My bossy 10 year old is driving me insane. Advice??
I have three beautiful and usually sweet girls and I am expecting my fourth child in November. My oldest is ten and her two younger sisters are 3 and 4. My oldest is from my first marriage and has a different dad than her younger sisters. She lived most of her life with me, but spent the last year and a half living with her dad in California while my husband and our girls and my step son got settled in Colorado. She visited us or I visited her as often as possible and we spent a lot of time on FaceTime and Skype. I made sure she knew she was important to me, very loved, and not forgotten. Well, it finally became the right time for me to move her out here (she has an extremely controlling father who refused to let her move with me, yet never spent time with her) and she was thrilled to finally be with her mom, stepdad, and sisters. Her school work and school behavior has improved drastically since the move here and she and I have a wonderfully close relationship that I love. But she has become increasingly "motherly" to her sisters and not in a good way. She yells at them, bosses them around, and has even spanked them. All of these issues have been addressed relentlessly on a daily basis, but she doesn't listen. I've even taken things away to make the point that she is NOT allowed to treat her sisters the way she does. She even will promise them a dessert or treat right after I finish saying no. My husband and I have both told her over and over she needs to learn her role in this house and she agrees but still nothing changes. I'm early in my pregnancy and she is very involved and excited and can be extremely helpful and sweet with her sisters at times, but then she reverts back to this demanding bossy little thing that makes my anxiety and stress shoot through the roof. I'm already handling everything for our household as my husband works long hours and her help is sometimes just what I need and she is rewarded when she acts appropriately, but I don't know where the negative behaviors are coming from. She has a younger sister at her dads as well and I don't remember ever hearing she acted this way there, but she also harbors harsh feelings for her dad, hates her stepmom, and even claims that her baby sister there isn't her "real sister" and only the ones I carried and gave birth to are. I of course try to support a positive relationship with her dad, but lately since she has moved here, he has shown no interest in her or speaking with me and is mainly concerned about me filing for child support (which I have not). I just want to know what else I can do or try to make her realize she isn't a mother and that she doesn't need to take on this attitude with her sisters. She seems to be at an age where she is fascinated with babies and motherhood as she has baby dolls and even an app on her phone called imommy where she has a baby boy she can feed, change, and take to the park or put to bed. Pretty much lets you do anything you would do with a new baby. She's also shown a heavy interest in any and everything regarding my pregnancy and was the first one to see the digital "pregnant" test I took and even took pictures with me and the positive test (which was very sweet). She asks about the baby daily as she knows I lost a baby back in November and wants to make sure I am okay. She's loves to hear the names we are deciding on and has told me she would really like a brother. Most of this all seems normal to me as my 4 year old also asks all the time if "a baby is in my tummy yet" and saying that she wants mommy to have another baby. I'm happy they want another sibling as my brothers didn't want me when I arrived 7 years after my youngest older brother, Lol, but is her behavior going to get worse when the new addition arrives? Sorry for the long rant but I haven't really talked to anyone but my husband and mom about this. Thank you for listening!!
Talk to a family therapist. In the meantime, continue with the consistent message that even if she is older, she is sister and not mother to her sibs. A lot of time the oldest child is bossy with younger kids out of insecurity, and it does sound a bit like she has had reasons to feel insecure. But the acting out has to stop (spanking and giving rewards) and if you can't get this behavior to shift you need a professional's advice about how to do it. There are also a lot of good books on raising kids that doubtless cover overbearing behavior towards younger kids in the family. I always liked "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk" and the other books by that author, but there are others.
That one, I got on Amazon used for like two bucks. Best investment in a child-rearing book I ever made by far.
Do talk to a counselor too, I would be concerned that her overbearing attitude has to do with filling a hole in her heart that comes from not only having other sibs (rivals for your affection) but a new one on the way. Acting extremely attentive about the baby is not always because the child has unmixed feelings. Talk it over in depth, family therapists have seen a lot of this and can help you more in one session than you can figure out yourself in months.
Thanks AnnieBrookes I appreciate your positive and helpful comments. I've seen some posts on here and mothers get attacked for their parenting if they complain of a child's behavior. It's nice to just have someone understand and see that I'm trying to fix the problems :-)
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