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Strong Willed Six Year Old

hannaht

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
26
I have a beautiful, smart six year old granddaughter and we have a wonderful relationship. But she and her mother do battle on a regular basis. Its a battle of wills and my daughter-in-law loses most of the time. this has been going on since granddaughter was about three. I'm concerned for both of them - how this will affect their relationship long term, and how little control my daughter-in-law will have over my granddaughter as she gets older and becomes a teenager. She complains to me constantly, and I've suggested counseling, setting rules, picking her battles, etc. but the next day or the next conversation is the same thing all over again. My son does a better job dealing with his daughter, and he has pretty much told is wife the same things I've suggested, but to no avail.

I don't know if anyone has encountered a similar situation and had some success resolution, but I would be glad to hear anything you might want to share.

Thanks for taking your time to read this.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
As well-intentioned as I think you are, I'm afraid anything you say isn't going to help. Women tend to get very defensive with their MILs.

However, in reference to what works. Firm rules, firm consequences, and consistency. That's it. The strong-willed or manipulative nature develops naturally as a result of her experiences. The only way to break it is to change the experiences to one where the parent is in charge. Mom may think it's cute or funny and that could be why she doesn't take the upper hand. If the child gets a smile from her bad behavior, she'll continue. That being said, whatever changes are made need to be made with lots of love. The child should never doubt the love of a parent even when discipline is put in motion.

Age appropriate punishments are : time-out, take away a privilege, let them suffer the consequence that their action causes. If she doesn't want to eat supper, she'll be hungry. If she won't stop playing the video game, take it away. Mouthing off, time out. etc. Consistency is key. You can't back down.

Good luck and I hope that this gets happily worked out.
 

hannaht

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
26
Thanks so much for your input. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. And I suspect that even though my DIL asks for my opinion, she really doesn't want it. I dearly love them both and its difficult sitting back and watching, but you are absoluely correct in that I can't change the situation. Only my DIH can do that. Hopefully she will realize that sometime soon. And in the meantime, when she tells me about how my GD is misbehaving, I will have to learn to Zip It and not offer anything suggestions.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
You could research some books and next time DIL mentions the discipline situation, just mention that there are a couple good books. Get it for her and the next time you see her, "remember the other day when we were talking about "author/book?" I found this and thought you might like it. Here ya go." Hopefully, having something concrete to look at, and maybe discuss, will give her a starting point.

I don't have any suggestions for books, but if you just peruse Amazon, I'm sure you can find some with good reviews.
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
1,129
When parents ask me what the 'secret' is to our peaceful classroom, they are often surprised at my reply. I don't use time outs! If a child is having difficulty, I see that as a sign that the child needs to be closer to me, not isolated from me. Part of the normal development of a child is to long for independence. I cannot give the child that freedom if the child is not ready for the freedom. I keep the less settled children tethered closest to me(no, not literally!), and we are usually all on the floor. Sometimes, a child will literally have to shadow me, even keeping their hand on my pocket flap. Children have an infinite capacity for love. They need the adult not to push them away. Does the daughter spend time with her mother? And, no, I don't mean time walking around Target, a mall, or doing a passive activity like video or TV. I mean engaged time, such as playing in the park, swimming, making a cake, vacuuming and doing laundry, or washing the car, just to name a few. Children want to be active participants in their culture. I have very little discipline problems in the classroom because it is a beehive of activity, and the environment is prepared so that the child can be as productive as possible without external aid from the adult. When a child is having difficultly at home, red flags for me are failure to prepare meals together and sit down to meals together, failure to have an established schedule, or over-scheduling, failure to provide a consistent and early bedtime, and, most of all, failure to spend quality time together doing routine activities that do not involve shopping or technology.
Hope this helps.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
pink tower~ great post.

I agree that a child wants and needs to be with a parent. I'm a SAHM and my kids do things with me all day long. JT loves to clean the tub with me! lol. I forget that some parents don't have that time with their kids like I do. If she is lacking in quality time, that should be the first thing rectified.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
Personally I wouldn't appreciate my MIL's comments but that probably has more to do with our relationship than anything else.

I have a VERY strong willed child. Her entire life she has been stubborn (heck, she was even late for her due date). I was part of a filial group (for school) and it really changed my parenting style. I discovered the POWER of giving my child CHOICES. Choices that I set and complete my end goal. That way *I* am not punishing her. She is *choosing* a time-out if she *chooses* to misbehave. It empowers the child and forces her to take responsibility.

ETA: human beings act the worst with people they are closest with. That is why children are more likely to act our with their parents, if they feel unconditional love, than with their teacher.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
17,758
My niece is 3.5 and headstrong...

Get your nose out of it, period.' 3 and 4 year olds just wanna do what they wanna do. Let 'em do it...

Everything will be fine! Enjoy the fun years! :appl: :wavey: :read:
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
you have a beautiful relationship with you granddaughter. the mother's relationship with her own daugheter is her own business and her own problem. stay out of it.

MoZo
 

Guilty Pleasure

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2008
Messages
1,114
I love my mother-in-law dearly, but unless I ask specifically, I don't want her advice on such a large matter, no matter how lovingly given. Choosing a discipline strategy is almost like choosing a way of life, and I want support, not opinions, from outsiders. Little hints are fine, but not the big picture. For example, my mother or mother-in-law might remind me to put the cups near the sink, but I don't want them telling me how to arrange the whole kitchen. It's MY kitchen :wink2:
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
There is a book called 'Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child' that might be worth getting.

I have a very strong-willed kid and she's not even 2 yet. We see a child psychotherapist once a week to help ME learn to deal with my daughter's temperament and mould it so that she benefits from all the advantages determination and persistence can give without being murdered by her mother in the process!

I found the book echoed a lot of what I was doing in the sessions and have since lent it to a friend who has a very difficult, but very lovely 5 year-old boy.

Unfortunately my daughter is a carbon copy of what I and her father were like at the same age and both of our mothers think it is extremely amusing to watch us get our come-uppance. :rolleyes: But it has been nice to discuss what they tried with us - DH and I are very similar.

Ignoring tantrums is working quite well, bribery is pretty good, threats of going in the corridor (our naughty step) are becoming increasingly effective and giving limited choices works quite well.
 
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