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aibu in my expectations of 5.5 yr old dd?

(64 Posts)
solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 14:57:07

Up until now family friends and teachers have always commented on how exemplary her behaviour has been. She has always been quite sensitive and eager to please. She would hate the thought of getting in trouble and it would cause her real angst if she thought she was in trouble.

As a result I never really needed to be too strict, although if I get cross I get very cross and definitely would consider myself to have quite high expectations of behaviour.

I want her to grown up knowing she can stand up for herself but also be respectful. I want her to be more carefree now as I'm worried about having this 'perfect' child who feels pressure to be 'good' all the time (and I know she does) and then suddenly will resent me as a teenager. But I also just want her to do as she's told, just because I said so. Are the two really incompatible?

Recently I can see she has matured and is having some sort of inner battle about always being good. I think part of her just wants to be a bit naughty (sometimes even I would like her to be more carefree!)

I don't mind cheekiness and mischeviousness but the following are what concern me.

1)no regard for personal property or other people's. Will happily help herself to things lying around (my gloves, scarf, bits and bobs, but not things she knows are delicate like ornaments and stuff). She will use these things for games and just leave them lying around.
Same with cushions, sofa covers. It drives me nuts having to straighten up all this stuff as well as the toys every day.

Actually she barely touches her toys anymore, think she's grown out of some and we haven't worked out what to move on to next. She has a 3yr old sister so we still have the younger toys around.

2)Giving me attitude, 'I don't want to' 'I don't have to'.
The usual thing will be refusing to wear tights and long sleeve tops. I've had to argue twice with her today so that she would cover her legs to go out. She had choice of tights, trousers or skirt and leggins. She even tried to hit me which really shocked me.

The other day I asked her to find her jumper that she had left lying around and she said 'you find it' in a bossy tone of voice.

Sometimes when she is overtired she will just randomly overturn a box of jigsaw pieces, leave it half done, move to some other toy, leave it out, and so on, wrecking the whole living room in a matter of minutes with no real nice game going on.

I don't know what has happened to my little girl! sad

My plan of action would be this, but I am worried I am being too strict so would welcome opinions. My dad was very strict, unreasonably so in hindsight, as a result I really felt his shadow over me for a lot of my grown up life, not what I want for dd.

So, aibu about the following:

1)To put things away once she has finished playing with them, before taking other stuff out. Sometimes her games are VERY complicated so if she is playing nicely with everything she still has to put it all back but I will help her a bit. She hates this and I've been battling with her. Now I don't know if I'm expecting too much for her age.

2)Playing with cushions, sofa covers, my clothes and her clothes out of drawers will no longer be allowed, full stop. (They get left strewn around all over the place)

3)I will empty her drawers down to the bare essentials, so there will hardly be any choice of what to wear. Arguing about not wearing weather appropriate clothes will result in offending items (ie summer dress) being removed until more reasonable behaviour is displayed.

btw we live in a small flat so I already have kept toys and clothes to a minimum. Eg all her clothes are kept in three drawers in her bedroom, that's it. Plus some dresses hanging in another cupboard with other stuff.

Not sure what to do about the teenage attitude. Today she tried to hit me in front of her (lovely) friend. I told her off but then she gets all upset and I think feels humiliated being told off in front of her friend.

DH says that she's just been too indulged by family over the holidays and she'll go back to herself once back at school. She has recently made a friend at school that hits her mum and talks back quite a lot, so I think she has now seen that it is possible to answer back. The mum is nice and I get on with her

Sorry, this is soooooo long, well done for making it so far!

So AIBU in implemeting the above action points?

brainonastick Sun 06-Jan-13 13:51:53

Oh bless her, she sounds lovely, and you sound like a fab mum as well smile. My dd1 is similar temperament, and the same age as well. I get the occasional shock when I see how how tiny she really is, as most of the time she is almost more sensible than me (she was reminding me to budget last week!).

PavlovtheCat Sun 06-Jan-13 12:12:42

Glad you had a good day together. I do think, that some of it, as well as normal behaviour, in regard to the hitting may be related to having a sibling and jealousy or rather understanding that time is not always equally divided as the other child is younger. I find DD can be a bit shouty with DS, occasionally hits him and sometimes I know she acts angrily when she 'loses it' despite her inherent kind and empathic nature.

I try hard to let us have a day just to us (your day sounds lovely) where she gets to have a lot of say it what we do, and it makes the world of difference, reminds her she is still your little girl despite her sometimes inappropriate behaviour. And clearly that is what your DD still needs.

You are clearly a fab mother as otherwise you would not even be thinking about whether you are overthinking things! And, continue as you are and you both get through this difficult developmental change with a good strong relationship.

solittletime Sun 06-Jan-13 08:31:20

Oh pavlov just read your thoughtful post thanks for that, good to hear other people spend as much time overthinking as I do!

marriedinwhite Sat 05-Jan-13 22:02:00

My mum still does that OP - and I'm nearly 53 smile. Good luck x

solittletime Sat 05-Jan-13 21:54:49

Ok, so I'm posting this after a good day, rather than in the exasperation of the other day, but I have of course taken on board all the great advice about getting her to help with tidying and the no hitting and backchat etc.

It's just that kind of thing comes more naturally to me, so no need to dwell, but the letting her be and not worrying/overthinking thing was what I needed more help with.
So that's it, I think I've said all I needed to say now! Will stop drip-feeding!

solittletime Sat 05-Jan-13 21:50:45

aHi everyone,
Just thought I'd conclude this with a quick update! We had one more incident last night where she hit her sister and then immediately looked at me wild-eyed and petrified screaming sorry and practically making herself sick with sobbing.

I think she had totally lost control of her usual self and it petrified her. My heart broke for her but obviously I had to still tell her that hitting is wrong. Not that I needed to overegg the pudding but still.

Anyway what I really wanted to say was how grateful I am for having mumsnetters telling it to me like it is. My friends would probably just be polite and say 'nooo, you're a great mum, don't worry!'

So yes. A bit of armchair psychology was all I needed. My parents still try to micromanage aspects of my life (sort yourself out, be more organised, dress your children properly, do they eat at the table with you, we bet they don't bla bla blahh)

So everytime I let dd go out without tights or whatever I have my dad's voice and face in my subconcious. Or I think 'ooh, what would he think if he saw me doing this...'

So whey you all told me 'just let her be herself' that's just what I needed to hear. Yes, my 3 year old automatically puts her shoes away when she gets home and always puts her clothes back on a chair or the bed after the 50th change of fancy dress costume in a morning. My 5 year old happily leaves them all over the house. That's partly just character.

When I saw her upset yesterday I really took stock of how little she still is.
How I can't manage everything she does, and really am just repeating the pattern of my upbringing - exactly the opposite of what I wanted!

Today we had a whole day out just the two of us. She wore extremely uncomfortable ruby slippers (but I had sensible shoes packed, which came in handy). She wore her favourite summer dress with socks (we went to a very hot V&A museum! But still got some funny looks).

And she held my hand literally the whole day and when she looked up at said 'this is a lovely day isn't it mummy' I think I was just about ready to shed a tear!!

Yes, I will get her to become more responsible, but hopefully still take in consideration her age, and definitely definitely allow her to be her lovely self, which, luckily for her, is very different from my very square and cautious character!

So anyway, happy parenting everyone, and see you round mumsnet!

Tailtwister Sat 05-Jan-13 11:37:58

Well OP, I'm having to deal with almost identical behaviour from DS1 (nearly 5) and he has been a very easy child up until now too. Part of me thinks my expectation are too high, simply because he's been so well behaved up until now. It comes as a bit of a shock when he suddenly becomes disobedient.

I would take some of the advice here and back off when it comes to the less serious things and gently encourage her in the right direction rather than discipline her. The more serious things like hitting need to be dealt with by using time out.

Good luck OP!

you clearly have my 5.5 yr old daughter.

You can keep her for bit if you like, i'll have her back when shes tidies up and shows respect for stuff smile

My dm is a CM and all her mindees tidy up after themeslves from 2yo (with her encouragement), and the rule is you tidy A away before moving onto B.

Wrt to clothing - put in suitable clothes for the seasons in her room and send her off to dress herself. So she might end up with a tartan skirt over spotty leggings and a brown jumper over a stripy shirt but its all good.

Wrt to tthe cushions in the lounge you may be a little ott but I also wouldnt be happy with her playing on the furniture so would get her either sitting nicely on sofa with books/tv or playing with toys on the floor.

harryhausen Sat 05-Jan-13 11:08:39

Oh sorry, just to add again - hitting out is not ok at all. I think THIS would be the battle I picked if any. For my dd, if she tried to hit me if would be no TV for 2 days I think. She'd HATE that.

harryhausen Sat 05-Jan-13 11:06:55

I meant to say, be prepared for her not to give up her made-up games.

harryhausen Sat 05-Jan-13 11:04:55

I also agree this is nothing out of the ordinary.

My dd is 8 now. To be honest, she hasn't let me 'dress her' or choose her clothes since she was about 5. We had huge battles about it, but I just gave up and said "wear what you want I don't care". She certainly did wear what she wanted. She put together some crazy combinations but she soon found her own sense of 'style'. Now, I'm not allowed to buy her clothes without her ok-ing them. At first I thought 'how stupid' I'll just buy them and she'll have to wear them. However, the clothes I bought just stayed in the drawer until she grew out of them. Now I don't waste my money. I have to accept that she won't dress in most things I want her too, but to be honest she looks really individual and 'cool' in her own way.

As for the playing. This sounds normal too. My daughter will play with the weirdest objects she finds and will bring in the odd toy animal into it. She loves dressing up, but not in conventional dressing up things. It takes her hours finding the stuff she needs to put together. I've said nothing. It shows huge imagination.

As the attitude, that's par for course too. My dd has gone through short phases of worse attitude. I don't rise to it and it soon blows over. My dd, like yours, is a model pupil in school. I normally casually threaten that I'll mention her behavior to the teacher. The idea that the teacher will be disappointed is a much greater threat to her than my disappointment. Sad, but works grin

OP I really don't think you have anything to worry about. All very very normal. Just loosen the rules a bit. It is reasonable that she helps you tidy up. Please think though about asking her what she like to play with. She may know of toys her friends play with etc, but be prepared for her to give up her made-up games.

Just live with itgrin

My dd is 5.4 and we have been having battles with her over the holidays too.
I think your dh is right that she will behave better once school restarts.

My dd is a creature of habit & routine. She likes to know whats happening at what time which is why she has responded so well to school.

Wrt the tidying up- they are expected to do it at school & are fully capable of it at home too

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Jan-13 10:38:01

I don't think the hitting is ok though, I would be prepared to act on that. One of mine hit me in a tantrum and I said for every hit, you will lose a toy for a week, we got to quite a few toys but then the loss of them all for a week was great and did really cure the hitting! I would reserve your sternest voice and follow-through for that rather than anything else.

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Jan-13 10:35:32

I think you have to let go of this 'perfect daughter' thing. Do you never start reading a book or a newspaper, then lose interest?! So what if she decides not to complete a jigsaw aged 5. If your dd is well-behaved at school and plays nicely for the most part at home, she is doing fine in life. However, I think it's fine to set limits like 'don't touch XYZ but you can play with ABC of mine'.

One of mine has not worn any tights all winter, she hates the tight feeling around her tummy and gets sweaty and hot indoors. She has been wearing long socks, long skirts and running around a lot, or wearing leggings instead. She's 7, I don't mind this (I would put my foot down over things like washing hands to prevent norovirus, never hitting, being polite, but not tights).

gymmummy64 Sat 05-Jan-13 10:06:40

There's always a temptation to want everything to be perfect, but you can't micro-manage every single bit of their behaviour however many rules you have. Kids have to be allowed to be naughty and push boundaries else they'll never learn. I think letting them see cause and effect is far more effective long term than 'because I said so' and much more how I want my relationship with them to be.

I found with my 2 that there was sometimes a temptation to act up when friends were round, as if they felt the friend would somehow be impressed by backchat or being rude to me. I've explained several times over the years (including recently to my new teenager!) that friends are generally not impressed by disrespectful behaviour and that in fact it has the opposite effect. I have turned it round - how would they feel if they were at their friend's house and their friend was very rude to their mother/in your case hit their mother? Chances are it would make them feel a bit insecure, a bit shocked, worried, feel bad for the mother, maybe even want to go home etc. You're unlikely to get the response that it would make them feel impressed and happy! Flipping the situation round so they can look at it from a different direction has always been a good strategy with my two. Maybe the presence of your DD's friend had nothing to do with her hitting you, but it would still give her a different perspective to consider it from the other direction and at 5.5 she's old enough to do that.

PavlovtheCat Sat 05-Jan-13 09:24:53

oh and re tidying. DD now sometimes quietly gets up in the morning to tidy up, she has a little duster she asked for, and dusts, and washes up dishes before we get up to please us. But. For some reason. She Will Not Tidy Her Room. I have bribed, I have rewarded. We had a reward chart for some behaviours a while ago, was fabulous for all of them, so I removed them and only put up tidy her room, she only had to get 5 stars and her reward was Cinema to see something of her choosing - a BIG treat. She got 1 star and then the reward chart became extinct. I have removed toys, cajoled, been cross, made it fun, helped, her aunty has helped, and she just won't do it!

PavlovtheCat Sat 05-Jan-13 09:19:07

solittle I really think this is the age when we start to reflect, because reading your posts, I can really see me in them, as I went through (still do to some extent) these thoughts and feelings, even to the point of contradiction. Even recently when I posted about DD losing Golden Time. The reason we are like this is because a year ago, our darling DDs did what we told them with little question, clearly would not be required to tidy much, did not argue back and did not make dens or want to emulate us by wearing clothes. Now, they have been to school a while, they are learning their own mind, their personalities are developing at a million miles an hour and we are now questioning if we have/are doing the right things to support the development in the way that fit with our own values or morales, and we start to think about the 'type' of child/adult we want our little one to grow into, we worry that if we don't do a) then it will be bad for the future. 1 year ago, we put tights on them, end of, 'because i say so' and now, we have to think whether 'because I say so' is the right way to behave when it causes a huge scene, because our children now know they can choose and have a preference.

Really don't beat yourself up for this process, I am pretty sure most parents g through it, some are more aware of it in themselves than others, some worry about it more than others.

Sorry for the long ramble.

Damash12 Fri 04-Jan-13 23:00:38

Yabu, she's 5.5 years old and yes finding her feet but you don't want to make the rest of her life a battle surely? Although, don't get me wrong she needs to put her toys away at the end of the day. I have Ds 4 and he will do anything to not pick up his things and his new word is "boring" everything and everyone is "boring"! I pick my battles and give in when it's really not a major issue. However, hitting me would be a big no no. My son has tried to do this with gritted teeth but a slight tap to my arm but the intention was there but he knew it was wrong. Off he was sent to his room and his treat on a Friday didn't happen. We don't hit you and you don't hot us is what I usually say and he knows this to be right but I think normal behaviour around this age will cause them to challenge. Don't sweat the small stuff! And don't gloss over the big stuff!

BeaWheesht Fri 04-Jan-13 22:44:14

Fair enough OP - yes I somehow forgot to mention we ask that ds tidies but we aren't super militant about it. It doesn't have to be immaculate and I don't worry if he uses my stuff or hi sisters etc so long as its not damaged.

Re the toys - ds turned 6 at Xmas so you can imagine how many new toys he has - he's barely played with any but I presume he will come back to them and he's just too excited.

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:41:20

bea just one more reply before I go to bed!
I know I sounded uptight, but as mentioned earlier it was just a moment of exasperation. I won't be acting on it quite as harshly as that.
She has toys that she very recently still played with- barbies, various Christmas presents, beads, colours and paints, puzzles.
She just seems to have suddenly lost interest in pretty much most of them.

Your list seems pretty comprehensive, but I honestly do think my Dd is now old enough to help tidy up a bit at the end of the day.

My problem is also that I have taught older children but never children of 5 and 6, and sometimes I don't make that distinction, and forget she's so little.

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:29:41

Thank you married, I really wanted soothing words from mums of older children. That's why I love mumsnet.

We might soon be moving abroad, so bring on the domestic help!

Going to bed now, been awake since 3.30!

BeaWheesht Fri 04-Jan-13 21:25:26

Wow you seem very uptight,very.

Ds has just turned 6 and things I'm strict on are

- no messing around at mealtimes
- no hurting people
- no using rude words
- no being cheeky
- absolute never ever ever be rude to anyone outside the house either whether we're there or not
- do homework nicely
- try best at school
- stand up for yourself and others if any bullying going on

That is it really.

Also sorry I I've missed it but why doesn't she have age appropriate toys?

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:24:56

I know what you mean about my contradictions socharlotte, just re-read the thread and can see what you mean.
I am overthinking the whole thing. I'm having a phase of reflecting on how my relationship with my parents affected me and I don't want to repeat their well meaning mistakes.

Then add some sleep deprivation, a pinch of mother's worry and children overwrought by the festivities and voila!

Suddenly i'm projecting it all on Dd!

Yup, I will pick my battles, that's usually my advise to others!

marriedinwhite Fri 04-Jan-13 21:21:47

Oh yes and DS (yes DS, not dd) is forever unigging my tongs to use my hairdryer and my hairspray and my mirror ( the light is better in our roomn - yea Gods). Someone someday will explain why 20 mins on his hair is required before rugby!!!

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