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  1. #1
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    Default 7yo being disrespectful

    Hi,

    I have a nearly 7yo daughter who has been very disrespectful lately.
    Examples are
    - I let her choose what to eat, I make it for her, then she will not eat it. Today she went and threw her food in the bin then came and showed me her empty plate saying she had eaten it. She can choose anything in the house as long as it's healthy. She was going to a party after lunch so I would not let her go to a party and eat sugary food without having lunch first.
    - Leaving her clothes and toys everywhere and yelling at me when I ask her to pick them up. I ask nicely, she will either ignore me or laugh at me and call me stupid or play with the toys then still leave them where they are. Leaving her towel on the floor every single night after her shower. School uniform on the floor instead of in the washing basket.
    - Continually changing her clothes 3-4-5 times a day and leaving them all on the floor, and rummaging through her drawers so everything is messed up and I have to fold them again. I have enough washing to fold, I don't need to fold her entire wardrobe 2 or 3 times a day. She is not really able to neatly fold her own clothes yet and if I ask her to do it anyway, she will yell at me and say it's boring. I explain to her that it's just as boring to me and I haven't even made the mess so if she doesn't want to fold them, she can stop pulling them out.
    - Yelling at her 5yo sister and wanting to make all the rules when they are playing. Sometimes hitting or pushing or taking toys. When they are both home, they fight about 60% of the time.
    - Not taking anything seriously, making false promises etc. I will explain to her why her behaviour is not acceptable, she will say sorry and promise to not do it again but nothing ever changes.
    - Constant complaining if I forget the smallest thing like putting a fork in her lunchbox for her freshly cut mango she gets almost every day, yelling and screaming if she doesn't get exactly what she asks for, then most of the time her relatively expensive, time consuming food comes home again and goes straight in the bin. Expecting me to get her things when she has her own legs to walk on - cups of water, condiments for dinner etc etc. I am not her servant, I do not run a hotel!
    - Complaining that I am "bossing her around" when I ask her to clean up her own messes/clothes or finish the meal she asked for etc.
    Writing this out she sounds like an absolute spoilt brat. I don't know how we got to this point. We have always had a good relationship and she has been a very kind, caring girl and very mature for her age. She makes friends easily, does very well at school, loves going to school, gets the best reports for academics and behaviour. It's only at home she is like this. If we go out, she is usually better too. BUT, we do need to spend some time at home, we live here after all, and I just can't have her making the family miserable anymore. Today I put my foot down and said she couldn't go to the birthday party and she had to stay upstairs on her own while her sister went to the party and I worked downstairs. She cried and yelled and swore at me for a couple of hours saying she hates me and I'm the worst mum etc etc. Then tonight she would cuddle me and say she loves me. I am seriously feeling very distanced from this child, I don't know what to think about her and I don't enjoy being with her, she is just not a nice person anymore.
    What can I do to stop this?
    I have explained to her how she is responsible for herself and her things and I am only here to help her with the things she can't do for herself yet, I am not her servant. I think she wants more freedom to choose as she feels very grown up now and says "it's my life", but I explained to her that with freedom also comes with responsibility, getting older doesn't mean we get to do what we want all the time. She seemed to take it in a little but I am not convinced we won't have the same issues tomorrow.
    Any tips at all? Do I put my foot down and make punishments harsher, or is it a natural development stage and I just need to try to understand her better? I have asked her if there is anything going on at school etc, what I can do differently and I get nothing. She has a very good life, can do what she wants basically as long as it's safe and not hurting anyone, not lacking anything, but definitely doesn't get every toy she points too so not sure how she got so "spoilt". I never make her another meal if she doesn't eat what's being served but I do try to make things she likes in the first place, which is why it's even more annoying/hurtful when she still complains and doesn't eat it. Every now and again she eats a whole heap though, and she has always been a healthy weight. I'm not worried about her health, just all the wasted food and time.
    I've said she can't go to another birthday party tomorrow either, but my husband think I am "overreacting" and the mum of the boy whose party it is thought it was very sad she can't come. What am I meant to do?? Just let her carry on with her disrespectful ways?
    If we go out, yes she is better behaved but cancelling outings is the only thing she cares about as a punishment. She doesn't care about no pocket money, no TV etc. If I yell at her and send her to her room, she is sad for all of 2min then nothing changes. It's hard too because I don't want to punish her sister by cancelling outings as well, but often I am not able to leave the 7yo home with my husband so it's either both of them go or neither of them.
    Any advice??

  2. #2
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    It's only at home she is like this.

    Children usually release their frustrations with those they feel most comfortable with. When she is at home it may be the only time she can remove the mask she has to put on for friends and school. Adults find daily stresses overwhelming, so imagine what it's like for a child who is emotionally immature. She can be her complete overwhelmed stressed self with mum as she knows mum will love her unconditionally, which brings me to my next point.

    I am seriously feeling very distanced from this child, I don't know what to think about her and I don't enjoy being with her, she is just not a nice person anymore.

    I know things are frustrating but please don't let these thoughts linger for too long and end up making your love conditional i.e. I only love you when you act a certain way. My mother did this to me throughout my life and I barely talk to her now.

    You might find this helpful:

    http://happinessishereblog.com/2018/...soj3x_fmqy7NoM

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  4. #3
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    How does your DD respond to your husbands requests? Is her behaviour the same with him or different? What are his expectations when it comes to your kids behaviour/contribution around the house? I’m wondering if you’re on the same page/a united front.

    And how does she respond to positive strategies, eg praise? I’m hearing that punishment isn’t working and may just be having a negative impact on your relationship.

    Its been tough managing her behaviour, by the sounds of it, and it may be important to focus on connecting again first. This will help you to both be in a good mindset for approaching her behaviour positively.

    There may also be something helpful here... https://www.ahaparenting.com/Ages-stages/school-age

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    tiddles01  (11-11-2018)

  6. #4
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    There’s a lot in your post OP, so I’ll just comment on a couple of points.

    Most of what you describe sounds not unusual for a 7 year old. They are trying to work out where they fit in the world and exert authority where they can. This can be very difficult for them if the ‘rules’ change often and consequences are unclear.

    Did your DD know that not going to the party was a possible consequence? These things should be clear early on, not a last minute frustration.

    I would have sent her to the party. Not going to the party impacts the party host and it is a bit rude to just not turn up.

    Is there a reason there is so much focus on messy drawers? I’d be inclined to leave them and let her deal with it. She is old enough to put away her own clothes and manage it herself. Perhaps some independence in some areas would help.

    Goo luck OP, remember she is little and just wants to be loved.

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  8. #5
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    I have a 7yo and 4yo and they are yet to ever hang up a wet towel. I can completely relate to what you’re saying about the many outfit changes and the clothes!

    I crack it every so often but mostly just ignore it. Last week a friend at work was upset about something I did and it made me feel horrible. I thought this is probably how they feel when I yell at them. So I’m trying to get better with getting cross. As DJ Nette said they are only little. Pretty sure I was a slob till i moved out and actually realised how much my parents did!

    I’m just trying to set a good relationship up for when they’re teenagers, and for me that means not sweating the small stuff.

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  10. #6
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    Thanks for your replies.
    Yes I think it is definitely the case that she is on her best behaviour while out and needs to let her guard down at some point and it happens at home with me.
    Of course I love her unconditionally, but I find it really hard to enjoy spending time with her at the moment as her constant demands and tantrums when I ask her to be respectful by cleaning up/not yelling/not hurting her sister/eat the food she has asked for etc makes me cranky. But of course I still love her and want the best for her in life, and I'm sure it's a "stage", I just want to make sure it doesn't get out of hand and damages our relationship long term. I do tell her I love her, I just don't like her behaviour. I think she understands that.
    My husband probably doesn't make that many requests of her, at least not when I am home. He is more of a sit back and read the paper dad and leaves all the day to day stuff to me. He will look after the kids if I have something on, but it's pretty much just being there and making sure they are safe, he doesn't get involved in any of the cleaning up or meals or anything, it's all left for me to deal with. So I become the evil mum who always asks them to do stuff and he is the nice relaxed dad who lets them do what they want as long as it's safe.
    I have tried to my wits end to change that but it's just not happening.
    If she hurts her sister or they fight over toys etc and my husband is the one to intervene, she will treat him the same way though, yell at him etc.
    I agree we don't have a good connection at the moment. She is busy at school and often with friends after school and on weekends (mostly at our house though). I am busy with work and managing the household. She flat out refuses to go to after school care and I do most of my work while she is at school but that means all other household tasks have to be done after school so there is not a lot of time to spend with her. We chat while I cook dinner etc but I'm not getting much out of her at the moment, she just tells me her day was good and who she played with etc. Whenever I ask if she's had any problems etc, nothing is ever wrong, everything is great.
    Today I decided we should all stay home and have a family day. We set up the slip and slide and they played while I watched them and chatted to them. Then we played a couple of board games and for the third one we have to be in teams of two. My 4yo always wants to me on my team and will usually not play if she can't, which my 7yo thinks is unfair but it's been months since we have played now so we agreed we would flip a coin. My 7yo lost and then she started screaming and carrying on until she was in absolute hysterics and we all said we wouldn't play anymore if she acts like that. So then she got even worse and screamed we are the worst parents and her life is horrible and her weekend is ruined and it goes on and on. I said her weekend is ruined because she acts in a way so no one wants to spend time with her, we agreed to flip a coin and it's not okay to throw a tantrum like that for losing the coin toss. Then no one wants to play. So having a nice family day has failed. I guess we just keep trying?
    I can kind of understand her behaviour if she feels like she is being treated unfairly and not listened to etc. I have had times where I have felt like that and have been incredibly angry at times and a relatively small thing can tip me over the edge. But that's when I have repeatedly asked for things to change, explained why I feel I am not being treated fairly, told people what they can do to help and still not been listened to, or laughed at or ignored. Everyone has a tipping point. I have asked her if she feels I am not treating her fairly and if she is angry about something and if there is something I can do differently. No, everything is great, she says. I do not understand that sort of reaction over small isolated incidences. I realise she might not be able to explain as well as I can what the real problem is, but I really have no clue what it could be, or even if there is anything going on or if she just feels entitled to have everyone bough to her whims all the time. If she is not getting her fair share of something then of course I will listen to her and make changes but if she is trying to dictate how the whole family live their lives, she needs to understand that is not possible. I'm not raising entitled brats who think the world revolves around them and everyone else is here to serve them. I will not tiptoe around them not to upset them and let them have what they want and hope that they at some point (maybe when they move out, or maybe never) realise they have been unfair and expected too much. I want them to understand that sooner rather than later.
    I don't think rules change often. They have always been the same and fairly simple. Don't hurt others, look after and pick up your own stuff, don't waste food (and in return I will mostly only give them food they like (but still healthy)).
    Consequences have probably changed a bit because I have never found anything that works. She doesn't care about anything I do. That's why I now introduced taking away outings because she does care about that.
    We did discuss earlier in the week that she might not be allowed to go to the birthday party today if she kept acting the way she did. It's a party I didn't want to go to so it would make my life easier if we didn't go. Which is the point of a punishment - it makes her life worse and mine easier. Not going to the party yesterday actually made my life a lot harder as she stayed home and screamed at me while I worked - it was my husband who was meant to take them to the party. But her behaviour was so out of control that I felt I had to do something immediately, that missing the party the next day was too far away and also wouldn't have the same impact as she wouldn't be watching her sister going etc. Plus I'm not sending my kids to a party to eat sugar if they haven't had lunch. And I'm not making a second lunch after they have thrown the first in the bin. I felt backed up in a corner and that was the only solution I could think of at the time. But I do agree they should be given a warning first, know what the consequences are. It's hard when there is nothing I can consistently take away that she cares about though.
    Maybe I can just leave the drawers messy, except she will run around in crinkled clothes and not be able to find what she needs. But I guess that's her problem, not mine. As long as it's in the drawer and not on the floor I can probably live with it. But I bet she will put dirty clothes back in the drawer too though.
    To Mod Wise Enough - when your friend got upset, did she explain what you had done wrong and did will you then try to change it? Yes of course you feel bad if you have done something wrong and not known you have upset someone, but if you are repeatedly doing it and not caring about your friend's feelings, it's not really your friend's fault, is it? You can change that behaviour and problem solved. Just like my daughter can change some simple things and she won't be yelled at.
    I don't want to wait until they move out for them to realise they are slobs. I want them to move out ready to face life. I don't want their future partners to pick up after them. I want my kids to be responsible adults who look after themselves and their things.
    And yes I want to have a good relationship with them as teenagers, but I'm not sure being a pushover just to avoid confrontation is the way to go. Will they respect me when I have to say no to certain things when they are older? Will they hide things from me and laugh at me behind my back? I will forever explain to them the reasons why I am asking them to do things, but I'm not going to back down and let them treat me like their servant. The only time I cut them some slack is if something truly unfair has happened and they are upset and have had a really hard day, them I will help them out and let them relax as I would do for any friend.

  11. #7
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    Tiddles01 sounds like you are really struggling with your daughter’s behaviour at the moment and I can fully understand your frustration. Sure she wants to be loved but she also needs to learn that we need to treat people with respect and not scream and throw a massive tantrum when we don’t get our own way. She is continuing to behave in this way (clothes messy etc) because she doesn’t care if she’s made a mess. She knows full well it’s your problem and she doesn’t care. Once she gets to the point of not being able to find things she wants then it will be her problem and she might change her attitude.

    Try not to sweat the small stuff but have expectations around speaking respectfully and doing as we are asked. I think once you find her currency (what will she respond to when she does the wrong thing) her behaviour will improve.

    Continue to be loving and supportive as best you can but don’t tolerate the disrespectful behaviour.

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    Another idea that might work is having a Sunday box. If you ask her to pick up toys, clothes etc and she ignores you then simply place them into the Sunday box. That means she won’t be able to access them until Sunday (or whatever day you nominate). She will soon learn that she needs to pick up after herself if she wants to play with her toys. I tell my three boys I am not their slave and we all have to live in this house. They are all pretty good at picking their stuff up but I’ve had to push that expectation from a young age.

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  14. #9
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    A lot of what you touched on is "normal" for the age.

    She could be potentially starting to get hormone surges too??

    With my 7yo I definitely don't worry about stuff that's not significant. If he wants a messy drawer, it's fine for a week until I clean it.

    I do however expect that he speaks respectfully, and listens to me.

    I give him the task of setting the dinner table at night - I put cutlery, condiments, glasses etc on the bench, and he carries them to the table and gets drinks from the fridge.... this doesn't give him pocket money, although he tries, but I insist ours something he does because it's helpful, and we are a family we help eachother.

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    Hi there.
    I completely understand where you are coming from, and think you are being fair.
    My opinion re not showing up to the party is that I would see no issue with it, in terms how it may affect the host. Things happen. We need to look out for ourselves, and with a genuine apology they should understand. But then, I never cared about other peoples opinions. Yes, I would apologise for inconvenience but my family and needs of my family come first.

    I have a 7, 5, 3 and 1 year old and baby due in 6ish weeks.
    My 7 yo, only boy, has had a bit of an attitude lately. He doesnt like to be yelled at, so I trymy best not to, I am not a yeller anyway, but i am bit short fused, being in the last weeks of pregnancy. He is lazy, and selfish. As much as i love and adore him, and he has many great qualities, I recognise those two as something to work on to help him overcome it and be more mindful of others, help out more and pick up after himself.
    All my kids hate picking up. They have no set chores around house as i m sahm, so i do most of it, and dh is very helpful, we share all chores and recently he has been picking up my bit as well.

    I find that in our household ds and dh clash a lot. Ds will talk back and dh hates it. Its mostly that ds asks for clarification which dh interprets as talking back, or maybe i m the one who is too lenient. I m more patient and willing to discuss/explain but it js annoying when it just doesnt get through.
    Eg. We went to a friends bbq, ds saw sweets and started eating cakes before lunch like he s never seen cake before.
    1) i want him to eat healthy salad, meat etc first
    2) there was enough cake for everyone to have a piece.
    I can see that and rationalise as an adult, but he cant. His response was bbq are for stuffing yourself with food, same response no matter how i tried to explain.

    In regards to pickung up. What doesnt get picked up goes to vinnies. Enough stuff went that they take me seriously now. Re clothes, my girls change heaps too, and mess up drawers, so now i keep bare minimum in clothes.

    Hang on in there. Maybe with enough talking it will sink. I dont know


 

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