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My 7 year old picks fights with me.

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 4:51 pm
I think I'm going to sound like an awful parent right now, but I'm so frustrated that I feel like doing things that a loving mother would not do. Please have some compassion in your responses to me.

My seven year old daughter has been in a difficult phase recently, for several months now. It really feels like she's trying to find things to fight with me about. Every minute of every day.

She is acting like a two year old. (This is the part I know other posters are going to jump on, but please understand that this is a vent.) She's been throwing herself on the floor, kicking her feet, and screaming/crying whenever she's told "no" about anything, or whenever she's told to do something. This could be something like "Go put on your shoes, we're leaving now" or "Please don't play with that, it's fragile and will break."

The worst of it is that now it really feels like she's intentionally searching for reasons to throw these tantrums. Like today, she came home from school with a winter break chart and was all excited about it. She wanted to start it right away, but said that it's so unfair, she has to wait until tomorrow night (that's what the rules said). I responded saying "Yeah, that's such a cool winter break chart! If it were mine, I'd want to start it right away too!" and she sat there on the floor kvetching "I wanna start it today...I wanna start it today...It's not fair..." in this babyish weird voice. I said once or twice more something like "Aw, it would be so great if it started today" and "It's so frustrating to have to wait" and she started kvetching more and more loudly in that same voice...at which point I went into the kitchen to wash some dishes and told her I'll be in there if she needs me. Cue a tantrum. I'm all for empathy, but at some point I just get so frustrated and annoyed with her and it's hard to be empathetic!

She'll also say things like "That never happened" or "I didn't do that" about things that she just did a minute ago. It's like she makes up her own alternate reality and truly believes it (I think?). And none of this ever happened until several months ago -- she was a relatively even-keeled kid.

Also, I've been trying to find ways to spend special time just with her, doing something fun, or doing whatever she wants to do -- play a game, read a book together, or whatever. It's hard because B"H there are a lot of other people who need me, but I've really been trying to prioritize it. But every time I do, she ends up tantrumming either right before it starts or a minute in. And then eventually I give up and walk away...and then twenty minutes later, once I'm in the middle of dealing with someone else, she comes up to me and says she's ready to play now...but I'm just not anymore. I end up feeling guilty that I can't drop everything the second that she's "ready" to hang out with me, but honestly, I don't even want to spend time with her at that point after she's been screaming at me. My head hurts, and I'm emotionally worn out, and I honestly want to get as far from her as possible at that point.

Again, I know I sound like an awful mother. But please understand that I'm human and very annoyed and frustrated with this. I've guilted myself out enough, and keep on trying to fix it, thinking it's in my control and not hers because she's just a kid, but at this point I'm starting to feel a very strong pushback inside of me saying things like "It's NOT your fault, you're doing everything right and she insists on acting like a two year old!"

For the record, she has several older siblings and a couple of younger ones. She acts fine in school. Doesn't do this with my husband (she actually just did it yesterday for the first time, and he was stunned by it). Only with me.
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amother




DarkGreen
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 5:07 pm
I have a 7yo dd and she is driving me insane. She seems to detect when I'm tired and don't have as much patience and boy does she know how to press my buttons. She likes to do things almost as though it's to deliberately annoy me.
I wonder whether I'm not giving her enough time and attention, or whether something is going on but she won't talk about it. And it's like a vicious cycle. I try and give her the attention or whatever, but it doesn't seem to be enough. I give her time, she wants more, I give her a treat, she wants another one etc. And then I start losing patience and I can't handle her anymore.
I've started putting myself in timeout. I feel like it's better I just remove myself from the situation and then I won't lose it with her. I think my kids must be wondering what's with my stomach as I've been taking looong bathroom breaks. It's the one room in the house that they seem to accept it's okay for me to be in without them having to come in and irritate me.
So op, I don't have much practical advice, but you're not the only one, and it was really validating to hear that someone else is in a similar position.
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 8:23 pm
Thanks. It is good to know I'm not the only one.

My older kids are boys. Is this a normal 7 year old girl phase? (And DOES IT END SOON???)
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amother




Dahlia
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 8:26 pm
It could be pandas, especially if she wasn’t always like this. My dd with pandas is extremely argumentative, oppositional, rigid and “stuck” when she’s flaring, and much much less so when she’s not. The alternate reality thing sounds really familiar as well. Could be compulsive lying, could also be a compulsion to say the opposite, or maybe just inability to back down due to rigidity. The baby voice could be a clue too, regressive behaviors and baby talk are classic pandas symptoms. You say she used to be even keeled, I would definitely look into pandas or pans.
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amother




Lightyellow
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 8:38 pm
amother OP wrote:
The worst of it is that now it really feels like she's intentionally searching for reasons to throw these tantrums.


Also, I've been trying to find ways to spend special time just with her, doing something fun, or doing whatever she wants to do -- play a game, read a book together, or whatever. It's hard because B"H there are a lot of other people who need me, but I've really been trying to prioritize it. But every time I do, she ends up tantrumming either right before it starts or a minute in. And then eventually I give up and walk away...and then twenty minutes later, once I'm in the middle of dealing with someone else, she comes up to me and says she's ready to play now...but I'm just not anymore. I end up feeling guilty that I can't drop everything the second that she's "ready" to hang out with me, but honestly, I don't even want to spend time with her at that point after she's been screaming at me. My head hurts, and I'm emotionally worn out, and I honestly want to get as far from her as possible at that point.
It sounds to me like she IS looking for reasons to tantrum. Keep in mind that a tantrum is a good way for kids to release their strong emotions. So what she’s tantruming about isn’t the real issue. It’s a pretext so she can cry and let those strong feelings out.

I think you’re on the right track with giving her special time. I would change it up a bit though. Get a timer and let her know that you’re excited to have 20 minutes for just you and her to do something together. She gets to decide what you’ll do. But once the 20 minutes are up you will need to do something else.

If she chooses to tantrum at you for that time, that’s totally fine. Sit there and be a comforting presence while she does. Remember she’s just letting out her strong emotions. It’s annoying but it’s not anything personal, and she needs you as her safe person so she can release those feelings.

Once the 20 minutes are up, let her know that and tell her when youll have special time next.

Hopefully this will help you have more patience for her tantrums and be better able to be her support.
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amother




Banana
 

Post Tue, Jan 24 2023, 8:40 pm
Sounds like asd
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Jan 25 2023, 4:04 pm
Thank you LightYellow. I will try.

No, I don't think it's PANDAS or ASD. Again, it only comes out like this when I'm around. My husband can be watching her all day without seeing this, same with her grandmother. And it doesn't happen in school.

I guess it's my own frustration I need to manage, not her behavior. Which is all of parenting. For some reason this pushes my buttons more than when my 2 year old tantrums because it seems so inappropriate for her age...
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