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How could I have handled this better?(12 Posts)
I have had some really good and useful advice here about parenting my DD1 and I think I need more.
Yesterday, DD1 went to her friends house after school to play. All went well, they played nicely the whole time. Then it comes to home time and the issue occurs.
I told her "we need to go home in 10 minutes, its almost tea time" she responds with "but I don't want to". And so it begins...
I told her again with 5 minutes to go, and got the same response, then told her when time was up and gathered our shoes/coats/got DD2 ready in the pram. DD1 ignored this and continued to play. I took her hand and and jollied her along and she went limp and refused to move. DDs friends mum tries to help, saying its time for friends tea, time for her to leave, and even her friend told her she wanted her to go now so she could eat. All responded to with "but I don't want to".
I physically picked her up and took her to the door where she refused to put her shoes or coat on, sitting on her feet so I could not just do it for her.
Its all been quite light to this point, but i did tell her she was making me angry by not doing as she was asked. DDs friend and her whole family are stood at the door watching the spectacle of DD just being totally unreasonable and not responding to anything I say to her, so I open the door to show her I will be leaving and she bursts into tears (LOUD tears too) allowing me to put her shoes and coat on while she cries. I then drag her home crying the whole way, silently fuming that a lovely afternoon was spoilt and imagining DDs friends family thinking I am totally ineffectual as a parent (DD is undiagnosed and I think me saying she has probable ASD will be met with "is that what you call your poor parenting skills?).
What could I have tried to get her to leave? I told her she would be able to play for a bit on the laptop when w get home (bribe) and explained why we had to go then (reasoning) and even threatened her friend would not want her to come again if she did not behave nicely (threat). All met with "but i don't want to go"
She later told my DH she was not sorry about her behaviour at her friends house because "she didn't want to leave so why should she be sorry for trying to stay?"
She is 4 (Aug baby) if that makes a difference. Any strategies you can give me for next time she utterly refuses to comply with a reasonable request? This does not happen often at all, usually reasoning or a distraction / bribe works or worst case, a threat of a consequence... I can't just pick her up and carry her kicking and screaming, as I have DD2 as well so I felt really stressed and totally stuck as well as judged!
You didn't do anything wrong, except to plan for an unexpected behaviour. Now it is expected. Now you can plan.
except to NOT plan for unexpected behaviour. But how could you?
Thank you Starlight, that has made me feel better. I think I will talk to her about leaving, before we go to the next playdate. Set expectations. Might help?! Can't hurt at least. I can't think what else I can do when she is refusing to co-operate!
Generally I find that practising is more effective than discussions, so perhaps you can 'practice' finishing something when you say so, at home.
So, I dunno, Ipad time. DD can have the ipad for 5 minutes. You will tell her she needs to finish with it, and it will be right in the middle of something she is doing that she enjoys. If she stops when you ask, then she gets a 5 minute break and then is allowed 10mins etc. etc.. If not you take it off her and try again an hour later. Once she has 'got it', then you can practice it with other things until she is used to simply stopping something because you have asked (though of course it is fair and reasonable to expect a warning rather than an abrupt ending)
I'm not suggesting this specific example as what you do will have to be appropriate to her interests, motivations and level of understanding etc.
Thats a really good idea, I shall make sure we practice with a range of things she enjoys so its not something she associates with just one activity, too.
I feel much better now I have something we can work on in a practical sense, feels like I am taking some control, thank you!
I think you are embarrassed and blowing it out of proportion a bit. Yes I do think practice will help, as will a clear list of "things we do when I say we are going" if possible with something pleasant at the end (getting to push the buggy? A tic tac? A piggy back?).
The reality though is that children misbehave. While you may understand that it's because she has possible neurological difficulties, no one else is really going to see anything else than a 4 year old being a 4 year old.
Expect to be embarrassed. If your friends are that prim, then find some new more human ones.
I have 5 children and have had more children burst into tears at leaving my house than you could ever imagine. I've had one who went to ground and who's big sister had to be fetched to get her out because her Mum couldn't do it. It's fine. Children can be little pests sometimes. (Personally I think the super good ones are a tad boring.).
Love her. Help her learn how to do this, but DON'T think she's naughty/bad or that you should feel ashamed/embarrassed. It's no different than potty training.
Hope it works. Expect it not to at the very beginning as she learns you mean it etc. but persistence will pay off. Don't get angry if she isn't able to do it first time (Even if she does), but tell her not to worry and you'll have a practise again soon.
We practise a lot of things like this before we trial them 'out in public', but it is usually only after an 'out in public' scene that I know something needs practise iyswim.
I'm sure dd's friend's family won't be phased. They are probably just glad it wasn't their child doing it as I think ALL children are capable of spectacular embarrassment of their parents. So long as overall the playdate was a success.
If you feel you need to, you could apologise and say that you're dd struggles when things she really enjoys come to an end and so you are practising at home. It shows you to be an 'on the ball' parent and also one that isn't just making excuses. They might be more up for a trial half-hour playdate to as a pre-date practise session for a longer one the following day/week etc.?
The only thing I think you did 'wrong' was to 'drag her home, fuming' (which I'm sure you didn't actually do but I imagine the ill feeling stayed with you) - I've been in this situation countless times with DS (3.9, suspected issues but all being assumed behavioural at the moment) - I've found that explaining many times before hand that when I say it's time to leave we have to leave helps a bit, otherwise I genuinely think it comes as a surprise. I've also found that saying we'll be going when I get to a count of ten works better than a 5 or 10 minute warning because he can predict when it comes to an end...With 5 minutes or whatever I think he loses track and gets engrossed in playing and it comes as an unwelcome surprise.
I think you handled everything else really well, you've given a warning and you've followed through. but it would do you a huge favour if you can find a way to stay calm through the whole thing (remember you're in charge; it's not a negotiation!) and let it go soon after - if she's anything like DS once the storm is over she'll be looking for ways to reconnect with you and it won't do anyone any good you carrying round resentment when she's forgotten it. I'm working on taking my own advice on that though, it's very hard especially if you feel embarrassed or judged
Such good advice, thank you all (honks made me smile). Yes I might be blowing it out of proportion, I was so pleased with how the playdate had gone I think the ending seemed worse than maybe it was. I am probably projecting my own embarrassment (which I need to shelve). I also need to move on and forget my annoyance sooner, I know DD does, and while I don't show her I am still hold ill feeling, its still there and it effects my over all mood, with DD2 and DH as well.
Practice and discussion will occur, and hopefully the next playdate (next Thursday) will be better. Its at our house, so I already feel more in control.
If you want to look it up, you'll find lots under the heading "Transitions" in info about the spectrum.
Don't be embarrassed, it's not bad behaviour, but you can help using the good advice above. Kids have no concept of time, if it becomes a problem you can get visual and audio timers or set alarms on phones etc to have an audio and/or visual countdown to any activity changing.
All behaviour is only easy to manage when you know how, there are a lot of experienced parents on here, just ask, I'm sure that collectively we have the experience between us to help in most situations.
In the meantime, cut yourself some slack
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