8-year-old cries all the time to get her own way - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-04-2012, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I help take care of 3 children. My mother-in-law is the legal guardian to all of them. Whenever the 8-year-old wants something, she starts crying, but only when the one who decides whether or not she gets it is her mom. She is such a brat sometimes... I mean, tonight, she threw a huge fit because at 8:30 at night, she was jumping up and down in her room, slamming into things, and making a lot of noise (we have a neighbor right below us). Her mom told her that it was time for bed because she was being too loud and she has school in the morning (okay, that's fine, good job) but as soon as she started crying, her mom was like, okay fine you can stay up another half hour (no! never let them push boundaries like that, once you say something, follow through!!). My husband has tried to point this out to her, but every time he does she says things like "she's my daughter. If you want to raise children, have your own." Problem is, we DO raise children, every day while she's in work or in her bedroom or just generally not around. She only takes care of them like 10% of the time. The 8 year old is becoming such a little brat. Every time she wants something, she'll either go around my husband and I to her mom, or cry and her mom doesn't care. We've tried putting her in the corner and grounding her, but she cries, mom argues with us, causes a fight, and then it gets to the point where we either go homeless or let the kid act like a brat. What do I do?

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#2 of 7 Old 11-04-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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Aw...don't call her a brat. If you're her primary caregiver, don't call her that. And if her mom is not around much, that's hard too. If the mom is only around 10% of the time, there's a lot you can do to help improve her behavior. Gentle Discipline is a skill that can be learned both by you and your partner and by her mom. It's also a skill that can go a long way towards helping you communicate your needs with the people you're co-parenting with. 

 

For an older child I really like the book "Parent Effectiveness Training". I also like the child development series by Louise Bates Ames. Other books for older kids are things like "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk".  


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#3 of 7 Old 11-04-2012, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's just hard because it seems like since her mom's never around, she never has to deal with her, so she doesn't care how she behaves. I mean, when I watch her or my husband watches her, she's perfect. Never a problem. She has lots of energy, loves playing outside, sits down and gets her homework done.. she doesn't wine, only cries if she's actually sad or hurt, and is just such a relaxed child. But, as soon as her mom's the one watching her, it feels like all she does is cry and wine and try to get as much attention as possible, just to get her own way. Her mom's running out to buy her UGG boots for Christmas when she can barely afford food as it is, just because she has been crying, to mom, that she wants them. She has two totally different personalities... One just around my husband and I, then a completely different one around her mom.

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#4 of 7 Old 11-05-2012, 04:31 AM
 
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There's a lot going on here and it seems like you have some work to do as far as your relationship with her mom. I will say that children tend to act out with their parents and save their best behavior for others, especially at the age of this young girl. So, that could be part of it. 


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#5 of 7 Old 11-05-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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First off - kudos to you for trying to help!  It is important - particularly in tricky living situations and with a mom who is somewhat absent.

 

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by beaandbunny05 View Post

I help take care of 3 children. My mother-in-law is the legal guardian to all of them. Whenever the 8-year-old wants something, she starts crying, but only when the one who decides whether or not she gets it is her mom. She is such a brat sometimes... I mean, tonight, she threw a huge fit because at 8:30 at night, she was jumping up and down in her room, slamming into things, and making a lot of noise (we have a neighbor right below us).

 

My 9 year old is having meltdowns at nights, so I feel for you.  In our case, I think it is because she is genuinely tired.  I feel some of the meltdown might be solved by making the last half hour of her awake time as calm as possible and putting in the  time to  ensure she has had a snack, has brushed her teeth, etc…  It is hard because we are tired - but making the effort actually takes less work and is better for everyone in the long run.  Look hard at what is going on and see if you can write a new night-time story.

 

 

Her mom told her that it was time for bed because she was being too loud and she has school in the morning (okay, that's fine, good job) but as soon as she started crying, her mom was like, okay fine you can stay up another half hour (no! never let them push boundaries like that, once you say something, follow through!!). My husband has tried to point this out to her, but every time he does she says things like "she's my daughter. If you want to raise children, have your own." Problem is, we DO raise children, every day while she's in work or in her bedroom or just generally not around. She only takes care of them like 10% of the time.

 

This is incredibly tricky.  

 

I can see 2 solutions, and neither are perfect.

 

1.  Only watch the child when the mother is not there.  If she is there (but in her room, etc) physically send her to her mom for everything.  The mom is right - she is the mother - but that is not just a title, it is an action word.  

 

2.  Talk to the mother about issues.  If you are co-parenting the child, maybe you can come to some sort of agreement on how issues are to be dealt with.  Perhaps writing them down will even help.

 

Remember that you are helping the child - no matter how much the mother frustrates you.  Some children, particularly those with difficult home lives really do a need a village to help them reach adulthood intact.  Do pat yourself on the back for help you give, and do take care of your own needs as well.

 

 

 

The 8 year old is becoming such a little brat. Every time she wants something, she'll either go around my husband and I to her mom, or cry and her mom doesn't care. We've tried putting her in the corner and grounding her, but she cries, mom argues with us, causes a fight, and then it gets to the point where we either go homeless or let the kid act like a brat. What do I do?

 

She is not a brat.  She may be acting like one - but she is an 8 year old living in fairly difficult circumstances.  

 

Do you have your own room you can go to when the child acts out?  It is her mother's issue, and her mother has said such things as "this is my kid - let me deal with it."  When you are alone with her, I would try to create as calm and respectful an environment as possible.  Many meltdowns by 8 years olds can be avoided by making sure they are not too tired, hungry or over/under stimulated.  I would send her to her room over using the corner if you can.  I would be clear she can come out the moment she can talk in reasonable tones and has calmed down.  I would not bother grounding an 8 year old (does she have such an active social life that a grounding is a decent consequence?) Moreover, this 8 year old in particular may need time away from the house.  

 

 


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#6 of 7 Old 11-06-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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I wouldn't let it get to you. Her relationship with her mom isn't about you and I suggest you.pull back from negative names
Her mother may be a brat for teaching her dd to act this way to get what she wants but the child is not a brat
We teach people how to treat us and this is how the mother wants to be treated, that isn't about you and when the mom is home I'd make it her problem by not stepping in.
It sounds like you have no problem with her when you are caring for her so I suggest you focus on that.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-06-2012, 08:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaandbunny05 View Post

It's just hard because it seems like since her mom's never around, she never has to deal with her, so she doesn't care how she behaves. I mean, when I watch her or my husband watches her, she's perfect. Never a problem. She has lots of energy, loves playing outside, sits down and gets her homework done.. she doesn't wine, only cries if she's actually sad or hurt, and is just such a relaxed child. But, as soon as her mom's the one watching her, it feels like all she does is cry and wine and try to get as much attention as possible, just to get her own way. Her mom's running out to buy her UGG boots for Christmas when she can barely afford food as it is, just because she has been crying, to mom, that she wants them. She has two totally different personalities... One just around my husband and I, then a completely different one around her mom.

It sounds very much like she is desperately trying to get her mom's attention.  Since positive behavior doesn't work, she is trying negative.  And her mom is trying to placate her the only way she wants to deal with it (or maybe the only way she can, who knows) by throwing money, freedom, etc. at her to keep her "happy" while she is around.  There is very little you can do about this besides not getting involved when mom is around.  It is similar to a blended family in that you have to step back and let the parent be the parent when she is there, whether you agree wtih her parenting or not.  Be consistent when you are with her and are her primary caregiver, set boundaries.  She clearly knows the difference between your parenting (for lack of a better word) and her mom's if her behavior is so clearly differentiated, KWIM? She will appreciate this someday :)


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