Why does DD seek negative attention from me?

(10 Posts)
margaritasbythesea Sun 10-Dec-17 22:16:31

DD seems to actively seek out negative attention. It is more than just being naughty it is a very particular kind of behaviour. She is nearly 10 but she has always been like this. It is a complete mystery to me.

It can happen in general but it most particularly happens when I am doing something nice with her or for her at home (she loves being out so there are rarely any problems).

So, I will give you an example to illustrate what I mean. This evening I was sewing a strap on her bag which she really wanted me to do. I promised to get it done before bed and then we were due to have a story (she is loving the book). Nice, eh? I said that if she got ready quickly we could have an extra chapter. She was looking forward to it.

I finished the bag ad she was pleased and then I sent her off to do her teeth. I sat down to check for an email from her dad. She saw this. Perhaps she didn´t like the break in attention to her. Ten seconds later there was crying and stamping of feet because she couldn´t find her toothbrush. She said I was going to tell her off (this is often a motif). I said I wouldn´t for not finding the toothbrush but she needed to stop the crying and stamping. Cue more. I said I would find her toothbrush while she tidied up some toys in the corridor. she dropped a box of cards (not deliberately) and started screaming. I siad to her not to cry and that is was simple to put the cards back. She said she didn´t want to do it alone. I told her I was looking for her toothbrush already and it would only take her a minute. I went to the bathroom and her toothbrush was where it normally was. I told her and she started smiling in an way that made it clear that she knew it was there. Then she couldn´t find pyjamas etc etc. I gave her warnings that she would lose her story (I do a 1,2,3 system and on the thrid warning the consequence is carried out). She lost the story.

I don´t get it. Why does she deliberately sabbotage nice things? Why does she seem to crave negative attention when she is already getting positive attention? She knows I love her. I know she loves me. She often tells me how much and, in a slightly guilty way, that I mean more to her than anyone else. Family comment on how much she looks to me.

I get exhausted with it. It is like a constant test to see if my boundaries are firm and if I love her enough. But constant. All her life. I am tired of it. I am a good mum. Can she not just give it a bloody rest?

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margaritasbythesea Sun 10-Dec-17 22:20:22

Sorry for all the typos.

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Threeboysandus Mon 11-Dec-17 01:34:54

I have no advice really. My nearly 9 yr ol son is the same.

margaritasbythesea Mon 11-Dec-17 06:01:32

It's just so illogical, isn't it?

I understand children who want attention preferring bad attention to none.

I understand children who are told off a lot for whatever reason playing up. Give a dog a bad name and all that.

But a loved and cared for child who is doing something nice? It feels almost spiteful at times, except she isn´t spiteful. It feels like a test.

Well, Threeboysandus. Thanks for posting even if you have no advice. It´s nice to know whe is not the only one because sometimes I really worry about her.

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margaritasbythesea Mon 11-Dec-17 14:08:32

Any wise words? Please!

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Apple23 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:00:46

What is her relationship with her Dad like?

margaritasbythesea Mon 11-Dec-17 16:11:32

It is good but it is very different because he works away a lot. The burden of the childcare has always been on me (my choice). For example when he comes in ten days time, we won´t have seen him for three months.

She also really likes to annoy people, which she does do in front of him but this is not quite the same.

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margaritasbythesea Mon 11-Dec-17 21:45:57

One more try!

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Hallloumi Mon 11-Dec-17 22:06:03

I don't know but I doubt it's a conscious decision to spoil her nice times with you. I wonder if it's a safe way of expressing negative emotion. Like she has a need to express something and rather than being generally upset or talking about being upset it comes out like this. Maybe she wants the comforting/validation bit that comes at the end. Though if she's always done it then maybe that's less likely.

Would it be worth spending time discussing negative emotions/feelings with her when she's settled. Making a worry box? Have you asked afterwards if she knows why she spoilt things for herself?

Sorry if you've tried these already or I'm not making sense.

margaritasbythesea Tue 12-Dec-17 06:12:20

Yes you might be on to someting there. She is very well behaved at school. She used to sxplode at me after school every single day (partly because she was diagnosed with hearing loss very late so that was very difficult for her)- She had grown out of that which I am very grateful for.

We do discuss he feelings because she does get very overwrought at times.

I dont´think it is deliberate but it is definitely triggered by my positive attention. Yet there is no way of dealing with it without giving negative attention. She does have to stop screaming and won´t let me cuddle her etc. It is very frustrating.

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