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Please tell me what I'm doing wrong?? Is it me?

post #1 of 164
Thread Starter 
My DD (7) has always been headstrong, but she's becoming really mouthy lately. I just don't know how to effectively parent her sometimes. I've read the books (Spirited Child, Children the Challenge, Unconditional Parenting). Nothing seems to fit/work. She doesn't act like this with her dad...I'm the lucky one.

Just a quick example (but a typical one). Today when I picked her up from school, I told her what we would be doing...going home for a snack and to relax a little, have a bath (she was filthy from playing in the woods) and then go out to choose flowers for her teacher (special day tomorrow). She asked if she could have a certain treat for her lunch, and I said ok, we'd pick it up while we were out.

When we got home, I had a nice snack ready for her (so not blood-sugar related). And I let her relax. Then I got her bath ready. She was not interested in having a bath, but I explained she had to get clean/wash her hair before we go out. She started the whole routine (mouthy, cranky, etc). I just stayed calm and walked with her to the bathroom. Long story short, she refused to wash her (dirty, tangled, sweaty) hair. Not sure why since she generally doesn't mind. And I had no choice but to get it washed right then...we had to get going (I only had the vehicle available to me for a short while), and I wouldn't even be able to get a comb through her hair tomorrow if it doesn't get washed (for the record...she wouldn't care, but I would not send her like that).

I calmly tried to explain a few times that (a) her hair was dirty and (b) we needed to hurry up. Anyway, she was being so rude and difficult, that I finally told her she was staying home and we were not getting the lunch treat.

She later was all nice to me (manipulative!), but once she asked me sweetly if she could please have the lunch treat and I said no, she went crazy. Crying, yelling, being very rude. She was ranting on and on. And she's mean when she's angry. I tried reasoning. I tried ignoring her. I finally went to the bathroom and just cried. And cried and cried. I hate that I feel like I'm not in control. This sounds crazy, but it almost feels like an abusive relationship. lol She is so difficult sometimes! And I do so much for the child. I had even surprised her with a glass that she had been wanting (for her juice) when she came home from school.

I just am not sure how to parent her effectively, and I feel like I'm failing. I am a very sensitive person, and I find it so hard to have someone I love ranting and raving at me. I would NEVER have acted like this as a child. Is something wrong with her? Am I a pushover? Is she spoiled? I just don't know anymore. Do other people have these types of issues?!
post #2 of 164
I don't have any idea in general, but in this case it sounds like she was maybe a little overtired. Like she just needed to go home and relax and not go back out. Does that sound plausible to you?
post #3 of 164
Thread Starter 
It does, but it isn't a one-time thing. She feels that she can be really rude and disrespectful to me (but not her dad). Considering all I do for her (don't get me wrong...he's a great father, but I'm the one who is always thinking of her and doing nice little things for her), it just hurts to be treated like that. Even by a 7 year old. Her main trigger is not getting her own way. Be that not getting to go for ice cream when we are out, not getting a toy from a store, not getting to stay longer at a playdate). She gets so rude/angry (and it is always directed at me).

I love her so much, but I know if anyone was watching they would think she's a spoiled brat.
post #4 of 164
Does it by any chance happen mostly when she is overtired? Also, if she sees more of you than of her dad, it might just be that she simply has more opportunity to act bratty towards you, and not anything about you per se. Sorry, that's all more about addressing the surface, but I don't have any ideas about anything else (except I have heard friends talk about "attitude" from 7-year-olds but I don't know details about it).
post #5 of 164
NAK - I have no advice, but just wanted to say I can TOTALLY relate.

My six year old dd is the SAME way...ugh. More later...when I'm not nak'ing!
post #6 of 164
mama, I am so sorry your going thru this with dd. it could be her age?

I was thinking, you know that sometimes they way I talk to the chidren sets them off. instead of saying its bath time. I 'll "ask" them do you want to have a bath, then if they say no, then what am I supposed to do? I am not saying you do this, but it happens around here. I am trying to stopp this behavoiur of mine.

I am sure its a stage, if you always stick to what you say, like not giving her the lunch treat, you'll be helping her, and you. I have an almost teenager and I would give in time and time again. She can be a nightmare sometimes. please don't do what I did.

I get so emotionally involved in how my kids are feeling, I want them to just be happy all the time. but, things need to be done and sometimes feelings get hurt or expectaions are let down.

(hug)
elizabeth
post #7 of 164
You know, it actually sounds to me like you're doing fine. You made a reasonable request. She refused. You told her what the consequence would be and she still refused. You didn't give in on the treat, right? Sure, she's mad. She needs to be upset about it or the idea of a consequence won't work.

Trying to hurry a child is hard. I have a six year old and he is a major dawdler. So I try to get started on things early enough that we'll have enough time and not need to rush. That being said, you had a time frame during which the car was available and she needed to be ready then. That seems like a very reasonable expectation. She didn't manage it and so she lost something nice.

It is not always fun, this parenting business. Some phases are worse than others and you may be in a bad phase with her. But your overall approach sounds totally fine to me. Hang in there!
post #8 of 164
Thread Starter 
Okay thank you so much! I guess I really just need to work on my "passive aggressive" behavior. When she is really rude to me, I withdraw from her. I tell her to go watch a movie and I just kind of ignore her for the rest of the night. The reason is that I'm so hurt over how she acted and how mean she is at times. This isn't mature behavior (I know), so I need to work on getting a grip. I should not be thrown in a tizzy by a 7 year old's words/actions.

And yes, I too get way too wrapped up in her emotions. I want her to be happy. I feel her emotions (which is horrible considering she isn't exactly emotionally stable most of the time).
post #9 of 164
I don't have an older child but I do know that with my two year old.. If I let him know that his tantrum is getting to me, it gets worse. I have had to learn to be very matter of fact about things with him and then walk away. "You wouldn't let me wash your hair, so you lost your special lunch". Then tune him out. Yeah, he still throws a fit at my feet but if he sees its getting to me or I get emotional he feeds on it and he gets more worked up.

I have started to pay more attention to him when he is being sweet to encourage that kind of behavior and it really is doing wonders for us both. I just lay it on really thick when he uses his manners and gush all over him when he is sweet to me. Maybe try that? It makes me feel really weird in public but I have to do what works for us! HTH!
post #10 of 164
I don't have a lot of advice either, but I can totally relate as my 5 year old son can be exactly like that....rude, unreasonable, disrespectful, etc. What sometimes helps with him is to give him choices.....example: "would you like to wash your hair yourself or would you like me to do it?" But I do make it clear that either way, the hair is getting washed. Also, I really don't think it's okay for kids to be rude/disrespectful at any time. It's fine to be angry or disappointed, but disrespectful is just not cool. So when my son is being rude/disrespectful, I have him go to his room and he can come out when he's ready to talk in a respectful way. He usually gets the message pretty quickly. I do make an effort to acknowledge his feelings (whatever those may be) and teach him appropriate things to say/do when he is feeling that way.

Good luck, this parenting thing can be soooo tough, can't it?
post #11 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
Okay thank you so much! I guess I really just need to work on my "passive aggressive" behavior. When she is really rude to me, I withdraw from her. I tell her to go watch a movie and I just kind of ignore her for the rest of the night. The reason is that I'm so hurt over how she acted and how mean she is at times. This isn't mature behavior (I know), so I need to work on getting a grip. I should not be thrown in a tizzy by a 7 year old's words/actions.

And yes, I too get way too wrapped up in her emotions. I want her to be happy. I feel her emotions (which is horrible considering she isn't exactly emotionally stable most of the time).
Oh, I TOTALLY get what you're saying here! I do the same thing sometimes.... get too emotionally wrapped up in it. It's almost like you have to emotionally disconnect yourself a little bit, if that makes an sense. I have to work hard to just think about the situation in a logical, level-headed way and not let my emotions get the best of me. I notice it gets easier as I practice (but still not easy! )
post #12 of 164
Is it possible that you aren't offering her as many choices as you think you are? You do a lot for her but it may be that you do a lot of things you want to do for her (or to her) but not a lot that she genuinely wants done. My dd tends to have a lot of meltdowns when I am in a controlling mode because it is unusual and because she doesn't do well with being pressured into conforming. I do a lot to try to make every day fun, but when I am to focused on control I tend to choose the fun rather than her and that is not actually very fun for her. I tend to be more tied up in my dd's emotions when I am in this mode also and that makes things worse. When I pull out and don't let her tantrums disturb me I am able to deal with them without owning emotions that aren't mine or making the situations worse. I am also able to see that my request is unreasonable or that I can reasonably give her a choice of timing to follow through with my request.
post #13 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
Is it possible that you aren't offering her as many choices as you think you are?
I think I am, but who knows I guess. Sometimes there aren't any choices to be had...we need things to happen (ex: we need to go somewhere, we need to do something). So in those cases, there aren't choices. But I think overall she has plenty of leeway/free time. Maybe she doesn't feel that way.

The thing I really struggle with is how to respond to her mouthiness/disrespectful behaviour. I can honestly say my sibling and I would never have talked to my mom the way she talks to me. I don't mean she calls me names or anything. But she is very mouthy ("No, I don't have to!" "I don't care!" "I don't like you" etc). I am very reasonable. I am kind. I try to stay calm/matter of fact and have natural consequences. It is like she wants a power struggle over the dumbest things (like whether or not to brush her teeth before bed). I certainly don't control her every waking moment. In fact, I'm actually a really laid back parent. I can never understand why, when we are having a nice time, she wants to ruin it by arguing about something so trivial/routine.

So since what I'm currently doing isn't working well, I am wondering if I should try being more heavy handed and authortarian (SO not me ). I am gentle by nature. I don't like yelling or arguments. Get it so she knows I won't take any attitude/rude behavior and I won't listen to her rant and rave or talk back to me. My friend is like this, and her kids are very well behaved. They would never talk back. I'm jealous. But I want my DD to love/respect/trust me. Not fear me. Oh, parenting is soooooooooo hard.
post #14 of 164
I'm not sure you have to be heavy-handed and authoritatian, but it is okay to set boundaries. You don't have to look at it as "I'm the mom and the boss, and she's the kid and has to listen."

To me, it's more, "I'm a people, and she's a people, and people don't talk to each other like that." So, make it about you. YOU are special and important, too. YOU can set some boundaries for YOU. You don't have to teach her that you are the boss, but I believe you do need to teach her that people have boundaries and you will require respect for you. Not because you're the mom, but because you are a person. It's actually an important life lesson for her to learn that SHE can set boundaries for herself, just like her mom set them for herself. If she watches you be a doormat to her rudeness, when she is an adult, she will take on that roll. Will it be her boyfriend, a coworker, or her own child? OR will she learn the words and the need to set some boundaries, and that she is worthy of respect, too?

You can just have a chat with her. "Dd, I love you so much. I like to do things for you and with you, but lately we've had a problem with you being so rude to me. It really hurts me and makes me sad. I want you to know that even though I love you so much, I can't let you talk to me like that. I'm a person, too, and everyone deserves respect. I try so hard to respect you, and I need you to do that for me, too."

I might follow up with discussions about friendship, and how to be a good friend to each other. I'd point out ways I was trying to be a friend to her, and suggest ways she could be a friend to me. I would give her very concrete examples of her choices to tear down instead of build your relationship together. I would assure her that I love her and I want to be her friend and I want to work through this together. That's what friends do. Friends make a choice to help each other even when it's tough. My love and my friendship are bigger than the issue. Friends help friends be better people.

And then, I would give a warning for a while when she started to be rude to me. "Dd, I have told her that I need for you to respect me. Your words are hurtful and rude. Is that how you want to be?" If she says it is, then calmly disengage. "I will not be spoken to in that way." Then you can choose to walk away or send her away. But it is very important that this lesson be taught crystal clear.

In a way, it's NOT about her...it's about YOU being important, too. But in a big way, it IS about her...learning to respect herself from your example.
post #15 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
My DD (7) has always been headstrong, but she's becoming really mouthy lately. I just don't know how to effectively parent her sometimes. I've read the books (Spirited Child, Children the Challenge, Unconditional Parenting). Nothing seems to fit/work. She doesn't act like this with her dad...I'm the lucky one.
Or she feels safe & secure enough to truly be herself with you

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
Just a quick example (but a typical one). Today when I picked her up from school, I told her what we would be doing...going home for a snack and to relax a little, have a bath (she was filthy from playing in the woods) and then go out to choose flowers for her teacher (special day tomorrow). She asked if she could have a certain treat for her lunch, and I said ok, we'd pick it up while we were out.
You promised her her special treat you should not later have taken this away, thats imo teaching a child to be manipulative

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
When we got home, I had a nice snack ready for her (so not blood-sugar related). And I let her relax. Then I got her bath ready. She was not interested in having a bath, but I explained she had to get clean/wash her hair before we go out. She started the whole routine (mouthy, cranky, etc). I just stayed calm and walked with her to the bathroom. Long story short, she refused to wash her (dirty, tangled, sweaty) hair. Not sure why since she generally doesn't mind. And I had no choice but to get it washed right then...we had to get going (I only had the vehicle available to me for a short while), and I wouldn't even be able to get a comb through her hair tomorrow if it doesn't get washed (for the record...she wouldn't care, but I would not send her like that).
Why did you not have a choice?
You do have a choice but you choose to manipulate her into a bath/shower because of your issues regarding her looks and going into public.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
I calmly tried to explain a few times that (a) her hair was dirty and (b) we needed to hurry up. Anyway, she was being so rude and difficult, that I finally told her she was staying home and we were not getting the lunch treat.
And imo it was wrong to take it away from her


Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
She later was all nice to me (manipulative!), but once she asked me sweetly if she could please have the lunch treat and I said no, she went crazy. Crying, yelling, being very rude. She was ranting on and on. And she's mean when she's angry. I tried reasoning. I tried ignoring her. I finally went to the bathroom and just cried. And cried and cried. I hate that I feel like I'm not in control. This sounds crazy, but it almost feels like an abusive relationship. lol She is so difficult sometimes! And I do so much for the child. I had even surprised her with a glass that she had been wanting (for her juice) when she came home from school.
But you are teaching her that manipulation is ok! you are not in control thats the thing when you have 2 people in any relationship both have control over everything. you can either work out a reasonable way to work together or you can be stubborn and do it your way. which obviously results in tantrums fights and hurt on both sides

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
I just am not sure how to parent her effectively, and I feel like I'm failing. I am a very sensitive person, and I find it so hard to have someone I love ranting and raving at me. I would NEVER have acted like this as a child. Is something wrong with her? Am I a pushover? Is she spoiled? I just don't know anymore. Do other people have these types of issues?!
children don't spoil apples do. there is nothing wrong with her we are each individuals just because she isn't like her friends or what ever doesn't make her wong or broken or spoiled or anything.
She sound like a very strong person who knows what she want and doesn't want. That is a good thing. accept that and love that part. but you don't have to accept abuse. when that happens tellher she is being hurtful that you don;t allow anyone to treat you like that and give her the choice to calm down together or seperatly till you can speak kindly.
accept her no's and find other ways to get to the same goal.

I have 3 boys and the number of times I've taken them to market dressed in weird outfits covered in mud i can't remember how often that happens. orhow often they make a choice that I'm not sure about but hey it worked out just fine. I say trust her judgemnet about her needs/wants more and respect her more as an individual and see her as an individual not this naughty/disrespectful child that you need to discipline or she'll spoil
post #16 of 164
I agree with mum21andtwins. Your DD needs more respect as an individual. Children learn how to show respect by being respected. I wouldn't try to force my 4.5 to take a shower or bath. Your DD also might not be getting enough sleep. If it's under 10 hours a day it's not enough.
post #17 of 164
I think you are doing fine. I find that the behaviour you are describing, is fairly normal for the age. She is trying to get her way, and gets very upset and angry when she can't have it. I don't know what you can do apart from continuing to be respectful but consistent: You told her that you were going to do x, y, and z when you came home - if y doesn't happen, it makes sense that z can't happen. Conflicts can't always be avoided.
post #18 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
continuing to be respectful
But she wasn't respectful??
post #19 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum21andtwins View Post
But she wasn't respectful??
I don't see that at all; I think she was doing quite a good job.
post #20 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
She doesn't act like this with her dad...I'm the lucky one.
<SNIP>

She asked if she could have a certain treat for her lunch, and I said ok, we'd pick it up while we were out.
<SNIP>
(for the record...she wouldn't care, but I would not send her like that).
<SNIP>
Anyway, she was being so rude and difficult, that I finally told her she was staying home and we were not getting the lunch treat.
<SNIP>
She later was all nice to me (manipulative!),
<SNIP>
I would NEVER have acted like this as a child. Is something wrong with her? Am I a pushover? Is she spoiled? I just don't know anymore. Do other people have these types of issues?!
How are these things respectful??
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