What to Do with a Child Who Is Easily 'Annoyed'...

Updated on September 28, 2006
D. asks from Greenwell Springs, LA
16 answers

I have a ten year old daughter who thinks she is 2o! But my main issue with her is that she is sooooo easily annoyed at EVERY THING! Including ME! If I don't hear her question the first time and say.."What did you say?" I get... "nothing, never mind" (big huff and rolling eyes). If her 2 year old sister is crying or getting into her stuff... it is MAJOR drama (screaming at her... slamming doors, etc. etc.) If I am not walking around smiling with sunshine shooting out of my butt (sorry for the metaphor)... she automatically thinks I'm angry about something and says.."What's wrong?" I say.."nothing..." and then it's the whole... 'whatever, never mind'. It's not just the attitude but her annoyance. Can't find her shoes.. and I get "arrrgghhhh... I can NEVER find my shoes!!!!" (huff, slam and more arrrgghhhh). Her hair doesn't look right, the shirt she wants to wear is dirty, her 8 year old sister doesn't want to watch what she wants to watch... anything and everything! Some times I think she needs to be on medication. We've tried counseling... is this just her personality? I don't see her behaving this way with friends... it's just the family. And I am at my wits END!

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So What Happened?

Every one is saying hormones (I cannot even remember last year much less when I was 10)... what can I do about hormones (besides ride it out)?? Boy, o Boy... am I in for it!! With THREE girls, I'll never make it!!!! My poor, poor husband.
Talking to her, punishing, setting up rules etc. etc. Tried it all... she just runs to her 'daddy' (ex in california) who thinks I am evil and wants her to come and live with him. Part of me wants to send her... he will bring her back so fast his head will spin! I tell him that it is her age and he says... "but she is only 10, you are out of your mind!!" What about St. Johns Wort? Or one of those other 'herbal' remedies for MOOD SWINGS???

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answers from San Angelo on

Ah, the joys of pre-adolescence! I know it's really difficult, but have you tried ignoring it? It's not easy being a mother of a pre-adolescent girl. They are pulling away, which is normal, yet they still need you...just in a different way. I think if you try a sustained effort at taking a deep breath and ignoring it, it might just take the wind out of her sails. It sounds like she's getting a lot of attention for her bad behavior, so there is still mileage in it for her...unless you ignore, deflect, give chores for rewards (they like money at this age), etc. Good luck! I've got one too, so you're not alone!



answers from Killeen on

my kids are still young, but i can still remember vividly when i was 10-12 and this sounds exactly how i acted! i think i acted that way b/c #1 hormone changes, i started my period at 12, and #2 b/c i didn't get the attention i needed/wanted from my parents at that time b/c my sister had just been born, my dad was working ALL the time and my mom had PPD. i would suggest maybe teaching her better ways to control her temper, and also have one afternoon a week where it's just you and her. talk about whatever she wants to talk about, do whatever she wants to do (shopping, movies, etc.), and hopefully she will feel closer to you and be able to talk to you when something is bugging her instead of having a "tantrum". good luck!

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answers from Houston on

First of all why are you in charge of her shoes? Do you wear them or take them off her feet for her? next, this IS a difficult time of life for them but it does not give her the right to take it out on everyone else. She needs time outs for these outbursts, consequences or something. As far as the sunshine out your butt I would probably pay good money to see that so you could do that as a sideline to pay for the therapy. If your therapist is not working there are other options out there. Email me privately if you would like some suggestions. The drama sounds like it is worth getting a soda, sitting in the hallway to watch. Make it a funny viewing. When she starts tell her to stop to give you time to get ready. Then grab a soda, chips and a chair and park it in front of the place she is throwing a fit. If she doesn't slam the door hard enough, tell her to try harder. If you take the way you react and change it she won't know what to do. She will be really confused that you want her to do this. When she is done with her "performance" then be sure to give her a standing ovation. A few times of this might defuse both of your personal frustration levels and she will see how silly it really is. I always used to show my daughter how to really slam a door when she would get mad. I would show her how NOT to do it and show her how to really do it. before long we were both rolling on the floor. Every outburst can be an opportunity to have a performance, be a director, get yourself a megaphone, have fun with it. This also made my daugther feel that my attention was on her for the moment and it gave her some really special memories. We don't remember what the performances were about but the fact that we both took time out of our day to act stupid and enjoy each other. To this day, my daughter will say that her performances and walking with me in the rain are her favorite memories. It was not long till she was calm and she said that it helped her to realize that there were more serious problems in the world and that her feelings were important enough for me to stop what I was doing and help her work through them because most episodes ended up with us laying on the floor and talking about what the real issues were. Don't expect this openness at first, it took some time but it did occur.
good luck

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answers from Houston on

My advice is to set her down and have a talk with both parents and tell her the ways you expect her to act. If guidlines are not set-up for kids they will assume that thier actions are okay. Kids crave rules and authority even if they do not know it. You are the mom, the one she will always love even if you do make her angry by setting limits and rules. It is true that 10-18 year olds have a lot on thier plates and most people take stress out on ones they love (mom and younger sisters) but kids should be taught appropriate behaviour early on. Tell her you love her then set the limits and be prepared to stick to them. good luck.... ps it worked with my 11 year old daughter!



answers from Beaumont on

Hi D.! My son was the exact same way until he was diagnosed with A.D.D. He was in Pre-K when he was diagnosed with it and i am glad i caught it as early as i did. He would get so frustrated with me and other family member and was really hard on himself too. They put him on Ritalin but then i had to take him off because the insurance had gotten messed up and then canceled. This past June the insurance was reinstated and they wanted to put him on Ritalin again but i requested that they try Strattera because it is a non addictive add/adhd drug. I did try him on the ritalin once more but it made him VERY violent towards me and his sisters so i immediately took him off. He is on the Strattera again and it is a completely different child. He is so patient, helpful and he can stay focused now without having a temper.
Contact your family doctor or pediatrician if that is still who she sees and discuss the situation with them. I am sure you will see a difference in her attitude if they say to try Strattera.



answers from Baton Rouge on

This is a total discipline issue. I think from my point of view, when she does these things you should punish her. Give her timeout. She is not too old for that! Show her that its not tolerated and you will not put up with it. As long as she knows she can get away with it, she's gonna do it. Stop her friends from coming over for a while, tell her when she can learn to treat you and the others better, her friends are welcome back. They live for their privlidges, take them away and they will change their attitude. If she is doing this with your family and not friends, it has nothing to do medically. Think about it.



answers from Abilene on

Ok so I dont have any girls *Thank goodness for boys in my house* But I do have a 12 year old niece who I have been with from day 1..
And ohh man is she the same way...Its just teenage girls for you I suppose, and yes you just have to ride it out there isnt much you can do I dont think. Lets just hope it doesnt get worse I have heard 16 year old girls are terrors in the making!!!
I dont think her living with her dad would help because he would make her mad and she would run back to you. And try and play sides which girls are good at doing!!
Just let it take its course, I think youll do just fine!!



answers from New Orleans on

D., You are not alone!!!! I thought it was just me and my daughter. She just turned 11 and you are describing her to a Tee. I really don't have any advice just comrodery. She complains about her 9 yr old brother and everything I do is wrong. The only difference is that she doesn't complain to my ex she just is a spoiled "bratt" at his house. But doesn't want to live with him and gets even angrier at me if I even suggest letting her live with him. She acts like she's the only one punished and her brother gets away with everything. I try everything, from grounding, spanking, taking away "prescious" posetions. But she still continues to give me the attitude. She also has my boyfriend wrapped around her little pinky. She drives me nuts!!!! Mind you she is a good kid overall, it's just the attitude she gives me and her brother. If you get any good advice I'd LOVE to hear it. I don't remember being this horrible to my mother!


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answers from College Station on

I agree with the possibility of the onset of puberty. But also, how is your relationship with your ex? Are you still friends? At least civil? do you speak well of each other to your daughter? Just as in a marriage with 2 partners, I think it is very important that you and her father be on the same page about her conduct, what is expected, and backing each other up. That way her boundaries are well-defined.
Her annoyance may be a symptom of just not feeling like she is being heard. Instead of talking to her, maybe it will take more listening and validation that she is a wonderful person. You know how insecure we can be as kids. Just a thought.
Best wishes.



answers from San Antonio on

she's 10. plain and simple. She's a pre-teen. She is in that awful in-between phase where she is too young to do more grown up stuff, too old to be playing with barbies and such.
she is frusterated & confused.
10-12 is really hard. i won't say it is the worst because i know when i was between the ages of 16 & 18 I gave my dad alot of grief.
As far as her behavior goes, when she complains about not being able to find her shoes or her shirt is dirty work with her on organizing and cleaning up. teach her how to do laundry, plan a little ahead so she can have clothes clean when she needs them. It only takes about 2 hours to wash and dry a load of laundry. maybe encouraging her to be more responsible and take control of her life would help her.

Good Luck!



answers from Minneapolis on


Because this is situational (doesn't happen with friends) she is aware on some level that she is doing it and she can control it. First, look long and hard at your example and see if there are changes you can make - we all can.

Second, set her down (you have to release all judgment and anger first or this will backfire and things will get worse) and sincerely explain to her that you love her and love having her in the family. You are talking to her about how she treats the family because it is affecting everyone's relationship and the tone of the home. Give her time to vent frustrations. Listen, don't fix or become aggravated.

Explain to her that there will be a new system of charting rewards / consequences for specific behaviors. List the behaviors (don't get upset or emotional or she will tune you out.) List the consequences and rewards. Think about what she values - phone, TV, computer, time with friends, trips to the mall, whatever. It is now contingent upon giving respect to the family. Hold to your ground with the system and refrain from criticizing her or talking about her behind her back. If you show her respect and command (demand) some from her, then give it at least a month, you will see improvement.

There is nothing wrong with teaching your daughter to show some respect. Most parents don't anymore and we don't have to look far to see the results. 10 is a hard age for girls, but it is not an excuse and if this behavior is not altered, 13 and 14 are going to be much, much worse.

Best of luck,



answers from College Station on

A couple of things come to mind when reading this. Keep in mind I am no expert on anything, this is just my opinion. =) First thing I thought of was hormone changes. She is at an age where her body could begin to experience hormone changes/imbalances that could cause her to act this way. You may want to check into that with a doctor, or read up more on that subject. Also at this age in a child's life, so many things are going on with school, friends, peer pressure, on top of the hormone changes and stuff, so this could be her way of venting everything she is feeling. She could just take everything out on the ones she feels most comfortable around and knows will love her unconditionally. She could have some form of bipolar disorder, but the simple fact that she only does this at home makes me think it's not something she needs to have medication for. Two things you may want to implement if you haven't already: 1.) Some type of incentive system, where she ears some type of reward for good behavior and good control over her temper, such as phone priveledges or tv time. 2.) An automatic consequence when she does have an outburst. For example you can send her to a 10 minute time out for temper outburts or take away the phone or tv time. You have to find what you can use to motivate her to change her behavior. She has to understand that it's not acceptable and that you will not tolerate it. Give her plenty of love and support. You're a great mom, no matter how hard she steps on your toes.



answers from Houston on


Do you notice at any time this being "worse" than others? Friday night used to be a REAL drag for our whole family until we made a small change. It didn't occur to me until it started happening EVERY Friday evening.

It was weekly burnout/stress. What we do now is a maditory family movie night. We don't really encourage talking really. We just sit down w/ our popcorn etc. and watch a movie that we all like (old yeller, Aquamarie) It's almost magical, just being together w/o the pressure of having to say something nice after we're all stressed is a relief. Then because we decompressed together, it's like we're all okay again.

Maybe she acts this way right before a big test. I have a 10 1/2 year old niece, and she actually does the same thing. Her mom is so upset because they used to be very close. My son mostly has friends that are girls. When those friends started turning 9 1/2, they really went kinda 'crazy'.

Unfortunatly I think it's a bit of hormones, and don't they usually start there period sometime soon after 10? Good luck, I've heard 15-18 is much better years!



answers from Alexandria on

I think the key to your question is "I don't see her behaving this way with friends....it's just the family. Does she have any chores to do to help out around the house? Does she have any restrictions put on her when she treats you and the rest of the family that way? Like no t.v. or no whatever she REALLY likes to do until she learns to be kind, thoughtful and respectful to you and the rest of the family. Does she have any activities such as sunday school, church or volunteer to help out with an invalid or someone handicapped after school? All of the above would help guide her in the right direction and will get her mind off of herself. I sure hope everything will get better for you all. Perhaps a long talk and a hot fudge sunday just the two of you away from the rest of the family would help. God bless you and keep praying for guidance.



answers from El Paso on

hi D., well maybe she needs more attention but just you and her. Talk to her, let her know how u feel when she acts up. As well as let her tell u how she feels why does she get that attitude. When u are ready to let her know exactly how u feel, make sure you guys are in a place she likes enjoys and is calm. Is he in any type of activity like sports dance etc. Maybe she needs more activities. Or if u and ur husband have a good relationship now and did u guys have strong arguments when u were married. thatm ay also trigger her attitude. Be patient and always have a moment to sit down and talk toher and listen to anything she has to say. let her know that u love her everyday. remember "To feel loved gives pleasure to one; to express it gives pleasure to two."_Janette Oke



answers from Corpus Christi on

I am a mom of 3 girls ages 12 1/2, 4 and 9 months old. My oldest tried the rolling of her eyes and the huffing with me, even being embarassed of being seen with me at the mall while buying her very expensive shoes. I stopped her right there in the middle of the mall and adjusted her attitude a little! One more roll of the eyes or huff and I'd turn around and return the shoes and buy something for myself instead. It pretty much stopped right there. A couple of days later we had a heart to heart and agreed we needed some "alone" time together without little sisters. Things have improved so much! I know it's hard, but I think this is one of those things you just have to ride out with patience and understanding. Be firm, but caring. It's hard, but I'd rather have my daughter living with me where I know what's going on in her life. Maybe I wasn't any help, but you're not alone!!

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