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#1 of 19 Old 06-28-2011, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just for some background, we have 3 kiddos, DD#1, 8, DD#2, 6 and DS, 3.  Our challenge right now is with DD#1.  She is simply not a child that can stand up for herself, or who makes good decisions.  She is very easily swayed by her peers (regardless of whether what they are doing is something we approve of or not) and she is not trustworthy.  Here are a couple of examples:

               

  • We live next door to the neighborhood bully, a girl, 9 y/o.  She can be super sweet temporarily and then she will turn on someone and exclude them from the group, say mean things, etc.  I have tried preventing my children from playing with her but it is really hard in a small neighborhood when she lives next door.  I try to be outside to monitor her actions and group dynamics as much as possible.  Anyway the other day all of the neighborhood kids were playing well together and neighbor girl turned on her sprinkler.  All the kids were playing in it and DS got cold so I brought him in, changed him into dry clothes and sent him back outside, telling him and his sisters to make sure he stayed dry.  I went back inside to grab something when I heard him screaming.  I come outside to find him drenched.  DD#1 immediately jumped in with “A (neighbor girl) had a bag of water an accidently got a little on DS.”  Obviously this was not the whole truth and DD#1 did not seem to care about DS’s discomfort, she wanted to defend her “friend.” 
  • Yesterday the kids started with a new sitter (college age).  She started early in the morning and I know I told her 150 things so I can certainly understand why she may have forgotten something but when we got home last night and were talking to the kids about their day DD#1 says “B (Babysitter) let me and A (neighbor girl) ride our bikes all the way around the block.  DD#1 knows that we do not let her ride around the block by herself and especially not with A.  DD#1 even said, “’A” took off while we were riding and I wasn’t sure where to go but I just kept riding and I found my way home.”  (Obviously not a traditional city block.)

 

Now I have dealt with re-informing the sitter about our expectations but I am disappointed in DD#1. I tried to talk to her about doing what she knows is right whether we are right beside her or not and she just didn’t get it.  I gave the example of “What if B told you that you could all pile in the front seat of the van rather than being buckled in your car seats. (Our kids are always buckled.)  What would you do?  DD#2 said, “I would tell her I had to be buckled in my car seat.”  DD#2 said “But I really want to ride I front seat.”    As I tried to gently talk her through this a bit more but she started to cry and she just kept saying “See, I’m just not smart.”  It was sad and frustrating at the same time.

 

I really don’t know how to approach this lack of integrity.  I work as a college student affairs administrator and I see young women in my office all the time who are just like DD#1.  Unfortunately they are the ones who become easy victims to peer pressure in situations involving drinking, drugs, unconsensual sex, roommate disagreements, etc, etc.  I just don’t want that for DD#1 and yet I know how fragile she is emotionally and how she wants to be a people pleaser with her friends.  Ugh!  Any advice is welcome!

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#2 of 19 Old 06-28-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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I'd recommend reading Hold On To Your Kids.  I'm in the middle of reading it now and it's fascinating.  In a nutshell, the thesis of the book is that children are born basically programmed to be attached to their adult caregivers.  Through that attachment, they learn values, etc. Their actions are guided by preserving that primary attachment.  The problem is that our culture is set up to facilitate peer orientation, where kids begin to replace their primary attachment to their parents with an attachment to their peers.  If a kid becomes peer oriented, then their actions are guided by trying to maintain their attachment to their fickle peers. The book actually says that your daughter's age is when this often first begins to occur.  So the solution, then, is not to correct the child's behavior, but to strengthen the attachment to the parents.  Supposedly the book also tells you how to reestablish the parents as the primary attachment--but I'm only halfway through!

 

I also have to point out that 8 is really really young, and you may need to reevaluate your expectations of her.  Using phrases like "lack of integrity" about an 8-year-old strikes me as really harsh.

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#3 of 19 Old 06-28-2011, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You're probably right about the language-I hold 2 masters (one in English education) and am very close to my PhD and I am having a really hard time putting into words, for the forum, what my concerns are.  Be sure I have never used the words lack of integrity when talking to her about her behavior .  winky.gif  Thanks for the rec. of the book;I actually own it but have yet to read it-time to crack it open!

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#4 of 19 Old 06-28-2011, 04:34 PM
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I agree--I'd stop calling it a lack of integrity.  She's 8, for goodness sakes.  Kids lie.  It happens.  Separate the behavior from the child. 


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#5 of 19 Old 06-28-2011, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK I think I covered the word integrity in my last post.  I am not talking about lies.  I am talking about the inability to do what is right or stand up against someone you know is doing wrong.

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#6 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 01:57 AM
 
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 My DS is 8 and I sometimes have the same feelings. I don't think DS lacks integrity, per se, but more a wish that he would be the brave person to stand against the crowd. He's not . . . at this point . . . .and, if I'm honest, I wasn't at his age either! However, I am that person now, at 40, so I don't think all hope is lost.smile.gif

 

OP, I'm also an academic (PhD in History) and I think that we, as academics, tend to over think things (duh! It's in our job description). I think we also tend to have higher expectations of our children than people in other professions. Moreover, because we often work on college campuses, we see up close and personal (!) how things can go wrong. I've had to step back and, as PPs have said, realize that DS is 8 and that's really really young to consistently do the right thing.

 

In the cases you mention, it's quite a lot to ask of an 8 year old having fun with friends to make sure her little brother stays dry. Likewise, although she knew she wasn't supposed to bike around the block, it's hard to not do it if you realize your babysitter won't say no. All this is, of course, exacerbated by so wanting to fit in with her dominant friend. FWIW, I had one of those, too. All this to say, I think you can keep modeling good behavior, explain clearly what your rules are, and know that she'll most likely turn out to be a wonderful and strong young woman.

 

 

 

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#7 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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As an educator, I don't see it as lack of integrity. I see it as being 8. You can't compare an 8-year-old to a college student. You just can't.

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#8 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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I agree.  She is being 8.  This is what 8yo's do.  

 

She is also the oldest so she gets to push all the limits.  

 

You say she can't stand up for herself, but that is exactly what she is doing with you.  She is saying what she can to cover her own butt, even if she knows it may get her in trouble.  

 

She rode her bike around an un-traditional square/rectangle block & got lost but found her way back home.  Going on the bike ride may not have been what you consider a bad decision, but the girl found her own way home which, imo, is a good decision.  

 

Are you sure that she never stood up to A when your son got wet again?    If A threw water on him(or whatever it is she did do) how was your dd supposed to stop her?  She  may have tried to stop A & then covered with her becasue she either knows you don't like A or didn't want A to get in trouble.

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#9 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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Virtues parenting teahes virtues with the idea that you develop the positive traits you are looking for.  So you could consider reading and using some of their materials.  Things like honesty, trustworthiness, integrity...

 

I agree with others that your DD is 8 and these things happen - in the first it seems she was trying to be honest but also not be a nark, and in the second it sounds like she took advantage of an opportunity.  She shouldn't have done either, but it's not shocking - especially of an 8yo.  For the car thing - is she always like that?  I can see how that would be troubling/frustrating.  Like she doesn't understand what is right/wrong.  Virtues parenting might be helpful for that as well, IDK.

 

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#10 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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Several random thoughts here (and I have to go off to teach, so I don't have time to make them all nicely linked together, so pardon my incoherence!)

 

First, I would not recommend Hold Onto Your Kids for this particular issue. That book is aimed at the parents of teens, and honestly, I find in unnecessarily fear-mongering, especially for AP parents. The whole point of being AP is that you have forged a bond with your child and that they should be family/parent-centered and not peer-centered. (It's an OK book, but probably not very helpful right now.)

 

Much better books for you are: Playground Politics: Understanding the Emotional Life of Your School-Aged Child by Stanley Greenspan (and co-author) and Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children.

 

Second, tape this to your mirror and repeat it to yourself daily: My daughter is 8. My daughter is 8.

(Then follow up with: the young women I see are much older than 8 and they have not been directed by their parents or taught how to defend themselves. I am doing that.)

 

Really you have to separate your job from your parent role. Your daughter is not those young women who are getting into trouble. Don't borrow that trouble.

 

Maybe it's time for more responsibility. How is she going to learn to handle responsibility and her decisions? As a pp said, she made it around the block. Maybe it's time to go over the safety rules with her and let her do that (I don't know how far it is -- but if it's under 5 minutes, I'd let her do it.) My 7 year old is gone from the house for 30-60 minutes at a time (she usually requires a change of outfit after that winky.gif so she comes home and goes out again). Now we do live in a fairly traditional suburban neighborhood, with sidewalks and lots of kids out, so I'm not worried.

 

Take a deep breath, step back and let her negotiate this friendship without your intervention. The time to talk is after the fact. Help her process. Show her where she made good decisions. Ask her what she could have done different. Maybe role play. But she's got to learn from her own mistakes. 2nd-3rd grade is a huge period of negotiating relationships for young girls. If you think it's crossing over into bullying, that's one thing, but right now, it doesn't sound like that to me.

 

I learned a lot about 'friendship' from the kids who I let copy off my papers in junior high. I discovered that as soon as I quit letting them copy, they weren't my friends any more. Hm..... good lesson. Not one that I could have learned otherwise. AND I will add that I was a very self- assured kid. All kids go through a period trying to figure out the balance of being true to themselves vs. their friends. I survived making less than stellar minor choices with my so-called friends. Life went on. I learned. I made better decisions in high school and even better ones in college. The reason that I made good decisions then was because I made poor decisions (on a very small scale) as a younger child.

 

 

 

 

 


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#11 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Excuse me if this has been said I didn't read all the posts, but I think in stressing her mistakes, you missed an opportunity to build up her confidence in what she did RIGHT -

She went around the block (knowing it was against the rules) but she didn't compound it by following neighbor girl even further and took a risk of going it alone

to do the RIGHT thing (even if she wasn't sure she could find her way back - that took courage!)  I would have pointed out her mistake in going in the first place - but totally STRESSED BEYOND MEASURE what she did right.

AND maybe at 8 she is capable of going around the block? (don't know your neigborhood or her abilitites) And maybe part of her wanted to prove this to you (and herself)

 

If we focus on a person's weakness and always point them out, they themselves will internalize this - she even said 'see I'm just not smart' when in fact she found her way home...

 

I have been using this alot lately with my 7yo - emphasizing the things she did right even if mistakes were made, and I feel it changes the whole dynamic of the dicipline - it's supportive rather than critical (which for my dd  turns the whole thing into a defensive or self-defeatist drama)  - we still point out where things need to improve, but boy am I proud of what she does right!

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#12 of 19 Old 06-29-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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I think LynnS6 has some great ideas for you. My twins are 9, so we've been through 8, which is I found to be a really pivotal learning year.  Nine is so much more mature than 8.  And it's such a bummer that you see so many college students acting like 8-year-olds. :)

 

I agree with the others who think her behavior is typical for her age.  Doesn't mean I'd like what you describe either, but I don't think they show a pattern of lying.  Just a girl still growing up and needing guidance. I think in the wet-brother scenario, she was probably having fun with neighbor girl and knew you'd end the game, so she tried to smooth things over when neighbor girl misbehaved.  That's totally normal.   I think it's expecting too much of an 8 and 6 yo, to protect their brother from getting wet when they were playing in the water with other kids.  

 

I'm concerned about her self-esteem since her go-to response is that she's not smart.  If I were you I'd give her opportunities to succeed, where she can gain confidence and that will help her make good choices.  

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It sounds like she is 8 and sometimes gets carried away with having childish fun with other children.  I suggest cutting down your expectations and the scolding.  It sounds like she knows she isn't living up to your standards and she is responding by deciding she either isn't smart or by just saying she isn't smart to shut you up.  Either way I don't think it is a good thing for her to get in the habit of saying.  I think you should state the problem and the consequence then tell her that you are sure she will make a plan so the consequence doesn't happen again the next time.  This helps decrease the need for nagging while also addressing the problem.  I also think you shouldn't have her keeping an eye on her younger brother.  When I was with my friends at that age my brother was our target, it was a lot of fun to watch him squeel.  When two wild children are together adding a third isn't a good idea if you have strict limits to what they can do. 

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#15 of 19 Old 08-20-2011, 08:10 PM
 
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mama another thing. 

 

why are u choosing her friends for her. let her come to you with problems with A. let HER decide when SHE wants to play with A or not.

 

she is 8. its the conscience building age. she is trying out friendships and social interaction. part of the territory is trying to figure out which one to do - listen to mommy or follow your peers. 

 

if she wants to play with A then she should be given the freedom to do so. you should not be getting involved with who her friends are and not. 

 

we also had the same problem. i helped my dd go back and forth with V till she built up the courage to tell V that she does not want to play with her. directly. politely. to her face. no more excuses. we have never had a problem with V anymore.

 

i do agree with everyone else that your work life is falling into your home life. dont worry. it happens. my continuation HS teacher friend also does this with my dd and is v. strict with her. she does have a point sometimes but i correct her with the way it comes out. she is sooooo convinced dd is going to turn out like the HS kids if we dont fix it NOW. 

 

there is a wonderful book called Your 8 year old by Louise bates Ames. it was written a long time ago but it captures VERY WELL what our children are going thru.

 

also remember life is still in phases. so what she is doing now does not mean she will do the same as a teen or adult. what it means is she is showing awareness of adult issues and the world around her and its time for you to guide her and give her the confidence to venture out more to build her self confidence.

 

she no longer is a 4 year old. you have to change your parenting. so far its been the hardest thing to do. today one of my best and yet hardest parenting tool is silence and tact. the tact to know when is the right time to talk and when to stay silent.

 

at 8 dd was in 3rd grade. OMG the girls are so catty. dd has had to figure out her way amongst them and figure out who are her friends and who arent - for that moment. her love hate relationship varies with some of her friends. 


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#16 of 19 Old 08-22-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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Lack of integrity is used in our house.  But it's explained as doing what is right even when no one is looking.  Some words carry more weight when not use properly
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddle View Post

I'd recommend reading Hold On To Your Kids.  I'm in the middle of reading it now and it's fascinating.  In a nutshell, the thesis of the book is that children are born basically programmed to be attached to their adult caregivers.  Through that attachment, they learn values, etc. Their actions are guided by preserving that primary attachment.  The problem is that our culture is set up to facilitate peer orientation, where kids begin to replace their primary attachment to their parents with an attachment to their peers.  If a kid becomes peer oriented, then their actions are guided by trying to maintain their attachment to their fickle peers. The book actually says that your daughter's age is when this often first begins to occur.  So the solution, then, is not to correct the child's behavior, but to strengthen the attachment to the parents.  Supposedly the book also tells you how to reestablish the parents as the primary attachment--but I'm only halfway through!

 

I also have to point out that 8 is really really young, and you may need to reevaluate your expectations of her.  Using phrases like "lack of integrity" about an 8-year-old strikes me as really harsh.



 

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#17 of 19 Old 08-22-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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I also have to point out that 8 is really really young, and you may need to reevaluate your expectations of her.  Using phrases like "lack of integrity" about an 8-year-old strikes me as really harsh.



If you're not going to teach integrity to an 8 year old, when the heck do you start teaching it?  Perhaps that's part of the problem with kids these days.  People say, "Oh, they're 8, what do you expect??"  Um... parents should expect that an 8 year old will know the difference between lying and telling the truth and to know that a person's integrity is important in life.  I don't think that's expecting too much.

 

OP - no advice, just here to say I agree with Lynn's book suggestions.

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#18 of 19 Old 08-22-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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Quote:
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If you're not going to teach integrity to an 8 year old, when the heck do you start teaching it?  Perhaps that's part of the problem with kids these days.  People say, "Oh, they're 8, what do you expect??"  Um... parents should expect that an 8 year old will know the difference between lying and telling the truth and to know that a person's integrity is important in life.  I don't think that's expecting too much.


I didn't understand this as people saying that the OP shouldn't teach her child values, but that the very age appropriate mistakes her daughter is making are not a permanent character flaw. Yes, the 8 year old should be taught integrity, but it's a learning process. You just can't assume that because a child makes a few mistakes at age 8 that they are going to lack integrity at 20. I think phrasing at as "how do I help my child learn integrity" is much more helpful than declaring that your child lacks integrity. Just like I need to remember to phrase things as "how can we help our daughter learn to regulate her emotions better" and not say "she's a whining, bossy, obnoxious child and she's never going to have any friends because of it". The latter is my fear, just like the OP fears that her daughter will end up with no integrity at 21. But framing in terms of your fear is not helpful in knowing how to help and teach your child.

 

OP, coming back to this discussion, one thing that strikes me is that I'm not sure your daughter has much opportunity to make mistakes. When does your daughter get a chance to fail and then learn from her mistakes? (And learn how to make it right?) If you're "outside to monitor her actions and group dynamics as much as possible" your daughter is not learning what she needs to learn about how to get along with other kids, or about sticking up for herself and what she wants. I'd even go so far as to say that you might be preventing her from learning these things.

 

Think of an analogy: If you're driving to a new location, you have to figure out how to get there, right? But if you're the passenger, you don't have to figure it out. You can sit back and let the driver do the work. Most people probably wouldn't be able to navigate to the new location by themselves if they'd just been the passenger. (Some people can, but most can't.)  Well, when it comes to social learning like this, kids need to be the driver. Right now, your daughter doesn't have to be the driver because she knows you'll step in. In fact, she can't be the driver because you're stepping in. (I'm a college prof. I've had parents contact me to explain why their kids aren't doing well. Um.... mom, it's time for  your child to drive her own car now.)

 

What would happen if you backed off, and let her experience the consequences of her actions now at 8, while you can be there to help her to make sense of it, formulate a different plan for next time and learn who she is? Do you think she might learn the skills you're so afraid she hasn't learned? (This is going to be doubly hard for you because you have a 2 year old that you do need to be out there monitoring. But give your son the benefit of your full attention and let your daughter go a bit.)

 

I've spent a lot of time listening to our 7 year old this summer complain about the other kids. We've talked about strategies. We've talked about why "We should have picked these things up earlier" sounds bossy but "I wish we would have picked these up earlier" doesn't. I've commiserated with her when the older girls (age 9) didn't want to play with her. (She doesn't have a kindred spirit in the neighborhood, and so it is hard.) I've tried to help her see (so far in vain) that it doesn't matter if the neighbor thinks there's a position in baseball called "outfielder" that's separate from left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. We've tried (again so far in vain) to get her to see that when it's more important to her to be right about an inconsequential detail than to get along, kids aren't going to want to play with her. It's a long process. It's going to take several years. Life is hard when you know more than most of your peers (and dd does know more about a lot of things, and thinks she does about even more!). Life is even harder when you are obnoxious about it!

 

So while dd is having a hard time learning to get along with other kids this summer, I have not been out there. I have not talked to the other kids or their parents. She's got to learn the consequences of her actions herself. If she learns this lesson now and age 7-8, there's a much greater chance she'll be able to work well in groups as a teen or adult. She'll be able to find a way to state her firm opinions without offending the whole room. People will be able to hear her splendid ideas because she's phrased it in a way that doesn't get people's backs up. I can't learn that for her. I can't teach her that through monitoring her every interaction. I can teach her that by letting her fail, and trying again.

 

So mom, go ahead. Set your child up for failure! See her mistakes as an opportunity for learning, rather than as an end state "lack of integrity".


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#19 of 19 Old 08-25-2011, 04:20 AM
 
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I didn't understand this as people saying that the OP shouldn't teach her child values, but that the very age appropriate mistakes her daughter is making are not a permanent character flaw. Yes, the 8 year old should be taught integrity, but it's a learning process. You just can't assume that because a child makes a few mistakes at age 8 that they are going to lack integrity at 20. I think phrasing at as "how do I help my child learn integrity" is much more helpful than declaring that your child lacks integrity.
 


I understood it to mean that 8 year olds *do* lack integrity, and it should just be accepted as an age-appropriate behavior.  I don't think it has to be.  Of course it's a learning process.  That's what I said.  At 8, kids can understand integrity.  I don't think the OP ever said that she told her 8yo "You lack integrity", just that her 8 year old does lack integrity and asking how you can instill these values.  It doesn't really matter how she asked the question.

 

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