Help! DD is 6 and is obviously having a hard time coping, and so am I!! She is constantly vying for my attention, and the more I try to take time for her, the more she wants, it seems. She is also trying to cope with some issues right now, one of which is sharing me w/ baby brother (7mos) and DH (her stepdad)--she told me yesterday that she wishes it was just her & I like it used to be before dh and ds came along. There are also issues w/ her bio-dad, and i think he tells her things that encourage her behavior. Today she told me of her elaborate fantasy about dh falling in love w/ her step-mom so that her dad and i could get back together (ewww!)...Oh, and she is also asking to nurse again (she weaned at four so she has strong memories of it)...Anyways, I know she's dealing w/ a lot right now, but I just don't know how to help her. She's draining me, and I'm feeling like I'm failing her. Starting to wonder if counselling's not a bad idea for her?? Anyways, any advice would be appreciated...
I dont have a whole lot of advice for you seeing as my oldest is only 3!! But I'm thinking it sounds like she has alot on her plate right now,and maybe talking to a child therepist might be a good idea.That's alot of adjustment for a little girl.MAybe you could have special alone time with her every day (while baby naps?),and let her know how special you and her relationship is.Good luck!!
Thank you Saige! I appreciate your support....we did go out on a "date" the other day. That seemed to help. I try to at least play a game w/ her while ds naps. I guess I was just wondering if I'm overreacting in thinking she might need to talk to a professional. I think a big part of it is sibling jealousy, she seems to be wanting to relive her baby stages. So how much of this is normal I wonder??
I know that there are some extra issues that your daughter is dealing with, but maybe it will help you to know that most children do go through this kind of thing when there is a new baby.
Often when the new baby comes kids are pretty good and excited to have a new sibling at first. Then after awhile it becomes old and they realize this new kid is here to stay! About that time, the new baby is just learning to crawl and play with toys and now the older sibling realizes that mommy whats them to not only share MOMMY with the baby but to share their toys too! This can be too much for even the most secure of children.
Some things I fould helpful were to give the older child lots of focused attention with good eye to eye contact when you can. When you are busy with the baby you can talk to the baby about what a wonderful big sister he/she has! Kids love to hear about themselves and babies love to be talked to so you are nurturing them both this way!
Also, I found it helpful to let the child know how much I love them but to be firm about what I expect from them. When a child is unsure of where they stand with mom or dad they will feel the need to test the limits. For example, before going into the library I like to remind the kids how I expect them to behave in the library.
Another thing I found helpful in boosting the older child's selfworth was to ask them to watch the baby for me while I went to the bathroom for example. I would make a big deal out of how responsible I knew they were and I can remember my son beaming with pride that mamma would trust him with the baby. He knew I didn't live my baby with just anyone!
Also talk to your child about how she is feeling. Even 7 year olds can have amazing ability to express their feelings and often that may be all they really need. When I'm struggling with something I like to talk it out....I don't really want anyone to fix it....just to listen. So be her listener.
this sounds a lot like what we've been experiencing with my dd (age 5-1/2) - she has a baby sister age 9months. she is thumb-sucking, wants to nurse, and is pretty wild much of the time. actually, she finally seems to be settling down a bit, but we've had some really rough times. it really does sound like pretty normal adjustment stuff.
ps. interesting that dd wants you to get back together, my dd wants us to buy a duplex so i can live in one half and dh in the other so we won't fight as much - talk about a wake-up call from the kid...
Here's a link for you. I am sure you will find some book titles that pertain especially to children in step families. GL. www.saafamilies.org.
Barbara's comment about direct eye contact reminded me of the books _How to Really Love Your Child_ and _The Five Love Languages of Children_ (they share a common author, whose name I forget). Lots of good advice on how to fill your child's emotional tank in a style they'll understand.
Besides the stepfamily/new sibling issues, 6 is a tough age. Lots of changes physically and emotionally. It's sort of like 2 all over again.
Thank you all of you for the support and wonderful advice...I really needed to hear that some of this is normal sibling jealousy and 6 yr old stuff. Erika, it truly does sound like you and I are in the same boat. How do you respond to your dd's request to nurse again? Clancysmum, thanks for the link, I'll take a look. Thanks for book ideas Queen Gwen, I will look into those too. You are both right on the eye contact and just being available in general, I have been more aware of these things the past week and it has made a difference. Also the listening, thank you barbara for enforcing that she just needs to be listened to. I have a really hard time knowing how to respond to her, but if I just listen, sometimes that's enough. Thanks again for the help!!