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Weird behaviour for an 8 year old???

sunshinex's picture

The carpet incident (see my last post) got me thinking... I don't know why, but my SD, a few months away from being 8 years old, is weirdly destructive and messy. She's coloured all over her white furniture, put sticky handprints all over the wall, and now destroyed her carpet. Even when she plays, she's strange about it. She'll take a box out of the recyling, bring it over to the litter box, fill it with cat litter, than throw other garbage on top and be like "look what I made!" or just weird things like that. Like, today, she took a bunch of cat food from the cat's bowl, put it into muffin cups, and left it sitting on the ground. I came down and was like wtf, can you please clean this up and play with your toys instead?? 

Is it just me or is this a bit strange? At almost 8 years old, I was playing with my toys or watching cartoons or playing outside or reading. I think the weirdest thing I did was make "potions" with bathroom products - hair gel, lotion, etc. But I never played with garbage or seeked out ways to make weird garbage creations... Even for people's birthdays/holidays, she will grab strange garbage things and put them in a bag as a "gift" and it just seems so odd to me. Again, at that age, I would save whatever money I could (lunch money, etc.) and buy like, a bar of soap or something small for my mom/dad. 

Today I told my husband it's like we need a freaking baby playpen to put her in when we can't have our eyes on her! Even my 19 month old is starting to understand what's for playing and what's not, he knows there's no touching the cat litter, no taking stuff out of the garbage, etc. so I'm just a bit confused... 

Monkeysee's picture

Has she always been this way or has this started after your son was born? The more I read about your SD the more convinced I am she’s trying to control the dynamic in your home by forcing attention in her direction. 

My OSS has tendencies like that, it’s beyond frustrating. Kids are smart & I don’t think for one second 7 or 9 is too young to display controlling or manipulative tendencies. 

sunshinex's picture

She's always been like this, but it's definitely gotten worse since our son was born. Or it's the fact that she's not 5 anymore so I'm struggling to look past it. I'm noticing it more and more and it's just so odd to me. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

I don't see this kid confining her "art" to her "art area".  Other areas of your house would end up decorated, and not in a cute way.

sunshinex's picture

THIS is exactly my worry. I really don't want to stiffle her but it doesn't seem like she's just being creative - it seems malicious. She gets time to colour every night after school at the table. We've told her to let us know if she wants us to set up the paint, take her outside to do some chalk on the pavement, etc. and she does once in a while but she'd prefer to do dumb crap instead apparently lol

ITB2012's picture

I don’t know any kids who would do such odd “art” works. Maybe use recycling but not just produce a pile of garbage. Does BM fawn all over whatever she does?


Along the lines of a room for art on the off chance this is a cry for artistic license—find some old outdoor shed you can put on your property and let her have at it in there. 

sunshinex's picture

Love the idea of an outdoor shed!!! We have one in the home we're buying so I'll consider that. 

fourbrats's picture

fiber crafts with her. Less mess and more room for creativity. My youngest DD loves to felt and has gotten quite adept at it. She started in school (class project) and then we bought her the supplies for home. She also enjoys weaving. I taught my niece to crochet when she was 7. I also teach a class for littles (K-4) where they learn weaving, spinning roving, crochet, loom knitting, etc. They make amazing working of art and come up with things I wouldn't have thought of. 

notasm3's picture

I would not let one crayon, marker, or any type of paint in the house.  And hide the pens. 

beebeel's picture

I can't believe how many are suggesting you reward her with an art room. My 3 year old says, "uh-oh, mama help?" The second he gets marker or paint on anything other than his paper. When he decided to purposely smash his marker tips, I took his art supplies away for a week. Maybe more? 

She knows what she is doing is wrong. I think the consequences need to be more impactful than losing her supplies for two, short days. And she'd be rewarded with more graffiti supplies over my dead body.

Monkeysee's picture

I’m so glad you said this, I thought I was going crazy reading the replies. Artistic or not, she’s being destructive & that’s not ok. First she needs to be taught she can’t just colour/paint/chalk all over everything & doing so results in consequences. Good behaviour is then rewarded with things like an art room.

At minimum some kind of combination of sorts. I don’t think sunshine’s SD is a bad kid, but she absolutely needs to learn she can’t keep doing things like this. 

BethAnne's picture

There was a separate thread for consequences the other day. This one seemed to be asking a different question. 

Monkeysee's picture

Fair enough, but we’re still talking about the same kid here. The same kid who just recently coloured over all her white furniture, and dumped chalk all over the carpet. The same kid who wakes up screaming every night because she’s scared, despite the night lights left on for her, and wets the bed when her dad doesn’t come get her to walk to the bathroom.

This isn’t a 2-3 year old child. If she needs an outlet for her creativity, that’s fine, but honestly I’m not convinced. Sunshinex has posted numerous times about her SD, I’m not convinced these ‘artistic’ creations aren’t just a further cry for attention or control.

I don’t believe in rewarding destructive behaviour, whether she’s an artist at heart or not. I can’t imagine how frustrated Sunshinex is with having to deal with these issues on a daily basis. 

Sure, give her an outlet to see if she’s actually artistic, but not before she understands that destructive actions have appropriate consequences. I’m sorry, but being artistic is not an excuse to cause chaos for your parents. Once she’s in her own house that she pays for, she can destroy everything she wants. But not a moment sooner.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

Mess is a problem. I get that. There are various light boards on the market for kids that are a little too adventurous. The downside to them is the room has to be darkened. I thanked my lucky stars when my second son came home from primary school years ago and announced his love for origami - they look rather nice scattered about the house too (in moderation) The house doesn’t feel a mess as such. Stack of pretty origami paper from art shops are reasonably inexpensive, and maybe a little book of ideas. I don’t believe it needs scissors as it’s all about folding, if she insists on scissors they do plastic ones that will only cut paper.