mouse asks: My cousin’s 9-year-old sister is too stubborn. She doesn’t even regret that she has failed so many papers, she doesn’t listen to her mom or dad, and she talks rudely. She believes that no one loves her, although her parents get her everything – she just seems to follow something in her mind. Please help!
Hi mouse –
I have to admit, I’m a bit confused about this girl! First of all, what sort of papers is a nine-year-old assigned to write? Second, why are her parents giving her ‘everything,’ when she doesn’t listen to them? And third, does she believe that no one loves her because… no one does? I’ll try to answer your question, but this is tough material.
It sounds to me like this girl has some real issues with her parents. They’re giving her lots of stuff, but not giving her the boundaries she needs. She sounds confused and unsure of what to do, and VERY unhappy about it.
You see, it’s a kid’s job to see what they can get away with. There’s nothing bad about that. It’s like when I was a puppy – my playful bad behavior wasn’t a sign that I was a terrible dog, but just my trying to find what the actual rules were. And if I hadn’t tried everything I could, I wouldn’t be the spirited pooch I am today.
So while I might not be understanding the situation correctly, it sounds like her parents need some help. There are lots of books out there about effective parenting, there are classes they can take, or they could look into doing some family counseling. Any of these can help. And the most important thing they can get out of any of these methods would be to find ways to agree on what their home rules are. What’s okay for her to say to them, and what isn’t? How well does she need to do in school? When does she get rewards, and when does she get negative consequences? As long as they agree on them, she will become a happier kid, as her world begins to make more sense.
I want to say again, I might be wrong about what’s going on with her. But if I’m right, that book or class or counselor will help them a lot. And if I’m wrong, trying those things out will reveal to the parents that there’s something more they need to look into (perhaps to have her tested by a psychologist).
But again, my guess is that she’ll be fine, once they get the home rules a bit clearer.