My 5 yo can't deal with other people's basic needs (Update) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It happens every time I or DH or the babysitter expresses a genuine, basic need. She seems to take sinister pleasure in seeing the adult resort to whatever it is he or she can resort to, in order to get his/her need met.
Like yesterday, I needed to go to the toilet. We were heading home after spending a really nice day outside. We were perhaps 2 min walk from home. I said, we need to hurrry because I need to go to the toilet. That's it, she started to dash to the nearby playground and climb on things, taking her little sister with her. She started laughing at me in a sinister way. I had cramps, and I truly felt miserable. I want to make it clear, she had no desire at all to go to the playground. No, she just wanted to see me get to utter desesperation.
Or the other day, after a nice outing, we had to go back home to meet my dh who - as usual - comes back on Thursday night. I wanted to greet DH home, rather than let him come home to an empty apartment. So when I said that she started to stall and would not budge and her sister instead also wanted to see her daddy, so she thought we were crossing the street together, while I was in fact trying to persuade dd1 to go home (I had told her 20 min before and 10 min before and 5 min before as well) so the 3 yo crossed the street unsupervised. There was a car coming, it could have been a tragedy. Worse was, I said, now we need to go get dd2 else she crosses the street again. Nope, dd1 would not budge. I was really upset, the 3 yo was in true danger at this point. And you know what dd1 did? She ran away from me!
Why does she do this? Why????????????????????????
As soon as we get home after this kind of episodes, she changes back into her usual self, and hugs me and says she is sorry and so on, but this just starts again as soon as another opportunity arises.
Any help or suggestion?
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#2 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 08:51 AM
 
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I have a four year old who sometimes has his own agenda and doesn't want to come with me when I need him to. Lately I've started doing what I see a lot of other parents do...go about my business and expect him to follow, and he almost always does. If we were walking past a playground and didn't have time to stop and play, and he ran there anyway, I might keep going past the playground and within seconds he would make the decision to follow me.

This isn't done in a "I'm leaving you here, bye" way. It's more like "Sorry hon, we really need to get home now, maybe we'll play here tomorrow."

Carrie
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#3 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 11:57 AM
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If your town is a small one or you live in a safe area and you think dd knows her way home I would just pick up the younger child and tell your older one that you need to get home but that she is free to play until she is done and then join you there. I don't know if this is to old fashioned, but my mother used to send me and my brother out when we lived in a small town and I remember having a lot of fun.
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#4 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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Well, in the case of the three year old being on the other side of the street, I would have picked up the five year old and hauled her home. I'm all for gentle discipline, but not in all situations.

After she ran away, I would have crossed the street and escorted the three year old back to the other side so you could go get the older sister.

I have no idea what I would do if I could not have picked her up (for whatever reason) and caried her home. I'm in a cranky mood this morning though, so maybe I will have a better idea this afternoon.
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#5 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama
I have a four year old who sometimes has his own agenda and doesn't want to come with me when I need him to. Lately I've started doing what I see a lot of other parents do...go about my business and expect him to follow, and he almost always does. If we were walking past a playground and didn't have time to stop and play, and he ran there anyway, I might keep going past the playground and within seconds he would make the decision to follow me.

This isn't done in a "I'm leaving you here, bye" way. It's more like "Sorry hon, we really need to get home now, maybe we'll play here tomorrow."

Carrie
I do the same thing. I don't go out of sight or try to scare him, but it keeps him from getting into complete tease mode. This started out as a not chasing when he runs away sort of thing. At first, I just waited until he came back but now that he is older, I'll keep going the way that I needed to go (slowly so he can catch up). The only time it doesn't work is if he has someone else with him, like another child to play with at the playground. So I'd try to keep your 3 yo close when the 5 yo runs off.

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#6 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 01:35 PM
 
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Is this always during outings? Sounds like maybe you need to give yourself a lot more time to get home, just to keep your stress level down. By 5, she can certainly remember from one day to the next, so I might say "We can't do X today because you were uncooperative on the way home yesterday.
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#7 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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O.K, I'm still crabby. But, I will try to be nice.

How about along the lines of what even&Annas mom said.

WHen five year old wants to go somewhere...

You say "Oh, honey, that does sound like fun, but I am kind of tired, and It's always so hard to get you girls home, Remember yesterday??? I just don't have the energy to go through all that today".

It may take a few times of trying again, but not wanting to do the whole drama thing the next time, before she catches on that you are serious. It may do absolutley no good. She may be so strong willed that it wont bother her. It is kinda fun to torment our moms ya know.

I have told this story before. One day, we were going somewhere fun. But, my brother and i were fighting in the car. Mom told us to stop. We didn't. Suddenly, we were back in our driveway. Imgaine the shock! My Mom just got out, went in the house, took off her shoes, and we found her later (when we realized she wasn't coming back) in her room reading a book.

Not a word was said. It just happened. We never did it again.
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#8 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 02:27 AM
 
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This kind of behavior rings a bell for me. Here is my theory - some kids/people are stimulation junkies. They thrive, to an extent, on conflict. Kind of like interpersonal sensory integration disorder - enjoying the extra stimulation.

My dd is not yet 3, but she looooves to provoke me. And once she figures out a way to get to me, I'm in trouble. She will gleefully push any button she can find. She isn't mean, or uncompassionate. She simply gets off on the intensity. I was a bit like this as a child, too. I didn't start conflict, but whenever it appeared I was drawn to it. I'd get in between my mom and dad when they were fighting, and yell at my dad. That sort of thing.

I don't see many people here on the GD board talk about this sort of personality, but dd has it. And yes, she does things to intentionally piss me off. I'm not making it up!

The only solution is to react as little as possible, to be matter of fact. The game is in seeing us upset/desperate/mad. Take that away, and the behavior gets better. Some days I do really well, and other days not so much.

In the case of the walk home and your need to go the bathroom, I would have probably avoided letting dd know how much I wanted to get home. I'd have (ideally) come up with a suggestion that motivated her to get home quickly. A race, or the game we'd play with her dolls when we got home, etc.
Anything but letting her know she had an opportunity to get to me.
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#9 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 03:31 AM
 
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Hi,

I think that other people are right that she's a bit of a 'thrill seeker'. I would be cautious in saying she takes 'sinister pleasure' in seeing people's basic needs go unmet. It might be true. It might also be that she's not thinking about YOU at all, but about her. She does it because it gets a reaction, and as far as I can tell, there are no consequences to her actions.

Both of the situations you describe are transition times, which are hard on everyone. It helps my kids to give them something to look forward to at home. Why should she leave the walk if she's having fun? "Let's go home and get a snack" is a lot more appealing then "let's get home because I have to go to the bathroom"

I'm a little unclear in the street crossing incident why you were on the curb negotiating with dd1 when dd2 was in danger. In that instance, I would have picked dd1 up, walked over to get dd2, had dd2 hold my hand and hauled them both back to the curb. If she dashes off to the playground, I would follow and pick up the 3 year old, announce to HER, it's time to go home and walk away. Walk far enough so that you can still see her, but too far to be an audience. Sit down (helps you not have to go so bad too!) and wait. Eventually she'll get bored. Then you can calmly say, let's go home. Very little reaction (and combine it with my suggestion below.)

I would sit down with her when you're at home and say "It seems to be hard for you to come home when we are out. What would help you to come home more easily?" If she doesn't have suggestions, suggest a few things.

I would also have some 'delayed consequences' ready. What is something at home that YOU do WITH HER that she likes? Find something that you do every day (or nearly so). If she starts to pull the not cooperating stuff, then I would say, "If I have to spend all my energy getting home, I'm not going to have any energy left to play Uno/read stories (or whatever it is she likes)." Then when she continues, don't say anything, do what you have to do to get her home/whatever it is you need done. Then when the opportunity comes say, "I'm sorry, I spent all my energy getting home. I don't have any for games tonight."

I would also give her some things to do around the house so she can make a genuine contribution. It sounds like you're in a bad pattern, and she needs some things where she can see herself as someone who helps.

Finally, I would also role play (or act out with dolls) feelings and meeting other people's needs. If you really feel that she's not understanding that other people have feelings and needs, then I would seek out some family therapy. This is a crucial life skill.

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#10 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 09:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dechen
This kind of behavior rings a bell for me. Here is my theory - some kids/people are stimulation junkies. They thrive, to an extent, on conflict. Kind of like interpersonal sensory integration disorder - enjoying the extra stimulation.

The only solution is to react as little as possible, to be matter of fact. The game is in seeing us upset/desperate/mad. Take that away, and the behavior gets better. Some days I do really well, and other days not so much. l
This totally describes my ds. I don't seek advice here much because most of it doesn't apply or I'm already doing it. One problem is that by ignoring a behavior, my ds will escalate until you can't (currently hitting, used to be biting and throwing, fortunately not to other kids). So what is sort of works is ignoring the bad behavior but trying to give ds immediate attention as much as possible. Getting silly and physical (since he is acting out physically he needs a physical response like crazy dancing or chasing) gets him out of hitting mode. It never has been an anger issue. He rarely gets angry. He just gets fascinated by how people react.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#11 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 11:55 AM
 
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Were you using a very firm tone?
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#12 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of good advice, and I think this is a good discussion, because it seems I am not the only one.
To start off, Roar, yes, I did use a firm tone.
I know - as Nextcommercial and others said - I should not have let the 3 yo cross the street, I should have held her close. I also should have picked up the 5 yo before she ran away. I just was not at my best, and I was not careful. I am thankful that noone got hurt. But it was a close miss.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dechen
In the case of the walk home and your need to go the bathroom, I would have probably avoided letting dd know how much I wanted to get home. I'd have (ideally) come up with a suggestion that motivated her to get home quickly. A race, or the game we'd play with her dolls when we got home, etc. Anything but letting her know she had an opportunity to get to me.
That's what I usually do. I am a very playful mom. However, honestly, I am starting to think that - at 5 - compassion and altruism are a skill you need to develop. I cannot just always pretend and pretend. At 3, like your dd and my dd2, yes. At 5, no, no longer, I think she really needs to develop more understanding for other people. I am not sure LynnS6 how family therapy would help? Have you got any experience about that?
There is definetely a need for her to see herself as someone who helps. It is soo hard because she really resists every little request with a passion. I am trying, I really am trying.
Some of you like Evan&Anna's Mom and Nextcommercial and LynnS6 were also suggesting delayed consequences, building on the fact that I got exhausted trying to get them to come home. I think that is a good suggestion, especially because it reinforces the idea that I have some needs too.
I also think that walking slowly until I am out of sight would be a good strategy also, like LynnS6 4evermom and Nurturing Mama all suggested.
Finally, Katallen, we do live in a safe area, although this is a fairly big town, and I am not comfortable letting her play outside unsupervised. I know some children do stay outside unsupervised at 7 in my area, but I am not sure I'd do that. I know some kids disappeared in another part of town...
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#13 of 14 Old 07-05-2006, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE: Yesterday we were going to watch the World Cup Italy-Germany match at some friends' house (we are Italians) and dd was super cooperative. There was not much time and she helped me prepare the salad we were bringing there and then dd21 made a terrible mess (opened up the millet-filled nursing pillow, now used for quiet time) and she cleaned it all up by herself. I do not know, you're right perhaps that the words "sinister pleasure" are harsh. What I suspect now is that she was feeling manipulated. She had a different agenda and she was thinking that I was "using" whatever my needs were to oppose her agenda. Like, if I had said, we need to go home because I need to go to the toilet, but we can come back to the park pronto, her response would have been different. So, the real reason we were going home was that the day was over and I also wanted to end the day fast. Looking deep into it, there is manipulation to an extent. I am really doing some thinking and I do this "needy" thing with DH as well.
I think I (and dh and the babysitter) all need to word needs in a different way, not sounding needy and indeed manipulative (because when someone is in need you need to give everything up to help him) but sounding more business-like in the sense of "here's what there is to do and lets find a way" kind of thing. But your suggestions are nonetheless very valid.
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#14 of 14 Old 07-05-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaialice
What I suspect now is that she was feeling manipulated. She had a different agenda and she was thinking that I was "using" whatever my needs were to oppose her agenda. Like, if I had said, we need to go home because I need to go to the toilet, but we can come back to the park pronto, her response would have been different.
I think that is a very clever thinking. it might just be it, yk?


OT - Congratulations Italy! (Ukrainian who's country got kicked out in 1/4 finals speaking here )

OK, back to the regularly scheduled discussion :
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