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I'm a rebel - and now my daughter is too

(39 Posts)
Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 21:52:01

Dd is 3.5 and is generally very contrary. Automatically says no when asked to do something. Bolts in the street in the opposite direction, refuses to hold my hand.

She gets up to a lot of mischief, some dangerous ( unlatching the front door and escaping - we now double lock it) some annoying (covering her baby brother in nutella). I think this kind of mischief is pretty normal for a 3.5 year old though.

She doesn't listen to instructions in kindergarten either.

She is beautiful and endearing and funny and clever too, but that's not what this thread is about.

I spoke to the head of her kindergarten about her today and she gave some practical suggestions (focus on the most important thing first and tackle it before moving on to the next) and lent me some books about safety geared at small children but then she said she hopes I don't mind, she doesn't want to hurt me etc, but she sees I'm a nonconformists (I am) and thinks dd is mimicing my attitude.

Dd absolutely reminds me of myself in many ways but my fondness for ugly shoes is a bit different to her running away from me on a crowded street!

Any hypotheses or suggestions welcome.

NinjaLeprechaun Thu 17-Jul-14 22:58:05

It's kind of a tricky balance teaching a child to question authority and do what they're told. grin It can be done though.

Keep in mind, as well, that the most well-behaved people can also have difficult children, and anarchists can have children who wouldn't dream of stepping foot out of line. It has more to do with the personality of the child than the personality of the parents.

Three-and-a-half is still very little, you're still in the 'wild animal training' phase a lot of the time at that age. (You can't always reason with them, you have to make them think that whatever you want them to do is their idea.) It is old enough, though, to start to see that there are reasons for some rules. (for instance, don't run into the road, you could get hurt. Don't cover your brother in Nutella, because it pisses me off it's wasteful and makes a mess. Etc.) Calm discussion of rules, and the reasons for them, when you're not in crisis mode, is probably more useful than anything.
But it also seems to help if you can sometimes let kids push boundaries if they can do it safely... when disaster ensues, you can helpfully gently gleefully point out that this is why we can't have nice things should listen when Mummy says not to do something.

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:02:12

So do you think the kindergarten head is wrong?

NinjaLeprechaun Thu 17-Jul-14 23:02:21

Also; "Because I said so" is a perfectly valid reason for a rule.
'So' is a magic word, and mums have magic power, and when mums say the word 'so' it makes whatever they say has to happen, happen. That's the story in our house, anyway. Because I said "So". wink

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:03:20


Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:03:55


Downtonflabby Thu 17-Jul-14 23:07:09

I teach this age- they are awesome.

more personality than most adults I know!

NinjaLeprechaun Thu 17-Jul-14 23:15:43

I don't know you or your child, so I don't know how much influence there is there, but I think there's a good chance it was the 'easy' answer. After all, people tend to be suspicious of anything or person that doesn't conform to their ideas of what something 'should' be like. (Although that might be me judging the kindergarten head unfairly, I'd be more than a little pissed off if somebody said it to me.)

I don't think it matters, I think was my point, you can be nonconformist as you like and still teach your child to be generally well mannered. It's about parenting technique, nothing else.

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:18:49

Right but if I don't do what I'm told (I'm not talking civil disobedience here, I'm talking about dressing less feminine than is expected in a very conservative environment, etc) can I expect her to do what she's told?

NinjaLeprechaun Thu 17-Jul-14 23:39:53

I'm sure you sometimes do what you're told? Wear a seatbelt in a car, don't shoplift, that sort of thing? I always tried to teach my daughter that before you disobey a rule (and dress sense is not a rule anyway, is it?) you should decide if it's worth it.
Which means that you should know the reason for that rule. Is it because it keeps you safe? Or because it makes it easier to get along with other people? The first group of rules should always usually be followed, the second group is negotiable. Dressing in the way you prefer might be worth the consequences, but covering your brother in Nutella might not. (Or it might, that's not for me to say... grin)

My personal opinion is that it's more important to be well mannered than well behaved, but they often look like the same thing.
When my daughter (who's now 18) was of the awkward-teenage-emo-goth-hatetheworld age, I would still get compliments from people (sometimes complete strangers) about her behaviour. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I taught her to consider why she was doing what she was doing - and how it affected other people - when she was a toddler.
(I should also, in the name of full disclosure, mention that this pleasant behaviour did not generally extend to me. But that would be asking too much, I suppose.)

lougle Thu 17-Jul-14 23:42:55

Of course you can. She is a child who you are placing under the authority of her teachers. She must do as she is told. As an adult, you are choosing to rebel against some societal expectations which are not law, but custom. Presumably, you follow the law.

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:43:50

Good, important, clarifying points.

I think I need to talk to her more between episodes. Which is hard because there is mornigrushthenkindergartendroppoff followed by pickupparksupperbathbed.

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:45:08

I do, I promise I do!

The question is how to explain the difference to her, lougle

kilmuir Thu 17-Jul-14 23:51:01

You are confusing being your own person etc with bad behaviour, she needs to learn basic manners and she will need to do what is asked of her by a respinsible adult

lougle Thu 17-Jul-14 23:51:11

Tell her that we have rules to make sure everyone gets along nicely and that if everyone did their own thing there would be big problems. If she wants to go to preschool she has to follow the rules. If she doesn't want to follow the rules, she can't go. Simple.

To be honest I don't think you should have to justify it to her -she's 3 years old! She needs to know that the rule is that if a teacher tells her to do something she needs to do it (normal exceptions apply).

Coughle Thu 17-Jul-14 23:52:29

I think the teacher is wrong - and very rude! An adult choosing to be non-conformist is completely different from a willful child. The teacher is implying that you are rebellious and naughty... At least that's how it came across to me, I may be misreading! But to your daughter you are just mummy; she can have no idea that others perceive you as different from the societal norm.

JimmyCorkhill Thu 17-Jul-14 23:58:29

I am the most timid, rule abiding, goody two shoes square that ever walked the earth in sensible shoes. My DDs can be absolute monkeys!

Quivering Thu 17-Jul-14 23:59:06

Simply telling her 'because I saod so' hasn't worked till now.

She wasn't being rude in a flippant way it was more judgey.

Quivering Fri 18-Jul-14 00:00:35

Jimmy maybe they are frustrated by your timidity and feel compelled to rebel against authority to validate their fustration. Not.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 18-Jul-14 00:06:38


I think it skips a generation, my mum was very naughty!

Actually, I think that most people I'm looking at you in laws value quiet biddable children. My DDs aren't really naughty. They understand NO, and like to please. They just aren't the type to sit still and are always trying to push themselves eg. climb higher, scoot faster, ask questions, question rules...

lougle Fri 18-Jul-14 07:39:12

"Simply telling her 'because I saod so' hasn't worked till now."

It takes time, practice and consistency. You need to make time to enforce whatever it is. An example:

You need to leave for preschool. It takes 10 minutes to get there and it's 15 minutes before start time. So you tell your DD that she needs to poor her shoes on. She doesn't want to. You battle it out for a couple of minutes, but if you don't get going you'll be late. So you carry her to the car without her shoes on and then her shoes get put on at preschool. She got her way.


You tell your dd to put her shoes on. She doesn't want to. You've got 30 minutes before you leave for preschool, so you patiently but determinedly insist. She resists for 20 minutes but finally does as she's been asked. You leave for preschool.

Each time you have the first scenario, it reinforces that she can put up a fuss/disobey and get her own way. Each time you have the second scenario, it reinforces that she needs to do what she's asked and then the next time she may respond a moment sooner, etc.

DD3 is incredibly stubborn and I've had to be really hard with her to overcome it. She knows that if she doesn't put her shoes on for school, I will carry her in to school with her shoes in my hand. She knows I will because I've done it.

lougle Fri 18-Jul-14 07:47:10

It's horrible having to be firm, sometimes. Dd3 went the head teacher's office shortly into year R because she and a friend had been told specifically not to play in the mud, then got their wellies up to the top in mud. When the TA told them off, they laughed! When I heard I had to decide what I was going to do. So I sent DD1 & DD2 to Costa Coffee for a babychino and a treat with DD1'S carer and made DD3 stay at home making 'sorry' cards for the TA, her teacher and the HT. She never did it again.

Messygirl Fri 18-Jul-14 07:56:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GermyElephant Fri 18-Jul-14 08:13:06

There are rules and there are conventions. I'm a complete stickler for rules. I absolutely follow them to the letter, particularly if they are laws.

I'm also quite unconventional - I'm loud, I dress informally, I don't wear makeup, I make unusual parenting choices.

I'm very clear about what the difference is and pretty strict with my children about when obedience matters.

NinjaLeprechaun Fri 18-Jul-14 08:49:16

lougle if you're carrying your child in to school with her shoes in your hand then you're not making her put on her shoes, you're making her go to school.
It's the old story about picking your battles - if the choice is between getting to school on time or putting on shoes, then school wins. Shoes are not terribly important.

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