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To ask you to help me to be a better Mum?(27 Posts)
My dd age 8 is has a few behaviours that I’m struggling to deal with.
1. Anxiety at bedtime. Each night it’s the same. She spends ages wiping herself in the bathroom then ages getting into bed, I have to check there’s no-one in the wardrobe or behind the curtain. She wants her bedroom fan moved this way then that way, then there’s a particular toy she needs to find, then her blankets need doing again. When I finally get out of the room I am called back in several times before she settles. I try so hard to be sympathetic but I am so worn down by it all and I get cross. Despite offering incentives for her to settle for bed quickly, the whole thing seems to take longer and longer. I can’t help envying parents who get an evening together.
2. She is so difficult with clothes. She hates short sleeves but I make her wear t-shirts when it’s hot so she’s not uncomfortable but then there’s only two she will wear so I have to wash them over and over. There’s some lovely tops in her wardrobe I know she will never wear. Same with underwear and socks - there’s only certain ones she will wear. She refuses to wear sandals, trainers, shorts or dresses. If the top she wants isn’t ready she will wear an old dirty one rather than a clean one that she doesn’t like. There’s no logic behind why she prefers one thing over another. We have so many arguments about this and I end up threatening to give all the clothes she doesn’t wear to her cousin. Am I supposed to just go with the flow? Am I supposed to challenge her to break the pattern? It breaks my heart that she can’t enjoy clothing and having different things to wear like other girls do.
3. She is very moody and grumpy, often wishes me dead if she doesn’t get her way. Doesn’t have much motivation to do things either. Can be quite bad tempered too. She pushes and pushes at you until you crack. At school she’s quiet and good as gold. I hate myself when I get cross at her, I’ve always been a calm, caring person.
I just want to enjoy being a mum and enjoy her for who she is but every day feels so difficult. She is a bright intuitive girl with the capacity for joy and fun so maybe it’s me not doing something I should be doing. There are times when we have fun and enjoy each other’s company and I love those times. It’s just the same issues that keep coming back. Please be kind, I want to be better at this,
I really do. Her Dad is at his wits end too. Any advice welcome!
1. Sit with her. Read to her. Put some music on, read a book on your phone (or something with a dark screen) for 15 minutes. Tell her you'll sit with her whilst she falls asleep. If she messes around, you'll leave.
2. Shes 8. Let her choose her clothes when you buy them, don't buy them for her. Enjoy clothing?? She's clearly not enjoying your clothing choices!
3. Mine does this too. I tell her I'll be sad because I love her etc. Ask her who is she going to live with etc. Ask if she wants a hug. What is she supposed to be doing that she has no motivation for? If it's tidying her room, I don't blame her! What incentives do you use?
She does choose clothes but then doesn’t wear them. She doesn’t have motivation to go anywhere, she just wants to stay in and watch tv.
She sounds like she has some sensory issues with the clothes and some anxiety about going to bed. Both can be dealt with but are separate. Try googling those, Id write more, but i have to run
Have you read about Highly Sensitive children?
Sounds exactly like my dd who is also 8. She is under cahms and I suspect she is ASD.
Stick with it - my 13 year old was like that (and still is sometimes!) Have a conversation not at bedtime about how you could do it differently - maybe she sets the fan before she goes to bed? Or gets into her pyjamas earlier in the evening to take one step away for the bedtime process? If she dilly dallies (mine still does) you could say that you can be available for x minutes so its up to her how she uses those minutes- if she is quick in the bathroom that gives her more time with you sitting with her as she falls asleep.
Clothes - I know some children have sensory issues with some clothes - I agree with the previous poster and get her to choose some that she likes)
Moodiness - well, welcome to the grumpy phase. I think I'm right in the middle of it now but I'm reliably informed it does improve. Just keep communication channels open, be honest, apologise when you have said/done something you know you probably shouldn't have but don't let her off the hook if she has been rude too.
Good luck and stick with it..
One thing we do which helps is one on one time where they are in charge for x minutes a day and you do exactly what they want (as long as nothing and no one is getting hurt). Start with 10 mins in the morning, be enthusiastic, say yes, have fun with it.
I think that's pretty normal tbh. Go anywhere. To do what? My DD(8) would also rather spend all her time watching tv and moans if she doesn't and says it because I don't love her 🙄
Of course it's easier to sit and watch tv than get yourself dressed and ready to go out. Doesn't mean she gets to do it.
Honestly, I let her wear whatever she wants. She mostly chooses her clothes. If there's suitable clean clothes in the cupboard, then I wouldn't be happy her wearing dirty things. Mind you, I'm not sure she would take clothes out the laundry basket, they might have touched her brothers clothes! You could try the "you chose it, now you wear it." Or the " try it for half an hour before we go out" and hope she forgets about it.
Not sure you’re quite with me Snigletted but thank you for taking the time to reply x
I don’t have much to say about the sensory issues, OP. But one thing that saved my life with a DS who calls me back into the room all the time was a monitor with talk back option
Does she have any other signs of ASD? It’s often not picked up so much in girls and it’s very common for them to mask really well in school then come home and crumble.
Re: sensory issues, I would find out what it is she likes about the tops she does wear (fabric? No labels?) and just try and stick to things that she’s likely to wear. There’s no point forcing her to wear stuff that she doesn’t like just to “break the pattern”
I don’t know if she has signs of asd, her speech and langauge have always been very good although she’s a little shy, she does well in her work and has made friends. She’s very sensitive to the feelings of others. I don’t force her to wear clothes but I have to stop her wearing jumpers in hot weather. She has all sorts of reasons-too tight, too loose, too itchy, doesn’t like people seeing her chest (none of her tops are low cut obviously), you name it...
Check for ASD. These are some of the character traits of my daughter.
Sounds similar to my DD, also 8, although mine perhaps isn't quite so fussy about clothes. Things have got worse for us during lockdown, have you found the same?
Mine likes to wear "heavy" clothes regardless of temperature - it's the weight of it she likes, we eventually worked out. It's not so different to people who still like to sleep under a duvet in summer because a sheet doesn't feel as comfortable. Some compromises are fairly snug cotton tops, or if going out, a small backpack with a full water bottle or something moderately heavy to achieve the same feeling.
It's possible the sleep settling and the clothing are signs of anxiety, so they may be more intense during lockdown. There are some good resources for kids online, to help get them expressing her worries about the situation - may be worth doing some of those activities one morning and seeing what comes out?
Op no advise but you could have been describing my DD and like a PP said its gotten worse during lockdown , especially the last few weeks.
Today was particularly challenging, someone will hopefully tell us it’s gets better.
I hear you OP. My 8yo is similar.
We tried lots of things but the most successful was a book called "What to do when you dread your bed" which I'd recommend. However it's not worked since lockdown. I do think lockdown is an unsettling time for kids, some more so than others.
Clothing, OMG. I have loads of clothes that DD has chosen or approved before I bought them. But she will only wear T-shirts and leggings. And only the old ones that are too small for her. My DD likes everything to be snug and just right. If the T-shirt's are too lose, tantrum. If the socks are not tight on her feet, another tantrum. It's really tiresome. I don't know what the answer is.
Motivation, yep. Left the building a while ago, but to be fair I think it's because she has no children to play with. Is your DD an only?
The advice that springs to mind for me is to interpret all this behaviour as communication. This behaviour is telling you something and the challenge will be working it out so you can really understand her. This can involve lots of trial and error but you will get there if you stick with it. You sound like a lovely mum.
Do consider sensory issues re the clothes. Google sensory diet and see if you are willing to incorporate one into your day. If it makes no difference after a set amount of time, then it's not sensory and you can move onto trying something else.
Can she describe to you why she does what she does at bedtime? If she can't, I would recommend doing some emotional literacy with her so she can begin to identify feelings and what causes behaviours. Then she can be in a position to think about what can help her feel better about bedtime. It can take a while but it is amazing what they can begin to articulate. Ditto for leaving the house. Why doesn't she want to? How does she feel about it? What can she or you do to make it better?
Sorry to ramble xx
Roomonourbroom Yes she is an only. She’s used to having friends over almost every day so lockdown has been hard although she has had a couple of days at school a week as dh and I are keyworkers. Everything you said about your daughter and clothing really chimed with me. Thank you for making me feel less alone and I will try the book you recommended thank you.
Thank you for your good advice and faith sevencontinents I think communication is a big issue. She’s afraid of intruders and it’s hard to reassure her. I’m hoping it’s something she will eventually grow out of. Thank you for your kind words and I will try my best to understand her. She finds it hard to explain bless her and sometimes I get frustrated with her and myself because I can’t seem to fix this. She is an only child so I have nothing to compare her to.
What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What-to-Do Guides for Kids) (What-to-Do Guides for Kids
Is a good book on Amazon you can work through it with her
If she prefers books for younger try the huge bag of worries
Sounds similar to my DD with ASD. Her issues began to appear at age 7. She's got friends, bright, chatty, academically able etc
Could it be a sensory issue which also causes anxiety especially around bedtime.
She sounds like my DD too aged 11 also ASD formally asperger's.
DD is still a pain in the neck every night around bedtime similar to a toddler at times.
DD also has SPD. Have a read up on it for helpful tips.
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