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Please help me with my 7yo dd. I don't know where I went wrong...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am at my wits end with her. This post will likely be a bunch of babble because I have a lot to say. I hardly know where to start. I have two children, ds is 4 and dd is 7. First of all, dd is extremely jealous of her brother. She has become very controlling of him. For example, she tries to pick out his clothes. When going to a store, she tries to talk him into a toy/book, whatever it may be, that she herself does not like. For example, when going to Barnes and Noble, she'll coach him before we even go in the store on what kinds of books he should be looking at. I have never done this to her so I don't know where she gets it from. Sometimes, at a toy store, he'll pick out something that she likes. She will actually put her toy back and choose the same toy as him. It's crazy really. She is just downright mean to him a lot of the time. She hits him, calls him names, says she hates having a brother, etc. Now, sometimes they get along but only if things are going her way. The other thing she'll do is stake out her place with me. If he sits on one side of me, she'll have to come do the same. Yesterday I was on the couch, ds said he was tired and came and layed next to me. She came over and since there was not enough room, she layed right on top of me. lol She first said, "I was going to lie there." They frequently get into fights over me. I do not favor my son either. Sometimes, she'll say "you love him more than me". Or "you make me feel like I am not even here." This BREAKS MY HEART! Honestly, she will say this after something like this...I'll ask them to pick up their toys. He'll do it quickly and I have to keep on her to do what I asked. I eventually get angry with her for not listening and then she'll throw out that statement. I think she means it at the time but I do not think that is the way she feels all the time. I always tell her how much I love her. We are together all day since we homeschool.

On to her attitude with us. She talks back, makes faces, sticks out her tongue. I cannot even think of an example at the moment. Maybe if I ask her to do something, she'll scrunch up her face and in a sing song voice mock me. It makes me furious. I end up just sending her to her room because I get so angry. We are very loving to each other. She will just walk by me and hug and kiss me and say "love you mama!". She does this all the time. BUT, many other times a day, she'll tell me how much she hates me. She tells me she hates me two or three times a day. That really takes a toll on me. I just don't understand how we got to this point in our relationship. She doesn't just come right out and say it. There will be a reason behind it. It may be that I have asked the kids to pick up their mess a hundred times and then I finally get angry and yell. I feel like they won't do anything they are asked until mommy gets mad. I hate getting mad. I don't like to yell at my children. As dh says, they don't listen any other way. Sometimes, she'll say, "can we go outside?" I'll say, "not right now." Hear she comes with the "I hate you!" as she storms off.

Both kids do things we ask them not to. Over and over again. I guess it may be lack of dicipline. I just don't know what to do. I need help coming up with a plan. I think my kids need more dicipline and consequences. I don't want to yell at my kids. I am so afraid of what kind of teenager my dd will become if I don't get control of the problem. She should not be allowed to act this way to her family but I don't know what to do to stop it. The sad thing is, she is teaching her little brother to act this way. He is now telling me how much he hates me. I hate it that they hate me so many times a day!

I also gets tons of lip from her about homeschooling. She hates to get down to school every day. She rolls her eyes and says "I hate school!". She doesn't want to go to public school either of course. She would just rather play.

Please help. I have read lots of parenting books recommended here. Nothing helps us. I know part of the problem is me. I do get angry with them. I just can't stand the back talk. Just the other day, I told my husband its so hard to realize my dd is only 7. She is just a little girl. She just acts like she's seventeen. I am not kidding about that. She is very smart so that adds to the problem.

Thanks for reading,
Sandy
post #2 of 7
One thing I use with my DD is concious disciple, I really like it. I give her choices.

She can clean her room or help me fold laundry - but she has to pick one of those.

I also have a list of rules on the fridge (that she wrote) they are things like: I will be respectful. I will not talk back. I will listen the first time.

My dd is often dramatic - like you mentioned with yours, but I use a calmer voice when she starts to get worked up (often about something small) this helps her calm down. If she really has a very strong reaction about something. I ask her to sit in her room until she is in control. This is all part of the concious discipline book.

Anyway it works well for me. I hope this made some kind of sense. Here is the website: http://www.consciousdiscipline.com/

I hope this helps some.

Angie
due in june 09!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Looking through this right now! Thanks so much!

Sandy
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
This looks really good. I just bought the book and kit. I can't wait to read it. I feel very encouraged.

Sandy
post #5 of 7
Several thoughts:

It sounds like she's seeking more connection with you. I really like both Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen and The Challenging Child by Stanley Greenspan for this kind of behavior. One of the things they recommend is that you spend 30 minutes a day where the child leads the play (aka 'floor time'). The Challenging Child also has suggestions then for problem solving time and consequences. It may be more than you need, but it's a very attachment based approach. (Connection Parenting may be another one to look at.)

The benefit to the 'floor time' approach is that it also reduces sibling rivalry - if her cup of attention is full from your input, then she doesn't need to 'fight' her brother to get it. Will it eliminate her lying on you when your ds lies next to you? No, but it will reduce it. (Next time, how about going up to your bed so each of them can lie next to you?)

Playful Parenting also has some good ideas for how to reduce the 'hate' talk and other talk that you don't like. One idea is to come up with something silly that you pretend you don't want them to say. "You hate me, huh? OK, but don't you dare say that you snickerdoodle me!" Then, of course, they'll say it, and you overreact, playing up the drama. "Oh no! You said it! How could you?! I'm CRUSHED!!" After a while, it's more fun to say something silly to mom and have her overreact than it is to say 'I hate you'.

Do you have a daily schedule? At 7, she's old enough to help with that. When would be a good time for her to do her school work? If she's got some input into doing it, then maybe you'll get more buy in. Maybe school time works best first thing in the morning, or at 10 am, or 2 pm. The schedule doesn't have to be rigid, but it should be predictable. Paradoxically, my more irregular child NEEDS outside structure more than my more regular child. She just doesn't have a natural pattern to fall into.

I'd also work up a set of family rules with her and your ds. They're old enough to do this. (Ds' Kindergarten class did this.)

For the bossing her brother around (because that's what she's doing), while this is very normal for her age, I have little tolerance for it at our house. (I probably have so little tolerance for it because I was the youngest child and mercilessly bossed around by my older sister.) The rule in our house is "It's the parents job to worry about the kids, and it's the kids job to worry about themselves." So, when she starts in telling him what to wear or what to buy, you can just ask "wait, whose job is it to make sure your brother is OK?" or "Your brother needs practice making his own decisions. I want you to concentrate on your own decision too."

I ask my kids to 'do over' when they are rude. I model a polite voice, and ask them to repeat. I don't want to not hear what they're saying, but I also want to teach politeness. I also rephrase what they're saying so they know that I've heard. At this age, it's hard to separate emotion from content, so I'm willing to let them try again.

How To Talk So Your Children Will Listen (and Listen So Your Children Will Talk) by Faber and Mazlish might help a lot with her angry statements. They also have a decent book called Siblings without Rivalry. When she asks "can we go outside?" and you respond "not right now" and she shoots back "I hate you!", what she's saying is "I'm really angry right now." "Wow, you sound really mad at me. You really wanted to go outside." cuts down on that kind of statement a lot.

The final thing I'd suggest: When do you two get a break from each other? Does she do some homeschooling classes? Does she have an activity that helps her feel good about herself?
post #6 of 7
I was wondering if you can manage to give her some "mother-daughter" time regularly. Like, perhaps once a week, or even twice a week for a bit, have someone watch your son (DP? friend? family? neighborhood teen?) for two hours, while you take your daughter out somewhere, for a special treat or just to go throw a ball around or something. Obviously, she's telling you right out that she feels like she needs some extra mommy time.

I started a cute little thing when my children were going through their tougher phases (around 7 for my son, a little younger for my daughter - yes, they both simply grew out of them, so hopefully you will find your daughter does, too) where if they were acting up or being angry with me, I would say, "I love you forever and ever, no matter what, even if you are angry with me". I would then make sure to repeat it at random times each day, when my children were happy and pleasant, or angry or sad or whatever, always trying to give them a cuddle and kiss at the same time. Eventually, they would both say the same thing to me, "I love you forever and ever, no matter what."

Perhaps one time when your daughter is acting jealous of your son, like the time when you were laying down and she laid on you, you could just start telling her about her birth, her babyhood, her toddlerhood and talking about what special times those were. Then you can do the same to your son, and hopefully all 3 of you will be reminiscing and giggling away. (it always works so well for us, even if one child is extremely upset and acting angry, they are always so incredibly interested to hear stories from the past)

Just a few little techniques that we have used and that have worked for us. Hope that helps!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Riversky, I think I'll use that line myself. "I love you forever and ever." Reminds me of the book Love You Forever. That was the first book I ever bought my dd. I would cry when I read it to her. I wrote in the front cover for her to keep forever.

Lynn, I really like the idea of floor time. I'll try that. It's funny because I call myself spending all my time with my kids but in reality, I don't think I spend enough quality "down on the floor" time with them. KWIM? We are always together but not really connecting on a level we should be. After we are done with school in the am, life takes over and stuff has to be done. I will make more time for just doing stuff they want to do "with" them rather than just being near.

Thanks so much and keep the advice coming.

Sandy
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