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My manipulative, aggressive 6 y o dd - how can I help her?

(70 Posts)
Clockface Fri 26-Sep-08 20:26:14

This may be long.

My 6 y o dd has always had a very headstrong streak in her, and it has got more so as she has got older. Here is one tiny but sadly everyday example:

I picked her up from Beavers at 7 tonight. Her friends were walking home in one direction and we were going in the other. She knows this; she knows where we live relative to the scout hut. We said goodbye to her friends and left, but she was cross that we couldn't walk home with her friends and started hitting me. I said "That hurts, stop it please" and she replied "That's the point, you deserve it".

This was just one of so many little incidents when she has lashed out and hit either me or ds. When we got home, dh asked me if I were okay (I wasn't; I had gone quiet as I had just had enough of dd) and then asked dd if she had done anything naughty. She told dh that she'd been playing with me and had patted my hand as part of the game and that I had told her off because of it. He said "Oh well, you mustn't hit muumy even in playing" and she went off to bed.

I feel that she behaved appallingly towards me and manipluatively towards dh. If this were an isolatd example I could let it go, but these things are happenig most days. I am geeting headaches and so stressed about her behaviour but don't know how to takle it. I tend to tackle it head-on which makes her resent me more and turns me into the enemy.

She is really harsh towards other children as well and has "fallen out" with most of the children in her class, and treats ds (4 y o) dreadfully sometimes and deliberately upsets him then shows no remorse at all.

I am thinking atht I need help with this, and am thinkking about contacting the school nurse next week. Do you think that is the right person? Do you think a counsellor would help? Anyone else "been there" with their dc?

Clockface Fri 26-Sep-08 20:51:16

bump - anyone around?

wilkos Fri 26-Sep-08 20:54:43

no advice im afraid but bumping for you smile

Clockface Fri 26-Sep-08 20:56:06

thank you! smile

twinsetandpearls Fri 26-Sep-08 20:59:58

What have the school said about her behaviour-

Bramshott Fri 26-Sep-08 21:01:10

Sorry, not much help or experience, but is she maybe overtired? My DD1 will be 6 in Jan, and is generally well behaved, but would be a nightmare if she was ever out until 7.00, particularly on a Friday. We've figured that most of DD1's meltdowns are caused by tiredness. Could you cut down on any after school activities for 2 weeks, and put her to bed at 7 to see if it improves things?

MadMazza Fri 26-Sep-08 21:06:01

My son is 7 and is going through a similar stage - he is very controlling, wants his own way and gets aggressive if he doesn't get it. I've assumed it's partly genetic as my husband is a bit of a control freak!. I tackle my son head-on too and although it also makes me the unpopular one I don't care. I don't think you can expect to always be popular with your children if you are using discipline of any kind. If he is rude to me or spiteful to my 3.5 y o I put him on the "Step" for seven minutes (naughty step). It's never easy to enforce and he gets cross and tantrums but I always see it through. This calms him down and shows him he can't get away with that type of behaviour.

If we are out and he behaves rudely towards me I give him one chance but threaten to take away a privilage (e.g. computer time or television etc) It is important to see it through if you threaten something. It is really really hard work but sometimes works. I sympathise with you but I think this type of behaviour is fairly typical at this age.

MadMazza Fri 26-Sep-08 21:11:03

By the way clockface I have also recently gone back to a reward chart for my 7 year old and it has worked amazingly well. I was having problems encouraging him to get dressed for school in the morning. He has been set a deadline of ten minutes - if he makes it he gets a sticker for that day. Seven stickers and his reward is a pack of Go gos. Excellent incentive and his record is currrently four minutes for dressing - all stress-free!

wannaBe Fri 26-Sep-08 21:15:37

so when she manipulates your dh like this, do you put him straight before she is sent off to bed? Because tbh while she knows she can play you off against one another she will continue to do so.

I would be inclined to come down hard on this behavior tbh. You are the parent and she is the child. What punishment does she receive when she hits you and then answers back? If you just go quiet on her and then let her give her version to her father without you saying a word then she's won.

I would:

withdraw privilages. No television/park/favourite toy/activity for a week.

If she hits then put her in time out. No reaction, nothing. Pick her up if you have to, put her in the most boring room in the house and make her stay there for the six minutes. And hold the door if you have to.

And make sure your dh backs you up.

bloss Fri 26-Sep-08 21:37:53

Message withdrawn

bigTillyMint Sat 27-Sep-08 07:53:10

Sounds like my DS! I am impressed that you stayed calm and just went quiet - that takes a lot of sef-control at times!

Agree with you bloss, I am a bossy mum too blush, though zero tolerance is soooo tiring - temper tantrums, etc, etc.

The consistency and backing each other up is also so important - DH is pretty much head in the sand, and it can be very frustrating.

Clockface Sat 27-Sep-08 09:26:55

Hi! thanks for those replies. Sorry I wasn't online last night to read them.

Yes Bloss she is v. smart. Her reading age is waaaaaaaaay ahead and she has always been v. bright. Her behaviour at school is perfect (again in a v. controlled way), but she gets really annoyed by other kids who are less than perfect.

Dh and I had a good long talk about it last night and we have agreed that this weekend we are going to be completely balck and white about the hitting - if she hits just once, any one of us, there will be no pudding (she loves pudding!). Dh is going to take the lead in this as I am very jaded with it all.

Then on Monday I am going to speak to the schol nurse and see if she can shed any light on where we might get more support.

bloss Sat 27-Sep-08 09:51:39

Message withdrawn

Clockface Sat 27-Sep-08 09:57:55

Yes, we have a list of stuff to withhold! IMO they have to be reasonably soon, eh? No point in saying "No Beavers next Friday" because by then she'll have forgottenall about it.

I am finding thisso hard tbh. Emotionally I feel so wrung out. What I posted yesterday was just one little moment in my week - it's been like that all the time for a while now. I feel like I need to get myself sorted out. As well as doing the discipline stuff, I also need to forgive dd. I really really want to have a fun, loving, positive close relationship with dd and I feel like we must sort this out now.

Thanks for your support! smile

ZipadiSuzy Sat 27-Sep-08 10:48:46

Clockface - I fully sympathise with you, my ds1 can be a nightmare, and very manipulative between myself and dh, only last week he got grounded because he swore the worst ever at me. With us its the aggression more than anything, especially in front or at directed at 4yo twin siblings. I sometimes think maybe we didn't dicipline him enough when he was younger, and its now out of control to the point of complete lack of respect and control.

I hope you get some good feedback from your thread, it needs nipping in the bud now! (hark at her with the rugrat of the year)grin

Here I come BRAT CAMP! grin

bloss Sat 27-Sep-08 11:33:00

Message withdrawn

mufti Sat 27-Sep-08 13:09:22

good advice here CF , cant really add to that
i think you know what you have to do, its the inner feelings that come with it all thats harder to cope with isnt it ?
i really hate having to do disciplining, whilst knowing how very important it is , thats soomething in me , dont know why
ds is more challenging lately , eg scratching when he cant get his own way , or i do something he doesnt like, even a nappy change, ,and i have to battle not to take it personally, but hes not as bad with dh. but im sure its not personal
are you sure theres nothing else making her unhappy enough to be like this ?
i do feel a lot of behaviour is learned , and it must have so hurt when she said ,"you deserve it," , i wonder if someone has said that to her, or why she would think that.

Earlybird Sat 27-Sep-08 13:44:56

Alright - sympathy for your situation, but I'm going to be blunt here.

As others have said, you must reward good behaviour and have consequences for bad. And you must find the energy to deal with things as they come up. As it stands, your dd has 'gotten away' with acting badly, and then manipulating the truth/fibbing (and incriminating you) - so she'll definitely do it again.

She's testing the boundaries, and you are not enforcing them. Stand up to your child and act like her parent!! You are giving her all the power because you don't know how to be in charge. She is only 6 - be firm!

Please elaborate on your statement: 'I tend to tackle it head-on which makes her resent me more and turns me into the enemy'

ZipadiSuzy Sat 27-Sep-08 14:36:01

Earlybird, I understand mufti, in the sense that whatever dicipline you act on, in our case it always makes matters worse, so sometimes its easier to ignore certain behaviours, obviously in the long run it backfires on us.

I have a book called 'the aggresive child' it places different behaviours in baskets a, b or c according to importance, I did try this and it was successful for a younger child like yours mufti.

Basket a = important issues to be dealt with straight away, example something dangerous!

Basket b = issues that can't be ignored that includes rude or aggressive behaviour etc dealt with by making child sort problem out themselves, using reasoning and communication calmly, not lowering ourselves to their level. A sort of reverse psycology

Basket c = unimportant issues that can be ignored for now, eventually needing sorting out, but not worth an instant major meltdown over, things like, state of bedroom, brushing teeth, doing homework, issues that can be resolved when child is in a calm state of mind.

So when you are comfronted with certain behaviours, we are supposed to step back and think before we open our mouthes putting the behaviour in order of importancehmm and calmly react so's not to cause the meltdown.

A big tip was to wait until child has calmed to a co-herant state of mind before any dicipline.

This book is definitely for the 5 - 10 yo

ZipadiSuzy Sat 27-Sep-08 14:36:40

Sorry mufti, hope that wasn't dribble grin

mufti Sat 27-Sep-08 14:41:57

no, not at all SUZY
i am a great believer in ignoring as much as you can, except anti social or dangerous , and praise as much and as often as poss. this does build self esteem, theirs anyway smile

mufti Sat 27-Sep-08 14:46:10

its hard because he does get very angry with me at times, it is just sometimes, seems a little more lately , but he has been tired and poorly. i must stress he is very good most of the time. i still wonder where does that anger come from, and at such a young age too

dittany Sat 27-Sep-08 14:50:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

babyelephant Sat 27-Sep-08 15:22:52

You sound like a lovely Mum with a smashing bright daughter but she needs a little more firm direction to channel all that confidence in a positive manner.

Lots of good advice here. I think the zero tolerance approach is best for behaviours as bad as hitting you. Your DD is clearly clever and headstrong and as such, you have to try to match that on the points that are non-negotiable, and let her continue to develop on the points that aren't.

A few things I would do: fistly make a list of all non-acceptable behaviours that are without doubt, not up for questioning, e.g. hitting, spiteful name-calling and lying.

These are the ones you will knock on the head right there and then with no debate/chances/threats, ie hitting. Why say "that hurts, stop it please"? In effect you are begging her to stop, like you would "rather" she didn't. There is absolutely no justification or discussion required on this one.

Practice authoritative phrases which leave her in no doubt as to how displeased you are. I would have stopped dead in our tracks and said in my loudest most authoritative voice, "X, hitting is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. You will NEVER hit me again. I am VERY disappointed in your behaviour".

Never let her put her side of the story to your DH like that again. As soon as you get it, YOU tell your DH EXACTLY what has happened, in front of her, whereupon DH should agree it is terrible behaviour etc. You are letting her take far too much control over you. In going quiet you have submitted to her then let her take your place as the adult by relating what happened according to her (and of course it is tailored to seem far less awful) which is why you mustn't let her get her story in - you will only end up disagreeing if anything and then it's almost "fighting" for DH to take sides. She is a child who is still learning, NOT an equal adult in the household.

She must tell you what she has done and why it was wrong, no matter how long it takes to get her to do it - don't back down.

Taking a strong stance with her will help her with her friends as nobody likes a bossy bully, I'm afraid to say thats what she might become if she isn't re-directed. If she's not scared of hurting you physically or emotionally - who does she have respect for?

In fact that's a good question. Analyse who she does have respect for/behaves nicely for - and why.

babyelephant Sat 27-Sep-08 15:38:07

Oh and also, IMHO, getting no pudding is not enough for hitting someone. Getting no pudding is for "naughty" behaviour like refusing to go to bed on time. Hitting you or anyone else is in a different category altogether. There may come a time she considers it worth it to have no pudding, just to hit you shock because she enjoys the feeling of power when she does hit you - what then?

For the hitting thing I would tell her you want to have a conversation with her, (before any more hitting occasions come up). Say to her that DH and yourself are extremely upset and disappointed in her hitting you and she is NEVER to do it again. Set your stall out so she is under no illusion that the hitting has stopped. Say your DH and yourself have decided it a "household rule" that there is never any hitting or kicking as it is WRONG. Ask her
to repeat what you have said.

Should she do it again, I would catch her hands very firmly and get right down to her level and say she knows perfectly well there is no hitting, what she has done is very serious and you will have to discuss with DH what should happen because she has broken the household rule. Personally for hitting you, I would do a triple whammy ie no pudding, no TV and no Beavers for a week. (REALLY knock it on the head). If it sounds tough it is, because hitting is never acceptable and goes beyond naughty.

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