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How to teach dd to stand up for herself.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Jewely's best friend is this negative kid. he talks badly about himself, he does not like tons of things. What happens is Jewely starts talking like that. saying she doesn't like school, saying she is stupid, saying she can't do anything. PLUS this kid gets away with a lot, partly b.c his parents don't mind him doing stuff I don't want Jewely doing, and partly b/c when he gets in trouble he throws this fit saying "you don't want me, you want to throw me away" etc. Now jewely tries arguments like "you don't love me, you hate me," etc. PLUS he tells Jewely things like "If your favorite princess isn't sleeping beauty you can't be my friend" or tells her what super hero she has to be etc. I can not stand the way my daughter just give in and gives up what she likes and her own thoughts. It drives me BONKERS! I want to yell at her for being such a weak minded follower.( I DO NOT DO THIS!) Also he just does all this annoying stuff like grabbing my butt or hitting an adult while he is "playing" plus stuff. Then Jewely thinks she can do it too.

Now his parents may be lenient but I assure you these people are not telling him he is bad or stupid. I think in his last school he might have had a problem. Also he is adopted so I think when he says the you don't want me stuff it really affects his parents b/c they love and want him SO BADLY.

So I just don't know what to do about the situation. When we didn't see him for a month her behavior and thoughts about herself were so much better. The problem is he is in her class and he lives in the neighborhood and we are friends with both his parents who are separated (and still both live in the neighborhood.)

but any suggestions on what to say to Jewely. have tried to briefly talk to her about it, but i don't say much b/c it pisses me off so much and I don't want her to know. Sorry for the novel but i have been debating this in my head for ages. I am tempted to just only let her see him at school. (in fact I told her today if she kept just not being true to herself and saying she disliked something just b/c Noah did I wouldn't let her hang out with him, except for at school.I was not happy with the way I handled the situation. I really don't want to take this route. It worked for a bit, she told me she really did like the grand canyon IMAX movie we saw. (which she kept loudly proclaiming during the movie that she did not like and she wanted to leave.)

So what can I do? The thing is Jewely isn't a follower normally she really knows what she wants and generally doesn't compromise it so this is new for me.

as for the "you don't love me" comments I have not deluded myself into thinking she is doing this JUST b/c of her friend. I know kids do this, but the intensity of it has gotten worse since she has seen Noah successfully use his "you don't want me" routine.
post #2 of 10
it sounds to me as though her friend is a bit manipulative, just in general. based on the comments he makes to other people. Maybe you could talk to her about how even adults choose what kind of people to surround thmselves with, positive or negative. Gently help her to see his negative behavior for what it is. She may be so enthralled with this friend for whatever reason that she does not recognize his behavior as manipulative and can';t see its effect on her (she IS only 8, after all).

And...I apologize if I sound dramatic, but if this was an adult relationship some would call those dynamics abusive. If it were my duaghter, after trying to guide her in the right direction, I think I would try to limit her contact with this person, because letting her think it is OK now is setting her up to think it is OK later, as a young adult dating men and then as a wife. I was married to man who was an adult version of the little boy you described, so this is a sensitive issue to me.

Of course you don't want to go bananas on her and cut him off entirely, because that will just make him all the more appealing. *sigh* this is why I'm not looking forward to my baby growing up.... don't know if that helped any, sorry.
post #3 of 10
Sorry about this but, why not just spend less time with this kid?: Kids at this age will lose the bad behaviors if they don't see it all the time.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
She is actually 5 not 8. I am considering only seeing him at school. The tough thing is it is her best friend, he lives in the neighborhood and my DH and I are friends with both of his parents. My friend suggested role playing with DD to help her think of some ways she can talk to him, and then if it continues I will severely limit contact to school, and maybe 1 every other week. I will also be trying to set up other play dates to see if I can't get her interested in some other friends.

I am just unsure of how to broach the subject and what I should say in role playing.

Oh i just thought of another one, but it will be hard for me to do with his parents being friends and me being such a people pleaser. But when he gives her these "you won't be my friend.." ultimatums I think I will just tell him that That isn't the way you treat friends, and say we have to go. I know it might put his parents off, but i have to do something.
post #5 of 10
I think the best way you can teach her to stand up for herself is to stand up for her. Limit your and her interaction with these people and let her know that she (and you) can make other friends. Then go out and meet some healthy people.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think your right mo.
post #7 of 10
I would get her into activities that don't include this boy and get her other friends she likes. If you are friends with his parents, perhaps discussing this with them (gently, bc I am sure they would be sensitive to it.) It sounds like this boy might benefit from counseling. Being adopted and having those parents separate sound like it could be traumatic. I don't know. But I would definitely limit time with this boy, get her into other activities, and surround her with more positive people.
post #8 of 10
Hi there, long time lurker, first time poster. I also have a five year old and can really understand the concern over my child mimicking negative behaviors from a friend. At this age, they seem to just love to copy each other. So I can understand the concern.

I'm also really feeling for the little boy and his mother. You see, we have just started contemplating the possibility of adoption. I received a package the other day from the ministry and I tell you, I was up late, feeling very sad about the attachment disorders so many of the adopted children have. The little boy seems to fit in very well with what the ministry was discussing.

Today, we all hear so much about the importance of attachment and I think probably a large percentage of the readers here, are incorporating that in their parenting style. But, when a baby doesn't get that - wow, the results can be devestating. It can affect them in so many ways, not feeling good about themselves, not trusting others, getting attention negatively (because that is the only way they know) etc.

Now, I don't know this child's story, so I may be off, but it sounds very much like what I was reading. The good news is - is that it sounds like children can become attached to caregivers but that it can take a while. It sounds like his new parents love him and want him very much and this is what he needs. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for them, the information pointed out how difficult it is for children who are having attachment problems to be in a regular school system. The system is set up so that if a child does something negative, there is time out, punishments etc. That what these children need at the times they are pushing away is actually more attachment and connection. That doesn't mean ignoring negative behavior, but trying to keep connection in the fore front when dealing with the child.

I also think it is worth saying that your daughter's actions do not come from the same place as this child. She is copying, trying out new behavior, etc. It sounds like his actions stem from a deep place. Not saying this is Ok, only that it is different.

You mention that you have not wanted to talk to her about how pissed off you have been. Kids are so smart and they pick up on so much. I thought about what I might do if it was my five year old. Even though he is so young, I think I might try and talk to him about it. So if you were able to shift to a compassionate place for this child, you might say something like ie) When Noah says he doesn't like himself, I feel sad. And then when she asks why. It opens the door for you to talk to her about how important it is for babies to have their needs met and feel loved. You could even talk to her about how you treated her when she was a baby and how much you adore her. Then you could say, Noah, didn't have that. He didn't meet his mommy and daddy until, blank. and even though they love him so much, it might take him awhile to really deep down know how wonderful it is that he is here and how loved he is. Then you could launch into, something like when you say you don't like yourself, I think you are saying it because Noah says it. I want you to know that you are my little girl and I think you are the cats meow. You know something like that.

If you want to connect with the parents, you could talk to them about what you see and how this may appear to be a problem with his attachment. As adoptive parents they probably know all about it. You could also voice your concerns. It may open the door for discussion on if they are getting help, what they are trying to do, and even ways that you could might be able to help, (if you were interested).

As for when he is pinching butts, and being inappropriate etc., this definately needs to be addressed, perhaps there is away to do that with trying to keep connection. Perhaps going down to his level, looking him in the eye, and saying, I don't like being pinched that hurts, if you want my attention, please do call me, touch my hand, etc.

I think it is a good idea for your daughter to also be in contact with other children and to have more positive experiences. I am not suggesting that you keep her in a situation you do not feel good about, but wanting to shed another perspective. If you can come from the place of compassion - even if you decide it is best for her not to see him - I think this would be helpful. Peace, Lesley
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you lesley, that is all good advice I have been thinking about this stuff as well. he was adopted when he was 6 months old, but on top of everything else he likes to wear girls clothes, make up and jewelry. His parents are fine with it, but he has asked around to his friend s at school and knows that it isn't accepted even though his parents, Jewely, and I all support him in it. I have wondered if this also contributes to the way he feels. Knowing that who he is isn't ok with the whole world, no matter how okay it is with the adults he is around regularly.

I do like this kid, he is sweet there is just so much going on, and I guess I was shocked seeing my daughter just give in so much and take on the things he likes b/c generally she is pretty strong willed, plus the negativity she was expressing was upsetting me. I like the suggestions you have for talking with her, these are the types of things I was looking for. The words I just couldn't find.

So i will talk to her, find new friends, but also keep contact with him. i think he needs a good friend, and like I said we are friends with both his parents.

also luckily the kids aren't in public school, the little school they go to doesn't so much promote the normal stuff you see. There is mediation between arguments and such. I think n his last school he was picked on a bit, so I think that might be where some of it is coming from.
post #10 of 10
This boy certainly sounds like he has a lot of challenges and it also sounds like you and your daughter have been an important part of his, and his parents life. No doubt this has caused you a lot of concern; as you sound like a deep caring mother who knows what you need to do. This journey sure can be rough sometimes. Sending you a big hug.
Lesley
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