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Parenting Advice 9-year-old girl has temper tantrums and school problems


Please will you help me. I have a daughter of 9 who seems to be very insecure. She is very disruptive at school and throws temper tantrums and sulks when she does not get her own way. She has a problem making friends at school as she is very angry and tends to lash out at other children.

I have been told that I am at fault as I do not give her boundaries. She has now got to the point where she is messing in her pants. She is so embarrassed about this but does not seem able to control it. Please, I am desperate to help my little girl but do not know what to do.

Many thanks,

Jacki Lukan

Jan's reply:

Hi Jacki,

Thank you for visiting our site.

My first advice is to disregard those who warn about boundaries. A child's "misbehavior" is only very seldom a case of too few boundaries. It is far more likely to be related to the child's anger over punishment and other frustrations. It really is true that "all children behave as well as they are treated"! This is a very simple principle, but in our complicated society, it can be - and often is - overlooked and misunderstood. We've just added an excerpt from my favorite parenting book, Raising Your Child, not by Force but by Love, which eloquently explains this principle.

School is inevitably frustrating for children, as it is such a restrictive and unnatural environment. It can also be painful and difficult for a sensitive child to experience the kinds of mean-spirited behavior that can take place at even the best of schools. If you are in a position to consider homeschooling, please read our articles on unschooling and our book The Unschooling Unmanual.

For ideas on how to raise children in loving ways that bring about loving behavior in return, please see these advice replies and articles:


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