Shocked by DD behaviour, what should I do?(19 Posts)
(Sorry long post)
DD is 7. She can be very head strong & willful.
Today a few things happened (lying & speaking horribly rudely to her sibling and to me) and at bedtime she tipped the scales with more of the bad rude attitude. I sent her to her room while I put other child to bed.
Then I went to talk to her about her behaviour. It was like it wasn't her. Almost acting a role, full of hatred towards me, every time I tried to speak to her about events in the day she cut me off, interrupted and spoke over me. She threatened me that if I didn't let it go 'I can get angry whenever I want and you don't want that' followed by wide eyed stare. I felt she was trying to threaten me?! Which I told her not to but I am shocked by the entire exchange. There were other things but no point getting into every detail.
I felt I had to end things before she said too much for her sake, and calmly (ish) said 'this conversation has ended but I want you to remember the things you've said tomorrow'. At the end she was saying how she doesn't care about consequences for bad behaviour, she can just get through them for a day or several days so she doesn't care. I don't fully believe that but there may be an element of truth in it as her attitude doesn't seem to be improving!
So my question now is, WTF do I do in response? There is no one else just me & them. I feel like she's squaring up to my authority (she blatently instructs my other child to go against my own instructions at times) I feel she has no respect for me although I know she loves me, so how the h*ll do I respond to her challenge to my authority? My normal consequences (no tablet / tv / fave toy / sweets / etc for a setime period) clearly isn't working. I need to be prepared in the morning to return to events tonight & have a strategy to deal with her behaviour. I toyed with removing her favourite toy for a set time but that's the approach that's not working.
I feel worried she is behaving so volatile at age 7. I wasn't expecting this for a good few yrs yet.
she obviously does not like talking about it. ds does not like talking about it either. this is why we do talk about it. he has to think about the consequences of his behaviour on other people.
If she still isn't in the right frame of mind to talk about it properly tomorrow, then I would calmly tell her that as long as she wants to act like a toddler, you'll have no choice but to treat her like one. I don't mean patronisingly cutting up her food etc, simply that she'd lose any of the privileges of being older.
That said I would try and ask her in a none confrontational way about why she was acting this way incase there is something bothering her.
I think you did really well.
You kept the situation calm instead of it escalating. You shown her good behaviour.
Tomorow be very quite and calm. Try and talk to her about what she said. Untill she discusses calmly take her iPad and no going out. I wouldnt take her favourite cuddle you as she might need thst for comfort when feeling bad.
She is just a small child and unless she has seen this behaviour modeled else where, will be trying to deal with emotions and working out how far her boundries are.
Be firm but fair. Show her boundries and stick to them what ever you do. Keep calm and don't rise to any baiting!
Even if it comes across slightly threatening, show very obviously that you don't feel concerned.
Let her know that she is welcome to join you downstairs when she is ready to apologise and be pleasant.
I'm wondering what might be behind her behaviour as it sounds like she is angry with you. Can anyone take your younger one so you can get some one on one time together?
Helping her see the impact of her actions may help build empathy. Punishments just used to make me more defiant as a child. Well done for waking away and hope it's a better day tomorrow x
Although it was going on at several points during today the worst part was at bedtime. Thinking about it I've little doubt she'll say (literally just) 'sorry' in morning but she's a bright girls & she also knows this is a way out of a situation whether you actually are sorry or not, plus part of the issues with her are lies for their own sake so saying sorry whilst not meaning it is easy. I feel somewhat out of my depth, I don't feel like she listens yet she's usually excellent at saying what she thinks will get her out of a situation whether she means it or not. But that's the aftermath. I am struggling with where her aggression came from & I have to be seen to not condone it but how?
I literally have no one who could take my youngest to give us some time. That doesn't help a situation like this. We 3 are together 6 wks without a single break from each other. But it's been like that for yrs so in another way the kids know no different.
As PP have said, you stayed calm and modelled 'appropriate' behaviour to her, which is important.
In your OP you talk a lot about discipline, which is obviously very important. I'm just wondering about praise and validation. I'm sure you do this, but I know it's hard (especially during the holidays), and it's easy for the balance to become tipped towards punishment at times.
Otherwise, is her behaviour being influenced by a friend?
How you getting on this morning op?
Don't get overwhelmed this is not a massive issue, it's completly natural.
Does she like writing op? Could she write you a letter of apology? You could ask her to fill in a sort of worksheet with:
How are you feeling right now?
Is there something you'd like to say to me?
How do you think I am feeling?
Next time you angry what should you do?
And so on
OP, I think you need to do a massive rethink about this and how you relate to her.
I think you did well not to escalate and to have quiet time to talk to her.
For some reason, what you quoted in your OP sounds somewhat too grown up for a 7 year old.
I also get the feel that she may be acting out for attention and you're getting into a vicious circle of punishments for behaviour.
I'd turn it around.
It may be worth looking into books like unconditional parenting or love or whatever they're called.
But the gist is that you shower your child with love and attention. You make the effort of listening to them and their reasons, you spend a lot of quality time and give hugs and kisses like there's no tomorrow.
Children often act out when they feel unsure and want reassurance that you'll stick by them.
I also only have DS and it can be challenging to deal as a single parent to a child. In our case there was a difficult divorce. Was that the case for you?
But even before, I found that when DS had stops, sitting with him quietly reading a book and having a hug worked much better than any punishment.
I also often say to DS that we can all be happier if we talk about things and discuss them than having strops. He can also get more out of me.
And positive reinforcement. Mentioning how great it is when things are good, making them note how much better it is when we are calm at the moments that go well. All the time.
Thanks for all the perspectives.
Well this morning I had a separate breakfast with each DC (they woke at different times) so I could talk to eldest DD alone. We recapped over what she remembered of events & I filled in the blanks. I explained her behaviour was unacceptable in this house & in our family. I asked her for suggestions of alternative consequences to any further 'undesirable' behaviour seeing as mine were not helping her. She did come up with a few which we will try. I explained to her that I am the head of our family & perhaps our relationship feels more 'friends' than 'mother/daughter ' hence she sees us equals. I realise I need to redress the balance. My own mum was rarely in friend territory always mother territory, I think subconsciously I've strived for a very different relationship with my own children. So I spoke with her about needing to tweak things between us so I can be a better mummy. It's been a calmer day.
She has always been really mature beyond her years in terms of holding conversations & her understanding. In some ways it's like this is an extension of that, she's mature enough at 7 to show signs of adolescence!
For the record I'm a very tactile mum & gives kisses & hugs & do random gifts & tell them I love them often! I also deliberately praise DD1 to her sibling within earshot of DD1 as I think this raises confidence (and vice versa obviously). There is something warm & fuzzy about overhearing someone saying positive things about you and it also reinforces to both children that their sibling is as valued as they are so there's (hopefully) no feelings I have a favourite!
I don't think she's been influenced by any one we know. If anything there seems to be an influential idea that 1. teenagers are cool & grown up 2. teenagers have attitude 3. having an attitude makes you cool & grown up. Where's this from I asked? People watching, she said! I can't stop her watching teenagers behaviour when we're out (her eyes are obvs drawn to the wrong'uns) but I have spoken to her about older children she knows loosely who are lovely, not full of attitude, and still grown up.
You sound like a lovely mum
As an afterthought-does DD watch any of those awful US sitcoms full of precocious children with vile attitudes (they're banned in my house so I don't know any titles)? They can be terribly influential.
She sounds a bit like my niece, with the attitude.
I do think that they can seem older and more mature for their years, but she's still 7. Emotionally they are still very much in the now and there's a lot they can't cope with, and, as all children, they keep pushing their limits.
It's good that you keep those limits and she knows what's acceptable and what isn't.
Thank you. They're banned here too! For that reason! She's caught some prior to the ban when I didn't realise even cbbc has some shows with those American 'attitude' older kids on but in English. Could have been the thing that kick-started this side of things looking back.
going through similar with mine. What worked the other day was giving a giggle (he was angry, aggressive and ridiculous trying to scratch and kick me and backchatting in a nasty way), he paused, giggled too. Then saying v quietly 'how about we both stop this silly argument and sit and read a book together?' It worked.
It's only reading your message and reflecting on how I struggle with managing almost identical horrid behaviour that I realised that perhaps trying to make him see it's wrong and control the situation as the grown up is not the way forward. Chat about it later when calm. That said, it may totally fail next time I try it!
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