Seeking control???

Coleen - posted on 10/02/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 7 year old daughter has become quite a challenge lately and I am wondering if this is a control issue. The problem is often related to food, but can also develop if she is not allowed to do something she wants to do. If she finds something in her lunch box which she doesn't want, she simply leaves it and does not eat lunch. At dinner, she will get up from the table, refusing to eat but saying she's hungry. When possible, we make her return to the table until she finishes at least a reasonable portion and an untouched lunch might become dinner (depending on what it is and the time outside a frig.) Other refusals include refusing to wear a dress on a special occasion, refusing to speak her father's native language to him (which is the norm) when she is mad at him, or refusing to continue playing in a soccer game when the coach (Dad) has given the throw-in to another child, etc. Her walking off the soccer pitch resulting in the canceling of a sleep-over later that day. There were lots of tears, begging, and apologies, but I doubt it will make a difference. Normally when something is taken away, she responds with, "I don't care, I didn't want that anyway." Any ideas?!?

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Becky - posted on 10/03/2010

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When my daughter started to get willful in a similar fashion, EVERYTHING had to be earned back. The worst was when she actually tossed everything in her lunch she didn't like and told teachers that I couldn't afford to buy her lunch. I actually had someone at the school pull me aside to talk to me about my finances & offer me assistance programs to help make sure I could feed my child! I was so embarrassed!! She not only got an lecture to end all others, but she also lost all privileges to play with friends, watch TV and even visit with her cousins or grandparents. She had to earn every bit of fun things back with work around the house (laundry, cleaning up the living-room, etc) and she had to keep a good attitude about it all. One temper tantrum or fit she threw, resulted in another lost weekend. It was about 3 weeks before she started earning things back. We still do the earn privileges too (not all the time, but often enough). If she wants to have a sleep over at a friends house; sure; but she has to clean the bathrooms before she can go. It works. It keeps her motivated to help out around the house and I don't feel the need to punish her if she doesn't get something done. She has the control over whether or not she's able to do things. If she doesn't get things done, it's not a punishment, it's a consequence and she's learned if she has a bad attitude about it, it only takes longer and interferers with her play time.

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Eliz - posted on 10/03/2010

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Keep at it. You're doing good. She is testing you, waiting to see if you will crack and give into her. The moment you do that you lose all control. Keep consistant. Don't allow her to get her way. I'm the same way with lunches...if they don't eat it and being out of the fridge for a period of time isn't bad for it they will get that for snack or dinner instead of what they want. If they refuse to eat dinner and are hungry they can sit there until everyone else is done and can go to bed hungry a couple nights. It is all about control. She wants it and as long as you don't give in, you still have it and she knows it. Keep it up.

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