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Fed up with DD1's selfishness. I'm struggling to enjoy her company.

(32 Posts)
DiscoDizzy Wed 30-Jul-08 16:30:22


She's 5, has always been selfish and always struggled to share. With the school holidays its intensified. She's sounding petty and i'm struggling to enjoy the time I have with her. When DD's are taking turns she ALWAYS has to say, 'its my turn now' as soon as its DD2's turn, she ALWAYS checkes to see if she has more if things are being shared out, she's whinging about things when all her friends and DD2 are playing happily and she interrupts me constantly despite telling her not to interrupt when i'm talking. Nothing ever seems right unless its how she wants to be. She's has to be no 1 and has little regard for anyone else's feelings. I'm not used to this, DD2 (3) shares sweets, toys, most things, initiates taking turns etc. I've had enough now when she cried cos DD2 picked up a pen of hers. She overreacts in every situation where DD2 touches something of hers. I know children can be like this but how do I turn it around?

Elasticwoman Wed 30-Jul-08 18:08:35

Sorry to hear this, Disco. Sounds like you're having a difficult time with her. Does she have any virtues that you can praise?

Perhaps you could try saying, in an "I'm not being cross with you" sweet voice, oh dd1, you don't seem to enjoy playing with other children; would you like to go to your room and play on your own? If she says no, persist - saying you can look at x book, play with y toy, or even have a little nap in this hot weather. You'll feel so much better for it. If she still won't go, pick her up, take her there and shut the door.

Even if she comes downstairs again immediately, you may have made your point.

Interrupting you when you speak to her is a different matter. It's very wearing, I know. Perhaps some one else will come on with the answer to that.

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 18:13:11

The difficulty with sharing sounds within the normal range of behaviour for an eldest sibling, tbh. Guard their share of things jealously. She may think 'if I don't watch really, really carefully for the slightest hint of unfairness, I'll lose out'.

DD2 is more compliant because she's the second so has always had to share.

Dunno what to do about it except reassuring her and being scrupulously fair.

With interrupting, I taught ds to say 'excuse me' which at least sounds more polite.

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 18:15:23

Odd that you say 'I'm not used to this', and 'has always been selfish' though - is it a new form of behaviour, or not?

I think most small children are very self-centred. Many adults too but they just tend to be better at disguising it.

CarGirl Wed 30-Jul-08 18:15:47

yes the policing fairness thing is an age stage around 5-7 years I think it is.

irritating isn't it

motherinferior Wed 30-Jul-08 18:20:02

Speaking as another older sibling, small sisters can be very, very annoying.

I do think that perhaps calling her, rather than her behaviour, selfish makes the situation worse. She's your daughter and you love her - and she's behaving badly. The behaviour can be corrected.

And small sisters are annoying!

motherinferior Wed 30-Jul-08 18:21:11

My five year old is being very grabby at the moment with her big sister, actually.

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 18:31:46

Um, policing fairness lasted until well after I'd actually left home in my case... only had to drop round for 10 minutes and I'd find myself checking little sister hadn't got more whatever than me. blush

motherinferior Wed 30-Jul-08 18:35:38

I remember once saying to a friend over dinner, as I divided our pudding between us, 'you're an only child, aren't you?'. She looked at me amazed at how I knew, and I pointed out she hadn't been watching beady-eyed to see that it was divided with scrupulous fairness and equality, ready to bellow SHE'S GOT MORE THAN ME blush

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 18:38:07

Well, it clearly wasn't me, MI! grin

Blandmum Wed 30-Jul-08 18:46:13

I'm driven crazy by the way both of mine size each others portions/gifts/time spent with me minutly to check that they are not being hard done by.

Which they never bloody are!

DiscoDizzy Wed 30-Jul-08 19:04:35

Thanks for your responses.

Edam-when I say i'm not use to this, I suppose I mean, not use to this to the extent she's currently displaying. I suppose that just cos we're on school holidays.

I've suggested that if she isn't happy with her sister etc that she goes and plays in her bedroom on her own. She did, and came back with a lovely picture of me <<pulling at heartstrings>>

I'm getting very frustrated cos she's normally a lovely little thing, does as she's told and then this nastier side of her comes out. If her sister has something DD1 wants, I can hear her trying to coax it out of DD2 in all manner of 'nice' ways. Another irritating thing.

MsDemeanor Wed 30-Jul-08 19:07:49

Oh, it's so, so, so normal!
The swindling of younger by older siblings has gone on for time immemorial!

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 19:14:49

I think you'll find it's the swindling of the eldest by the youngest, MsDemeanour. <glares a big sister glare>

The lovely picture of you shows that she does want your approval and possibly that you've got an expert manipulator in the making. grin

She's just going through a tricky phase while her sister is in a more attractive phase. Try to be as kind as you possibly can about it (although I do appreciate it is aggravating).

badgermonkey Wed 30-Jul-08 19:16:48

DH and I both have siblings very close in age to us and it makes friends laugh because when we're pouring wine, we put the glasses next to one another to make sure we both get exactly the same amount! Obviously this doesn't apply to guests, to whom we are always generous, but we've both had years of being very aware of whether or not one is getting one's fair share, and it's just ingrained, I'm afraid. It's very luck we both do it, though, if just one of us did it would be very irritating.

MamaG Wed 30-Jul-08 19:19:18

oh the memories of pouring out juice to the EXACT same level in glasses blush

ouyr house rule was whoever pours, the other picks

Younger sisters ARE a bitch to live with

DiscoDizzy Wed 30-Jul-08 19:19:46

you've probably hit the nail on the head there edam. She always wants my approval and is very good at pulling the heartstrings. DD2 is definitely in a more attractive phase - no moaning, happy go lucky etc. Makes me sad that one should be so much fun to be with whilst the other isn't so much of a bundle of joy. It'll pass soon no doubt <<fingers crossed tightly>>

Thanks all.

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 19:25:10

So maybe find opportunities to give her your approval - even if that means you have to artificially manipulate things by creating chances.

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 19:26:25

(I remember feeling quite sad when a friend told me she was feeling less enthusiastic about her eldest when her second was going through a very cute stage. Which I'm sure is normal - the lack of enthusiasm - but still made me feel terrible on behalf of her very lovely eldest.)

DiscoDizzy Wed 30-Jul-08 19:26:29

Will do smile

Elasticwoman Thu 31-Jul-08 11:06:02

I am sad to hear adult attitudes ("manipulation") attributed to a little 5 year old. Of course she wants mummy's approval, nothing sinister about that. But she's also able to spend time on her own amusing herself and that's a good thing.

Many children like to spend time on their own - my own dd1 spends hours reading on her own in her bedroom. She is much less naturally sociable than her sister, but not to an extent where it's unhealthy. Let children have their own personalities. It is tiring having to be in company, even the company of one's nearest relatives.

edam Thu 31-Jul-08 11:08:40

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick... seeking her mother's approval is a GOOD thing especially if the relationship is quite strained from the mother's POV. No negative judgment implied.

LiegeAndLief Thu 31-Jul-08 11:32:07

No advice but... I still harbour a suspicion that my parents love my younger brother more than me and I'm nearly 30 blush

margoandjerry Thu 31-Jul-08 20:19:04

my nephew (eldest child) went through this phase. He was apparently very unphased by the birth of his little brother but actually you are pushed off your "baby" perch very early in life if you are the eldest [I am the eldest and my sister is only one year younger so I know the score grin]

He suddenly got very angry about toys and having to win and having to be allowed to choose everything. My sister said his demands set the tone for the whole house so as you say "nothing ever seems right unless it's how she wants ..."

I don't have any advice (have only one DD) except to say that it sounds very normal although very frustrating. Hope you can manage to have moments of connection despite the annoyingness.

DiscoDizzy Thu 31-Jul-08 20:21:43

She's been a bit better today despite the fact that the pair of them have fought all day hmm

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