My 8-year-old daughter has been a wonderful child until about a month ago. She’s lying a lot, not doing what we ask her to do, and she talks back. I have asked her what is wrong, and she tells me nothing. Then, when I ask her again, she tells me that she doesn’t feel loved, and I know that is not true. Then she says that we love her baby brother more than her, and that is not true. I don't know what to do because she never acts like this. I’ve taken her phone and other things but she doesn’t seem to care. What do I do?
Hello, and thank you for writing. There's a lot going in in your brief message!
If you haven't yet read Dr. Rosemond's "The Well-Behaved Child" I suggest you start right away! And when you finish it, begin reading "Teen Proofing." In the meantime, stop asking her what is wrong, how she feels, or why she's behaving a certain way. It really doesn't matter. What does matter is how you deal with her lying, disobedience and disrespect.
Having a little brother can test even the most patient of sisters! If you can spend one on one time with her, I recommend it. You don't have to go anywhere or do anything special - just being together with no distractions for 15 minutes or so can douse whatever sparks of jealousy she's feeling. As for taking away her phone, well, I have to ask: Why in heaven's name does your 8 year old have her own phone????? I promise you that nothing good can come of it, and you risk a great deal of harm. Please please please take it away and never give it back. If it's important that she have the ability to call or text you, or you her, then get a simple call and text phone without internet capability.
Your daughter needs to learn that it's her job to pay attention to you, and not the other way around. She needs to understand that, unless she is obedient, respectful and honest, her life will be quite dull. That means her room is void of all entertainment value, and that's where she goes when she misbehaves, and all freedoms and privileges are revoked. I know it may sound harsh, especially to an 8 year old with a cell phone, but it's what you have to do. Search this site for both the "doctor cure" and the "ticket system." Either method will work, provided you present it concisely and with calm authority, and always follow through.
Are you familiar with the phrase "nip it in the bud?" Since you write that it's only in the last month that your daughter morphed from wonderful to terrible, her behavior still qualifies as being in the bud, and her parents are the only ones who can nip it before it blossoms into something huge and horrid.
Please write again if you need further support.
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
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