I need some advice with my 6 year old stepdaughter - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 07-13-2015, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some advice with my 6 year old stepdaughter

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#2 of 15 Old 07-13-2015, 06:34 AM
 
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I can't say that the focus thing is all that uncommon. In fact, I think my own children went through a phase of that about her age. However, you might try to come up with a few structured activities for her to do each day. My kids would find ways to be creative with playdough, cutting things out and gluing them to construction paper, etc. They kind of jump off from there.

As far as the respecting your time, we run into this as well. I have to remember that our routine is different than her routine at their Mom's house. At my stepkids' Mom's, they are entertained constantly whether by their mother or with electronics. We don't do that here, and I have kids in addition to us having kids together, so they feel like they have to scream for attention when they are here. Someone gave me the advice once for the biological parent to set some time apart every day to spend with the step kids (their kids), especially when the stepparent is the one doing most of the caring for the the children. Maybe this would help her feel that she has her time with her dad, too, and is not in competition with you for him. Good luck! It's always a learning experience!

~~~Jennifer~~~
Mama and stepmama to DSS1 (18), DSS2 (14), DSS3 in heaven, DD1 (11), DSS4 (10), DS1 (8), DD2 (2) and DS2 (1) and due November 2015!
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#3 of 15 Old 07-13-2015, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#4 of 15 Old 07-13-2015, 10:59 AM
 
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Here's my advice. It may be off the mark, but...

This kiddo is only 6. I think you may be overcomplicating this. She's 6 years old, and she is bored. She is looking for external sources to entertain her. The push/pull of wanting someone to entertain her is normal.

My mom used to tell me that boredom breeds creativity. She stacked up coloring books, paperwork, and crafting stuff, and told me to find things to do. Or go outside. But the goal was for me to learn to keep busy on my own.

We did the same thing with my stepkids. And if they complained that they couldn't be self-entertaining, then that means they are bored enough to do chores.
"I'm bored...!"
"Oh good! The bathroom floor needs mopping!"

Of course you should set aside time to do fun things, but it's healthy for her to have time every day where she is learning how to find fun things to do by herself.

Oh, and don't be sucked into conversing about it. Kids sometimes will try to engage in conversation about the situation in order to verbally entertain. It can become a controlling behavior to keep the parents engaged in their internal struggle. Don't take the bait. Just explain what she needs to do, and then walk away. Don't respond to further demands or whining. Just stay calm and quiet. She may try even some bizarre behaviors to suck you into her demands. Just stay quiet, and let her be. She will eventually understand that she really does need to learn to be okay finding things to do by herself.

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#5 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#6 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 08:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mariana Rivas View Post
Thank you both for taking the time to answer and giving me advice and really yesterday I notice exactly what you tell me regarding the explanation she also takes it as a "me time" and is not actually paying attention to what you are telling her I will sure make use of the mop the floor strategy. Regarding the coloring books and crafts I already tried I even told her one day on how she could start telling me a story through the drawings regarding a castle a princess and a dragon, that only worked for 5 minutes cause she had not even finish the activity and she was already thinking on switching to the next one. You have no idea how many toys she has and she doesn't play with them at all. In the past I even told her again with stories using the dolls and everything like "oh we are waiting for you let's go on a adventure" that didn't work. I know she is only 6 and I am educating myself good to know what it's up to her age and what not but I feel that even the most primary rules of discipline are completely unknown for her cause the boundaries are never set at her primary caretaker. She only spends a quarter of the year with us but when she does there is no rest at the house.
The best you can do is provide a structured schedule, and plan out her day. Make meals times generally the same every day; same with chore time, quiet time, craft time, or whatever.

When I was a kid, my cousins were in a blended family and they would come visit every summer for a few weeks. My mom made their daily structure very rigid and also required them to have quiet time for about an hour every day. She would lay out a blanket and give them a coloring book. They weren't allowed to leave the blanket. By the third day of doing this, they were taking naps for the full hour.

Kids crave structure, and this generation is over-stimulated so they don't know how to be quiet. It's not easy, and it's a lot of work to parent.
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#7 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 09:58 AM
 
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if you don't give her all day attention she doesn't let you do anything neither respects the time her father and I need to have as a couple,
I don't understand. This is a child who doesn't live with you. How much time do you need "as a couple" while she is with you? I truly don't get this. I'm all for couples nurturing their relationships, but most of the time, you guys have zero kids living with you. What time does she go to bed? Most 6 year olds are in bed very early.


My advice is to involve her with the business of running your home, preparing meals, taking care of plants and animals, etc. This is very basic parenting advice. Rather than trying to keep her busy while you do what needs to be done, have her help you and teach her how to do things. This lets her get attention without being the center of attention.


Also, while she is there, plan some times when you are out and Daddy and Daughter can have some time just the two of them. Go to lunch with a friend, or go get a mani pedi. Have your own life, not just around your bf.


One of my parenting secrets when my kids were little was to make play dough with them. It's super easy, and kids really enjoy this. Then, they have new playdough, which is super fun. Put together a little kit for her with a rolling pen, cookie cutters, etc. This is a nice activity because you do something with the child, and then they are set up to do something on their own.


Also, put on kid friendly music. It helps set the tone for the space. When my kids were little, they were more settled with something like Raffi on in the background rather than the TV or adult music.


Too many toys makes it HARDER for kids to play, not easier. Organizer her space very neatly before she gets there -- since you has a lot of toys you may need to box a bunch of them up and just leave a few open ended ones that look inviting. Have a schedule and a routine. This is super important -- you can even write it down for her, and use simple pictures to help her understand it.


Stop blaming her mother for things. It doesn't matter. You don't control it. It is letting your mind focus on blaming rather than on trouble shooting the situation. Focus on the parts of this that you can control, and let go of the rest. ALL children do better in an organized space with a plan, and right now, you don't have either or those things (I can tell her toys aren't organized because you are focused on how many she has).
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#8 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't understand. This is a child who doesn't live with you. How much time do you need "as a couple" while she is with you? I truly don't get this. I'm all for couples nurturing their relationships, but most of the time, you guys have zero kids living with you. What time does she go to bed? Most 6 year olds are in bed very early.


My advice is to involve her with the business of running your home, preparing meals, taking care of plants and animals, etc. This is very basic parenting advice. Rather than trying to keep her busy while you do what needs to be done, have her help you and teach her how to do things. This lets her get attention without being the center of attention.


Also, while she is there, plan some times when you are out and Daddy and Daughter can have some time just the two of them. Go to lunch with a friend, or go get a mani pedi. Have your own life, not just around your bf.


One of my parenting secrets when my kids were little was to make play dough with them. It's super easy, and kids really enjoy this. Then, they have new playdough, which is super fun. Put together a little kit for her with a rolling pen, cookie cutters, etc. This is a nice activity because you do something with the child, and then they are set up to do something on their own.


Also, put on kid friendly music. It helps set the tone for the space. When my kids were little, they were more settled with something like Raffi on in the background rather than the TV or adult music.


Too many toys makes it HARDER for kids to play, not easier. Organizer her space very neatly before she gets there -- since you has a lot of toys you may need to box a bunch of them up and just leave a few open ended ones that look inviting. Have a schedule and a routine. This is super important -- you can even write it down for her, and use simple pictures to help her understand it.


Stop blaming her mother for things. It doesn't matter. You don't control it. It is letting your mind focus on blaming rather than on trouble shooting the situation. Focus on the parts of this that you can control, and let go of the rest. ALL children do better in an organized space with a plan, and right now, you don't have either or those things (I can tell her toys aren't organized because you are focused on how many she has).
well like any normal couple we have to deal with a very busy weekly schedule sometimes we spent three nights a week were we don't see each other more than half an hour so those are also our weekends, she should go to bed at 8 but every time she comes over she starts complaining about pain of anything precisely at that hour so at the end she ends up in bed around 9:30 cause several times she comes downstairs crying and complaining. I have already set all her toys in order in her room and left a specific area for her to play with her puzzles and coloring books and I am sorry but I found the tone of your advice a bit aggressive "Also, while she is there, plan some times when you are out and Daddy and Daughter can have some time just the two of them. Go to lunch with a friend, or go get a mani pedi. Have your own life, not just around your bf" is that really the way of giving advice to someone? seems like I am the one to blame in this situation according to you? I do have a life except my bf in case you be interested.

Try to have a 5 minutes conversation with your partner after a long day of work with a 6 year old interrupting all the time to say "I saw a butterfly today" and see if you really wouldn't like some time for you and your partner?

I have already tried to involve her in the house chores and still nothing she is just going from one side to the other and at the end does nothing regarding the task you gave her. I mentioned the mom issue just to give context about regarding the situation on how she has to deal with a contrast.

This is suposed to be a forum of support for blended families not a space to attack someone. Thank you for taking the time to answer anyway
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#9 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 02:08 PM
 
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I agree with Linda completely. Lately I have been so many posts here from partners who don't have kids and whine a complain about the other partners kids expressing normal kid-needs.

If you aren't prepared to accept don't advice, don't ask for it. And if you aren't prepared to sacrifice, leave now. The child was in his life before you and will be in his life after you. That is as it should be. The longer you stay, the more hurt the kid will be when you finally do go.

Bring back the old MDC
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#10 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 02:59 PM
 
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seems like I am the one to blame in this situation according to you? I do have a life except my bf in case you be interested.

Try to have a 5 minutes conversation with your partner after a long day of work with a 6 year old interrupting all the time to say "I saw a butterfly today" and see if you really wouldn't like some time for you and your partner?


I didn't attack you -- I told you to focus on the parts you control, and let go of everything else. This is very solid advice, and very old. It's the serenity prayer:
God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

You are whining about completely normal child behaviors, such a talking about her day at the dinner table, and shooting down every piece of advice you get, which has been good advice that I'm sure that you haven't fully implemented. (Because fully implementing this advice is a lot of work


As far as blame, it's not a word I would use. I don't know that anyone needs to be "blamed" for the situation. You have made choices, and one of those choices was to get involved with someone with a child. Your situation actually seems pretty easy to me -- one child, who is 6 and doesn't have any special needs, who is with you 1/4 of the time. It sounds like neither you or your DH travel much for work.


Most people with kids are doing good to have one meal a week just the two of them. Most people don't need to connect with their spouse over EVERY dinner. Heck, after we had our second child, one of us got kid 1 though the meal, and the other got kid 2 through the meal, and then one of us would take both kids while the other cleaned the kitchen. At least that's how we did it when he was in town, but he travels a lot for work.


If you don't want to have kids in your life, that's totally OK. It's a reasonable choice. End this relationship, and then don't get involved with anyone with kids and don't have kids. It really is OK.


But if you are in a relationship where there are kids, then the kids will talk, want attention, make messes, and so on. A relationship with kids isn't going to leave time for two adults to moon over each other sharing every detail of their day. It isn't for everybody, and I get that. I'm not judging you or blaming you, I just don't feel pity for you.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif


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#11 of 15 Old 07-14-2015, 05:15 PM
 
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I agree with Linda.
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#12 of 15 Old 07-15-2015, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#13 of 15 Old 07-15-2015, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#14 of 15 Old 07-16-2015, 12:54 PM
 
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I think your role in life as a father is to little by little addressed those issues and to get him ready for his of her life independently and that they be well balanced empathetic grown ups.


I agree that independence and life skills are important. I've written a great deal about that on the TEEN form. However, I don't think that they help develop empathy. The foundation for empathy is a unconditional love and a strong connection to others. This is the basis, and this is where many 6 year olds are. They need love. They need attention. They need the adults in their lives to be more interested in what they saw and did today than the adults are in talking about themselves. Trying to teach a child independence when they lack a strong foundation of feeling loved and connected is just teaching them to be alone. Healthy independence comes from knowing there are people who are there for you, but also knowing that you can do it yourself.


It's odd to me that you bring up developing empathy as a goal because you seem to lack any for her. If you want to help raise a child to be empathetic, then model empathy -- both to her and to others.


All of your other posts have been about you and about what you need and want, and not about what is best for her, so tacking this concern now seems like grasping at straws. What you want is peace and quiet, and you are trying to justify that by saying it is best for her.


In your first post, you said that you want to be a good step mother. If that is really what you want, then start focusing on her positive traits. Figure out what is likeable about this child. Stopping trying to change her. Accept her exactly as she is. Be gentle.


Take care of yourself, too. Take time for yourself. But when you are with her, just be with her. Let that time be about her, and not about you.
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#15 of 15 Old 07-17-2015, 10:31 AM
 
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same exact issue here

i am having the same struggle.
i am hoping the clingy thing is only a phase.
So far the phase has lasted 3 years.
i really hope someone can give suggestions other than just basically tell us 'too bad'.
:sigh:
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