To cancel Santa trip?

(59 Posts)
nocontactforevermore Tue 17-Dec-13 22:23:06

My 7yo dd has got a terrible habit of telling me I promised her something when I didn't. She knows EXACTLY what to say to make me feel bloody awful. Right now I'm seething, because not once, but twice in the space of one evening she has done this. I picked her up from school and today and told her I had a lovely surprise for her on Saturday ( I'm taking her to see santa) She was jumping around with excitement. Tomorrow she has Xmas jumper day at school and I told her I had bought her one (rushed around like an idiot more like). So all great, right? Two lovely bits of news in the space of a minute. Nope. She started with this voice she uses when she wants to act wounded, saying I had promised her I would get an identical jumper for myself so we would be matching. (I made a joke last week that it would be funny if we wore matching Xmas jumpers - I never said I would but one for myself!) Instead of being glad about the surprise on Saturday and for buying her the jumper for tomorrow, she sat in the back of my car saying 'you promised, you promised. I had a go at her about this 'promising thing' because she used to do it SO much, but had recently calmed down with it because I literally banned her from using the word!
Later we went to friends for dinner and swapping of presents. She got spoiled rotten and to stay up late. She asked for a story when we came back and I said no as it was late. Just as I was leaving the room after a good night kiss, she says I 'promised' her we would have cuddle time on the sofa tonight. I did causally say yesterday we would have cuddle time 'tomorrow' but as the dinner invite came up and she was centre of attention at it anyway, 'Cuddle time' just never arose and when would it have happened anyway? No - she says it just as I'm switching off the bedtime light knowing I it can't happen. I know it sounds dramatic but she does it so often that I feel like I let her down and she's manipulating me. (Her favourite is 'you promised we would spend time together' or you promised it would be just me and you, or you promised we could watch a film together'. My dd takes simple statements I make such as 'hopefully during the weekend we might catch a film, and then turns it into a cast iron promise I've made. The thing is - the film might not happen because we did something else that was fun happened instead - like tonight we had dinner with friends. She doesn't complain during the replacement fun activity - it's only when it's over, she remembers the other thing that was potentially on the cards and brings it up, all wounded and sad that I've 'broken another promise'.

I cannot for the life of me explain why I hate this so much - but I really do. She claims to not know what the problem is when I explain that it's unkind to say I've promised something when I hadn't , and to only claim to be heartbroken about said broken promise when the spotlight is taken off her or it's time for bed.

I am so annoyed right now I want to cancel Santa on Saturday. AIBU? I think I probably am.

Upcycled Tue 17-Dec-13 22:26:42

Don't cancel Santa
She is young and children DO hear things differently.
Next time make make sure you say I am not promising, we will see...

HRHLadyG Tue 17-Dec-13 22:27:36

Pleeeeeeease don't cancel Santa! I think this is pretty standard for a 7year old. She's clearly realised that this is an excellent way to tug on your heart strings....and it works. Be careful about loosely promising as she clearly sees that as being set in stone. In the meantime, she needs to learn about being flexible and that plans can change and we need to be able to adapt.
Counting to ten helps too!! x

noblegiraffe Tue 17-Dec-13 22:27:47

So to punish her for the promise thing, you are going to actually break a promise, thus validating her claims about you breaking promises?

Just say if in future you don't use the words 'I promise', it's not a definite. Perhaps you could write them down.

SparklyStone Tue 17-Dec-13 22:29:02

Does she just want to be closer to you? Wanting
you both to have the same jumper, and wanting a cuddle and a story....

BrianTheMole Tue 17-Dec-13 22:29:55

Yes YABU. Don't cancel santa.

Mim78 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:30:06

Don't cancel Santa - I think that would be going too far.

It is quite annoying, but young children do seem to latch onto things.

I try not to mention things in passing to my dd until I can be sure I can do them (she is 5) because they do seem to take things to heart.

ballstoit Tue 17-Dec-13 22:30:24

It's a phase...ds used to do it, dd1 (6) has just started.

I try to be clear about what's a possibility, and what's a definite (dd1 knows now that it's only definite and a promise if I 'pinkie promise' her by hooking little fingers, was her idea but it does work really well). Also try to involve all the DC in planning and decision making for free time...we have discussed tonight what each would like to do over the weekend and Monday so that everyone gets a say.

Make sure you praise her loads when she copes well with changes of plan.

But no, don't cancel the trip, Christmas is stressful enough without joining your dd in unreasonable land grin

i wouldnt cancel the santa trip. i wouldnt even enter into discussions about promises , dont set anytihng in stone when you say what you will be doing or what will be happening and then when she plays the you promised card i just wouldnt engage with it all.

Elliptic5 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:33:09

No, don't cancel Santa, however you may need to think about how you talk about things you may or may not be doing.
My DD2 did this and carried it on in one form or another for years, even though she has now left home she still attempts this type of manipulation on occasions. I found I needed to modify my conversations with her and also make sure I didn't enter into debate with her as I always ended up as the wicked one.
Probably not much help but I really understand what it can be like.

Helpyourself Tue 17-Dec-13 22:33:57

Don't cancel Santa. fsad
But, maybe after Christmas, sit her down and explain this has to stop- she's manipulating you!
Mine have all gone through phases of doing this, I dealt with it by refusing to discuss the future or arrange plans with them- 'I hope so, but stuff happens and so I'm not saying definitely as I don't want you screaming at me about broken promises.'
It passed very quickly. grin

nocontactforevermore Tue 17-Dec-13 22:36:31

You're right that cancelling Santa is sending the wrong message. I'm just always feeling like my dd is never happy - even when she is slap bang in the middle of a fun activity she will be admin about the next and insisting I promised her something when I blatantly didn't.
Yes I guess she does want to be close to me - but I kinda don't know how much more of myself I court give. I work part time, collect her from school, spend lots of time together etc. She is just kinda demanding of my time, always has been, hagrin

She is lovely - but I think I am going to have to watch everything I say. Writing it down is a good idea.

hardboiledpossum Tue 17-Dec-13 22:37:57

Yabu. She is taking you on your word. If someone says they will do something with me and then goes back on it I get annoyed.

puntasticusername Tue 17-Dec-13 22:38:55

Don't cancel Santa!

My gut instinct on reading this is that your DD wants more personal time and attention from you. Dinner with friends is fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to one-on-one time with Mummy really, does it?

Ok, it's either that or she really is determined to be an irritating little madam grin

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 22:40:15

Stop mentioning things in advance. If she says "you promised..." just say no I didn't and ignore.

JanetAndRoy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:41:13

My DS used to do this a lot - he's 8 now. We found we had to look at the root of the issue, and for our Ds it wasn't a manipulative thing. He needs to know what is going on, be scheduled and forewarned of any changes.
So, using your example of tonight, I know my son would have behaved similarly. As adults we might think the "replacement activity" was just as or more fun than the original activity, but actually the cuddle time is highly valued by the child.
We have to couch a lot of things we say to DS with "I'm not promising we will do X & Y, but we'll try" or "There isn't time for Z now, but we will do it tomorrow." and then actually follow through with doing it tomorrow! We keep a calendar/visual timetable for DS so he can anticipate events. And we try not to change plans last minute.

For my DS it's an anxiety thing. He doesn't tantrum and do the "You promised!" thing to upset me, but to comfort & express himself.

I may be way off with this, but this is how it is for our family.

nocontactforevermore Tue 17-Dec-13 22:41:42

Well actually although I agree a joy being careful about what I say, my dd takes statements that are don't sound remotely like a promise (Like the jumper?) therefore I sometimes feel like I'm going mental because I just KNOW I didn't promised I would buy an identical one! As for cuddle time. - ok I did say we would have some cuddles but she wasn't moaning about cuddles when she was being lavished with presents at my friends - she only remembered she was upset at bed time! Grrr!

As for refusing to engage and ignoring the whining, I must be a pretty weak parent because my dd gives up for no one. I either have to leave the room (with her following me) or physically remove her myself.

JanetAndRoy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:42:37

Oh, and don't cancel Santa. Enjoy that time with her and give her a big cuddle while you're at it! grin

Pollydingdonmerrilyonhigh Tue 17-Dec-13 22:42:56

Don't cancell Santa, but she is playing you like a fiddle, you have my sympathy ( been there, got the matching Tshirt--)
Try to ditch the guilt, I'm sure your a great mum fsmile

nocontactforevermore Tue 17-Dec-13 22:42:57

Hardboiled. - I am not promising though. She is taking things to heart I just have not said. Not even nearly said.

LineRunner Tue 17-Dec-13 22:44:47

Don't cancel Santa.

And stop making vague commitments and half promises. You wouldn't do it to an adult, so why do you a think a small girl will cope?

nocontactforevermore Tue 17-Dec-13 22:45:15

Actually I see what you mean about cuddles. That does sound like a promise. Jeeeez, I'm gonna have to police every word from my mouth!grin

gallicgirl Tue 17-Dec-13 22:49:53

At 7 she probably barely understands the nuances of the language you're using.
Maybe any definite promises can be written on a noticeboard. Less room for confusion then.

JanetAndRoy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:50:11

If she's taking things to heart stuff you've not said, try different ways of talking to her.
<digs out some old teaching tricks>
Touch her when you talk to her - just a gentle hand on the head or shoulder, a stroke of the arm - the physical touch can help the listening.
Use eye contact, and repetition. If you mean it, say it twice.
Keep verbal instructions short and too the point. Don't ramble on when trying to get your point across.

If you use these tips consistently when saying things of importance then she'll learn that the non-important stuff is chat and not to be relied upon.

steff13 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:50:24

You said you "casually mentioned," about having a cuddle, did she not realize you were just casually mentioning it? If you said, "we'll have a cuddle tomorrow night," I can see how she might be confused.

She's young, a simple statement like that might seem like a promise to her. If someone tells me they intend to do something, they don't have to say "I promise," in order for me to expect them to keep their word.

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