Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Has anyone ever turned around a bad relationship with their DD? Please tell me how!!

(14 Posts)
AnxousAnnie Wed 20-Jul-16 08:30:55

Hello MN - this is a bit if an anxious appeal - I have a 7yo DD who I just can't fathom. No matter what I do she is just so contrary and battles against everything. She is so controlling and can be so nasty at times. I try to be patient with her and stand firm and show her that no matter what that I love her - but it seems she wants to sabotage everything all the time. It has got to the point where our relationship is near broken. I don't know what to do. I've lost it several times with her and then felt full of remorse and guilt. I don't like myself very much right now as I feel like such a crap mother. She makes me feel that she doesn't like me, doesn't want me around, she's told me she "tries" to love me but finds it hard - she's told me that she hates me but doesn't want to. She's very bright academically but quite babyish in her personality. When we get into these arguments it becomes toxic - she gets physical and I have sometimes gone tit for tat to let her know what that feels like - but then I am a monster - and I feel that I am a monster - for doing that. What can I do? I don't want her growing up damaged and with a low self esteem but everything I try just doesn't work. What can I do short of keeping out of her way? sad sad sad

twoundertwowillbefun Wed 20-Jul-16 08:36:04

I've not been in that position but I think in this case you've always got to remember you're the adult and the one setting behaviours so even little tit for tats will seem validating for her hitting you. I'd focus on letting her know you love her but really not looking for anything in return from her yet as it seems this behaviour of hers stems from something she's battling with. Hard I know flowers

parentsvsPIL Wed 20-Jul-16 09:39:01

You could be my mother 33 years ago. The relationship didn't ever improve. I definitely don't have enough info to say any of the contributing factors are remotely the same in this case vs. my case - but the one thing to note here is that this relationship isn't normal and could benefit from serious professional help, both in exploring your daughter's feelings and behaviour, and in giving you strategies to cope.

Family therapy (you get a referral from the GP) could be hideously painful, but it could be worth a try while your daughter is little enough to engage with it, and while you feel you want to try to improve things. Good luck. flowers

ImperialBlether Wed 20-Jul-16 09:46:35

Have you sought help for this, OP? I would try to get it resolved soon, as once puberty kicks in, you could end up in even worse trouble.

RNBrie Wed 20-Jul-16 09:50:20

Also sounds like me and my mum. I once managed not to speak to her for three months when I was 7 or 8 years old, not one single word.

Anyway. We had a shit relationship until I had several years of counselling in my 30s. I learned how to set boundaries and not respond to her crippling guilt trips and manipulations. We now have a really nice relationship, I look forward to seeing her and she's lovely to my kids. I'm nicer to her and she's nicer to me, her bullshit is largely under control and when she says something nasty I call her on it.

My sense of it is that I have always been a disappointment to her. I was fat and awkward as a child and didn't make any friends at school. I embarrassed her, I think, and she definitely didn't understand me (I don't think she does now). She's very hung up on outward appearances, and I failed to live up to how she wanted me to appear to her friends.

Do you like your daughter? Does she have any characteristics that you like and admire?

I think getting some professional help is a good idea, you first, then maybe together.

Without meaning to upset you, you're the adult and unless there is some underlying mental health issue with your daughter, you're responsible for the relationship.

Wishing you all the best, I have three daughters (all under 5) and I am anxious about history repeating itself with us. I hope you manage to figure each other out without having to wait 30 years like i did. flowers

Walkacrossthesand Wed 20-Jul-16 09:52:12

This may not be relevant in your case, but 'controllingness' in young children can be a manifestation of anxiety - by controlling, the child is trying to avoid/minimise things which provoke anxiety, even though they don't recognise the feelings they are having as anxiety. If your response is to 'over-ride' then sparks will fly. I agree with suggestion of family therapy to get to the bottom of this - there is a mismatch here and a change in approach could make all the difference.

Lilybensmum1 Wed 20-Jul-16 09:55:03

Hi op my dd was very similar at this age and can still be now at nearly 9, I had a very dysfunctional relationship with my dm and even now as an adult our relationship will always have a barrier to it, that said you can turn this relationship with your daughter around its not too late.

I know it's difficult but like another poster said tit for tat is unhelpful I have also done this with my dd. Now if I find the situation escalating to this I say to my dd we need to talk when we are both calmer and I send her to her bedroom and give myself a few minutes to calm down. If I have said something I shouldn't have I start the conversation by saying sorry as an adult it's not acceptable I speak to you like that. I then ask what is wrong and what I can do to help.

I also now try to spend some time talking to my dd on her own when she is in her room just general asking her about her day, I always reassure her she can tell me anything and no matter what I love her.

My dd can have quite a temper and gets tearful quite easily I discussed this with her teacher so she arranged some one to ones with someone at school to talk to, we discovered the root of her problems being related to the loss of her nan and her dfs ongoing medical situation. I think 7 is a tricky age and mum and dd relationships can be the most trying.

It may be your dd has some concerns and does not know how to voice them it may be that's she is 7 and it's a tricky age they are growing up but still young I think this is harder for girls.

Well done for noticing the problem that's half the battle whether you see your GP is up to you I had counselling and have learnt a lot about myself and put my issues with my dm to bed. Good luck you can change this.

AnxousAnnie Wed 20-Jul-16 10:00:09

My own parents were exceptionally strict and control freakish. As a result I grew up anxious and worried. My relationship with them today is (on my part) "dutiful". I do set boundaries for my DD but I think perhaps when she crosses them (which is all the time) I get too overly irrationally upset about it. I think inside I feel I had a crap time of it and I have wanted nothing more than for her to enjoy all that I never had - including cuddles and unconditional love - but when she throws it in my face it hurts and I probably respond childishly and guilt trip her for it. Please don't flame me. I'm just trying to be honest so I can fix it. She has ADHD but I suspect also a little OCD with it. I would try counselling but my own experience of it a few years ago was very negative - the counsellor just didn't understand and kept giving me irrelevant advice. It put me off. I'm sure there are some great counsellors out there but how do I find one?

AnxousAnnie Wed 20-Jul-16 10:06:49

Lily - when things escalate I have agreed a plan with her that we each need time to cool off - but when she goes into one she refuses to do it! so if I say to her, look we need to calm down so you should go to your room - but she refuses and says "no I won't" so then I say ok, you stay here and I will leave the room - she says "no you won't" and blocks my way. If I say "look, one of us has to leave the room otherwise we can't calm down and things will get worse" she starts hitting me/kicking/punching/slapping/ scratching, pinching/ twisting my fingers back etc. When she's calm she can rationalise and say sorry but the explanation is always she is angry and can't control herself. She tells me that I hate her and that I don;t love her. that she hates me. I don't understand why she feels this way. What have I done?

summerainbow Wed 20-Jul-16 10:10:32

Go to gp for famliy couselling. Look for charities that help famliy with adhd children or children with special needs get To counsellor who understand.

parentsvsPIL Wed 20-Jul-16 10:12:46

I'd talk to your GP. Say what you've said here, particularly the point about having had counselling that didn't work well. Ask about family therapy as well as a separate referral for counselling for yourself. GPs will be familiar with the concept that not all therapists are useful.

If you know she has ADHD already, the GP could probably use that as leverage for a referral for family therapy.

In general you sound like your childhood self crying out for love and affection and feeling rejected by your daughter every time she crosses a boundary. However, as the adult here, you don't need to respond with that inner child - you can see that you're the one with power to run the relationship properly - and to run your own life properly, following up good relationships and minimising bad ones. You really do have the power to fix this, though I do realise how hard it might feel.

I found the "you don't need to be that hurt child, you're an adult now with your own life" point very helpful in trying to get to a point where I could even have a civil, tolerant relationship with my parents.

RNBrie Wed 20-Jul-16 10:15:46

I really feel for you OP, this sounds exactly like the arguments I used to have with my mum, when you realise that your arguing about who is going to leave the room.

Have you tried having days with her where she gets to choose everything? Where you go, what you do, what you eat? I think she's craving your acceptance and testing if you love her despite her crap behaviour. She sounds insecure and anxious to me.

Tomselleckhaskindeyes Wed 20-Jul-16 10:24:14

Ok instead of leaving the room you both need to come together. It sounds at this point she could do with skin to skin contact. So try very calmly saying I feel so sad that you are struggling. I don't want to leave you can we sit down, not talk but can I just hold you. All behaviour is a form of communication. What is your daughter communicating? Where is her dad in all this?

kesstrel Wed 20-Jul-16 10:58:30

I found this book really helpful:

www.amazon.co.uk/Divas-Door-Slammers-Behaved-Teenager/dp/0091924111

There's another version for younger children, but it doesn't have what I found to be the most helpful bit, which was a list of positive things you can say as part of the recommended 6 to 1 ration of praise to negative comments. Using those really worked with my daughter; that and really listening when she wanted to talk. But I did have to make a big effort to read through the list every morning to myself, so I would remember the wording, and also to be constantly looking for opportunities to make these positive comments. The thing I like, is they aren't just formulaic praise, but include various ways of showing interest and approval.

Here's an excerpt from it (I haven't included all of the praise suggestions on the list, only about half):

"Using the 6 to 1 ratio may sound contrived and even artificial at first. Descriptive praise is always genuine because it focuses on what the child has just done. Praise works best when it is both specific and descriptive.
1.The idea is that parents give a short description of what they are seeing and can then tag “well done” on to the end.
2.Often well done isn’t necessary and sometimes the description is enough
3.It is also useful to say “thank you” as part of the praise
4.Praise the effort.

● “You finished your homework, well done!”
●“You worked hard on that tonight.”
●“ “You left the bathroom clean”.
● “That smile really cheered me up.”
●“Good thinking, I should have thought of that.”
● “That was a very grow-up thing to do.”
● “That’s a good idea.”
●“Well done, you have worked really hard at that drawing.”
●“I love the way you...”
●“So how did you choose the colours for this drawing?”
● “You are really improving.”
●“I think you made a good decision there.”
●“You must be proud of this.”
●“I’m very proud of you.”
●“Show me how you did that.”
● “I like the way you did that.”
●“Thank you for asking so nicely.”
●“I really appreciate it when you...
●“I like that.”
●“That’s interesting.”
●“ “Tell me a bit more about...”
●“ “That was very thoughtful.”
●“You are doing fine.”
● “I’ve missed you.”
● “That was a good decision.”
● “That made me feel really happy, thanks”

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now