Too much?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Big Bad Kitty, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Too much power. Tink has way too much power and control. I think I took "pick your battles" too literally. Now we don't do anything unless approved by her because it's better than listening to her throw a fit. Example: let's have chicken for dinner. "nooo I hate chicken" So fine, we don't have chicken. Time to take a shower. "nooo I hate showers" (this is a new one). Fine, be stinky. Lets buy these holiday decorations. "nooo I want THESE instead". Fine, not hurting me, we get these instead.

    What I rationalize as picking my battles (or natural consequences, in the case of not showering) has now become Tink runs the house. How do you undo that? Where do you draw the line?

    Too much time. Is there a such thing as spending too much time with your kid? OK, I'm all about leaving the dishes because my kid is more important. But Tink is the poster child for "whatever you do once for a child, be prepared to do it the rest of your life". Special time with her is no longer special, it is mandatory. Which goes back to picking my battles. Am I going to spend time alone and not enjoy it because she will be whining about how I "never spend time with her" and my alone time will be ruined anyways? Or do I just give in and say fine, screw my alone time, yes I will spend time with you. She wants my attention every waking moment of every day, and she has become even more clingy since her dad got himself locked up. I know she may have seperation anxiety, and I want her to be sure that I will never abandon her, but I can't even pee without her standing there.


    Too much freedom. I thought I was soing her a service by pushing her towards independence. Copper grew up very sheltered and naive. Tink is now SO beyond her years. If you missed it, I caught her yesterday looking at porn. Not just "oops I stumbled across it" but actually searching for it. Some very disturbing things. Little girls should not see what she saw. What's worse, she dragged another kid into it. So now THAT makes me question ever letting her out of my sight. So much for my alone time. Get a sitter? Seriously? She'd be wrapped around my leg as I tried to walk out the door. I do what I can to avoid meltdowns. Is that harmful in the process? As good as I am at detaching ( I mastered the art of it with Copper) is as bad as I am with follow through. When I can take the easy way out with Tink, I do it.


    Who here has the instruction manual for a kid like this? Have you been holding out on me?
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    BBK, Looks like you may have created a "monster." You need to really set some boundaries. Is she going to rebel---yes. Is she going to melt down---yes! Will she make your life miserable for a while---definitely. But the options are not pretty. She needs to understand the world does not revolve around her. It's hard to undo what has been done. Because she has come to expect things to go her way. But, you need to step in and do what you need to do to insure that she is able to grown into a strong, independent young lady.

    Boundaries---Cloud and Townsend is a good start
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families is also good.

    It's a New Year. Explain to her that with a new year, comes changes. She is growing up and you want to insure that you do what you can do to make her life better. (and yours!)
  3. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I am also so guilty of that very same thing. I often called it "picking my battles" as well. What I really did was set my life up to be the child and my daughter the parent. I can totally understand, it is much easier to give in to their manipulations rather than go through the fit that follows the word "no". Trying to keep the peace. It's like walking on eggs shells. The problem with that is no matter what we do, don't do, give in to, and so on... the result is usually the same. The fit comes anyway.

    I wish I had the answer. Once we lose that power it is very difficult to get it back.

    Hang in there. :)
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    BBK I have done similar things and created a lot of manster's sense of entitlement. Try to look forward. Start setting boundaries now and yes, be prepared for the fallout. I plan to do the same thing with manster even though I know I'm in for rounds of meltdowns and the script will be "you love husband more than you love me", "you hate me" and "I hate yous" followed by emotional meltdowns and "I'm sorry's". We can do this. PM me any time. Love, ML
  5. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    BK, Tink and difficult child are so much alike. difficult child, too, ran the house because I just couldn't stand the battles every. single. day. over every. single. thing. In reality, though, there were still battles every day and she felt more and more entitled and treated me like carp.

    I've really been putting my foot down. It takes a lot to undo what we've allowed to go on. They manipulate - "you never spend any time with me", "why do you hate me?" (my daughter's personal fave) and when that doesn't work, "I hate you." I used to respond to those things by addressing them. If I hated you, I wouldn't care if you succeeded at school. You can hate me all you want, but I still love you. The thing is, I was still reacting at her level in a way that she could still manipulate.

    I've always said to others, and have always believed, that parenting is not a popularity contest. But, I had trouble acting on that. One day recently (within the last few months), difficult child was going on with her "why do you hate me?" and "I hate you" and I looked at difficult child and told her she can hate me all she wants; parenting is not a popularity contest.

    It stopped her in her tracks. She didn't know how to respond to that. It was so incredibly freeing for me to say that out loud. Because it's true and I really meant it. Battles haven't stopped - not by a long shot. But, I'm the parent and she's the child and I make sure she knows that. I still pick my battles; some things just aren't worth it. But, she also knows that when I don't give in on the battle, that I mean it.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 14, 2009
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    When I can take the easy way out with Tink, I do it.

    Welllll ... you said it. :)
    We all do that. And we have to undo it.
    You've read The Manipulative Child, right? Basically, we all take the easy way. If my difficult child is screaming at me, sometimes it's easier to give in.
    But, ooops, now he's going to think he will win every time he screams.
    Wrong way to go.

    We can't spend our lives avoiding unpleasant behavioir. We have to tackle it.

    It's going to be hard. I would pick one thing, like dinner, and stick to it for a month or so. Make whatever you want for dinner, but include one side dish or something that you know she will eat so she won't starve. That way, you can just put the plate in front of her, and when she complains, tell her, "Well, that is what I made. Just eat what you like and leave the rest." Be very calm.
    We go through it nearly every night, but as the months have gone on, it has gotten better.
    Sometimes, when difficult child asks what we're having for dinner, I will not tell him and he will get upset, but my answer is, "You will complain no matter what I serve, so I'm not going to tell you. Go back into the other room and play."
    Of course, he'll beg at that point. The instant he complains, he goes to his room.
    We're pretty much over that part, at least.

    We've had to send difficult child to his rm several times with-no food at all because he was so obnoxious at the table. A cpl times I brought plain rice and a glass of water to his room. (He has to be hungry and calm or I will end up with-a plate being thrown at my head.) :)
    Still, that doesn't stop me from working on it. No one said it would be easy.
    Best of luck.
  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    You are 6 years ahead of me on this one. I didn't really realize this until difficult child 1 was almost 13! In her case, I do feel she has the means to be in control now and is choosing not to do what she needs to do. (If she follows her special diet, she is a easy child. If she does not, she is somewhat out of control.)

    Back in the day, when she was out of control all of the time, I am not sure I would have been able to set firmer limits. I think the only thing you can do is try to push her a little farther. I think taking back some of your own power will be the easiest. For example, say "we are having chicken for dinner" or "I am getting these ornaments" and maybe let her pick out one, if you can.

    Full disclosure: difficult child 1 still doesn't eat what I make for dinner if it is something besides rice and plain meat. At least now, she can microwave her own hamburger.

    I have an idea for getting her to play alone. I use this on difficult child 2 to get her to go to sleep on her own. You could tell Tink that she needs to play on her own and you will check back on her every few minutes. At first, I check every minute or two, but then I am able to stretch it out until she doesn't need it any more. So maybe Tink could play quietly or read by herself for a short time (even 5 minutes?), then you play or read with her. The time doesn't start unless she is not bothering you. I wouldn't tell her the amount of time so she doesn't just watch the clock and prevent you from increasing the time in the future. I give a reward for doing it. Eventually, it is just a habit for difficult child 2. I have had to return to this method a couple of times over the years but it has always worked.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    This would be why my in-laws and husband say at times that I am mean. That I treat K worse than N.
    Well because with most things I can tell N 2-3 times and she will get it.
    K it is a work in progress.
    It is frustrating. It is unnerving. It drives me crazy. I have to help her with a lot of things. Some days her anxiety is worse. I have to account for her moods. Some days I hate it, some days I want her to just be normal.
    I have been working with her on keeping her room just a little bit tidy. So I go though and put everything in boxes or drawers. Easy. I have places for everything.
    It still overwhelms her, she wants it neat but it overwhelms her. She is 7.5 yo and she acts younger the N who is 4.5.
    She bolted from me 4 times at the zoo yesterday. She knocked down 2 toddler's, ran into a stroller...
    At times I feel like I am being mean. But I have to keep telling her, over and over and over... the rules.
    Because maybe just maybe it might sink in.
    I had to kneel down before we went into the zoo, tell her the rules, tell her about 10 more times in the zoo. Did she listen? NO
    I had to keep trying. She broke down after running into the stroller. I had to pick her up, help her hug her, even though I wanted to smack her and just scream, why can't you listen???

    It is tiring. Yes I still basket C things when I can tell it is going to cause a huge breakdown.
    I would start slowly if I were you. Start with one thing, what ever is causing you the biggest headache.
    Sit her down and talk with her. The I love you, you are a big girl etc.
    Maybe make a wall chart about what the rules will be. For K this only works for a few days. LOL
    Start small, 15 minutes of Mommy time. Or a shower 2 times a week to start. (with no complaining) Maybe a reward, tv or a treat that you guys make.
    This took a long time to create so it will take a long time to help her and you.
    Go slow and try (LOL) to stay patient.
    I am trying myself and have been struggling.
    I have no clue about the porn. I can't get K to stop humping on everything. Luckily she is never near a computer except with one of us. She runs from the room when she sees even a cartoon kiss. Screaming turn it off... poor kid!
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    With food I like what Terry said. I also do Free Friday. I will fix what ever they want, if they had a good week. I am pretty flexible as far what a good week means. I try not to be too strict so as not to put too much pressure on them.
    N is not eating much. So I will do what Terry does and I ask them to eat one bite of everything, that is the house rule! No exceptions.
    I will fix them the other things they like but they have to try what husband and I are eating.
    Big surprise a lot of times they like it!
  10. lillians

    lillians lillians

    i have one of those monsters created by whom?? moi?? well perhaps,,, but i followed all the phsychiatrists suggestions ,, but when the child is diagnosed odd,, even if my pediatrician says its a junk diagnosis,,,, it will not matter which battle yu do or do not choose,,in my mind at least,,, if i suggest ice cream which she loves--its wrong,, so if yu find a way i need one to!! i will read the suggested rwading material at the bottom
  11. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Hey don't go beating yourself up!! And by the way I lost my manual!! LOL :(

    Anyhow, anything can be redone or reworked in my opinion, remember that. It takes time though. I as you did the same exact thing, than with the advice from everyone here (who clearly had the manual I didn't /JK) I was able to slowly gain back some "head of the household" as per my tax return status here. It's not easy and it does take time, alot of it.

    We do in a sense set the tone, and I know I've done the same ok honey you don't want that I'll give you this, blah blah to avoid the confrontation or in my case the anxiety from hitting sky high at certain points. Than I had to look in the mirror I was totally run down, bouncing off the walls, everyone and everything revolved somewhat around easy child and difficult child. Than slowly I started to regain control and i'm still working on it.

    I set some ground rules in place, not alot minimal for instance what I make for dinner is what I make, I can't always make your favorite there are other ppl. If you chose not to eat dinner that's fine, yet do not expect a snack later before bed. Just a small example. Her ds at bedtime, wow I almost got hit over that one. I'd let her use it at night it minimized my pain of bedtime bouncing yet i'd go to take it away and she almost hit me. Now ds goes on my dresser an hour before bedtime, you don't like it?? oh well, tha'Tourette's Syndrome the rules and tha'Tourette's Syndrome life. Seems cold hearted yet I had to do something I was running myself ragged, and she was getting away with murder.

    So, what I did was made a mental note of things that were important to me, that I felt she would just have to adapt to and deal with. I started small and I am slowly adding on things, once she adjusts to the rules I've now implemented. I think if you take it slow, and only go with things you absolutely refuse to compromise on than in time you'll get where you need to be.

    (((hugs))) i know it can be so rough, and confusing at times. We always question ourselves and say ok what do i do now, do i enforce this, is it worth it, etc.??

    Hope the new year starts off well for you guys. You've been doing a great job, don't sell yourself short, we can only do the best we can
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{Hugs}}} What did Maya Angelou say? "We did the best we could with what we knew and when we knew we did better." (or something like that)

    The thing with The Explosive Child/ basket theory is that you need to keep moving things from basket C to basket B to basket A in order to help the child develop appropriate behaviors. It's really not about giving in to avoid a meltdown. Just the opposite, in fact. You pick a few things that non-negotiable. Period. And a few things that are situational. And you don't worry about the rest. For now. When the child can handle the basket A stuff, then it's time to move some over from basket B. You then move something or a few things from basket C to basket B.

    My father gave me some very sage advice about Duckie and her behavior problems before he died; he told me that when a child challenges you that you must rise to that challenge every single time.

    Tink has to learn that you are the parent, you get to make the final decisions on everything simply because you are the person in your household that is ultimately responsible for everything. She can like it or not. Rage and carry on or not. Her choice.

    But believe me... you want to fight this battle now at age 8 rather than at 18. You will most likely lose any influence you have if you don't get ahead of her quickly. Try to remember that this has nothing to do with illnesses or conditions causing her behaviors, you are working toward the goal of her being able to not meltdown because she doesn't get her way.

    I know it sounds harsh, BBK, but that's not my intention. You are a great mother that has gone to great lengths to be the best possible parent to both your girls. And I have nothing but respect for you. :)
  13. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Thanks ALL, and no TM, I do not take any offense!

    I have made so many excuses for her behavior. I can't even imagine for a second what it would be like if I had another child to raise along with Tink.

    FairlyOddParent, I think you may have touched on something. Tink has been complaining about stomach aches and headaches a Occupational Therapist (OT) in the past month or so. I am wondering if we are dealing with celiac disease. We have an appointment with the doctor next week for that very reason. But see, even the food thing..."oh, that's OK Tink, you can just eat that instead of this" because I know that she has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and does not like the texture of certain foods.

    Thankfully she will be seeing a new psychiatrist laster this month. Maybe we can get down to the nitty gritty and get some help.

    Bless you all, and happy new year!
  14. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    BBK, difficult child has a lot of stomachaches and headaches, too. We've never had her tested for Celiac, which would probably be a good idea because her stomach issues seem to be worsening. But, it's also part of her anxiety - the physical symptoms.

    Happy New Year to you, too!!!
    Lasted edited by : Feb 14, 2009
  15. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    One thing that helps me is to know that there will be a battle and be prepared to let EVERYTHING go to deal with it. As I see it, we have so many priorities in our lives it is hard to give the time needed to battle. And our kids KNOW when we are in a time crunch - that is when they are the worse making it easier to give in just to get on to the next item on the list.

    Read The Manipulative Child if you have not done so yet. It has opened my eyes and given me the strength to deal with my manipulators - I so wish I had read it when easy child was Tink's age or younger.

    As someone suggested, sit down with Tink tonight and lay out some New Year's Resolutions. You can present them as if they are to better your life (Things that you will do to help yourself, alone time, special time to pay bills, walking time, whatever) and then ask Tink what she would like to do to bring more peace into her own life. She will most likely pick most of your list to apply to herself. "Tink, maybe we both can have alone time at the same time and then take our walk together?" I know it sounds silly but if you can get her involved in setting that time, it may be easier to actually make it happen.

    I also in the effort to encourage independence may have created a monster to some extent in my easy child.

    P.S. Tink is one of the kids on here that I would love to give a hug to and spend time with. She does sound like a little sweetheart. She seems to have great qualities in her - just have to uncover them more often.
  16. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    FWIW, difficult child 2 had tummy problems from the time she could talk until she was 8 and I put her on the gluten free diet. She had several celiac tests which were all negative. She was seeing a pedi GI who was sure the problem wasn't gluten since her tummy always hurt, not just when she ate gluten. I finally put her on the gluten free diet anyway and her tummy aches went away. We later noticed her tummy hurt when she ate milk, so she had to give that up, too. So you don't have to have a positive celiac test for gluten to be the problem.

    difficult child 2 was seeing a pedi GI who thought her stomach problems were anxiety. Funny how they went away when she stopped the gluten and milk, though. That was the beginning of me being skeptical when doctors blame symptoms on "anxiety" or "stress".

    difficult child 1 never had the stomach problems but her behaviour issues are definitely related to the gluten.

    I think I have read that something like 30% of people with migraines get improvement from the gluten free diet.

    Maybe you would get some relief with behaviour, anxiety, stomach and head problems if Tink tried it!
  17. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    BBK and all, Happy New Year! I had to throw out my TEC and try things like The Manipulative Child and Before It's Too Late. The latter book shocked me; it seemed to have been written about my child. It's a rather dramatic title but the book, although it talks straight about kid behaviors, has very practical suggestions for parents in Part Two. It points out that denial, taking the easy way out, not requiring accountability, and other things are common and understandable parental reactions to difficult child behaviors, but that they multiply trouble for later.

    I was completely, 24/7 available for my kids not just during infancy but all through their childhoods; I didn't get babysitters early on, and later my difficult child had such serious behavior problems that it wasn't possible to have a babysitter. I parented my first two babies a la Penelope Leach (popular baby author in the '80s) - constant availability, child-centered feeding, sleep, activity, you name it. My first two babies never slept, never ate reliably, were hard to entertain and hated having to play by themselves ... I was totally exhausted. By baby #3 I said to h with it and put him on a feeding and nap schedule, expected him to sleep through the night by 6 weeks, and didn't - well, couldn't - spend every moment with him. He had to play and amuse himself because I had two other children and a house to run. And you know, he breastfed wonderfully, ate everything in sight, slept through at 5 weeks, and was a very happy baby! Of course every personality is different but - I did this with baby #4 and she was the same as #3. Different parenting for each pair, and very different results.

    I think it's good for babies and children to understand that they must fit into the adult world; that Mom has many things to do and can't, won't, be with them every moment; that they must adapt and fit into the family's schedule. If I had any more babies to raise I'd for sure put them on schedules like #3 and 4 were, and if they showed the tendencies of my difficult child I'd handle those differently too. It doesn't mean the difficult child tendencies would magically disappear; just that I wouldn't accept so much of what I did before, and I'd require accountability. Hindsight is 20/20.
  18. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    You know, sometimes a meltdown just can't be avoided. Certain issues ARE meltdown worthy.

    Son recently informed me that: "Showers are my enemy". He figures if he asphyxiates everyone around him and smells up the house with pungent body spray, all is well.

    That boy will battle me four times longer than what it would take to shower! Typical for him.

    Sometimes I picture myself in a superhero suit battling my difficult children. I stand strong in the maelstrom of raising them.

    For Truth, Justice, and The Warrior Mom Way. :warrior:

    I'm not sure what to make of the porn thing. I remember looking at a Playboy when someone threw it into our back yard (probably an angry wife neighbor) with a few neighborhood kids. I remember we brought other kids over to see. Granted, that was nothing compared to what kids can have access to on the Net.
  19. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    TM said what I was going to say, only better. I tend to say what I mean bluntly sometimes so please don't be offended.

    You don't have to be a dictator, but on some things I think you should be TELLING her and not ASKING her! When you give her a choice in everything and give her the power to veto everything she doesn't want to do, you're allowing her to run the show. By asking her opinions and letting her have a vote in everything, and then going along with what she wants to avoid meltdowns, you've given her way too much power. She's playing you like a fiddle hon, and she knows it! I can see how it would be easy to fall in to that situation since you're together all the time, but you need to set limits and make sure she knows that you are in charge and not her.

    Letting her chose once in a while is OK but dinner should be what YOU chose to fix, and not left up to her. Granted, I was a child back in the Stone Age, but I don't remember my mother ever once asking us what we wanted for dinner! She fixed what she wanted to fix and we were expected to eat it. If there was something we didn't like, we could fill up on the other things. If we chose not to eat it at all, fine! But there were no snacks allowed and we'd be pretty darn hungry by breakfast time! And showers should be non-negotiable. She takes a shower when you TELL her to take a shower! You're too close to the situation, but can you imagine maybe a teacher telling you that your child smells, and you telling her, "Well, she didn't want to shower so I didn't make her do it!" When my son was that age, it wasn't enough to just tell him to get in the shower ... I had to spell out every step, or he'd say, "Well, you didn't tell me to!" I'd have to say something like, "Go take get in the shower! Use soap and hot water and wash yourself all over - with a wash cloth! And wash your hair! With shampoo!" If I didn't spell it out like that, he'd stand in the shower just long enough to get wet, he'd get out, dry off, and be congratulating himself for putting one over on me!
  20. ML

    ML Guest


    About the shower thing, is that typical difficult child? I have to do this also. I just put a list of morning and evening things to do on the wall (shower: wash p&p (pits and privates), brush teeth, put on pjs, put old clothes in hamper). I'm hoping that by writing it down I can just say "do the stuff on your list" and eventually it will become habit. I get tired of hearing myself "take your shower, wash p&p, wash hair, rinse hair, brush teeth longer than that.

    This thread has been very helpful. I need to get tougher as well.