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Help! My seven year old is turning into a teen!

So we're back in Dubai. And it's been non-stop drama ever since we got here.

Firstborn seems hell-bent on a course of self-destruction. Her usual mode of ignoring all commands to stop running on the side of the pool resulted in two broken front teeth and a huge bruise on her chin. Cue emergency dental session, two crowns, a dental bill the size of the UK's national debt and much grumbling about being put on a soup diet for a week until her teeth recover from the trauma of hitting tiled flooring.

Yesterday, having recovered some of her equilibrium, Firstborn decided to ignore all commands to stop jumping on top of a plastic table while at the pool. Sure enough the table broke in two, Firstborn fell off it and is now boasting a cut toe, a shin that looks as if its been attacked by a cheese grater and numerous bruises.

Add all this to frequent tantrums, constant baiting of her younger sister, endless demands for PS2's/ mobile phones/ make-up plus a non-stop volley of teen-style backchat, and I'm almost ready to take her down to the market and swop her for a camel (probably less trouble, at the very least can't talk back).

Firstborn is seven years old; I thought seven was the age of reason. Someone tell me what the hell is going on?


Part of whatever is going on -- and I speak from eight years and counting of it -- is expat life in a developing country. At school and maybe elsewhere, Firstborn is spending time with brats who talk about and treat "their" maids like crap, whose parents buy them anything and everything they ever wish for, and whose parents don't try to help mould into decent, kind, responsible human beings. Rearing upstanding world citizens in such an atmosphere is do-able but exhausting. You can do it, YLM!
Anonymous said…
Camels spit. Does Firstborn do this yet? Obviously the Dubai heat is getting to her. Send her to Cornwall where the wet summer weather will dampen her down!
sweetpeabart said…
Hello again. Seems no matter where we live our kids are all the same, eh?

Our 6-year-old is sassy, too, so we started a behavior when she was 2 or 3 years old!

She liked the chart for the first week and now declares that she "Hates the chart!"

I read somewhere that ages 6ish-10ish are the "parent-pleasing years." Pish posh!

I hope those weren't First Born's permanent front teeth that were broken. UGH!

Camels spit, btw...which is still a fair trade.
YLM said…
Hi Bangkok Expat Mama - this has crossed my mind, the bratty expat syndrome, but I am very careful that the kids treat our maid (and all maids, gardeners, shopkeepers etc) with the utmost respect. They have been told again and again that our maid is part of the family and she has a job to do, just like anyone else, and is as worthy of respect as anyone else. They're pretty good kids and have taken this is a given. But I know exactly what you mean and it will be more difficult to drum the 'everyone is worthy of respect' message into them as they get older. I hope I can do it! There's going to be a lot of groundings and withheld pocket money if they don't continue to take it on board!

Anon- they'll be on the first flight out!

Hi Sweetpeabart - I LOVE the chart! The chart is a wonderous thing and it really, really works.

Sadly, the affected teeth were Firstborn's adult teeth. It still makes me mad to think about it. Now I know how my mum felt all those times when I broke bits of myself and got into scrapes - sucks to be the mom of an unco kid like me (and poor Firstborn has inherited it from me 100%).

Spitting I can cope with. It's the bratty attitude-filled speech that I'm not so keen on. Sigh.
DelRae said…
I'm a firstborn myself, and I have to say that I was pretty head strong myself. I now have a 2 year old son who, I'm afraid, has inherited all of my firstborn stubborness...and did I mention he's only 2?! Have you read The Birth Order book by Kevin Lehman - it might give you some insight as to what to expect and how to handle a firstborn's behavior. :)
Lea said…
Ohhh, how I can relate! My sassy 7-year-old seems convinced she's ready to move out and start living on her own, without any guidance from her parents. But then yesterday, in a fit of rage over my being a few minutes late picking her up from school, she stalked across the street WITHOUT LOOKING and nearly got run over! Needless to say, we had quite a serious chat after that little episode.

Reading your post makes me think this may be somewhat universal... I hope? I'm just dreading the "real" teenage years.

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