This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How do I make her feel the love? Materialism and self esteem(12 Posts)
Am stumped and would really appreciate options and suggestions.
DD9 is very much in the grips of early puberty, with physical changes and noticeable mood swings. We have talked about it and she understands what is happening and it is obviously a big deal for her.
Something that is causing a lot if upset for her and for me is that she really equates being bought things with being loved. She is extremely impatient and prone to fly into near hysterics when she is denied things. When this happens she says we are terrible parents and that we obviously hate her.
It's so sad to see her so angry, sad and feeling so unloved.
I find it hard to take as I make lots of effort to show her how much I love her, so it feels hurtful to me when she just doesn't seem to feel it.
For context, she is our daughter via adoption and moved in at the age of two, and I know she has lasting issues around this. She has an avoidant attachment style and is fiercely independent. She's a determined character, funny, clever and does great at school, but struggles with self esteem.
Her brother, 10, is also ours via adoption and suffers with ADHD and behavioural problems, so can be difficult to live with at times. They have quite a fraught relationship, for which we've sought therapy although thus was largely unsuccessful.
With my son, I know, for example, that he needs certain comforts to keep him on an even keel eg a particular blanket and some sensory items. I let him have those things at they make a noticeable positive difference to him. However, when I have tried the same tack and given my daughter material things, thinking that perhaps that is her way of regulating the positive effect is fleeting, and obviously continually buying things is not feasible. Added to which she is something of a hoarder and very messy.
So, any ideas on how to help her feel love and to reduce her emotional reliance on the novelty of being treated/bought things?
That did have paragraphs when I typed it!
I wonder if she’d enjoy an activity where you made/crafted something together?
It’s definitely a tough thing to crack when so many people get affirmation from buying things, and unfairness feels so crushing when you’re a child.
Does she like one on one eg baking or going to an arts and crafts event together (our local library has this kind of thing on) or swimming with just you?
Thank you both for those suggestions, I'll see if I can get her interested. Since the puberty thing has started she has been moving away from anything girly, but maybe I could try her on something like swimming.
She tends to want to join in with after school clubs, cubs etc, but is more of a telly fan at home.
We are currently watching a film together, but she's slowly edged up the settee away from me - I think she finds me a bit stifling at times. He brother is a bit the opposite, still wants to be a smaller boy, very cuddly (although has the most horrific violent meltdowns from time to time).
I don't think it helps me with her that DH and I grew up relatively poor, and this focus on the material feels very bratty to us - trying to get all our expectations aligned is a right challenge.
That's a sad part of it, Hero, she is palpably crushed every single time. Every item she wants is like the thing that will make her the happiest girl in the world... Until she's had it, and it hasn't, and then she seeks the next thing. Of course, we have to say no a lot, and she feels that a as rejection of herself.
I understand a bit about your situation, it’s so easy for people to think that it’s greed, just wanting things and that kids just need a firm no. But for her it’s about so many other things, and boundaries are very tricky. I think you need to explore with her what might need those needs - collecting something perhaps? Taking photos? If she reads hunting down a set of books in charity shops? Fossils? Football cards? Then find a way of arranging them in her room for her to take pride in.
Baking is a good idea, would she make something for you all to share?
I might be wayyyyy off track here, but maybe it might spark something for you or her.
And remember, it’s quite normal for kids to want everything they see, it’s just you see a bit more to it than other people might. Best of luck!
Thanks Hero, the collection idea is a good one - she's into Pokemon at the moment and was after an album, maybe we could make one.
Thank you for your understanding, I feel like she comes across as being very spoilt, but she isn't really, it's just all so tied up with her self esteem and relationships with me and her dad.
what are these things she's after - toys? clothes?
Learning crafts would be a good thing to do - make things for yourself?
also - don't give in to provocation. Kids don't often appreciate what you for them until they're older.
Could she earn the things she wants? Maybe feeding neighbours cats, watering plants etc? And jobs round the house. That might help her appreciate the value of money more.
Could you introduce the idea of a budget to her? So explain at the start of the week that you have earmarked an amount of money that you would like to spend on her, work out what sort of things would be included, whether it is all 'bonus' items like toys, icecreams, pokemon cards, then when she sees something she wants, discuss with her how much of her budget will be used and let her decide how she wants to blow it. If she races through it on day one, then you can explain over the next 6 days, that that's how budgets go and that next week, she may want to try spreading it out a bit.