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Old 11-23-2018, 02:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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No children of my own. Need Guidance!


And I am looking for some insight, suggestions, thoughts, and guidance.

I had guests in my house recently, one friend with their 3 children. The youngest is under 10 yo girl--cute as a bug!

Anyway, cute little girl is very commanding, demanding to me when she is here or out. "Do this", "carry this (fill in the blank) downstairs", "go talk to (some person) about why there are no (whatever the item is) in the store", "turn this on (toy) so I can play with it".

I'm not sure how to handle this without parenting someone else's child--which is not my place at all and not my intent. And is offensive to the parent as you can imagine.

I realize that I am the adult in this situation and that it is my responsibility to be the adult. I also realize that this brushes up against my own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. I am triggered, to a certain extent, as I would if another adult were ordering me about in my own home. And that aspect is absolutely not the child's fault!

This is a young child on whom I should not be placing adult-level expectations of polite behavior. Sadly, I probably do this to a certain extent to my own grandchildren, and I think it relates back to the fact that I have no experience living with children 24/7.

So...help me. How does this childless, middle-aged woman learn to handle this? If you have children, how would you want another unrelated adult to respond?
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Holy Thundering Epiphanies....!!

OK, bear with me. While drinking my coffee and perusing the interwebs, I had an insight into the "why" I react the way that I do to this child.

You see, when I was a child, I was the class scapegoat. I mild, meek child, I was the one who everyone else would pick on or make fun of to improve their own "standing" in the social pecking order. If there was a joke to be had at someone else's expense, it was at mine.

The worst of this happened when one day, while walking in the hallway between classes, other students were patting me on the back. Turns out, they were taping a "Kick Me" sign to my back. And others actually began kicking me.

So I realize that I am very sensitive to being the punchline of someone's joke.

What I need to learn to do, I think, is distinguish between my expectation of not being made fun of by a fellow adult versus the behavioral expectations of a child.

Looking back on all this over my coffee this morning, I realize it has affected how I relate to my own grandchildren. And I need to apologize to my stepdaughter.

I need to do better than this!
I need to let go of this history!!
I need to learn where those boundaries are and respect them when it comes to other's children!!
I need to have higher expectations of myself--not small children.
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi, Seren.
Well, Imo, expecting some level of civil behavior from a 10 year old is not too much to ask.
I don’t know the child’s backstory, so can’t speak much to it.
Is her behavior with you the same as with her mother?
If so, then maybe that is her pattern.
Sometimes the commands are a testing behavior to determine if you are “safe” or trustworthy.
Sometimes children are just bossy.
I used to experience similar behaviors when I was in the classroom, esp. with students recently arrived who didn’t know me very well yet.
I guess I would go along with the bossiness to a degree, give in on some things, push back on others, but always done with a smile, an air of gentle amusement, and an explanation.
“Well, no, honey, I am not going to ask the store manager why they don’t carry triple boiled tripe, and here’s why.”
I always, always used humor with my students. Got a lot more done that way.
And I understand why this recent experience may have turned into a trigger for you.
The past is never past. Good for you that you recognized the reasons.
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't know whether or not it is some way related to how this precious girl interacts with her Mom. I've never met her mother. Her parents are divorced.

I've been crying all morning because of this.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, when told to do something by a child, I don't think anyone would object to a version of, “What’s the magic word?” To elicit a request as opposed to a command.
Honestly, you would be doing the child a kindness.
She will meet and interact with people her whole life.
Always helps to model that requests are accepted far more readily than commands.
Sounds like this is bringing up some stuff for you, which may turn out to be, as you said, very enlightening.
Hugs.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well if my kids ever spoke like that to anybody I'd hope somebody would step in and tell them off. A village raises a child.

When my kids push the boundaries I feel like a robot pushing back with:
-where are your manners?
-if you want something you need to say please
-that's not how you speak to (insert/name/role)
-when you want me to do something you need to..

I can tell my kids are being rude to EXAH and his enabler.. They come back like little bossy sods and I have to start all over again with them.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seren View Post
I don't know whether or not it is some way related to how this precious girl interacts with her Mom. I've never met her mother. Her parents are divorced.

I've been crying all morning because of this.
I'm sorry this has upset you Seren. I am glad that you had your epiphany though, maybe that will help going forward?

I think Maudcat's suggestion of 'what's the magic word' is great. If that's not really comfortable for you with another's child, what I do is
steer them back from whence they came - oh you need to talk to your Mom/Dad for that. You need to ask your Mom/Dad that.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So I’m going to go a little further and say that this child sounds ill mannered. No child should be bossing around an adult like this and not be challenged. I would tell her to please talk respectfully or you will not answer her. Unfortunately for many parents any sort of discipline or guidance has gone out the window and this can really blow up in their face. Left unchecked, this child will likely become entitled and unpopular as people flee her abusive behavior.
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