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DD's control issues

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am having a really hard time with my six year old daughter right now.

She just had a major temper tantrum (like toddler style melt down) in the other room because she is mad that I am taking some of my art out of our house to display in a gallery and hopefully sell. I understand that she's attached to these art pieces; I am and so is my dp, too. But this is not a decision for a child to make, yk? This is a grown-up decision about my job and livelihood, and I am lucky to have this opportunity to work as an artist.

Today's issue over the art is just one of many pretty much daily confrontations that we have, and I feel like the root is that she's trying to be the grown-up! All the time, she get's really worked up and overly concerned and upset over decisions that she doesn't need to be in charge of.

I guess it upsets me because I feel like she doesn't trust me enough to make major decisions that I am totally capable of making. We've always provided for her; we've always been there for her, but she has these huge insecurities about grown-up stuff.

I'm not doing a very good job describing how this is going down. I'm just kind of feeling at a loss here. I am really fed up with my 6yo telling me my business. I try and be a very gentle parent most of the time, but it seems like she's accelerating on the control issues to where I've been very blatant with her saying, it's really not your job to be in charge of this!

I am frustrated. I'm just like, go play. Your mind should be on dolls or your music toys or coloring. Why are you trying to be in charge and save the world? It stresses me out.

She is taking on all these stresses that she doesn't have the emotional or intellectual capability of understanding yet, and then she gets really worked up and loses it because she's frustrated that she can't handle these things. Hello? You're six. Please don't carry the world on your shoulders.

What can I do? Right now I'm just sitting here trying to breathe and relax, that's a good start, right, lol.

When I was a kid, I don't remember ever concerning myself with my parents business or stressing about their decisions. Honestly, it hurts my feelings. I feel like she doesn't trust me to be the parent, and I've never betrayed her trust in any way---I work very hard to insure that she feels secure and has all her needs met.

Whew! I just needed to get that off my chest. If you made it this far, then thanks for listening.
post #2 of 22
Why not do what your parents did, don't involve a child in adult matters and decisions. It seems as if she believes she is entitled to give you her opinion or have you "okay" the things you do, that have nothing to do with her. That is your fault from creating this situation by how you are parenting her.

One way to begin is to stop using the word "okay" when you talk to children. It seems all too common that parents say "okay" to a child after telling them to do something. As if you needed their approval.

Even gentle parenting is not a democracy.
post #3 of 22
Just acknowledge what she's feeling but get done what you need to do. "I understand you are sad the painting has to leave" Walk away from the tantrum-ing child.
post #4 of 22
First

I am going to take a bit of a different view than the previous two posters. I think you should consider seeing a child therapist with your daughter. DD has a friend who has the exact same issues that your DD seems to have and it is very clearly an anxiety disorder. DS has been in therapy for anxiety before (and, I'm sure, will be again) so I have seen it up close and personal.

If this is the case it is NOTHING you are doing. I know with my friend (DD's friends mom) it is NOTHING the parents are doing. The child is just naturally anxious (she has generalized anxiety whereas DS has social anxiety disorder). I know with DS the LC's we went to see shortly after his birth said they had never seen such a tense child. He nursed for over 5 years and much of the time it was with a "tight" face.

We have been on vacaiton with her where the child was literally reduced to tears by the dad buying a kite--- she was afraid he was spending too much and they wouldn't have enough to live. Now, this is a family who owns their own home and lives in a middle class neighborhood. There are NO financial issues (we are actually in each other's wills as guardians, so I do actually *know* their financial info). This has happened over and over--- we have been close to their family since our first were both 6 months old--- over 10 years ago. While I have seen a lot of anxiety, in general, she definately has the same focus that you are describing--- worrying about issues that are really the adult's concerns.

Actually telling her "It is not your concern" has seemed to help a lot. We take her on vacation once a year for a week and I literally say, "Do you trust me? Do you think I will make the right decision? Then trust my decision. You do NOT need to worry about this." In the past her mom tried to spend (hours) talking through her fears with her. What did she think would happen? What was she really concerned about? What were the options? This is a *great* technique with a generally "normal" child who has come across a source of anxiety. For her, though, and for many other highly anxious child is a disaster. They spiral more and more with their thoughts of "what if?" I will try and find some of the books I have read (and there are even some kids ones) but most of them seem to suggest NOT FEEDING THE ANXIETY. And by this I do NOT mean that you are causing it somehow, but that with your concern you may be validating it for your child. NOT your fault, but something that you can change.

Here is a book to start with:
What do do when you worry too much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

I hope this helps, at all. Please feel free to PM me if you would like to chat about what we have done with DS and his anxiety issues, or what I have witnessed with our friend. It's really hard to deal with a child being depressed or anxious because it is so *contrary* to what the image of childhood is "supposed" to be, kwim?
post #5 of 22
I wanted to add, I may be WAAAAY off base with my above post. If I am, and you feel that this is just a normal childhood stage, please to not take offense at me suggesting it may be something more/other.
post #6 of 22
My dd gets very concerned and controlling about things that aren't her business when she is stressed out about other things. Maybe your dd is just reacting to something that stresses her out. My dd will have meltdowns and try to control what she can when her routine is thrown off too many times, she has been forced to do too many new things, when I am changing some of our routines or the timing of our routines, when I am stressed and grumpy for too many days, and when I have been to inconsistent with rules. It may be that your dd senses your insecurity and that is making her very insecure. I don't think you should take her worry as a sign that she doesn't trust you, I think you should take it as a sign that you need to look for what is triggering her to have meltdowns and be so insecure right now.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by craft_media_hero View Post
When I was a kid, I don't remember ever concerning myself with my parents business or stressing about their decisions. Honestly, it hurts my feelings. I feel like she doesn't trust me to be the parent, and I've never betrayed her trust in any way---I work very hard to insure that she feels secure and has all her needs met.
Eh, I have a daughter (5) who also likes control. I don't take it that personally. What I do is to try to make sure she has plenty of lead time on change. It's not that she's getting a "vote" on what happens in the household (unless it's what pizza to order ), but that if we're going to mess with the normal order of things I talk her through it, casually, starting a bit ahead.

How far depends on how big the change is.
post #8 of 22
is your dd super smart?

is she gifted?

this is v. normal behaviour with gifted children.

and usually those children do have anxiety which you see as sudden out of the blue stomach aches or head aches that go away like miracles too.

honestly the art - why not listen to her? seriously i disagree with you. involve her in what paintings you should hang up. why not? sometimes kids 'see' things way better than we adults do.

i also think she is doing a normal thing. she is growing up and demanding more participation in your daily life. i am a single mom. its something dd and i do anyways. dont know if that comes out of single hood.

now the tantrums. have they gotten worse? has she developed body odour? mood swings?

she is going thru prepuberty. it hits some kids. it is the worst time in their life - worse than teenage years. they dont want to be that way but a part of them makes them behave that way.

dd gets v. involved in the environment. her fav. fish is salmon. when she was 6 and heard about the disappearance of salmon she gave that up. we volunteer some - in river clean ups, planting and environmental restoration - since she's been 5 - to help her feel in some ways she does do something. she is v. particular about recycling and wasting water - esp. in teh middle of the shower and while brushing teeth.

some kids are made her way. and they cannot help but take on the problems of the world - starting with the family.

your dd also might be extremely independent and want to be a little more involved in your life. so if you tried to involve her more in teh manner you approve but really trust her judgement then she wont try it in areas you dont want her to make decisions.

dunno about you but many times i have listened to my dd - and wow. she has made sense in her childlike way many times than i care to admit.
post #9 of 22
And yes, my dd is very smart.

She tantrums on occasion as the OP described <sigh>--just at home, so far as I can tell, and not in preschool. Dh has this idea that it shouldn't make a difference, but one of the other strategies I use (other than giving her lots of lead time on changes to routine) is to make sure she's well-rested and has eaten.

As difficult as it is, I'm really of the opinion that a full-on meltdown is a sign that she needs some serious, not angry, face-to-face time. So generally, once dd has had a chance to calm down, I try to get her to verbalize what's going on. Not easy, because we are, after all, talking about a young child.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
is your dd super smart?

is she gifted?

this is v. normal behaviour with gifted children.
I didn't even think to address this, but good catch. Both of the children I was talking about in my previous post have been idenified as gifted and are currently in full time gifted programs.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post
First

If this is the case it is NOTHING you are doing. I know with my friend (DD's friends mom) it is NOTHING the parents are doing. The child is just naturally anxious (she has generalized anxiety whereas DS has social anxiety disorder). I know with DS the LC's we went to see shortly after his birth said they had never seen such a tense child. He nursed for over 5 years and much of the time it was with a "tight" face.
This is a very interesting take on anxiety disorders/child disorders in general. Very rarely do we see completely organic anxiety disorders in children. I'm not saying the parents are to blame, but certainly environmental factors are the largest contributing cause to childhood disorders.

I, too, would consult a child psychologist, they could be really helpful in figuring out the underlying issues.

Good luck!
post #12 of 22
My DD is like this, too (and also gifted) and I know exactly what you are talking about. I also find it very frustrating and exhausting. We have wondered about anxiety with her--it could be, but she is concealing it well.

The only thing I can suggest are 1. Give her responsibilities where you can--things she can appropriately and safely be in charge of; 2. Lots of physical affection (seems to help her relax, here).
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the replies--lots of helpful insights and observations. I have to run for now (story time) but will come back and re-post in detail.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freud View Post
This is a very interesting take on anxiety disorders/child disorders in general. Very rarely do we see completely organic anxiety disorders in children. I'm not saying the parents are to blame, but certainly environmental factors are the largest contributing cause to childhood disorders.
To be clear, I was not saying that anxiety cannot be caused by parents, just that your child can have anxiety (or any other mental disorder) that is neither caused or cured by parents/environment. Yeah, sometimes it might be parents/environment "at fault" but I've seen plenty of examples where it most definately is not.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweet.p View Post
Why not do what your parents did, don't involve a child in adult matters and decisions. It seems as if she believes she is entitled to give you her opinion or have you "okay" the things you do, that have nothing to do with her. That is your fault from creating this situation by how you are parenting her.

One way to begin is to stop using the word "okay" when you talk to children. It seems all too common that parents say "okay" to a child after telling them to do something. As if you needed their approval.

Even gentle parenting is not a democracy.
Well, we definitely don't "consult" her for approval on major decisions. We know that we are the parents, and I'm not looking to her to guide or approve my choices. I don't think this is "our fault" for creating this situation. She has always had varying levels of this controlling/insecure behavior and other obsessive stuff.

We try to give her appropriate areas to control--what to wear, how to dress/eat her food, what activity class she wants to do this season, stuff like that. My partner and I do reserve the major decisions and try not to have super heavy discussions around her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Just acknowledge what she's feeling but get done what you need to do. "I understand you are sad the painting has to leave" Walk away from the tantrum-ing child.
Thanks you. This is constructive. This is pretty much how I handled it, tho maybe not as calmly. I could see she was escalating and had her go lay down in my bed to try and calm her down; so I didn't just walk away after I made my statement. But I did acknowledge that she's attached to the art and that I am, too, but this is my job, my art piece, and decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post
First

I am going to take a bit of a different view than the previous two posters. . . .

I hope this helps, at all.
TiredX2, thank you so much for your insight here. I'm sorry to hear that you've coped with something similar with your son, but it is good to know that I am not alone here.

I think that you may be right that she is coming from an anxiety disorder or something similar. She has always been "different" and overly concerned with big issues. At preschool age, when she found out that trees make oxygen for us to breathe, she independently extrapolated that to everyone cutting down all the trees and everyone in the world dying. This was at maybe 4yo. She is very sensitive and caring I think will be a world-changer in many good ways and I don't want to dampen that, but I just feel so sad for her when she gets worked up coz I don't know how to handle it---I've worked with a lot of kids and had never encountered these conversations and situations with someone her age before. I try to comfort and reason things out and honor her intelligence by being honest with her while still trying to protect her from the really cruel facts of life.

I am just . . . I'm concerned that if I take her to counselling, she's going to get labeled with a bunch of stuff that I don't want following her around for the rest of her life. So I don't know if we're ready as a family to take that step, please don't everybody flame me; I'm just saying that there are a lot of far-reaching consequences that come with a dx. I will start with the book and lots of breathing and meditating about how to proceed. I feel like I can do that for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
My dd gets very concerned and controlling about things that aren't her business when she is stressed out about other things. Maybe your dd is just reacting to something that stresses her out. My dd will have meltdowns and try to control what she can when her routine is thrown off too many times, she has been forced to do too many new things, when I am changing some of our routines or the timing of our routines, when I am stressed and grumpy for too many days, and when I have been to inconsistent with rules. It may be that your dd senses your insecurity and that is making her very insecure. I don't think you should take her worry as a sign that she doesn't trust you, I think you should take it as a sign that you need to look for what is triggering her to have meltdowns and be so insecure right now.
True. We are just now getting solid back into our routine after having been thrown off from moving AND we recently told her about our pregnancy---I am twelve weeks now! So she was very happy with our new home and she's been asking for a sib for like three years now and hasn't shown any direct negativity about that---but even positive stressors are still stressors; I think in the moment I was kind of overlooking that and taking it personally--thanks for telling me not to take it as "she doesn't trust me"--- it's good to hear that from another person. I will look closer for triggers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
is your dd super smart?

is she gifted?

this is v. normal behaviour with gifted children.

and usually those children do have anxiety which you see as sudden out of the blue stomach aches or head aches that go away like miracles too.
Yes. You nailed pretty much everything we are going through in your post. She is super-smart. It's really hard for me to embrace either the "gifted" or "special needs" labels. But she is very intelligent and has always been really advanced verbally and in other ways, and now we're discovering some other areas that she's "ahead" in. Being "gifted" does create differences in how a child views/relates to the world, and I guess that I need to really inwardly accept that she is markedly different in a lot of ways than most kids her age.


[QUOTE=meemee;14923549
honestly the art - why not listen to her? seriously i disagree with you. involve her in what paintings you should hang up. why not? sometimes kids 'see' things way better than we adults do.
[/QUOTE]

Well, this would be akin to someone offering you your dream job and you not taking it because your kid got mad about it---the kid doesn't understand the consequences of them "getting her way" about what she's upset about.

I often do find her insight incredibly clear and refreshing and really value her "pearls of wisdom" that drop out sometimes, but about my job as an artist---I would be shooting myself in the foot to not take the exposure/possible sale that will allow a beloved piece to be loved by someone else in their home; I am really blessed that right now these professional opportunities just keep coming to me! I really feel like I have my dream job (that's finally paying a little! lol) and keep kind of in amazement at how it's actually coming together. I can't say no to this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
My DD is like this, too (and also gifted) and I know exactly what you are talking about. I also find it very frustrating and exhausting. We have wondered about anxiety with her--it could be, but she is concealing it well.

The only thing I can suggest are 1. Give her responsibilities where you can--things she can appropriately and safely be in charge of; 2. Lots of physical affection (seems to help her relax, here).
ITA that more responsibilities might help. She doesn't really have any regular chores or anything, even tho she is generally helpful around the house.

We have also observed that LOTS of exercise immensely helps her behavior, and the weather here has been so crappy that that's not happening as much. She has karate twice a week, but I should probably do some indoor yoga with her daily. Okay, this would help. I am resolving to do more exercise with her despite how cold it is outside.

Tons of cuddles are super-important in our house. Sometimes when she's just losing it, I have so much love and sympathy for her that I can't even get mad, I'm just like, come here and hug hug hug. Everything is okay. I'm going to try and really notice when things begin to escalate and really question why this is happening and can we hug it out, lol. Do you think that's okay? I don't want to just replace problem-solving with physical affection; I just want to reassure her in the most basic way when she gets thrown off her foundation.


Okay, sorry for the longest post ever. I am really grateful for everyone taking the time to respond, and I'm really trying to let it all soak in. A lot of stuff is coming to light here for me as a momma of this bright sparkling little girl.
post #16 of 22
weird.. I was just like your dd, and trust me, I didn't want to worry and stress over grown-up issues, I couldn't control it. She's a very smart girl, and problably understands a bit more than you think. She may be so OVER empathetic that its affecting her. It can become a problem when you are over empathetic, and you don't know how to change it. Does she have Aspergers by any chance? This is common, especially with females with A.S. The only thing I know to tell you, is make sure to do stressful adult things when she is not around. If you are stressed though, she'll know it. It's hard for you, and twice as hard for her. This isn't something a kid wants to be like.. she just doesn't know how else to be. I can identify with everything you are writing.. ugghh.. if being a kid was only as easy as the words. Hang in there!


eta: i just read your reply, and YES! the hugging is very very helpful!!!!
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kailey's mom View Post
weird.. I was just like your dd, and trust me, I didn't want to worry and stress over grown-up issues, I couldn't control it. She's a very smart girl, and problably understands a bit more than you think. She may be so OVER empathetic that its affecting her. It can become a problem when you are over empathetic, and you don't know how to change it. Does she have Aspergers by any chance? This is common, especially with females with A.S. The only thing I know to tell you, is make sure to do stressful adult things when she is not around. If you are stressed though, she'll know it. It's hard for you, and twice as hard for her. This isn't something a kid wants to be like.. she just doesn't know how else to be. I can identify with everything you are writing.. ugghh.. if being a kid was only as easy as the words. Hang in there!


eta: i just read your reply, and YES! the hugging is very very helpful!!!!
Kailey's Mom, you are right; she's totally like a sponge or emotional antenna---she gets very off-kilter if anyone else is on edge or conflicted.

I am so glad you replied as an adult who felt similar to my dd as a child. Can I ask if you ever were formally "diagnosed" or went through counseling or anything and what your take is on that? Do you feel like it would've further isolated you or made you feel singled out more to have an adult/adults talking about how you were different?

I was very sensitive/mature/gifted as a child, and never was in counseling, but was in gifted programs at school. I remember liking the classes but yeah feeling a little more isolated from the majority because I was just way ahead of the main class all of the time. We homeschool for now, so the gifted thing isn't as obvious to her. But I think if we were going to therapy or smth she might feel even more anxious about being different?

I appreciate your perspective from the grown-up side. If you were my kid, is there anything else you could tell me to help little kid you?

I am trying to be very understanding of her. I really, really want us to have a good relationship forever! I don't want her to lose trust in me or feel overwhelmed that I'm not responding how she needs me to.
post #18 of 22
Yoga is wonderful for my DD! We have a video called "Yoga for the Kid in All of Us."

I have recently instituted "Daily Cuddle Time" with my DD. Of course it's not like we didn't cuddle before, but now I make a big deal of it. She LOVES it and often says really loving and wonderful things during it, which is nice for me since she's so often argumentative and contrary. It really helps both of us. I think I sometimes forget how little she still is, too, bc she is so incredibly astute, independent and bossy, and this helps me remember that she is still a tiny girl and was my baby not that long ago.
post #19 of 22
I just finished reading a book that somebody here on MDC recommended, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I found it extraordinarily good. He addresses just the kind of issues you're describing, OP - anxiety and controlling behavior in kids - and attributes it to stress. He outlines a plan for removing stressors from kids' lives, one sector at a time, and creating "buffer zones" around childhood to give kids a chance to grow up and be kids before they have adult levels of anxiety.

I loved this book, and found it helpful on a lot of levels - esp. reminding me of the importance of prioritizing the parenting values I hold. I highly recommend it; the behavior you're describing is just the sort of behavior he claims to be able to address. And, FWIW, he talks about the issues with diagnosing borderline behaviors - he says that for many kids, just reducing stress is enough to move them down the spectrum away from what might look to a psychologist as a diagnosable "disorder." So it might be worth a shot.
post #20 of 22
My 9 year old dd used to daily freak out about different issues. For her it was her chemical makeup, and partly due to things we couldn't control in our lives. She's also a gifted child.

I know right now is hard, age 6, but as long as you keep having the same reaction to the freak outs, it can calm with time. Sometimes when I can see in my dd's eyes that she is thinking too hard and about to blow, I almost have a script that I keep to. I think it helps her to have me react calmly and repeat what I've said a thousand times before. Now at age 9 I can see her calming herself down when she get hits an emotional point.

I guess my point is with my dd age 6 was a realk turning point, and I had to remind myself daily that it would/could get better, and it did. Hang in there Mama.
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