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Am I enabling my child's bad behavior?

Old 04-29-2015, 02:23 PM
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Am I enabling my child's bad behavior?

Hi. I do not know if I am posting in the wrong area, but I just want an opinion. I have a soon to be 7 year old daughter. I had lost her when she was 8 months old until October of 2014, but I always saw her. Now I have her back my family and boyfriend say I am spoiling her, and being to easy on her. I will admit at times I go overboard with buying toys, but I just feel guilty and want to make up for the times that I could not buy her things. I also do not want her to be an entitled brat either though.
But anyway, her birthday is tomorrow, and we had a party scheduled for Friday at Chuck e Cheese. I bought the presents so my boyfriend had paid for the party, and now says she doesn't deserve to go. I thought it was a fair compromise to change the party to 5/15 to give her a chance to be good so she could still go. My sister (who had her when I lost her) had promised my daughter, and her son Chuck e Cheese for years now. I do not want to take the party from either of them. Especially him being he did nothing wrong. I mean why should he suffer. Plus I feel like all young children have "fits" and their is a more appropriate punishment. I wanted to take her laptop for a month, but my boyfriend thinks I should not even give her the bike and things I bought her. I do want her to act better, and since she has moved here she has improved, but occasionally her little monster comes out and she screams, kicks, tells me she hates me, and just goes nuts for hours at times. Should I cancel the party all together? Just want advice/opinions from other parents. Thank you for reading, and any input is helpful.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:40 PM
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I am not a parent but my inner child tells me it would not be fair to cancel the party when there are other kids who are looking forward to it and have (hopefully) been behaving. Also, cancelling at the last minute would be discourteous toward the parents who might have planned their day so they can bring their kids to Chuck E Cheese and who will end up stuck with some disappointed/crying kids.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:41 PM
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That was exactly what I thought.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:42 PM
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The bad behavior has to be addressed of course, but I wouldn't cancel the party. I would get into counseling ASAP though. I wish I had been much more consistent with punishment, follow-through, etc. Sometimes we do the easiest thing, rather than hold our ground.
No offense, but I don't think a boyfriend should have any say in her discipline. It's hard enough that she has been shuffled around.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:46 PM
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He does support her a lot financially, but I think being he does not have kids he is not the most level headed person when it comes to punishment. Normally he stays out of it, but being it was his present to her I could not really stop it. I tried talking to him about it but he just said he would have no part in taking her. I do not drive so I really can not just take her or I would
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:53 PM
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I have a 10 year old daughter. I don't think she would have processed the cause/effect if I had cancelled a party when she was 6/7 because of bad behavior. Kids don't want stuff, they want our attention and time. I would be more inclined to have the party which is an event you will share, and forego excessive gifts.

I think those "fits" are ways of testing boundaries, but I think if you are going to deprive her of a possession it has to be immediate, kids that young don't have perspective about future events yet.

I also think having an even keel yourself will help her develop a less tempestuous personality. Cancelling the party is pretty major and sort of represents going to extremes. I think contrasted to past events where you have overindulged her it can be confusing. I know constancy is what I missed growing up with an AM. It was the extremes that created trust issues for me.

Don't worry, when my daughter hits 13 I will be here begging for advice!
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:56 PM
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PS: I saw INGal's great post and highly second the idea of counseling.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:04 PM
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I agree with others on going ahead with the party. However, most 7 year olds, especially today, are capable of understanding much more than a lot of parents think they are. If they weren't they wouldn't be "school age." So, I would talk to her and explain that you had thought of cancelling the party due to her poor behavior but decided not to because... other kids, parents etc ... but NOT because you changed your mind about her behavior. I also wouldn't give her the main presents yet... just a minor one or two... and would tell her why. I would tell her exactly what present she's not getting until she learns to respect others more with her behavior.

I would also ask your BF if he agrees with letting her have the bike on those terms later. If so, he should be the one to explain why to her and, by all means, he should be a part of your talk with her. I don't agree with others that he has no say in how she behaves in his home. He lives there too and does contribute to her welfare. I think that if you don't respect him as a human being you'll be letting a 7-year-old run rough shod over both of you and children do what works... that's just smart really... if she see she can drive a wedge, she will.

I had my boys in counseling... long story... but the counselor said kids were actually happier when constrained. Its very fearful for them too feel they have too much independence and power. When I thought of it... yeh, that would be pretty scary. Anyway, sometimes they act up because they are scared that way. The counselor said they need more, not less, structure to feel safe.

Edit: PS.. thought about that right after I sent and LOL... that's why some of us need a HP.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:10 PM
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I think 6/7 is to young to grasp such a big consequence as well. I stick with taking things she likes and a minute per year of age in the corner. If she was older I may think the punishment fit, but to me she is just to young to understand. He asked in the middle of the fit if she wanted to go to chuck e cheese still, and she said no. But she is very dramatic, and was just being difficult, and obviously did not mean it. I think it made him madder that he had just taken her out for milkshakes, and tried to be nice to her and then she acted so rude just because I would not give her a present early. But she has really improved since she moved in. I think a fit every now and then is to be expected from kids. She used to throw fits 3 times a day sometimes now we go weeks without them so everyone around me saying my punishments are to easy does not seem right. They have been effective, and I think in this situation we should have stuck with a consequence she knows and understands.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:20 PM
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I agree Turtle82 that she may understand more than I give her credit for, and also I think keeping her bike awhile is a good idea too. I told my sister we may not get to go to Chuck e Cheese and her son was so upset. I feel like I am punishing other kids for her behavior. It is not fair. Also, she has been through a lot for her age, and counseling could benefit her greatly. I start counseling on the 6th maybe I will just set up an appt. to take her when I go. I worry they will try to say she needs medicine, which I do not believe she does, but I can always turn that down, and stick with just the therapy. Thank you everyone for your input.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:38 PM
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I don't think you should take away her party. It is too random in my opinion. I had a really easy kid so I didn't have to dole out much punishment but I am a big believer that it should be corrective and not punitive. I usually didn't even punish for the first offense but laid out what the future consequences would be should she choose that behavior again. She never made the same mistake twice knowing what would happen.
The fits would signal to me that she is having some trouble. Going nuts for hours at a time can't be comfortable for her either. I would be concerned about getting to the bottom of that. Maybe start with what is appropriate to say like "I am really angry right now" not "I hate you".
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:56 PM
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She was actually warned 3 different times she would lose her party if she did not stop being rude/throwing fits, but I really do not think it registered in her brain that it could really happen. I do feel bad for her when she has a fit like that, but if I baby her for then it seems to just happen again quickly after. I sat in the living room crying when he told her he was not taking her. It may bother me more than her. I just want her have a great birthday party, and then after take away things she likes as punishment, but as I said it is his gift to her so I have no control.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:59 PM
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If she was warned--especially repeatedly--you should follow through with cancelling the party. Never make a threat you're not willing to back up: the child will know that you're a pushover and she can manipulate you with tantrums.

Your sister's son will get over it in two days.

Originally Posted by amandamarie View Post
She was actually warned 3 different times she would lose her party if she did not stop being rude/throwing fits, but I really do not think it registered in her brain that it could really happen. I do feel bad for her when she has a fit like that, but if I baby her for then it seems to just happen again quickly after. I sat in the living room crying when he told her he was not taking her. It may bother me more than her. I just want her have a great birthday party, and then after take away things she likes as punishment, but as I said it is his gift to her so I have no control.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:01 PM
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That's a mom lesson for you. Make sure you are willing to follow through with any punishment that you hold out. I never grounded my daughter because I knew I couldn't follow through on that one.
If you did threaten that as a punishment and you intend to have the party explain to her that you were worked up too and make up the rules and con sequences before you find yourself in that situation again.

Edit: something you might try is discussing the situation and asking her what she thinks the appropriate punishment would be. Kids usually come up with way more drastic stuff than parents do.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:08 PM
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I did not make the threat, my boyfriend who paid for the party did. He is the type of person who means what he says so I do not know why she pushes. I did get him to agree to reschedule the party for 2 weeks so we can give her a chance to earn it back. I just really hope she can be good long enough to earn it, because I can tell he is upset with me for even asking him to give her another chance to have the party. I want her to get to go though. Not to mention the party is non-refundable.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:16 PM
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Another thing I remembered just now. Kids feel the difference between "punishment" and "logical consequences." They'll usually rebel if its punishment. But, also, parents who are being manipulated usually think even consequences are punishment. So, as usual, it requires self-reflection.

I think Gilmer makes a good point... but whatever you decide, she should know you went through that process. She's not too young to understand.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:19 PM
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His authority is very important in her life, too. It is important for parents to retain a united front as far as discipline is concerned. I don't think you should countermand him unless actual cruelty is involved, especially if he gets more respect from her with his methods.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:31 PM
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Perhaps I read this wrong. You lost her at 8 months old. Due to ....??? And now your boyfriend is calling the shots? I have a 7 year old. She is a difficult child. Very headstrong. But I would be damned if I let a boyfriend call the shots.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:36 PM
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I think that approaching the behaviour problem with logical and specific consequences (rather than 'punishment') is the way to go. This is something that should be understood by your daughter ahead of time. Example, if she loses her temper and is storming for hours as you said, she should have to sit still and stay put. She could have a book to read, but she should understand that if she throws a fit, it will result in her spending 15 minutes sitting on a char.

I agree with not cancelling the party. It seems inappropriate to do that.

Hang in there and remember that being consistent is the trick. It could be exhausting at first, but it will pay off.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:45 PM
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I guess I misunderstood. Thought we were talking about a kid separated from their mother for six or so years. Behavior problems? What a shock!
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