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Help me experienced moms! 2 parenting questions

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Sat, Apr 04 2020, 11:07 pm
My oldest is almost 6. She has a sister right under her. Somethings about her personality have become glaringly obvious to me now that shes home with me all day.
She HATES to help. Its at the point that its obnoxious. Im wondering how big a deal to make out of it. Ive heard a few times thruout this ordeal to give kids a lot of love and dont be strict, strict, strict all the time as kids are feeling very lost. Im trying to let it slide as much as I can but today she was looking for a toy and I saw her go to a container to look for it and I said "if u dump out that container, I want u to clean it up" of course she doesnt. 30 mins later I remind her, she puts 2 items in the bucket while moaning and groaning how hard it is. Another half hr goes by and I tell her again a bit more stern this time and she starts sobbing how hard it is and asks younger dd to help which she gladly does (bless her) soooo... whats the proper mehalach? Make a fight out of it every time I want something done or just dont ask because then ill need to follow thru which truns into a big fight?!?!

K 2nd question- if older dd seems to need more love and attention and younger dd seems to let things go very easily- do I have to be fair and square in front of them or can I give older dd more attn if younger dd doesnt seem to care? This is EVERYTHING. They want the same mug. Older dd will make a much bigger deal if she doesnt get it. Seating by the table, whos bed I read the book in blah blah I can go on and on...
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amother




Teal
 

Post  Sat, Apr 04 2020, 11:13 pm
Make sure you follow through with what you say, so you don't turn a 6 year old problem to an 18 year old problem. Make her clean up.

As far as treating your kids roughly equal, that is the best way to go about it. Alternate whose bed you sit on. If you give the oldest more love and attention, you are only reinforcing bratty behaviors.
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hodeez




 
 
 
 

Post  Sat, Apr 04 2020, 11:19 pm
No you can not always give in to your 6 hear old just because she's making a stink of every situation. What's that going to teach her?
And I know you're trying to be a good parent but giving in to your kids is not always the answer. There has to be consequences to her not helping out. 6 years old is old enough to do a lot of things; my 5 year old cleans up after my other kids and helps me with most chores. See what she can do and try to reward her for even the smallest tasks, hopefully she will respond well to positivity.
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amother




Crimson
 

Post  Sat, Apr 04 2020, 11:21 pm
Re: the cleaning up: I wouldn’t get into an argument with her about it but insist on it and don’t back down. Don’t let her go out to play or don’t read her bedtime story to her etc until she does. I won’t withhold food but anything else. Just calmly let her know that can’t do x until it’s cleaned up. And when she wants to do x. Keep calm remind her she has to finish cleaning up and keep it matter of fact. Not like a punishment but it’s a really ‘only girls who do x and if your a big girl you need to clean up your mess’

I just had this with my four year old. And he gave me a whole song and dance about how Hashem doesn’t love me and he’s not going to even want to go outside and he’s hurting his hand by cleaning up but I just ignored his complaining and he went and cleaned up eventually.
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oneofakind




 
 
 
 

Post  Sat, Apr 04 2020, 11:30 pm
Make sure to give each one individual attention. I'm guessing 6 yr old is jealous of younger easygoing sister.
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Laiya




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 12:28 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
My oldest is almost 6. She has a sister right under her. Somethings about her personality have become glaringly obvious to me now that shes home with me all day.
She HATES to help. Its at the point that its obnoxious. Im wondering how big a deal to make out of it. Ive heard a few times thruout this ordeal to give kids a lot of love and dont be strict, strict, strict all the time as kids are feeling very lost. Im trying to let it slide as much as I can but today she was looking for a toy and I saw her go to a container to look for it and I said "if u dump out that container, I want u to clean it up" of course she doesnt. 30 mins later I remind her, she puts 2 items in the bucket while moaning and groaning how hard it is. Another half hr goes by and I tell her again a bit more stern this time and she starts sobbing how hard it is and asks younger dd to help which she gladly does (bless her) soooo... whats the proper mehalach? Make a fight out of it every time I want something done or just dont ask because then ill need to follow thru which truns into a big fight?!?!

K 2nd question- if older dd seems to need more love and attention and younger dd seems to let things go very easily- do I have to be fair and square in front of them or can I give older dd more attn if younger dd doesnt seem to care? This is EVERYTHING. They want the same mug. Older dd will make a much bigger deal if she doesnt get it. Seating by the table, whos bed I read the book in blah blah I can go on and on...


OP, what I wish I had learned sooner, it's best to avoid power struggles. The situation you describe with cleaning up the toys she dumped is a power struggle. This doesn't mean no discipline. Regarding putting away the toys, you can say: We'll have shabbos party as soon as the toys are put away, or When the toys are put away you can come sit next to me and I'll read you a book, etc.

Your "if" should be something that generally follows so she understands the rule, which is, before we move onto the next project, whether having shabbos party or reading with Mommy, we need to clean up the last project. It's not personal. As opposed to feeling like a specific bribe, which then just becomes more of a power struggle.

You might also say, in a matter of fact voice, that you're going to put away the box yourself but then you're going to put it up out of reach and the next time she wants it, you will only give her 10 blocks and not the whole jar, because you want to know that she is able to clean up on her own. Again, it's not personal, just a rule. Although this is negative so I would try to minimize this.

As for the second question, you want to try to minimize competition between them. Giving attention doesn't mean giving them the same mug or choosing where to sit. I highly recommend Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber Mazlish.
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amother




Maroon
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 12:50 am
What everyone said about not letting her move on to the next thing, but also, it gets easier each time you enforce the rule. When she sees she doesn't get away with it eventually she will do it sooner. And like someone else said, don't reward her with drama/a power struggle, just be matter of fact and then focus your attention elsewhere.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 12:59 am
Thank you everyone for the tips about the cleaning and not getting into a power struggle with her. I intent to implement- not moving on to next thing till we clean...
However, should I care and try to work on her being more eager to help out and be a functional member of the household? Or just accept that its not her personality and by asking and then having to follow thru im creating unnecessary fights? For example: dh and I think an appropriate job for her would be opening tissue boxes on erev shabbos BUT I have a friend who told me that her 7th graders erev shabbos job is to set the table and the entire friday she has to nudge her or it wouldn't get done. From a chinuch perspective I feel its very healthy for kids to have jobs but is it worth it if it becomes a constant battle?
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nelliesmellie




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 1:09 am
At 6 years old she is not set in a type. Don’t label her as “not being a functional member of the household” - at 6 years old just “being” is doing her function for the household. Sounds like she’s pushing back on whatever you tell her to do. Like the other posters said, avoid the power struggle by telling her you’ll move on with the next activity once she does what she needs to do- but don’t show her how much you need her to do it for you- sometimes kids get into a win or lose game with a parent and if she does what you ask she will consider that you have won and will refuse to do it because of that. Don’t show her that you are invested in it getting done, do your best to show her that it’s in her best interest to get it done (not by saying it but rather rewarding the action with a new activity etc.
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amother




Maroon
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 1:09 am
Why don't you ask her what she wants her job to be? Give her some feeling of control over the situation so she has more motivation.
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Ora in town




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 1:41 am
I think your older daughter just needs a lot of attention and reassurance, and you should give it to her.

Question 1, about helping:

I think she is overwhelmed by doing it alone / feeling alone while she does it. She probably needs more tzumi (attention) while she does it to be motivated...

the spirit should be "let's chat a bit while we both cut veggies" or "I tell you a story while I wash the dishes and you dry them" "let's set the table. I do the forks, you do the spoons. I do the glasses, you do the napkins"

The reinforcement should be mostly positive. "Wow, I see you just did x or y! Way to go!" "Wow, you already know how to wash the container - you don't - so I'll show you, let's do it toghether"

I also feel that you have quite high expectations, perhaps a bit too high for her age...

About making chores attractive: read the beginning of "Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. It is all a question how you sell it... You have to wrap it in a good story...

Question 2: I think you should give the older daughter the attention she needs and craves. She seems to need a lot of positive feedback right now, a lot of reassurance that mommy loves her and that little sisters can't take her away.

Sometimes, subconsciously, we talk babytalk with small children, but more "normal" language with the bigger ones, so this might sound as if we were more tender, more loving to the small ones. Often the bigger ones cannot really express that their whish is for a hug from mommy, for full attention, so they express it in a different way, by saying they want this toy or that object. I find a bit of theatrical play and lots of good mood to be very helpful...

Also, children sometimes have a bit of a warped perception: you can give 100 kisses, candies, hugs, gifts to one child, in the moment where you give 1 to the other, they will feel deprived... so it might also help to establish clear rules on taking turns, so as to bring to the child's awareness that it was her turn yesterday, but that it's her sister's turn today, and it will be her turn again tomorrow. Children live very much in the present, so if you do not explicitly (and lovingly) draw attention to the fact that she already got her share, she might just not know it / not perceive it...


Last edited by Ora in town on Sun, Apr 05 2020, 2:08 am; edited 2 times in total
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amother




Indigo
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 2:04 am
I definitely understand your situation. My oldest dd is 8 and she also has a sister right under her. They have veeery different personalities. My older dd can be very helpful at times if she wants, but oftentimes she gets caught up in what she wants or what she would rather do. She is also very makpid on getting what’s “fair” - for herself, of course. She is rarely mevater on anything, but her younger sister almost always volunteers.

I don’t know that I have answers for you, but I’m in the same boat. One thing I’ve realized is that older dd is a Highly Sensitive child (look it up, there’s a book). And I think she genuinely feels things more strongly and gets caught up in her own needs. I am working hard to strike a balance between acknowledging her difficulties and letting her get away with everything. It’s tough. But she is really a wonderful girl with a lot of strengths, too. Don’t lose sight of the positive.
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amother




Pewter
 

Post  Sun, Apr 05 2020, 2:44 am
I have 2 older DDs close in age. The most important advice I can give is that you need to be fair, but fair does not mean the same.
Chaneck banav al pi darko.

Also, don't complain them.
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