I am ashamed to say I have a downer on my daughter and I do not know how to change it

(21 Posts)
no157istheanswer Tue 21-May-13 15:09:31

We have 2 DD, 5 and 4 so very close in age. I find the older one quite hard work, very oppositional. I try hard not to suggest too many things as I feel she will say no just because I have suggested it. I almost fear being with her as she is much more likely to play up, not do what you ask so brush her teeth for example, get ready for bed etc. She will complain straightaway if the younger one gets something new (not often) and even for younger one's birthday expected her to share everything. I do not and have not spent anytime alone with her and I know this is part of the problem. Aside from weekends there is no possibility.

I feel the younger one is so much easier to love and I feel such a heel and as I say ashamed of how I feel towards her. There is some type of barrier that I cannot seem to get through. I feel on a treadmill that I cannot get off and I do not want to spoil things for her, I am acutely aware of how things must seem to her and that she has an old b8tch for a mother.

WaitingForMe Tue 21-May-13 15:14:07

Acknowledging this is brilliant and IMO proves you're a good mum. I've got a friend who did some free parenting classes through a local children's centre and found it really useful to be around other people that also struggled and got some good help.

Caitycat Tue 21-May-13 15:21:24

Well you've recognised there is a problem which takes a lot of courage and you can definitely deal with it. You say there is no possibility for time alone together 'aside from weekends' but there are plenty of weekends so puck one. Arrange for you dd2 to spend the day with someone else and tell dd1 that this day is about her, let her plan what she wants to do and spend the day making her feel that she has all your attention. Over lunch have a proper chat with her, how does she feel when... What would she change if... But also use the time to help her understand how important it is for you to all get on as a family and what she can do to help that happen.

Make sure you also have a lovely day with dd2 while dd1 has a day with a friend or similar, talk to dd1 about it - remind her of her day and how much she enjoyed it and ask her how she would have felt if dd2 had a nice day out with mummy and she didn't. Slowly she will learn empathy!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 21-May-13 15:23:57

Siblings Without Rivalry is a book that could really help you - I am not suggesting that the issue is down to jealousy but it is a brilliant book for helping you really look at a situation and how it makes the participants feel.

I think that you are doing the right thing by tackling this head on.

quickchat Wed 22-May-13 22:26:31

I feel for you as I have a little bit of a similar problem - but different hmm!!

I have a 6 yr old DS and 3.5 yr old DD that I feel so different about and it's that feeling that eats me up.

My DS is not a badly behaved boy as boys go but he talks about superhero's and baddies ALL DAY and is wrapped up in his own world all about him.
Takes nothing and no body in and is very jealous of anyone else getting anything.

A day at the zoo yesterday for example. We arrive, he wants to 'go to the park'. Goes on and on and on. Then he just wants lunch. Goes on and on. Then he just wants to leave - argghhhh. 1.5 hr drive and £45 for that.

DD on the other hand is happy and engaging and excited about all the animals. She is happy with what ever is going on and just enjoys the day for what it is.

She cuddles us constantly, smiles most of the day and skips around talking to pretend fairies and singing to herself.
I turn to look at DS and he is pretending to karate chop a crow or his face is tripping him as we are not doing everything he wants.

To make my horrible negative thoughts worse, I had a 'surprise' baby 9 months ago - another boy! Although I have had no problems bonding with DS2 and I enjoy him, I feel very down about having another boy.

After reading your post im wondering - do we just have favorites and as a mum, find that in itself hard to deal with? Maybe all mums feel the same to some degree but don't admit it or even dwell on it as we are.

I do agree that spending time with your DD1 would help, not just her but you too.

I've been thinking I need to do the same as I remember having some lovely times with just DS1 and they can be so much calmer and nicer without their younger siblings around.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Thu 23-May-13 00:35:08

One parent once said to me, that she loves all her children equally, but don't necessarily like them all equally.

no157istheanswer Thu 23-May-13 11:00:36

Thank you for your posts. Yes I think if one is not careful one can just get into the habit of seeing one child negatively. The younger one is easier going and is that just saying that she does what I want more often? Why should the children make my life easier - when they are young they do not understand that we need to cooperate and get along.

Certainly two children so close together has been a bummer when it comes to quality time with one of them and that is something I have to do and to begin with force myself with the older one. She has had to be olde than her years since she was 14 months old and I clearly remember her being brought to the hospitak when the younger one was born and my total shock at how big she was! we had been apart for 6 hrs and she looked so different. She is also very articulate and so it is possible to see her as older and then be cross with her when she does something or reacts in a way I do not think she should. She is not as bad as your son quickchat but there is an element of nothing ever being right. Both of my children are nicer to be with on their own. The jealously is I think a symptom of lack of attention and I see it in our circumstances. As I say I need to make that one on one time happen.

LittleMissGerardButlerfan Thu 23-May-13 11:04:48

I can totally see where you are coming from, the way I see it is I love them both the same, tell them both and give them equal kisses and cuddles etc, but I just get on with my 5 year old ds better than my 7 year old ds. Whereas its the other way round with oh. I think it's to do with personalities and that you just get on with some people better than others. I still feel guilty about it though!

Jellybellyrbest Thu 23-May-13 23:28:59

Could have written your post OP. Feel sooooooo guilty about my deteriorating relationship with my 7yo dd. 5yo is so easy in comparison & it's been that way from the very start. I find DD1 difficult in so many ways; she's way more demanding an extrovert & I'm probably more introvert & so is DD2 which makes her easier in general for me to be around. DD1 is argumentative, challenging, needs constant conversation/attention, seems to ignore me & to be disobedient, but is not exactly badly behaved. eg today 'DD1 you can play outside today, but no friends in the house today' (they were all in playing twice already this wk & today we had just a little time before tea & baby DD3 was tired & wanting cuddled etc). After 15 mins outside play, DD1 came into the house, friends IN TOW 'Mummy can we play inside'. Seems like a small thing BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY WEEK!!!! She manipulates situations to get her way "I need 'friend' in to help me find my helmet' as they traipse past me in the kitchen...Homework ends in tears EVERY DAY. Despite her being bright, she 'needs' help with every step, complains bitterly about every question adding on at least 30 mins to the whole event daily. Nothing is ever good enough-I buy a treat of smarties, "I like fruit pastilles better". She bosses and antagonises her sister constantly & finds it difficult to compromise when playing...if things don't go her way she won't play. DD2 is easy going about most things and generally gives in, which I hate to see.
I'm making her seem like a right little monster; actually she's kind & generous & very thoughtful sensitive & considerate. We seem to clash badly.....I'm constantly on her case ATM & probably react a little too quickly which makes me feel guilty. I do feel that once I've laid down the law it needs to be adhered to though. She needs to be able to understand authority & do as she's asked, surely? Or am I expecting too much from a 7yo. Sorry for post hijacking OP, but you're def not alone!

TVTonight Fri 24-May-13 08:47:05

I think it is a great start that you've acknowledged there is an issue, but it seems to me that the relationships has the seeds of being toxic by the time your children are adults.

Even though you say you love your children equally, from what you've written I cannot imagine that your daughter's experience would lead her to believe that is true. It is believing that you are loved less that drives people to the Stately Homes threads. And of course, it is her experience that counts.

Yes obviously you do need to give her your undivided attention sometimes, but I also think you need to stop blaming her for being different to your younger daughter. You are the parent(s) and it is your responsibility to ensure that you know how she ticks AND to respond positively to that. Not by giving in to each whim but certainly not by see

MiaowTheCat Fri 24-May-13 08:50:06

I'm sorry - I'm just giggling at the giant baby moment and remembering it for myself (I've only got 11 months between them though and mine are much younger)! Yep I thought that - had to go through this mental transformation whereby my beautiful little girl suddenly became this giant galumphing thing in comparison to a new arrival!

TVTonight Fri 24-May-13 08:51:50

Sorry pressed too soon- not by giving in to each whim, but equally not seeing it so personally. e.g. "I want something too" could be dealt with by "Do you need a hug, DD2 gets the presents today, and you'll get the presents on your birthday, you know that's how it works": so she doesn't get the material thing, but she does get genuine affection and love when she is feeling sensitive and needs it.

BlueberryHill Sat 25-May-13 12:25:46

I'm glad that you are seeing it as a problem and looking at ways to rectify it. Some suggestions, I have a 6 yo and 2 yo twins so I sympathise about never having any time alone with children.

- try to flip your view around, if they are stubborn, don't see it as a negative about not doing something, but it is also a positive trait, when they want to do something, work, sports etc they will stick at it. Think about all the lovely things that they do and are.

- when they do something lovely - even if its not that much at first, praise it so much, mention it your DP when they come home, when your older child is there and can hear it. Motivate them to repeat it.

- if they don't want the smarties, go the zoo etc, say OK, I'll eat them then. They soon change their mind. My DS used to moan about doing some things, DH and I then say OK, we'll do something that M&D want to do such as going furniture shopping. He soon decides that it is much more fun to go to the park etc.

Droflove Sun 26-May-13 10:02:32

I wouldn't be giving in to behaviour that goes against what was agreed such as Jellybellys daughter bringing in friends and trying to embarrass/manipulate them into the house. I clearly remember asking my mum with big pleading eyes and my friend beside me doing the same if she could stay the night knowing full well what I was doing. Mum gave in but I'll tell you the next day after my friend went home I got some talking to and punished for manipulating her like that. She told me she was disappointed in me for putting her in that position and I NEVER did it again. I grew up in a house where no meant no, whining meant you were put out of the room and if you were petulant about something nice like a treat, it was taken away. I'll be doing the same when 4mth old is a bit more conscious and I know kids can wear you down but giving in on things that had been clearly stated to a child simply causes bigger probs long term.

OP, I really feel for you. Could you make a list of things that have to happen every day (brushing teeth, pj's etc) and get her to tick them off on a chart with a sticker or some other incentive? Explain clearly that she got everything younger child is now getting when she was that age and that she sometimes gets things dd2 doesnt get yet, but that overall they both get the same and then don't tolerate any further discussion on it. If she keeps up whining about it, punish her for the whining. You don't have to justify things over and over to a child, one explanation is enough. Definitely try to have some alone time with her not least so you can build some good memories of time with her yourself.

Canyou introduce small changes to your routine which gives you time with each daughter individually? Eg eldest helps you with breakfast and you have a chat. Or you do bedtime with her when youngest sleeps - just a half an hour difference? Try and say three nice specific things to your daughter every day. Even if it's something simple like "thank you for getting dressed" followed by a cuddle. She will lap it up. I've found that being more positive towards my eldest (who is much younger at 3) has really changed his behaviour.
Your eldest will pick up on the difference in treatment - even if it's subtle and you think you're hiding it... Of course the youngest is more easy going - they have to be! And they're always seen as the baby and babies are cuter...

harryhausen Sun 26-May-13 19:21:46

Quickchat, I have a ds very much like your son. My ds is nearly 6 and acts very similarly to every day out or event as you've described. He's currently completely absorbed by Star Wars. When he's not wanting to talk about that, he wants to talk about toys about it. He's really awful at sharing, can be really mean, frequently stomps away from us to sulk about any tiny thing that doesn't go his way. Even when we're reading together he confrontational. He will start an argument about the English Language. The other night he argued constantly that 'liked' was pronounced 'licked'. After patient parental explaining etc he still goes on and on....in the end I just shout 'because it just IS!!'

Having said all that, occasionally ds can do the most loving things and write me little cute notes, say the funniest things and be fairly 'mature' in things he says.

I have a very complicated relationship with him compared with dd (8). She can be moody but she's so much fun to be with and talk to. She rarely strops off, is often kind. I just really enjoy her.

I can honestly say though that I love them equally. I frequently dislike my ds's behaviour but I always love him. I'm sure this is what you mean OP?

I too think its great that you've recognised this and your feelings. This can only be positive for you and your daughter. Think about family counselling? Perhaps the way you both relate to each other can change?

Mollydoggerson Sun 26-May-13 19:30:57

Hold her in your arms and tell her you love her and she is perfect just as she is. Her behaviour might improve if she feels really secure.

OddBodd Mon 27-May-13 11:35:05

quickchat and harry My ds1 is 5 and sounds so much like you've both described. He is currently obsessed with Spiderman and anything to do with him. He talks and argues non stop. He's always been tricky and required a lot of input and careful parenting. He tends to look on the negative side of life and will argue similarly about the English language! I have lost count of the number of times just this weekend I just have to grit my teeth and TRY to change the subject. He is also very very possessive of his toys, to the point of not actually wanting any friends over because they will 'break things' or 'move his stuff around'.

He actually is very friendly at school and other 'neutral ground'. He is just extremely territorial. We have to have certain rules which are non negotiable. When he does have friends round we have certain toys which he is allowed to put away to keep safe and others which are allowed for anyone to play with. I think it's a compromise but it does work and cuts down any 'THAT's MINE' aguments with his friends. He similarly will turn his nose up at the offer of a day out somewhere but then me and his dad just say 'Ohhh ok excellent, me and Daddy will go looking at houses and you'll just have to come along too.' (We go see showhomes and houses for sale due to my work and DS1 finds it utterly boring as to be expected!) so he quickly says 'NOOO let's go to the park!' and snaps out of it. Often he argues out of habit and just because he likes to be in charge of situations. I will not tolerate him trying to manipulate and control the household.

OP I understand where you are coming from. Having said all these negative things about him, I honestly do adore him. If anything I am closer to him than DS2 despite his negativity. DS2 is only 17 months old so obviously a lot of his personality hasn't really developed yet but I'd rather hear DS1 arguing than DS2 whinging and crying! I just seem to breed quite high maintenance, whiny children wink. They are of course both utterly perfect and beautiful in their own ways.

I think the one on one time is a great place to start. Every day we each have half an hour ish before bedtime with both the boys but I appreciate this isn't possible for everyone. I think someone else mentioned it but could you stagger their bedtimes so DD1 can have half an hour with you after DD2 is in bed. We manage to get DS2 to bed at 7 and DS2 goes at 7:30, just so we can read and have a little quiet time before bed. This is the time when often if there is something bothering him at school or anytihng, he will tell me at this time as it's calm and we can give loads of attention and cuddles.

It's awful feeling like you are being unfair and like you have a 'favourite' but I promise you aren't the only one who feels this. Oposite way on here but I often feel very guilty for not feeling quite the same about DS2 as I do DS1. I am hoping that hen he's old enough to argue and verbalise his negativities too then it'll all fall into place haha! I really don't think he'll be a sunny, complient child either so I'd better brace mysef!

quickchat Mon 27-May-13 14:00:14

oddbod 17 months is a horrible horrible age! I liked my DS much more than DD until she got to two or just after, then they were equal! Now that she is 3.5 she is my favourite!! grin
Im sure when my 9 month old DS gets to 17 months I will much prefer DS1 and may have to look at all 3 to pick a new favourite!

I do love them all obviously wink.

Cravingdairy Mon 27-May-13 14:10:01

Me and my sister are a year apart and we never had time alone with our mum. I think I would have had a better relatonship with her (mum) if we had. So I would really try if you can.

Oh I love them at 17 months old! You can amuse them easily most of the time and they don't talk back yet

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