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My daughter is 8 years old. Lately we've been have problems with her sassy mouth. She talks to us (both Mom & Dad) disrespectfully. She is great in school, both academically and socially. We have issues in the morning with her getting up for school. Her alarm goes off at 6:35 and she lays in bed after numerous times of us telling her to get up until we have to raise our voices and threaten her with going to bed earlier that night. Whatever we say to her she says she doesn't care (at that moment). We have tried to add it to a chore chart but that doesn't seem to help. It seems to us it is a control issue. What can we do? Any suggestions with showing us respect(she has no problem at school with respecting her teacher) or any suggestions with our mornings?


Dr. Vicki Panaccione Replied: Generally when there is a dramatic change in a child's behavior, it tends to be in response to some change in her environment. Think about any changes that may have occurred; these could include negative occurrences including any kind of loss (death, a friend moving away, etc.), change in routine, job change, etc. or positive occurrences such as a birth, a family member moving in, etc. If you can't come up with any, I suggest that you sit down and have a calm conversation with your daughter, noting the changes you have seen and asking her if anything is troubling her. Realize that what may be insignificant to you may be huge in the eyes of a child. And, she actually may be experiencing problems at school (i.e.—bullying, difficult work, etc.) that is contributing to her reluctance to getting up in the morning. If so, you have a starting point for addressing her behavior. Is the sassy mouth just in the mornings? Does this indicate a problem sleeping or not enough sleep? She gets up awfully early; make sure that she gets enough sleep to be fully rested in the morning. Whether there is a stressor identified or not, obviously her behavior is unacceptable. And yes, I have lots of suggestions about having her show respect. First and foremost, don't make threats. Make statements and then follow-through. If you have a plan in place, you should not need to reach the yelling point. Set up a system that rewards her for getting up cooperatively in the morning (i.e.—extended bedtime, extra TV time, etc.) and consequences if she is uncooperative (i.e.—early bedtime, no TV, etc.) The key here is meaning what you say, and consistently following through. Generally, an "I don't care" response is a defense against your attempt to exert authority. However, make sure that whatever you are using as rewards/consequences are meaningful to your daughter. Have her participate in the decision of what she would like to earn. Furthermore, I like to link talking respectfully to parents with being allowed to talk with others. If she is sassy to you, then she should not be allowed phone or IM time to talk with friends.
Posted On 2008-01-13 13:48:30
Judy Molland Replied: Let's start with the sassy mouth. You don't say exactly what language your daughter is using, but obviously it is offensive to you. Young people are widely exposed to offensive words, on TV, in movies, and perhaps at school, and so your daughter has decided it's fine to use whatever language she chooses. Your first step should be to let her know that this kind of language is not acceptable, and that there will be direct consequences if she chooses to continue using it. (Mom & Dad need to decide on those consequences and stick to them.) Secondly, although you seem certain that your daughter is doing well at school, the fact that your child puts off getting up indicates that there is a real reason why she doesn't want to go to school, so I'd suggest playing detective to find out what's behind her resistance.
Posted On 2008-01-09 22:09:20
Jack Marcellus Replied: 6:35 is early. Is she getting enough sleep? Is there something you and Dad can say that would inspire her to "want to" get up and get going? I was able to have success with my sons when we considered the new day as we would a big game or sporting event. They would not go to a game unrested or over tired as they know their performance would suffer. What if anything does your daughter really like? I think success comes more quickly when everyone buys into the solution. If the disposition does not change perhaps the answer to an easier morning may be an earlier goodnight. Let her know you want the very best for her and everyone's day will go better with a cooperative start.
Posted On 2008-01-08 11:53:03
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