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To be mad with DD over this?

(143 Posts)
nicknamegame Tue 17-Sep-13 07:57:56

DD is 6, and although generally an ok sleeper, she still tends to wake early at weekends etc. The issue I have is that when she has woken up, she pretty much won't give up until I get up too. Not unusual in kids I guess, but I'm kinda wondering when dd will entertain herself or not make such a dramatic entrance into our room in the mornings. She literally 'runs' into the room as though someone's chasing her and invariably whacks the bedroom door against the wall, which generally means I get woken pretty unpleasantly. If she wakes in the night ( she has episodes of waking at least once a night for weeks at a time), it will also be a running/whacking the door entrance which scares the shit out of me tbh)
If I send her back to her room, she will come back in EVERY 5 minutes, literally will not give up, so getting back to sleep is impossible and weekends usually start with one of those groggy headaches.
This morn she woke up at 6, and did her usual of 'bursting' dramatically into my room. We have visitors who she loves and wanted to wake them up as well- I refused to let her, so said she could either get in my bed for a cuddle or go back in her room, she stood there sulking demanding to be allowed to go up and jump on said visitors. I saw red at her standing there pouting and whining, and having to deal with a potential tantrum before even opening my eyes so I shouted at her to get back to bed, waking up my OH beside me.

Since then, DD has now burst back into my room on 10 minute intervals, (the last one dressed in Santa Claus outfit (funny!). I lost my rag though and physically frogmarched her back to the room, shouting.
She's in there now sobbing, and I've woken the visitors anyway because I can now hear them upstairs. It's now also time to get up so technically she got what she wanted - just took a bit longer than she would have liked. I know was BU shouting and reacting, but sometimes I feel my DD is a classic only child (sorry- usually hate that term) in that she refuses to entertain herself and sees me and my needs as completely irrelevant. She bursts into the bathroom when I'm on the toilet, and if I send her out, she will stand outside laughing into the gaps in the hinges about 'what I'm doing on the toilet' etc. If I'm eating something she wants she will try harass me til I give it to her, or she will 'monitor' what I eat, so if I give her one biscuit and I have two, she has her eye on my other biscuit the whole time she is eating her own, commenting on why I have more than her.

Writing it down - I think she doesn't know she is a child or at least that I'm an adult!
I kinda figured I would get a little more personal space as she got older and I'm resenting the fact that I don't.

Am I being unreasonable? Unrealistic maybe? I feel guilty now that she's upset but sometimes I wish I could make her see that it's ok to be awake on her own, or that it really isn't ok to not allow me personal space at times. shock

Neena28 Tue 17-Sep-13 08:45:20

Agree with what others have said and also you dp's comments.

But I would say maybe approach this in a positive sense too. My dd is 8 and has responded really positively to a star chart from very little. Give her a clock and then make staying in her room til the clock is at a certain point a starable achievement (yep I made up the word starable!!)

Ditto the other things you are having issues with. Rewards don't need to be big things, but things that she normally as such as a magazine or going to the park etc. My dd is working towards having some fish...each week the top reward is something to reach this goal, so far she's earned the food, a plant, a tank ornament and the gravel. We went to the pet shop and we talked about what she'd need to be a good fish owner and made a list. The end goal is the tank and then the fish themselves.

However we also have consequences as a part of this. Dd is a whiner and has 'using a proper voice to ask for things' column. So I can say 'dd if you carry on talking to me in that silly voice you will lose the star for talking properly' if she does then the star is not happening. One warning that is it. We both know it so its totally fair.

I've found it changes things and allows me a tangible threat as such that doesn't get me in to a negotiating situation.

JerseySpud Tue 17-Sep-13 08:49:00

I feel your pain.

My eldest DD is also 6 nearly 7 and sometimes she is horrible to be around. She's a complete know it all, sits outside doors listening to conversations, is one constant tantrum if she gets fed something she doesn't like, or if she can't do something.

And when she goes its about 2-3 hours before she calms down. She was an only child until she was 4.5 so i think alot of it is that she doesn't like sharing us with her younger sister who is far more placid.

But i think alot of the attitude, answering back etc is just an age thing. and apparently it doesn't get any better.

spg1983 Tue 17-Sep-13 08:49:16

This is going to be long but hopefully some of it will be helpful...

We had a really similar situation with DSS who is 7. Part of the problem was that he is only with us from Fri-Sun each week and his mum was going through a tough time during which he'd developed these behaviours and they also appeared during our time with him.

We got him a gro-clock which worked brilliantly to start with but again he started pushing boundaries once he could tell the time ("but it's only another 20 mins before I have to get up") and we have stayed 100% consistent, even sending him out when he was only 5 mins early. When we said we'd take the gro-clock away if he kept ignoring it, he immediately changed because he knew we would definitely follow through.

We have also had other issues similar to yours with food etc "can I have some of your food...hang on, you've got more than me, that's not fair"...even though he'd already had a plate of his favourite food ten minutes ago! Other things like opening a wrapper and then asking one of us to take the wrapper away from him rather than walk three steps to the bin. Not getting ready to get out of the house in time despite multiple warnings - we carried him out in his pants once when he was being particularly disobedient!

This makes us sound like we are really harsh but I promise we're not. Each and every time we explain why we are doing what we do - things like "if you wake up really early then you end up tired at about 5pm" or "you need to get good at following instructions to get out of the house on time for when you're at school" or "we'll miss treat X we arranged for you if we're late" or "if you keep things tidy then it's easier to find things and you have more floor space to play on" or "if you say please then people will see what a nice polite boy you are". Sometimes if he's being a monkey then we do pull out the old "because I said so" or "because you're a child and we are trying to do what's best for you".

He is sooooo much better now and is an absolute star especially when we go out - beautiful manners and doesn't do naughty things. Obviously he still has his moments as any child does but he snaps out of them much quicker.

He is still a pain at his mum's house though - opening packaging and throwing it on the floor, then shouting at mum to put the toy together but she's not there as she's putting the packaging in the bin...that she just retrieved from his feet. Then comes back and apologises for not being there when he first called. Then it's "mum I want a drink". No please, and she runs off and gets it. DH and I were appalled at how he treats her and always call him on it. She is at her wits' end with how he behaves but it's easy to see how it got like that, and I accept that it's harder for her and her DP to tackle it as DSS is with her for the majority of the time.

Sorry for the epic post but I think what I'm trying to say is that we've found the consistent and reasonable approach to be really effective, but it also shows that children are still able to revert really quickly back to different behaviours when in a different environment.

spg1983 Tue 17-Sep-13 08:52:15

Oh and we only have a very small number of rules (which cover nearly all things!!)...things like:

Be kind and polite to each other
No litter and tidy up behind you

spg1983 Tue 17-Sep-13 09:01:47

And a big yes to rewards as well, except we found that charts wore off after a while, we tend to do things like surprise trips to bowling etc every so often and we make it really clear it's because DSS has been so good recently.

Takver Tue 17-Sep-13 09:10:43

Only one thing to add - we used to put out a 'room service' breakfast for dd at weekends in her room when she was about that age. So a serving of cereal in a tupperware box, milk in a jug with a saucer on top, bowl, spoon and piece of fruit all on a tray. (Put it out at your bedtime, and the milk is still fine at 5yr old wakeup time!)

She used to wake us up because she was starving, but she loved her little 'hotel breakfasts' as a special treat plus we got time in bed so win all round grin Of course the quid pro quo was she only got them if we weren't disturbed . . .

hippo123 Tue 17-Sep-13 09:16:15

Get a lock on your bathroom door, put it high up if you don't want her to use it. In the mornings can she not go downstairs and watch a film or something? My 6 year old does this at weekends and makes breakfast for himself and younger dd. they both view it as a big treat. Sounds like you need to gain some control.

nicknamegame Tue 17-Sep-13 09:24:34

Thank you all for your messages, really helpful suggestions here.

Yes my dd is lovely, she's quiet at school, teachers always say she is a back seat learner and doesn't contribute to lessons (I've witnessed this myself on helping days and was pretty shocked tbh) but she can be shy around others anyway. She is average ability and teachers are happy enough with her progress despite her shyness.

She is very much a 'one best friend' type child and is very very intense and posessive over her friend. That's a whole other thread to be honest because her intensity with this friend causes us big problems, such as she openly smothers the friend during play dates, gets upset at school if she plays with someone else, and has to be usually dragged crying and causing a scene from her house when a play date comes to an end.

I think the 'spoiled' comments, although sad to hear, are actually true. My dd is spoiled. Just now for example, the relative that she loves so much was getting her ready for school, dd was messing about, literally letting this relative dress her but making it difficult by being silly. I go in and tell dd off, she ignores and ignores me, relative is getting stressed because she will be late for school, I'm trying to tie her hair up and end up 'yanking' her pony tail to get her to calm down, which results in a screaming crying fit that I've 'pulled her hair deliberately to hurt her'.

By this stage, the whole house is awake and she needs to go to school in 5 minutes.

StuntGirl Tue 17-Sep-13 09:27:03

You actually stop what you are doing, go into the room when she yells for you and turn the tv over for her? shock Ok, stop that OP, stop it right now! She "can't" turn the tv over? Well she'll have to watch the same channel won't she!

She is definitely ruling the roost, and you're letting her. You've probably slipped into these habits accidentally, but its time to put a stop to them. The bedroom thing would be my first task. I agree with the suggestion of a clock. I'd also combine it with a star chart. For every day she waits til X time and then quietly comes to your room she gets a star. At the end of the week she gets a treat. Lavish her with praise when she does well. Ignore and quietly but firmly escort her back to her room if she disobeys. Don't yell, don't react, just take her back. As someone upthread said, even if its 5 minutes early, stay consistent.

Once you've tackled the bedroom thing you can move on to other behaviour.

StanleyLambchop Tue 17-Sep-13 09:32:54

'You're the adult, if I'm late, you'll be in trouble, not me. I saw red about that comment and literally ranted at her all the way to school

Have you tried telling her you will phone her head teacher and make her go on the phone and explain why you are running late? I have told my DD I have speed dial to the HT's home phone. Also, does the school have a late book? I often say that if we are late to school it will be her who has to put down the reason and 'My mum made me late' would not be accepted. The shame of the late book seems to be enough to get her moving!

Other than that, can I reassure you that 2 years ago I could have written your post. Now DD is a bit older she will read in her room, or do some puzzles until a (slightly) more acceptable time in the morning. So there is some hope at the end of the tunnel!

girliefriend Tue 17-Sep-13 09:39:12

I have an only and she has been able to get up quietly and play independently for ages (she is 7yo) I would go absolutely mad if she did to me what your dd is doing to you, in fact I am feeling the rage a little bit on your behalf!!!

It is not unreasonable at all for you to expect a 6 yr old yo get up quietly and play independently for an hour or so, she isn't a toddler ffs!!

My dd knows on wend to get up quietly and play independently, she will then tip toe into my room after about an hour and whisper 'can I watch the telly now please', I normally say yes and she potters off again. Most wends I get a lie in until about 9am.

It sounds like you are raising a complete diva and I wouldn't have it at all, her being an only is no excuse. Have a zero tolerance approach to the morning thing, warn her the night before that if she wakes you up you will be taking away xyz. When/if she runs in the next morning, don't even speak to her but go and get a black bag and fill it with her toys. My guess is you would only have to do this once or twice.

nicknamegame Tue 17-Sep-13 09:40:29

By whole house, I mean the relatives that are visiting (one night only)

I feel awful now, truly awful because as was crying for a hug before school even though she is still shouting that I've pulled her hair, I'm furious at this almost 3 hour drama that has unfolded this morning and don't actually feel like suddenly hugging her to say its all ok now. I know I need to be the adult and not send her to school upset, but I'm still so mad that I tell her she needs to learn that she cannot demand that I comfort her and tell her everything is ok, because actually, it's time she learned that her behaviour is upsetting and I also need time to calm down.

Mumsyblouse Tue 17-Sep-13 09:40:29

I think this is partly an age thing, my now 7 year old is very much like this, it's all about finding the boundaries and just how much running about mummy and daddy are prepared to do. Me and my husband discussed this recently and decided that our youngest had to be brought back from her princessy behaviour for her own benefit really, not anything bad, just that she's a member of the family, has to tidy up, be polite and so on (she was doing all the things your dd does). I think she was acting up because it was a stressful time. Now- I don't get anything unless she's polite, she has to tidy up behind her, we are not her personal servants, but it's also nice to make time like reading together playing games or just lying in bed chatting. You can get in a habit of constantly telling off a child in this mind-set and it doesn't work- I also have been trying to curb the shouting for this reason.

Mumsyblouse Tue 17-Sep-13 09:42:45

nickname you sound like me, the defiance and princessy drama sets your own temper off and you can't then calm down. The best thing to do with drama queens is walk away from them, or remove them, or calmly tell them what you are going to do (even if they have a meltdown). In this situation, I would say 'if you are late, you will have to explain to the head-teacher why you are late' and let it play out. She won't really be late, she just wants two people's attention and that's not always possible!

Mumsyblouse Tue 17-Sep-13 09:45:03

And- she's too little to manage your emotions too. I think it's fine every now and again for your children to see if you are upset, but they can't be expected to moderate their behaviour to keep you calm all the time, it's beyond their own emotional understanding and powers, if anything, all attention is good attention.

Write off this morning, don't worry about it again, and concentrate on keeping yourself calm, and less on what she is actually doing, spend some fun time together too, but stick firm on the stuff like being polite, putting things away, doing what you are told (consequences, punishment, time out whatever works for you).

nicknamegame Tue 17-Sep-13 09:45:54

You are definitely right about the mind set I've got into with her - I hate that I seem to telling her off constantly and being so negative. She is completely lovely and funny a lot of the time but 'princessy' behaviour rings so true for me. I really want to tackle the shouting, it doesn't help that I'm off work sick today and have less tolerance as it is.

I will feel guilty all day that she has gone to school feeling bad. confused

nicknamegame Tue 17-Sep-13 09:50:58

Cross posts, yes I know I need to be the adult. I don't usually make her responsible for my feelings. I just in that moment of being angry thought that she is always demanding hugs in the immediate aftermath of a scene she's caused. Irrational and petty as it sounds, I resent it because she is skipping the part where she says sorry or acknowledges her behaviour, and jumps right to the part where she gets a nice cuddle and it's all forgotten, regardless of what she's just done or who she has upset.

Mumsyblouse Tue 17-Sep-13 09:52:45

nickname let it go, you have hundreds of other days to remain calmer. And I aim to be calm and still lose it. But it sounds like you need a bit of a mummy/daughter reconnection where you remember how well you get on, I sometimes find these things drift for a while, or one child (I have two) just starts being difficult and you start finding them irritating and it's a vicious circle. But don't take this morning into the afternoon, just leave it now, don't apologise to her (not necessary, neither of you covered yourselves in glory), pick her up, be firm but fair and try to build in some nice time, she will probably find just chatting with you or holding your hand on the way home a nice thing to do. I sometimes consciously have to step back from being too negative with my two, as I am naturally a critical person, and have to remember that everyone prefers encouragement than criticism (it's also easier then to be firm over the important stuff if you are getting on better).

WildeRumpus Tue 17-Sep-13 09:52:45

You need to be firmer op. Your dd is a little person, not a baby and needs firm, fair boundaries. You matter too!. It is soooo important that she learns this.

Get a gro clock and just do not get up when she wants you to. Waiting won't hurt her and you firm and still friendly when she tantrums. Just don't cave and she will get the message soon enough.

Ask her to give you privacy on the loo. My 3 yr old ds gets this, and we respond in kind. Does she know how her behaviour makes you feel? If not, she should be made aware of this. If so, can she tell you why she feels the need to do it?

Read 'how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk'. Has great advice on how not to shout but get your point across and how to prevent the situation where you are reasonable then explode. This is such a helpful book for troubling times!

Some days ds is such a boundary testing bugger and I feel so mean. But I stand firm because I am bringing up someone's future husband... Letting your kids know you deserve time for yourself to have coffee etc is importantor they could turn into very stroppy entitled adults!

The other side to this of course is a lot of fun and attention when it is their time smile

Easier said than done tho I know op! Good luck! smile

WildeRumpus Tue 17-Sep-13 10:02:45

Ps. It is ok to say to your dd that you are not feeling like a cuddle because she has upset you but will do later. Your feelings matter. She will understand that her behaviour has a consequence (you are upset or cross) but also that there is resolution - you aren't freezing her out but are showing that you won't be manipulated so she doesn't have to feel bad for being rude/mean. When you feel calmer and want to make up talk about it, cuddle and move on smile

wonderingsoul Tue 17-Sep-13 10:08:10

i have to agree, this struck a cord with me to, and i can relate to it.

I seem to have developed a pattern with her where my interactions with her are negative and I'm stern all the time.

it is very easy to get lost in it, and i have days/ week where it seems all iv done is told them off, when i get like that i let loose and have some proper child crazy fun with them, tickle fights.. jumping around singing..even just a movie night snuggled up watching movies. ANYTHING, so i i can reconnect and remeber that they are fun, they are children and its me that needs to get a grip, not them lol.

the bedroom thing, i echo the clock/alarm, getting things out, i used to have a waker but thankfully he would sneak in and id find him in the morning. could you have a talk with her, have some one on one before it, so she feels secure and happy, it may help her listen more.

ppeatfruit Tue 17-Sep-13 10:19:32

I don't agree that being empathetic to yr 6 yr old turns them into stroppy entitled adults.I have always tried to ask myself WHY dd or ds is doing such and such; as someone upthread said they might be feeling scared or lonely and have an exuberant personality; they can't think "i know I'll annoy mummy by banging the door open to wake her up."

IMO and E all dcs respond to quiet discussions. The gro clock sounds a good idea but if you could look at the problem from her angle it would help a lot too.

DeWe Tue 17-Sep-13 10:20:21

Ds is 6yo and still wakes sometimes during the night, when he usually either calls out to me, or comes running into our room to bury himself between us, much in the style of your dd.

It's not naughtiness that gets him like that. He just finds it scary waking up in the dark and needs reassurance that we're still there. It's definitely a panicky call, or a panicked run through to us.

What I've done is get him a digital clock with big red numbers. He now knows if it is before 7am on weekdays, or 8am weekends, he has to be quiet. So he might call out to me, but he knows if I come through then he isn't to chat, I'll just quietly resettle. And if he comes through to us, he comes quietly. And I always cuddle him so he feels secure.

It's working quite well so far.

cjel Tue 17-Sep-13 10:24:30

This sounds like a nightmare for you , I don't agree its an age thing. I have a huge family and 2dcs and 5 dgcs and haven't seen 6 yr olds go through this, but thats no help to you!!!
Its brilliant that you are so aware that you don't like your behaviour as well , but try not to be too hard on yourself - we can all only do our best.
The clock sounds a brilliant idea I know of one that looks like a rabbit and you can set for sleep time and awake time.(i think it may have been on GLT)
I would also suggest seeing if you can find a parenting course. they aren't for people who are getting it 'wrong' but for all of us to try and help us through this difficult

AaDB Tue 17-Sep-13 10:29:17

Hope you feel better. Try to sleep and start the day again after school. We all have bad days.

I also disagree about only children being unable to entertain themselves. In our house there isn't a battle of wills, I make the decisions and (eventually) what I want will happen.

I am awake early and so ds (6) doesn't go downstairs on his own. He could do though. He has an analogue clock and has known 7am is the earliest he can get up since he was 2 1/2.

I had an epiphany last year. DS wanted to play with slightly older friends out of my sight. He was really upset when I was hesitant. In the end I agreed, but he had to come back periodically. We had a chat when we got home and agreed he could have more freedom if he agreed to be responsible.

I do listen more to his requests and he is able to articulate his needs. He gets washed and dressed in uniform before he comes down and he gets a sticker and can watch TV as soon as we get in. Sticker charts are worth pocket money. Stickers come off after one warning. TV usage is linked to behaviour.

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a timeout to read or have a bath and expect your dad to entertain herself. Agree to play a game or go to the park afterwards. Do you have anyone that could look after your dd for a few hours?

Be consistent, ignore the behaviour you don't like, reward that you do. I'd also set up mini weekend treats (bowling, cinema) and a big treat after a month. I would not allow friends over or visits until behaviour improved. I'd tackle the morning shenanigans and toilet thing straight away. Once she knows you will stick to your guns, it should get easier.

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