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Relationship with DD: WWYD?

(4 Posts)
Euphemia Tue 05-Jul-11 15:00:43

DD (9) and I seem to have got ourselves into a bad place in our relationship, and I would appreciate your advice on getting back on an even keel.

In short, we have quite emotional reactions to one another, and I've come to the conclusion that the problems are my fault, so I need to change!

I'm having a miserable few years for various reasons (career, problems in DH's job, dad's health, grannie's health) and I'm not at my most patient!

I feel like DD gets on my nerves, and I tell her off for the smallest of things. She presses my buttons as if she wants a reaction from me, and I'm so bloody stressed that more often than not I DO react! Badly!

For example, she will hit me, poke me or not stop when I tell her she's hurting me by hugging me too hard. She's sarcastic when I tell her something I think she'll find interesting, as if I bore her.

She's contrary, for example at the weekend I asked her if she wanted me to walk beside her while she pushed her bike up a hill; she said no so I got back on my bike then she said "Why are you riding your bike? I want you to walk beside me?" confused

Her relationship with DH is much calmer: he's in a happier place because he's being head-hunted by a couple of employers, which has made him feel better about his career, after the way his current employers have treated him. He and DD have never had the emotional reaction to each other than she and I have. (The highs and the lows!)

I feel like I'm spending my whole time trying to be patient, trying not to sweat the small stuff, failing and being bullied by my DD!

Help!

Stillchuckingit Tue 05-Jul-11 15:49:21

Euphemia I really sympathise with your post. Although it's much improved of late, I had quite an emotional up/down relationship with my dd (nearly 8) and am in a similar situation to you inasmuch as my dh (although overworked) is in a fairly happy place and (although nothing dire) I'm not particularly (for various health/career reasons).

It's not easy to find the energy and confidence in oneself to calmly provide consistent, boundaries when you yourself are feeling fragile, but I think it's what both of our dd's need! Also, I think guilt at knowing one isn't the "perfect parent at this moment in time" especially when we compare ourselves with other parents who we feel are doing better, makes us perhaps be more lenient than we should be.

I'm no expert but first I think I would first try and and re-establish my "dominance" in the relationship and get a handle on the bullying issue. (Dominance is the wrong word - but I can't think of a better one right now.) I don't feel bullied by my dd but she can push the limits sometimes and be very forceful.) In those circs I calmly insist that this is not a battle, that I am on HER side, and because I love her and want her to make the correct choices etc etc that I insist on her doing certain things/behave in a certain way and that is my job as my mother to do that. And DON'T feel guilty!!! Our job IS to provide consistent boundaries.

Part of the hugging too hard/not stopping thing is just normal immaturity though. My dd always tells a joke or behaves in a silly way long after the humour has gone ....

Second, I would try and establish one or two "safe zones" in your relationship where you do things together - exclusively - that you both enjoy. (Ours are riding, baking and sewing.) This is a sort of "time out" from ordinary life when no arguing/bolshy behaviour is allowed and you can be calm together. (Sometimes takes a bit of self restraint but worth it.) I think relationships can really deteriorate when you everything is always focused on the problematic bits and doing something outside of that gives everyone a break.

Thirdly, I'd look around at the other relationships/activities in her life and check out that they are OK - perhaps try and develop new ones - or strengthen existing ones where necessary. It could be just possible you know that some of her less ideal behaviour is not all down to you!! smile For example, DD was quite unhappy for a while last year when things at school weren't going well and she was quite difficult to be around (flying off handle at slightest thing/resistance to any suggestion etc) but things improved hugely when school situation was resolved. So I guess my first suggestion would be to make sure that her relationships and activities "outside of your immediate sphere of influence" are going well. That way, the pressure on your one on one relationship is relieved.

Fourth, (although not easy when circs are outside our control) I guess we owe it to our dd's to do everything we can for ourselves to get ourselves out of our current "bad places" whether that is re-training, exercising etc etc. Actually, this should probably be higher up the list.

Reading your post, you come across as a really intelligent, conscientious and concerned mother so try not to be too hard on yourself!! She's lucky to have you!

Sorry for essay but hope things improve for you x

Euphemia Tue 05-Jul-11 16:04:20

Thanks Stillchuckingit for a very helpful and very sweet reply. smile

I will go home tonight with my calm head on. grin

My bad career place is kind of sorting itself out - I trained as a primary teacher a few years ago but I can't get a job. For the past year I have been back working in an office, just to have something to do, but I have hated it. Absolutely loathe it! My contract ends next week - whoopee! I'm hopeful of some supply teaching in August, but we'll have to wait and see. Not a situation I can influence, unfortunately!

My dad has lung cancer and is undergoing chemo - he has his last lot next week then he'll have scans in August and we'll see then whether the oncologists tell him to go away and enjoy the rest of his life, or try more chemo. I have no control over this one!

We're hoping to move house once DH finally gets a new job, but this has been dragging on for months and again it's something I have no control over!

What I CAN control is my weight and fitness, and I'm very pleased with progress there. grin I was nearly 12 stone in January last year and I'm now 4 lbs off my target weight of 9st 12lbs. smile I'm also exercising regularly and getting a hell of a buzz from it!

Thanks again! x

Stillchuckingit Tue 05-Jul-11 16:11:57

Crikey! No wonder you are feeling stressed.

A job you loathe/your dad seriously ill/house-moving issue all intensely tough to deal with.

Sounds as though you are already on the right path with weight loss/exercising etc. Takes real determination to do that when everything else is falling apart. Most people go the other way!

Hoping your dad has good news in August x

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