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I'm being bullied by my 5 year old

(11 Posts)
DaniSecker Fri 26-Aug-16 13:19:14

I know it sounds pathetic but it's how I feel. She well and truly wears the trousers and I'm struggling to keep control. She's fiery, short tempered, intelligent and manipulating. She's also wonderful and kind, but, and maybe this is because we've spent alot of the summer holidays together, I have really come to dislike her. I feel awful saying this but she is so infuriating it takes all my self restraint not to back hand her, or to pull her hair when she refuses to walk with me.
She does things knowing there's nothing I can do about it. For example, she falls asleep in my bed, is put to her bed once she's asleep, and quite often comes back in during the night. Her and her younger brother share a room and she knows damn well if she shouts and wakes her brother up she'll get to stay in my room, pushing me off to the sofa. She doesn't listen, at all, not to the smallest request to a serious telling off. We're at a constant stalemate.

I don't want to constantly be shouting or reprimanding her but if I'm honest, our bond isn't great. I struggled with PND right from the start, and it's never really recovered. What makes it worse is a MIL, although well meaning, tries to give me tips (she's a social support worker and works with struggling families) and it just makes me feel even worse about the situation. For whatever reason she sticks to me like glue, wherever i go she has to be there, yet she's constantly nasty. She dislikes her dad, and I'm really not sure why, but her grasp on me is suffocating. I can't sit down without her on my lap, and her face in mine. She screams constantly, winding her younger brother up, is nasty to him, hits bites pulls hair...

Help me! Before I have a mental breakdown!

KingLooieCatz Fri 26-Aug-16 13:31:22

I hope someone will be along with more advice. DS has been quite the button pusher at times and I have often felt out smarted by him. He would know when he had us over a barrel, which sounds a bit like your DD, e.g. sleeping in our bed but once asleep he stays where he is put so we aren't fussed. Good news is, he is 7yo and getting much easier. Increasingly a pleasant little person to spend time with.

Until someone wiser comes along, you mention a MIL and DD's Dad but you say DD doesn't like Dad, does anyone take over the parenting from you at any point? If MIL wants to be helpful that would be a great place to start, especially if it is regular and you know you can look forward to a window of peace. I find after a break it is much easier to be the kind of parent I'd like to be.

Have you any idea why she doesn't like her Dad? Does he live with you?

I have read some parenting books that gave me ideas for ways to get DS to do what I wanted without world war 3 breaking out. I still use tricks from the Happiest Toddler on The Block. I forget the names I've read so many.

Legend has it children who behave like this are desperate for the grown up to be in control of them. Hard to detect at the time mind you.

DaniSecker Fri 26-Aug-16 13:36:50

My MIL is a massive help, she does a lot of babysitting. Issue is its usually when I'm at work so I still don't get a break! I don't know what the issue is with dad. We live together, he's a wonderful dad. He's the patient one, the playful one, yet she's a total mummy's girl. I'm stumped!

Dakin1 Fri 26-Aug-16 13:45:03

She can probably sense your feelings towards her which is why she is all over you. She's trying to get your attention.

Just a suggestion, have you heard of love bombing? My DD is too young for this but a friend tells me it was great for her and her 5 yo

corythatwas Fri 26-Aug-16 16:27:47

I would first sit down and think about which behaviours are actual misdemeanours (and so to be dealt with by discipline) and which are neutral from a behavioural pov.

I notice that the first instance of unreasonable behaviour you list is coming into your room at night. While I do realise that you may not actually want this, it hardly seems like naughtiness if a nervous or insecure child seeks comfort from the person who is there to provide that.

I was terrified of the dark until a much older age than your dd, and though I stopped coming into my parents' room about your dd's age, it was a kind of security blanket for many years afterwards to know that they were there and that if I really could not bear it, they would not reject me. That actually helped me to stay a little bit braver than I might otherwise have done. Dh reports a similar experience, and we have never treated this as naughtiness in our own dc.

It may be that you have to stop it because it disrupts your own sleep (I found I got a better quality of sleep once I stopped fighting it), but if so, I think you should try to treat it as something difficult you are helping your dd with, rather than her being naughty on the same lines as if she snatched the baby's toys or spat in your salad.

The other features you mention- the fighting, the constant clinginess etc- sound a bit like my dd at that age. She was basically a very anxious little girl and eventually grew up to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. But that did not mean that I wasn't able to do things to help both of us until she was old enough to be diagnosed/treated. There were plenty of things that helped. Including:

*making sure that we had some leisure time apart every week- and that some of that time was spent allowing me to recharge my batteries

*being calm and matter-of-fact about not always being the one to stay with her: when it was her dad's turn he took over and I walked off, even if she tried to cling screaming to my leg

*trying not to make too many requests that depended on her obeying what I said: if she didn't come with me the second time, I would take her by the hand and walk off, trying to think of something distracting to talk about ; if she took an object she wasn't allowed to, I would ask her once to let it go- then I took it

*distracting myself by singing, or putting on the radio, or boiling the kettle, when I was getting to boiling point myself

*ignoring her reactions to a telling-off ^as long as I got my way^: so if she refused to listen to me about how to treat an object and I took it off her, I counted that as a win to me; if she did what I said with a cat-bum face, that counted as a win to me; if she was carried kicking and screaming out of a playdate, that was still a win to me. I saved myself a lot of frustration that way and eventually she learnt that there isn't much point in fussing because mummy usually gets her way

*building fun moments into the day- didn't have to be anything very wonderful, just making jokes that I knew she would laugh at, or reading a story together- but making sure we had fun together every day

*never letting the sun go down on my wrath- however bad the day had been, she knew it would all be forgotten by bedtime, or at the very least the next morning

Dd has been through some horrible times with her anxiety, and at one time I thought we were going to lose her. sad But she has grown into a wonderfully strong young woman- and we have had some good times together. Hang in there, OP; it will all be worthwhile.

confusedinparadise Fri 26-Aug-16 16:41:02

I would completely agree with love bombing. My son is a good boy (7) however if i go away, say with work. He becomes nasty! I use to try the discipline method, then the ignore method, then the love bombing came to my attention!

The problem with love bombing is - you absolutely must be in the right frame of mind. Children are such intelligent little creatures, and actions speak louder than words so they do pick up on 'mammy's here, but her mind is elsewhere'. So my suggestion would be to get some 'me time' - you deserve it. Maybe go away for the night, or go to the hairdressers and then for a cocktail or two. Focus on YOU, regenerate and then love bomb to your hearts content.

I can almost promise that it will pay you back. If your daughter and you are at constant loggerheads, she will know no difference than this situation/behaviour. Creating a different stimulating environment and making this the norm, will soon have her on your side, not literally. She will also have a stronger attachment to you which in turn will maybe create a better relationship between her and her father.

It's not a quick fix but with a change of routine and an initial burst of love bombing I'm sure you'll all have a happier household.

Most important be kind to YOURSELF. Us mothers have a tough job. Best of luck to you.

SealSong Fri 26-Aug-16 17:23:37

I'd suggest parenting classes. I think they'd be a real help to you. Contact your local sure start children's centre, they should be able to tell you what's on offer.
You need to proactively deal with this now otherwise difficulties are likely to continue and get worse as she gets older.
Don't blame yourself, it's easy to get into these kind of parenting situations, but do do something about it now, while she is still young.

ocelot41 Fri 26-Aug-16 17:37:23

I also have a super strong-willed 6 year old who has been pushing the boundaries big time for a number of months now. Boy, its hard work. The only thing I have found gets a grip on it is to reward (specific) good behaviour rather than punishing bad too much (which goes into a downward spiral in our house). He gets a pasta piece for every bit of 'good listening' he does and once he has 5 has earned an hour of cartoons (pick desirable thing). That way he is in control of earning what he wants, rather than having something he thinks he is entitled to taken away. Also, lots of exercise, feeding on time and cuddles. I am waiting to see if it blows over - we are just about to move house and he is VERY angry with me as I instigated the move. If not, I may try parenting classes too! It is exhausting isn't it?

PersianCatLady Fri 26-Aug-16 17:38:32

I think that the fact you have acknowledged that there is an issue and that you want to do something about it is very positive.

Some people with issues don't seek help until the issues are at a far more advanced stage.

When I was going through some issues with what to do with my son I found the website below quite helpful, maybe you will too?

Believeitornot Fri 26-Aug-16 19:28:58

I think you need to consider whether you need professional help.

Things like wanting to backhand her or pull her hair - mine drive me mad and are right beasts at time but that raised s question in my mind.

She sounds like she needs your attention, positive attention. How much does she get? Unconditional love?

I wonder if your pnd is resolved.....

Atenco Sun 28-Aug-16 01:04:03

I think that the fact you have acknowledged that there is an issue and that you want to do something about it is very positive
Totally right!

Some good ideas here, OP.

Your dd does sound more insecure than bad or manipulative.

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