Pls help me save my relationship with DD5(4 Posts)
I have a DD5 and a 6 week old DS.
I posted a couple of weeks ago re my DD's behaviour following the birth of our son and recieved some really helpful advice/experience of dealing with children who are affected by the birth of a sibling. I really thought that weeks down the line things would have improved but instead my DD is now completly out of control. DD is clever, intelligent and doing well at school. I am an only child and she is the apple of her grandparents eye and therefore has always been moderately spoilt but generally well behaved.
She has struggled since her brother was born. It is cultural that newborns and mothers do not leave the house for 6 weeks, so she was pretty much house bound for that time. Then she was very poorly over the holidays with a chest infection - all things I gave her behaviour allowances for however I feel now that I cannot ignore the way she treats me and DH anymore. She is rude, verbally abusive and ignores everything we ask her to do. She refuses to sleep in her own bed because she is frightned and as a result me and DH have not slept together for months. She will not eat anything other than pasta and has become obsessed with closing doors as she is convinced there is something in the house. Now that BF is established with my son I am expressing and I have returned to taking & collecting her from school and also taking her to bed. I give her lots of cuddles (when she lets me!) and tell her I love her regulary but it doesn't seem to be making a difference. She is defiant, rude and aggressive towards me. Just now we sat down to read a book together but withing a few minutes she was shouting at me for 'talking too much' and 'Ruining the story'. She also regulary says things like 'I wish you wasn't my mummy' I am so scared that we will lose our bond or this will leave lasting damage on her. At the same time it is affecting my mental health as her behaviourr and sadness makes me feel so sad and depressed but also so, so angry with her when she is being a horror. Any wisdom would be very gratefully received
She is 5, she has had her position usurped by a baby. She is exerting what small power she has by being naughty and not paying you or DH attention. At the same time she is lashing out and testing you both to the limit, she is a sad angry little girl.
I am glad you are able to pick up where you had to leave off (understandably) and take her to and from school. I honestly think you have to keep reassuring her - not by letting her get away with cheek or defiance, but by one on one time. Simple tasks like brushing her hair, singing to her, reading as you have been. She sees her baby brother getting tons of attention just by being. She may have adopted some babyish behaviour to copy him on some level.
Did you work before DS arrived? If she had you to herself on maternity leave she may have grown used to the extra time and attention. Is DH patient with her, does she accept his hugs or is she apparently rejecting both of you?
I once read somewhere, try and see it from her point of view, as if DH had brought home a new wife. You would be stunned, no matter how much people said of the new arrival, "Aren't they wonderful, you must be so excited/pleased/happy, lucky you!" You would be thinking all the while, "But what about me?" you would be struggling to cope, sharing the person you'd loved best.
It must be so hard and you wonder where your lovely little DD has gone. She is still there with you, still loving you, but hurting and reacting.
you will not loose your bond, quite the opposite - she only dares to be so cheeky, coz she knows you care!
your bond is very strong and now she is testing if that's changed or not
you have to be very firm with her and re-set the boundaries, she's literally screaming for you to put her back in her place, she can not be in control!!
children get frightened when there's a change and will freak out if they think/see that you are not on top of the situation, if you appear to be unsure or hesitant or weak ! they will tear you apart like a pack of wolves, because they panic!
so do not let her rattle you! you need to show her that you are stable, capable and strong, you need to show her that you are still the boss!
it's time for some tough love, man up and show her that mummy is in charge, she can not be rude or abusive or disobedient!
if she tells you she doesn't want you to be her mum or "you don't love me anymore" just say casually "well I'm sorry you feel that way, because I love you very much and I'm happy that you are my little girl" - then walk off! that will reassure her and shut her up, best line I've learnt!
good luck and congrats on baby boy!
Remember that one of the reasons you are finding it hard to deal is because you are tired, emotional and your hormones are all over the place. Be kind to yourself - we all get driven insane by our children
We also tend to have far, far more patience, sympathy and tolerance for our friends kids, so imagine a friend has told you this story. What would you advise her to do; I imagine you would feel quite a lot of sympathy for both mum and child, so remember this as you find your way with DD.
Do you have any books for her on being a big sister? Some are very good as they give the negatives and the positives. It's hard being a big sister, as my own DD1 keeps finding out
She is hurt and unhappy so is striving to make you feel the same pain - this is why she lashes out verbally. When she does let her know you understand; tell her something like 'wow you are really mad at me just now. I know you are feeling very upset.' Buy her some puppets and give her permission to play with them as she wants (hopefully short of destroying them!) My DD1 used to role play a monster eating her baby sister - lots of wishful thinking going on there I never intervened; she needed to be allowed to express the very strong wish her sister had never arrived! Tell her you miss your special time together - my DD really appreciates it when I too acknowledge that we have lost special time together; it lets her know that time was important to me too.
Involve her in the baby if you can trust her. Now you are expressing maybe she would like to feed the baby? Tell her how proud you are of her for helping dress him, feed him, fold his laundry. Have a reward chart and let her pick the reward - an outing with you, dress up, a dolls tea party with you and so on.
Acknowledge that her fears that there is someone in the house are true - it's her brother! Help her close doors that you can agree can be closed without isolating DS when you need to listen for him. Log onto amazon with her and choose one of those roll up children's beds and put it on the floor by your bed and give her absolute permission that she is always welcome to come to your room to sleep if she needs to. It will be hard but it will reassure her she is still wanted and loved. After all she is only 5 and emotionally she will struggle to understand why the baby can be with you at night and she cannot.
At the same time be consistent and strict with her naughty behaviour. Decide what is not acceptable and focus on 1-2 things and apply time out - or better still, time in - for these things. Don't try to tackle every thing at once. Just look at what is most unacceptable to you. Explain to your parents she is stuggling to adapt to the changes in the family and elicit their support to do things your way.
Finally get her some daddy time too and take yourself off for a soak in the bath and a nap. You'll feel much better for it too. Good luck.
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