into teens, Mine is 18 and away at college now - we still have a "re-entry" period of adjustment when she comes home - but ultimately - she's become a nice young lady about whom I'm very proud. but let me tell you - there were a few really rough years in there.

My parenting guidelines: make sure that your no means no, that your home is always a safe place for her to be, find things you can say yes to , communicate to her that everything you do is about helping her to grow into being a great adult. Make sure she knows you will always be there, If she knows you love her - then that's half the battle.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I didn't read your entire post...but, I agree with Jackie P...it is an addiction. Now take a look at an addicts behavior and compare. Harsh I know, but think about it.

I don't allow Minecraft. To my knowledge, my daughter has never played it. She has a Nintendo and can play games on that, most often in the car, but her time on the game is very limited.

I don't understand the take on video games that say they are educational, with the exception that there are some games that were intended for education.

I have a friend who swears video games do something to her boys and they are limited as well.

Recently at an out of state tournament, the kids/team all came in for the night and were in the front room. It didn't take long before every one of them were on an ipad or smart phone playing a game. True enough, they were quiet for the most part, but it appeared they were all in a trance.

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answers from Columbia on

I could write a long post on this, but it would only echo Nervy and Marda.

I only wanted to add this: You're doing a great job. You're an awesome mom, and even though things can be frustrating and she is trying your patience, your responses are spot on.

We had some gaming problems in our house too, years ago. It was very much related to the entitlement attitude when it came to the gaming system. So we required that game time be earned, and the responsibility is on the kids. The x-box hours are 2 per week, on Saturday, after all the chores are done to standard and inspected. We've had no problems since. So, that might be an option if she really loves Minecraft. I don't think that Minecraft is bad at all within limits. It encourages creativity and critical thinking. So consider using it as a tool for encouraging responsible behavior.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I've always heard that little boys live to torture their mothers.

Perhaps it's true for little girls, too? 😐

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answers from Los Angeles on

Stay strong and stick to your guns! My oldest is now 8 1/2 and we've had our share of rough patches. She's stubborn, emotional, bossy and a bit of a know-it-all - just like her Mama ;) We clash often because we're so alike, but learning to navigate this mother-daughter dynamic is something I'm very committed to.

I make sure I always mean what I say; No is no is no is no. I never make empty threats; there's no "you'll be grounded till you're 30" kind of talk here. She's the type of kid that will push any limit if she smells an opening. I give her a safe environment at home; she knows that if she confesses a misdeed (and we've only had minor ones, she's really a good kid at heart), the punishment will be much less severe than if I find out from someone else.

I also try to check-in and have a serious heart-to-heart at least once a week. We sit in her room on her bed and chat about everything. It takes a little while to delve through the "small talk", but the effort is SO worth it.

I think summing it up as a toddler-teenager hybrid is spot on! lol I know that description fits my girl to a T ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Pretty normal. I really didn't have this so much with our daughter as I did with our son. Our son is our "strong willed child". Okay, he's 22 so he's not a child.

When he was little, he would say the only word I knew was "NO". Well that was true with him. "No, you cannot jump off the roof like Batman". "No, you cannot lasso the dog like a steer". =) He was high energy. Had him tested and they said it was just his personality. Whoopie!!!

I would stick to your guns. Yes, this is typical behavior. She is trying to see how far she can push the envelop. High energy kids do this. Push, push, push. Its exhausting. Our son cried and the doctor said that was the only emotion he felt comfortable with and could express. BUT I wouldn't trade my son for anything. He is much better so they do grow out of it somewhat.

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answers from Jacksonville on

It sounds like that is just her disposition at this age. I have friends who had daughters just like this at that age. Mine was never like this for no reason other than she just doesn't roll that way. The parents who handled it like you do, ended up with happy, healthy, and reasonably well behaved tweens. The ones that caved and bought into the drama, have little hellion mean girls as tweens. Keep up the good work!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not sure and don't have the answers.but I have a 6 1/2 year old son and I' think for my self and I'd also recommend to you to read some books on child development if you haven't already. I'm definitely going to start for this age so I can understand and know the stages and what our kids go thru during each stage as that might help with parenting and understanding our children's needs.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Feels so good to read your post. Sorry, it's just that my daughter is exactly like your daughter and it feels good not to be alone. Hang in there as I will too!



answers from Chicago on

I too recommend the books by Dr Ames. They are thin without tons of wisdom, but they describe in detail what is normal for each age. They are an essential on my bookcase.


answers from Washington DC on

None of my kids acted this way, but I have heard a lot of other parents say it. It sounds like you are doing a great job, she's going through normal issues (am I a kid and need mom or can I really do this on my own?) and it's a phase that will pass.

My 7 year old son, soon to be 8, is the one who really needs to have things explained to him. Why can he only have 30 minutes on his iPad? Because it's a better idea to work your brain and go read a book, play basketball, play outside, help mom/dad with whatever we are doing, etc. Why can he not have a second bag of chips? Because we want to make healthy choices to grow our minds and body. Why can't he play outside right now? Because the wind chill (how cold it feels with the wind) is -7 and that's just not safe weather, we'll get sick!

So basically I'm saying she may do better if she has a reason for why things are the way they are. I did this for about a month with my son and he really calmed down a lot, now he will ask, knows he is getting a response, and it's over.

Minecraft is big in our house as well, so is the xBox and Wii. Our kids don't have to earn time on them, but they aren't allowed on them all day. With us giving them not so strict time limits over the years, they are pretty much self trained to go do something else after a period of time.



answers from Seattle on

That describes my 7.5 yo spirited daughter perfectly (except she likes hugs/kisses), so I hope it's "typical". Being the oldest might also have something to do with it. She's drama, likes attention, and has major emotional ups/downs. The teen years are going to be interesting...

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