View Full Version : Need advice re: emotional outbursts

10-11-2016, 11:58 PM
I don't usually post many questions but I am definitely looking for some advice and insight on this. My DD is 9 and in 4th grade. In general, she is a great kid, pretty quiet and shy but generally very responsible. She does well in school. We have never had any sort of major issue with her until now. For the last month or so, she seemed really emotional about anything and everything. She would cry over trivial things. For instance, this week, she cried once because DS (who is 6) corrected her a couple of times on the pronunciation of a classmate's name. They were looking at his class picture when this happened. She claimed that DS was laughing at her. DS is kind of a goof ball and laughs at a lot of things. She felt that he was making fun of her. This morning, she was pouting and upset because she found out that I had cut out a legoland coupon from her lego magazine (those free ones) the previous night. She did not want me to do so. I apologized for not asking her beforehand but really... she hardly read the magazine and it was not like I ruined it or something.

Once she starts crying, it takes a while for her to calm down and stop. Last year, the times when she would cry or get emotional usually occur the day after her staying up late. I had attributed them to her not getting enough sleep. This does not seem to be the cause or pattern anymore. I kind of thought that it was due to her pre-tween hormones. DH thinks that she is stressed and reacting because she is stressed. One possible stressor is her ballet class. Last year, she loved ballet. This year, she got placed into a more advance class because she did well in her previous class. The class meets 2x a week for 2 hrs and 1.5 hr respectively. It really cuts into her homework time which is some worksheets and mostly reading. When she gets back from ballet, we are usually hurrying her along, getting her dinner, making her jump into the shower, do her homework etc etc. Furthermore, she has expressed that the class is harder. She is the youngest in her class. Some girls are in MS. The age range is 9-12. Everything is more precised and doesn't come as easy to her as it did last year.

The one thing that has not helped her at all is that she is super SLOW. She eats really slowly, does everything very slowly. She is the first one to get up in the morning but almost always the last to leave the house. This seems to have gotten worse this school year. I could see how the longer ballet class would make that day more stressful because she is just slow at moving from one thing to another. She actually really likes school because she is in the same class as her BFF and her BFF (a friend of mine) is one of her teachers. But for some reason, she already has two tardies in the last 3 weeks of school. Prior to this year, she rarely gets a tardy, maybe once a school year. So when she pouts, gets upset, cries about something in the morning, it does not help her to get to school on time. Most of the time, when she is running late, she is just messing around w/DS and getting on each other's nerves.

I am not sure what to do to help her. DH is sad that she is not excited about ballet. He was the proud ballet parent last year. Even outside of ballet, you could tell that she loves dance. Now, she is kind of down about it. The ballet enrollment is year-long and we are receiving a partial scholarship. So we can't just quit mid-year unless there is a very good reason. I also don't want her to quit because it's hard. I am not really how to encourage her to move along faster either... We have a reward system for her getting ready in the morning. She has not earned any reward for that category for the last 2 weeks.


10-12-2016, 12:16 PM
I'm so sorry you and your DD are going through this! I have friend whose daughter just turned 10, and she's in a very similar place to the one you describe. My oldest is only 7, but he's very sensitive, and he also struggles emotionally and can get into downward funks. Honestly, his being super slow is how I can tell that his mood needs some help.

I think you need to change ballet. I don't know how you can do that, but I'd talk to the school director. Let her be in a class where she feels confident and is having fun! There are times to challenge oneself and times to nurture oneself, and it sounds like your daughter is caught in a self-critical funk with no good avenues for enabling herself to feel successful and happy. Ballet was that refuge for her. I think it needs to be again.

I would also work hard to find ways to praise her and help her succeed throughout the day. If she's got a chart, put some things on there that she's really good at. As often as you can, catch her doing things right, and let her know you noticed. When she's in a funk, it's probably a general release of stress rather than actually about the thing she's stating. Try to be compassionate. You can validate how she's feeling without agreeing with her assessment of the situation. You can say things like, "I'm sorry you're feeling so hurt and frustrated," rather than pointing out that her little brother didn't really intend to hurt her. Does that make sense?

I do think 9 is not too young to be starting the tween emotional rollercoaster.

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10-12-2016, 12:47 PM
It sounds like the typical tween emotional thing. My DD is 10 and randomly gets very upset over seemingly small things. Sometimes she cries hysterically (almost choking) over random crap and can't seem to calm herself down for a while. From talking to other parents, it seems pretty typical. (My spelling words aren't hard enough. My brother just called me dumb. My special swim shirt is dirty. My ponytail has lumps in it). I just try to reassure her and comfort her.

Regarding ballet, either change her class to something easier or talk to your DD about it. My DD has had similar experiences when she moved up a level in swimming. Suddenly it was hard and she felt like she wasn't very good. We eventually got through it. We had discussions on how it take your body a little while to adjust to something harder. It takes a while to learn new things. It's hard for everyone when they start. The only way to get better is to work hard.

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10-13-2016, 10:21 PM
It definitely sounds like she is stressed. I would talk to her and get her to share with you how she is feeling about ballet. It may be that it is too difficult or perhaps she doesn't feel like she clicks with the older girls. They could be even excluding her or making fun of her. Maybe she has decided ballet isn't her thing or perhaps she is conscious of her changing body. I am sure she doesn't want to disappoint you and I would let her know that it is ok to tell you guys how she is really feeling. I would be totally open to switching her down to the lower class if it means she would enjoy it more and have more free time. Or if she was hating it, really hating it, I would probably let her quit at the end of the semester. Let the ballet company know and they can assign the scholarship to another family.