BehaviorGrade Schooler
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Child Acting Older Than Her Age

My daughter is acting up; she is only 8 and acting 80. She wears make up (I have said no), dresses up in clothes that would look OK on a 13 year old, but not on a 8 year old. I don't even know where she got the clothes. And she treats us like the kids. I don't know what caused this. What should I do?

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By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW

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June 21, 20120 found this helpful

First of all, you have to find out where she is getting the clothes and make-up, and where she is changing clothes and putting the make-up on. Either she is stealing, which means making her take the stuff back and pay the consequences, as well as ending any opportunity she has to steal.

If someone is giving her the stuff, you have to find out who as soon as possible. It is not normal or safe for anyone to be encouraging her to dress too old, or to give her these presents. That sounds suspiciously like "grooming" her, something pedophiles do to get children used to their advances, and to keep secrets from their parents. She is getting these ideas from the same place, and it is not a good thing. It really sounds to me like she is being manipulated.

It is possible that it is an older child at school. The school has to be informed. It could be innocent, but there are very young predators out there. Don't automatically assume that a child supplying these things is not dangerous. Probably they are safe, but don't take the chance. Just encouraging her to do this stuff is bad enough. Inform the school. Tell them you want this stopped. In my experience, they won't really do anything, but they might inform the parents.

You don't say if you give consequences. First of all, make it clear to her that, since she knows this is not allowed, she has to answer for it. Face scrubbed immediately. Clothes confiscated. Search her room every day. Decide on a consequence that makes sense to you, and apply it consistently, without anger. Kids don't need anger, they need firmness and a parent who is confident and does not need anger to discipline.

I have been in your place. My daughter was given jewelry. When I questioned her, she told me that a man in our neighborhood was giving things to the teens, including pornography. I called the police right away and let them take care of it. I made it very clear to my daughter, who was a teen at the time, that she was not to go back there. I was frank with her, and she understood the danger. I was careful to not make her feel stupid for not realizing that the gifter might be dangerous.

Good luck to you. Raising kids is very hard.

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June 21, 20120 found this helpful

I agree with above advice completely.

But I'd like to add another point that many parents, myself included at one time, feel unsure of. You are the parent, you have the authority. You don't need to argue the point, or escalate with threats.. Just calmly state: I did not provide these clothes/make-up for you. I have provided clothes appropriate for your age and these are not appropriate. You must tell me where you got them, so we can return them.

Otherwise, we will drive together to donate them to Good-will (don't give her the opportunity to sneak them out and change at school. Obviously she brought them home surreptitiously in the first place). Of course, Don't try to make her feel bad for this bad decision, but don't waffle. That makes it clear you are the one in charge.

The reason I say take them away from house is she could easily dig them out of a garbage can if she promised to return them to where ever she got them.If she promised to return them, go and return them together and tell both the lender and their parents,

this is not to happen again. Don't let her play with that person; the answer about visiting is always going to be no. You can make excuses, just make it no. Parents are by age, position, etc, in charge. It's not debatable.

When I was in the 8th grade, my father forbade me from one friend; I didn't understand what was wrong; we didn't dress in an exposed manner in those days, so I still don't know what it was he "saw", but the next time I saw her was years later, and she told me she , let's say, "worked hard for a living". You could have knocked me over with a feather. Needless to say, it gave me courage to cut off inappropriate friendships for my children without batting an eyelash.

If she talks down to you, say it's not the way to talk to you (calmly, fewest words as possible), go play in her room and don't do it again.

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July 16, 20170 found this helpful

It's probably preteen hormones and peer pressure. But at her age, remember you're still the parents. She'll thank you one day.

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