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Relationship with DD is going to the dogs, am awful mother and will drive her away, but dont know how to change

(10 Posts)
Lowfat Fri 01-Aug-08 11:03:13

I wrote about this just before DS was born and for a while everything was fine, but it;s started again.

DD is going to start at reception class in Sept and DS will be 2 in Dec.

Before I had DS DD was my star, but since DS has come along and I see how independant and confident DD is getting I find myself disliking her behaviour more and more and its breaking my heart. I am cryig as I write this.

I love my daughter with all my heart and I just want us to get on again, but she only has to do the slightest thing wrong and I am there telling her off or sending her to her room.

She can be quite willful (as can all children) but somethimes I find myself dragging out arguements with her or prolonging punishment as I just cant move on. Sometimes she even sobs for her daddy to come home from work because I am so cross or awful to her.

Admittedly I tend to deal with DS better than DH so when we are out or errands need running I have DS and DH has DD so we are almost enforcing the split between mummy/daddy. He took her to the cinema recently and when at a theme park he took her on most of the rides, so she does all the fun stuff with him and I just get to be the 'tidy your room' 'behave yourself' moaning mum.

And as DS is now the baby of the family and I find myself giving him all the smiles when he does something new which I cant always find for DD even when she draws a beautiful picture or does something really well.

DD and DS have a great relationship which I always try to encourage, and she is a wonderful big sister which I praise her for, but my relationship with her just seems to go from worse to worse.

I love her so much, and always like to buy her things, but she is starting to take this for granted and I realise this is my creating as I am rewarding her with material things rather than love and attention. But whenever we try to have a cuddle or some mum and daughter time she does something that niggles me and the moment is spoiled.

I have sat down with her after every arguement we have and talked about why I got cross and told her I love her and no matter how cross I am with her that my love will never change. Two weeks ago she told me she hated me for the first time and I responded immediatley with 'I love you' even though I was devestated to hear that from her.

She will be 5 in September and open to new outlooks and interests through school and I am so scared I have let this go on so long that there is no going back.

What can I do, I am so desperate and miserable about this.

elfsmum Fri 01-Aug-08 11:09:54

first of all you are not an awful mother, you are recognising what you are doing and wanting to make it better, so stop that smile

I notice that I expect more from DS1 as he's older and should "know" how to behave better than DS2 who is two years younger.

I think we sometimes forget that they are still only babies themselves and we all expect so much from them.

I have been known to tell my 8 year old to grow up !

If DD is getting on your nerves, and believe me all kids do, she isn't unique in that way, count to 10 before you shout or tell her off, and once you're done leave it.

one thing that gets on my nerves about DH is that he will go on, and on, and on to DS1 about how he shouldn't have done XYZ and the impacts and consequences by which time DS1 has glazed over and any effect the telling off would have had is gone

don't beat yourself up, try to be positive, and give her a bit of breathing space to be a 5 year old

hope I'm not way off the mark, and this helps, haven't posted for a while so sorry if it's a bit erm heavy handed blush

edam Fri 01-Aug-08 11:10:48

Aw, you obviously ARE a good Mummy or you wouldn't be worrying about this.

Suspect the answer might be to spend more time with dd on your own, without ds or daddy. And try really, really hard not to bitch - let anything other than very serious misbehaviour go and keep a breezy, brisk manner, as if you were a presenter on Cbeebies. Even if it feels a bit false at first, the more you do, the more it will come naturally.

What does dd like doing? Is there anything you BOTH enjoy - swimming, walking the dog, reading a story, whatever?

WideWebWitch Fri 01-Aug-08 11:19:10

Oh poor you. I think it sounds as if you've just got into a cycle of stuff and you need some help to get out of it. What are the flash points? I would say at this age my top tips would be:

- it's almost always about attention. So children will take negative attention, eg being told off over no attention at all. Are you giving her enough of your time and attention? Is there any way you can spend some more time with her? I don't mean you have to play with her, just if you're doing sometihng like cookiung involve her and tlak to her while you'[re doing it.

- Distraction still works at this age ime.

- So does counting "I wonder if you can do xxxx by the time I count to xxx?"

- It's also probably jealousy of her brother and I do know how it can be easier to like spending time with the 'easier' or more compliant child but it means the other one does want you.

- catch her being good and praise her for it.

- remember that you are the adult and you do have to just move on even when you've been cross. I know it's easier said than done sometimes.

- She doesn't mean it when she says I hate you but if you give her a reaction she will use it again! She really doesn't, she loves you more than anyone else in the world, she just wnats your attention.

- REALLY pick your battles. Really. So for example if she draws on the walls it may be worth a telling off (or may not, depends on you and how you feel about your walls!) but spilling something was an accident and there's no point going on about it.

Good luck, it can be a trying age I know.

Baffy Fri 01-Aug-08 11:26:19

Agree with the others that you're not a bad mother or you wouldn't be trying to deal with this.

Just some really basic ideas - how about making a conscious effort that when you and dh do things separately, you take dd and dh takes ds. It gives you the one to one time with dd and gives dh a chance to get better with ds.
I know the current set up works and is almost the 'easy' option. But if you want to change things you have to make the effort to go outside your comfort zone to start to change things.

The advice to pick your battles and counting to 10 is also very good. If you try to cool off before opening your mouth to shout, then you may find it just doesn't seem worth shouting about at all.

Good luck.

Lowfat Fri 01-Aug-08 11:26:35

Thank you all so much, I have been so miserable about the state I/we are in.

Edam I think your coment about Cbeebies sums up what I have to do.

For all but the most serious of naughty behaviours I am just going to react to both my DC's as if I was a Cbeebies present from now on.

Elfsmum - you were not heavy handed in anyway smile

WWW - the counting thing sounds like a brilliant idea to stop me nagging and turn boring stuff into a game.

Thanks guys

Kally Fri 01-Aug-08 11:29:17

We do treat our first borns differently. There is the famous 'first born syndrome'. I have two older children who were born 2.5 years apart, and I waited 8 years before my first was born so she was the light of my life when she came along. The when DS came all my attention got diverted obviously. Its a different ball game with two. I flew back to UK and stayed with Mum when DS was 6 weeks old. My Mum spotted the lack of fair share of time I was dishing out and she pointed it out to me. (My Mum had 5 kids).. She said she won't give you up without a fuss, she won't make room without a fuss unless you include her in on everything. At the time I couldn't see how I could include her, but as time went on I realised I had to find a way, samll as she was, to keep an even balance. Smiles at him? A smile for her too, infact, when things are quiet and your alone with DD, every effort has to be put in making her feel her importance to you is not in jeopardy because of DS. Thats the willfulness and the attitude. She's only a baby herself.. probably doesn't even know what she's feeling, all she knows is things are not the same as they were for her. Put time aside for her. Make it a Golden rule and she'll feel important again. Discuss it with DH and make a certain time yours and her time, fix it strongly in place no matter what, even if its going to a cafe and having an icecream and a sit and a chat. It takes so little to bring it back on track. But well worth the effort. My DD became my 'right arm' all through life, with DS and later with DD2 (who I hate late in life when DD1 was 12). Today she's a fully grown adult with so much character and solid as a rock. You've got all that to look forward too, just make a little effort and you'll see the changes.

Kally Fri 01-Aug-08 11:31:58

(sorry typo) (who I HAD late in life)it should read, what a horrible typo as well... sorry

ConstanceWearing Fri 01-Aug-08 11:56:45

Definitely agree with firstborns having to be the 'big girl' or 'big boy'.

I had 3 DD's under the age of three at one stage, and my poor DD1 had to be the 'big girl' at that age.

Am ashamed of myself for it now, but it was a natural reaction. Try to remember she is a little dot, not a big girl.

Poor you. It's such hard work when they are small.
Good post Kally!

stirlingmum Fri 01-Aug-08 13:22:18

I understand what you are feeling and I have same problem with middle dc.
My eldest is a ds and is very laid back and easy to deal with. Then two younger dd's.
I could have written the op about the middle dd. I find her, at times, infuriating to deal with. It is like she knows exactly which buttons to press and does so on a regular basis.
After thinking about this situation at length, I believe I see myself more in her than in the other 2, but that still doesn't explain to me why we shouldn't get on as well as the other 2.
I also worry about our future relationship but do try to talk to her and keep lines of communication open.
I always make time at bedtime for a chat and a cuddle.

Maybe another thing that you could try is swapping roles with your dh a bit and get him to tell her off when she is naughty and ask her to do thinks that she doesn't want to do!

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