Mothering Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I need some support/suggestions. My 4 yo dd doesn't like me. She tells me she doesn't and even says, "I'm sorry I don't like you". She spends her days at preschool or my parents' home. I can come up with some reasons why she doesn't:
1) I'm the main disciplinarian in her life (everybody else lets her do and say whatever she wants, but I don't. I don't spank her but I make her take a time out and apologize if needed).
2) My parents give her tons of wonderful attention, and I'm working and have a 4 month old that I have to give my attention to.

I do my best to give her attention but sometimes I wonder if it's more than that. When I pick her up from school or when she sees me in the morning, the first thing she says is, "I want Grandma, where's Grandma?"

I'm trying to be the adult and the parent, but this is getting tiresome and is hurting my feelings. I've tried giving her attention, doing things with her, but nothing seems to change it. She tells me, "I don't know why I don't like you, I just don't."

Any insights anyone? TIA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,094 Posts
Oh wow, I couldn't just read and not post. That must be very painful.

I posted a little while ago about my dd and dh having problems, but I have a pretty good idea why
:.

The best thing I heard on the thread I started is that *the parent is the one responsible for the relationship*. By that I don't mean that it's your fault she doesn't like you!!! I mean that kids are just that -- kids -- and she's having feelings (like you said, maybe she doesn't like the discipline, or she is feeling left out) and she doesn't know how to express it. My dd did it to my dh alot especially when she was younger and his mistake was that he took it personally and withdrew, he allowed a distance to build up between them. I'd encourage you, as hard as it is, to NOT do that. Try not to take it personally, and keep loving that kid to death, keep modelling that relationship for her, and I'm sure the stage will pass.

Also, maybe talk to Grandma about disciplining her in line with what you are doing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
Is there any chance the grandparents or teachers are undermining you when you aren't there? It wouldn't have to be "Your Mama is a bad woman," but it could be in the form of criticism of some aspects of your lifestyle or commentary on discipline or other restrictions you place on the child. Just a thought. That kind of thing would be hard to get into and solve, but it could account for your daughter's explicit negativity.

However, it sounds to me more like she resents the baby and is taking it out on you. Maybe you could try visiting other families with little babies, and reading stories about kids who have babies come into their families. I will now make a shameless plug for my friend George O'Connor's book "Sally and the Something." It's not directly focused on this point, but gets to it obliquely in a very nice way.

At all costs, however, try to foster a relationship between the two children. Dr. Sears writes well on this topic. My parents made the mistake of trying to keep us as separate as possible, because I (the older one) resented my sister's encroachment on my little world. The consequences were that we grew up resenting each other and the division between us never healed entirely.

Anyway, good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
856 Posts
I don't know if most fuor year olds would grasp the extent of what that means really.
I wonder if the grandparents can watch the four year old if they could come sit with your four month old (for short times) so you can spend seom *special time* with your older child.. even if you just walk around the block or read a story or bake or soemthing?

Some kids just need to feel out how devoted you are to them by challenging you too?..they can test yo uto see if you care!

anyway {hugs} that is rough.. and i hope your babe comes around soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,695 Posts
Wow mama!
to you. It must be so hard to hear that day in and day out. If you think your DD is reacting in part to your discipline, could you make changes in this area? Also, I love the book "Playful Parenting" for tips on how to address communication issues on a kids level. The author does a really good job of illustrating how he gets kids to share their feelings through play, and gives good tips on getting kids motivated to do what you need them to do so you don't have to always play the heavy. HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
Mama, that is not so good, some good suggestions above tho definitely try and make some time to spend with your eldest, you both need it. My eldest dd and me have had some rough patches where our relationship seemed pretty bad for lots of reasons like having 2 younger siblings, bringing them all up alone,no time to spend with individual kids, thats improving now they are getting older and thankfully my eldest dd has made huge effort to get us back on track but our relationship really suffered for a while,she thought I didn't love her and that hurts us both,was just wrapped up with the younger ones and all the work, things like her father just not bothering with her and all the hurt that causes. Any rift needs sorted or it could go on. I don't think she doesn't like you, she just sounds resentful that she doesn't have you and it is hard cos you got to do all the other stuff, just make the time,yes it's hard and I struggle still making the time for each child and they are usually all clamouring for my attention!! Also cos she is at your parents a lot or daycare she,at the impressionable age of 4, will be picking up on other peoples stuff and will be missing you LOTS. She probably gets her own way a lot when she is not with you and then you do the discipline thing and she doesn't like it,well you need to get her back,I think some mom and dd time is needed here, good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,188 Posts
She sounds like a regular 4 yr old to me. I seriously doubt she is getting extra attention in preschool/daycare all day so that can't be it. They have a whole class of kids there. I think they go through stages and phases alot up until they are a little older. I remember my son going through them too. I've had my daughter say she doesn't like me at times as well.
It does break my heart to hear it but I can't really do anything about it. She's just expressing herself and how she feels at that moment in the only way her 4 yr old little mind knows how. I gotta love her for that!!

I know one thing that works with my 4 yr old daughter if she says something meant to be mean or hurtful. I will make a sad face and pretend cry and tell her I'm sad if she says something hurtful to me and that always makes her say she is sorry and she will hug me and say she does love me or something to that effect. Maybe you could try something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
I second the suggestion about Playful Parenting; i think he is right on, the bits i'v ebeen able to incorporate with my dd have worked wonders.

my dd said some similar things right after ds was born. she would say things like "nana is my mom" and would always look to daddy or my mom to do fun things and if i got mad at her, would say she didn't love me.

so my guess is def. reacting to the baby, so finding special time with her is important and trying to incorporate more play into your relationship and finding ways for her to get her feelings out through play.

i know people say don't take it personally, but that's hard. good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
I have a 2-month-old and shortly after her birth in June, my DS (then newly 3 years old) started telling me that he didn't like me. He said it about three or four times in the space of two weeks. I just attributed it to the fact that I was suddenly spending a lot of time with a baby and he wasn't getting as much time with me as he used to. Also, around that time, DH started his summer break from teaching and was spending his days with DS. So the two were having a lot of play time and bonding time. DS naturally gravitated to his new buddy and I'm sure I seemed like an outsider at that point.

It hurt my feelings too but I didn't take it personally. I knew that he was upset and was glad that he was letting me know the only way he knew how. I don't remember what I said to DS and I probably ignored the comment the first time I heard it. I think the next few times, I replied with "You don't like me right now? Well, that's ok, because I like you no matter what." Maybe not the best response in the world but I wanted to convey that it was ok for him to have that feeling and that I loved him through it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,109 Posts
how was she before the baby? was your relationship pretty okay then? maybe you can think about that and if it was good see if you can come up with a way to get back to where you were. favorite things you used to do, games you used to play, places you used to go? make a big point of reminding her of how much y'all used to like it (going to the park, making cookies, snuggling and reading a favorite book) and make it a big special occasion to get back to doing it.

maybe if you explain your situation work/grandparents/baby it would help folks get a handle on it. are you working out of the home? both kids with the grands or dd1 is in preschool and baby is with grands?

i would try to incorporate her into your caring for the baby as much as possible. ask her to help bring you diapers or wipes or maybe she could pick out an outfit for baby.

as far as when she tells you she doesn't like you or likes grandma better i'd try asking her why and take her responses seriously. maybe make a list with her. "how to talk so kids will listen..." by faber and mazlich (sp? -- it's in the gentle discipline book sticky) has some good ideas about how to work things out through a list. basically you would list the problem at the top of the page something like:

dd1 doesn't like mommy and mommy feels sad. mommy loves dd1 and wants dd1 to love her, too.

then you would each list solutions you come up with and it's VERY IMPORTANT to write down every crazy idea that dd1 comes up with and not criticize it. after you list all solutions you can come up with then you each get to go through and cross off the ones that won't work, but it's important to take each other seriously. the act of writing it down can seem really powerful to little ones and can show her that you really do value her ideas. post it on the fridge. your list might look something like this:

1. mommy can stop being mean to dd1 (by dd1)
2. dd1 and mommy can read special big girl books (by mommy)
3. mommy can buy me more toys (by dd1)
4. mommy and dd1 can have special playtime every day (by mommy)
5. mommy can take me to the park more (by dd1)
6. mommy can make cookies to eat every day (by dd1)

get the idea? then you cross off the ones that both of you don't like and the ones you are left with are the ones you really do try to do.

some kids don't respond well to time outs. they can feel even more isolated. you might want to check out the gentle discipline forum. i know there have been several threads on time outs there. the mamas over there might have good ideas for how to deal with specific discipline issues you're coming up against.

hth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
I may be in the minorty here, but parents are not here for their kids to "like " them. We are here to show them the right path in life. JMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,887 Posts
Some kids have a hard time maintaining healthy bonds with more adults than just their immediate parents, without getting confused. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, these can be very beneficial figures in our childrens lives but I have to think that if a child is displaying detachment to the primary caregiver, my instinct is to rein her in a bit, keep her close, do some quality time, and see what happens.

Also, remember also that you must have a secure bond with your child if she feels ok telling you this kind of thing. IAnd you know, it probably is related to her age and the fact that her world is growing, she's learning that she enjoys doing certain things with certain people. I seem to recall that right around that age I stopped being my ds's favorite, and grandma took the spotlight for a while. But he came around again. Her little world is changing so fast and she just doesn't quite yet have the language to phrase it appropriately.

hang in there mama, you'll be her star again soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There is so much good stuff here, I don't even know how to reply. As for the book recommendations, I've actually read both of those over the past 4 years and really liked them. I'll have go pick them back up for a refresher. I do agree that I need other discipline choices than time outs but they do seem to work well for my dd. I don't do the 1 minute per year. I just have her take as long as it takes for me to notice she's calmed down, usually no longer than 2 minutes.

It was nice to hear that it's great she's even expressing herself. I think I'm just so used to it that I forget it's a great attribute.

I think spending more time with her exclusively is key. While I think her feelings are linked to my time with dd2, I think she holds the resentment towards me not her. She loves her sister and does help me out with diapers and clothes, so I feel good in that arena. She never says negative or odd things about the baby. She baby talks to her and kisses her and holds her and is proud of her. Like when dd2 started holding her head up, holding onto toys, or following more closely with her eyes-my dd1 gets so excited; her eyes get really big and she shrieks, "look at her!! Oh she can hold a toy all by herself!!"

In some ways, I agree that my kids don't need to like me in the sense that I'm not their bestfriends, but I do think they should like me as their mother and caretaker. I want them to trust me and respect me. When they're in trouble, I want them to feel comfortable coming to me. When they're sad, I want them to come to me if they need help. When they're young like this, I think it's very important to lay the ground work for when they're teenagers. I think it's extremely important that my girls know their mom is available, trustworthy, and a real person they can come to if things start to get bigger than they can handle. On the other hand, this is probably good training for when she is older because I'm sure I'm going to hear this a lot at that point.

Thank you ladies! I've got a lot of good stuff to get started on.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top