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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.

nocontactforevermore Wed 18-Dec-13 18:05:34

Thanks all, some great posts.

I agree that I've been too casual but k also agree with the posters that think there's a degree of manipulation. She doesn't tend to take me too literally in other areas so I'm not inclined to think its SN. DD only ever remembers these greviances when it's down time and when the party is over, so to speak. She's an only chld and I'm afraid to say I think there's a degree of over indulgence. I feel guilty a lot about making sure she's happy and stimulated and I think she plays on this without knowing that's what she's doing. For example, she could be at the cinema and before the film starts she's asking what fun thing we are doing next. I can feel my blood rise when she does that - the frustration of it really makes me sad, but I accept that I have contributed to it. Take for example the incident that led to this....I told her outside school, all excited that I'd bought her that Xmas jumper she wanted AND had planned a surprise on Saturday. After expressing excitement for all of 10 seconds, she started whining about the jumper.

Me and my partner joke that my dd never knows when she's on to a hold thing, for example, the jumper/Santa scenario. This is true also for things like being aloud to stay up late when we have guests - dd won't stay under the radar so to speak and watch her film/play nicely, she will cause a tom of noise and attention that she ends up being put to bed because she was told off! This is true for asking for another biscuit with one still in her hand, or asking for 5 more minutes tv time and sobbing her eyes out for another 5 straight after.
I genuinely do not make solid promises that I fail to keep but I am definitely going to go with the 'pinky' promises and ensure she knows the difference from now on. I know my child and there are times when I know she absolutely was clear that something was just part of a normal conversation, and whether it was a promise. I've said simple things like 'oh there's a new pizza restaurant open in town, we will go there one day when we save our pennies, and dd cries merry hell that weekend saying I promised! Mostly though, she says I've promised 'time' for stuff that I just haven't, and this is the one that makes me feel so bad because she puts it across like I've just not made it for her. Like I say....she even changes the tone of her voice (goes all baby like, puts on a lisp) and I genuinely feel like its pure manipulation.

Doitnicelyplease Wed 18-Dec-13 18:35:25

Reading with interest, as I have a similar DD who is 5, always wanting to know what fun thing we are doing in the morning/after school. And complaining about something the minute a big treat (eg cinema trip) has finished.

I try and manage her expectations I don't usually mention things until the night before/or v close, as she goes on and on about them and if something happens to change plans such as illness etc she would be so upset. Actually as she has got older I do discuss things more than I used to as I felt she needed to experience 'waiting'.

She was even talking about Valentines Day the other day, I was a bit shock and had to remind her that Christmas isn't even here yet!

This has reminded me of something i read in a parenting book, they said this behaviour is often the child wanting reassurance that they will be seeing you/spending time with you tomorrow - a way of connecting before they go to sleep at night. Now I mostly just say to DD1 that we shall decided what we are doing in the morning/after school, rather than saying (promising!!) we are doing x or y so go to sleep now.

I do think my DD has improved a bit since starting school as she now has a more regular routine than she did when home with me/at pre-school. Also most treats/trips out are saved for the weekend and happen less frequently. But now she looks forward to certain days at school "pizza day', 'healthy snack day' etc she is the queen of counting down.

For our santa trip I just surprised her after school and we went and did it then (had a pre-booked thing).

Bahhhhhumbug Wed 18-Dec-13 19:20:03

Interesting Doitnicely if you saw my post upthread comparing OPs DD to my elderly demanding 'never happy' parents.

I contacted a helpline for support once when my dad in particular was driving me up the wall with this behaviour.

They told me the reason he always 'needs' one more item of shopping even if you've just delivered the entire contents of Morrissons to him or he always finds something you have 'forgotten' is because it is his way of making sure you will have to call round again very soon. Diversely (and it is common elderly parent behaviour apparently) it makes you hate visiting them and makes you feel progressively less like visiting them.

If however they told you they had absolutely everything they needed and everything is hunky dory then you have no practical reason to go back and they might not see you for days. It is very manipulative undoubtedly but it is borne out of insecurity and feeling vulnerable perhaps.

Bahhhhhumbug Wed 18-Dec-13 19:25:47

Also meant to say that after being given this insight l did not feel nearly as ragey towards my dad and more recently it has come in as useful knowledge to help me deal with my increasingly demanding m-I-l.

Because now I understand it is not necessarily ingratitude which is very much how it comes across when nothing you ever do is quite enough/good enough and they want more.

LIZS Wed 18-Dec-13 19:26:36

She's 7 , she hears what she wants to hear and believes it to be true. Stop casually mentioning or saying things as a off the cuff remark . If she takes things literally then you have said or promised in her eyes. You are expecting her to read the subtleties of language way beyond her years and also to react well to late nights and being out of routine. Just because you choose to make an effort for her, it is not realistic to expect her gratitude for your effort. Don't cancel Santa she may not want to go next year.

liquidstate Wed 18-Dec-13 19:46:35

oh dear my DH does this sometimes. The sad face look I get is priceless grin

'But you promised you would come to bed early for a cuddle...'

Bahhhhhumbug Wed 18-Dec-13 20:53:23

Oh yes liquid I only have to give the slightest look or bit of banter /innuendo and no matter what happens between then and us falling into bed later he always says ' But l thought l was on a promise when you said xyz or touched my leg at 18:47 this evening ' or whatever.

Thinking about it we are surrounded by demanding children but disguised as elderly parents , mils and husbands. grin

ShitOnAStick Wed 18-Dec-13 21:47:06

I don't think she's manipulating you, you say these are things you have mentioned, I can remember being that age and if a parent had said we might do something I'd have got my hopes up even though I knew it wasn't definite and I'd feel a pang of disappointment if it didn't happen. I like to know what's happening in advance.
My eldest child is 3.5 so much younger but I never say we're going to do something unless we definitely are. I do change plans sometimes about day to day stuff and he deals with it well but generally I try to stick to what I've said. I would suggest you stop saying things unless they will definitely happen. Things that are trivial to us are a big deal to kids.

Jenny70 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:55:41

My DS at 6 is the same. But I genuinely thinks it was a promise... we'll see a film ad and it looks good. We say we'll take him to it, but little do we realise he has noted start date and joins the dots thinking he will see it that day. He might mention 7 days until xyz starts, but on the start date cue tantrum when he realises he isn't going. We just have to choose ourlanguage very carefully, making sure he knows what is promised and what isn"'t

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