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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD is hurling invective about how we have failed as parents. She just turned 5 in May. Yesterday DD went to play with two of her friends (go to a neighborhood b-ball game, go swimming, etc.). DD is an only child, and I was a litle hormonal yesterday, so it's good she went.

By the time DP and I went to pick her up (after 6+ hours) I was feeling better, looking forward to getting her, etc. First off, DD refused to come with us, saying she wanted to stay and be adopted by the other mom (all of her kids are adopted, so DD knows it's a "possibility"). No big deal there; she was having fun and didn't want to leave. Totally normal.

We get into the car, and the other mom is telling us that one of DD's friends is going horseback riding; DD asks if she can, and I say, "We'll look into it," meaning, to myself, that I will of course try my absolute best and we can probably let her ride once or twice, but no lessons because they are $170 a month, and we are living on one income.

So there we are driving home, when DD starts telling us that we are the worst parents ever, that she hates us and wants to go live with the other parent. We ask what she doesn't like about it, and she says, "They let me eat meat (SHE decided to be a veggie), the kids have their own dog, they have cooler toys and their rooms are better. And they get to watch/play with Bratz" She goes on to say that we never do anything for her, and the only reason we had her is so she can do things for us (WTF?!!!!), that we expect her to buy us presents. She said she hates everything she has and her room is ugly (we just re-painted/re-designed her room, and she loved every scrap of it while it was being done). She says they get to watch TV all the time. There was much, much more, but she wound the whole thing up by telling us, and I quote, emphasis hers, "You have FAILED."

My initial reaction, honestly, was to go into her room and remove every toy that she owns. I honestly don't want to do anything for her right now (and we have a whole day stretching drearily ahead of us). We do not have a lot of money; I am a teacher, DP is a SAHD, and we have a lot of debt we are trying to pay down. Still, she has much more than a lot of kids in our area, including two parents who have made financial sacrifices so that she can be dropped off and picked up every day by one of them instead of languishing at day care (no offense intended everyone; she used to go to day care). We do not allow her to watch TV all day (only b/c it's summer, she gets one hour of cartoons or a movie daily; usually it's only TV on weekends); she does not eat sugar all the time, but she gets some. Although we are more restrictive than this other parent (who is a wonderful parent), we still try to accomodate her in some ways.

I am at a complete loss. I feel like I have just been smacked in the face, repeatedly, by a five year old. Why am I doing everything the hard way if this is the kind of kid I am getting? She always wants more; she'll get a toy, and five minutes later she wants more. She watches TV, and would watch it all day if I let her. But I don't, and I get this kind of crap. My feelings are hurt, which I understand is my problem, not DD's, but I don't think she should be allowed to talk like this to us (with such complete and utter disregard and disrespect for how what she says makes us feel). I guess I need some advice, and quick, on how to discipline this behavior, and how to handle it. Last night we came home and had her get ready for bed, which she refused to do, yelling and screaming; she then calmed down, and came to apologize, then threw another temper tantrum when she realized we still wanted her to go to bed (and that her apology was not effective in the sense that it got us to change our mind about bedtime). We put her in her room until she calmed down again, then she forced herself to stay awake until the sun went down. This was not, in my opinion, effective at all.

Please help...I feel like crap about this today...
 

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I'm so sorry - that sounds really hard! What harsh words from a 5 year old. It would have taken my breath away too.

No thoughts right now on the 'big picture' but do you think the 6+ hour playdate was too much/too intense for her? I remember my oldest dsd used to just crash and turn absolutely awful partway through a playdate, from all the intense fun-having. Things would suddenly go really awry. If this could be a factor, I think I'd cut back. Not as punishment, she could still play with her pals, but until she shows she can handle longer playdates, I'd leave them at 2-3 hours max. Not sure or not if I'd tell her why - maybe, in terms of needing to see that she can handle herself before ramping up to such long days again.

You also can have a talk about how different families have different rules, and some of the reasons you have the ones you do - you can say that you're always happy to talk about these rules, maybe do family meetings or whatever, but that when someone hurls insults and hurts other people's feelings, the last thing they feel like doing is changing things. It could be a good lesson for her in constructive communication.
 

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Oh thats pants.

Do you think this might be the result of bringing her up to be aware of the world and its differences and free to discuss everything with you?

We bring our children up to be articulate and aware and then they show us what they have learned! It is a shock the first time and 5 is a classic age, I think.

My two were very aware of what other people had and what we didn't have at this age. They felt free to say such things to me because I had encouraged them to express themselves. I don't thinki punishment is the answer; talking probably is.

To cut a long story short as I need to cook dinner - this is one example of when my Dad used to sday to me 'Life isn't fair my little love'
 

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It hurts to hear that kind of thing from your daughter. She was probably feeling overwhelmed from the long playdate. Keep in mind that if you really were a bad parent your daughter would never tell you. She can say it because she feels safe enough to vent her frustrations out on you-- no fun for you, but totally normal for her age.

Over the years I have heard it all from my kids. I try to just brush it off with "I'm sorry you feel that way."
 

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Look on the bright side. Your daughter sounds very articulate and intelligent, so you must be doing something right.


Seriously, though, I would definitely let her know that although you appreciate and welcome her input, ranting at you that way is not acceptable. My 9yo is a ranter, too, and I'm always working with him to express his concerns and opinions without being horrible and rude about it. It's not easy, but it's getting better over time and he is MUCH more composed about stuff than he was, say, two years ago.

I also agree with the PP that an all-day playdate might be a bit much at your daughter's age. Maybe limit them to a couple/few hours at a time so she is less likely to hit her meltdown point.
 

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Wow! I could have sworn that was my almost 12 year old daughter (whoever said she's articulate, hit that one on the head!)


It sounds like she was just a little overwhelmed/tired, but it's hard when our kids point out their "unhappiness" with us. I always deal with my kids by saying "I'm sorry you feel that way, maybe when you have kids you'll let them _____."

Of course, it doesn't help take away that sting.
 

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That would be really tough.


My dd is also 5 but hasn't really compared our more modest lifestyle with other people yet. However, she says really rotten things sometimes.
When my dd gets really unreasonable and negative it is sometimes about feelings she doesn't know how to express yet rather than what she is saying with her words. Does that make sense? I listen and try to talk things through to figure out what is beneath it.
One of her things is deciding out of the blue to not like certain people- "I hate _____".
It is usually about something else- being tired or overwhelmed or afraid of something. If she persists, I finally just tell her that she has a right to like or dislike the person but she still needs to be nice and polite. I won't let her walk around saying she hates grandma and then accept gifts from her. We don't accept gifts from people we "hate".

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish is a helpful book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alkenny - yes, I expected this sort of thing a little bit later on, not at five. I feel like I would be more prepared then.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts; yesterday, DD and I had a talk, but then when she was talking to her friends (same ones; they came over briefly in the afternoon), she said she was upset because their life was better than hers. She "bought" me flowers at the store last night and wrote a little card that said "I love you", and then said, "Wow, I had to get you a lot of things to make you feel better." I have no idea where this comes from, honestly. We are not materially oriented people at all, and we don't really have friends like that either.

I don't know; I feel like I am failing. She doesn't seem to want to pay with me at all (sounds silly, doesn't it?); she is avoiding me.

I have to go; we are going bowling today in an attempt to get the hell out of the house and play.
 

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Is it possible that her friends (the ones she spent all day with) could be putting these ideas in her head? Is it possible that they criticized her, so she's passing the buck on to you, her parents? Could she be watching tv that's not really age appropriate while she's with them? Could it just be from kids at school?

edited because i want to elaborate on the tv thing. I know lots of shows for older kids, pre-teens, show terrible attitude and disrespectful behavior towards others. I wouldn't ever want my kids watching shows like that. Have you seen the shows her friends watch? I really think that could be the whole problem "they get to watch tv all the time"
 

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Just an idea here. This is what I would do. She can obviously speak her mind and is feeling at a loss of self control. So, give her more responsibility for what she does and gets. Allow her to pick a day for a "My way day". Whatever goes. If she shouldn't have too many sweets, hide them the night before. State some ground rules, simple and few like: 1.Pick a day that is best for you. Explain to her what days and times you can/can't leave the house, so she can decide what day is best for her. 2. Maybe she would like to make a plan, so help her with that if she wants you to. Or she can write/draw pics for her day and this would give the on duty parent a heads-up. kwim? 3. If she isn't willing to make a plan, she would need to be willing to wait on the parent to be available for her ....whatever she wants to do.... As long as she knows the rules and understand it is in her favor....I think she'll begin to feel and understand what is best for her. (bedtimes, tv time, food, etc....)

Now, if she decides to watch tv all day on HER day, then do something extra fun/ maybe loudly in the house or in the yard......to maybe show her that she is missing out of a fun time and be so thrilled if she comes to join you......

I think she just needs to have her opinion. What's a girl to do? A nightly "how was your day" talk before or after a story/ or in place of, could reveal her concerns/problems, too, and let her know that you are willing to always listen, as well as, show her HOW to communicate even the bad stuff she is feeling.

Good Luck! Personally, I think it is wonderful she is trying to get her frustration out. Starting at 5, I think you've got time to steer it into a respectful conversation for the teen years.


Lori
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by stafl
Is it possible that her friends (the ones she spent all day with) could be putting these ideas in her head? Is it possible that they criticized her, so she's passing the buck on to you, her parents? Could she be watching tv that's not really age appropriate while she's with them? Could it just be from kids at school?

edited because i want to elaborate on the tv thing. I know lots of shows for older kids, pre-teens, show terrible attitude and disrespectful behavior towards others. I wouldn't ever want my kids watching shows like that. Have you seen the shows her friends watch? I really think that could be the whole problem "they get to watch tv all the time"

:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with the TV thing. We were letting her watch some of the pre- and teen shows (Raven, Hilary Duff, etc) until we saw her behavior (very disrespectful) and put the kibosh on it. Now, if it's not animated, it doesn't get watched, and we have to watch it first (which sometimes takes a while). She definitely gets to watch those shows at her friends house.

She also does get a tremendous amount of choice with regard to what we do; honestly, I worry that if we give her a whole day, she would want to spend a lot of money, and that's not possible. We do that on birthdays (the birthday person can do whatever they want, and money is not made an issue). Usually, we start the day with whatever things I need to get done (usually less than an hour) then we get started on whatever we're doing, and DD usually chooses.

We had another conversation about it the other night, how she hates our house because it's so crappy. She wants to move and get "all new stuff." This is from those two friends, because their parents are getting divorced, so they did move to a new house and get all new stuff. We explained that a little (not much; too deep for 5, I think), then tried to explain, briefly, the choices we have made (only one parent works so the other can be home), and what that means, stuff-wise (less money = less stuff). I don't think she got it, but I look at it as ground work.

She is still very disrespectful, although a little better. and we are currently locked in an epic battle about cleaning her room; one of her criticisms (believe it or not; I couldn't!) was that the house was dirty. So yesterday I cleaned top to bottom, and her only responsibility was her room. Didn't do it. Still very frustrating.
 

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OK. Everyone take anything I say with a grain of salt, it is not a criticism.

IMHO, TV is a major part of the disrespectfull behavior. And, I am noticing my dd friends' who go to public school are very disrespectful, and sneaky. I do not know if it is public school per say, as just an overall attitude they pick up from other kids..... where do these children get it from??

I also, have to explain to my kids every so often why we have different rules, what our families' values are. We also are a one income family so that the children are not in daycare, we limit sugar, TV, junk food, junk toys, etc.

My 13yo says he is tired of being the kid without the money, with only one crappy van (no cool SUV with spinning rims, and a DVD player) and a semi-ok house with older furniture, etc. But, when we get talking, he admits by the end that he is glad we are different. Is helps him walk to the beat of his own drummer.

The kids, again IMHO, should be allowed to voice complaints, as long as they do it in a respectfull way, (with no "I hate you" - only, I do not like this rule or that way we do such-n-such.) If she is a mature five year old, she should be able to do it.

Is there a pattern to when she starts her ranting, has it only happened the one time and then continued when she came home from the friends house? Think about what happened just prior, maybe that will give a clue, why???
 
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