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Please tell me what I'm doing wrong?? Is it me? - Page 5

post #81 of 164
I haven't read the WHOLE thread but just throwing this out there-- I agree with Storm Bride about the withdrawing affection thing-- if you've read UP then you know it's a kind of punishment. I agree, tell her you need a time out to get calm, take that as a chance to express that you are an important person who deserves to be treated respectfully, let her see that her words hurt you. Taking a time out but not turning it into a punishment is something I've been working on myself, as my patience is very limited right now b/c of work and other stuff.

I also wanted to say-- maybe she'd respond to some of the ideas in Playful Parenting? He's got a lot in there about kids throwing out insults and him figuring out what they're really saying or how to turn it around. And games might help ease things when she's getting upset about not getting her way-- like pretend someone dumped [insert her least fav color or food etc here] all over her hair and you're going to save her by scrubbing it off as fast as you can! This kind of things works SOMEtimes and it helps me keep my energy/patience for when it doesn't.

I think you know your child best, and you are the only one who knows how challenging she may be right now. I have a fairly easy going 3yo so I'm just offering support. It sounds like you are doing a LOT really well. I hope you find some tools to help you ease things for you and DD a bit more, too. Good luck!
post #82 of 164
I found it was easy to get triggered by my son's (age 7) nuttiness sometimes, like his angry lashing out, so I developed a phrase that I turn to when my brain is starting to ignite with passionate feelings & anger & stuff....I say out loud right in front of him and I cling to it like a life preserver: I say "I am going to resolve this peacefully if it's the last thing I do." If I need to keep repeating it, I do. That phrase works for me because it states it out loud, for me as well as for him, that I have a peaceful resolution as my end goal. Having a goal keeps me on track. You may have a different phrase, like "I'm sorry you are upset, but I am choosing to feel calm." WHATEVER works for you. But if it is something you can remember in the heat of the moment, to keep getting swept away by her emotions, that can be helpful. :-)
post #83 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post
I found it was easy to get triggered by my son's (age 7) nuttiness sometimes, like his angry lashing out, so I developed a phrase that I turn to when my brain is starting to ignite with passionate feelings & anger & stuff....I say out loud right in front of him and I cling to it like a life preserver: I say "I am going to resolve this peacefully if it's the last thing I do." If I need to keep repeating it, I do. That phrase works for me because it states it out loud, for me as well as for him, that I have a peaceful resolution as my end goal. Having a goal keeps me on track. You may have a different phrase, like "I'm sorry you are upset, but I am choosing to feel calm." WHATEVER works for you. But if it is something you can remember in the heat of the moment, to keep getting swept away by her emotions, that can be helpful. :-)
I'm going to try to come up with something like this. I'm having a lot of trouble staying calm with ds2 right now (esp. when he bites his baby sister). I need something to keep me from blowing my top.
post #84 of 164
I actually say "I'm feeling really angry and feel like screaming so loud all the windows break. I don't want to do that we'd both get more upset". Then we usually go do something else entirely. Yard-work, baking stuff and showers are really good tasks for defusing intense emotions. Just identifying the situation by saying "I'm angry" seems to help I or my DD react to our individual anger in a calmer manner. The silliness of the idea of breaking all the windows with my voice kind of makes my anger seem less serious, at least to me.
post #85 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I actually say "I'm feeling really angry and feel like screaming so loud all the windows break. I don't want to do that we'd both get more upset". Then we usually go do something else entirely. Yard-work, baking stuff and showers are really good tasks for defusing intense emotions. Just identifying the situation by saying "I'm angry" seems to help I or my DD react to our individual anger in a calmer manner. The silliness of the idea of breaking all the windows with my voice kind of makes my anger seem less serious, at least to me.
I think that's a good idea. Giving names and words to strong emotions makes them seem less foreboding and mysterious, and therefore less scary. And it gives her permission to also have strong emotions and an example of how to handle them.
post #86 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).
I recently read "Hold On to Your Kids" - the last section of the book deals with discipline and connections/relationships. He says that withdrawing is not the thing to do. I have been trying to really focus on connections with our (7yrs in 3 weeks) DD and it is really helping. (He calls it collecting our children and says to do this before asking them to do things or expecting cooperation.)

I am going to ask my DH to read that section of the book because I think it will help him. He is having some of the same issues with DD as you are having with your DD. He also tends to get ticked off about her behavior and then withdraws from her, which only escalates the problem. Then I end up having to go in and do damage control - this is usually at night around bedtime when we are all tired.

I didn't have time to read the whole thread. I hope this helps some and that things are going better now.
post #87 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Consequences are a part of life. Your child can be inside a bubble in your own little world but when they go out into the real world there will be consequences for their behaviour. I personally think anyone who leads their child to believe that they can have/do whatever they want is doing their child a huge disservice.
I said that using a natural consequence to make a point is usually punishment. Saying a child "needs" a consequence and then arbitrarily doing something they don't like is punishment. I don't try to protect my DD, 4.5 years old, from the consequences that occur in the world. I do talk about possible consequences of different choices and behaviors so she can make better choices. For example several months ago we were dealing with DD being loud indoors so I would say calmly "Shouting hurts my ears and can hurt peoples feelings. Please use a friendly voice." I didn't get angry, punish her or yell back, I just calmly reminded her every single time that it wasn't a good idea. We even talked about how her friends may might have hurt feelings when she shouted and be afraid to play with her. Just because one isn't using punishment and rewards to manipulate their childs behavior doesn't mean they are leading their child to believe they can do anything they want. Calm verbal guidance, modeling appropriate behavior, role playing about situations that involve rudeness are all valid ways to help a child learn how to be socially successful. If some one is upset, like a tantruming child, they respond better to a calm response. I can demand respect and still be respectful and nonpunitive at the same time.

I also have a 24 year old DD too, and if I could go back and raise her all over again I would be calmer, not stress over little stuff, and be completely nonpunitive. You have a lot more drama when you use punishment or rewards and when you get caught up in their emotions of the moment instead of using calm guidance.
post #88 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
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).
You came here asking for advice. Giving your DD a strong emotional reaction is just going to cause more annoying behavior. Seeing you upset is probably scary and makes her feel she has too much 'power' over the situation all at the same time. Don't focus on wanting her to be happy all the time, focus on helping her learn how to make choices so she can make her self happy. She doesn't need you to feel her emotions she needs you to calmly guide her through them when they are too intense. Just always assume she loves you and don't take rude behavior personally because she's a child and she is still impulsive and reactive. You're letting her hurt your feelings like an adult friend or family member would. It hasn't been mentioned so have you heard of Kids Parents and Power Struggles, Winning For a Lifetime by Mary Kurcinka?
post #89 of 164
Hey OP!

I am in the same boat as you except my child is a boy and just turned 16. Girl! You need to nip it now! Trust me!

What a I found out through LOTS of trial and error - is that my son is very boundary oriented and controlling. He needs to control his environment and when he is unable to control his environment, he literally comes unglued. Granted - he has a lot more maturity now than he did when he was younger - but it does take hard core boundaries and expectations to make our relationship work sometimes. Sometimes!

I have to say though that he did not act out like your dd at 7..... At this age, he was more in trouble at school with his peers.

I also found out that I was enabling A LOT of his behavior by not setting clear expectations. Like you - I really wanted to be able to explain and talk to him. Fast forward many years and heartaches later - he really just needed boundaries. And walk away. Don't try to talk through it or wait her out - walk away and leave her alone. She's a smart kid - she hears you. She also hears your conflict and unwillingness to come down hard on her.

One thing that I did wrong was to ground or take things to quickly and then keep them too long. Also, my ds needed more space to figure things out on his own. I sort of smothered him.

Now, I give clear consequences AHEAD of time. I never snatch something away from without it being his decision to lose it. Does that make sense? So in the bath tub situation - I wouldn't take away the treat without clearly explaining that if the behavior continues - the treat will be removed. I know some folks (and I haven't read the other responses yet) don't like to punish or give consequences - but I tell my kids that I will not continue to do things for them without their cooperation. So you might ask that your dd cooperate with you so that you can get the bath completed and then move on to the treat. "DD, I need your cooperation, please wash your hair so that we can (Whatever insert here)." DD shouts that she doesn't want to wash her hair. You tell her that if she choses not to wash her hair, then she cannot do XYZ later. Quick question - is she washing her hair or are you? That might be aggravating her - she might want the autonomy to wash her own hair. Leave the room - ask her to complete the task and call you when she's done. Staying in the room and arguing with her gives her the idea that she can continue to try and make you see it her way. If you leave - you are giving her choices.


Your description of your afternoon with the snack prepared, the long discussion on the way home etc.... that just reminds me of my son. It was so important to you that she understand exactly what was going on. You were working so hard to avoid conflict. You were walking on egg shells to keep her calm. And that is great! I've been there. But I had the same situation years ago where I was literally afraid to set my son off. And it had to stop. I was afraid to give him chores on Saturday because I didn't want to hear his mouth. How crazy is that!!!

I'm rambling! I'm so sorry. Good luck to you!
post #90 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
This is a totally wild guess, but if any custody issue were ever to come up, it would "look good" for the OP if her child doesn't go out in public looking unkempt.
Not to mention that a seven year old is not old enough or mature enough to always know what is best for them. That is why they have parents.
post #91 of 164
I have to agree that I likely would have had a small snack waiting for the kiddo at p/u from school, then gone straight to run errands, then home for a bath. It just seems like a more logical progression to me. Be that as it may...

The tie-in of the treat to her behavior really could have been made more explicit, IMO. When she asks next time, a better response would be (IMO) "We have to do X and Y before we can go out for Z. If things run smoothly and we're ready quickly, then we can get Z. If not, it will have to be another time."

Also... did she KNOW that she had to have a bath then and there because the water was being shut off after dinner (not sure I understand this, but that's something else, I guess)?

As for the mouthiness? I told mine that I didn't understand people when they spoke to me badly. So if she wanted a reaction, she'd need to find a different way to tell me why she was angry. Also, there is nothing wrong with saying "I'm sorry. But your words are making me so angry, I need to take a few minutes to cool off." and then walking away. But locking yourself in the bathroom and crying? You may as well just hand the keys to the kingdom over to her now.
post #92 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenheart View Post
Ah, thank you for that. I agree too (even though it may not be the popular opinion). I was thinking my child must be much more "spirited" because no way would that type of parenting work on her. And like I said, I think I'm pretty permissive (which may be causing the issue in the first place). I offer her lots of choices...what does she want for breakfast? does she want to wear ___ or ____? Does she want to brush her hair, or shall I? Etc. But as for her being completely in charge of every choice/her body, etc....um no.

Maybe she's an immature 7. But she'd never (ever) brush her hair...it would turn into a matted clump. She'd never brush her teeth. Doubt she'd take a bath. Some people may say the natural consequence would be that she'd need to get her hair cut off and people would not want to be around her because she's dirty. Well, yes, there's that. But that's not fair to her! If I allow that to happen, I'm not doing a good job as her parent. She's only been on this earth for 7 years. I've been here a lot longer than that....my experience allows me to know that she would be very upset if nobody played with her and she needed to cut her hair off. Since I'm her guide in this life presently, I won't allow this to happen to her. And as well, my peers would be looking at me thinking I am a crappy mom for sending my little kid to school like that.
I just wanted to chime in and say, it's not just your 7 year old who is like this. My own 7 year old is and always has been very, very intense.

I know the lack of consequences/etc works fabulously for certain families but this is another place where we all need to remember one thing won't work for EVERY child.

My 7 year old gets exponentially worse the less limits/consequences/structure we enforce. When he begins to spiral out of control with his behavior I've learned to look closely at how loosy goosy I've gotten with limits. He complains (loudly and obnoxiously) for a day or so when I begin to tighten back up but then it's like this almost euphoric sense of relief washes over him. He'll even say things to me like "I do want to do xyz but I know it's not a good idea because when I was doing xyz before it made me stressed out." Those types of statements just FLOOR me when he says them.

For him limits=SECURITY. He needs the security of knowing that DH and I are in control and that weight is NOT on his shoulders. I'm not saying he never complains and that he never has choices. Not at all. BUT I have learned as a parent that even though it's not the most MDC friendly, I MUST listen to my child and try to do what he needs. It's actually fairly gentle, too. We don't hit, I *try* not to raise my voice too much and I use a lot of positive reinforcement.

I just wanted you to know you are not the only one with a very spirited 7 year old who pushes back from time to time. I think you handled it well, Mama.
post #93 of 164
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm the OP.

I just have a moment for a quick reply right now, but I wanted to let you know I've read everyone's comments/ideas/suggestions. THANK YOU. Wow, I didn't expect so much brainstorming on this! I honestly feel much more confident overall and I realize that (a) this is something I can work on (from a variety of angles), and (b) I need to get a grip and not take things so personally when it is coming from a young kid.
post #94 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum21andtwins View Post
Right so who should have control? why should one person ( and I don't care if its the adult or the child) have control over another? and why is this such an issue for so many parents who has control in a situation. I'm not talking about something like leaving a child to play on a busy road that woul be a stupid example (Thats the one most people will throw at me) If safety is involved I step in. but if it isn't a safety issue why should a parent be "allowed" to coerce/manipulate whatever you want to call it a child to do something.
For me, personally, I believe that children do not have the knowledge, acquired life skills or emotional ability to be that much in control. Yes, they should have choices and, over the years, gain more and more bits of control. Of their body, of choices, of activities, etc. There is a reason they need parents. For my son, when he gets too much control over day to day stuff he gets incredibly stressed and just falls apart. His behavior gets out of this world bad. But if I step in and tighten up my boundaries that I've let slide, he turns into the happiest, most relaxed, playful, well behaved child you've ever met. Now that he's old enough to understand bits of why this happens, he literally thanks me occasionally for enforcing whatever limit. I believe this is also why he does so well in school. The routines, structure and clearly stated and enforced limits work SO well for him. There aren't many surprises and he feels secure in knowing that he doesn't have to be in control.

Emotionally, they simply are not ready to have that much control over so much of their lives. It's very, very stressful. I believe it's my job as a parent to bare the brunt of that stress and gradually give more control as he learns how to handle situations over time.
post #95 of 164
And I do just want to add that I try very, VERY hard not to let his negative emotions pull me into the vortex. As someone previous posted, when he's moody/emo he needs ME to be his rock because obviously, in this moment, he doesn't know how to handle his emotions and bring them under control.

We all know how BIG feelings like frustration and anger can feel. To a little child I believe it's ten times worse. It's just too difficult for them to reign in sometimes and they need us to teach them how.

I wouldn't with hold affection later. I would, however, talk to the child and tell her how you felt (disrespected, frustrated, angry, whatever.) At the very next interaction after an incident, I try to force myself to act as though things MUST be back to normal because SURELY he wouldn't STILL be acting funky. (He could and is many times ) I feel that this shows him I KNOW he is capable of behaving in a civilized manner and that his crummy behavior during whatever incident does not make me love him or believe in him any less.
post #96 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mum21andtwins View Post
Right so who should have control? why should one person ( and I don't care if its the adult or the child) have control over another? and why is this such an issue for so many parents who has control in a situation. I'm not talking about something like leaving a child to play on a busy road that woul be a stupid example (Thats the one most people will throw at me) If safety is involved I step in. but if it isn't a safety issue why should a parent be "allowed" to coerce/manipulate whatever you want to call it a child to do something.
And where do you draw the line? if a parent is allowed to do it are grandparents? what about a teacher? boss? where in society do we draw the line and start treating all individuals with respect? It is not child centered or child led or child whatever it is simply treating a person with respect.
I can't comment on you friend other than that she has a choice.
I haven't read through the whole thread but I really, really agree with you. I do use coercion with my kids (as much as I try not to) but I try really hard to give them control over their own bodies. My dd6 sometimes went days without brushing her super-long hair but she always eventually wanted to (natural consequence was tangles and now she has a short super-cute bob that she asked for). I think it is disrespectful towards a 7 yr old to insist they bathe. Instead of making it a power-struggle I probably would have let her know that her hair hygiene was my issue and the why behind it but come up with a solution that both could be happy with (maybe a ball cap and pony?).
post #97 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthy Mama View Post
I just don't agree, ok? She didn't take the treat away. It was not ABLE to be purchased because they couldn't leave the house because the child was not going to get clean. Which was the stipulation for leaving the house.

I am thrilled that your parenting style works for you. I have a friend who parents similarly to you, and her child owns her. She does whatever that child wants-she drops everything to do what she wants. She is completely taken advantage of. That's my experience with a child led house.
Wow. I haven't heard anyone on this thread advocate for a "child-led household" only a mutually respectful household. It is such a common misconception that respecting a child will lead to a child-led household, as the respect goes both ways.

There was a lot of room for the OP to negotiate an acceptable compromise for the dirty hair if she could have first respected her child's desire not to have a bathe. The outcome could have been acceptable to both of them.
post #98 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
Wow. I haven't heard anyone on this thread advocate for a "child-led household" only a mutually respectful household. It is such a common misconception that respecting a child will lead to a child-led household, as the respect goes both ways.

There was a lot of room for the OP to negotiate an acceptable compromise for the dirty hair if she could have first respected her child's desire not to have a bathe. The outcome could have been acceptable to both of them.
ok.
post #99 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
There was a lot of room for the OP to negotiate an acceptable compromise for the dirty hair if she could have first respected her child's desire not to have a bathe.

No there wasn't. Sorry, but no way is my 7 year old choosing not to bathe. Ain't happening on my watch. I don't insist on a bath every single day, but there are times when a bath is just plain necessary. When do you begin respecting a child's decision not to bathe? What about a smelly, sticky 2 year old who isn't in the mood to have a bath? Would you sit down and brainstorm a respectful alternative? I'd love to hear how that goes. What about a 5 year old who decides not to take medicine for pneumonia? It IS their body, after all. Sorry if I sound sarcastic, but I find it a bit hard to believe people who talk this way are 100% serious. I can't imagine what you would do in various scenarios.

Her entire body (including hair) was dirty (as in, actual dirt on it from playing in the woods). That isn't acceptable. If she wants to live like that when she grows up (and it out of the house), fine. Not now. If you allow your child not to bathe, that is your choice. I find it...."interesting"....but it doesn't affect me (unless I have to stand next to him/her).
post #100 of 164
I completely agree with the OP's last post. There is a nice middle ground IMO where our 4.75 y.o. DD gets as much say as possible and practical... but where our knowledge and the fact that we are RESPONSIBLE for this child also count. Within reason, we can decide together when she bathes (and we tell her that, if she picks a certain time, it will mean giving up something else- like a TV show she planned to watch- or that we'll have to rush more). but needing to bathe at a decent interval, taking needed medicine (her antibiotic is NOT a choice- though how she takes it and mixed with what is... tylenol for an injury is a choice, usually).
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