To consider giving "lines" to my 7 year old.(83 Posts)
We're having a bit of an issue here and I'm trying to find a way of dealing with it.
Our girl is 7, generally pretty well behaved, generally takes a telling and if told "no you can't have that" or "no we can't do that" she just accepts it.
Where we have a problem is, sometimes if we give her in to trouble for something, always pretty minor and the telling off is just a "can you please not do that" she can sometimes lose it a bit and start crying. Mostly it all blows over quickly, but occasionally she will really lose it and it ends up with her just yelling and crying. We've tried all sorts of ways of dealing with it and haven't really found a good one. It all ends with a calm conversation about what just happened and promises (on both sides) to do better next time.
Our current method is to basically let her get on with it and tell her we will talk to her when she stops yelling. It seems to have been working, the last time she only yelled for a few minutes and I thought we had it cracked. But tonight she got out of bed at ten pm with a spurious night time attention request (we've had a few nights of her not being able to get to sleep, which happens from time to time). We refused to pander to it, as it's become a bit of a habit. I told her the last time she asked, we wouldn't be doing it again. She did not like this and right royally kicked off. Shouted, yelled, and even screamed, which is a big no no in our house. She threw the mother of all tantrums and the ignoring thing didn't work, seemed to make it worse. Eventually I told her if I came upstairs, which is what she was insisting I did, it would be to close her door (she hates that) and she would be in her room all day tomorrow. She stopped, went to bed and fell asleep.
So, needless to say, tomorrow we are going to have to have words. She already is off screens because she's had trouble sleeping and I know that can cause sleep issues, so the "no telly" thing won't work. There isn't really anything else I can think of to take away from her, and anyway, that's never been too effective. So, I wondered, would it be weird, or terrible to give her lines tomorrow? Is that all outdated? Do schools still do it? Am I nuts for even thinking about it?
Or can anyone else suggest an alternative? How on earth do you deal with a tantrumming 7 year old who will literally just scream "I just want to talk to you" over and over again. I've tried a couple of times saying "ok, let's talk" and she actually doesn't really have anything to say. It seems to be an attention thing, but seriously, she is the most attended child ever because of her disability.
I have talked to her extensively to see if anything is bothering her. She did have a few sleep issues a few weeks back when a scary story was doing the rounds, But she got over that ok and was sleeping fine. We talk a lot about how she is feeling and sharing our worries. If she is bothered by something she usually tells us.
Ready to be royally roasted - interested to hear whether it's a really terrible idea!
She's 7, not 17. She's telling you loud and clear that you're not meeting her emotional needs. You refer to her in an oddly clinical and detached way IMO.
It sounds like you are being overly strict and severe with her generally when she is really well-behaved and sweet-natured. No screens, at all, because of sleep issues?
I agree with your approach of finding a good time to talk about her concerns and that doing so in the heat of the moment is not a good idea. I would recommend a course of love bombing, spending a lot of time with her and find out what really makes her tick.
But really, just try and chill the fuck out a bit or get some professional help. You come across as highly anxious and neurotic and your daughter is picking up on it. I'd work on those issues as well as the relationship with your daughter.
Ok. Erm...explain oddly clinical? Because I'm really not like that with her. (At least I don't think so !)
I'm not sure how else I would "meet her emotional needs" because we talk about stuff all the time, we're very huggy kiss type family. We do lots of things together and if she says "can we have cuddles" the answer is always yes.
You might have touched on something. She is quite ahead and often people think she is a fair bit older than she is, although on an emotional level she is a bit less mature than some of her peers sometimes. I know we sometimes fall into the trap of forgetting she is 7 but mostly we know where she is at emotionally. Having said that, it was a long time ago since I was 7, maybe I am expecting too much of her?
I disagree. I think a reasonable boundary is being set - no funny business after lights out - and OP's DD is pushing against the boundary. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to be seeking ways to enforce it, especially as this child is seven years old and doesn't have tantrums until she doesn't get her own way.
It would be a different matter if she were waking up crying, and OP was refusing to go to her, or if she genuinely needed something and was asking for it, and OP was withholding. From the sounds of the OP, none of that is the case. The child is misbehaving by getting up with nonsense requests night after night, and OP is parenting by setting a boundary regarding bedtime and expecting the child - a child who is old enough to both be reasoned with and to understand reason - to comply.
That said, lines are not the way to go. I wish I knew what WAS the way to go, but without knowing your DD and more about the situation, I wouldn't presume to tell you how to raise your child All I can say is, keep enforcing (reasonable) boundaries, and lines aren't the way to go.
😂Sorry but not anxious or neurotic at all. If anything not neurotic enough sometimes.
We are a bit strict, but not overly so. I've said often to Mr Foo, if this is the worst she does, we're pretty well off really.
The screen thing - it's not like she was constantly watching telly and now gets none. It's something someone suggested a couple of days ago to see if it helped the sleep thing .and I asked her if she wanted to give it a try and she said yes. It appears not to have made a blind bit of difference so I've filed it in the "bunkum" box.
Trying to think now where we need to let up.
Don't give her lines, you're not her teacher. Just keep doing what you're doing. And chill out.
foogirl she is 7 this is a behavioral thing where she is telling you something and you need to work out what it is not try and shut her up with lines.
You can try and find things that will calm her down naturally as well, which will work much better IMHO than a random unrelated punishment.
"We talk a lot about how she is feeling and sharing our worries. If she is bothered by something she usually tells us." It sounds like you are doing a good job generally but bedtimes is the issue.
"Eventually I told her if I came upstairs, which is what she was insisting I did, it would be to close her door (she hates that) and she would be in her room all day tomorrow. She stopped, went to bed and fell asleep."
Why does she hate the door shut? Is she scared? If so, you basically worked out what she was sacred of and used that to shut her up. I know that is partially how any punishment works but a real fear (like fear of the dark or whatever) is different in my book to fear of losing the computer the next day.
"So, needless to say, tomorrow we are going to have to have words. She already is off screens because she's had trouble sleeping and I know that can cause sleep issues, so the "no telly" thing won't work. There isn't really anything else I can think of to take away from her"
If you have already taken everything away and she still has 'issues' I think you need to explore this a bit more thoroughly.
Is she scared at night, worried, is she being bullied, have friendship issues at school, family issues?
"So, I wondered, would it be weird, or terrible to give her lines tomorrow? Is that all outdated? Do schools still do it? Am I nuts for even thinking about it?"
yes, yes, yes, no, no you are no nuts but please reconsider and work through this with her.
"How on earth do you deal with a tantrumming 7 year old who will literally just scream "I just want to talk to you" over and over again. I've tried a couple of times saying "ok, let's talk" and she actually doesn't really have anything to say."
She wants to know you are there and accessible to her. It is very hard. My dd at 7 would not go to sleep without me in the room. It was very difficult but we came through it. Time seems to help.
I;d be tempted rather than making her write lines the next day to get her a journal and encourage her write or draw how she is feeling each night before she goes to bed. This may help to tire her out and also give you something to work on. This is just an idea but it feel less like a punishment and more like a communication exercise.
"It seems to be an attention thing, but seriously, she is the most attended child ever because of her disability." What's the disability and could this be feeding fears of some kind?
"I have talked to her extensively to see if anything is bothering her."
That's good, are you listening and giving sufficient pauses to allow her to communicate fully? My dd finds communication hard (she has autistic tenancies) so everything is veiled in language that doesn't express it properly. EG "You don't love me." Means I am feeling insecure. It still hurts to hear it but now I do know what it means!
Can I recommend a brilliant book called How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
PS I seem to have linked to the audo book it is available in paper back and also, I think, Kindle. The version I linked to lets you read a bit.
I am dyslexic (as is my dd) and hate reading books and even I managed it because it is so interesting and i really think had some ace ideas on communication.
OP try not to worry, ease up on punishments, maybe take things like screens away for a shorter time so you can issue a punishment again for re-offending rather than taking away a whole new thing, IMHO.
I'd also recommend working through one or both of these books together.
If nothing else, it gets you to spend time together just listening to her and her concerns. It should help you and her deal with any fears and worries she may be having, teach emotional literacy and perspective and help her to stay in bed at night.
I think lines aren't the best solution, as they are not linked to the "crime".
But again, I don't know what else to suggest.
At the end of the day, she is 7 (just like my oldest). That is still tiny. I think I'd treat the nights with a cuddle and "its night time, we can talk in the morning, but it's time to sleep right now". Not for reasons, but my 7 year old wakes frequently (maybe 5 nights a week) and this is what we do if he needs us. I believe it works, as he often wakes, but doesn't call out - I hear him potter about for 5 mins, and then go back to bed, but don't need to see him.
I like the sound of a journal. Or maybe a new teddy/doll if she is still into them who can be the night time guardian - test will look after her over night, and she can tell him any problems?
Hope you're all tucked up in bed - it's morning here, we've all had breakfast.
She sounds really upset and unable to handle her emotions, i wouldnt punish that.
Please don't give her lines. Schools tend not to do it anymore either, because writing shouldn't be seen as a punishment, if children link lines with punishment it makes it harder to make things like handwriting practice and creative writing fun, which can make them harder to teach.
Have you tried talking to her when she's calm and telling her how she's making you feel and listening to how she's feeling? Maybe you could make you both a nice lunch or a hot chocolate, something like that so its a nice calm two way conversation and she feels respected and listened to, rather than like she's being asked why she's behaving the way she is. it does sound like she's feeling a bit insecure, has something changed at school or home? Is there something worrying her? fall out with bestfriend maybe? or pressure about SATs/being in KS2 so not one of the little children anymore? (depending which year she is)
If she's having trouble sleeping that's won't be helping her temper, she's probably really tired, no helpful advice on that as I struggle with it too, but if you can find a way to help her sleep, or talk to your GP, you may well find once she's sleeping she's far less prone to tears and tantrums.
Other than that have you tried giving her time outs? or somewhere she can take herself to calm down when she's feeling a bit stroppy? sending my DD to her room never worked and she never stayed still on the naughty step but I bought a little doormat that sat in the hallway for her to sit on and that did work, if she took herself there i left her alone for 5 minutes to cool down, then asked what was up.
You're right about the lines - writing shouldn't be a punishment. But by similar logic, a nice lunch or hot chocolate so she feels 'respected' is just rewarding poor behaviour. She will associate not doing as she is told with lovely time with mummy.
I think lines aren't the best solution, as they are not linked to the "crime"
Never quite sure what people mean by this. How should it be linked?
When you say she's 'off screens' what do you mean? Do you mean before bed or completely? If it's completely then that's a bit of a punishment for being unable to sleep.
Also, I agree with the PP about the closing the door thing - that was a pretty awful thing to do. I get that having sleep issues is a nightmare (I have an 8yo who sleeps midnight to 5.15am so I am sympathetic!), but using something that she has a genuine fear of isn't the way to solve anything. That's just teaching her to shut up because she can't express herself instead of teaching her how to express herself.
It sounds to me that the recent poor behaviour corresponds with the recent poor sleep/late nights/getting up. So you need to crack the sleep to crack the behaviour. If she fears the door being shut, has disturbed sleep and makes excuses to leave her room then I'd suggest the scary story is either still doing the rounds, is still waking her up or there's a new scary story going around.
If I'm completely honest I'm not sure why you feel the need to punish her. The situation (her getting up) has been dealt with by your not engaging with her and her going to bed and having her door closed.
Gathering from your post you seem to 'talk' to her about her behaviour a lot. This might explain her saying/screaming about wanting to talk: it could just be her method or way of saying she wants some time with you (loving attention that is).
Talking things over with a 7 year old is probably a bit beyond her emotionally - that is if you are talking about cause and effect.
Also a punishment must relate to the crime; her not sleeping well is not related to screens during the day in a 7 year old mind no matter how advanced you feel she is.
Apologies for asking this (as it may be a typo or a colloquialism) but I don't understand what you mean by "give her in to trouble for something,". What does that mean? It sounds a bit sinister to me (like you are purposely making something out of nothing and the punishing her for it), it of cause may be a turn of phrase meaning tell off.
I think lines aren't the best solution, as they are not linked to the "crime" was from me. If my kids are throwing toy cars at each other, I remove the toys. Messing about with food, food removed. Cause and effect, but in as immediate way as I can manage.
I'm not sure how messing about at 3am and writing out lines the following day is going to give a cause an effect link.
Do you really think a 7 year old needs a consequence to be that illustrative? I know when I was 7 I would have understood the link between my actions and my punishment.
So she wants a bit of your attention and instead of listening to her, you threaten to do what she's really afraid of? That sounds like a proper strict parenting with well set boundaries for the kind of relationship where children are seen and not heard.
I can tell you my experience: DD is 7. She goes to school and is very sociable. Still, she is encountering plenty of little conflicts she needs to deal with. The evening in our house would normally be, picking her up from the childminder. .How was school? Very good. Not really informative, isn't it. It's normslly the evening time when suddenly she starts talking about what's really bothering her. Arguments, where he or she did this to her and what she said etc. Some sound petty but they are a big deal to her so we listen, console her, hig her, try to get to the bottom of the situation and help with advice.
We both believe that it's important for children to feel supported and have someone to confide in. Maybe she is trying to do the same.
But I understand that in your opinion she needs to learn from very young age that the world is tough and parents are authoritative figures, not someone to confide in. That's what best friends and wine will be for later on when she's a bit bigger. For now she needs to shut up or you close the door to her bedroom. Makes her look like a scared softie anyway.
I can't imagine being seven and being forced to stay alone in my room if something was bothering me.
Why not let her read to help her to sleep.
I bet that she would have settled much quicker if you had given her the "attention" she NEEDED at 10 o clock last night.
To be honest you sound a bit draconian
batshit but yeah feel free to make her even more anxious about bedtime with your weird punishment because it seems to me that so long as you have the upper hand thats what matters.
I think you're doing the right thing. If you think lines would deter her behaviour then give it a try. If it doesn't work then you wouldn't exactly have scarred her for life.
If she hates doing lines she might start thinking twice about whether getting up in the night is worth it
I bet that she would have settled much quicker if you had given her the "attention" she NEEDED at 10 o clock last night.
I don't disagree that the OP sounds strict, but actually she didn't NEED the attention, did she? She was able to go to sleep almost as soon as the unwanted consequence was threatened. That sounds like it worked to me.
And at 7, what she needs is ten hours sleep.
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