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Where did I go wrong?

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  • Where did I go wrong?

    I don't get it. My dd, almost 6, can be so sweet and loving and helpful....when she wants to be. I feel like I must have gone wrong somewhere because so often she shows SUCH little respect for the house, her room, her personal things, and the things that people give to her. There are just a couple things that she owns I want her to show the utmost respect for and to take really good care of. We've talked about these things and when I've seen them thrown carelessly around where they could get broken, we've had talks and she agrees that she needs to take good care of them and she knows why. But I am continually having to re-explain it to her and threaten to take these things away (Not what I want to do, but I don't want them getting ruined.)

    And on the respect for property issue. We do not have a lot of money and I don't buy a lot for my daughter during the year unless it's a holiday or a birthday. She is getting ready for school (kindy) this year and while grocery shopping we talked about ways to make her room more personal for her. We decided to buy a really nice border to go around the room. I worked really hard to measure and cut and put it up evenly. Today I go in her room and only one corner is stuck on the wall the rest is pulled around and stuck to the door. The part above her bed was taken down and just left in a pile. I explained that it was a gift and I felt sad that the work I put into it was disrespected and asked her to put it back up nicely (it was still sticky and could go up easily)...she comes out 10 minutes later having done nothing and says she's sorry, but then laughs "because it's funny"...ARRRGGGHHHH.

    I feel like no one in this house gives a rip what I do for them and this respect thing for property on her part is the last straw! Maybe I'm expecting too much --developmentally, isn't a nearly 6 year old capeable of following rules of respect for self, others and property???

  • #2
    I can definitely empathize with your frustration with the issue. I have often found when I've done something "special" for one of my kids, even with their input, that I am more sensitive when something goes wrong.

    My children are 6 (almost 7) and 4.5 and I think that this is somewhat common at this age. I think that perhaps as time passes and they get older, they are better able to understand cause and effect more. We've just recently re-decorated the playroom (new furniture, carpet, paint, window coverings, etc) and it has been almost a month and nothing has been ripped, defaced, drawn on, etc. I am very pleasantly surprised.


    • #3
      Hi SatinPlum! What you described reminded me of myself at 9 or 10. I certainly understood that my mother would perfer my room clean etc, but really did not get why it was so important to her. To me it seemed like such a little thing, even though she did explain her side many time--maybe too much!.
      May I ask what things lay about that might get broken? What if they did? Then what would happen? Was she interested in doing the boarder? Did she want to do it with you?
      --Not that that makes it any better to live with! But I am sure she understands on some level but has difficulty getting the internal motivation.


      • #4
        Originally posted by naomifrederickmd View Post
        May I ask what things lay about that might get broken? What if they did? Then what would happen? Was she interested in doing the boarder? Did she want to do it with you?
        Well, the most important thing that she has (and generally takes good care of) is her prayer book. We teach our kids that prayer books, Holy books (Bible, Koran, writings from our faith) are to be treated with respect--i.e., they can look at them when they wish, but they don't get left on the floor where they can get stepped on, ripped by babies, or covered in trash.

        dd has her own prayer book that was given as a gift to her and I hand-made a cover for it. It's pretty much is the only thing in her room that I request she keep nicely. Most of the time it is. Sometimes I will find it on the floor amidst the tornado we call her bedroom. If the prayer book ripped I can always get her a new one, but the point we want to teach her is to respect the Holy writings as the word of God. If we simply buy a new prayer book or don't care that it gets ripped or bent up, then we are in essense saying what is in the book is invaluable to us.

        She did actually help me with the border. She held one end as I placed it around and held the scissors, she told me where she wanted it (we had enough for only 2 walls), and she told me how wonderful it looked when I finished getting it up. I guess I feel like I get to call the shots that I didn't let her put it up 100% by herself.

        You know...maybe I'm not consistent enough because I generally don't care if her room looks like crap and there's toys all over, I generally figure it's her space and she can do with it what she pleases (within limitation because if she takes all the covers and sheets off her bed, she hasn't been able to put it back on by herself which is more work for me)....about every 3-4 days we go in together and I help her clean everything back up again (she has mentioned how she sleeps better when it's clean.)

        At the time of the border distruction, her room was a mess. So, I don't know...maybe the nice-neat border didn't match the chaos.

        Anyway, I don't generally hand out punishments for such things as taking down the border--I just wanted her to put it back together and selfishly I would have liked her to apologize since I had taken time to put it up. Same with the prayer book. Everyone in the house takes care of the Holy writings and she is expected to do so and leaving it on the floor where little bro can rip it up and it's opened with bent pages is just disrespectful. She's not dumb and she knows what's expected in these regards.

        Another example from this evening...she requested to open a can I needed for dinner and after opening it brought it to me. 2/3 of it spilled on the floor and had to be thrown out. Her response was "I wasn't watching what I was doing" and she skipped off to play. Having needed the entire can to make the dinner and now having it ruined, a "sorry, mom" and having not laughed it off, would have been very appreciated.

        I do say, we had a more thorough discussion tonight about respect for our selves, others, and property and the appropriate things to say and do in certain situations. And also the reasons for saying such things like "I am sorry"--I think some of it sank in.

        I guess I'm also a stickler for showing respect and being courteous with actions and words. I always want others to see (as much as I do) how wonderful my kids are and I feel like if they're disrespectful, then that wonderousness might get lost or hidden from view.

        On a side note: my dh is a truck driver and home every other month, so in many ways I'm acting as a single mother. I often feel like I can't teach my kids everything they need from me all by myself and when the little things like this come up, I start beating myself up wondering where I went wrong and what I need to do to fix it. I guess that's all I'm asking I expecting too much out of a 6 year old? Is there a major link missing in something I should have taught her? Am I doing a good enough job? Because lately I feel like I suck at it.


        • #5
          you seem to be having a very tough time. w/your husband gone, you feel overwhelmed by parenting alone. you're questioning yourself and perhaps what you should be giving significance to.

          i highly recommend the book NonViolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. his book gives wonderful instruction on how to communicate w/others when your feelings are hurt, what issues are most important to you, and how to listen so that you can empathize w/others, including your children. i think you will find it really helpful.

          try to remember that parenting is a journey and that your children need to time to grow and develop. they will hit their rough patches just as you did (and still will) and need to be given lots of room to make mistakes. in addition, you are growing and changing as a parent and the fact that you are asking these questions means that you, too, are striving to develop in a positive direction.


          • #6
            Hi Satinplum again. I also recommend non-violent communication. I liked this book. Parenting From Your Heart: Sharing the Gifts of Compassion, Connection, and Choice

            Oh. so I totally understand about the Holy Books. I was hoping it wasn't a silly toy.
            She might have a different learning modality then you are imagining and might respond better to another approach. ( I had difficulty with time management myself, I never seemed to react to things the way the majority of kids did, my artsy brain) Learning Styles, Modalities and Strategies
            That's just an idea,
            she might just be going through some growing pains herself and has yet to internally reorder herself.


            • #7
              I know this message was posted 4 years ago, before my daughter was even born, but wow did it resonate today for me. My daughter is only 4 and very newly 4, and I feel the same way. She just had a birthday and got a nice art set, nothing to fancy just a good supply of crayola supplies. And the markers have been finding there way everywhere in the house, all of a sudden there is marker on everything, she dumped glue all over her carpet. I've actually been pretty calm as it has all happened. Having her help clean up etc. But today it really bothered me.

              This post helped me to remember that it is a journey for all of us, and when I put expectations on my kids we are all in for trouble. If I expect somethng to happen then it's my responsibility. And letting the kids just be themselves is the best I can do. They aren't going to grow up to be horrible. It's my own anxiety rearing it's ugly head. Hope you can look back on this and say wow I was worried about that huh?


              • #8
                I am reading these posts waaay past the time that they were written and pondering how much "Stuff" our kids have to manage. Well, MY kids do! Simplicity Parenting can shed some light on the consequences of having too much stuff - even good stuff like books.