to be angry with DH(65 Posts)
For background: DD1 (10) has had some difficulties at school drop-off since about the middle of last term - she won't walk over and line up with the class, always hangs back with me in the playground and has to be passed on to a teacher who walks her in. This compromise was reached after several incidents of her being really upset and almost hysterical (me too in many cases!) about leaving me and going into school. It's worth saying that when she's in, she's fine, and is fairly stable in all other aspects of life, bar the odd hormonal outburst.
However I discussed with DH last night the possibility of working on this with her again, as we've accepted this as the new 'normal' but really I want her to be able to line up and walk into school with her friends, as she has done for the previous five years of school so far. I suggested offering what would be basically a massive bribe - we will buy her a fitbit/ipad/gadget she wants IF she will work with us to overcome this.
This conversation was somewhat brief and not concluded (or so I thought) - fast forward to this morning when I go upstairs to find DD1 crying as her dad had told her that she wasn't getting to practice cello with her best friend after school (which he'd previously agreed to arrange), unless she does better at walking into school this morning.
I'm not often angry at DH but I was raging - this is the complete opposite of what I thought we'd agreed last night, and he hadn't even told me he'd said it to her - he was on his way out when I discovered this conversation had been held, leaving me to talk down a distressed DD1 and then try to get her successfully into school. I can't believe he doesn't understand the pressure that sort of request puts on her - effectively punishing her for not doing something she finds extremely difficult at the moment, and tying it in with her and her friend's performance with their musical instrument. I find this even more baffling because he's a music teacher!!
AIBU to be so mad? I know he was trying to help - he'd clearly registered from last night's (half-baked) conversation that there was a problem and so decided to try and fix it. But this was NOT what we agreed. I really wanted to do this in a positive way, take time to discuss with with DD1 and use a simple incentive, not issue random punishments an hour before school connected to her friends and her music, which is detrimental to both of them and we now have to enforce because, clearly, I had to walk her into school today as per usual!
I can see his POV to be fair. Bribing her with an iPad etc is not right imho. Life won't always be so straight forward. At 10yo no SEN then I'd be inclined to take a harder approach.
Bribery will not work. She will expect similar concessions to do anything.
I would have gone for punishment too. Probably long before now. At this age she is old enough to understand what is expected. And as there are no issues once in school there is no real reason for her outbursts.
I don't find rewarding (extravagant gifts!!!) for someone which should just be done as standard very effective
If there's an underlying issue, then you need to address the issue and bribery won't work.
If there's no underlying issue, then she just needs to do it.
He was an unhelpful arse. What on earth was he thinking? He's just added another layer of stress to an emotional 'block' she has. And left you with the fall-out.
I dont want this to come across harsh, but i work in a primary and i've seen a fair few kids like this. Honestly the best thing for them (if no sen etc) is for mum / dad to just drop them, give a kiss goodbye then walk away. I've seen kids practically throwing up crying in hysterics. Then as soon as mum is out the gate they stop it and get on with it.
If she is 10, and you know she is fine when shes there, just walk away. Remove the audience
Another one here who thinks the bribery option is way off.
I don't like how your husband has dealt with it either.
Is everyone already lined up by the time you get to school and does she feel stared at or are they all still playing in the yard when you get there? If the latter, why can't she find a friend to go line up with?
If the former, arrive earlier.
Could she not walk to school by herself?
If she's fine when she's in then this has become a bad habit and needs to be broken.
Also think it may not be helping if you yourself are getting "upset and hysterical". . She's not off to war.....it's just school
Could you explain a bit more why she's suddenly finding this so difficult?
Just tell her to get into school and stop fannying about.
You're both wrong really. Punishing her for her anxiety is cruel and bribery is setting her up to fail which will make her feel worse. You need to find what's triggering this anxiety and work on the cause.
Has DD told you why this is an issue? For me that would really steer the course of action...on the limited info provided I would not be leaning towards a treat or bribe. DD is inconveniencing you or a teacher daily and has been (I assume) asked to stop and do as everyone else does. Youve said no SEN? and again I assume(?) she hasnt come to harm on walking in previously? so I wouldn't indulge it.
A concern for me is that she is opening herself up for a world of bullying at secondary school if this persists..... and in truth it may be already too late as this behaviour will have been noted by her pals, who may retell the tale when teen bitchiness starts up.
You need to leave her in the playground and not feed her drama by being upset and hysterical yourself. At our school, only the p1 and p2 parents stay in the playground. The rest drop and go.
Without understanding the backstory, we shouldn't dismiss the arrangement made by school and OP. There is a place for rewards, never for punishment and increased pressure.
Another approach would be for you to drop her at a friend's, and have her walk in with friend. Often children act up with DM when they don't with DF, or act up with DPs but not with childminder/other adult. She'll need to settle after this morning's ultimatum though.
That said my DGM refused to take me ever again because I screamed the place down every day, regardless who took me.
Ok, to deal with a few of these responses - BitOutOfPractice the honest answer is I don't know. I think it's a weird mix of hormones/insecurity/fear of growing older, of moving up into P7 and then into high school. We're doing our best to try and boost her confidence and independence in general, but I think there's more we could do with that.
Sissy it's a bit of a vicious circle - when the issue began she would get upset about going into the line and leaving me and she would cry, and then be upset that her friends were looking and asking if she was ok. So then after that she didn't want to go and line up because she didn't want to cry. She won't accept going in with a friend, or the teacher's suggestion that she go into school before everyone to help (she's a junior librarian and a road safety helper too so could do something for these).
Teal it is very reassuring to know I'm not the only one. The thing is I find it difficult to just walk away because she is literally hanging onto me, won't let go - and if I just walked off (and I have been tempted many times) she would follow. I'm not usually distressed and in hysterics myself - it makes me angry more than anything - but it has got to me once or twice.
And ok I now take the point about the bribery - I guess I was just thinking reward might work better than punishment...and I'm getting desperate to break the status quo on this!
You can't buy her an iPad for walking into school surely?????
I'm afraid I would be going with punishments/taking away privileges if she doesn't do what is expected of her.
But I would be annoyed at DH not discussing with me first. And the other child will now be affected by the punishment.
Unless there are some SEN involved in which case ignore all the above obviously.
I feel like that was maybe a bit harsh!!! Just read it back. Sorry!! It sounds like your DD is struggling
I had trouble like this as a child, at around 8 or so. My parents physically threw me crying into the bus and the bus driver slammed the doors and drove off. I'm sure the school were telling my parents I was fine because I was comforted by the older girls and then didn't behave differently from how they knew me when I was at school.
I was not fine. No one ever attempted to get to the bottom of what the problem was and the reason the school probably thought I was ok was because I was quiet and traumatized. No one once asked me to try to explain the problem and the one time I tried I was told not to be so stupid by my parents.
So what I learned was that no one gave a shit and I shouldn't try and get help for being bullied by an appalling teacher who should never have been allowed near children, and I have massive anxiety and trust issues as a result.
So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't think your DH's approach is right, and I think what you've got worked out with the school at the moment sounds like it's working and helping your daughter. But if there's any chance at all that there's a more serious underlying issue than worrying about leaving you then please try to give her the space to tell you about it and believe her when she tells you.
I don't personally look on the buying of iPad as a 'bribe' but an incentive (albeit an expensive one). We do this with our kids sometimes but with smaller items and it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't - my kids aren't materialistic. Your dh was wrong to turn it into a punishment, that goes without saying (he was probably panicking at the thought of having to buy a gadget and trying to save some money)!
Backt0Black I'm not even sure DD knows why - when it's discussed she usually gets upset and says she's doesn't know why she can't do it. And yes I'm worried for how this will go when she's going to high school - she's got to get on a bus across town to get there, which will present its own challenges. I really want her to be more resilient by then to deal with whatever that brings, and avoid her becoming a target for bullying.
DGM takes DD to school sometimes when I have to work early, but I think she has the same experience I do and usually hands her over to a teacher.
I feel like the issue is when she has to leave me - so whether that's at a friend's house or at the school gate or at the door, she won't willingly let me go. I feel like I'd be regressing to a 'cry it out' strategy if I was able to walk off and leave her to it.
Why bribe her with expensive stuff like that? She could be playing you for it and you are making a rod for your own back.
I would be another who would simply be telling her to pack it in, stop being so silly and get into school. I would leave her in the playground, simply say goodbye and go, ignoring any protest.
She is ten, not five. I would tell her that.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.