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5 Year Old Learning Manipulation and Being Manipulated with Media

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My 5 year old seems to be completely addicted to TV.  We are living with my mother and she wants TV on all the time.  I give my daughters TV time and TV privileges get taken away for bad behavior, but my mom will pull them into her room, close the door and put TV or DVDs on for them and completely disrespects every rule I put into place with my children.


I know this is very difficult for a 5 year old to deal with.  When we talk about it she will say that she wants to do things other than watching TV and that she is okay having her TV privileges taken away...but when my mom gets home she manipulates my children and when I say it's bedtime my daughter has a ridiculous tantrum about it every time. 


Frankly it is a huge thing and it is not just the TV/DVD thing, but she has screamed, woke up her sister, broken toys, and tries to manipulate and control everything.  Will whisper and tell her sister to do things she's not supposed to do, tell me what I'm going to do, sneak out of the room, lock doors, slam doors, tell me I hate her...etc.


I very rarely yell at my daughters at all.  I am in general(not perfect) very neutral and try to engage her in choosing correct behavior...but because she has a lot of problems every time she watches TV and I know it is creating a lot of problems with her emotionally, I want it to be restricted...


My mom doesn't respect this...my mom has hit my child, yells all the time(the only way she really ever communicates), manipulates, controls, uses shame, guilt, blame and lots of insults and will pit my daughers against each other, show favoritism, etc.  Worst of all, she doesn't talk to me at all, doesn't respect my parenting and clearly is trying to create a wedge and wage a war between who will have their say with my kids.  She insults me all the time and I am very much trying to move asap...and hopefully it won't be more than a couple months more...but I've been trying to organize things with my daughter to help her regulate and balance her behaviors with my help, rather than letting my mom dictate her behaviors so much...but that is not working.


As much as she knows my mom is mean to her and calls her "my mean grandma" she loves that my mom will give her food I wouldn't give her, buy her a ton of crap and make her feel that if she dresses perfectly(with only the clothes my mom has bought), wear her hair a certain way, watch what she wants her to watch, etc. she can please her...or something.  So there is a very horrible routine of bedtime and TV, getting dressed and other situations where she goes against our plans and follows my mom and makes a lot of chaos when i ask her to do what we've decided or if I go against something my mom has told her or allowed her to do.


What would you do?

post #2 of 5

First, I want to say I am so sorry for what you are going through. I completely understand. hug2.gif


My opinions/suggestions:


Pray. ( I will be praying for you too. ) Even if you don't believe in God, ask Him for protection for you and your children. (I am a semi-recent Christian btw, not trying to force my faith on you, just suggesting what I would do) Ask Him to get you out of there. (He did it with my family, in the same type of situation and abuse (mother)) 


You probably know you will not change your mom. I would venture to say your daughter can't hear you with all of the noise your mother is producing. I would just try to get out sooner than soon. Treat it as an abusive relationship, because it is, for all of you. It does sound like you are stuck there for a bit, and I understand that, but are there friends who will take you guys on for a month or two? 


You deserve the best!!! Much love to you and yours momma! hug.gif Hugs and love and hugs!

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much...that is exactly what I've been doing.  I feel a lot better emotionally than I have this whole time(a year we've been living with her) and I do realize now that it is an abusive situation as I left their dad(which was an eerily similar relationship) and have been working on healing from that sort of trauma and rebuilding my life. 


I really do feel like I'm learning a lot and very, very close to being done with this situation...but still getting through each day and protecting my children and trying to not let them be too affected by this lack of emotional stability is tough.  I want to arm my daughter with some way of self-regulating, but maybe it's just too tough for her right now...maybe it is something we'll just have to heal from when we leave this situation.


I'm not sure if I have anyone we could stay with for a couple of months...but I'll see...I'm not the best at reaching out...but I definitely feel desperate enough to try.


Thanks again.

post #4 of 5

Just a quick thought; this is from my old therapist, I was talking about my mom and I was pregnant at the time, I was worried how this abuse would transfer. She suggested that I ask my, then, future DD how it made her feel? Let her get it out. Now this was assuming infrequent visits. But something like that perhaps could at least get your daughter thinking, maybe? You could probably throw your two cents in after she answers, saying how it makes you feel when grandma treats you and your children the way she does. Or maybe, in case you don't want her to spill the beans in front of your mom, the way you feel when DD manipulates or does the things she does.


I want to say more but one of the dogs is on the couch and DD is none too happy about this. Gotta go, and Good morning and God bless your day Momma and children!

post #5 of 5
Featherstory - no real advice, but sending you a lot of positive energy that you get out of there ASAP. It's not surprising that your abusive relationships are similar. That's what we do, right?

Just keep trying, do your best with your daughter for now, then when you are out you can make some real progress.
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