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DD is horrible to my DM

(18 Posts)
clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 10:28:08

My 6 year old DD1 seems to be rude and cheeky to my DM for no reason and I really do not know what to do about it.

DM takes DD1 swimming once a week after school and picks her up from school once a week. But DD1 has suddenly started to be really horrible to her. Last Friday she apparently screamed and shouted at her and called her 'evil' and said she hated her all the way home from school (DM had not seen another boy push DD1 over and said she did not know if it really happened). DM was really upset about it but told me not to make a big deal of it with DD1.

But then last night after swimming, when DM dropped DD1 off at my house, I witnessed DD1 repeatedly saying 'Granny is naughty' and 'It's all Granny's fault' when she got told off for throwing hair bobbles all over the living room floor. When DM told her not to throw them, she said 'You can't tell me off, Granny'. She generally continued with remarks like this - 'I don't like Granny', etc. - while DM had a cup of coffee with me and I could see DM getting more and more upset.

I kept telling DD1 to stop saying such horrible things and tried to make her realise it was naughty but she wouldn't stop. Eventually DM left and I had a very serious talk with DD1 about how hurtful she was and how DM would be very upset now.

This morning my DF emailed me to say DM had been very upset when she got home last night and had even cried. He said she's thinking of not taking DD1 swimming anymore or picking her up from school anymore.

I am horrified at DD1's behaviour and feel so sorry for DM who is lovely and really things DD1 doesn't like her now. She has done nothing to deserve such treatment, and is a real help to me generally as I work full time.

I don't know what to say to DD1 to make her realise the effects of the things she says. She seems to not care when she upsets DM.

I'm just feeling really sad about it all. I have wondered if it is something to do with her feeling jealous about attention DM gives DD2 (18 months old).

Any advice will be appreciated!

Goldmandra Wed 07-Nov-12 12:22:07

Does your DM have firm boundaries when she's on her own with your DD or does she let her get away with behaviour you would find unacceptable?

My first thought would be that she's feeling insecure because she doesn't know where the boundaries are with your DM and she needs someone to be in charge.

Children can find it frightening if the adult looking after them doesn't manage their behaviour because they need to know that this adult is able to protect them.

If I am right in these assumptions the solution is for your DM to deal with this and tell your DD that she won't accept the rude behaviour. She needs to tell her that she will miss out on a treat if it continues and follow through with that if necessary.

You intervening would only serve to reinforce your DD's view that Granny is a pushover.

clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 12:38:04

Thanks for your response. Maybe that is it. She is in general almost too nice for her own good. She doesn't really shout at DD1 and maybe is a bit of a pushover.

I am so disappointed in DD1 because it looks like bullying behaviour to me.

I think part of the problem may be that DM might think that as a Granny she should not be disciplining as that is mine and DH's job.

But the bad behaviour does only seem to crop up when DD2 is around. As far as I am aware, DD1 was fine at swimming with DM and only started being horrible when she got home and DM was sitting on the sofa with DD2.

And last week at school pickup, DM had DD2 with her.

I really worry now that DM doesn't like my daughter (she has every right not too). I can't fathom what DD1 is getting out of such behaviour - the only result can be that Granny likes her less.

moleskin Wed 07-Nov-12 12:40:53

It could be jealously of dd2 as she may see dd2 intruding on her time with granny. But in your post you say that you told dd to stop saying things and she just carried on. I wouldn't have allowed this in my house. The first hurtful thing said dd should've been removed to her bedroom and firmly told she will not be allowed out until she can apologise and talk nicely. I may have misunderstood but it sounds like it was allowed to go on for too long.

clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 12:49:28

The first couple of things she said were while DM and I were talking so we just ignored them. We probably shouldn't have.

DD1 had the TV on in the living room and the next time she said something about Granny I told her that if she did not stop making cheeky remarks, the TV would go off and she wouldn't watch it again that evening.

She ignored me so the TV went off and I said one more remark and she would go to her room. She just laughed and said something else naughty. I went to take her up but DM said she was going home anyway. I told DD1 to apologise and she did say sorry but didn't say it very convincingly.

Then when DM was gone, I had a very stern word with DD1 about it and told her how upset Granny would be. She asked if she could send Granny a text message from my phone. She sent one saying "I am sorry about being cruel to you so I will be good to you from now on. I love you. Sorry"

HollyMadison Wed 07-Nov-12 12:52:42

I'm sorry I don't have any advice as such but I have read that children are sometimes rude to grandparents when they sense that their mum is close to the grandparent, seeing the grandparent as a threat to Child's relationship to mother. Maybe she senses how helpful your mum is and how close you are to her. Hope things sort themselves out.

Could you sit down with your DM and discuss dd1's behaviour and how the two of you are going to manage it; and set up consequences for the rudeness that you will use if your dd is rude about your DM in front of you, and that your DM will use if your dd is rude to her - a time out/naughty spot maybe, or withdrawal of privileges. Then your dd1 will see that you are backing your mum about this, and that you and she are united in tackling this bad behaviour.

At the same time, you could set up a reward system, where good behaviour gets a star, for example, and a certain number of stars equals a reward of some sort - and your mum will be responsible for giving your dd the star or whatever, so that there's positive reinforcement of the good behaviour as well as consequences for the bad behaviour.

Apologies if you are doing this already, and I am telling you stuff you already know.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Wed 07-Nov-12 13:01:53

I think your dd is suffering from "Oppositeitis". She says the opposite of what she means.

I also reckon she is jealous.

She is deliberately trying to get a reaction from your mum that confirms to her that she loves her as well as dd2. Or for your mum to say "what a lovely time we had" or other acknowledgement that gran actually likes spending time with her and not just doing it as a favour to help you out.

clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 13:04:12

HollyMadison "I have read that children are sometimes rude to grandparents when they sense that their mum is close to the grandparent, seeing the grandparent as a threat to Child's relationship to mother"

That is interesting. She does seem to be constantly interrupting when DM and I are trying to talk. She doesn't do that with other people.

SDTG "Could you sit down with your DM and discuss dd1's behaviour and how the two of you are going to manage it"

I think you're right - we do need to do that. But I'm worried that DM will not want to. I think she's just sick of DD and doesn't want to do anything for her anymore (eg. taking her swimming).

clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 13:06:59

NotQuintAtAllOhNo "I think your dd is suffering from "Oppositeitis". She says the opposite of what she means."

She was very like that with me after DD2 was born. It was obvious that she felt threatened but the result of her behaviour was pushing me away.

We are over that now but it seems like she's just transferring it to my DM.

Goldmandra Wed 07-Nov-12 13:10:43

The presence of your DD2 could be making her more irritable but she still needs to know where the boundaries are when she's with your DM. I'm sure she gets jealous when she's with you too but she knows that she can't express it inappropriately with you.

When you said you would send her to her room your mum basically undermined you and herself by saying it was OK she was going.

What she should have said was "well that's a shame because I won't be here when you come back down" and said goodbye to her.

Maybe you need to get your DM to be a bit more active in managing your DD's behaviour in front of you and then you can show your support by backing her up. The next time your DD is rude say "That wasn't a nice way for her to speak to you was it Granny?" and then get your DM to take the lead by saying how it made her feel and what will happen if she continues. Make sure she follows through with the sanction and make sure your DD complies if it's something like going to her room.

If she sees Granny imposing a sanction and you backing her up she might feel that the boundaries have been marked more firmly and stop testing them quite so much.

I would also try to arrange a bit of extra one to one time for her with an adult. She already clearly has some with her granny but perhaps you can add some more or maybe some with you.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Wed 07-Nov-12 13:12:47

I think she might need extra reassuring. She had a lovely time with gran. Then they come home. Gran wants to see dd2 and talk to you. Dd2 wants to see gran. You want an update from gran how it went.

I think you need to look into how you all interact when back at the house. Give dd1 time and space to talk about what they have done, plenty of kisses and cuddles from mum and gran. Maybe if you give her some time and attention, rather than "oh ignore it", where you are actually not ignoring it but her, because what you really are saying is "IGNORE DD!", things may change.

I find with my two (7 and 10), if you give them extra attention for a bit, they act up less, and give YOU time. You just need to give some time and focus first.

ReallyTired Wed 07-Nov-12 13:31:54

I would show your six year old daughter the email.

I don't think that you daughter deserves to go swimming. Tell her that you feel deeply ashamed and that her behaviour is dispicable. Unless she suffers the consequences of her actions then she will never learn.

Prehaps she should write a letter of apology.

VitoCorleone Wed 07-Nov-12 13:40:14

Im having a similar problem with my DS and my MIL, she waqs looking after the kids for us and when we got back she said he'd told her ''i hate you, i want my nana, you go home'' he got a real telling off, MIL said she cried all the way home, the next time she babysat for us he'd said something along the lines of ''you go away, i dont like you'' again he got a real telling off and sent to his bedroom, i made him call MIL and apologize.

He hasnt said anything to her since, but if we mention grandma he always says ''i dont like her'' or ''no, i just like my nana'' (my mum)

Its really horrible, i feel so sorry for my MIL and ive told him he's upset her etc but he doesnt care! Im at a loss

clarabellabunting Wed 07-Nov-12 14:46:50

ReallyTired Do you think showing her the email is a good idea? If she knows that Granny doesn't want to spend time with her, that might make her worse?

I realise that seeing the consequences of her behaviour might be the shock she needs though...

VitoCorleone It's awful isn't it? If feel so bad about it. My poor Mum.

DD1 says she will be nice to Granny from now on but I am so worried she'll do it again. And once she's said something, it can't be unsaid, and my poor Mum will be hurt again.

ReallyTired Wed 07-Nov-12 15:03:26

"ReallyTired Do you think showing her the email is a good idea? If she knows that Granny doesn't want to spend time with her, that might make her worse?"

She has been absolutely foul. Six years old is old enough to learn the consequences of her actions. She needs to understand WHY granny does not want to spend time with her.

It is important that children learn that EVERYONE has feelings and that the universe does not revolve around them.

Goldmandra Wed 07-Nov-12 15:10:10

"I think she's just sick of DD and doesn't want to do anything for her anymore (eg. taking her swimming)."

That attitude would concern me a bit. Your DM is the adult in this situation. Is she really going to let a few thoughtless comments and some bad behaviour stop her doing a nice weekly activity with her DGC? Most adults would be able to see past these incidents and work out a way to repair the relationship.

Maybe your DD is picking up on some negativeness from your DM and that is what is triggering this behaviour.

This behaviour from your DD is a form of communication. The fact that she's doing it in front of you means she is trying to give you a message. You need to try to work out what that message is.

Surrealistrhinoceros Wed 07-Nov-12 16:54:33

My DS of similar age has also suddenly started being horrible to his grandparents who he adores. Interestingly it's also related to our DD who is 4. He's not jealous of the attention they pay her, but is uptight about anyone else looking after her as she is HIS sister. Could there be anything of that going on?

Also is swimming a recent thing? Grandparents taking DS swimming hasn't worked well as he normally sees them as super indulgent and suddenly they were having to tell him what to do just like big bad Mummy does smile could this be a factor? Or is granny having to draw more boundaries because of little sister?

And 6 is quite young to really understand that rude behaviour truly upsets people - I don't mean that smaller children can't get the rules about manners, but really understanding the impact of unkind words may take more work and maturity.

I think key points for us at the moment are:

Dont tolerate the behaviour but give a fairly low key response - maybe just remove quietly from the room. If she's doing it because she's upset then big tellings off won't improve matters, if she's doing it to see what happens don't give her the satisfaction of a big scene.

If possible the adults involved need not to take it personally. I understand your DM is upset and it's horrible but if possible it will be so much better if she can stay calm and recognise that this phase is likely to pass. Also however mortified you feel try and realise that this behaviour is unlikely to say anything about your DDs actual feelings for her grandmother and in the long run its highly unlikely to affect her grannies love for her.

And if you manage to solve it drop me a line! Good luck.

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