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so i'm wondering whether i've crossed the line between attachment parenting and permissive parenting. am i too soft? my 3.5 yr old plain old doesn't listen. for example, she will step on me (i'm laying on the bed and she walks back and forth over me) i tell her to not step on me, then she steps on me walking the other way. this sort of non-listening goes on in many contexts throughout the day. she is also VERY whiny. the other day i took my 1.5 yr old somewhere and left the 3.5 yr old with my husband. right before i left emily (the 3.5 yr old) was in her normal operating mode and dh was constantly fussing. i was hesitant to leave because i didn't want emily to stress out dh. anyway, i left, and dh said the instant i walked out the door she was a perfect child. she remained that way until i returned home. i'm thinking it is because maybe she thinks she doesn't have to behave with me. perhaps i don't have the firm follow through that she needs. perhaps i make too many excuses and take on too much of the responsibility for her behavior in effort to understand her behavior. i'm one who is often analyzing and saying "she's tired" or "why shouldn't she be able to (paint, etc)". maybe i've read about these ideas in ap books but taken it too far. dh thinks maybe it has something to do kylie. when it is just dh and emily she isn't competing for attention. emily does not play by herself. if she is building with blocks for example, she wants you to sit and watch. she is ever demanding to play games, role play, etc. recently kylie has started using the potty. emily has starting role playing as a baby. between all this with emily and what i consider age appropriate clinginess in kylie, i'm ready to check out of this job called mom. i've having serious depression issues and i think a lot of it has to do with this. today i find myself wondering if i've just dug a deep pit for myself in effort to parent gently. yes my children know i love them, but they also walk all over me. where do i go from here?
 

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Sounds to me like she wants more one on one with you. Bad attention is better than no attention in thier minds. I am not saying you neglect her. Kids can be very funny about things like that. Is there a way you could make some special time just for the two of you. Perhaps you could leave the 1.5 yr old with dad and let the 3 yr old run an errand with you. I have found that if you make them seem really important and give them "grown up" tasks, it gives them a better sense of self. Have her help you sort the spoons and forks from the dishwasher, help you carry the mail in or out. I let my 3 yr old, open the junk mail for me. He shreds it and then I put it in the paper bin. It makes him feel important.<br><br>
In my opinion it has nothing to do with parenting styles. Being the older sibling of a 1.5 yr old is tough. That is about when I started seeing sibling issues crop at our house.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">yes my children know i love them, but they also walk all over me. where do i go from here?</div>
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I think there are 2 separate issues here. I hearing above that your older daughter is *literally* walking all over you when you ask her not to, and IMHO, setting up personal boundaries is important to help your child not only learn to respect others, but to learn that others should respect *their* personal boundaries, too. AND, it will also likely help make you feel less 'permissive'.<br><br>
The other issues of painting, or her being tired, or others, are I think situationally dependent as to how I would react. I tend to give a fair amount of consideration to try to get to the underlying causes for things, so I don't think your doing that is an issue. Then again, sometimes there is not a deep underlying emotional need behind something; sometimes, it just is what it is. And sometimes limits need to be set. Limits and boundaries are not in direct opposition with GD.<br><br>
Bottom line is, if YOU feel like they are 'walking all over you' physical and figuratively, there is nothing wrong with changing things; you obviously don't have to go overboard and become a tyrant, but you can definitely gently set up some limits.<br><br>
For instance, if you say to her, 'please don't walk on my back, it hurts.' and she starts to go to walk back on top of you, I see nothing wrong with you flipping over and gently preventing her from doing it while repeating your request, and reminding her that she is in charge of her body, but not yours.<br><br>
As far as her letting it all hang out for you, that means she's most comfortable with you, and is sure that you love her even at her worst...so while it's not necessarily fun, it's a good sign that she feels she can be herself and not worry about 'behaving' around you, you know?<br><br>
I have no idea if any of that was coherent or helpful.....and I have to sign off to get on the road back home from a grandparent visit. Hope it helps, though!
 

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I do think it sounds like you need to set some personal boundaries and figure out some consequences ahead of time if you can. But it also sounds like your depression and having the two kids competing might be having a negative effect as well. What are your days like? Is there any structure or predictability to them? If not, I recommend setting up a schedule and have Emily help plan out time that you can play with her and time she can play independently. And remember, Emily is at the age where kids commonly test every single limit you place on them, especially with their primary caretaker. So you are not alone in your struggles.
 

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My kids were the same age yours are one year ago. It was the most difficult parenting phase for me--there was no way I could meet the needs of two such demanding children. Dd was very similar to how you describe your older one--wanting me to play with or watch her play constantly, very whiney and dependant. I was asking myself the same question you are--"Am I being AP or am I being a doormat?"<br><br>
One year later, the kids play together very well almost constantly. They go for hours without even coming to me for something--they are just so busy and happy playing together. I don't want to paint too rosy a picture here--there are difficult days too, and my kids and I are far from perfect. But when I compare our life to what it was like one year ago, wow! It is so much better and easier.<br><br>
When Dd was around 3.5, I started taking her out on "Big Girl Dates" with me. We would go to a cozy coffee shop, cuddle on a couch and read books. Or go shopping, or do something that we couldn't do when DS was with us. She LOVES it. If I am able to really connect with her, she is much more respectful of me and willing to do what I need her to do.<br><br>
And I don't think it's wrong for you to say, "Hey, that hurts me and I don't like it. Please stop" and if she doesn't, then move. If she was really just looking for attention, give her some when you can.<br><br>
It will get better, hang in there. Hugs.
 

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In my experience, until you get your depression issues dealt with, it's going to be hard to parent. Depression sucks all of your energy and creativity out of you. It also makes your children anxious because they recognize at some level that you are not well.<br><br>
So, I would suggest:<br>
1. Do whatever needs to be done to treat your depression. You need to put your own airmask on before you can help your children. You definitely need a counselor, if you don't have one, and you may well need a doctor and meds. (I know this is a NFL site, I know a lot of people are against meds, but for severe depression, they are literally a life saver.) Think of this as modeling good mental health for your daughter.<br><br>
2. One-on-one time for each child - 'dates' or 'outings' with each one might help, as a pp suggested. PLUS some alone time for you. View this as part of treating your depression. I'm concerned that you didn't want to leave your older dd with your dh because you didn't want her to stress out dh. What about you? Don't you have a right to some stress free time too?<br><br>
3. As a pp suggested, a loose schedule with some predictability for you and the kids.<br><br>
4. Baby her if that's what she wants. Who cares? Sibling rivalry goes in waves - at birth, when the baby becomes mobile, when the baby becomes more comptentent and independent, when they begin expressing their own opinions.<br><br>
5. Decided what one or two of her behaviors are driving you absolutely nuts. In the walking on you example, I agree, gently preventing her from stepping on you is OK. Helping her get down from the bed is another option. Focus on those 1 or 2 behaviors and come up with some concrete strategies for dealing with them (post here, people are really good at coming up with ideas). Ignore the rest for now.<br><br>
6. Is it possible to enroll your dd in a class or a preschool for her to get some social interaction with some different people? She sounds highly social (the not being able to play alone bit), and kids like this can be very tiring for parents. They just need more social outlets than parents can give.<br><br>
7. Involve her in helping around the house too. She can help do dishes, cook, laundry etc. That might give her a feeling of competence (good for self esteem), connection and the social interaction she craves.<br><br>
Good luck and take care of yourself!
 

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I second Everything Lynn just said.<br><br>
Beyond that...make your words mean something. If she won't stop walking on you, help her to stop. Be gentle, but get her off of you. You have a right to your own body. Pack up your words with actions. Not punishments, not "consequences", but actions.<br><br>
Oh yes...giving her chores is a very good idea. But don't make them "chores". Give her a ROLE. She could be the official "Trash Collector" or "Laundry Gatherer" or whatever. Maybe even ask her what she'd like to do. Give her important things to do, not the grunt work that kids so often get stuck with.
 

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Feel for you Ashley and agree that you might need to just nurture yourself beyond any of the great suggestions people are making. From my perspective I would like you to encourage you to have confidence in your approach and feelings with Emily.<br><br>
Im not of the school that responding to a child's needs is "permissive". Ultimately behaviour is a form of communication, so when our dd (5yrs) comes and jumps on the bed as our ds (10 mnth) and my dw are going to sleep she is telling us, "I am having trouble adjusting to this new being and i need mummy time". Of course i feel like shouting "get the hell out" but in my less sleep deprived moments i can connect with where she is coming from and just validate her, "you really want some fun with your mum dont you? you are disappointed that they are going to bed?" which takes longer but tends to allow us to move forward and let my dp and ds sleep *and* our dd know that she is being understood and heard.<br><br>
At the same time we are getting better at communicating our needs to our dd, we started doing this effectively when she was 4yrs old so im not sure how verbally you can do it with Emily. Ultimately our dd has been much more willing to acknowledge our needs and feelings because we are making a tremendous effort to do so with her.<br><br>
i read on one site (cant remember where??) imagine your husband just brought home a new wife who was incredibly demanding of his time and energy... but he still said he loved you. That might give you an inkling into Emily's world right now.<br><br>
But of course compassion is easy from a distance and like they say on the planes – you have to secure your oxygen mask first before worrying about that of your children... so turn that compassion to yourself and consider your own depression.<br><br>
all the best,<br>
arun<br>
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