Spoiled eight year old -HELP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Last year I met an absolutely amazing man...he is everything I have ever dreamed of and I never though I could feel this way about anyone. He is a single father of an eight(soon to be nine)year old girl. She is his only child. I have never experienced a more spoiled child. She is never satisfied, never does any chores, she expects an expensive item everytime you take her out shopping, she absolutely doesn't except no for an answer (asks the same question many, many times in sucession if she doesn't get the answer she wants), she constantly complains of being bored, she always has to be entertained (no matter what you are doing she expects you to drop it to come and do what she wants you to do), she is very self centered and rude, never eats what is made for meals, and she (as much as I hate to admit it) not very pleasant to be around most of the time. She has her moments when she is a very kind-hearted child, helpful, and will entertain herself for brief periods of time but it is becoming more and more rare. I do love her but I just don't know what to do. I find myself counting the days until she goes to her mother's for a few hours which is another issue and I feel horrible about doing that. She decides whether she goes to see her mother or not and when which I disagree with and so would the courts. I try to set boundaries with her because she really has none but is it my place to do that since I am only a stepparent? Her father seems very stressed out when she is having a really bad day but does nothing to try and change things. He just says that she is his only child and he is going to spoil her but I can see that it is wearing away at him. I can only think that this kind of behavior is not good for anyone. If anyone can relate or has advice I would really appreciate your input. Thanks
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#2 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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so she lives with you. are you married to him? or just living together? does she go to day care? or do you or him stay at home?

how often does she see her mom?

the answers to these questions would help me give you more specific answers.

until then... you can only hold your own boudaries. my kids call them fences. just b/c she is a child doesnt mean she controls you. if you dont want to be treated a certain way then say so to her. if you dont want to do something then say so. and repeat, "no means no". you have a right to enforce your own boundaries.

if you are in fact being the main caretaker or she lives with you then you can start to enforce your rules. by repeating them over and over and not swaying. consistency can be done in a loving way. it works here anyway. i just repeat our little rules. and to be honest i dont have that many. but i do expect them to be kind to each other, to talk nicely to each other, etc.

that is the best i can do. hth.

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#3 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Her dad and I are not legally married. We both work and she does not go to daycare...she stays with his mom. She sees her mom a few hours each week on Fridays and sometimes on Saturday. It varies but that is the way it is for the most part. She doesn't spend the night there very often. She doesn't do the constant badgering with me anymore because I told her no means no and that was the end of the conversation. But she still does it with everyone else. I ignore her for ridiculous or bad behavior and commend her for good behavior.
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#4 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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He just says that she is his only child and he is going to spoil her but I can see that it is wearing away at him. I can only think that this kind of behavior is not good for anyone.
I think you are very perceptive!

In my opinion this is primarily a relationship issue. You are willing to set boundaries and your dp is not as much, but may be willing to reconsider. I would focus on healthy ways to get more on the "same page" with your partner.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#5 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies for your help....
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#6 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 09:53 AM
 
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when dp and i had this problem with his kids we sat down together and wrote down our lists of what we felt like needed to happen to make our home a happy one. Once we got to talking about it and got on the same page it made it a lot easier. I think it was hard for him since he never really parented the kids on his own before, went from his ex to his parents to me. Im not a bio parent though so it was a tough transition for all of us. you need to talk with your DP and have him get on board you'll have a much more relaxed home that way.

good luck its a hard adjustment.

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#7 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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i taught my DH by example. hid mom and dad were alcoholics and he never learned anything baout interacting with kids. i always made it a point to interact with them in a specific way in front of him. to show him how it is done type of thing. he caught on quick and does a good job now.

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#8 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 10:46 AM
 
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I am going to be the voice of pessimism here. I would look very carefully at your relationship, and decide if you would stay if you had a crystal ball showing the next ten years being just like the last one. Because things truly could stay the same, no matter how miserable you are. If your DP isn't miserable and his child isn't, than that might be enough for him and he might expect you to just deal with the situation ("You knew I had a DD when we met...").

Some of the things that I thought were age-related in reality were personality-related, and the difference between personality/behavior from age 2 to age 6 has not been as big as I thought it would be. It has been difficult, and I would say that the vast majority of disagreements between DH and I are either about DSD or her mother.

I am at the point now where there is no turning back (married + nearly 2 kids together), but if I knew a year into the relationship (before we decided to have DS) what I know now, I very well may have cut my losses and moved on to someone without a child.

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#9 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies....I am not miserable just concerned more than anything...I can't help but think that this out of control behavior will lead to bad things in the teen years such as teen pregnancy or drug and/or alcohol issues. My bf has a job that is basically 24/7 with a couple weekends off a month. He works a lot but he does have time that he spends with her but she only wants to go shopping and buy things instead of spending quality time at home doing family things. When we do these things she constantly complains of being bored or wants to go to a friends or have a friend come to our house.
I had a stepdaughter in a prior relationship and we had a wonderful relationship. I really enjoyed her company. Perhaps unknowingly I compare the two and I shouldn't do that because this is a completely different person.
Lioness has a great idea because I see that happen. When I do lose my cool sometimes and do something about her behavior and it seems to help....I notice him say or do the same thing later.
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#10 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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walk away.
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#11 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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walk away.

Let me put it this way, I have the exact same situation (plus sd is huge liar) and if I could do it over again, I would have run the other way.
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#12 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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walk away.
I think I'd do the same. You are not going to change things here because the dad doesn't see a problem.
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#13 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is really hard girls when you truly love someone to walk away....I'm sure you all know this especially when it is not directly him that is the problem. My best friend told me the same thing you are..she saw things first hand and said that no good could come of the situation. But it is still really hard to leave someone who you feel is your soulmate and is good to you. I do appreciate your insight though..it helps me to see a clearer picture.
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#14 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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It is really hard girls when you truly love someone to walk away....I'm sure you all know this especially when it is not directly him that is the problem. My best friend told me the same thing you are..she saw things first hand and said that no good could come of the situation. But it is still really hard to leave someone who you feel is your soulmate and is good to you. I do appreciate your insight though..it helps me to see a clearer picture.
:

I see that walking away in my current dating situation is inevitable because of differences in parenting and incompatibility between kids. It makes me sad and I wish that we had met each other first sometimes, but I know that nothing but misery will come of trying to work it out if we're not on the same page.
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#15 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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I'm sure you all know this especially when it is not directly him that is the problem.
To be fair, it really is him that's the problem. The girl is only 8 and raised to be spoiled because of him. She didn't pop out of the womb that way. He's the problem and the solution, but only if he wants to be which it doesn't sound like he feels a need to change.
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#16 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To be fair, it really is him that's the problem. The girl is only 8 and raised to be spoiled because of him. She didn't pop out of the womb that way. He's the problem and the solution, but only if he wants to be which it doesn't sound like he feels a need to change.
I know your right and it is so hard...but he actually does acknowledge a problem. He has cried to me before about it and he is not real emotional so that was big. He has digestive problems when things get rough and he shows signs of depression sometimes so things really need to change. I truly think that he thinks if he does start to enforce any type of boundaries that she will want to go live with her mom and this little girl is his whole world. It is really tough.
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#17 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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The more you try to change the situation, the more you will probably feel a lack of control. It's going to leave you resentful and angry. I'm not saying to walk away. I think that you need to analyze what (if anything) that you can logically do about the situation. Change the things that you can change and be willing to accept (forgive and forget) the things that you cannot. This is the only way that this will work. Parents take things extremely personally when it comes to their children. If you are pointing out behaviors to DP all the time, he is going to feel that his dd is being picked on.
Maybe ask him how you should handle certain behaviors...not while they are happening though. Say for instance "DP I was hoping to get your advice. I was at the store with dsd and she threw a fit because I didn't buy xyz. I wasn't sure what I should do." I know this might sound weird, but he might be able to analyze the situation and have something to say about it. You wouldn't be criticizing dsd, dp wouldn't feel attacked and he would actually THINK about the behavior. Don't over-use this though! And do not turn the conversation into an "always" or "never" situation. As in dsd NEVER eats what I make her. These statements are taken very badly and usually dismissed.

I have a dss and also 2 kids of my own. It's hard not to point out the flaws in sc, but having my own puts my feelings in check. I try to think...if DH said this to me, how would I take it? Would I be willing to change or would I feel attacked. I guess it's a mother bear instinct
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#18 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am very passive so I am not critical and I don't complain about the way she behaves to him or the way he handles it. My problem is that I sometimes take her behavior personal and I am hurt by some of the things she says and does. I feel like I try and do the best that i possible can. I feel like i am chasing my tail if that makes any sense and sometimes he senses that when I have had a bad day. For ex. one day dsd had a puppy that got ran over. She was devastated...I gave it a few weeks and found a puppy from a coworker that had puppies to give away and brought it home for her as a suprise. She took one look at it and said "I don't want that dog cause I didn't pick it out." She had asked her dad for a chihuahua (sp) that cost $600 and we couldn't afford that. I know she is only 8 but that really bothered me...I was only trying to help. There have been times when I spent hours cleaning her room and then she tells me that this or that was not in the right place and stormed off. Those are the things that kinda hurt.
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#19 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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I am very passive so I am not critical and I don't complain about the way she behaves to him or the way he handles it. My problem is that I sometimes take her behavior personal and I am hurt by some of the things she says and does. I feel like I try and do the best that i possible can. I feel like i am chasing my tail if that makes any sense and sometimes he senses that when I have had a bad day. For ex. one day dsd had a puppy that got ran over. She was devastated...I gave it a few weeks and found a puppy from a coworker that had puppies to give away and brought it home for her as a suprise. She took one look at it and said "I don't want that dog cause I didn't pick it out." She had asked her dad for a chihuahua (sp) that cost $600 and we couldn't afford that. I know she is only 8 but that really bothered me...I was only trying to help. There have been times when I spent hours cleaning her room and then she tells me that this or that was not in the right place and stormed off. Those are the things that kinda hurt.
First off s

I'm saying this with compassion - I'm looking at the examples you gave and what I'm seeing is a little girl who doesn't know how to express her feelings. It's probably difficult for her to accept you right now as it appears her mom is not a prevalent fixture in her life. It may seem like you are replacing her mom. When you replaced the puppy without consulting her, it may have seemed like a continuation on that theme. When you cleaned her room without her input, it may have felt to her like you were insisting things are done your way. That's not to say she isn't spoiled, but sometimes those feelings of being cast aside come to the surface this way.

I've always seen spoiling as a symptom of inattentive parenting, even if it is completely unintentional. It sounds like your dsd is accustomed to having *things* rather than *attention* and doesn't really know what to do when she is given attention.

It sounds like you really want this to work out. I don't really know what advice to give you other than couples and/or family therapy. It would probably help tremendously.

Mama/stepmama of 4 goofy girls (7/99, 11/00, 4/03, and 12/08) and co-parent with my favorite husband. We do this stuff - : : : : : :
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#20 of 28 Old 07-17-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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First off s

I'm saying this with compassion - I'm looking at the examples you gave and what I'm seeing is a little girl who doesn't know how to express her feelings. It's probably difficult for her to accept you right now as it appears her mom is not a prevalent fixture in her life. It may seem like you are replacing her mom. When you replaced the puppy without consulting her, it may have seemed like a continuation on that theme. When you cleaned her room without her input, it may have felt to her like you were insisting things are done your way. That's not to say she isn't spoiled, but sometimes those feelings of being cast aside come to the surface this way.

I've always seen spoiling as a symptom of inattentive parenting, even if it is completely unintentional. It sounds like your dsd is accustomed to having *things* rather than *attention* and doesn't really know what to do when she is given attention.

It sounds like you really want this to work out. I don't really know what advice to give you other than couples and/or family therapy. It would probably help tremendously.

I can't express how much I agree with this post.

One thing you could do is include her in as many choices as possible so that she feels come control in her own life, as well as just including her in daily things you do (like baking, or other chores that might be fun) that would give her a sense of being useful, or a sense of autonomy.

My step-mother walked into a hard situation. She tried her best, but she ended up abusing us (there were four of us, including an infant, and I was the eldest at 6). While I don't think you would ever go down this path, if my ste-mother had only had this insight into my behavior, my life would have been very different.

Another thing, really, I know he is terrified of losing her. She has the upper hand, and believe me, this is where she does not want the upper hand. It is destroying her to be able to control her father like that. He needs to care more about her than he does his own feelings. That's his personal demon to battle and I hope that you can help him to see that he is doing her no good by treating her with kid gloves out of fear of losing her. She will grow up manipulative and weak if he continues down this path.

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#21 of 28 Old 07-18-2009, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow....ladies you have really helped with the last two posts. I can't thank you enough.
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#22 of 28 Old 07-18-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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I would buy "parenting with love and logic" and read it. Then I would offer it to your husband to read. If it sounds like something he would like to try (it does emphasize giving the child choices when it doesn't effect your life, and keeping the very important choices for yourself...but also other things), do it together. BUT ALSO, if you choose to do it, then you ALSO have to give a copy to his mother (grandma) and have HER read it and agree to parenting his daughter that way when she is with her.

My girlfriend did this with all the families on her block, so that every child knew that no matter whose house they were in, they would get the same response to poor choices. It is heaven on their block now! Kids love boundaries and they love to feel as if they have security...and at the same time they want choices. This book really helps to do all of that.

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#23 of 28 Old 07-19-2009, 09:14 AM
 
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Wow, jodieh68, I think you are living with my DH and DSD! It really sounded like you are describing exactly what I'm living with. So at least you know you aren't the only one!

I wish I had more advice, but after six years, my situation has only gotten more difficult, probably because noone (DH) has done anything to correct it. I've given up on trying to influence DH and DSD's behavior in any way because that only makes things worse, but just by refusing to pamper her the way most people do I have become the wicked stepmother in my family and I HATE IT SO BAD! I love DH very much but if we did not have a little 3yo together I would leave in a heartbeat.

There is some good advice in this thread (I hope to use some of it myself). Most importantly I would just tell you to do SOMETHING because right now you can't imagine walking away but if nothing is done it will only get worse until you are just completely sunburned and it will be too late. Will your DH agree to counseling (mine won't)

Sorry if I sound too harsh! I wish you lots of luck.
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#24 of 28 Old 07-19-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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Sorry to go off-topic, but I looked up Parenting with Love and Logic (because I always pursue parenting book recs) and was very disturbed by what I read about it. Apparently this book condones spanking - but says it must be as painful as possible to be effective. It also suggests letting your kids go without basic needs like food or a coat as a natural consequence. And it has a chapter on german shepard basic training where young kids are taught to obey parental commands on cue.

These all seem very far from the attachment parenting principles advocated at MDC. There are so many positive reviews and it seems like such a brand (always a scary thing imo) that I wanted to give a warning. I guess I also think it's important because I think in step and blended family situations it is much harder to practice attachment parenting - because the attachment is much weaker. So we should really steer clear of parenting methods that are more authoritarian.
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#25 of 28 Old 07-19-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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Sorry to go off-topic, but I looked up Parenting with Love and Logic (because I always pursue parenting book recs) and was very disturbed by what I read about it. Apparently this book condones spanking - but says it must be as painful as possible to be effective. It also suggests letting your kids go without basic needs like food or a coat as a natural consequence. And it has a chapter on german shepard basic training where young kids are taught to obey parental commands on cue.

These all seem very far from the attachment parenting principles advocated at MDC. There are so many positive reviews and it seems like such a brand (always a scary thing imo) that I wanted to give a warning. I guess I also think it's important because I think in step and blended family situations it is much harder to practice attachment parenting - because the attachment is much weaker. So we should really steer clear of parenting methods that are more authoritarian.
Thanks for the info. I was going to get on and order it tonight off amazon. Not anymore.
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#26 of 28 Old 07-19-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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As a stepmother myself, I feel for you. When I first married DH, almost 10 years ago, I really had no ideas what I was getting myself into. Since then I had learned a lot in order to survive. My stepkids are now 21 and 18 so they are no longer my responsibility. I survived but it's not easy.

I guess the bottom line is not how willing you are to work with your SD, it's more so how willing your DP is to work with you. The two of you MUST be on the same sideline or this relationship will not work. You need to sit down and to make agreement in terms of house rules and disciplines. Better yet, write them down. Your partner needs to understand how you feel and that he respects you and your feelings. Loving his child is important to him but he also needs to remember his love to your should not come second. Believe me, if the situation doesn't improve for you, your love will gradually lose its strength in sustaining such relationship because a constant stress is stretching the trust between you and your partner.

When I first married I was naive enough to believe that things would work out as we lived together. By the time DH told me to back off and hands off disciplining his children I knew I had made a mistake. It was then too late, our marriage had produced a third child of our own. I suffered being a stepmother who was asked only to perform parental responsibility without parental rights. I resented very minute of it but I didn't want our son to have to experience what my stepchildren did so I stuck with my husband.

Now that both of my stepchildren are out of the house, my husband and I still have a lot of issues, related to all those years when my stepkids lived in the house, to deal with. Our child is the only glue that keeps us together now. Yet almost every day we both feel bitter about what we did or not for each other. This is not what I'd call a happy marriage. If you believe by putting up with the situation until she's old enough to be out of your life, I can tell you right now, the happy ending will never come. What you're going through and how your man is treating you right now will impact your relationship for many years to come.

My opinion is that if you can get your partner to agree or compromise to a level where you both feel comfortable, by all means give it a try. If you partner has his heart set on letting his daughter do whatever and whenever she's pleased, you might as well have a back up plan. A lot of time men don't understand how important it is for a woman to feel respected and appreciated. By not listening to you he is not showing you his respect, and he doesn't seem to appreciate the effort you put in trying to make the relationship to work.

Talk to him and give him a choice. You don't have to be the one to make the decision. He should be the one and you just respond accordingly. Best of luck!
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#27 of 28 Old 07-20-2009, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It really helps to hear others who live in a similiar situation as this. My DP told me this weekend that he was going to to have to make some changes with the way that he was raising his DD because he felt as if it were out of control so hopefully things are looking up. My Dp's mom is a big part of the problem too and she recognizes her fault as well. I know it is a long road ahead but it is a start.
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#28 of 28 Old 07-20-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamakah View Post
Thanks for the info. I was going to get on and order it tonight off amazon. Not anymore.
Here's that thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=311148 unless it was this one: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=705536

I would see if your library has the book if you want to read it. It does have some ideas that I've found useful. However, I find many things about it to be very inappropriate (to say the least). I actually took one class and then stopped because of the age-inappropriate expectations, the rigidity of the instructors, and the lack of empathy and absence of love (both from the videos and the instructors). And a lot of the consequences are not at all logical!
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