How to encourage 5yo to be grateful- thoughts on "spoilt" behaviour - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having a hard time dealing with DD's reaction to receiving gifts.  

 

I wouldn't say that she is overly "spoilt" as we try to avoid excess materialism- we don't watch tv, don't shop unless we need to, focus on handmade over store bought things, etc. However, she does have lots of stuff- not really toys, but we have lots of good stuff like bikes, scooters, play equipment, craft supplies and books which we have given our kids outside of birthdays and Christmas. I also sew and knit her lots of things, clothes in particular, but also toys, costumes etc. I would love to be more frugal, but cannot honestly claim that I am. 

 

I think we do a pretty good job of modelling gratefulness but when it comes to receiving a gift DD is downright RUDE. Christmas was terrible. I understand that not getting something you absolutely love can be disappointing for kids (and adults!). But DD threw some of her gifts (from family members) on the ground in disdain, refused to say thank you and then proceeded to fuss and sulk so much that she ruined my day. I tried to downplay it all, say thanks on her behalf and enjoy the day but she wouldn't leave me alone, kept pulling my clothes, pinching me (not hard, but anxiously), sulking, and asking for more gifts, until I was so upset I refused to talk to her and had to turn my back on her. 

 

Since Xmas there have been lots of other little things... Xmas money to buy books, art supplies for holiday activities, sweets, family outings.... and I've been on her case to improve the reaction, but I think I'm missing the point and not getting through to her. Today DS (3) wanted to buy her some stickers as a gift. It was so sweet of him but she just did the usual "I don't like them" routine and threw them on the floor. I took them away and told her no more gifts of any kind for a month, which I now wish I hadn't said, but silently done anyway.

 

I think she wants to control what she receives and I allowed her to choose her own books at the store with Xmas money as a concession to this. But I don't want to encourage her to shop either! Also, when she is the only child getting something she is much happier, but as soon as anyone else receives ANYTHING, she feels hard done by. 

 

Any ideas?

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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I had a conversation with my three before christmas. We talked about why people give gifts-- because they love you. A gift is an expression of love. The only way to respond to a gift is graciously. We talked about what gracious would look like: sincere thank you, looking at the person who gave it. Giving the present (even if you're unsure of it) a chance, because the person who loves you thought you would like it.

 

If I were in your situation, I'd probably start with some conversations. I'd try the graciousness from above, and the understanding that one doesn't pick one's own gifts. I might have her pick toys of her own to donate. I'd be sure she had some experience of picking gifts for others.  And I'd probably act as gatekeeper on presents for a long while, limiting them to which ever holidays are important to the family. And I'd name the behavoir: this reaction isn't grateful or gracious, followed by what ever consequence seems appropriate to you.


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#3 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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I did a lot of role play with my kids before birthdays.... so they wouldn't do any such stuff.

But yes, role play, give less.. model thankful behavior... hopefully she'll come around.
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#4 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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It can be a slow process, so don't get too discouraged by not seeing immediate results.  And I, too, would have put my foot down on the gifts, not that it's the best thing to do I'm sure (it's not the worst thing, either.)  

 

Before Christmas this year, I played a short "game" with my girls (short being the key word here) and talked to them about manners when you get something you don't want.  Then I pulled something out of the bag, wrapped it up quickly in a scarf and had them open it.  Inside was things they hated... sauerkraut for 5yo dd2, yogurt for 7yo dd1... and onward.  (I had warned them these weren't real presents beforehand.)  They each received about 5 "presents", and after each they practiced their "thank you's".  DD2 did OK until she opened that sauerkraut and out came a "yuck!  I don't like this!" and I said "aaaahhhhh..... try again!"  They did wonderfully this Christmas, by the way.

 

The other thing I try to do is get them into the gift choosing process for family.  I think this helps develop empathy and illustrates to them the thought that goes into a gift.

 

Try, try, try again.  My oldest was the most ungrateful to begin with.  DD2 would just blurt out "I didn't want *this*!" with that innocent smile that brought some laughs because she was just too young to be expected to lie about her feelings.  

 

And that is an important point.  In a sense, we are telling our kids that it is OK to lie when we receive presents.  This kind of grey-area of morality is kind of a new thing for little kids, not that that is what is causing your own troubles.  But I think it can be OK to tell them straight up that in this instant that is preferrable to bratty displays of disgust.  (Well, don't use those exact words!)

 

Just to let you know, you are in good company with this.  While the behavior is obnoxious, bratty, snotty and rude, it is-- unfortunately-- age appropriate as well.

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#5 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I'd name the behavoir: this reaction isn't grateful or gracious, followed by what ever consequence seems appropriate to you.

 

Yes, I need to be more specific about why it isn't appropriate, so naming the behaviour is a good idea. Being artificially "nice" isn't something I really want to focus on, but at the moment I am probably focussing on "nice" and "manners" too much and she is swinging from one extreme to the other. Sometimes being an absolute brat and other times being sickly sweet, lots of "thank you lovely fantastic wonderful mommy" comments too. It does my head in!
 

 



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It can be a slow process, so don't get too discouraged by not seeing immediate results.  And I, too, would have put my foot down on the gifts, not that it's the best thing to do I'm sure (it's not the worst thing, either.)  

 

Before Christmas this year, I played a short "game" with my girls (short being the key word here) and talked to them about manners when you get something you don't want.  Then I pulled something out of the bag, wrapped it up quickly in a scarf and had them open it.  Inside was things they hated... sauerkraut for 5yo dd2, yogurt for 7yo dd1... and onward.  (I had warned them these weren't real presents beforehand.)  They each received about 5 "presents", and after each they practiced their "thank you's".  DD2 did OK until she opened that sauerkraut and out came a "yuck!  I don't like this!" and I said "aaaahhhhh..... try again!"  They did wonderfully this Christmas, by the way.

 

The other thing I try to do is get them into the gift choosing process for family.  I think this helps develop empathy and illustrates to them the thought that goes into a gift.

 

Try, try, try again.  My oldest was the most ungrateful to begin with.  DD2 would just blurt out "I didn't want *this*!" with that innocent smile that brought some laughs because she was just too young to be expected to lie about her feelings.  

 

And that is an important point.  In a sense, we are telling our kids that it is OK to lie when we receive presents.  This kind of grey-area of morality is kind of a new thing for little kids, not that that is what is causing your own troubles.  But I think it can be OK to tell them straight up that in this instant that is preferrable to bratty displays of disgust.  (Well, don't use those exact words!)

 

Just to let you know, you are in good company with this.  While the behavior is obnoxious, bratty, snotty and rude, it is-- unfortunately-- age appropriate as well.


Thanks for your thoughts. That game is a great idea. Will definitely try this. 

 

Another question to put out there- if she continues to act badly, would you take her gifts away after they have been given? I don't feel great about doing this but I do want the bratty behaviour to stop.

 

 

 

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#6 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by francesruben View Post

 

Another question to put out there- if she continues to act badly, would you take her gifts away after they have been given? I don't feel great about doing this but I do want the bratty behaviour to stop.

 

 

 

No.  But I might warn my daughter to stop or she won't be getting more parties.  If family wants to still give her gifts, that's their prerogative.  But I would explain to them why no party, and to your daughter why no party.  As kids get older, it is simply expected that they act a certain way, and if they can't, then, sorry, no parties.  I wouldn't just frame it like that, I would try to work on the problem from all angles.  But if the problem is that bad, sorry, dear.  No parties until she can behave.
 

 


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#7 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 11:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by francesruben View Post

but at the moment I am probably focussing on "nice" and "manners" too much and she is swinging from one extreme to the other. Sometimes being an absolute brat and other times being sickly sweet, lots of "thank you lovely fantastic wonderful mommy" comments too. It does my head in!

she is only 5 right? dont you think you are expecting a little too much from her with your above description. 

 

she is being an egotistical brat. that IS what 5 year olds are like. it takes on many different forms (for instance it was extreme frustration on my dd's part).  she is trying to figure out the social rules. 

 

absolutely her behaviour is not what you want, but neither are your expectations real. as pp pointed out - you need to give her time. she probably chose the wrong time to throw a strong tantrum but let me tell you i have seen quite the extreme tantrum from dd's friends when they were 5 and didnt get their way. SweetSilver made a great point of double speak. 

 

you do what it takes to show them the right way of being - role play, talk, model, but you cant expect them to do it right away. it wont happen. perhaps because it was done publicly you feel even worse - but she is doing NOTHING out of the realm of normal. you are looking at her behaviour as adult behaviour. just coz she is like this now doesnt mean she is going to be this way forever. 

 

she is not spoilt. she is just going through hard emotional times where she is struggling to figure out how to act in society. i think you need to give her a break. 

 

is she approaching a bday in the next 2 to 3 months. perhaps she is going through an emotional growth spurt? its the time when shit hits the fan and then BOOM. suddenly overnight your child is so grown up. they behave the way you want them to. 

 

she is going to continue to behave badly for a bit. 

 

i also think this is hormonal. their hormones kick in and its their first run at teenagerhood. esp. if this behaviour is new and you notice a lot of mood swings as you kinda pointed out. 

 

be patient. lots of patience. repeat. repeat. repeat. make sure she is getting enough rest, her tummy stays full AND she gets the physical exercise she needs to get rid of excess energy. 

 

hang in there. it WILL get better. 


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#8 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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she is only 5 right? dont you think you are expecting a little too much from her with your above description. 

 

she is being an egotistical brat. that IS what 5 year olds are like. it takes on many different forms (for instance it was extreme frustration on my dd's part).  she is trying to figure out the social rules. 

 

absolutely her behaviour is not what you want, but neither are your expectations real. as pp pointed out - you need to give her time. she probably chose the wrong time to throw a strong tantrum but let me tell you i have seen quite the extreme tantrum from dd's friends when they were 5 and didnt get their way. SweetSilver made a great point of double speak. 

 

you do what it takes to show them the right way of being - role play, talk, model, but you cant expect them to do it right away. it wont happen. perhaps because it was done publicly you feel even worse - but she is doing NOTHING out of the realm of normal. you are looking at her behaviour as adult behaviour. just coz she is like this now doesnt mean she is going to be this way forever. 

 

she is not spoilt. she is just going through hard emotional times where she is struggling to figure out how to act in society. i think you need to give her a break. 

 

is she approaching a bday in the next 2 to 3 months. perhaps she is going through an emotional growth spurt? its the time when shit hits the fan and then BOOM. suddenly overnight your child is so grown up. they behave the way you want them to. 

 

she is going to continue to behave badly for a bit. 

 

i also think this is hormonal. their hormones kick in and its their first run at teenagerhood. esp. if this behaviour is new and you notice a lot of mood swings as you kinda pointed out. 

 

be patient. lots of patience. repeat. repeat. repeat. make sure she is getting enough rest, her tummy stays full AND she gets the physical exercise she needs to get rid of excess energy. 

 

hang in there. it WILL get better. 


I think you've misunderstood me. I know that this behaviour is normal. I don't consider DD to be a "spoilt brat" (I know it is just some of her behaviour and not her as a person) and I don't expect too much in the way of manners.... as I said in my first post I am happy to thank others on her behalf and get on with the day.... which on Christmas Day was impossible. Giving her gifts is not a nice experience for anyone. I think that I am being reasonable in seeking solutions to this.

 

I have however, been talking to her about being "nice" and having "manners" when I should be naming the behaviour more specifically as mentioned in a pp. I'm NOT comfortable with too much focus on these words as I have already said. I can see that she is trying to work out what is appropriate and she probably thinks I care about manners more than I really do... because I haven't known how else to frame the discussion. She has been freaking out about gifts since she was about 3 and I don't feel like there has been any progress so I AM frustrated and looking for a positive way to address it. 

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#9 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 07:37 AM
 
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My struggle in my home has been the requests instead of demands.  This has taken years to get through to them, but finally it is sinking in.  I *do* encourage the silly, over-the-top politenesses because eventually they will become normal politenesses.  For instance, the way for my kids to "put me in a helpful mood" has been asking "Please-with coffee-ice-cream-hot-fudge-and-marshmallow-sauce-on-top."  I forget how this got started, I know it wasn't my demand, just some silly way of trying to get them to ask politely.  Sometimes I have done a funny fluttering and flying saying "Oh, I just have to help I'm just in such a helpful mood!"  Not always, but silliness is a good teaching tool.  I also try my hardest to ask nicely whenever I request something of them.  

 

It's not the "please" is it?  It's the polite request.  My niece had a funny story she now hates to hear (she's 15 now).  When she was nearing 4, she wanted a turn playing Donkey Kong, but her big brother was playing.  First she said "Please!"  Then she *whacked* him over the head with her hard plastic doll and screeched (in the way only she could screech!) "I SAID PLEASE!!!!!"  My girls get a giggle out of this story, to my niece's dismay.  But it illustrates a point.  It's not the "please".  I've mentioned to my girls that if they asked sweetly, I might not even notice whether it's there or not.  The fact is, demands, even with a please attached, make me grumpy, but requests really put me in a helpful mood.  Sometimes I catch myself starting to turn down such a request out of pure laziness, I remind myself that they asked with excellent manners and it was better at that time to reward them for it.

 

Maybe that's why my girls have taken a long time to get it right, because I haven't given them simple "say please" kind of rules.  I don't know.  I think I'm sliding a ways off the original topic, but it *is* finally sinking in for them.  

 

It is just a bear when they have these struggles in front of everyone, isn't it?


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#10 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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We did a lot of role play before occasions where gifts were going to be handed out. We talked about the fact that you might not always get what you want, but you always have to be polite about it.

What worked best was me coming up with silly things I'd pretend to give them, stuff from around the house, and then they would have to come up with a good response. I emphasized that a polite response doesn't mean lying about how much you like the gift, but just a statement about how useful it will be or a positive thing about it. He cought on pretty quickly and had fun with it. Examples:

Me: give ds a washcloth.
Ds: thanks so much for this washcloth. It will be great in the bathtub

Me: give ds a pair of underwear
Ds: thanks for the underwear. They are so nice and white!

Me: give ds a carrot
DS (who hates carrots): Thank you! Carrots are good for your body!
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What about watching a video about other people/ cultures or a book about what people have and own? There is a really good book called Material World that we have that documents 30 countries and shows the families outside of their house with all of their belongings outside with them and talks about the country. I know she is really young still but maybe she would understand on some level.

 

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I like the idea of practicing in advance, as we had pretty much the opposite (i.e., not "positive" reinforcement) going on here. Grandpa gives DS a present. DS refuses to say "thank you." Grandpa says, "Well, if you're going to be rude to me when I give you presents, I won't give you presents anymore. I don't like it when people are rude, so if giving gifts means I'm treated rudely, I'll stop." Sometimes he threatens to take the gift back, since DS doesn't seem to "like" it very much.... I don't like this, but it does get the point across. I think we will practice more next year...

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#13 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not the "please".  I've mentioned to my girls that if they asked sweetly, I might not even notice whether it's there or not.  The fact is, demands, even with a please attached, make me grumpy, but requests really put me in a helpful mood.  Sometimes I catch myself starting to turn down such a request out of pure laziness, I remind myself that they asked with excellent manners and it was better at that time to reward them for it.

 

 


This is exactly how I feel about manners too, I just need to approach it differently. Thanks.

 



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We did a lot of role play before occasions where gifts were going to be handed out. We talked about the fact that you might not always get what you want, but you always have to be polite about it.
What worked best was me coming up with silly things I'd pretend to give them, stuff from around the house, and then they would have to come up with a good response. I emphasized that a polite response doesn't mean lying about how much you like the gift, but just a statement about how useful it will be or a positive thing about it. He cought on pretty quickly and had fun with it. Examples:
Me: give ds a washcloth.
Ds: thanks so much for this washcloth. It will be great in the bathtub
Me: give ds a pair of underwear
Ds: thanks for the underwear. They are so nice and white!
Me: give ds a carrot
DS (who hates carrots): Thank you! Carrots are good for your body!

 

I'm going to try this today!!
 

 

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#14 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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I just do it all day everyday with my 3.5 y/o DS. 

 

DS: "Mom, get me some milk."

Me: "No, that was rude. Try again later."

(3 minutes later)

DS: "Mom, I'm very thirsty. Can I please have some milk?"

Me: "Sure, thank you so much for asking kindly."

 

For me, it's not about denying him indefinitely of what he wants, only insisting that he act/ask appropriately before getting it.

 

We also talk about not asking for things, especially before anytime we are going into a store or someone else's home. He does not ask for things.

 

We also talk about being grateful for anything that anyone gives to you. Anytime anyone hands something to DS he says thank you. When he has a moment and makes a sound like he might protest something unwelcome, all I have to do is say his name, and he will say thank you. 

 

I also try very hard to always, always use my manners with DS. When he picks me a dandelion, I thank him and hug him. When I tell him to do something, I ask him please. When he cleans up his toys (like he is supposed to) I thank him. I also try to use my manners with DH as much as possible, I thank him when he makes dinner and when he changes a diaper,  etc. I think hearing that all the time has pretty much drilled it into DS' head, I very rarely have to correct his manners.

 

I was very impressed at his 3rd birthday and Christmas this year, he thanked everyone for everything. My DH & I bought him a backpack he didn't like, and he really did his best to pretend he did. He told us thank you and said he likes backpacks (which he does, he just didn't like the colors and zippers), before moving on. 

 

His newest challenge is using his manners with my DD (1 y/o) . He sometimes thinks he can be rude toward her since she can't really talk and protest. But I did hear him tell her No, thank you when she offered him a cracker today, so that's coming along too...

 

 

For my DS, teaching him to be kind/polite wasn't really about certain words (although there are some phrases he obviously uses a lot), we always focused on tone of voice. Since DS learned to talk our house rules have been this : 1) No yelling 2) No hitting 3) No mean words or mean voices 4) Everyone matters. He knows that DH and I will not respond to any request made in a rude, demanding voice. 


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 Giving her gifts is not a nice experience for anyone. I think that I am being reasonable in seeking solutions to this.

 

I have however, been talking to her about being "nice" and having "manners" when I should be naming the behaviour more specifically as mentioned in a pp. I'm NOT comfortable with too much focus on these words as I have already said. I can see that she is trying to work out what is appropriate and she probably thinks I care about manners more than I really do... because I haven't known how else to frame the discussion. She has been freaking out about gifts since she was about 3 and I don't feel like there has been any progress so I AM frustrated and looking for a positive way to address it. 

oh phew!!! ok so you know age appropriate stuff. HOWEVER i want to point out it IS reasonable to seek solutions for that - BUT dont expect results RIGHT AWAY.

 

ok the bolded part. it is not that uncommon. we have many bday parties here that does NOT include opening presents. 

 

hold on to your frustrations. dont do that yet.

 

a lot of the bolded part kinda behaviour will abate when they are 6 or 7. sometimes there are behaviours that require maturity and opening presents is one of them. 

 

look for positive ways but dont get frustrated because you are still asking for too much in expecting results. some kids are able to figure it out early, some not. 

 

you have had great pointers here. follow those and one day it will improve.

 

now if she is 7 or 8 and STILL doing it then you can post all the posts and answers u have said here and it will be VERY reasonable for you to be frustrated. 
 

 


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#16 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 03:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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look for positive ways but dont get frustrated because you are still asking for too much in expecting results. some kids are able to figure it out early, some not. 

 

 

 

 


Good point... I do get frustrated with DD because she is quite a challenging child, and it is difficult for me to give her the patience she needs with this and many other things. I know she is also feeling the difficulty and frustration and I've had so many great suggestions here for ways to help us both think differently about it. Thanks for your reality check also.

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#17 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 08:59 AM
 
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now if she is 7 or 8 and STILL doing it then you can post all the posts and answers u have said here and it will be VERY reasonable for you to be frustrated. 
 

 


But..... I often get frustrated with perfectly age appropriate behavior.  My 5yo is clingy this morning, and fussing because I won't look for one single toy (long story and off-topic).  She's kinda grouchy and crabby and clingy.  She still wants company to the potty.  She stills wants me to dress her even though I know she can do it herself.  She is picky about food and won't eat, yet she wants me to suggest something she will eat.  

 

All totally age appropriate for some kids.  All very frustrating regardless.  If I was contemplating some harsh solutions I might want to seek advice as well, age appropriate or not.

 


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#18 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 09:46 AM
 
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But..... I often get frustrated with perfectly age appropriate behavior.  My 5yo is clingy this morning, and fussing because I won't look for one single toy (long story and off-topic).  She's kinda grouchy and crabby and clingy.  She still wants company to the potty.  She stills wants me to dress her even though I know she can do it herself.  She is picky about food and won't eat, yet she wants me to suggest something she will eat.  

 

All totally age appropriate for some kids.  All very frustrating regardless.  If I was contemplating some harsh solutions I might want to seek advice as well, age appropriate or not.

 

ah SweetSilver I stand corrected. yes of course its OK to be frustrated. i do too. but i have to put space between dd and me and figure out how to get rid of my frustration - which usually is because i havent done any self care - so i dont take it out on dd. my frustrations tell me i either need a break or i need 'something' or i am stressed. because that same behaviour at other times brings out the opposite in me - deep compassion. and while its normal the frustration, its the deep compassion i want to be in, coz it truly creates such a bond. it sometimes makes me cry - when my dd comes and tells me how much she appreciates that i was so understanding. i am a better parent coming from a place of compassion, rather than frustration. i am sometimes ashamed of what i have done when i was frustrated. 

 

my child is uber sensitive. and harsh punishment for her would mean trouble. however i will share this with you. dd is 9 now. since she was 7 i have had to be a little more strict with her. because she was her own critic. after her bad behaviour she would beat herself up for being so hard on me. if i tried that at 5 when she was her worst oh she would have been just heartbroken. 

 

so i have found in my case, age and maturity really takes care of a lot of things. and that's why i keep harping on age appropriateness.

 

but i am so glad i find OP understood what i meant. love.gif
 

 


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#19 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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Good point... I do get frustrated with DD because she is quite a challenging child, and it is difficult for me to give her the patience she needs with this and many other things. I know she is also feeling the difficulty and frustration and I've had so many great suggestions here for ways to help us both think differently about it. Thanks for your reality check also.


my reality check comes from having a dd older than yours. and seeing how just growing up makes a huge difference. and that's why its so important to me that moms understand what's going on with their kids and not 'struggle themselves'. because in the end it IS going to work out. i have been in ur shoes and regret those moments as you said - when dd picked up on my own anxiety and made it worse for her. 

 


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#20 of 23 Old 01-21-2012, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ah SweetSilver I stand corrected. yes of course its OK to be frustrated. i do too. but i have to put space between dd and me and figure out how to get rid of my frustration - which usually is because i havent done any self care - so i dont take it out on dd. my frustrations tell me i either need a break or i need 'something' or i am stressed. because that same behaviour at other times brings out the opposite in me - deep compassion. and while its normal the frustration, its the deep compassion i want to be in, coz it truly creates such a bond. it sometimes makes me cry - when my dd comes and tells me how much she appreciates that i was so understanding. i am a better parent coming from a place of compassion, rather than frustration. i am sometimes ashamed of what i have done when i was frustrated. 

 

my child is uber sensitive. and harsh punishment for her would mean trouble. however i will share this with you. dd is 9 now. since she was 7 i have had to be a little more strict with her. because she was her own critic. after her bad behaviour she would beat herself up for being so hard on me. if i tried that at 5 when she was her worst oh she would have been just heartbroken. 

 

so i have found in my case, age and maturity really takes care of a lot of things. and that's why i keep harping on age appropriateness.

 

but i am so glad i find OP understood what i meant. love.gif
 

 


I love what you're saying and do really want to parent with deep compassion too... I do not like being a tut tutting parent at all, when I am I feel like it does create a distance between myself and DD. And yet I don't know how to realistically parent in the way you have described. I have become stricter with DD because I used to go too far with the compassion....I was understanding to a point where all my boundaries were being crossed, and then I'd finally get angry, and I'd yell, and of course, feel horribly guilty. So I hear what you're saying... I just need concrete strategies too. But I'm interested to hear how you might deal with intensely fussy behaviour. Or what you might do now, in hindsight, with a child who is given a gift (even one that she likes) then throws it on the floor and is rude. 

 

Often I wish I could take a break, but cannot. I'm just not sure that taking a break is a realistic strategy.

 

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#21 of 23 Old 01-21-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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I love what you're saying and do really want to parent with deep compassion too... I do not like being a tut tutting parent at all, when I am I feel like it does create a distance between myself and DD. And yet I don't know how to realistically parent in the way you have described. I have become stricter with DD because I used to go too far with the compassion....I was understanding to a point where all my boundaries were being crossed, and then I'd finally get angry, and I'd yell, and of course, feel horribly guilty. So I hear what you're saying... I just need concrete strategies too. But I'm interested to hear how you might deal with intensely fussy behaviour. Or what you might do now, in hindsight, with a child who is given a gift (even one that she likes) then throws it on the floor and is rude. 

 

Often I wish I could take a break, but cannot. I'm just not sure that taking a break is a realistic strategy.

 

I find it hard to be compassionate without feeling walked on similarly, and often find myself acting from a place of frustration instead.  My friend, on the other hand, is a model of compassion and I don't know quite how she does it.  She might find meemee's advice as obvious and simple as well, but for some of us it has to be a conscious act, and sometimes a very difficult one, over our simmering frustrations.  I am basically a compassionate person, but I can struggle with patience, especially when a problem crops up over and over and over and we've tried different ways of approaching it and the time passes and it just doesn't seem to be sinking in!  I am not a person who thinks kids are diabolical creatures with ulterior motives of total parental domination (you laugh, I laugh, but some people do think that) but the years of working through something can make a parent like me mull over the possibilities in our pessimism.orngtongue.gif  
 

 


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#22 of 23 Old 01-21-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Often I wish I could take a break, but cannot. I'm just not sure that taking a break is a realistic strategy.

you have to define what 'break' means for you. under your circumstances. 

 

i was a single parent and didnt become a coparent till dd was 3 when her dad started taking her overnight and for long hours during the day. 

 

for me - i NEED time alone to recharge. no choice. i had to. so when dd was a newborn as she slept on me i watched netflix with no sound and subtitles. at the cost of sleep. but i needed that downtime. at 6 months i was going crazy. till i discovered that sometimes i can just watch her. i dont have to play or interact with her. she always needed me in the room but didnt always want to play with me.

 

as she grew older i'd tell her i needed to do something (whether she understood or not). and i'd sit and drink a glass of cold ice water. for a minute. just sit calmly. now of course since i had only one it makes that easier for me. mind you this was a child for whom just an inch away from her was too much space between us. 

 

for me - even now - a break means giving myself permission. putting my needs in front of dd. and that has been v. healthy for us. really. dd had to learn from baby on that sometimes ma cant be there. sometimes she'd give me the time, sometimes she couldnt. i gave myself permission to first do 3 dishes before i answered dd. i'd be talking to her and saying i'm coming but i would finish what I was doing instead of jumping at her beck and call. 

 

its a complicated process. and i am not sure if i am describing it well.

 

for the first 5 years i kept 3 photos of dd always on the fridge. a baby, intermediate and NOW. every time i was at my lowest i'd go and see those - really look at it and it always reduced me to tears. to see how fast dd had grown.

 

other times we'd go out. or take a bath together. to get rid of my frustration. 

 

however i will say dont completely hide ur frustration. i think its healthy for them to see u have that emotion and what you do to take care of it. which is the reason why at 9 dd is able to forgive my outbursts that i am so ashamed of. 'its ok ma. i know you needed to shout. no i didnt like it but i know you love me and i know how it feels to just do it.' 

 

you dont have to be perfect all teh time. but you have to HAVE to find your way to not be frustrated all the time (not saying that you are). 

 

my motivation was guilt. i was a single mom, and i was so terrified dd would have mental illness since we have on both sides of the family (of course that was a ridiculous fear in the sense that's not the end of the world) but if i had any redeeming qualities it was coz i was trying to meet my dd's emotional needs.

 

plus my dad, bro and her dad were v. sensitive people themselves and i knew how deeply they felt that hurt. my mom and i are not like that at all. we can sense feelings but dont feel as hurt as they do. personality?  
 

 


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#23 of 23 Old 01-31-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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anjsmama, I'm amazed at your 3 y.o.! I can't believe he even pretended to like a gift from his parents that he did not like. Wow.

Good point about the tone and sentiment, and not focusing on the words all the time. This is a helpful reminder for something we are working on in our house.

My son (5) is an expert at the snotty "please" that is just completely rude (and no, it does not get him what he is asking for). His pre-school has taught the kids, very usefully, to say "no thank you" instead of just "no!" or "I don't like that!" or whatever, and often it is graceful, but he can also make it sound like a blue-streak swear when he wants (at which point I sometimes have to leave the room briefly so he doesn't see me laughing).

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I just do it all day everyday with my 3.5 y/o DS. 

 

DS: "Mom, get me some milk."

Me: "No, that was rude. Try again later."

(3 minutes later)

DS: "Mom, I'm very thirsty. Can I please have some milk?"

Me: "Sure, thank you so much for asking kindly."

 

For me, it's not about denying him indefinitely of what he wants, only insisting that he act/ask appropriately before getting it.

 

We also talk about not asking for things, especially before anytime we are going into a store or someone else's home. He does not ask for things.

 

We also talk about being grateful for anything that anyone gives to you. Anytime anyone hands something to DS he says thank you. When he has a moment and makes a sound like he might protest something unwelcome, all I have to do is say his name, and he will say thank you. 

 

I also try very hard to always, always use my manners with DS. When he picks me a dandelion, I thank him and hug him. When I tell him to do something, I ask him please. When he cleans up his toys (like he is supposed to) I thank him. I also try to use my manners with DH as much as possible, I thank him when he makes dinner and when he changes a diaper,  etc. I think hearing that all the time has pretty much drilled it into DS' head, I very rarely have to correct his manners.

 

I was very impressed at his 3rd birthday and Christmas this year, he thanked everyone for everything. My DH & I bought him a backpack he didn't like, and he really did his best to pretend he did. He told us thank you and said he likes backpacks (which he does, he just didn't like the colors and zippers), before moving on. 

 

His newest challenge is using his manners with my DD (1 y/o) . He sometimes thinks he can be rude toward her since she can't really talk and protest. But I did hear him tell her No, thank you when she offered him a cracker today, so that's coming along too...

 

 

For my DS, teaching him to be kind/polite wasn't really about certain words (although there are some phrases he obviously uses a lot), we always focused on tone of voice. Since DS learned to talk our house rules have been this : 1) No yelling 2) No hitting 3) No mean words or mean voices 4) Everyone matters. He knows that DH and I will not respond to any request made in a rude, demanding voice. 



 

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