Originally Posted by Jaimee
Oh, Amanda, I'm so sorry that your dd1 are so difficult right now. That must be really hard, especially since you two just got married. How does your dh feel about it all? I hope this doesn't come off as trivializing things, but based on what you said in the Playful Parenting thread, I was wondering if some of this could stem from how he interacts with her and perhaps feeling a deep sense of not belonging like she used to. If she's feeling some strong emotions about her current situation (friends, new marriage, new baby, etc.) and she's been unable to get those feelings out perhaps they're all coming out as anger toward something she can blame- someone that is safe to blame like you and your dh. Just like he said in the book, the "bad behavior" is saved for those we love b/c it's safe. And if he perhaps made a very concerted effort to connect with her on her terms that some of those feelings would play themselves out? I don't have a 10 year old so I'm not sure what this would look like, but would she respond to some rough housing? Pillow fight? Some sort of exercising together? Play acting? Dancing? Cooking? Other hobbies she has? Maybe he could take her out on the weekend?
Anyway, I know there is no quick fix... yay we had a pillow fight and everything is good... but I wonder if you/he might get some insight into what's brewing under the surface with some insistent, more playful interaction. What did you do when she called you stupid? I'm sure I would have been too dumbfounded to turn it around like Cohen suggests!
Jaimee, you are right about part of it being how my dh interacts with her. He has really stopped a lot of the playing. Also, he is getting very resentful of her. He thinks she is out of control, which she is. She can be super cruel... mocking him if he makes a grammar error when speaking, calling names, etc. So even though she is only a child, I can understand how someone would get fed up. Also, she needs more attention than average... she has a leaky cup. So she has her own issues, but dh pulling back on the play has made things worse. She actually had a good weekend, so I'm grateful for that.
Originally Posted by birdhappy85
*hugs* Amanda - I'm sorry your dd1 is having such a hard time and acting out. I second what Jaimee suggested. I clearly have no experience parenting children older than my dear little 6-month-old, but from a standpoint of having been a very frustrated and angry child myself because of a highly dysfunctional and toxic family, I have noticed myself feeling better when DH "plays" back with me when I'm still (sadly as an adult) throwing a pissy fit. He often forgets to respond that way and gets defensive and angry back at me, which just makes me feel more neglected and angry. But if he gets me laughing in the middle of being angry, I somehow end up letting go of the anger fairly quickly and move on to engaging in whatever he has distracted me with. This sounds stupid because I'm an adult who STILL has behaved in this manner at times, but it's just my inner child who gets triggered sometimes still and needs the same kind of reinforcement and attention I needed as a kid to feel like I belong and am cared for. Maybe the roughhousing and "playing" back with a pre-teen would make her angrier... or maybe she'd be angrier at first (like I tend to get) and then start realizing how silly the situation is and let down her defenses. I don't know. Jaimee's ideas sounded worth a shot, though! Hang in there!
Thanks for sharing. This perspective will help you a lot in parenting! It's only recently that I've even thought to relate to my kids in that way. I used to always wonder why they would ever want negative attention. Then, I realized that even I will pout and stomp when I am feeling neglected from dh! Lol. Why do I expect children to be any different?
Originally Posted by Mal85
Amanda-- *hugs* I couldn't read and not respond. I have no experience dealing with what you're going through... or what she's going through, but I did watch it play out with my sister and her daughter. My niece's dad lives several states away from her. He's in her life, but she doesn't see him often. She has dealt with a lot of anger of her own, and it always surfaces as her fighting with and hating her stepdad. She's almost 13 now, but just a couple of years ago they put her into counseling. She was constantly angry, always fighting with her brother and stepdad. She would tell my sister daily that she just wanted her life to go back to the way it was before her stepdad came into their lives. She begged to go live back in the apartment they had lived in together. She hated him and she thought he hated her. She started saying--often--that she wished she'd never been born and she wished she would just die. It really worried my sister, so she started seeing a counselor. It really helped her... a ton. The counselor taught her some incredible ways to deal with her anger. I even caught her a few times showing her cousins some of the stuff her counselor had taught her when they were having a tough time. She was able to stop seeing the counselor and has a much better outlook... aside from her regular preteen moodiness.
Thank you so much for sharing this! This makes me feel so much more normal. I'm really hopeful that counselling will help.
As for counselling, it's tough to get a new patient appointment. Sigh. Hopefully soon.