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memowgli
memowgli asks:
Q:

How do I avoid power struggles with my 9 year old kid?

Recently my 9yr old daughter has engaged in more power struggles with me over things such as my watching her to brush her teeth to make sure she is doing it right, homework, practice, room cleaning and occasionally doing things going places she needs to when they are boring to her &/or she doesn't want to & or wants to play, etc. She also has started back talking more.
I am trying to figure out how to react (other than in frustration, impatience-thus having my own temper tantrum)

Also, occasionally she would seem to act pretty out of sorts recently (overly sensitive, moody,etc).  She is an only child and I've been needing to study and haven't been able to pay much attention to her (other than neccessities such as bedtime & homework) and was wondering if that might have something to do with it.    
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Apr 5, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

We're so glad you took the time to reach out for some help on ways to reach your daughter and help her improve her behaviors. Engaging in power struggles, talking back, and not follow instructions are all problem behaviors you describe in your email and it definitely makes sense why these would be upsetting for you. Looking for healthy ways to address these behaviors is definitely a sign of really strong parenting on your part.

Its important to remember one thing: you have the power in the house, not your daughter. She may think that she has power and the ability to influence decisions, but she doesn't. In the end, it comes down to you. Now, does that mean you should try to be as authoritarian as possible? No, not at all. Being firm and consistent is key...with consequences, praise, and routine around the house.

In order to help with consistency, it helps to create a chart of expectations. Things which could be included on this chart are brushing teeth, making the bed, putting dishes away after dinner, going to the store, etc. Make it clear to your daughter what she is expected. Along with this chart, create a list of consequences which will follow if these expectations are not followed. Remember, being firm and consistent in implementing these is key. Once you have these expectations in place she will know what the result will be when she does not follow through, because you will be firm and consistent each time.

However, it is also important that you don't focus all of your attention on the negative behaviors. Don't forget to "catch your daughter being good." Consistent praise (don't overdo it, but don't forget to do it either) can be really rewarding for a child. Everybody likes a compliment, and it also shows your daughter that you are paying attention to her. Don't focus all of your efforts on discipline, as this can create some tension in the home. A good rule of thumb: for every criticism you give your daughter, praise her five times. A 5:1 ratio of praise to criticism is important. Remember, a house full of praise is much healthier and happier than one full of criticism.

Also, try to block off some time every single day to spend with your daughter. You wrote that you believe some of her negative behaviors may be a result of her trying to get your attention. Let her know that she can expect "X" amount of time with mom every single day or week. Also, plan things to do together for the future. Even if it is as simple as saying, "We are going to go to the park or do something fun on Saturday" on Wednesday evening at dinner, let her know that you have time for her and are able to block some time to spend with her. Kids love attention from their parents, they really do.

Check this out: http://www.parenting.org/article/getting-your-child-listen-first-time

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Additional Answers (2)

RebekahANelson
RebekahANel... writes:
123 magic is a very helpful book. I really enjoyed it and it helped us. I have an 11 year old son. We started with the book last year. She may be feeling a little neglected if you have spent more time with her in the past than now. School (for parents) is very demanding and takes a lot of time we really don't have. My 2 yr old will not let me study...lol. I just have to find time other than when she's awake. I don't know if it is feasible for you but maybe studying at night after she's in bed or taking time sometime during the day when she's at school would help. I have also found flylady.com to be very helpful...she helps you to organize your day and time spent on different activities. I hope these are helpful for you. I have had to get an organizer as well so I can manage time better and spend more time with my family...quality time.
> 60 days ago

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RebekahANelson
RebekahANel... writes:
123 magic is a very helpful book. I really enjoyed it and it helped us. I have an 11 year old son. We started with the book last year. She may be feeling a little neglected if you have spent more time with her in the past than now. School (for parents) is very demanding and takes a lot of time we really don't have. My 2 yr old will not let me study...lol. I just have to find time other than when she's awake. I don't know if it is feasible for you but maybe studying at night after she's in bed or taking time sometime during the day when she's at school would help. I have also found flylady.com to be very helpful...she helps you to organize your day and time spent on different activities. I hope these are helpful for you. I have had to get an organizer as well so I can manage time better and spend more time with my family...quality time.
> 60 days ago

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