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Is this only the beginning?

Seven years ago, when my first daughter was a baby, I spent moments of each day wondering: "Am I doing it all wrong?"  Now that our girl is seven-and-a-half approaching thirteen (it seems), I am still wondering the same thing: "Am I doing it all wrong?"

Yesterday was the Monday of all Mondays.  I tell ya.  It was a completely ridiculous workday for me when I felt like I did. not. have. enough. seconds. in the day to finish every report, call, analysis, whatever before fetching the girls.  Then, when I picked up my girl and her girlfriend from school, it was nothing. but. rant and whine. rant and whine. about. every. single. thing.  "Why didn't you pack me peanut butter sandwich for lunch?" ("Because you packed your own lunch this morning.")  "I'm so thirsty! Why isn't there any milk?" ("Because you drank it all this morning and brought the rest for your lunch.")  "I'm bored.  Why can't we go biking?" ("Because your friend doesn't want to, why don't you ask her to go biking?")  "Why don't we ever get to do what I want?" ("Well what do you want to do?")

She says, "Mama, I want to bake cupcakes."  So, I put away what I was doing, and we start sifting flour and mixing up confectioner's sugar for icing.  The beaters haven't even stopped beating before I hear it (the whining) start, "I never get to do it first" or "Why don't you ever let me lick the bowl" or "This is so boring".  I swear to the heavens, I was just not getting anything right.  At all.  And, what was painful was that it was all my fault.

As I recount this story, I realize that it makes it sound like my 7.5 year old is nothing but I royal brat.  But, I swear she isn't.  She is mellow and sweet and respectful.  Really she is.  Usually.  But, sometimes, something just sets her off and everything is all wrong.  Not only is it all wrong, but it is also always all my fault, in those instances.

All of this to say: is this some pre-pre-pubescent condition?  Have other mamas and papas gone through this with their 7-10 year old girls or boys?  This almost-irrational, uncharacteristic, passionate, uncontrollable emotion?  Is this just the beginning?  Or is it me?

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Hate to say it, but I think whining is part of the bargain all through childhood AND adolescence... Sounds like she was having a bad day, as we all do from time to time. I wouldn't read anything deeper than that into it.

Sigh.....welcome to TWEENagerdom.

Our daughter just turned 8 and we have noticed some of the same behavior (it's a relief to hear others are experiencing similar meltdowns . Mornings have become a daily fight because she wants to wear something ridiculous based on the weather or her schedule - when we tell her to change it is the beginning of WW III. My mom tells us this is the age when girls start their rebellion, but boys save it for teenager-hood. I guess it has to do with girls maturing faster and starting to see themselves as more grown up than they really are. Either way, it's easy to wonder where you lost control!

I applaud your composure and the accommodations you made with your daughter about this! My daughter is barely 3 so I don't have any retrospective advice about tween-age girls...but I can say that some days I MYSELF have those moments where I feel all whiny and put-upon, sometimes for no reason (hormones!) and even if I recognize it, it doesn't mean it's always an easy emotion to stop (because then it involves apologizing to SOMEONE, right?) And if it's hard for an adult (who is normally pretty well-adjusted in the emotion arena) then I can totally understand why it would be hard for a little kid who probably feels overwhelmed to be even having those feelings. Come to speak of it, I remember a moment or two from childhood where I felt that way and it was actually a pretty embarrassing feeling once I realized I'd been a real brat ;-) Most likely, those trying times will be fleeting for her and she'll wake up the next morning in a new and better mood!

Ha! Sounds like my 2.5 year old. Seems like I may be in for a wild ride in the coming years! Yikes!

I used to sit for a couple boys--the older one was 6 going on 16. He definitely went through a phase in which he completely acted like a 13 year old. Everything was SOOO annoying/boring, it was like all the sudden he knew it all, at 6! It was definitely a phase...I'm sure he will go through it again, but I think periodically kids go through moments of having to assert their independence/power of self. For him this looked like teenage behavior, which I tried to just internally laugh at...much easier when it is not your own child. I guess the one constellation is that it was just a moment in time, however annoying and frustrating it is.

Oh dear, my 5 year old must be ahead of herself. She has lately criticized me for the way I've worded my sentences, for getting out milk and a cup for her but leaving the pouring for her to do, for not immediately carrying out each and every little request she makes... and I find myself getting so angry at her sense of entitlement and seeming lack of respect! I'm trying to lather on the affection whenever she is sweet to me, but she seems to have only 2 moods: try to impress everyone with her sweetness (concocting "dinners," churning out little drawings for us), and trying to impress everyone with her grumpiness. I was kind of hoping there'd be a breather between now and the teens!

I guess I find it interesting that in your message you state right off that you always wonder if you are doing it all wrong. I wonder if she has always picked up on this and knows your button that makes you have this feeling. Kids are very intuitive and when she leaves her respective self I imagine it's easy for her to push this button in you and if you fall prey to it then she has accomplished what she intended. I don't mean this meanly or that she is doing it with ill intent but that's what kids do sometimes. I, personally, think you should look at everything you do right and get that little "wrong" idea out of your head, it may not change her actions but it certainly will change the way you react. Take care and good luck.

You mean it doesn't end? it gets worse? Ah, I don't know how much more of it i can take. I must say I always admire your composure, compassion and patience. I guess we just have to ask for even more of that for ourselves.

I have found the series of books "Your ___ year old" helpful for figuring developmental stages.

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Seven-Year-Old-Life-Minor-Key/dp/0440506506

I've just finished 6 and I'm moving onto 7, just like my son. At the very least, it's a reassuring tool.

I have no answers for you, but you're really scaring me. I have 2 girls, ages 4 and 1.5. Very afraid for my future.

We have 2 boys, 5 and 3. We're pregnant with our 3rd boy, due in April. Before we found out the baby's sex, DH kept saying he hoped it was a boy, so he could "get the headaches out of the way now." I had to refrain from reminding him that when his mom had their swimming pool put in, she almost asked the pool guys to just leave the hole empty so she could bury her three teenage sons--to be dug up when they were in their 30s!

As long as it doesn't turn into a habit with your child. I guess it is terribly old-fashioned of me, but I feel like I do a lot for my family and I do not deserve to be treated badly. Because after the third comment, I would have sent her to her room for some "alone" time.

You probably have thought of this but have you tried a high protein snack with some fiber when she starts to sound like that? Sounds a bit like a low blood sugar spiral to me. Especially if it's happening right after school when she's likely to be pretty depleted nutritionally and emotionally. It's amazing how much healthy food helps restore everyone's equilibrium (and I speak from a lot of experience). Good luck!

Something that is currently going on in my family has given me an interesting perspective on this subject.
My cousin has a 7 year old daughter. This little girl was just diagnosed with a form of brain cancer, and was given three months to live.
I have an 8 month old daughter, and although raising children can (and will) be challenging at times, I would much rather hear the whining voice of my daughter, over never being able to hear her voice again, any day.
From visiting this website regularly, I know that the women who gather here are loving, compassionate, mothers. I wanted to share this with you, in hopes that it gives other people some perspective, the way it has me.

I know this post started over a month ago but in case you're still checking it...
My son just turned 9 and I have a very similar situation with him right now.
He's just been difficult or "spirited", it is very frustrating and exhausting.
I sometimes feel I am running myself ragged to keep him from starting his negative whining/ranting.
"But, sometimes, something just sets her off and everything is all wrong. Not only is it all wrong, but it is also always all my fault"...this is just like my son too.

I know that he has everything he needs, including love, boundaries, routine (to the best of my single mom/co.parenting ability), friends, etc. I decided that his attitude was effecting our lives enough that we should look into counseling. Anxiety in children is very common, and they express it differently than adults.
We are starting with a counselor that his Nurse Pracitioner (at Kaiser) recommended. I want to nip it the bud and teach him techniques to control that kind of thinking, which could lead to depression in the future.
Maybe it's not that big of a problem for you, and it is just whining.
But if it's really upsetting you and your daughter seems unhappy don't settle for "it's just developmental stuff". That may be true, but there are resources to help along the way.

I know this post started over a month ago but in case you're still checking it...
My son just turned 9 and I have a very similar situation with him right now.
He's just been difficult or "spirited", it is very frustrating and exhausting.
I sometimes feel I am running myself ragged to keep him from starting his negative whining/ranting.
"But, sometimes, something just sets her off and everything is all wrong. Not only is it all wrong, but it is also always all my fault"...this is just like my son too.

I know that he has everything he needs, including love, boundaries, routine (to the best of my single mom/co.parenting ability), friends, etc. I decided that his attitude was effecting our lives enough that we should look into counseling. Anxiety in children is very common, and they express it differently than adults.
We are starting with a counselor that his Nurse Pracitioner (at Kaiser) recommended. I want to nip it the bud and teach him techniques to control that kind of thinking, which could lead to depression in the future.
Maybe it's not that big of a problem for you, and it is just whining.
But if it's really upsetting you and your daughter seems unhappy don't settle for "it's just developmental stuff". That may be true, but there are resources to help along the way.

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