Being nice to others, even if its not what you want - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-18-2011, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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DD (5) and I are locked in battle. The situation is that her grandmother (my MIL) called to talk to her about how her first day of kindergarten went yesterday. The first time MIL called DD was reading and whined about just wanting to read her book. As the baby was screaming and I about killed myself tripping over toys, I choose to just let MIL off the phone with the excuse that DD had to use the bathroom. Afterwards, I explained to DD about how nice it was the MIL cared enough to want to talk with her and that even though it wasn't the most convenient for DD, the polite and nice thing to do was to talk to MIL for a minute and then go back to reading her book.


Fast forward several hours to when MIL calls back. I remind DD about how nice it is MIL called and that the nice thing to do is to talk on the phone for just a few minutes. She agrees until I answer the phone and then she runs into her room and slams the door. I extract her, she says she will not talk to MIL and starts to pout. At this point I'm just trying to avoid a screaming temper tantrum for MIL to hear over the phone and bribe her with chocolate ice cream. She agrees until I ask her to take some deep breaths with me so she doesn't sound so much like she's about to cry. Start temper tantrum, end my patience with the matter, baby starts screaming again and I get off the phone with MIL saying that now isn't a good time.


Right now she's raging in her room (which just about sends me through the roof when she's in her room screaming about how mean I am and how upset she is).


I don't think its unreasonable for her to take two minutes of her time to talk with her grandmother when her grandmother calls to talk with her. I do understand not wanting to do it, but as far as I see it, sometimes you gotta do it even though you don't like it. Its the polite thing to do. Its the nice thing to do. Is she too young to understand this concept?


For background information, MIL has called to talk with her maybe once or twice before so this is basically the first time as far as DD is concerned. DD and MIL get along ok, but MIL isn't very involved. Its just her personality, she's a very monotone person. She doesn't show a lot of emotion, she doesn't get down on DD's level and she doesn't relate well to other people esp children. So its not like MIL is DD's favorite person or even someone she's excited to talk to.


I am afraid that I'm expecting too much of DD and that I just get carried away in some situations like this. (I posted a few weeks ago about DD not apologizing after she accidently hit someone. Same kind of situation, knee jerk "this is how you act" battle.)



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#2 of 7 Old 08-18-2011, 04:55 PM
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As someone with a phone phobia...there isn't enough money or choclate ice cream in the world that you could bribe me with and get me to talk on the phone with my grandma or MIL. I will do stuff in person, text, email, etc.  But I don't do phones and it started when I was younger than your dd is now.  I found phone calls akward even at a very young age.  So I feel for the kid. 


I wouldn't want to be forced to talk on the phone if I wasn't in the mood to.  So it's not something that I would personally do to my own dd.  I'm sure as she grows up, and especially if it's modeled around her, she will learn the concepts of being polite and doing stuff for others even if she isn't in the mood to.  


Can she write a short letter or draw a picture or something about her first day at school to send to her grandma instead? 

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#3 of 7 Old 08-18-2011, 06:28 PM
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I don't know, I still don't have this concept down. lol


It's not the same but when my MIL calls and wants to talk to my 3 year old I just give her the phone. My MIL is very loud and does not know how to have a conversation- she just yells at you until you say you have to go. Evelynn will usually grimace and hand the phone back. Sometimes I feel like doing it too ;) I choose to not make a big deal of it, I just say that she's shy about the phone and that's it. It's a lie, she loves talking to her Oma (my mom) and her dad on the phone, but not telling her that she yells too much is about as nice as I can be. 

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#4 of 7 Old 08-18-2011, 07:55 PM
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I understand your point, but k-age is still really young.  Maybe have her draw a picture of first day and dictate a letter you could mail to mil?  My nephew used to hate the phone and it drove me batty, but that's before I had kids.  Now I understand there's more to it---probably a control thing right at the moment.  Expectations etc. 


I understand your concept that we spend our whole lives doing things we don't want to do!  Sometimes I want to bark at the check out person at the grocery store, but I don't, ya know?  Sometimes I want to yell at dh the first thought that comes in my head, but I don't.    I had a similar issue w/ my 6 and 8 year old.  We have a very generous family in our church that takes our daughters to a nice dept store twice a year to buy beautiful dresses.  She buys them 4 dresses each.  I have never bought my girls four new dresses from a department store, bc it's out of our budget.  We are ALL garage sale.   She even lets the girls pick them out and then she buys them.   Well, bc I know we are going to run into her at certain church times, I tell the girls they must wear one of the four dresses.  Well, a few weeks back, they were giving me so much flack about it.  I couldn't believe it!!!  It made me nuts.  But they don't really appreciate brand new dresses from a dept store....they don't understand there are societal expectations, which I feel are totally valid.  I told them if they didn't want to wear the dresses, then I was going to tell her to stop buying them!

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#5 of 7 Old 08-19-2011, 11:50 AM
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Perhaps ask her when a good time is for her to talk on the phone, maybe if she gets to pick a time she would want to.  Maybe she was overtired that day or really didn't have anything to say.  I like others' suggestions of a letter or email instead.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#6 of 7 Old 08-19-2011, 01:57 PM
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Can you Skype with MIL? That way your daughter could see her and perhaps be more engaged. (The thrill of seeing yourself in the little window on the screen sometimes keeps kids sitting there.) The truth is that 5 year olds aren't good at chatting on the phone. They need to visual cues that they get from other people, and they really need teh adult to do most of the work in keeping the conversation flowing. Most 5 year olds I know aren't good for more than a minute or two.


If Skype isn't an option, maybe you can role play talking on the phone so that your dd knows what to expect, find out from MIL when a good time to call is and call her back soon.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-25-2011, 07:37 AM
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If one of mine doesn't want to talk on the phone, I don't ask them to talk on on the phone. I would just answer with a civil, "I'm sorry, she doesn't want to talk. I'll let her know you called." That gives the child the option of saying if they want to call back or not. If the MIL asn't been involved, and hasn't learned by now how to relate to the child (at 5!), I certainly wouldn't force the child to pick up the slack.

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