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aibu in my expectations of 5.5 yr old dd?

(64 Posts)
solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 14:57:07

Up until now family friends and teachers have always commented on how exemplary her behaviour has been. She has always been quite sensitive and eager to please. She would hate the thought of getting in trouble and it would cause her real angst if she thought she was in trouble.

As a result I never really needed to be too strict, although if I get cross I get very cross and definitely would consider myself to have quite high expectations of behaviour.

I want her to grown up knowing she can stand up for herself but also be respectful. I want her to be more carefree now as I'm worried about having this 'perfect' child who feels pressure to be 'good' all the time (and I know she does) and then suddenly will resent me as a teenager. But I also just want her to do as she's told, just because I said so. Are the two really incompatible?

Recently I can see she has matured and is having some sort of inner battle about always being good. I think part of her just wants to be a bit naughty (sometimes even I would like her to be more carefree!)

I don't mind cheekiness and mischeviousness but the following are what concern me.

1)no regard for personal property or other people's. Will happily help herself to things lying around (my gloves, scarf, bits and bobs, but not things she knows are delicate like ornaments and stuff). She will use these things for games and just leave them lying around.
Same with cushions, sofa covers. It drives me nuts having to straighten up all this stuff as well as the toys every day.

Actually she barely touches her toys anymore, think she's grown out of some and we haven't worked out what to move on to next. She has a 3yr old sister so we still have the younger toys around.

2)Giving me attitude, 'I don't want to' 'I don't have to'.
The usual thing will be refusing to wear tights and long sleeve tops. I've had to argue twice with her today so that she would cover her legs to go out. She had choice of tights, trousers or skirt and leggins. She even tried to hit me which really shocked me.

The other day I asked her to find her jumper that she had left lying around and she said 'you find it' in a bossy tone of voice.

Sometimes when she is overtired she will just randomly overturn a box of jigsaw pieces, leave it half done, move to some other toy, leave it out, and so on, wrecking the whole living room in a matter of minutes with no real nice game going on.

I don't know what has happened to my little girl! sad

My plan of action would be this, but I am worried I am being too strict so would welcome opinions. My dad was very strict, unreasonably so in hindsight, as a result I really felt his shadow over me for a lot of my grown up life, not what I want for dd.

So, aibu about the following:

1)To put things away once she has finished playing with them, before taking other stuff out. Sometimes her games are VERY complicated so if she is playing nicely with everything she still has to put it all back but I will help her a bit. She hates this and I've been battling with her. Now I don't know if I'm expecting too much for her age.

2)Playing with cushions, sofa covers, my clothes and her clothes out of drawers will no longer be allowed, full stop. (They get left strewn around all over the place)

3)I will empty her drawers down to the bare essentials, so there will hardly be any choice of what to wear. Arguing about not wearing weather appropriate clothes will result in offending items (ie summer dress) being removed until more reasonable behaviour is displayed.

btw we live in a small flat so I already have kept toys and clothes to a minimum. Eg all her clothes are kept in three drawers in her bedroom, that's it. Plus some dresses hanging in another cupboard with other stuff.

Not sure what to do about the teenage attitude. Today she tried to hit me in front of her (lovely) friend. I told her off but then she gets all upset and I think feels humiliated being told off in front of her friend.

DH says that she's just been too indulged by family over the holidays and she'll go back to herself once back at school. She has recently made a friend at school that hits her mum and talks back quite a lot, so I think she has now seen that it is possible to answer back. The mum is nice and I get on with her

Sorry, this is soooooo long, well done for making it so far!

So AIBU in implemeting the above action points?

LunaticFringe Fri 04-Jan-13 19:38:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LunaticFringe Fri 04-Jan-13 19:38:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

parakeet Fri 04-Jan-13 19:38:44

I think your rules sound very reasonable and I have two girls myself who both have a similar personality to yours and I also have several of the same issues. I am now getting quite strict about putting one toy away before you get the next one out, although we have everything in baskets so they can get out a whole basket of eg Barbies/Lego/whatever at any point in time.

I would have a blanket ban on these complicated games where every single toy is got out until she is old enough to put them back all by herself. I suppose someone will claim that is stifling her imagination but there has to be a balance between her games and the rest of the family's enjoyment of their living space.

DorisIsWaiting Fri 04-Jan-13 20:18:24

I think you're a little extreme and likely to end up with an over compliant child.

The clothes- I take out summer clothes in winter and the reveres in summer, It frees up space in the wardrobe and reduces battles. Unless we are going somewhere important they choose their own clothing and mostly live with the consquences (If we are going to the park they put on sensible clothing so everthing is covered or we don't go no arguments no messing or debate). I am no longer fussed if things match or even look good together. DD1 (7) no asks for help choosing before a school mufti etc and I happily help DD2 (5) not so much grin.

The gloves scarves cushions etc are an important part of play, mine spend hours in my shoes jumpers bags etc pretending to be me. The cushions all over the floor drive me spare but so what they were on a boat (or similar) they were using imagination and that has to be good.

Can she start earning rewards for tidying up (without complaint)?

Personally I think you need a rethink.

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 20:19:32

Thanks for your replies. I posted in aibu because I suspected I was thinking unreasonably and needed to be told! The rules I mentioned were drafted as I wrote after a particularly fraught few days.

I am pleased at how she uses het imagination. But i'm not pleased about clean clothes being dragged out of drawers and strewn around and then not tidied.

Honestly she had been out of the house with no tights only for me to magically produce them in the park with a smile, and not that ling ago.

I think today I just for once wanted not to have that conversation.

Yes, I need to unclench! And thank you for telling me.

I just need to set some boundaries I think, like ok to non-toy items being played with but not clean clothes.

I get the impression from most replies that iwnbu to expect some help tidying up at the end of the day, just ad a daily routine.

showofhands definitely sounds similar to my Dd! Ballet and gymnastics also have helped mine loads.

The telling off thing: well i'm Italian so there's a fair bit of mamma mia hand waving. When she hit me tbh I wad so shocked I didn't really do much. Just gave her a look and told her that was ridiculous behaviour, as her friend was there I didn't harp on. But I did ask her layer to say sorry and we had a hug.

She's never had a naughty step, but tbh she's never needed disciplining. My youngest is a law on to her own and has a chart.

Honestly my op was written in a moment of exasperation, I haven't actually mentioned those rules to her and don't think it needs to get to that.

But think I wasn't separating the messy play from the bad attitude.


NaturalBaby Fri 04-Jan-13 20:24:15

My 4.7yr old ds is very similar and behaves in a very similar way.
I would give it a week or two for things to settle down with the holidays and back to school.

My ds's attitude only comes out when he's tired, hungry or I haven't spent enough time with him.

When friends come to visit his behaviour is terrible! Haven't got to the bottom of that one yet, I have 2 younger ds's so we try to meet up at places like soft play instead so they can have their own space or play together if they want.

goodtoesnaughtytoes Fri 04-Jan-13 20:28:14

My 4 year old dd never wants to wear the clothes I get out for her. Long sleeves are also an issue. Every morning there is something. She also gets all her toys out at once and creates a big mess but I'm generally pretty relaxed about that as long as she puts things away when asked or we do it together. I don't think anything your dd does is unusual at all.

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 20:30:44

Oops posted too soon.

She's my lovely girl and I worry about her so much because she is so highly strung.

After much eye rolling by relatives over the holidays I started wondering if I'd been too lenient and now I've created this spoiled princess who never lifts a finger to tidy up. I've tried so hard to not be like my dad, and stifle her, I thought I'd gone too far in the other direction.

So obviously I dug out my inner dad and posted this thread!

Anyway, sorry to go on on here, but this is a great place to unload these kind of thoughts!

So, to conclude, let her be, but start to introduce some sense of responsibility by tidying.

The backchat is harder, but I think a sensible conversation in a quiet moment. Don't want to bring up her friend too much as I don't want her repeating to her and the mum.

And just keep tights in my handbag at all times.

Thanks again for your replies and sorry for mistakes, typing from phone.

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 20:37:22

Oh goodtoes I long ago gave up on getting clothes for her. She has skirts trousers tights and leggings.

Recently she just wants to wear the skirts with socks.

We have agreed to short sleeves with cardigan, which comes off as soon as we're indoors.

Had to listen to relatives all holidays going on about tuck your top in, put tights on in the house.. (hahahahahaaa!) The vest, the VEST!

PavlovtheCat Fri 04-Jan-13 20:40:08

your DD is mine! the usual good behaviour and desire to please. She had her first 10 mins of golden time at school ever ever a month back, for talking, and she was distraught. she always gets commented on, how exemplary her behaviour is.

With me as with you, the lack of respect of my own things in particular has driven me absolutely to despair on numerous occasions. And like your DD she likes to use, for example my fairy ornaments to play games with, along with her own dolls, loves my clothes, etc. I try to be firm, it get's ignored, things have got broken we have had to remove everything of value. I worry she does not understand the value of things. And then, DH pointed out in one of many conversations that a) she is 6, of course she has no material value, why would she? that is for us to teach her and b) is it really bad that she places little importance on material things alone? of course that latter one is about finding common ground, so she does not overly consider material things as important, but understands respect for things belonging to others (and bought for her by others).

I really don't know with boundaries. I tried to 'ban' and say 'no mummy/daddy bedroom' or 'no jumping on our bed' or 'no use of pillows' etc. It never lasted as she has so much fun!

What I will say though, is she is now 6.5. She is growing up to continue being a wonderful, kind empathic generous hearted little girl, who had started to push boundaries, who is developing her own independent character with some free spirit there added in, but is still in essence the girl who behaves well and she is learning to respect my things, and those of her own (not as much as I would like about her own things, she just does not place much value on her material things other than sylvanian families and her moshi cards).

I would say that your DD sounds delightful and that you are doing everything you need to, in order to get the balance of discipline/teaching respect and values while not having to conform just to please.

PavlovtheCat Fri 04-Jan-13 20:41:47

oh and mostly I let her dress herself. DH goes mad with her for it, but I let her. whatever. She learnt quickly the other day that leggings on the beach was not warm enough. I had taken her waterproof/windproof trousers with me just in case she changed her mind! She often wears odd socks. But, so do I.

thegreylady Fri 04-Jan-13 20:55:35

I'd let her play with sofa cushions etc-great imaginative play opportunities.maybe you could give her some of your old stuff to dress up in.
Dont let her get your things out of drawers though.
I would insist that she clears up but you will help her-it can be overwhelming to do the whole job.
Let her make choices re clothes but no complaining if she is cold.
She sounds like a lovely bright little girl to me.
My dgs was 6 in September and he and his little brother regularly make dens,boats etc from the sofa/chair cushions.

socharlotte Fri 04-Jan-13 21:13:35

I think you are too much worrying about what you want her to be like.You are full of contradictions! But at the end of the day she is who she is.I think you should let her play with cushions, scarfs , gloves etc.It is not a lacl of regard for personal property.To her they are all things in the family house.
Of course she doesn't want to tidy up.Who does? But that isn't naughtiness.Justr bribe her 'come on hurry up and put those few things back and then we'll have a story'
If she wants bare legs, let her have them! She is only saying it to be contrary!Pick your battles

marriedinwhite Fri 04-Jan-13 21:15:53

Goodness OP - and good posts as ever from pavlov and the grey Lady. Have had too much wine to read everything.

Oh please cut her some slack. She's only 5. Mine could be horrid at home but because they had boundaries - admittedly over manners - was never ver good at tidying - I was always complimented on the "export" models.

Mine are 14 and 18. Give her some freedom over clothes now and she might get over ot before the teenage years. Let her imagination run riot and she will never disapppoint you.

Can't advise over tidiness - mine grew up with au-pairs and domestic help and I have failed. Pops upstairs to count no of pants on bathroom floor and will have a shout when I get down.

None of 'em are perfect but most of 'em are lovely in their mum's eyes. DS smokes (grrrr) but I don't think has touched anything illegal - an achievement imo. DD is quiet and hasn't been interested much in clothes or the mainstream. I was pleased last week that she went out and bought an eyeliner and fancies having her ears pierced.

Being a parent is tough; giving them some freedom and choice and independence is tougher.

She sounds lovely btw - don't stifle her.

marriedinwhite Fri 04-Jan-13 21:21:47

Oh yes and DS (yes DS, not dd) is forever unigging my tongs to use my hairdryer and my hairspray and my mirror ( the light is better in our roomn - yea Gods). Someone someday will explain why 20 mins on his hair is required before rugby!!!

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:24:56

I know what you mean about my contradictions socharlotte, just re-read the thread and can see what you mean.
I am overthinking the whole thing. I'm having a phase of reflecting on how my relationship with my parents affected me and I don't want to repeat their well meaning mistakes.

Then add some sleep deprivation, a pinch of mother's worry and children overwrought by the festivities and voila!

Suddenly i'm projecting it all on Dd!

Yup, I will pick my battles, that's usually my advise to others!

BeaWheesht Fri 04-Jan-13 21:25:26

Wow you seem very uptight,very.

Ds has just turned 6 and things I'm strict on are

- no messing around at mealtimes
- no hurting people
- no using rude words
- no being cheeky
- absolute never ever ever be rude to anyone outside the house either whether we're there or not
- do homework nicely
- try best at school
- stand up for yourself and others if any bullying going on

That is it really.

Also sorry I I've missed it but why doesn't she have age appropriate toys?

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:29:41

Thank you married, I really wanted soothing words from mums of older children. That's why I love mumsnet.

We might soon be moving abroad, so bring on the domestic help!

Going to bed now, been awake since 3.30!

solittletime Fri 04-Jan-13 21:41:20

bea just one more reply before I go to bed!
I know I sounded uptight, but as mentioned earlier it was just a moment of exasperation. I won't be acting on it quite as harshly as that.
She has toys that she very recently still played with- barbies, various Christmas presents, beads, colours and paints, puzzles.
She just seems to have suddenly lost interest in pretty much most of them.

Your list seems pretty comprehensive, but I honestly do think my Dd is now old enough to help tidy up a bit at the end of the day.

My problem is also that I have taught older children but never children of 5 and 6, and sometimes I don't make that distinction, and forget she's so little.

BeaWheesht Fri 04-Jan-13 22:44:14

Fair enough OP - yes I somehow forgot to mention we ask that ds tidies but we aren't super militant about it. It doesn't have to be immaculate and I don't worry if he uses my stuff or hi sisters etc so long as its not damaged.

Re the toys - ds turned 6 at Xmas so you can imagine how many new toys he has - he's barely played with any but I presume he will come back to them and he's just too excited.

Damash12 Fri 04-Jan-13 23:00:38

Yabu, she's 5.5 years old and yes finding her feet but you don't want to make the rest of her life a battle surely? Although, don't get me wrong she needs to put her toys away at the end of the day. I have Ds 4 and he will do anything to not pick up his things and his new word is "boring" everything and everyone is "boring"! I pick my battles and give in when it's really not a major issue. However, hitting me would be a big no no. My son has tried to do this with gritted teeth but a slight tap to my arm but the intention was there but he knew it was wrong. Off he was sent to his room and his treat on a Friday didn't happen. We don't hit you and you don't hot us is what I usually say and he knows this to be right but I think normal behaviour around this age will cause them to challenge. Don't sweat the small stuff! And don't gloss over the big stuff!

PavlovtheCat Sat 05-Jan-13 09:19:07

solittle I really think this is the age when we start to reflect, because reading your posts, I can really see me in them, as I went through (still do to some extent) these thoughts and feelings, even to the point of contradiction. Even recently when I posted about DD losing Golden Time. The reason we are like this is because a year ago, our darling DDs did what we told them with little question, clearly would not be required to tidy much, did not argue back and did not make dens or want to emulate us by wearing clothes. Now, they have been to school a while, they are learning their own mind, their personalities are developing at a million miles an hour and we are now questioning if we have/are doing the right things to support the development in the way that fit with our own values or morales, and we start to think about the 'type' of child/adult we want our little one to grow into, we worry that if we don't do a) then it will be bad for the future. 1 year ago, we put tights on them, end of, 'because i say so' and now, we have to think whether 'because I say so' is the right way to behave when it causes a huge scene, because our children now know they can choose and have a preference.

Really don't beat yourself up for this process, I am pretty sure most parents g through it, some are more aware of it in themselves than others, some worry about it more than others.

Sorry for the long ramble.

PavlovtheCat Sat 05-Jan-13 09:24:53

oh and re tidying. DD now sometimes quietly gets up in the morning to tidy up, she has a little duster she asked for, and dusts, and washes up dishes before we get up to please us. But. For some reason. She Will Not Tidy Her Room. I have bribed, I have rewarded. We had a reward chart for some behaviours a while ago, was fabulous for all of them, so I removed them and only put up tidy her room, she only had to get 5 stars and her reward was Cinema to see something of her choosing - a BIG treat. She got 1 star and then the reward chart became extinct. I have removed toys, cajoled, been cross, made it fun, helped, her aunty has helped, and she just won't do it!

gymmummy64 Sat 05-Jan-13 10:06:40

There's always a temptation to want everything to be perfect, but you can't micro-manage every single bit of their behaviour however many rules you have. Kids have to be allowed to be naughty and push boundaries else they'll never learn. I think letting them see cause and effect is far more effective long term than 'because I said so' and much more how I want my relationship with them to be.

I found with my 2 that there was sometimes a temptation to act up when friends were round, as if they felt the friend would somehow be impressed by backchat or being rude to me. I've explained several times over the years (including recently to my new teenager!) that friends are generally not impressed by disrespectful behaviour and that in fact it has the opposite effect. I have turned it round - how would they feel if they were at their friend's house and their friend was very rude to their mother/in your case hit their mother? Chances are it would make them feel a bit insecure, a bit shocked, worried, feel bad for the mother, maybe even want to go home etc. You're unlikely to get the response that it would make them feel impressed and happy! Flipping the situation round so they can look at it from a different direction has always been a good strategy with my two. Maybe the presence of your DD's friend had nothing to do with her hitting you, but it would still give her a different perspective to consider it from the other direction and at 5.5 she's old enough to do that.

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Jan-13 10:35:32

I think you have to let go of this 'perfect daughter' thing. Do you never start reading a book or a newspaper, then lose interest?! So what if she decides not to complete a jigsaw aged 5. If your dd is well-behaved at school and plays nicely for the most part at home, she is doing fine in life. However, I think it's fine to set limits like 'don't touch XYZ but you can play with ABC of mine'.

One of mine has not worn any tights all winter, she hates the tight feeling around her tummy and gets sweaty and hot indoors. She has been wearing long socks, long skirts and running around a lot, or wearing leggings instead. She's 7, I don't mind this (I would put my foot down over things like washing hands to prevent norovirus, never hitting, being polite, but not tights).

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