Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Parenting pain

I knew when I decided to have a child that it would not be easy, but I think I was thinking more the physical demands, not the emotional and the juggling and trying to keep everyone happy.

Emily was an easy baby and always a pleasant child.  Over time her behaviour has become more challenging and each day is a battle.  She has many tantrums, is very strong willed and is rude and bossy.  I keep thinking if she was not my child I would not like her! (not a nice thing to think).

I am really running out of ideas, discipline does not seem to work, I am fed up of shouting which of course makes things worse.  I am of the view that things happen for a reason so there has to be a reason that she behaves in such a way, but its hard at the time to be rational.  I have tried talking to her, we have some strange conversations at times, but nothing concrete seems to emerge.

This morning I tried to ask her why she won't go to bed, this is the big thing at the moment, she refuses to go to bed or comes downstairs every few minutes with some excuse or other usually that she needs something, or that she feels ill or to see how long it will be until I go to bed.  She usually settles once I go to bed.  this means that Rob and I get no time together at all and tempers become frayed as we are trying to sort things out in odd minutes that we get.  I can't remember the last time we had an evening out, we have had odd times together when Rob has taken time off work, usually to sort something out or for a family emergency.  Yesterday I found a weekend break that we could do if Emily stayed with family, but am now wondering if it will just make things worse.

My chat with Emily did not achieve anything as she was more interested in teasing the cat or laughing at me for telling her that it was not acceptable behaviour to play up at bedtime.  She often comes down saying she wants me or she has not seen me, which is not true I am here all the time, she is just busy doing other things; watching TV, playing with children next door or ignoring me.  I asked her if it would help if we planned a special time together each day and she said no as she might be doing something else.  Later on I asked her what she wants to do when she gets home from her Willows session today.  She asked to go to the park, I have no car and the weather is not good, then she said the pay centre, again no car and she wants me to take her to the one which is too far for me to drive anyway and then I can't walk from car into centre and can't get scooter in and out of car.  I sad that we could walk (me scooter) along to a local play area if the weather is ok and maybe call in at garden centre for a new plant for outside front door.  She said what is wrong with the one that is there? I said it is dead, she said I don't like change I don't want to change it it messes things up.  Next she said I don't like dead things I don't want to see it.  In the end we did not make any plans and now she has gone to Willows.  I am sure that she will be unsettled about this as she has not been before, only had one to one at home with her key worker.  Today she has gone to an arts and crafts session where she won't know anyone and was picked up by someone she has never met.  I wouldn't want to do that and would have been unsettled last night if it was me, but what can I do if she does not tell me, I don't want to put words in her mouth or make her even more worried about going and in the end she makes so many excuses and behaves so badly she gets into trouble.

A very strange conversation the other week, which I thought was creepy, but again I don't know how to tackle.  We were having a drink in a supermarket cafe and out of the blue she said to me, you want to die don't you?  Trying not be shocked I said no, but we never know when we might die.  There have been two deaths in the family recently.  Not satisfied with this she said will you just hurry up and die and then daddy can get on with looking after me.  I said won't you miss me, she said yes but it would be ok.  She then went on to something else and I didn't want to push the subject, but something is obviously getting to her.

Emily is more unsettled away from home and we have spent a lot of time away from home recently with family problems and holiday.  On holiday she refused to sleep in her own bed and spent the whole week in with me again refusing to go to bed until I did.  Most of the activities we did she moaned all the way round, or sulked or had tantrums, then would later say she had enjoyed it!!  One place we went she moaned all the way round and kept asking to leave and as soon as we got out she asked to go back in, as it was a paid thing we couldn't go back in.  there was a kids activity sheet to do on the way round which she had no interest in, but later blamed me for it not being filled in.  It's difficult when we are out as I use my wheelchair so Rob has to push me, Emily often wants to help, sometimes this is ok, but in some places she can't manage or she messes about so isn't allowed to and more arguments break out and I feel like its all my fault for being so useless.

I am really struggling to know what to do and the daily fights and tantrums drain my energy so there is no time for nice things.

I get very distressed I am a trained playworker, but can't deal with my own child.

She has tantrums on a daily basis, often at the slightest little thing, at her worst she lashes out and throws things at me.  She is always saying no one cares and no one likes her.  The tantrums are always worse when we have been with other people or when friends come to play and she does not always get her own way.  As a family we seem unable to relax and have fun and its always a ticking time bomb.  Rob and I do not agree on discipline or even what is bad behaviour.  Rob wants to be very authoritarian and seems to think children should be seen and not heard and always do exactly what parents want.  Yet when he is with other people he larks about and makes loads of noise.  When we play things, Rob is impatient and won't let Emily work things out or be creative, so she messes about or loses interest in anything we try to do.  Rob and Emily fight to be top dog and wind each other up and try to get each other into trouble and I am caught in the middle and whatever I say or do will upset someone, I don't want to take sides and usually end up making things worse not better.

Because I need to have rest periods during the day I am often trying to do other things when Emily is around, but if I have time she is not interested in doing anything and watches TV.  She is usually not interested in anything when she gets in from school or other activity, but picks up later when we are trying to prepare tea or when I am really tired again.  She likes watching TV, but what she watches is too young for her and she watches the same things over and over again.  I have tried getting her to watch different things, but she just says no without even trying.  At the moment all she will watch is Cbeebies, Tiny Pop and You've been framed.

Her general behaviour is very rude and bossy, refusing to listen, being bad mannered, stomping around, slamming doors and being deliberately naughty.  I know if she is with other people she is a little angel.  I don't expect her to be an angel all the time, but can't understand why she has become so naughty.

She gets very upset at being an only one, but she fights and falls out with friends.  She is good with much younger children and loves playing with them and caring for them, but I am sure if there was another child she would not be like that as she would get much less attention.  My post Get the facts right explains why we can't have another child.

I have sought advice and tried different techniques, some of which work for a while, but then don't.

I have so many books to look at, but get overwhelmed and when I read I want it to be for pleasure not trying to sort out problems all the time.  I have spent most of the morning typing this which means I have not rested and not relaxed and not done the stitched card I need to get finished.

Books I have are, some I have read, some I have read part of and others not;

Mom they're teasing me
parenting your Defiant Child
Explosive child
how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
opposite of worry
love bombing
secret of happy children
parenting doesn't have to be a job
teaching kids to be good people
stress free organization for your child
free to learn
easy to love difficult to discipline

I need to finish now I am so tired and need to rest and eat before Emily returns.


  1. Hi Jane,I always read your blog and have been thinking of you a lot since school hols started. I can understand where you are coming from,I recently said of my own son that I Iove him and will always do my best for him but right now I don't actually like him very much.Having children is amazing but it's hard work and even harder with an awful illness like ours and to have a child that is extra demanding can just really push us.I have 2 teenage boys,14 and 17.I have been a single mum since they were 4 and 6.Thankfully my illness didn't come until they were 8 and 10,so at least they were more self sufficient.But my youngest was a lot like Emily and I know how difficult it can be.I wish I could tell you a solution but it sounds like you are doing all you can, I often used to feel that no matter what I did it wasn't good enough.Sadly he is still really hard work and if anything harder right now as he is bigger than me and also pushing the boundaries like teenagers do.His Dad doesn't back me up on things and it creates a worse situation if I get him involved.This is such a crucial time for him,I worry what he's getting involved with and don't want him to make bad choices. I didn't want to moan just wanted to let you know that a lot of what you said sounds very familiar,so you're not alone.Even down to her not liking change,my son was like that,the first holiday we ever went on,he enjoyed stuff we did but wasn't happy about being in an unfamiliar place. My older son is so different,very mellow and sensible. I hope you are able to get some breaks over the hols.Have u spoken to her school about her? X

  2. thank you, its good to know its not just me and Emily. I post on my blog to let off steam, but have no idea who reads and rarely get comments, sometimes I feel its because people think I am just feeling sorry for myself and or complaining all the time. Hope things improve for you. We had a good night last night Emily stayed in bed all night, first time in months, we did have tantrums during the evening though. School have no interest as she is not a problem at school and they have "worse children to deal with" and make me feel like I am over reacting and a bad parent, not helpful really.

  3. .I think a lot of schools,health visitors etc are like that when we have issues with our children's behaviour.It leaves you feeling very unsupported.I have had times that I've really felt I can't cope,invariably there is always something behind these things and with my son I usually find out further down the line that something had happened to bother him.It can be so hard to teach them how to communicate things.I was put forward to take part in a parental support group,but was too ill to attend,so the lady came to see me at home.She said I was doing all the right things that they would suggest,things like making one to one time,having rewards and consequences/sanctions.Making sure they have people to talk to and an outlet for things,whether it be physical or creative activity.Sometimes it feels like a constant battle and is so draining.Do you think that Emily worries about you and your illness and how you will be in the future?especially after having experienced recent lose? x

  4. I hope you don't think I'm speaking out of turn here (especially as I have no hands on experience of children), but after reading your (very well written) blog something was ringing a bell in my head. You seem to give Emily an awful lot of choice - she chooses what to eat and what to do, etc. I remember watching a programme (possibly Supernanny?) were this was the major root of the problem. Having to make all the decisions (no matter how trivial) puts all the emphasis on the child being in control, not the parent. Not giving them choices sets boundaries, puts you firmly in the driving seat and even releases them from the stress of making decisions. I'm not sure if this is of any help, but it may be worth looking into?

  5. It is interesting that you think we give Emily a lot of choices, its more that she refuses to do what we ask her to do. She does have some choices, but we expect her to respect our choices and that we are in control, but she fights against it. We have always had rules and routines, which many people think we are too strict about, but lately she refuses to comply to anything.

  6. Odd, isn't it - I (and I'm presuming you) would never have gone against our parents wishes at that age, yet children nowadays seem to have picked up this defiant attitude from somewhere. I really hope things improve with Emily. It must be so hard for you and I guess no one can truly understand what you are going through unless they see it themselves.

  7. I just read your blog...if it helps, here are my thoughts...(it's a bit of a brain dump as I couldn't read and run but don't have ages to write it neatly Wink )

    If it's getting you down so much I would seek help. There are child psychologists, family guidance people, education psychologists etc out there who cano no doubt help. I think they may help Emily to understand her behaviour but also help you understand that she is only a child and with children comes behaviour like 'pushing the boundaries', it's not easy but then it is part of parenting.
    Emily hasn't had the easiest time, she's no doubt worried about both her parents, how you feed off each other and combine that with normal child behaviour and it will make it worse.

    Things I would look at aside from asking for some help...

    What time does she go to bed? Tired children = difficult children. If you struggle to get her to bed/ to stay in bed make it fun and creat a reward chart. Bring her bedtime forwards slowly and don't rush her. In our house we say every 7 stamps for good bedtime behaviour (I.e. Goes to bed well, stays there and gets up at a sensible time) = a mr men book. It's a good thing to collect and reading him a new one just before bed reiterates how he can 'win' them. (I bought a box set from ebay and he chooses 1 every 7 stamps).

    You and rob need to be consistent. Maybe if he won't try your way, you try his way (but you will have to throw yourself totally into it), give it 3 months and if it works great, if it works a bit adapt it and if it doesn't work, discuss alternatives.

    I wouldn't put down what she enjoys watching on tv, I know lots of kids who 'should' be watching CBBC who still love the repetition of peppa pig. After a long day at school, why not? Kids love repetition, it's how they learn. I remember being pre teen and still likening bedtime stories and knowing them word for word, I enjoyed them and I liked the repetition.

    I know how annoying it is to go somewhere and have them moan that they only want to go to the shop or they are bored or whatever. Make it fun, carry on, ignore the bad behaviour and reward the good. She is only a child and she won't act like an adult for a long time.

    Most young girls are bossy, it's a fact. Sorry but it's true Grin Grin Grin

    Don't feel bad for being a trained play worker and struggling with Emily, it's always harder when you are emotionally involved.

    I think that the death conversation was just kids, she probably knows what buttons to push with you. You can always mention it to a child psychologist, if she goes to a carers thing, maybe she overhead something there? It's so hard but try not to take it to heart.

    Finally I don't think you have let go your wanting a second child. I think maybe it's worth talking to someone about it. I still fell it in your writings. The reality is it wouldn't not have changed who Emily is. And it doesn't change that she just wants your attention (it doesn't have to be physically demanding stuff but she could put on a play or a puppet show and you could watch etc, your very good at crafts, maybe make some puppets with her) and she wants your happiness. I feel a lack of happiness in what you write and I wonder if she is feeding on this.

  8. Some good advice. We are not able to get any referrals as they don't see Emily as a problem, just think its me that can't cope, which to some degree I guess it is but not all of it.

    We do need to be less rushed at bedtime, but its hard as I have things I need to do before I go to bed and there is not much time after she goes to bed, the later she goes the later I go Roll Eyes But its probably worth spending the time if it means she stays in bed. We have used rewards in the past but at the moment they don't work, she is not interested in getting them and if we do try to reward her she says she doesn't want it!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and I will take on board what you have said.