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so here is our life. I am stuck.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
1. I see DD coming outside holding a bowl of something. She clearly doesn't want me to see it and is obviously trying to get away from me. I ask her what she has and she won't tell me. I come over and see it's a bowl of crackers.

2. I ask her calmly if she has gotten permission to get a snack (snacks are kept at kid level, but she needs to ask...we are also right about to have dinner, a time when snacks are not given, and she knows this).

3. She tells me that yes, she asked DH he said it was okay.

4. I ask DH. No, he says, she did not ask him.

5. I come outside and ask DD if she has anything she wants to tell me and if she's sure she told the truth.

6. She swears she told the truth.

7. I explain that she a) got a snack without asking and b) lied about it.

8. She starts yelling at me about how she didn't know, it wasn't her fault, she just wants to be grown-up, she didn't lie, etc.

9. I remind her that things are going to go better in this situation if she tells the truth and apologizes.

10. No go. Yelling and crying about how it isn't her fault and nobody loves her.

11. I send her to her room because the neighbors don't need to hear this. I tell her she can come out when she's ready to tell me what she did wrong.

12. In her room crying and yelling about how everyone hates her, no one loves her, and she will be in her room forever since she has no idea what she did wrong.

At no point did I yell or lose my temper. Our life is like this all the time. I am stumped. The things she does are not so terrible, but her reaction is always so over the top when she is disciplined.
post #2 of 25

 My first thought is usually to put myself in the kid's shoes. First of all, are YOU (i.e. the parents) able to get crackers any time you want, even before dinner? She did make that comment about wanting to be grown up. Maybe she wants the kind of freedom where she can meet her body's needs when she feels it's necessary, just like adults can.

Secondly, kids don't seem to react real well when parents ask things like "who did this?" or "why did you do this" or "did you tell the truth"...etc.  All of it comes across as accusatory and probably makes them feel real defensive. I've seen it in other people's posts. Especially if there's usually punishment involved. Think of how it feels from their perspective.


Anyway, I was putting myself in your shoes, trying to imagine what I might have done differently. First, we don't have rules about "no snacks before dinner" except for sweets, and if I didn't think my son would stick to that, I would put those out of reach. If my son wants whole wheat crackers, he's welcome to it. It's whole grains; what do I care if he has them before dinner or during. I try to get dinner on the table early enough so that doesn't happen. Also, I may put fruit or crackers out mid-afternoon to prevent him from becoming really hungry just before dinner for precisely this reason. 


Anyway (since you said you were stumped, I assume you are seeking advice here) how about this…. say you observe her with the crackers and you suspect she's done something she is not supposed to. You don't say a word; you calmly go about your business. Over dinner, if DD is not eating, you might casually ask DH or comment to him like "I'm surprised you told DD she could have crackers right before dinner." To which a most natural response would occur "I didn't." And that's all you need to say. Your DD would of course be observing this nonchalant exchange. Without you accusing or confronting, she is less likely to feel defensive, and may even confess (my son confesses all the time because nothing punitive is going to happen if he does. There may be consequences, but not punishments, if you catch the distinction. He doesn't feel threatened).


After dinner, without saying a word, you just put the crackers up out of reach. If they're going to be at kid-level with the assumption that she will follow your rules, then she needs to follow the rules. So up they go until she can abide by your rules. You don't announce this to her; you would just do it. Next time when she asks where the crackers are, you can tell her that since she took them when she wasn't supposed to, they're up out of reach for a while.


Another alternative, instead of waiting for her to notice that the crackers are now out of reach: You could sit with her just before bed (that's when I have "talks" with my son….it's quiet and peaceful and he's more conducive to hearing me & emotions are all done running high). I'd say something like "Dad said he did not give permission for having a snack right before dinner. When you are honest with me honey, it helps me to trust you and believe what you say. You want me to believe you when you say things, right?" ("yes, mama") So for the next week the snacks will be out of reach and you will have to ask us for them, until I'm sure you're going to follow our mealtime rules about this. And if your tummy is really empty and you're hungry, you need to let me know. I don't want you to be hungry and maybe we can come up with a solution so this doesn't happen again."


Now, I want to be clear that I don't think a huge amount of food-control is a real good idea. If you want her to listen to her body and not outside forces later on (i.e. peer pressure of all kinds) then perhaps she would benefit from listening to her body. If she's hungry, she eats. What's the worst that could happen? She doesn't eat all her dinner? I'm assuming that you don't make her clear her plate, right? We just ask our son to have "a balance"….he doesn't have to eat beyond when he's full, and we encourage him to have a little of everything just so his body gets a balance of what we've put out. But it's never a hard & fast rule. If he's full, he's full. And if he keeps blowing off dinner in favor of snacking on sweet stuff later on, we're wise to that and we tell him we're not going to buy sweets if that's his approach. We have tried to build a very trusting relationship. When he starts eating things at inconvenient times, or he eats things that are junky (to excess) we talk about why that worries us. We talk about the effect that certain foods have on the body, on our behavior and how we feel. So he knows we're not being arbitrary. (in case you were wondering, he's 8 now but we have taken this approach for the past several years, after an initial rocky "because I said so" approach when we were new parents)   :-)

Anyway, I just think her hyper-drama you talked about can be avoided with a change in how you approach it, so maybe she feels that you're being fair because you, in fact, are.  
 

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Secondly, kids don't seem to react real well when parents ask things like "who did this?" or "why did you do this" or "did you tell the truth"...etc. All of it comes across as accusatory and probably makes them feel real defensive.

Yes, I know what you mean. I actually put it a little more subtly than I wrote here...I think I said something more like "Is there anything you want to tell me about the crackers?" or something.

I am not interesting in changing our food rules...they are what they are for a reason, and also while she is pretty good on knowing when to stop, little brother (3) isn't so much. I want them to ask. FTR, she had just gotten home from camp and probably was really hungry. If she had asked, I would have given her something right away...I never refuse to give food. But it would not have been crackers, which are considered snacks, not meals.

However, taking the crackers wouldn't have been a huge deal and I was not yelling or seeming enraged in any way. It was her reaction to being questioned that created the problem. This is pretty standard for us, She doesn't do egregious things, but she becomes hysterically defensive very easily. She finds it extremely hard to apologize or admit fault, ever. I want to add here that I sincerely apologize to her when I lose my temper and that I do try hard to model admitting when I'm wrong, although the second is harder for me than the first.
Quote:
say you observe her with the crackers and you suspect she's done something she is not supposed to. You don't say a word; you calmly go about your business. Over dinner, if DD is not eating, you might casually ask DH or comment to him like "I'm surprised you told DD she could have crackers right before dinner." To which a most natural response would occur "I didn't." And that's all you need to say. Your DD would of course be observing this nonchalant exchange. Without you accusing or confronting, she is less likely to feel defensive, and may even confess (my son confesses all the time because nothing punitive is going to happen if he does. There may be consequences, but not punishments, if you catch the distinction. He doesn't feel threatened).

This is an interesting idea and I like it. It would be ideal to find ways to let her "know we know" without directly confronting her, I think. I wonder, though, how many situations would be able to be finessed this way?
Quote:
"Dad said he did not give permission for having a snack right before dinner. When you are honest with me honey, it helps me to trust you and believe what you say. You want me to believe you when you say things, right?" ("yes, mama") So for the next week the snacks will be out of reach and you will have to ask us for them, until I'm sure you're going to follow our mealtime rules about this. And if your tummy is really empty and you're hungry, you need to let me know. I don't want you to be hungry and maybe we can come up with a solution so this doesn't happen again."

This would for sure result in a major scene. I have definitely tried things like this..this would be a relatively standard MO for us. She would freak out about how she didn't do it, etc etc.
post #4 of 25
I think trying to get kids to fess up rarely goes well. I'd just say, "I know your dad didn't give you permission to get crackers." and take them away. And put them out of her reach if you don't want her to have easy access. The temptation is too strong to have them there within reach but not really available, IMO.
post #5 of 25

I have two thoughts. One is that I have a child who reacts very dramatically and defensively when we speak to her about her behavior. I think that partially she reacts this way because she's very sensitive to any criticism, real or perceived. She's very sensitive in general, really. I think partially she reacts this way to save face, to protect her dignity. Who doesn't want to save face when they've done something wrong or something they're embarrassed about? I think lying, shifting blame, bemoaning the cruel unfairness of the world are all ways to shift the focus from one's own behavior to something, anything else. It's hard to accept responsibility and to admit you were wrong. 

 

My second thought is that in this particular situation, I'd take a page from Anthony Wolf's The Secret of Parenting. I'd probably simply say: "Dad told me that you didn't ask permission for crackers. The rule is that you need to ask for a snack, especially close to dinnertime. Next time I expect you to ask first." Later on, I would address the lying by saying "You lied to me earlier about the crackers. I do not like that. I expect you to tell me the truth, even when it's hard to do it." That's it. (If lying were a pattern that was causing problems, I would probably handle it differently. For an isolated instance I don't think any more is required.) I agree that pressing kids to confess a lie doesn't go well and isn't effective. I do think it helps to express appreciation when they do tell the truth about something they think you're going to be angry about. We've really emphasized that here and so far (knock wood) that's working well for us in terms of keeping communication open and preventing lying.

 

I think that a lot of the time reminding kids of the rule (which they already know), letting them know that you're not happy that they broke the rule, and stating that you expect them to follow the rule in the future is all that's needed. Particularly with the more minor issues, which it sounds like this was. Holding my dd accountable in this way really works for all of us, and reduces the over-the-top dramatic reactions from her while still getting the message across. (This actually works quite well with all of my kids, though I was using my emotionally volatile, dramatic dd as an example.)

post #6 of 25

I think you handled it well.  She lied, she got caught, she's upset that she got caught.  

 

If she's a high drama person, not much you can do about it but hopes she grows out of it.  

post #7 of 25

Sounds like she feels guilty and is trying to pretend she didn't do anything wrong, in order to escape the feeling.  You could try to talk to her at other times about how doing something like taking the crackers was a mistake but doesn't mean she is a bad person, we all make mistakes some times.  If it doesn't seem to her like such a terrible thing, it will be easier for her to take responsibility.

post #8 of 25

I don't ask if my dd has something to tell me when I catch her in a lie, I tell her how I know she is lying and explain why she can't do something then let her do her small rant and feet stomping without comment.  Once she is done we move on. 

 

I think you are expecting your dd to show a high level of remorse that is intensely uncomfortable for many adults to show when being called out for something they shouldn't have done.  Defensiveness is a natural response to being made to feel small about doing something that you think you are entitled to do even when you are a child.  You are expecting a level of remorse that usually isn't there when someone feels that they are the target of injustice.  I suggest scaling back on the scolding session and skipping right to the consequence if there is one or just simply removing the item she shouldn't have and moving on.  If she rants and is angry I would acknowledge that she is angry, repeat the rule, then let her do it without being sucked into it as long as she is doing it in a way that doesn't violate your family rules.  We have a rule against put downs and prolonged screaming in our common areas of the house so if dd carries on for a long time I ask her to take it to her room. 

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
On the subject of why I tried to draw her into telling the truth...we are looking for incidents of her telling the truth, even when it's hard, so we can praise her for that. Lying has become a problem lately and I wanted to give her the chance to fess up, as we have talked a lot about how doing something wrong and confessing is better than doing something wrong and hiding it. Obviously, it backfired.
Quote:
I think that a lot of the time reminding kids of the rule (which they already know), letting them know that you're not happy that they broke the rule, and stating that you expect them to follow the rule in the future is all that's needed.

We often use this approach. The problem is that she will argue, argue, argue and make excuses. Even if we briefly outline the broken rule, ask her to follow it and the future, and then say "We're done...end of the conversation" and try to move on, she will not. If we don't respond to her commentary ("But I didn't! Why are you mad at me? It's not my fault! It's because I...I didn't know!") she will get more and more agitated and start yelling at us about how we're not answering her and it's not fair and we're ignoring her. This will degenerate to yelling "MAMA! MAMMAAAAAA!" through tears.
Quote:
We have a rule against put downs and prolonged screaming in our common areas of the house so if dd carries on for a long time I ask her to take it to her room.

We then proceed to asking her to take it to her room till she can stop yelling and freak out. She will often refuse and at this point I will feel compelled to say something like "In your room or there will be a consequence," at which point she will go, but we are trying to get away from punishment/consequences except when really necessary.

If she does go to her room, she will read and come out calm and apologize...usually. Once she's cooled down she is generally pretty reasonable and able to say what she did that was not okay.

I really feel between a rock and a hard place because I get two voices in my head (and sometimes I hear real voices saying the same thing, too!) One school of thought is that we are too easy on her and let her get away with too much, and we should be immediately clamping down and enforcing major consequences for every incident of unacceptable rudeness, lying, etc. The other is that we are being too hard on her, too punitive, setting her up to be in conflict with us, etc. I just feel so bewildered sometimes.
post #10 of 25



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

I really feel between a rock and a hard place because I get two voices in my head (and sometimes I hear real voices saying the same thing, too!) One school of thought is that we are too easy on her and let her get away with too much, and we should be immediately clamping down and enforcing major consequences for every incident of unacceptable rudeness, lying, etc. The other is that we are being too hard on her, too punitive, setting her up to be in conflict with us, etc. I just feel so bewildered sometimes.


I can relate.  I have the exact same bewilderment, and I have a 6.5yo, so, similar age. My own voice is usually the second one - that I should keep going with being less punitive, not setting us up for conflict, etc.  I think I'm doing well with that. But other people (ahem) believe I let them get away with too much.  It's hard to balance.
 

 

post #11 of 25

My nine year old son had a crying in fit in the car because he was told he needed to stay near me at the pool. He broke a safety rule at home and now needs to be more closely watched.You would of think I was beating him . Some kids are just dramatic.

post #12 of 25

So it sounds like you are much more upset over the lying and the drama than the cracker snatching, yes?

 

Kids lie.  Kids are also indignant when confronted and willing to fully commit to the lie and the justification they have given themselves.  Most adults are, too.  I am not sure you can teach a kid to tell the truth by getting angry with a lie.

 

In my experience the only way to get a kid to feel comfortable with telling the truth is to tell THEM the truth as it seems to you and then showing them there is no problem worth lying about.  Just fix the problem, and everything will be okay.  The most important part of owning an action is what you do to resolve the problem, right? 

 

So in this case, you might have just said from the beginning "Looks like you have something there you do not want me to see.  You can either ask me for permision for something to eat or put it back."  All the questions you asked were a trick.  You KNEW she was sneaking something.  You didn't NEED her to tell you the truth because you already knew the truth, you needed her to respect your right to be upset about the truth, and you felt that would be best expressed through her admittance of guilt and an apology. I think.  So...I guess I am trying to gently tell you that this is an awfully big expectation of a child to expect them to meet a need that is presented in such a sneaky way.  It is better to get your needs met in a more direct way.  It is better to say from the start "I need you to ask my permission if you want a snack this close to dinner." and leave it at that.

 

A simple request, and if she can't meet that request the consequence is the crackers get moved up. (I have to wonder though, why bother putting them at kid level if they need permission first?  Is it a test?) 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that you are having an angry reaction to this because you have an unmet need.  Finding a way to get that need met while still respecting her need for respect and independence is more important than teaching her a social system that is based in falsehood.  Admittance of guilt and contrition do not make everything better.  Kids know that intuitively, and they are going to protect themselves.  You can only show them, IME, that it is true by giving them the truth and asking for retribution without getting angry and rewarding admittance of guilt when it happens, though it rarely does. 

 

For example, my son painted stripes on our neighbor's dog with wood stain they had left out in the yard we shared.  I was mortified and upset and freaking out INSIDE.  He saw my eyes and started telling a story about a land-whale that was running riot in town painting dogs , and buildings (you gotta love the imagination on this kid!) and...I calmly said "I wonder what gets out wood stain from dog fur.  Let's go look it up!"  and we tried and when that didn't work I said "looks like we need to explain to Rosa what happened to her dog, and see if we can offer to pay to clean her dog. and after that we can reward ourselves with ice cream for doing something so hard and scary."  Rather than make it about solving the mystery of whodunnit, I made him part of the clean up crew...productive and involved.

 

Being dramatically indignant is just who she might be.  That's not necessarily a bad thing in life.  It might be a huge asset to her should she grow up to be a courtroom lawyer or an actress or a feisty business woman.  The trick is to channel it so that she uses her powers for good. Give her debating tools.  Teach her how to be cunning and insightful and productive. I think she makes some compelling arguments myself.  You, yourself said she has better control over her eating than her brother.  As the big sister, shouldn't she get SOME privileges?  Shouldn't she get some power to decide when to eat if you do?  Maybe not food, maybe some other part of her life.  It is clear to me that she feels she is being treated unfairly and that's how she justified being allowed to have a snack...who knows, maybe she asked her dad "I'm a big girl, right?" and for HER that was asking him permission for a snack...ya know?  My DS does this sort of thing all the time, and when we get to the bottom of it, there was a misunderstanding.  Like the time he asked if he could recycle my coke bottle and he went to the bathroom on the BUS to make liquid soap...you don't even want to KNOW where he got the water to make the powdered soap watery...oy vey! and he told his dad he had my permission...well...for him, he DID.  I just think sometimes we assume they are lying because they think we are stupid and we take it very personally.  I do.  But then I have to remember, it is not about trying to pull the wool over my eyes, it is about trying to explain their version of the story. 

post #13 of 25


I just wanted to say, your posts are so motivating!  Thanks for your point of view...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

So it sounds like you are much more upset over the lying and the drama than the cracker snatching, yes?

 

Kids lie.  Kids are also indignant when confronted and willing to fully commit to the lie and the justification they have given themselves.  Most adults are, too.  I am not sure you can teach a kid to tell the truth by getting angry with a lie.

 

In my experience the only way to get a kid to feel comfortable with telling the truth is to tell THEM the truth as it seems to you and then showing them there is no problem worth lying about.  Just fix the problem, and everything will be okay.  The most important part of owning an action is what you do to resolve the problem, right? 

 

So in this case, you might have just said from the beginning "Looks like you have something there you do not want me to see.  You can either ask me for permision for something to eat or put it back."  All the questions you asked were a trick.  You KNEW she was sneaking something.  You didn't NEED her to tell you the truth because you already knew the truth, you needed her to respect your right to be upset about the truth, and you felt that would be best expressed through her admittance of guilt and an apology. I think.  So...I guess I am trying to gently tell you that this is an awfully big expectation of a child to expect them to meet a need that is presented in such a sneaky way.  It is better to get your needs met in a more direct way.  It is better to say from the start "I need you to ask my permission if you want a snack this close to dinner." and leave it at that.

 

A simple request, and if she can't meet that request the consequence is the crackers get moved up. (I have to wonder though, why bother putting them at kid level if they need permission first?  Is it a test?) 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that you are having an angry reaction to this because you have an unmet need.  Finding a way to get that need met while still respecting her need for respect and independence is more important than teaching her a social system that is based in falsehood.  Admittance of guilt and contrition do not make everything better.  Kids know that intuitively, and they are going to protect themselves.  You can only show them, IME, that it is true by giving them the truth and asking for retribution without getting angry and rewarding admittance of guilt when it happens, though it rarely does. 

 

For example, my son painted stripes on our neighbor's dog with wood stain they had left out in the yard we shared.  I was mortified and upset and freaking out INSIDE.  He saw my eyes and started telling a story about a land-whale that was running riot in town painting dogs , and buildings (you gotta love the imagination on this kid!) and...I calmly said "I wonder what gets out wood stain from dog fur.  Let's go look it up!"  and we tried and when that didn't work I said "looks like we need to explain to Rosa what happened to her dog, and see if we can offer to pay to clean her dog. and after that we can reward ourselves with ice cream for doing something so hard and scary."  Rather than make it about solving the mystery of whodunnit, I made him part of the clean up crew...productive and involved.

 

Being dramatically indignant is just who she might be.  That's not necessarily a bad thing in life.  It might be a huge asset to her should she grow up to be a courtroom lawyer or an actress or a feisty business woman.  The trick is to channel it so that she uses her powers for good. Give her debating tools.  Teach her how to be cunning and insightful and productive. I think she makes some compelling arguments myself.  You, yourself said she has better control over her eating than her brother.  As the big sister, shouldn't she get SOME privileges?  Shouldn't she get some power to decide when to eat if you do?  Maybe not food, maybe some other part of her life.  It is clear to me that she feels she is being treated unfairly and that's how she justified being allowed to have a snack...who knows, maybe she asked her dad "I'm a big girl, right?" and for HER that was asking him permission for a snack...ya know?  My DS does this sort of thing all the time, and when we get to the bottom of it, there was a misunderstanding.  Like the time he asked if he could recycle my coke bottle and he went to the bathroom on the BUS to make liquid soap...you don't even want to KNOW where he got the water to make the powdered soap watery...oy vey! and he told his dad he had my permission...well...for him, he DID.  I just think sometimes we assume they are lying because they think we are stupid and we take it very personally.  I do.  But then I have to remember, it is not about trying to pull the wool over my eyes, it is about trying to explain their version of the story. 



 

post #14 of 25

I just wanted to add that I have a dd the same age (12/03) who has always been very dramatic and taking an authoritarian/critical tone always backfires - she has gotten mean and spiteful when called out for her mistakes and it is one (of many) reasons why we have really never done the typical time outs with her -

It's hard sometimes but I find that just calling her out with a more playful  smile and a "nice try but you know the rules' sort of thing works WAY better for her than getting stern etc. As the pp said much of it IS about saving face etc. It's a fine line in getting my point across and consistently sticking to rules and limits, but doing it in a way that she doesn't feel overly criticized.

 

Also - while such dramatic actions have always been part of her persona, I found that almost to the day of her turning 7.5 she is suddenly trying out more sarcasm and attitude and I am having to use a similar playful tact, otherwise she just escalates and deflects and takes no responsibility whatsoever (how can she when she is so busy deflecting/saving face)

 

She is starting theater camp next week and we hope that becomes a positive outlet for her dramatic energies : )

post #15 of 25

I totally understand the not wanting her to lie part, and the being sneaky part. But I can't get over that she was hungry and went and got some crackers. That's all. Yes, she should have asked if that is the rule...but do you know why she didn't ask you first? There's got to be a reason. Maybe that's something you could ask her.

 

post #16 of 25

I recently read somewhere that young children lie because they have a hard time keeping two conflicting ideas in their head- in this case the two conflicting ideas are that (1) you will be angry with her for breaking a rule and (2) you still love her. It makes sense- children lie because they are afraid of losing our love.

 

The answer to this dilemma that I read is similar to what Hakeber said- put very simply, do not put your child in a position where they can lie. Do not ask them a question you already know the answer to, because you're just setting them up to lie. Instead, just calmly tell them that you know what they did, and give them the tools to make it right. "Honey, I see you are taking crackers without asking first. It's close to dinnertime, can you wait until dinner to eat? If not, I'll fix you something a little more nutritious." 

 

My older daughter is only 2, so I don't have personal experience with this yet. But it makes sense to me.

 

I never realized what mental gymnastics parenting would be!

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for more responses...I missed these because I was away.
Quote:
So in this case, you might have just said from the beginning "Looks like you have something there you do not want me to see. You can either ask me for permision for something to eat or put it back." All the questions you asked were a trick.

I honestly did not know what she had at first and couldn't figure out why she was trying to stay away from me. I didn't know for sure that it was food. I don't think this has actually ever happened before (sneaking food without permission). Also, once I saw it was food I wasn't sure DH had not given permission. She might have tried to not let me see it, even if he had said okay. He tends to be a little more permissive about snacks before dinner than I am. So it wasn't really a trick! I didn't completely know what was going on.
Quote:
So it sounds like you are much more upset over the lying and the drama than the cracker snatching, yes?

Yes. Actually, I am more upset about the drama than anything. She doesn't tend to do really transgressive things. I don't think taking crackers without asking is a big deal. But her over the top reaction to ANY kind of correction and the ensuing drama makes me NUTS.
Quote:
Being dramatically indignant is just who she might be. That's not necessarily a bad thing in life. It might be a huge asset to her should she grow up to be a courtroom lawyer or an actress or a feisty business woman. The trick is to channel it so that she uses her powers for good. Give her debating tools. Teach her how to be cunning and insightful and productive.

Oh, believe me, I think she could grow up to be excellent at all those things. smile.gif She doesn't need any more debating tools--she is REALLY good at it already! wink1.gif
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for more responses...I missed these because I was away.
Quote:
So in this case, you might have just said from the beginning "Looks like you have something there you do not want me to see. You can either ask me for permision for something to eat or put it back." All the questions you asked were a trick.

I honestly did not know what she had at first and couldn't figure out why she was trying to stay away from me. I didn't know for sure that it was food. I don't think this has actually ever happened before (sneaking food without permission). Also, once I saw it was food I wasn't sure DH had not given permission. She might have tried to not let me see it, even if he had said okay. He tends to be a little more permissive about snacks before dinner than I am. So it wasn't really a trick! I didn't completely know what was going on.
Quote:
So it sounds like you are much more upset over the lying and the drama than the cracker snatching, yes?

Yes. Actually, I am more upset about the drama than anything. She doesn't tend to do really transgressive things. I don't think taking crackers without asking is a big deal. But her over the top reaction to ANY kind of correction and the ensuing drama makes me NUTS.
Quote:
Being dramatically indignant is just who she might be. That's not necessarily a bad thing in life. It might be a huge asset to her should she grow up to be a courtroom lawyer or an actress or a feisty business woman. The trick is to channel it so that she uses her powers for good. Give her debating tools. Teach her how to be cunning and insightful and productive.

Oh, believe me, I think she could grow up to be excellent at all those things. smile.gif She doesn't need any more debating tools--she is REALLY good at it already! wink1.gif
post #19 of 25

Is there a way you can make the correction child led?  I have an employee who is a lot like your DD in this respect.  If I want any changes to happen I have learned that the best thing to do is to get her to come up with the answers.  So Instead of saying "you didn't fill in the right forms for your cover and you left me with work for three classes yesterday.  I need you to make sure you do that from now on.", which should be the simplest and most effective way to handle it ( with a grown up).  I say to the whole group "Hey. everyone, it seems like maybe our cover system is turning out to be a little cumbersome for everyone to complete.  I really need to have these 3 things respected in the system, can we all brainstorm how we can meet those needs in a way that works better for everyone?"

 

I get over the need for an apology or admittance of guilt, or contrition because I just ain't gonna get it and ya know what?  All the I'm sorries in the world are NOT going to ake me any happier about the 7am rush around to gather work for a class left uncovered.  What WOULD make me happier is a system that works better and that I know will be respected because it was made with her input, and more importantly her signature of commitment to comply.

 

To parle into children's terms, perhaps you could have a pow-wow so to speak, sit down as a family and hash out new rules.  She's getting to be a big kid and perhaps part of the drama is that she doesn't feel like she is treated like one, ya know?  I bet a kid like that would really enjoy the whole process of the debate and banter and decision making.

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that rather than try to squelch a part of her personality that ultimately you love ecause it is inherent to who she is, accept it, love it, and know that you can build your own skills to cope with it, at least until she is old enough to manage herself.  As their direct line managers (aka parents), it's kind of our job, isn't it? 

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
hakeber, I appreciate your post a lot. Thank you. Yes, I think you are hitting at the heart of it, but I have to figure out how to make this all work in real life. She has always been a child who did not want to be a child (in terms of power and independence, anyway--this is a kid who wants to buy her own food and clothes with her own money, at age 7...not because she doesn't like our choices....she just wants to).

But, I confess, I do worry very much that my child will grow up to be that employee of yours. She has MANY other traits that would make her a good employee (very hard worker, highly creative, intelligent, determined), but I fear these traits will ultimately handicap her. We already find that adults either enjoy her very much and are willing to struggle along through her frustrating times because she's otherwise so unique OR they really dislike her and find her to be a thorn in their sides.
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