My 10-Year-Old Is Overly Emotional And Can’t Control Them: I Could Use Some Advice

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QUESTION: My 10-year-old is overly emotional: Advice?

“My daughter is 10; she is in 5th grade. She has always been emotional. I recalled putting her in pre-school and getting frequent calls that she was having emotional outbursts and would disrupt the entire class. Sometimes we had to pick her up. The teacher would even tell me maybe the program isn’t for her. I decided pre-k was maybe too much and withdrew her. For kindergarten, I wanted to try homeschooling because of her pre-k experience, but if I so much as reminded her to dot her “I,” she would cry, so I figured maybe she really needed to be around other kids and schooling was better left to the professionals.

Now, moving forward, it’s been a common occurrence. Every year, every teacher has had this issue. Third grade wasn’t too bad, so I thought she finally outgrew it. (Now, I think the teacher probably just tolerated it and moved along with her day). Nope, 4th grade came, and so did the calls from the school along with it. Even more so now, in 5th grade. I feel she is way too old to be acting out in this way, and she certainly does not act out this way with my husband or me.

Now, she does overreact at home, but it doesn’t lead to the same behavior at school. (We’ll hear the, ‘ugh oh my gosh,’ when we ask her to do her chores or the mumbling under her breath or she fights with her sister about it, and sometimes we see her in full on tears about her 5-minute chores but once she sees us or knows that we are in her presence, she clears her face and fixes the attitude.) At school, if she has any minor inconvenience, it seems to ruin her whole day. She’ll lash out and not do work all day. It’s affecting her grades as well.

The causes of her outburst vary from things such as she didn’t get to take enough notes in the time she was given. (She also doesn’t try to problem-solve, such as simply asking for more time, she just throws a fit and lets it ruin the whole day.) Sometimes it’s because she would rather do what she wants to do, which is draw, and she’s exceptionally amazing for her age. Yesterday, she didn’t like what they served for lunch and cried, threw a tantrum, and threw the food away.

She doesn’t appear to have any friends; she never talks about having any. I think she has a hard time making friends. My stepdaughter tells me at school, they call her Ms. Grouch because she’s always angry. It’s sad that her classmates classify her that way but I also know that she is angry often. It’s getting frustrating, having to constantly apologize for her behavior and constantly grounding her. None of our others behave this way. I don’t know what could be the cause. The school has reached out and we’ve agreed to have an evaluation.

I recently filled out two questionnaires about her behavior, called EDDT-PF. I don’t know much about it but I’m hoping someone else might or may have had the same type of experience and what kind of help they sought out, what worked, and any other advice. Please help!!!!”

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My 10-Year-Old Is Overly Emotional And Can't Control Them: I Could Use Some Advice

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“I recommend getting her into therapy ASAP. She sounds like she’s struggling with emotional development issues and or chemical imbalances likely. Poor girl, I feel for her.”

“Get her into a pediatric neuropsychologist. Don’t take no for an answer. She sounds pretty miserable & I can’t imagine how hard that is for everyone. Good luck.”

“I am not sure what that evaluation is, but I would have an evaluation done to see if she falls onto the spectrum at all. Not being able to regulate her emotions but is exceptionally good at art and drawing, could classify her on the autism spectrum. Which if it is the case, there are special therapies that can be done so she can learn how to control her emotions and the outbursts are probably just as frustrating for her. Good Luck, Momma!!”

“An amazing teacher will make all difference. ADHD presents in girls different than boys. Her acting out and defiance maybe something a pediatrician can better diagnose and treat. Start a paper trail with all school professionals (teacher, EA, principal, counselor) and get referred to a pediatrician.”

“She needs to go to therapy, they can help her learn coping mechanisms for her feelings and can diagnose her if she has something going on that needs more attention.”

“Sounds like anxiety, that’s why it’s not as bad at home, definitely talk to doctors for an evaluation. Sounds horrible, but I got one younger kid like that and he’ll throw toys or food he doesn’t like so naturally he doesn’t get them back after a few times he stopped.”

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