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Am I expecting too much from DSD?

(7 Posts)
Spru Sun 16-Oct-11 15:50:48

Hi, first-time post, so please bear with me.
I am going to cut it really short so will miss out huge detail. We have a close family and DSD lives with myself and her father. The bottom line is that my DSD can cry for hours and even days if I am sympathetic when she comes back from visiting her BM. If I change tact and am gentle yet firm, the crying stops immediately. On this point though I tend to be more sympathetic than firm as I don't like being firm when she is missing her BM. And i think that she has twigged on to that fact because she is now really pushing it and its getting worse, not better. She has been living with us since 3 and she is now 7 (Her BMs decision). She is a great little girl, but she does push things like every child would i guess.

Also, this crying thing always happens at bed-time and is really causing great disruption as I have a baby and a toddler too who are getting upset at this non-stop crying and the fact that i drop everything, literally leave the DDs hungry whilst trying to make sure that DSD is emotionally OK.

The thing is, this cannot go on, but I do not know how to handle it. As long as DSD is crying (she can be heard from every room) DD1 starts getting upset keeps saying 'sorry' to DSD. Then she starts to get moody and confused. Then I cannot get DD1 to bed in the evening either. By the time I get to my hungry baby, she has cried herself to sleep.

It's all getting too much now, and this has to stop. The question is - how??
Do I just get firm and say this is not on, or do I just let it be.

MJlovesscareypants Sun 16-Oct-11 16:10:01

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MJlovesscareypants Sun 16-Oct-11 16:12:03

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chelen Sun 16-Oct-11 19:01:44

Hi I agree with much of what MJ says, especially about not dropping everything when she cries. I don't agree with a reward chart for not crying tho, I think that if she does want to cry she should and holding feelings in for a reward is not right and the risk is you draw more attention to the crying by making a thing of it. The issue is not really her crying but the impact on the whole household when she does it at bedtime.

We had very similar with SS. I was so worried about him being pushed out by new baby I would jump and respond whenever he was upset, as you describe. Problem was he worked out how to get lots of attention was by being sad, therefore encouraging him to be more sad/display more sad behaviour.

I received advice which was:

a) have a fixed routine about calm times at bed time, so from an hour before have no talking about issues within the house generally,
b) if she does get teary before bed a quick squeeze and 'I know, its hard, off you pop to bed and I;ll come and read you a lovely story' or similar
c) have some form of regular system for expressing feelings, either drawing sessions, a worry washing line or a worry box where she can put her feelings down somehow. Then if she continues to be upset she can be directed to this system and you follow it up the next day at a better time.
d) give lots of attention for all feelinsg not just sad ones so they feel a bit more balanced

Hope things improve x

exoticfruits Sun 16-Oct-11 19:18:39

I agree with chelen-she sounds very sensible.

LovingChristmas Sun 16-Oct-11 19:28:39

Hmmm, my DSS learned very quickly that mum could be swayed by tears and comments of you love DSD's more than me, therefore delaying bedtime by the time tears have stopped, hugs were had and explanations given, DH on the other hand, when his DS was crying just before bed (had been absolutely fine allllllllllll day), said he was sorry he was upset, Dad loved him very much and tomorrow when everyone was much calmer we could discuss everything then, and we would just go a bit later to the park smile
DSS never mentioned issues, DH raised it saying he was concerned that he was upset and talked it through, DSS said everything was fine and could we go to the park now!!
DSS never used tears like that with us again, it took his mum a few months to catch on that he was using the situation to his advantage and she soon became firmer. If it was bothering them that much they would discuss it and be noticeably off before bedtime, not just at the point that something needed delaying!!
Be a lot firmer but do make sure that any issues are discussed earlier in the evening or over breakfast next day!

Spru Sun 16-Oct-11 20:44:59

A massive thank you to every bit of advice so far. I found every word useful and also as I kept reading, I kept thinking that is exactly what DSD does! I think a part of me always feels as if I should be giving DSD that bit extra, but unfortunately, it is disrupting everything. Interestingly, when she was really little, she would get a little treat if she wouldn't cry - she used to look forward to coming back then! Funnily enough, as she got older and i stopped the treats, the crying just gradually got worse. In my heart, I know she is just playing up, but you are right, I must treat her exactly the same and not reinforce that she is different.

Thanks MJ for the advice aswell as the whole abbreviation thing - i won't make that mistake again! grin

chelen the more attention/more sad behaviour display thing is definitely going on. I am going to try implementing all the pointers given, and see what works and what does not.

loving yes funnily enough, the crying arises only at bedtimes - she seems to be too busy at other times :-)

huge thanks to all of you - i feel so much better now. Lets see what happens when DSD comes back after half term!

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