Ask Amy: Tantrum-throwing 10-year-old is a terror

DEAR AMY: My lovely daughter is 10 years old. She is an extremely bright, talkative, beautiful and friendly girl, well-liked by all the kids at school. She is athletic, creative, an advanced reader and excels academically. She sounds practically perfect, doesn’t she?

Well, unfortunately she has been prone to temper tantrums since she was just a wee thing. I thought that she would outgrow this. In some ways she has, but she still gets very angry and yells at the top of her lungs, stomps around, slams doors and plugs her ears.

I am concerned that she is unable to control herself and that this behavior will continue to impede her as she gets older. She will not listen to reason, and she can be very difficult to communicate with. She has so many other great qualities, but her siblings tend to steer clear of her because of her quick temper.

I am a teacher, and so I am well-versed in child development. I don’t want to squash her confidence, but she needs to get her emotions under control. -- Frustrated Mom

DEAR MOM: Your daughter’s issues might be caused by a complex set of factors.

I have read about people with various allergies or food sensitivities that can cause them to act erratically, much as you describe. You should look for patterns and triggers and have her thoroughly evaluated by her pediatrician. An outside professional can look at the totality of her behavior and help all of you respond consistently, with clear boundaries and consequences.

If she doesn’t do this at school, then you’ll have to re-evaluate your home life. Your girl should be prompted not only to stop doing this, but to think about her behavior: How does her body feel just before she erupts? Does she feel a rushing in her ears? Does her face feel hot? She could train herself to try to recognize these sensations and breathe deeply, get a drink of water or juice, or go to a favorite place in the house while the storm passes.

DEAR AMY: My wife of 10 years has gained close to 25 pounds since our marriage. (She was never a size zero to begin with, I should point out.) She also bore our two children. I am well aware that beauty is within (and I thoroughly love her).

I am concerned for her health, but I am also not as physically attracted to her as I once was. Is there any way of approaching this when my true reason is not entirely health-related, but more sexual attraction? -- Unsure

DEAR UNSURE: I have news for you. No one is as sexually attractive after 10 years of marriage as in those first hot and heady days of a relationship (including you, presumably).

Your “I’m worried about your health” statement is transparent. Don’t even bother. I agree with you that sexual attraction is very important. But your wife knows she’s put on 25 pounds. You don’t need to highlight this.

I suggest you approach this as an effort to bump up your marital mojo in a loving, sweet way that involves an effort on your part to do things differently at home so she can have some time and space to concentrate on herself (a co-membership at the gym wouldn’t hurt).

Tell your wife that after 10 years you are still crazy about her and that you want to make sure you both have opportunities to stoke the spark. Approach this like a true partner.

DEAR AMY: I was truly shocked to read the letter from “Shocked,” who reported workplace harassment because she didn’t take her husband’s last name when they married. Really? I hardly know any women who have taken their husband’s surnames. -- Professional Reader

DEAR READER: When I looked into this, I was surprised to see that, according to a 2009 study in the journal Social Behavior and Personality, about 23 percent of women kept their maiden names in the 1990s, compared with about 18 percent in the 2000s.

The trend of women keeping their names seems to have peaked, which I find surprising.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

lifestyle

style

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Lifestyle

lifestyle

style

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters