Dealing with a 6 YO who thinks she is in control - ever had it?

(122 Posts)
StillSquiffy Thu 15-Nov-12 10:07:30

Sorry this is long, don't want to drip feed (also I don't really do concise very well).

Looking for some empathy here more than anything, not sure there are any solutions.

I simply cannot get my DD to do as I want her to. Treats don't work, punishments don't work, ignoring doesn't work. I've tried everything suggested in the books (variously titled around: the Exploding child, the manipulative child, the strong willed child). Everything

She will first decide what is going to happen (eg: it will be warm outside even if temp is actually -2), therefore she will wear a sundress. She will explain this logically then refuse to listen to logical reasons as to why this is not good. She will refuse to change, refuse to listen to you, and eventually if you carry on trying to discuss it, she will go into a full meltdown. If you simply tell her to change she will go into a meltdown. If you suggest that she takes a jumper just in case, she will go into a meltdown. If you go with the flow she would, in this particular situation, stand outside in the cold, smiling and telling you "see! it's warm!" for a few minutes before screaming her head off that she's cold and it's all your fault for letting her wear the sundress (and heaven help you if you have secretly brought along a jumper, because that will precipitate another meltdown for not believing her in the first place).

In a nutshell, any suggestion that her interpretation of the world might not be correct leads to a meltdown, as does any experience that goes against expectations.

This morning's example: "Mummy, you were wrong about the sun's heat coming from a nuclear fusion, Mrs Teacher said yesterday that it's a ball of fire" "Yes, DD, it is the nuclear fusion that creates the heat and the fire" "No, Mummy. It's fire. That's what it is. It's not nuclear. Nuclear doesn't exist. Nuclear's silly. You're wrong mummy. It's not fair. Why do you get it so wrong?" followed by meltdown and 10 minutes of tears around how horrible I make her feel by telling her things that she now knows are clearly wrong.

<in case you are wondering, the whole original convo about fusion was with my science-mad son, which she had overheard>

Obviously the normal strategies that worked with my DS don't work with her: as for other strategies - Empathy then discussion doesn't work, Part-way giving-in doesn't work, letting her tantrum it out doesn't work (but does at least while away the time), giving her elements of control over certain bits of her life doesn't work. She won't listen, compromise, discuss or engage in any way with exploring her decisions. She herself acts like one of those draconian mums who yell "Do it because I said so!" at their kids, except she's the child, yelling it at me.

When things are going as expected or she is given control, she is a darling; confident, sweet, cheerful, witty, cuddly (and still acting like the grown-up - telling everyone what to do, where to sit, what food to eat, etc). She will even, at the end of such days, cuddle up at bedtime saying things like "See, no tears today! Isn't it lovely when you do all the right things, mummy?"

Obv. her behaviour has not gone unnoticed by others, and I do worry for her ability to make/keep friends. I have asked those that are close to us and know the situation for their advice and they are as stumped as I am. I am strong myself and consistent in boundaries, etc, so I don't think I am making the situation any worse by my own reactions, would love to know if I can do anything to make the situation better, Because sometimes it is really shit (though I did laugh when one of my friends asked me if I'd ever watched the Exorcist, after witnessing a particularly spectacular meltdown). We average maybe three episodes a day (the subject matter is random and can be stuff like who sits on which side of the back seat on the way home from school) - sometimes just stamping and shouting, sometimes worse. No triggers that I have noticed (and I have looked) although tiredness of course makes things so much worse.

She is way, way out there on the bell curve of intelligence so I am very well aware that this is simply the other side of the coin, but am keen to see if anyone else has been there with their own kids? What's been the outcome? Does it die down naturally as they mature? If I have half an idea what to expect then I am sure I will be able to deal with it better.

PiedWagtail Thu 15-Nov-12 10:14:22

And she is G&T? wow.

"oh my word I thought my 6yo DD was bossy" doesn't really help, does it?

There has to be a way to get an intelligent child to grasp that life is not a democracy, and adults are, like it or not, in

"oh my word I thought my 6yo DD was bossy" doesn't really help, does it?

There has to be a way to get an intelligent child to grasp that family life is not a democracy, and adults are, like it or not, in charge. What is she like at school? Does she accept adult authority there?

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 10:20:27

Sundress: Let her. My dd1 would refuse to put her coat on, and refuse to change her mind. She learnt through getting cold. Now she's the most likely in the family to take her coat in case she's cold. Just say "I think it's quite cold outside. I'm taking my coat" and leave. If she's cold, express sympathy that she's cold, but don't say "I told you so". Maybe you could take a spare jacket of yours and say "well, I brought this for me in case I was cold. WOuld you like it?"

Sun issue: Say "Really, lets go and look it up?" Don't go for the right/wrong approach. Find out lots of facts, express how interesting they are ("I didn't know that!" goes down well) and she may well forget the original controversy.

There are times with one of mine who's very stubborn, that we just agree to differ. If it's not major-lets face it, it doesn't really matter how the sun's powered most of the time. I'll say "That's fine, you think one thing, I think the other." And leave it for them to realise as they're older that I was right.

ISingSoprano Thu 15-Nov-12 10:23:46

Yes, been there, got the t-shirt. My dd is now 14 and is really rather lovely these days but my-oh-my when she was younger..... just as you describe. Dd would argue black was white just because she could. I wish I could tell you what we did to help matters but I honestly have no idea - there were good patches and bad patches and we just did what we could to get through the bad patches. All I can say is it does get better.

LadyMaryChristmas Thu 15-Nov-12 10:35:23

I think she's trying to outsmart you, she's being a diva. You need to handle her with tact, especially when she does try and outsmart you. She may be bright, she still needs to learn some manners though, it will make your (and hers) life easier in the long run. DeWe is right. Just tell her that you think it's cold outside, and you're going to put your coat on and dress appropriately. If she doesn't then you're not to blame for this, and she should have listened.

Remind her that it's rude to correct people as it upsets them. Being able to get along with others is just as important as being able to learn quickly.

Best of luck smile

StillSquiffy Thu 15-Nov-12 14:15:00

Ladymary - outsmarting and diva - oh yes. All the time. Last week in the school dining room (waiting for older son) she got angry and stuck her tongue out at me in front of the other children. I knelt down and told her that if she stuck her tongue out at school again I would stop her horse riding for a month, each and every time she did it. Quick as a flash she replied "You can't stop me, mummy. I'd never be able to say 'th' ever again. Look! Th! Th! Th!" (whilst exaggerating the 'th' physical movements, before running round the room laughing).

As for letting her get on with it, I try, but often I end up digging myself an even bigger hole. EG I did once drive her to the nursery naked because she refused to put her clothes on and she just laughed when we got there and told me that she might wear just her shoes, but definitely nothing else.

I think there's definitely a theme of being outsmarted, isn't there?

Stealth: In terms of behaviour at school she is better behaved, which I think is partly because there is a long long list of rules and timetables, so everything is very predictable. She always finishes her work way ahead of everyone else and then she uses her time to 'do stuff' for the teachers (organise their tables, pens, etc, try to tell the other kids what to do, sometimes). She also does stuff like remind teachers if they've forgotten to do something (eg: she knew that one teacher reapplied lipstick at around 10.30 and if it hadn't been done at the right time, she'd go and get the teacher's bag handbag, give it to her and quietly remind her that it was time for her to do her lips). Because of stuff like that, the teachers find her quite delightful, and they also love that she is so clever, and confident in herself, and (for want of a better word) 'poised'. So she gets lots and lots of reinforcement at school which keeps her motivated, but also I think gives her a misguided sense of power, if that makes sense?

Isingsoprano: Thank you. I will cling to your comments like a liferaft.

numbum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:15:54

When things are going as expected or she is given control, she is a darling; confident, sweet, cheerful, witty, cuddly (and still acting like the grown-up - telling everyone what to do, where to sit, what food to eat, etc). She will even, at the end of such days, cuddle up at bedtime saying things like "See, no tears today! Isn't it lovely when you do all the right things, mummy?"

I'm assuming, just to keep the peace, you all do as she says, sit where she tells you, eats what she tells you to eat during these times? I'd stop that for a start. Just because she's intelligent it doesn't mean she can be a bossy brat!

It's draining when they're being like that (I know) but you need to be consistent. Arguing back with my DD triggered her off a lot of the time so I just ignored whatever it was she was trying to argue with me about. Is there just that small chance that she was a cute bossy toddler who was allowed to get away with quite a lot and now she's older it just isn't cute any more? She needs to learn who's the boss, and it isn't her!

numbum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:18:12

And as for your 'TH' comment her outsmarting you I'd say that was a lack of manners and respect personally! Did you stop her horse riding like you'd threatened to?

numbum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:18:54

(I'm sure you can rearrange my last post to make sense..oops!)

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 15-Nov-12 14:22:49

"you could move down south- i know a lot of towns where they never say "th". it'll be a shame you won't be living with me anymore, but I'm sure we can find a nice home for you down there."

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 15-Nov-12 14:23:43

i think the teachers need to nip that in the bud as well - they're basically just encouraging her to be a bossy.

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 14:24:17

My DD is a bit older, and I dont think she is G&T, but we have very similar issues with the control and behaviour.
unfortunately for us, it is happening at school too - and they have clamped down - I have started another thread for advice.

Its draining isnt it - and embarrassing

Maybe if known rules and consequences at school work, the same might work at home? A written set of rules (with clear statement that Mummy's decision is final and not open to debate) and consequences ( X offences = no horseriding), maybe?

On the sticking out tongue thing, I would have cancelled horse riding on the spot for the rudeness, TBH.

HullyEastergully Thu 15-Nov-12 14:34:48

Never mind, she'll grow up to be Maggie Thatcher and rule the world destroy it

anklebitersmum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:35:55

Draconian works. Gifted or not, rude and bossy is rude and bossy.

In life she is not going to be forgiven because she's so gifted/intelligent she'll just be the obnoxious child/teen who's in the top stream. I know who I'd pick for a university place/employ and it wouldn't be the diva hmm

My solutions would have been as follows (for what it's worth)

She'd have either been told in no uncertain terms to get her coat on or left to be cold because she knew best-and that's exactly what I'd have said when she was whining too. A tantrum would be ignored-as would she until she calms down. I learnt a long time ago that pandering to a child because you're in public and it's embarrassing is a road straight to hell. Let her go mental, she's only showing herself up (and yes I'd tell her that too when she's calmed down and is apologising for her behaviour).

Fusion could easily been looked up and your point made.

Haberdashery Thu 15-Nov-12 14:38:00

>> I knelt down and told her that if she stuck her tongue out at school again I would stop her horse riding for a month, each and every time she did it. Quick as a flash she replied "You can't stop me, mummy. I'd never be able to say 'th' ever again. Look! Th! Th! Th!" (whilst exaggerating the 'th' physical movements, before running round the room laughing).

Um, so did you stop her horseriding? I hope so. I'd have counted each th and said 'so, that's six months of no riding' with no further comment.

anklebitersmum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:39:30

Oh wow..just read the TH thing. I'd have marched her away from her audience (probably with a loud "How dare you, young lady?") and horseriding would absolutely have been cancelled. For at least a month.

Badvocsanta Thu 15-Nov-12 14:45:36

I think her lack of manners and disrespect towards you would worry me more than her being difficult.
And she is being difficult.
Because she can.
Because you let her.
I do hope you cancelled horse riding btw.
It's the only way she will learn.
Wrt the teacher thing I would have asked to see the teacher, explain the conversation and tell the teacher to tell your ds you are both right.
Let her wear a sundress in minus temp.
She will get very cold and she wont do it again, at least she won't if she is as clever as you suggest.
And yes to e audience thing.
I have zero tolerance for this.
We have left play dates and parties due to this type of behaviour.
I will not stand for it.
And my dc know that now.
(They are 9 and 4 btw)

Mintberry Thu 15-Nov-12 14:47:03

It sounds like you're going to have to take a different approach with your daughter as with your son. I agree with numbum that you need to lay down the law a little more. (It will be tiring, but it will be better for everyone in the long run). She's not going to make many friends later on being rude and having such a superiority complex!
Maybe also have a talk with her about how being kind and polite is just as important as being right? Not in a confrontational way, and not in a way which is accusing her too directly, but when you have her all cuddly in bed like you mentioned. If she doesn't feel threatened, or like the conversation is one big battle of intellects, she might listen to you more.

seeker Thu 15-Nov-12 14:47:21

Please tell me that you did cancel the riding........

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 14:48:36

Another one hoping you cancelled horse riding! smile

DS (5) is also given to meltdowns when he doesn't get his way. I send him to his room and tell him to come out when he is calm. That way he has no audience.

anklebitersmum Thu 15-Nov-12 14:52:13

Just out of interest (and because I type s-l-o-w-l-y but read fast) did you say "well come on then, in we go" and march her in to nursery when she was naked?

Floggingmolly Thu 15-Nov-12 14:54:29

How is she gifted and talented?

Viviennemary Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:10

My DD got a bit like this when she was a bit older than six. I said like it or not you are the child and I am the parent. I wouldn't get involved in technical discussions with her if she becomes argumentative about it. Try not to let her rule the roost as it were because she will only get worse.

I think you will have to become more of an authority figure if she is not to become worse and worse over the years. Forget about best friends for the time being. I wouldn't be encouraging her to boss everyone around at that age.

seeker Thu 15-Nov-12 15:02:48

And I would be incandescent with the teacher who let her go and get her bag and remind her about the lipstick. Th school should be helping her understand her boundaries, nor blurring them even more!

EscapeInTheCity Thu 15-Nov-12 15:05:51

I think she is a very smart girl who is trying to wear her mummy's shoes. She is very good at finding 'good' explanations (for a 6yo) and play on it. The 'th' example is a really good one of that.

However, I would really really encourage you to:
- not accept that she is thinks it's OK to tell you you are wrong, you always get it wrong. It's not dissimilar to tell you that you are stupid and I am sure you wouldn't accept that one. She has to know that sometimes adults/mummy IS right end of story. So whether she is right or not, don't let her say that sort of things (even worse re the 'You see how things go well you you do the right things'. Imagine if it was your partner telling you that...)
- don't try and have a rational argument with her and try to outsmart her.
- teach her flexibility. It's not just a case of being bossy, it's an issue of her wanting to be in control all the time. When she is in control she is happy. When she isn't, it's the end of world. I would have a word with the teacher re her role in the class. If she is at the point that she feels she can remind the teacher to put lipstick on, there is some work to do at school too!
One way I tried and teach my dcs flexibility was to avoid telling them what is going to happen in advance so that they had to go with the flow, at least some of the time.
- re above, see what the teacher might want to implement, what you feel could be helpful and then perhaps have a similar approach at home and at school.
- re the 'th' sounds, I would have punished her for being rude to you (because she was) and put the discussion about the 'th' and sticking your tongue out on the side. Too easy for her to feel the punishment would be unfair otherwise.

bunnybing Thu 15-Nov-12 15:06:26

DD1 (aged 9) was a bit like this after the school hols this year. What helped was me and DH sitting down with her and explaining why she was out of order and what we expected. She has been much better since.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 15-Nov-12 15:06:58

yes, i need to know you cancelled the riding too!

Corygal Thu 15-Nov-12 15:07:06

Whether she's G&T or not has no bearing on her social skills, which are unacceptable, evidently. No one likes a rude child. It's cringeing for the parents, too.

Don't confront her, but do deny her silly requests, and follow through on your boundaries. Schools can help - they may put her in a SEN programme, and will ask you to work with them to help her - not such a big deal, it's just teaching you to implement basic parenting skills, and it doesn't have to last for years.

How badly does the behaviour affect the rest of your family? Is there a relationship with her DB?

EscapeInTheCity Thu 15-Nov-12 15:08:18

anklebitersmum agree I would have done that too and see how far she is ready to go.
As she is bright, I am betting she wouldn't have gone out to the nursery naked (because then things aren't as they are supposed to be, ie children at school are in uniform)

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 15:25:06

DD2 is phenomenally clever, and would try and outsmart us if she were allowed to. She isn't. Mum and Dad are pretty damned smart too wink

We have never provided her with an audience, for her potential tantrums (so that was nipped in the bud, years ago).

I would have marched her fully naked into nursery, quitely explained to nursery staff, and then marched out leaving her there.

With the th thing, I would have cooly counted how many times she did it, 3, 11, 47...and would have stopped her that amount of riding lessons. No going back. No giving in.

Telling people where to sit in the car...? No. If you want to have a melt-down, go right ahead...I'm going to whup the stereo up high, sing along and totally ignore you smile

If you try and get sassy with me in public, I will allow you to make a complete fool of yourself in front of other people, and just smile thinly. When I get you home I will descend like the Wrath of God on you.

Any attempts at rudeness, or nasty spoilt behaviour would be met with the Death Stare, coupled with the Death Voice.

I would go to school and politely ask that her teachers stop allowing a 6 year old to tell them when/where and how to do things.

It sounds to me like you're secretly colluding in your DDs behaviour, and secretly find it quite clever and something to feel proud of.


LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 15:26:07

It is because I love my DD2, that I ride her with a very short rein, because I want other people to like and love her, too.

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Thu 15-Nov-12 15:33:44

Call me old fashioned, but she is rude.
Does she have friends?
How do your friends and family react to her?

She would get short shrift in our house.

anklebitersmum Thu 15-Nov-12 15:37:31

When I get you home I will descend like the Wrath of God on you and the Death Stare, coupled with the Death Voice. grin


TheCeejOfWinterfell Thu 15-Nov-12 15:59:16

My DD is a bit like this. She will swear that black is white and never give in, and is very clever at manipulating arguments to suit her. I find it very wearing.

The only thing I've found that works is to give her fair warning of an impending punishment, and then follow through with it. I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but she is so ingenious about trying to play me: 'I didn't mean that ... I was about to do it ... I didn't hear you ... You said I didn't have to' etc. She will twist my words and wheedle and protest innocence until she hits a brick wall. So, sometimes, I have to set up that brick wall and let her hit it grin.

And then stay calm through the ensuing rage as she realises she's not going to get away with it. Last time this happened, I cancelled a visit to a friend and she was furious. But, two hours later, when asked to do something she did it immediately and said 'I've learned my lesson there.' The lesson needs repeating, but it's starting to get through.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 16:22:01

OP I suspect your DD (who is obviously very sharp) continues with her behaviour because she's picking up on the vibe that her behaviour marks her out as special and that you secretly think she's very clever for being as manipulative/crafty as she is.

I certainly detect a note of admiration in your posts.

When my DD2 has tried this sort of clever/crafty behaviour - I cooly point out that now matter how clever she thinks she is, she's actually been pretty stupid because by being crafty/clever she's actually just earned a loss of TV time/PC time/riding lesson. Then I would smile And. Make. 100% Sure. That. She. Missed. Her. Riding. lesson.

I would also cooly point out to your DD (and have done to my DD2) that her behaviour will annoy/irritate other people, and they will simply dislike her for it, and will avoid her.

Viviennemary Thu 15-Nov-12 16:27:53

LaQueen is talking a lot of sense. I agree with everything she says!

Gipfeli Thu 15-Nov-12 16:37:45

I agree with all that LaQueen says.

DD, also 6, has a tendency towards this too. I tend to take the view now that she can have a strop about something if she wants and that's fine. It's not my problem and I'll just leave her to get on with it.

She's pretty stubborn but she's not yet worked out that she inherits her stubborness from her mother who's had 40-odd years to perfect it. I don't give in or change my mind.

I'm pretty certain she only does it at home with us though so it's easy to ignore.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:00:37

Gip I'm the same as you. My 8 year old DD2 is exceptionally determined...but, she's still only 8. She has many, many years before she can hope to aspire to the heights of determination that I can turn on like a tap.

With me, she knows I say what I mean and mean what I say. I don't give in, and I don't change my mind, either wink

" 'I didn't mean that ... I was about to do it ... I didn't hear you ... You said I didn't have to' etc."

I recognise that, combined with "but I will never, ever do it again, I promise, give me one more chance, Mummy, pleeeeeeease..."

Cuts no ice with me. Warning issued, consequences spelt out, has to be done. I have learned eventually to pick my threats with care, though, such that carrying them out is not too costly or inconvenient for everyone else especially me.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:03

Agree stealth you have to follow through, you simply have don't even bother making the threat if you suspect you can't/won't follow it through...down that path misery and total lack of respect for the parent lies...

pictish Thu 15-Nov-12 17:36:37

I agree with LeQueen as well.

So your daughter is clever. Very good. But she is also obnoxious, disrespectful and rude. Not so good.

The former most certainly does not excuse or cancel out the latter. You need to get her in hand by imposing sanctions and following them through.
If you do not, it is she who will suffer in the long run. She already sounds quite unpleasant, and it will only get worse.

I am chuckling at the thought of allowing a six year old to tell me where to sit. She could scream herself hoarse before that would ever happen.

Toughen up!!!

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 17:38:44

Ah yes...the follow through. I once had to drag DS kicking and screaming out of a shop because it was what I said I'd do. Once.

Haberdashery Thu 15-Nov-12 17:41:37

Yep, agree with all of you. You just have to be really tough about things like that. I will always love my daughter, no matter how badly behaved she might be, but I want everyone else to like her too and that means I have to make sure she knows what's acceptable and what's not.

I don't actually think this is a G&T issue, btw. I know quite a lot of children who are rather like this, ranging from very bright to perfectly average, and the one thing they all have in common is parents who excuse bad behaviour rather than dealing with it.

pictish Thu 15-Nov-12 17:44:11

She will even, at the end of such days, cuddle up at bedtime saying things like "See, no tears today! Isn't it lovely when you do all the right things, mummy?"

Are you kidding me?? shock

This kid has a very high opinion of herself. Do her a favour and bring her arrogance down to the point where it becomes confidence. What a madam!!

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:46:23

Same here Pict - being told by a six year old where to bleddy sit? Not ever going to happen in this lifetime, they can scream til their sick, I will sit where I choose and smile at them while I do it smile

It doesn't matter how clever your child is, if other adults dislike them, and other children shun them.

Like I have told my DD2 in the past It's good to be very clever, but it's also very clever to be good

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 15-Nov-12 17:48:10

Yeah this: "I certainly detect a note of admiration in your posts.

When my DD2 has tried this sort of clever/crafty behaviour - I cooly point out that now matter how clever she thinks she is, she's actually been pretty stupid because by being crafty/clever she's actually just earned a loss of TV time/PC time/riding lesson."

That thing about "see, no tears today" is downright CREEPY. She has trained you. You need to get back on that (for her, imaginary) horse and train her.

Yes, been there, CheerfulYank - Fireman's lift through a crowded shopping centre with DD screaming "I don't like you. Put me down".

I am still slightly shocked that no-one challenged me, TBH, but reminding her of it does help a lot with shop-related strops.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:48:35

OP You need to send your DD to stay with either me, or Pict or CY ...I suspect we'd have no problem whatsoever cutting your DD down to size.

Corygal Thu 15-Nov-12 17:49:10

LaQueen, are you for sale? By the hour, even?

You can have ALL my Xmas money and a pair of Louboutins...

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 17:54:08

Ah yes Stealth...I used my former-cheerleader voice to really project: "Yes, you are very upset, aren't you? I said that we would leave if you would not behave, and you chose not to, so now we are going to the car." That way the horrified onlookers knew I was not abducting him. grin

gymboywalton Thu 15-Nov-12 17:54:10

"She always finishes her work way ahead of everyone else and then she uses her time to 'do stuff' for the teachers (organise their tables, pens, etc, try to tell the other kids what to do, sometimes)."

if this is true, then the school are failing your child. if she finishes her work early, then more challenging work is required. there should be extensions provided for her.

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:18

I wonder if OP will come back.

My guess is that the bossiness (at this age) derives from insecurity & emotional immaturity. Insecurity which may be tied to her brains. I'd work on making her feel more accepting of herself and imperfections, and the control-freakery might well dissipate of its own accord.

I'm afraid I would end up laughing at her shennagins, too, but I'm not laughing at OP. It's hard to be perfect parent when you're in the middle of it.

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:56

Also when I used to work with children who had behavioral challenges it helped to remind them that I am incapable of being embarrassed...but they weren't. wink

is there a slight admiration that she is very clever, and an assumption that people with high IQs it's OK to be rude? You seem to infer that since she is highly intelligent, her behaviour because of this.

I was reading an interview with a Cambridge admission tutor and while obviously there are academic standards, there were a few applicants they had to choose from. They decided on a pupil who volunteered at the local old people's home, well because they liked her... smile

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:56:53

Stealth I have marched my DNs out of Pizza Hut, before they'd had so much as one bite of their pizzas...I just cooly ordered the pizzas boxed up, and we left.

They'd been warned twice ...there wasn't a third time, we just left. They were utterly stunned.

PiedWagtail Thu 15-Nov-12 17:58:37

I agree with LaQueen and Pictish.

You bizarrely, sound, proud of your dd's horrible behaviour and the school sounds useless. They should be providing her with extension work, NOT letting her try to boss them around! Pathetic.

And it sounds as though you let her off with it because she's clever hmm Well, she's not behaving in a clever way and if she behaves like that then no adults OR children will like her. You need to get this sorted now.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 17:58:58

Cory - I'll do it for Mates Rates, of course smile

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 18:00:59

CY we'd be an awesome team...I bet you can also adopt a disinterested expression, detached demeanour and a pithy line in 'My, my aren't you making a complete spectacle of yourself, yes...look at all the people watching you and laughing at carry right on, I have all day...'

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 18:01:08

I wouldn't doubt she is a bit insecure lljk. In my experience children who "run the house" often are.

It is a lot of pressure for a person of five or six to feel they are in charge of an entire family. It may be old-fashioned or whatever but I really feel children are the most secure when they know that a grown-up is firmly running things.

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 18:02:09

Oh yes LaQ...with the raised eyebrow and everything. smile

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 15-Nov-12 18:02:43

I second everything that LaQueen says. I am shock that you allow a six year old to tell you what to do, where to sit. And the comment snuggled up in bed about doing things right? Sooooooo out of order!

School need to give her more work to do, not let her rummage in their bags

You need to be the grown up here. You are in charge. She is six. You make the rules and you all stick to them. Including cancelling the horse riding (you did cancel, didn't you, OP?)

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 18:02:53

CY of course the Little Madam is hugely insecure...she knows that her Mum isn't in charge of the situation, any situation, and I expect that deep down that terrifies the life out of her clever, but still only 6 years old brain...

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 18:05:00

CY I have even been known to sit down, get comfortable, cross my legs, lean back in my chair and go with the 'Come on show me what you've really got, I don't think you're really putting all your effort into this tantrum, to be honest...let's step it up a bit...come can do better than that...'

Takes the wind right out their sails smile

seeker Thu 15-Nov-12 18:12:19

<links arms with the tough love brigade>

But I am also horrified at the school's reaction-the fact that they think her behaviour's delightful means they an't helping at all. I would start by telling them how you want them to react to this sort of behaviour. Then start on the LaQueen et al boot camp.

ZumbaZara Thu 15-Nov-12 18:15:58

Thought it was interesting that she is better at school which was structured and she had a clear idea of the rules.

It might be useful to request a chat with the community paediatrician, you can self refer through the GP.

CheerfulYank Thu 15-Nov-12 18:16:09

I do hope you come back, OP. I hope we don't sound flippant. It can get out of control rather quickly...I've been feeling terrible lately ("morning" sickness) and have been a bit more lax with DS than usual and he started taking the pee right away. Unfortunately for him I'm feeling better and jerking the reins again. wink It can be hard to wrest control back, but you can do it. It'll be tough at first but you'll all be happier. smile

TheCrackFox Thu 15-Nov-12 18:25:30

At 6yrs old she is plenty old enough to be told that when she is having a tantrum that onlookers are horrified by her behaviour and will be judging her and not you. Have you thought about filming her in mid melt down and showing her later.

I know plenty of immensely clever children who are utterly charming. You have let her away with this brattish behaviour in the misguided belief that it is connected with intelligence. It isn't.

One other thing, never make a threat that you have no intention of following through with. Did you cancel the riding lessons?

NatashaBee Thu 15-Nov-12 18:34:58

I also want to know if the riding lessons were cancelled. I was a bit like this, to be honest, and the only thing that hammered it home to me was removal of privileges. I had an answer for everything blush

Corygal Thu 15-Nov-12 18:39:22

LaQ - I'll provide assistance.

Ain't no one does the Spinster Stare like me. I do need the right setting - public transport, any supermarket, a nice shop - but I like to think the recipient will never again be what my sainted Grandmother called 'pert'.

Don't get me started on The Moving Finger of Judgement, either.

I bow before your skillz.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 20:07:05

I agree with you seeker. Having worked in schools I would be genuinely surprised if the teachers truly thought the OP's DD behaviour was charming and delightful.

If I had been the TA in her class, she'd have got short schrift from me, I can promise you that...telling me what to do and how to do it...Er, no I don't think so. I don't care how supposedly clever she was.

LaQueen Thu 15-Nov-12 20:13:03

[thinks she could do with some refresher training in The Moving Finger of Judgement...]

I'm all for children being spirited and having their own opinions...but, I draw the line at anything remotely resembling rudeness, or pertness.

I also take a very dim view of whiney, self-pitying and sulking, too...

DD1 was attempting a strop earlier, because I had asked her to tidy her bedroom (left quite chaotic as her friend had come to play). According to DD1, she shouldn't have to tidy because she didn't make the mess... hmm

I cooly pointed out I was damned sure I hadn't made the mess, I knew for a fact it wasn't my bedroom, and it sure as Hell wasn't my friend...

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 20:38:01

I'd also say that she may have got a teacher at present that loves her. But equally well there will be teachers that hate being reminded.

My dd1 is the sort of child who likes to remember the teacher should have brought X with her on Mondays and reminds them. Some teachers love this, some teachers ignore it, and some really, really hate it. It took her a couple of years to get the balance right (so reminding politely when things matter, ignoring things that don't) and if in doubt, ignore, and if the teacher ignores her not to push it again.

I would also raise an eyebrow at a teacher who felt they had to apply lipstick at 10:30 every day.

EscapeInTheCity Thu 15-Nov-12 20:59:00

wow surprised by the tone of the posts here... If the OP was ever to come back, she will never do so now....

Just as much as I am very keen on 'following through' and I would accept a child to be rude , I am shock by some of these posts tbh.

Serioulsy LaQ, would make fun of a child like this?
I have even been known to sit down, get comfortable, cross my legs, lean back in my chair and go with the 'Come on show me what you've really got, I don't think you're really putting all your effort into this tantrum, to be honest...let's step it up a bit...come can do better than that...'
I am thankful my mum has never been like that.

<<I was that sort of child, clever and very able to run you around my little finger. However, I was never let to be rude and making fun of me has NEVER been necessary>>

rhetorician Thu 15-Nov-12 20:59:24

have read with interest (and notebook!); my dd has elements of this, but she is 3.9 and not gifted and talented (as far as I can tell). I probably need to crack down a bit...

EscapeInTheCity Thu 15-Nov-12 21:00:35

Sorry very clearly wouldnot accept a child to be rude.

ceebeegeebies Thu 15-Nov-12 21:14:02

I read this thread earlier in the day and have just popped back to see if the OP had returned. Am I the only one who thinks she did not cancel the horse riding lessons and therefore does not want to come back and admit that?

HolyBrrrrrrBatman Fri 16-Nov-12 03:53:33

OP it sounds to me that her behaviour is beyond the 'normal' range of bad behaviour/being naughty. Has she been assessed for ASD or a behavioural disorder? Do you suspect there may be more to it that being 'difficult'?

I find the refusal to accept the weather worrying tbh. Is it a regular thing or was that a one off situation? Making yourself uncomfortable by refusing to accept the weather is not a sign of intelligence or being gifted. It makes me think maybe it's not that she won't accept the reality of the weather, but that she can't.

If you're confident that you've tried being firm and doing the standard reward/punishment thing then I'd try looking at it like she needs you to help her cope with her environment, rather than she's just difficult/naughty/rude/obnoxious.

If she likes strict routine/rules then give her this at home. Assign her a seat in the car/at the table/on the sofa so there doesn't need to be a fight about it. Look at the weather forecast the night before so she knows what to expect in the morning. Talk about plans for the next day the night before, then again in the morning, then after school, make it so she always knows what is coming next.

I'd also try talking to her when she is calm/happy about how she feels when she loses it, can she feel it coming, does she know why, what can you do to help her calm down etc. Maybe look up different techniques for calming down and see if any catch her imagination. Try and give her the tools to manage her emotions, rather than punishing her for not being able to control them.

Lavenderhoney Fri 16-Nov-12 07:28:15

Op, it won't die down ad she matures. It will get worse. What does your dh and ds do? I hope they are standing up to her, or is it just you? Does your ds behave like this, or is he completely overshadowed by all the attention seeking?

If you have paid for riding in advance she will know its an empty threat as eel down you want her to go. Personally, I use things that only affect the child, such as treats like ice cream. The others get them and really, if she tantrums at that and gets nowhere she will be more likely to behave.

Write a list of the things that are unacceptable ( top 5, like seating issues, being rude, sticking tongue out etc) make a star chart with treats that you are doing anyway for ds and if she doesn't have enough she doesn't get anything. Simple.

Ay rudeness - in her room or a quiet corner. If she screams and comes out back she goes. Stop letting her negotiate with you, it's behavioural here and no amount of 'sorry mummy' work- glad you are sorry but in your room and you will miss the start of the movie etc.

You have to help her- before it's too late. She won't love you more because she is in control. She is laughing at you.

I think your friends and and family are being kind to you and don't want to offend you as you seem to think its part of her brilliance. Does she think it's ok to behave like that? Does she know it's her behaviour and it's not as other girls are jealous?

This post is a bit harsh but it sounds like you have been letting her boss you for years, or is it a new thing?

StillSquiffy Fri 16-Nov-12 07:31:38

I drafted a reply but it looked just like those AIBU posts where everyone disagrees with the OP and then she comes back on all defensive and goes into a rant.

So I thought I’d sleep on it.

Anyway: a few very quick answers.

So. Horse riding cancelled? Of course. Have also cancelled planned days out. And similar. I once had to follow through in cancelling her birthday party which was awful. Punishment doesn’t work. Two ed psychs have told me that and warned me off escalating punishment too much because it was turning competitive (as in a ‘who-will-break-first?’ cycle).

Marching out of places with her over my shoulder in a fireman's lift, screaming - got the t-shirt. Done it loads of times. Like LeQ I am also mildly surprised that whenever I've done this, no-one has ever stopped me or asked what I'm doing.

Her meltdown at where to sit in the car? Ended up with us driving into a Police Station car park, with her still screaming. From start to finish the tantrum and then the sobbing (when she thought I was going to take her inside the station) lasted 4.5 hours, and I certainly didn't break, once.

The days when I let her make the decisions? That was suggested by an Ed Psych – there was a theory behind it. Didn't work.

"Let her wear a sundress in -2, she will only do it once". Nope. Wrong assumption. She does it again and again and again. That sundress story is actually a real scenario that plays out all the time in the winter. It's how I know what her reaction will be to all the variables.

Sneaky pride in her? Ouch. Very difficult to put all your thoughts over accurately whilst trying not to be too verbose, but I clearly failed here. Why do I mention her intelligence in the same breath as I mention her behaviours? That's an easy one - its what the Ed Psychs have said to me - they tell me it is intrinsically related. We’ve consulted two Ed.Psychs, by the way, as well as the chap in the New Forest (don’t want to specify as am already putting TMI out in these posts, but some of you will know who I mean). I will however ponder that ‘sneaky pride’ comment for a few days to explore if there is an element of truth in it.

I am sure I won't succeed in convincing you that we are clear and consistent with strong boundaries, but I am pretty confident that we are, and I have tried all the techniques they have been suggested. Not that I'm perfect. I have lost my temper sometimes. Sometimes you get to the third major meltdown of the day, in public, maybe, and it's impossible not to cry or get furious every now and then that all of the early years where we are supposed to build up loving memories are instead filled with conflict. Which is why I don’t think the pride hat fits, but, anyway.

As I said in OP I was looking for empathy from those who’ve been there, as am fairly sure there are no solutions and I concentrate most on limiting her behaviour and the outcomes. Those who know us well are as stumped as I am on how to deal, given that all those great boundary techniques make no difference at all. Ed Psychs and others give us loads of suggestions but we’ve used up their ideas. Some of them have made things a lot worse, tbh.

We worry very much about her ability to keep friends in future so have tried not to leave a stone unturned. It would be really nice to have posts from others saying they've had similar and it does get better. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t read all the other comments and ideas in detail, even if they weren’t the responses I was hoping to get. Thanks all for posting - feel free to post more, as I will read your views (but will sometimes take time in responding as I want to chew comments over properly)

numbum Fri 16-Nov-12 07:58:35

Well done on coming back OP. Your last post is more explanatory than your first. Read your first one back as an outsider and I'm sure you'll see why you got the replies you did.

I'm about to do the school run so can't reply fully, but didnt want to ignore

lljkk Fri 16-Nov-12 08:10:03

This is radical, as far as you can get from the other posters, but if being strict on her doesn't work, then why keep doing it? It's pointlessly exhausting you both, I think(?)

I find that with DS2 that being sympathetic works best. The more I hold his hand and really listen to his grievances, and talk thru how hard things are from his perspective, take time to hear his side, however irrational, and then very gently present my case for what needs to happen that seems so impossible to him, the better response I get. The more self-controlled, mature & less demanding he becomes. It's weird, goes against all the other advice about parent putting foot down hard, but you know the other advice doesn't work, don't you?

Try reading The Explosive Child for a taste of what I mean.

Sorry if this suggestion does your head in. Still, please try reading the book to see if offers any help. It's not that I'm never stern & strict with DS, but I try not to be now because it's so rarely the most effective approach.

bamboostalks Fri 16-Nov-12 08:14:37

Well just to reassure you, my brother's behaviour as a child was truly appalling, we actually had the police at the house several times such were his tantrums and his will to be bloody RIGHT all the time. He was relentless in his character over a period of many years. Then finally the intelligence part clicked and over a period of time in his teen and through a difficult depressive period, he stopped. He still has many annoying traits but he can in the main control himself. He has loads of friends etc. my poor old mum saw the inside of the Tavistock Clinic and many psychs etc for years and you know nothing really helped. It is a maturity thing. Good luck, you sound like. A truly fab mum and its difficult for others to understand what a child like that is really like.
Of course your pride in her is there, you love her. If there was none of that, then she would be on the road!
Do communicate with the school though, my brother had real problems as he stopped being cute and began to be very difficult there.

LaQueen Fri 16-Nov-12 08:19:49

Thank you for coming back OP, and explaining more fully.

As for empathy, I can understand to some extent - DD2 is in the top 1% for ability (so could probably give your DD a run for her money, on sheer IQ), and is incredibly strong willed, and determined - and smart enough to manipulate situations to her advantage, all the time, if allowed. But, she has never manifested the extreme behaviours you describe.

I really believe that this is something other than your DD being very clever - I think her behaviours sound excessive, in the extreme. I don't think she sounds just like a very clever child - I think she sounds like a very clever child, who also possibly has some other issues. Have you talked to your Ed Psych. about potential behavioural disorders?

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 08:32:26

I know this sounds simplistic and there's other things to it but to solve the clothing problem I would clear out her summer clothes at the end of summer so there's no way she can put on a summer dress in November. Also with winter clothes don't buy any short sleeves so if she refuses and you cant make her put on her coat least it's not as bad .

My ds while not g&t is a brat despite me having firm bounderies and a take no shit attitude. But he can not over ride me I am the boss, I cannot imagine how this will all work out but hopefully she will click one day she's cutting off her nose to spite her face.

mummmsy Fri 16-Nov-12 08:36:48

I have a daughter (also extremely academically smart) who had the potential to be like this. The only way I could cope with her behaviour was, to rather undemocratically remove her choices. For instance with the sundress, I would put away all summer clothes, so that she only has winter clothes to tantrum about. I completely recognise that punishment turns into a competition too - who can win first. Fortunately for me, I broke her before she broke me, so perhaps she was less difficult than your daughter. However, I still wanted to offer up my understanding that, yes, I recognise what you're saying.

Corygal Fri 16-Nov-12 08:59:05

OP, it's a nightmare. I really feel for you, because at times a solution isn't remotely evident and one gets the feeling that time is running out.

My cousin was A Biter - sacked from schools, etc. etc., for savaging innocent kids for years.

His psych told the parents to imagine he was putting his hand on a red-hot stove whenever the fangs loomed. Her reasoning was that any secret pride the parents had in his behaviour would be overruled by their concern for his safety.

Psych also said parents were covert admirers of what they saw as an 'urge to win' and failed to acknowledge he was anti-social with bullying tendencies.

It worked. Well, sort of. He's now an investment banker in his 30s who still lives at home, where siblings will not set foot if he's in the house.

TheCeejOfWinterfell Fri 16-Nov-12 09:04:54

I've just realised this is a G&T thread. My DD is bright and a pain, but no more than that grin

<sidles out of back door>

Corygal Fri 16-Nov-12 09:05:20

I think you're doing brilliantly, by the way. You've tried everything you've been given, and clearly you have the patience of a saint. Well done, I completely admire you - most people would have retired hurt by now.

Busybusybust Fri 16-Nov-12 09:49:09

Hi OP, I read this yesterday and it's been on my mind since.

I had a daughter just like this (she's now 31) and I used to despair. Half the tmie I thought she was stronger-willed than me.............the rest of the time I knew she was.

The arguments were truly exhausting. But I was determined that she wasn't gonig to 'win'. The reason? Children, ALL children like boundaries. They like to know that the parent is in charge. If I had let her win I would have had one miserable, nasty little girl.

How did I deal with it? I never, ever let her win. The battles could take hours! With the tantrums, once I realised that she was actually out of control and actually frightening herself, then I started to forcibly cuddle her, rocking her and stroking her (as she initially tried to fight and kick, bite and scratch). Fairly soon the screams and struggling would calm and she would sob and sob. Over time the tantrums became less. Although she was a difficult teenager, I never had any of the 'Bratcamp' type behaviour - which, sorry to say, your daughter is heading for if you don't stop this now.

This interested me though:

those draconian mums who yell "Do it because I said so!" at their kids,

Why do you think that is Draconian? Surely it's totally the way to go!!! I have used it many times, not yelled it (because yelling doesn't work), but delivered in measured tones, using what my children called my 'pointy finger voice'. (Ok, I did yell on occasion - that child would have tried the patience of a saint!)

My daughter is not 'gifted and talented' btw. However I have worked with many teenagers with learning difficulties who show the same behaviour and it's easy to see how it happens 'aw, don't tell her off, she's got Downs'.

Your daughter knows exactly what she is doing - and at the moment you are letting her get away with it, and, sorry, but you do sound rather proud of it! You really need to be stronger than her - and she needs to recognise that you are. Unfortunately, as she is already 6, you have made it more difficult for yourself to get back in charge - but you must. You will have a much happier child. Can you imagine the alternative? A teenager who believes she is entitled to do exactly as she pleases (which with teenagers is potentially dangerous), and who has absolutely no respect for you.

I do hope you manage to tame her - for her sake really - but it isn't gong to be easy....... (If you feel yourself weakening, go and watch some back episodes of Bratcamp!)

insanityscratching Fri 16-Nov-12 10:07:44

From what you write I would research PDA as it sounds like her need to be in control is really extreme. If you are looking for answers to your dd's difficulties I'd suggest that you consider a referral to the Elizabeth Newson Centre to get an assessment of dd's strengths and difficulties.

FreckledLeopard Fri 16-Nov-12 10:26:45

I really feel for you OP - you must be exhausted. Not sure that I can offer much help, but I've had a few thoughts:

The need to control everyone and everything reminds me of a child with Asperger's - very, very intelligent, hugely controlling and massive meltdowns. Is your DD anxious in any way (even if it doesn't manifest itself obviously?) Does she try to control people because she feels insecure?

What happens if, during her tantrums, you don't engage with her? If she argues that black is white, can you just not respond or enter into a debate if you know that it will escalate? Can you walk away?

Empathy from this mum.

All three of my boys are v bright and probably in the gifted range. One of them had challenging behaviour which sounds similar to some of the things the OP is describing. It was tough dealing with it. The longest tantrum was 1 1/2 hours. The other two were pretty straightforward in the behaviour stakes so gifted doesn't always bring behaviour problems.

Now that middle one is an adult what I can see is that he is very emotionally literate. He is aware both of his own and other's feelings. Like my father and me is a good cold reader of people and on a good day this makes him a delightful caring person to be with. On a bad day he can start a fight in an empty rooom. I'm slightly worried that he loves the tv show 'The Mentalist' and 'Lie to Me' as he is picking up tips I fear...

It must have been very scarey as a child to be aware of all that emotion but not have the maturity to control it. My job as his mother was to put the boundaries in place until he did get the maturity to cope. So the advice on this thread just what I did. I linited his choices, I told him what the consequences of his actions would be, I warned him once if he ignored me and I followed any threat through. I have walked out of restaurants, playdates, shops and even sat down in the middle of the shopping centre and refused to move until the wobbly passed over. My acting skills in ignoring the tantrums were of OSCAR proportions but then I praised even the tinest element of self control - ok it may have just been drawing breath but I can find the postive in even the most unpromising situations.

If your child is smart then it might be worth making all this clear to her.

'Dearest daughter - if you do not learn to control yourself you will have no friends. As your mother it is my job to teach you to be a nice person to have around. So this is what we are going to do....'

If she loves horses then she has for her own safety to get the emotion under control. Horses are very reflective animals and if she is uptight then the horse will be. Ex groom speaking here.

All this assumes that there is no underlying ASD or neurological difference.

Good luck.

StillSquiffy Fri 16-Nov-12 12:06:30

Thanks so much everyone for posting again. I tend to post on MN to join debates and to advise others (as am obviously v bossy myself), and it has been so 'odd' (in a very nice way) to be on the other side and see people taking time out to actually help me. Including all the posters yesterday.

PDA has been suggested to me, and I have investigated it in detail. There are very few experts in PDA out there (both the ed pyschs I have spoken to have backed off trying to do a formal dx because it's not common enough for them to be confident in this area). I don't think she is typical and there are a lot of the pointers that aren't her at all, so I've put myself in a holding pattern at the moment regarding a dx. This is also partly because sometimes I worry that I am being overly neurotic and middle class in looking for labels and obsessing about finding 'solutions' when really I need to just roll my sleeves up, and get on with it (My DS has a dx, it's helped, so I'm not against formal dx)

Thank you so much to people who have posted about their experiences - it is a huge comfort, this week has been a hard one and I really needed to hear from those who've known similar.

I am going to really think about whether there is a pride thing going on which is in some way reinforcing some of this. I don't think so, but I really will examine my own interactions with my DD over the next few weeks. One Ed Psych recommended family counselling to explore dynamics (recommended in order to look at the sibling relationship, because DS can't cope sometimes with DD's behaviours) and I had dismissed this as more middles class narcissism, but I may think about this more.

I will also remove all the t-shirts.

rhetorician Fri 16-Nov-12 12:30:50

OP - sympathies - I hope you find a solution. Just wanted to say though that you have come back and taken some very stern criticism with great grace. That's not an easy thing to do.

WitchesTit Fri 16-Nov-12 12:47:28

Just sounding something out which works with people who rate as high functioning and high achievers on the autistic spectrum (I am not saying your daughter is) but I know people who are and can exhibit similar traits and behaviours as your highly intelligent little girl.

A strictly adhered to 'timeline' with photos and detailed descriptions of what is expected at every moment of the day, with directions to suitable clothing for the weather. So that everything is right there, to be followed like the bible. No deviating. No 'rewards' for following the timeline or being 'nice' as this is expected behaviour.

Even down to the way the soap might be squirted once then hands rinsed, left then right and which order to put clothes on etc.

It's bloody hard work as most people don't realise how much they rely on flexibility during their day but by taking away the responsibility of the thousands of minor decisions they have to make during the day can help the person feel secure and therefore free to function without an overdose of everything causing meltdown.

I'm not putting it as well as I could here. I have worked with people on the spectrum who are cleverer than quantum physicists but unable to judge whether they need a jumper on or not. People like this can speak and argue very articulately but sometimes their understanding is lower than their eloquence.

slhilly Fri 16-Nov-12 13:03:27

I agree with rhetorician that you've taken stern comments with great grace. I'm also slightly amazed at the number of people who have assumed that (a) you haven't tried the solutions they're suggesting already and (b) your daughter is a "madam" (a really perniciously sexist term, in my view) and that her behaviour can be morally judged, without any thought that what may be going on may have deeper roots.

I know pathological demand avoidance disorder is very rare but it really fits in with what you're describing. Even if it's NOT that then you could try the following strategies, they are quite different and definitely worth trying.

strategies to try

I've only known of one child with this syndrome which is why I think it's quite rare so I can't actually contribute anything more helpful - I will try to find out who's the most experienced in this field and come back to the thread though.

Good luck.

Tressy Fri 16-Nov-12 13:18:05

I don't think it's easy for other people to empathise just how hard it is to bring up certain children when theirs are compliant. I think the telling thing is if you have more than one and the others do as you ask, more or less, but one is totally different. Much harder when you have an only and people are critising your parenting skills.

I can emphathise with the OP and hope you find some strategies for getting through this stage and it might be just a stage. Mine is grown up and in our case it got much easier as she matured. You might find that the teen years won't be so exhausting as long as you treat your DD as an (almost) equal. I took some small comfort when everyone else was having a hard time when their previously model children turned into horrible teens.

High intelligence is no excuse for bad behaviour but having the benefit of knowing that your DD is intelligent, and may need a different approach to raising her, is a bonus.

LaQueen Fri 16-Nov-12 13:33:20

OP I have worked as a TA with very clever children, who are also on the ASD spectrum.

I recognise the refusal to acknowledge patently obvious facts (such as it's cold outside) and then going into a total meltdown, when the truth because self evident. This is a classic reaction, the utter hysteria/loss of control when the world refuses to be as they want it to be.

I'm also thinking possible PDA? But, I would think maybe your Ed Psych, would have thought of this, already?

LaQueen Fri 16-Nov-12 13:42:35

OP I think if anyone could empathise with you, it would be my poor MIL. DH was exceptionally clever from very young age, breezing through O Level maths papers whilst still at junior school etc - so DD2 has inherited his abilities.

My MIL tells horror stories of my DH (aged 3.5) determined to go the local fair, being told no, no, no - but, escaping the house and walking barefoot through snow down the street...before being dragged back, screaming and holding onto gate-posts...only to try the exact same stunt, 30 minutes later, and then 30 minutes after that confused

Determined doesn't even begin to describe him.

I think by the time he was 4 my MIL had totally given up trying to exert any control, whatsoever (my FIL was rarely around). She let DH do and say exactly what he pleased - bed at 1.30am, she let him...eating 4 Mars bars for lunch, she let him...

What saved DH was going to a very strict, very traditional boys grammar. The masters there stood for none of his attitude, and it also shocked him (slightly) that there were other boys there just as clever as him. He soon learned to fit in.

I think deep down he was hugely grateful, that at last, he had rules to follow and the adults were adults, and in charge. I think he'd found ruling the roost at home exhausting and stressful and often quite frightening.

insanityscratching Fri 16-Nov-12 13:44:33

Elizabeth Newson Centre is the recognised centre of excellence for PDA assessment. My ds attends the school that is linked there and although Dr Phil Christie has moved on the methods he used remain.

pumpking Fri 16-Nov-12 14:09:26

When you threaten something, the child is then expecting it to happen. Because you've told them that x will be the consequence of their behaviour, when you fail to follow through, it just confuses them.

Children want you to discipline them. Really, they do.

They're testing boundaries. It's very important to teach them that when they misbehave, there are ramifications that they will not enjoy.

Do you want your daughter to be a hardworking, disciplined and successful young lady when she grows up? Or someone who is very bright, but undisciplined and not enjoyable to be around? Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh.

Really, it doesn't matter where we all start from in terms of intelligence- the key to being a successful and happy adult is a capacity for hard work, diligence, kindness and respect for others.

'But I have an IQ in the highest percentile' is not going to get her a job, or allow her to form successful relationships with others.

You have to be a bit cruel to be kind.

Be strong. YOU are in control.

Try a parenting course! Work on your own assertiveness too.

MarshaBrady Fri 16-Nov-12 14:11:11

Yes I'd say it is frightening for a young child to have too much power over the parents.

It's not good for their happiness or development.

MarshaBrady Fri 16-Nov-12 14:12:46

Ok just read your update. I see that it's not as your op is, but more complex.

Bink Fri 16-Nov-12 14:40:00

Squiffy, I can see that you have someone far out of the ordinary here, and I've followed your postings enough over the years (I think I remember you from a stellar debunking of the Don't Know How She Does It trend, a really long time ago ... I hope that was you and I am not being bonkers) to be sure that you will have done all possible diligence (books, strategies, specialists) on what you have here.

The PDA link does look helpful. (Is it the same thing as ODD? - as in oppositional-defiant? If ODD is different, maybe that is worth looking at too.)

From my own perspective of a very high intellectual-functioning but in some ways low social-functioning child (my 13yo ds), what drives a lot of his issues is simply a peculiar lack of ability to learn from experience - a deficiency in instinct, I think it might be. So while he can grasp any sort of concept, no matter how abstruse, he cannot from day to day register (in a retaining way) that being late for a lesson IS A PROBLEM and will be MORE OF A PROBLEM each time he does it ... in order to help him see this we have to go right back to basics and manage him in the direct opposite of the way we can talk to him about ideas - ie, as if he has a learning disability. (Which he does, in a way.)

So what I am suggesting for you is to take the very very long (and tiring, I so know) view that you are going to have to help your dd bridge with reality again and again and again, and that the only thing that works for us when we have to do this is recognising that each time we have to explain something social/human-dynamic to ds it's as if he's hearing it for the first time (and do it ideally with the patience that takes). And gradually things start to lodge, but it is like stalagmites.

People who don't have children like this cannot know what the repetitiveness of the problems is really like.

Lavenderhoney Fri 16-Nov-12 15:30:53

Thanks for updating with your post opsmile you have put a lot in, it must be frustrating not to see results and so tiring always being one step ahead.

I think it was a good suggestion re clothes. Can you then allow her independance to choose an outfit as its going to be suitable anyway? Or will you have to go back to the age 2-3 where you say it's either this or this or I choose?

Re the car, the only thing I would do is ask ds if he always wants the same seat or take turns in choosing when you are in the car. Then go with that and she has to do it. Any shouting and temper then time in room when you get home.

Do you have time alone with your ds everyday, to chat or just be together drawing or reading so he can talk to you? It doesn't have to be about his sister- it can be anything in his life. It shows him and her that they are equal and both deserving of your time.

I gave my ds more independance with little things as i felt he needed to feel grown up a bit and stepped up the cuddles at home. But he is not allowed to boss or interfere with adult decisions. I involve them in what they might like to do etc but my dh and I- final say.

Do you know what sets her off? That millisecond before the tantrum starts? Can you deflect it somehow? Ask her if she knows when she is going to lose it and ask her start to recognise it and take some time out in her room? Not as a punishment but knowing she needs some time to think.

You say you are bossy(!) were you jesting?smile is she copying you in some way - and I mean that really nicely, I'm sure you don't go ballistic btw. I can be a bit bossy and realised my ds was doing it right back at me! So I had to change.

Finally, and I am just curious, not trying to derail but why did you post in G&t and not behaviour/ parenting? Do you think it's a characteristic of being G&t? Wanting to be boss and attempting to manipulate in this way isn't leadership qualities - does she try to get others to do what she wants at school like this? That might help you with managing her, if you know how she behaves at school and playground. Could you get an observer in the class for the day ( not you) maybe a behaviour and parenting expert? And then they have a day at home with you?

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 16-Nov-12 19:21:16

OP, just to say thanks for coming back to thread and engaging with the responses. If only all posters were as reflexive!

bialystockandbloom Fri 16-Nov-12 19:50:26

Agree that there are (to me) many flags for PDA here. Sounds more than just a smart girl outwitting her mother. Why would she want to? Why is she is such need of control?

PDA is often a co-morbid of ASD, and is considered by some to be a condition on the ASD spectrum. (It is clear that in years to come the conditions currently put under an umbrella ASD term will be become much more discretely distinguished.) My ds has high functioning autism and the controlling issues sound similar.

Forget about any possible 'label' and attached stigma - your dd is the person she is with or without a label or diagnosis, and imvho needs some expert help with this, as you have obvioulsy tried everything that would be done under normal parenting circumstances, to no avail. Seeking further explanation through looking at conditions such as AS or PDA might be useful for pointers about what to do, regardless of whether you pursue any professional assessment.

I absolutely agree the teachers should not be encouraging this kind of controlling behaviour and am amazed they are doing so.

sashh Sat 17-Nov-12 09:13:17

Wow OP.

I think a few people on here need to get together and write a book about stroppy children.

OP, there is a streak of this in my family, me, an aunt and a cousin, all the same. I've possibly got Aspergers and one of my 'things' is the feel of clothes, so I would put a sun dress on because I liked cotton, but that would be a silly thing to say so I would insist I wasn't cold.

I do agree though about putting summer clothes away.

You need to occupy her mind more, so maybe lay out a couple of outfits and let her choose one or the other. Give her no other option and if she ends up in school in PJs then so be it.

If her brain is like mine was she will be constantly thinking and rethinking and will have probably come up with some splendid scenario about there bing a pig cat that will run out in front of the car and if you are not in the right seat you will get hurt. But she won't tell you this, just tell you where to sit and get angry if you don't.

Our car had a boy's side and a girl's side, so I always sat behind mum, my brother always behind dad.

Do not argue with her, you will lose or be so frustrated you will lose the will to live. My mum's reaction to this was a nice bright red hand print on my bum and me being sent to my room.

This is where the stubbon streak comes in. My mum would eventually tell me I could come downstairs, and without fail I would say, "No thank you, I don't want to". I'm sure it made my mum feel terrible and I'm sure I knew that. Had she told me to come down I would have done. So clear instructions, not choices about anything she doesn't need to have choices.

As for competitive punishments. My aunt, her of the family stubborn streak, when she was 6 she refused to have a bath and a clean nightie on Christmas eve. She was told that if she didn't she would get just a piece of coal and a dirty potato.

In the morning her two sisters had a sack each of presents. She had coal and a potato. She played with them.

Even when she was shown that santa had actually left her presents behind the sofa, she continued to play with the coal and potato. She didn't even look at her toys.

We have all grown up into quite nice adults though.

StillSquiffy Sat 17-Nov-12 13:30:16

My son is on the ASD spectrum, so it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest is DD is also somewhere on the spectrum. My plan now is to put in place some of your suggestions (eg: removing choice, drawing up lists), monitor things for a while and will book up at the Elizabeth Newson Centre if things don't start to improve. As she matures some things have improved (hard to believe but she was worse as a toddler) so it may be something she grows out of. But I do hear all your comments re ASD, PDA and am not for a minute dismissing them.

I was asked a few posts back why I didn't post this in SN. Mostly because both Ed Psychs mentioned (among other things, including ASD) that her IQ might have an awful lot to do with her behaviour, so I imagined that people on the G&T board might see some of this behaviour in their own G&T children and could comment on that.

sassh - your post made me really laugh. My DD is a doppelganger for your aunt. That is exactly how DD would behave in those circs.

Bink - yes I do remember being on that thread though that was years ago. I did think about name-changing for this and am in two minds over whether I should have, but what's done is done. And people have been very generous in taking time to respond to this thread, which is very much appreciated. Thank you.

Tressy Sat 17-Nov-12 13:56:58

I've never heard of PDA until I read this thread but think this is what DD's teacher was hinting at when she was about 6. I wish I had followed it through instead of dismissing it and struggling on.

I recognise a lot of the traits that Sashh had mentioned, sensory issues, fear of change etc.

Mine is now at university (she was classed as G&T at senior school) and is coping very well. I don't know what state her room is in though as she cannot zone out from herself telling her to move things what feels like 1,000 times which is still an issue at home grin.

CinnabarRed Sat 17-Nov-12 14:09:10

From everything posted on this thread, it doesn't sound like a G&T thing, does it?

Instead, I think I would say that it's her absolute need to be in charge that is the issue and which needs to be addressed. Her high IQ merely gives her more, and more effective, tools to facilitate this.

CinnabarRed Sat 17-Nov-12 14:10:00

From everything posted on this thread, it doesn't sound like a G&T thing, does it?

Instead, I think I would say that it's her absolute need to be in charge that is the issue and which needs to be addressed. Her high IQ merely gives her more, and more effective, tools to facilitate this.

Bink Sat 17-Nov-12 14:22:33

I agree it's not a G&T thing in isolation, but the ability is definitely part of the tangle when you're looking at a child like this - ie, whether the ability might be (a) the root of the problem (b) a total coincidence or (c) a sort of co-morbidity that at one & the same time masks and exacerbates the issues.

As you can probably tell, I think it's (c), and usually because the nature of the ability has a particular quality - ie, it's not (usually) the compliant get-on-with-it easy-focus ability, it's more the slightly compulsive (even obsessive) own-agenda self-direction with a tendency to be a bit prickly, question authority, etc. With a bit of pedantry & literalness too. So what you try to do as management has to take all that into account.

Squiffy, how is your ds getting on?

bialystockandbloom Sat 17-Nov-12 19:16:39

Agree with cinnebar.

Might be worth (if funds allow) looking at this book - don't be scared off by the reference to autism. It's about a form of behavioural therapy (Verbal Behaviour, strand of Applied Behavioural ANalysis). It has an incredibly useful section on the controlling child, and (again, if funds allow) worth getting just for this chapter alone.

For more strategies & practical advice I really would recommend going to the SN board.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 17-Nov-12 22:51:40

OP, yes, you have been very graceful and reflective on the comments you've received.

I nearly posted yesterday to say I was amazed no-one else had suggested SN on the ASD spectrum/PDA etc etc but decided it is not really right to suggest this unsolicited.

However, now that others already have - and you have mentioned your ds has a diagnosis - I have to say I'm amazed that you've seen two EPs who seem to have dismissed such a possibility. As for the comments some have made about PDA being very rare, I am surprised. When ds was dx with AS at age 3 I went on a NAS/portage course with a small group of other parents. Half of the dcs there were disgnosed with PDA and half with AS - and I must say their dcs (actually all girls)' behaviours were less severe than your dd's.

I really think you should ask to be referred to someone else: developmental paed etc etc. From the reasonably detailed description you've given, it sounds like dd really cannot control her behaviours at the moment and I wouldn't imagine she is a particularly happy little girl inside. Please push to see someone different and in the meatime, I believe that (in the absence of a dx) looking at/treating her behaviours as if she does have a dx could only be helpful at this point.

Good luck.

StillSquiffy Sun 18-Nov-12 09:07:04

Sorry, just to explain - Ed Psychs have not dismissed SN at all - they both suggested it was a possibility, but she saw one chap at 5 and one at 4 (she has only just turned 6). Both mentioned a range of stuff that could be causing it, but I decided to wait for a while before going down this route - mostly because DS was dx when he was quite young, and his dx turned out to be inaccurate in a couple of areas, so we had to get him re-dx later. Also I've adopted a fair number of suggested strategies anyway (suggested by both the Ed Psychs and from reading around the possible dx). A couple of things suggested on this thread are new ideas (well, I recall reading about a couple of them - eg lists/photos - but didn't introduce them at the time as we were trying 3 or 4 other things at the time), so I will look at these too and look to get a dx in a few months (she is getting hyper-motivated at the moment by academic side of things so there's a lot of stuff in flux at the moment - I want to watch that play out for a couple of months first)

I like the look of that Autism book so will buy that, so thanks for the recommendation (thanks also to whoever suggested The Explosive Child - I have that one already).

thwhite Sun 18-Nov-12 09:23:44

I can't believe the number of insensitive replies you have had to this posting. The first thing is to realise that highly gifted children are as different from 'gifted' children, as gifted children are from normal children. Their whole experience of the world is different. I recommend the articles by Stepanie Tolan on this. Also the NAGC site, look at 'Asynchronous development' and the general info on social/emotional issues for gifted children. It might be worth joining to get some telephone advice. I haven't yet, but think I will within the year. There's also stuff on the gifted site on children who think they are adults and think they should be treated as such.

Two books which are my bibles:

Mary Kurcinka: 'Raising your spirited child' Sometimes when I am having trouble with my child, I read a chapter every day, not only for advice, and to keep my cool, but in order to know that I am not ALONE in dealing with a child like this. Buy it!

Faber & Mazlish: 'How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk'. The Kurcinka book doesn't actually give that much advice on interacting with your child, but everything in this book chimes with her book. If only I would remember to act like this all the time, I would many less problems!

Good luck, it sounds like you have an extraordinary child. Try not to take advice from people who have no idea of your situation.

Yours with empathy,

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