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immature behavior in 12 yo
Rae618 posted:
**I am posting because I want to know if anyone else out there has heard or experienced similar symptoms. Please respond if you have heard of these symptoms or experienced similar symptoms with your own child.** My daughter has never been calm & mature but lately it's getting worse. The straw for me was when my mother came over and my daughter had a field day. She grabbed gifts out of my hands, almost breaking a glass candle jar, using a package of clothing hangers as a "claw" and kept swinging them at me, interrupting our conversation, taking ribbon from the gift packaging and trying to tie it around my head repeatedly, even after being told not to repeatedly. She also made a big show out of watering my house plants and spilled a large amount on the floor and didn't clean it up or tell me about it. Grabbed a cake out of the refrigerator, making a big deal out of just using one hand and almost dropping it. Yes I talked to her after my mother left and told her that her behavior was unacceptable and that I could not understand why she behaved this way and that she embarrassed me. Then we went out to dinner. She refused to eat her meal because there was a small amount of meat on her pasta. We asked her if she wanted us to get her another meal and she would refuse, then sit there and sigh loudly and stab at her plate. It was very embarrassing, especially with my 7 year old son sitting across from her. The waiter came over at the end of the meal and instead of asking us for dessert, she grabbed the little stand up paper picture and jabbed it repeatedly with her finger, crying "ooh ooh ooh". My husband became very angry at this point, fed up, and told her there was no way she was getting dessert because of the way she had been acting. She ended up ruining my entire evening. We go to a store and she has to stand right by my side, touching me, the entire time. She will start walking through a store and have people walking behind her and all of a sudden, she will just stop and refuse to move until she sees that I am angry - about the 4th or 5th time I tell her to move out of the way is when she finally wakes up & moves. If I grab her arm and pull her out of the way, she gets very upset, like she's going to cry. Today is Saturday. This latest episode started on Thursday and she's gotten so bad that I had her go over to her Dad's house today because I couldn't take any more (she thinks I'm being nice by letting her go visit). My 7 yr old son, when told his sister was leaving, had one word to say - "GOOD". What is wrong with her? She has been tested for ADD and Anxiety, by several so-called professionals and no one can give me a solid diagnosis for either one. She is in counseling but after 3 months, the counselor finally confessed to me that she doesn't talk to him at all, they just play a board game during the sessions. She then promised me she would start talking to him, but she hasn't, so I haven't taken her back to the counselor. I don't know what to do with her at this point. All I see right now is that I'm going to be spending our summer fighting this behavior and it's not fair to my son. **I am posting because if anyone knows of similar symptoms, please respond.**
GnSwoosh responded:
She sounds like a very normal 12 year old girl who is in need of attention. There's a saying that teen girls are much like toddler boys. She's moving into the next phase of life, becoming more a woman every single day, and she's looking at you for some gentle guidance. Getting angry only teaches her anger. Try to remember being 12. Didn't you love being by your mother's side? Also, try to remember that in just 5-6 very short years, she will probably be moving on to bigger and better things, like college.
penguin37 responded:
I agree with swoosh. Additionally, stick with counseling...but for you. You need to learn some strategies for setting up some order in your home, relaying to your kids expected behavior, you need to learn how to diffuse your own anger. It doesn't sound like anything is wrong with your little girl. I don't think anything you listed are symptoms.
destinysmom1976 responded:
I go through the same thing EVERYDAY with my 12 year old son. Though he is 5'9 almost, I just expect him to act more mature, forgetting that he is only 12 and still a kid. I gripe all the time about people trying to push kids to grow up faster both educationally and socially. Its just not fair to them, and I actually find myself doing it. I'm a yeller, something I'm working on, so for myself I am learning to slow down and think before correcting my kids behavior, in a calm fashion, though sometimes it doesn't work that way YET. I'm learning that my firm but calm voice is working better than my yelling and threatening or begging voice. Plus both of my kids know the consequences if they aggrivate or misbehave excessively. With my 12 year old they are cell phone taken away or no friends over or going to friends on the weekend. With my 7 year old, no playing with the neighborhood friends. And both hate sitting in their room by themselves. I think that kids of all ages need their "kid" time, but they do need to learn that there are times and places to act goofy.
momof4adults responded:
As a mother of 4 young adult women.. ages 30, 27, 24, and 21, and grandmother of two boys, ages 8 and 4, I offer my prayers and my understanding. Growing up IS indeed hard and scary. This is NOT normal in a 12 year old girl. With no offense to other posters... this is ridiculous behaviour. With no offense to YOU, what are YOU doing to respond to these behaviours? You do say she has been checked for physical and mental issues and nothing unusual was found, so I would start with simple behavioural retraining, so to speak. Don't yell, argue, bargain or threaten. YOU are the adult. Send her to her room (with no tv, phone, video games) when she misbehaves. If you must take her shopping with you.. focus on what you need to do, not her reaction to you. Just go on about your business. DO NOT REWARD BAD BEHAVIOUR. If her dinner wasn't perfect.. so be it. Why in the WORLD would you ask a 12 year child if she wanted to order another dinner? Catering to her.. encourgaging and enabling her disruptive behaviour.. will just cause the issue to balloon. You should no more accept this from her than you would accept it if your husband suddenly began to abuse you. Because this is a form of abuse.
stuck_in_ks responded:
I agree with Momof 4Adults! This is NOT normal behavior for a 12 yr old girl or boy. If she isn't talking to this counselor, try another one. Also how about family counseling? and/or maybe a class about parenting teens/preteens? I know that around here there are quite a few of those being offered. If nothing else it would be a good way to get face-to-face ideas from other parents of what worked for them. I have found with my daughters (15 and 20) that it is sometimes important to address whatever behavior issue is going on right when it happens. Sometimes addresssing an issue such as what you have described on shopping trips right when it happens, there in public, emabarrasses them to the point that they wont do it again PLUS... they didn't get the response they wanted from you. The behavior didn't work... it didn't push the right buttons. Maybe that would work?
thisistuff responded:
I agree with the older and more experienced lady abut parenting, however let me just add some suggestions. Behavior Therapy Only! If it were my daughter, and I have one that age, I would not let her do anything without asking. She cannot sit, stand, go to the bathroom, pick her nose without asking first. Certainly, there are somethings like stomach growls, being tired, flatulating, and other things thhe body does and that should not be considered Rational Behavior. Develop a discipline for your daughter asking permission for every action. If she refuses, then consequence her, BUT don't paint yourself into a corner with with "punishment", send her to time out (call it something else if that is too baby'ish like "take a minute, think twice while you are on the sofa). [ if you say sit on the sofa and she refuses, but sits on the floor, that is fine. The key is arresting the behavior is the goal, not the location of the time out!> DON"T finger her out, shame her, or critisize her. Hold your tounge! Make the time outs only long enough for her to be "safe". View her behavior that is out of control as "unsafe". Don't catastrophize the behavior she does, keep it in context. Do not become counter aggressive, projecting your frustrations on to her. It is tough, but if you find this advice helpful, let me know.
teeny79 responded:
This is a far off guess but here goes: My husband has a cousin who was believed to have adhd. It seemed like the right diagnosis until he got older. It seemed the older he got the more his immaturity level lagged behind. He was old enough to drive yet still wanted to play with kids far younger than he was. It turns out that he has aspergers which is a mild form of autism. It wasn't apparent when he was younger which is why he was misdiagnosed as having adhd. Is it possible that your daughter could have aspergers? It would explain why the adhd diagnosis just doesn't seem to fit. You might try getting her re-evaluated by a different psychiatrist and see what they say and ask them about aspergers. Hope this was of some help to you :smile:
amethyst_glory responded:
thisisstuff, when you are referring to the child asking permission for everything, are you talking about a permanent disciplining technique or just an excersize to teach respect? I'm no psychotherapist, but I believe That this technique as a permanent discipline technique could cause some major problems on down the road. If she feels she cannot even go to the bathroom without permission she will feel out of control, which causes all sorts of mental disturbance. Besides, if my mom had ever told me that, then I would rebel every second I had the chance just to feel in control again-- I'm sure most teens would have the same response. I agree with the reply about what your reactions to her behavior are. Are you taking away priveleges or grounding her for bad behavior? Are you rewarding for good behavior? I would have her screened both mentally and physically as a precaution, but it does sound to me like she just needs some boundaries ASAP. I hope this helped and I wish you luck on correcting her behavior. Just don't give up!
Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
Has she seen her regular doctor? Has she had a neuro-psych work up? Those are avenues I would pursue.
GingerKohler responded:
Has she always seemed to be acting younger than her age? There are a number of Disorders that include Developmental Delay and Developmental Delay can be a disorder by itself. My son is 12 and mentally/social around 9/10 years old. He does some of the things you talk about. Now that he's reach adolescence, he's become very frustrated. All the other kids have drastically changed socially and mentally where he hasn't. He still plays with toys like a younger kid. He's also very imaginative (like using a hanger as a claw, or (if metal), bending it into something. He does have ADHD and very high functioning Aspergers - both of which have developmental delay. Have you considered having the school councilor observer her? Part of her acting out could be because of how she is treated by her peers at school. It's also very hard to understand what your child might be going through unless you were developmentally delayed yourself. I've ADD and was developmentally delayed. We are going over a book about ADHD written for kids his age and I can point out things in the book that we both had/have problems with. He's responded very positively to it, because he realizes that I understand. I'm able to give him some help. However, I never learned social skills and how to deal with bullies, so I can't help him there. As for counseling, no one councilor fits all people. Also, the councilor should be including your family members in the sessions. My son's will discuss problems with us and suggest solutions that my son agrees to try. She does spend time with him. Since he still like to play with toys that younger kids like, she does a very specific set up in which how he plays will tell her things about him. Sometimes it's a doll house to observe how he is displaying the family (although, the dolls are not mentioned as being his family). There are other games that are used check for problems that they have trouble talking about. Afterward, she will talk to us privately about what she observed. However, I don't think your councilor, with his board games, was using them to see what was wrong. He may have been trying to gain her trust, but if he doesn't have it by the end of 3 months, it's time to try another. I actually called around asking specific questions to find one that is use to dealing successfully with kids like mine.
thisistuff responded:
amethyst_glory I failed to mention everything. Telling is a stage, selling is the next stage, participating, and delegating are the other stages. Telling- as I said before they ask, you tell. Once this is established (depends on the kid, a week, two weeks, whatever). Selling is the idea that they understand your expectations and why you are doing what you are doing. Telling can stop for everything, but you may note they will still ask for permission. Participating is when you jointly plan things, like an outing, whats for dinner (when you feel indecisive and want some input). Remember, they must be sold (second stage) on your expectations. Deligating is letting them decide what the plan is for the evening, or what to have for dinner. You just come in and say, what are we going to do? I think this takes a long time to get to the deligating process. Not all things should be deligated, but something they can do like picking a movie to watch, clothing to all depends on how well they have bought into the first and second stage. Sometimes you have to return to the first stage for a day if they fail to perform in a mature way. Hope that helps.
sea2006 responded:
I have just read the book "Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child" by Robert Mackenzie. Here's the link to a review: It sounds like you are setting "soft" limits. I suggest reading this book and doing Exactly What It Says. Good luck!
sea2006 responded:
Just in case you never get around to checking the book I suggested out of the Library, I have a few tips.... Acting up in front of company? > 1. State your expectation clearly: "DD, Stop interrupting and waving the hangers in my face or you will sit in your room until G-ma leaves." At this point, she has all the information she needs to make her choice. > 2. She makes her choice. She will either A -- Stop, or B -- wave the hangers one more time. At this point, she is conducting "Research" -- she's finding out how many times you will tell her to stop before you actually do something about it. > 3. If she stops, you praise her -- "Thank you for making a good choice." If she decides to keep it up, you immediately and calmly escort her to her room Just like You Said You Would. Dinner out? > You remind her before you order -- "DD, pick what you want carefully b/c whatever you order, you will either happily eat or you will need to sit and wait politely for us to be done. You will not have the choice to make our dinner unpleasant or order another meal. If you choose to be unhappy, you will go sit in the car until we're done" (with a parent or without...depending on your comfort level and the environment you're in) Thus, she has all of the information she needs to make a good choice. > She orders and either likes her meal or doesn't. She gets to pick how she acts/reacts. > She behaves -- great. Lots of praise. She doesn't? She goes to the car. Next time -- babysitter? Stops in the aisle in the store? > Give her all of the information: "DD, we're going to walk through the store without your fits or we will leave and sit in the car for 15 minutes until you decide to behave. We will keep doing this until we get all of our shopping done." > Same as above > Same as above. My favorite? "You can go and clean your room right now, or you can stand int he middle of the living room floor (our own personal "time-out" spot in my house for my 9 year old -- he would LOVE it if I sent him to a corner to sit down, so standing in the middle of the room is torture for him) for 10 minutes and *think* about cleaning your room before you do it. Your choice." The key is to be calm and consistent. Strong-willed children think that they've won as long as they get you mad or they can argue/push/upset you and so long as you are discussing it with them, they are getting your attention and NOT doing what you tell them. Even 5-10 minutes of stalling stands a Victory in their mind. They also think "debatable" means "optional", so no more arguing, debating, or discussing things..... Ahhhh.....I'm not doing this book half the justice it deserves -- I really recommend checking it out. Even with therapy, you need to seriously re-evaluate your parenting skills with her (no offense...I've been told I'm a pretty decent discipliner and I *still* learned a LOT about what I'm doing wrong after reading this book!) :smile: It's working with my own strong-willed 9 year old, and I'm yelling and becoming much less frustrated these days! Good luck!
queston responded:
Excellent advice from sea2006. We are raising 3 very intelligent and strong-willed children (17, 15 and 12). Because they are smarter than most adults, they tend to struggle with the idea of adult authority. One thing that we have learned is not to give the impression that things are negotiations: this is the way it is, because we are the parents and this is what we have decided--end of story. If you want to calmly explain to me why you'd like to see a different policy next time, then feel free, but the issues has been decided for the time being. I could not agree more with the second-to-last paragraph in sea2006's post. But it is much easier said than done. My 15yo daughter in particular knows exactly how to make my blood boil, and she uses this information to her best advantage.

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