18/06/2009 09:18 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Ask Joanne - Daughter Behaving Badly

Send your parenting question in to our life coach Joanne Mallon at this address and say if you'd like your name changed.

Simon writes:

My wife and I are at the end of our tether with our daughter. Apparently at school she is so well behaved, but when she comes home it's like we have someone else's child. She shouts, answers back, is so cheeky and doesn't seem to care. Then when we punish her she turns on the tears right on cue.

We've tried grounding her, stopping her from playing with her guinea pig, stopping her sweets and her treats, time out, naughty step, sending her to her room, but nothing works. We are in the middle of moving house which we know can upset her, but when we ask her she says she's not bothered. She is 7 in August this year. She used to be such a polite and friendly wee girl. Please heeeeeellllllppppp!

Here's life coach Joanne's reply

Dear Simon

We'll she's telling you very loud and clear with her actions that she does mind, isn't she? I think it's worth talking to her more about the house move – emphasise the good parts, like decorating a new bedroom.

Perhaps you could get her to choose an outing, such as a trip to the park, to spend some extended time together. Give her the space to tell you what's on her mind. You may not feel like giving her a treat like a day out, but her behaviour is telling you that she's unhappy, and you'll only get to the bottom of that by spending time together. She's testing your boundaries, so you need to reassure her that you're still there for her.

One thing I notice is that you say her birthday is in August, so I guess she will be one of the youngest in her school year. The school system can be quite tough on Summer born children, as they compete with children who are intellectually and emotionally further developed. So whilst it may look on the surface like things are fine at school, it may be taking a huge effort on your daughter's part to do this. So it's not surprising that she's run out of energy by the time she comes home, and her behaviour suffers.

You mention that she has lovely qualities,and I'm sure these will come to the fore again. Does her school have a set of rules that they abide by? Perhaps you could use these as a basis for some family rules.

You may find this advice useful too, it's for a mother whose seven year old's behaviour had also gone offbeam.

Hope this helps and good luck.


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