How should I have handled this better?(21 Posts)
Ok so not a great day today - Dd4 started with a vomiting bug this morning so it's been one of those days.
My Dd6 and I often lock horns over lots of issues and I just don't know how to break the dynamic plus she gets me so cross sometimes, I don't think rationally.
So about an hour ago, I carried Dd4 up the stairs to bathroom whilst Dd6 walked. DD4 did poo on toilet whilst Dd6 was brushing teeth. Dd6 was stood on top of stool in front of sink so I asked her to step down so that Dd4 could wash her hands as I was particularly concerned about hygiene given vomiting bug. Dd6 refused to move. I asked her nicely 3 times and explained that I didn't want Dd4 to brush her teeth without washing hands first because I was worried about bug spreading onto toothpaste etc. Still no move. So I lifted Dd6 off stool at which point she lost it and started kicking and screaming saying that I cared more about Dd4 and her teeth. Then it just went downhill from there - she wailed for ages and kept demanding that I say sorry for stopping her from brushing her teeth - I tried to explain that she could still carry on brushing them whilst Dd4 was washing her hands but she would not listen and just kept screaming say sorry, say sorry. I told her that she should be the one to say sorry for not doing as she was asked but she would not back down and genuinely I believe thought that it was I and not her in the wrong and then it just turned into locked horns.
We somehow get into stupid situations like this at least 3-4 x week.
What should I do? any strategies to deal with her? These situations seem to blow up so quickly and out of nowhere and before I know it, I'm not in charge like a parent should be.
I would have asked like you did and then if she didn't move I would have said " I have asked nicely for you to move and you have chosen not to so now I am telling you to move because dd needs to wash her hands because of germs. If you choose this time not to move like I have told you then I will move you and you won't have a bedtime story tonight. So choose now to move or to lose your bedtime story"
Then I would have followed through with the consequence,I wouldn't have engaged at all with her screaming or demanding an apology I'd have put her in to bed and ignored her tbh.
Did you warn her that if she didn't step down, you would have to lift her down? I think it helps if you spell out the consequences (even if it seems obvious to you!)
Step back and look at what the triggers are and how you react. It sounds like once she played up she got an awful lot of attention and explanations, etc. Rather than please jump down a minute pop is so x can wash her hands then I can help you with your teeth....no I said get down please.....lift down ignore/time out. The tit for tat say sorry no you say sorry is just feeding it IMO.
Some times children will rather have negative attention than none or see someone else get it.
Well that's the problem as I did then try to say, right no story but then she became completely hysterical, lashing out and sobbing uncontrollably. The only thing that helps to calm her down is to threaten to tell her teacher, she is so good at school, and that is how I eventually calmed her down.
I can't just leave her/ignore her as she shares a room with Dd4 - that would mean no story for her either plus it's very distressing for Dd4 to be on her own with her when she's out of control like that.
As soon as she starts shouting/ hitting/ kicking any unacceptable behaviour like that you tell her firmly "do no speak to me like that, explain why you've done whatever it is and tell her if she carries on she will have to sit on her own until she clams down and can talk to you properly. If she carries on do just that! Remove her from the room your in and tell her she will have to stay here for 6 minutes. If she leaves the new quite place keep putting her back until she makes a full 6 minutes on her own. No matter how long it takes DO NOT give up! And always as soon as her attitude starts to turn negative remind her to not speck to you like that. Sometimes they just need reminding. And always follow through, do not threaten her with "you will have to have to have some time on your own" and then start to argue with her. As hard as it may be never argue. Works 90% of the time
I think you need to stop engaging with her when she gets like that. You need to say I am not going to speak to you until you have calmed down, and stick to it. When she is ready to talk calmly, then you can discuss what happened, but don't get dragged into arguing with her when she is upset. You are the adult, and you make the decisions.
You are on a road to nowhere if you need to threaten her with the teacher to get control tbh. You need the authority because sooner or later she will twig that the teacher isn't going to do nothing about her behaviour at home and you risk damaging the positive relationships she has at school.
There has to be a consequence if the story would have been difficult in her room then take the little one to your room to read to her the eldest won't melt because she is being left alone to calm down any reasoning with her when she is overwrought would just fuel the emotions.
Ok, so all good advice. Think I need to toughen up. She always ends up so upset that I end up feeling sorry for her and like I've gone too hard on her but it's eye opening to see that I didn't do enough at all. Think I just need to stay calm and not engage with her at all until she has calmed down.
I appreciate what you say about the teacher - I won't use that anymore.
She will know that she is tugging on your heartstrings that's why she goes for the crying and sobbing. Be totally matter of fact, say what you mean and mean what you say and follow through with any consequences you threaten. When she sees you mean business she will stop the dramatics when she knows that she will get a consequence rather than getting your attention.
Sorry Nanny90I meant to ask, what do you do in terms of removing her from room - at that point she would kick and scream and I would have to physically force her out to keep her in quiet place - same too if she wouldn't stay there. That wouldn't be acceptable would it?
Don't ever feel sorry for enforcing boundaries! Your child needs to learn to behave (as do all kids!) It is hard but behaviour isn't about emotion and locking horns. It is about clear and calm consequences.
Please don't threaten her with her teacher. She's not the bogey man.
I agree, be more specific with expectations and spell out the possible consequences.
Ignore drama and screeching. "I will not speak to you til you have stopped"
Any physical violence needs dealing with quickly and firmly. In a calm moment make clear that this in unacceptable and what the consequences will be. Then stick to it. Try not to feel sorry for her, she is old enough to make better choices.
Also, how do you remove things like TV and iPad from one child only? If I followed through with removing either or both of them but then let dd4 watch/play, that would be a red rag to a bull and dd6 would lose it again all over again. How do you only give consequences to one child?
You stop worrying about upsetting the one that's misbehaved and follow through regardless. You remind the one who has lost the device why they lost it and tell them that if they didn't stop shouting/screaming etc then you will be removing another toy/putting her on the stairs/not allowing her sweets whatever it takes.
Think of it another way, why should the child who is behaving well be punished by losing the devices just to avoid upsetting the older one?
It's 100% acceptable to pick her up. Don't grab her or be rough but be tough enough that she does not hurt you or break anything that's round her. Say giving the example you just gave I would have
Your sister has been sick all day please move up, if you were sick she would have to move up for you. If you dont move now you will have to sit on your own. If she carries on just standing there gently walk over say ok you didn't do as you were told (not asked, told). Take her tooth brush off her and take her by the hand. I don't think it really matters what room could be a corridor. She can stand or sit.
If, once you have taken her by the hand starts to shout and kick don't talk to her! Just take her you might even need to pick her up if it gets quite physical. Once you get to where you need to be. Maybe just outside the bathroom door so all you need to do is pop your head round. Tell her you have to stay here now because... Blah blah blah. She might try to walk/ run away. Kick you whatever doesn't matter. If she moves you put her back and put her back and put her back! It can take a lot from you and this can be very frustrating but I promise it works if you stick to it and once you've started follow though! I would in the morning explain to her that her behaviour last night right and we are going to try something new so that she doesn't get cross and so that you don't argue with her. Tell her that when she does not do as she's told or does something that unexceptable she will have to sit on her own for 6 minutes and then you will come and she will have to apologise for what she has done.
Once you have got her to stay there for the 6mins. Ask why she has had to sit on her own, if she tries to argue with you tell her you only want to talk to her if she can tell you why she's here. Then you say thank you give her a cuddle and pretend like nothing happened I do this with all the children j have ever looked after and I've only had 1 where it was a real struggle and took 30mins before I could get him to stay for his full time. But after a few weeks even the threat of you will have to have sit on your own and he would stop and do what was asked.
Don't get me wrong sometimes you think you've cracked and it then it all goes wrong but that happens very rarely once she know you mean what you say!
Sorry that is so long
That's really helpful - so it's the same principle as the naughty step. I used to do that with her when she was a toddler but tbh a lot of her toddler traits have come back so yes, I'll go back to this system but not call it the naughty step. I think I worry now that the force required to actually move her, may hurt her. She's incredibly strong for a 6 year old and I'm pretty small so find it hard to contain her gently.
I would have done what you did and lifted her down. The only difference is I would have let her wail and not been worried by it. If she lashed out I would have made sure she could not hurt anyone, but I would have let her sob and blame me without feeling I had to do anything about it.
I used to have to restrain a 10yo (rather special situation) so know about fear of hurting her. Ime the calmer you stay, the less you care, the safer it is.
I was never keen on cutting out bedtime stories, always felt we needed to end the day on a good note.
But otherwise, I'd do exactly as other posters suggest. Being the only one missing out if she has misbehaved is kind of the point of the exercise. That and never letting them see that you are afraid of what might happen if they lose it (that goes for 6 foot 2 teenage boys as well). Mummy is a rock, you cannot frighten or force Mummy, is what they need to feel, long after Mummy has turned into Muuum.
Ds1 leans towards that kind of behaviour. No matter how consistent I am it is always bubbling there a bit but is easier to control now. I online when the behaviour starts what the consequence is. There is no point in them kicking off then saying no story. It is far more effective to say if you continue this behaviour there is no story.
If I remove something from him I make damn sure I'm not far away to deal with any reaction to his younger brother still having the tablet/tv/other. He is a little older now so less likely to throw a strop over that mainly because he knows I'm serious.
Whatever changes you do make be prepared for behaviour to get worse before it gets better because she may well test you to see if she can break you and go back to the current system. I was like you and felt bad for the tears but quickly realised he was just pushing all the right buttons and knew it. I lose my temper less now as well because I'm firmly in control of it.
If a six-year old told me that I 'cared more about the other child' then the first think I would do is give her a hug and tell her I love her as she clearly is feeling jealous/thinks you prefer the other child. It'd be good to make sure you treat them as fairly as you can and spend quality time with both. If she gets a lot of positive attention from you and feels like she's 'mummy's special girl', she'll stop trying to get attention with bad behaviour. I also wouldn't threaten to tell her teacher or blackmail/antagonise her more with such reactions.
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