Hey, not an 8 but I’m an RBT who works with kids. Seeking professional help is always a good idea. For now, here’s a rundown of what you can do at home.
Kids need a sense of control just as much as adults do (and not just 8s!) And they have way less control over their lives than we do. It’s tough to be a kid! Name of the game is giving your daughter healthy outlets to gain that sense of control over her life:
1) Give your daughter as much <b>responsibility</b> as possible. Regular things like chores (chore charts are ace), also special things. She can help you cook dinner, clean the house, go shopping, etc. Anything that makes her feel a little more grown up. I’d especially have her help out with her little sister. (Oh, and if she needs your help with something, she’s got to ask.)
2) Let her make as many <b>choices</b> as you can for herself. What’s she gonna wear today? What kind of snack does she want? How does she want to organize her room? What does she want to play? What homework assignment is going to come first? Limited choices of 2 or 3 options are a way to make kids feel in control without instigating a power trip. She’s also old enough for a planner. You can help her organize her own time.
3) Give her <b>consistency</b> from you. We’re never going to be perfect, but making sure that you stick to what you say as much as possible is very important. If you stay she loses a privilege because she messed with her sister, and she throws a fit, that privilege still needs to go. It’s part of learning, but it also eases a lot of anxiety to show her that as the adult, you have control of the situation.
About positive reinforcement ( this part gets a little clinical and gross but bear with me):
Since you’re the parent, your full attention can often serve as positive reinforcement. If you’re hugging your daughter mid-tantrum, that’s positively reinforcing the tantrum. If you’re yelling at her when she acts out, that might also be positively reinforcing her acting out.
Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to make behavioral changes. We all want to feel loved and capable and all that good stuff. Give her that as often as possible. Did she talk to you nicely? Tell her. Did she NOT bother her sister for a minute? Let her know you appreciate it. Make sure it’s specific, so she knows what she did right: “thanks” <<< “thanks for asking nicely”.
Most ‘bad’ behavior can be an opportunity for positive reinforcement. If she bosses you around, feed her a nicer way to ask. When she delivers, you get to positively reinforce that. (Doesn’t mean you always have to give in to what she WANTS, but you can tell her you appreciate the kind words. Maybe give her a different option).
I’m going be frank about this lady part because I have really strong opinions on it. Your husband needs to go to therapy and get his crap worked out. He is the parent and she is the child. It’s not fair to expect your daughter to be the level-headed adult in confrontations between the two of them. He’s also modeling behavior - she’s learning how to handle conflict by watching him. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a major overall behavioral change in your daughter once your husband starts changing his own.