When a 5 yr old knows how to play everyone, is it manipulation or need help?
I have a 5 yr old granddaughter that has been living with me for 1 1/2 yrs, along with her 7 yr old brother and father.Their parents have been split during that time, the mother resided in another state. My grand-daughter throws temper tantrums,lies(tells stories, as well as to cover her own bum), will cry at a drop of a pin, especially if you tell her no, Very good at manipulating others,she will hit her brother and always say he hit first so he will get into trouble instead of her. She needs all attention to her and does not like it if someone else received that attention and stats to cry.She has been babied under the circumstances of not having her mom there and was given attention to quite frequently....Her mom about 3 wks ago has returned to try to help with the kids and has recently got then into counseling, both the mother and father reside here(but not as a couple)..there are no disputes between parents and she really wants to help get the behavior under control as well as to let the children know she is here for them. But, even with the return of the mother my granddaughters actions have not changed...She plays mom against dad and dad's g/f, and the mom is being understanding being she hasn't been here and working patiently with her, but her behaviors are getting out of control with more frequent tantrums.
Now after she was riding a bus home from school she will sit in the morning and cry that she wants someone to pick her up after school, and will literally cry as if someone has broke her heart...She looks to me to solve and fix everything and when we try to secure her with its ok to ride the bus and we will be waiting for her to get home she just ignores us and cries constantly....When the bus incident started was one day they had a sub and they couldn't find the house, but she has rode it very few times there after and see's they know right where home is, but it does no good. We don't know what to do, if these actions were after the mom returned would explain some of this but this has been ongoing...This is quite confusing being I tried to cram too much into this question..
As you said, "She has been babied under the circumstances of not having her mom there and was given attention to quite frequently." During the last two or so years she has Learned (emphasis on Learned) a behavior to help her deal with her needs. At age 5, you cannot expect her to suddenly just change a behavior she has learned. It is going to take some time and effort.
School will help, due to their well explained requirements and constant reinforcement of those expectations (if its a well run school). Basically thats what you need to do at home.
Realize you are changing a learned behavior and it won't happen overnight. It takes about 3 weeks of constant reinforcement to do so.
Couple of resources to help you. There is a wonderful set of books aimed at the 4-7 year old crowd. They are very colorful and meant to be read out loud to the kids. The series is called the "Learning to get along" series. An example of a good one is the "Cool Down and Work Through Anger". More can be found here -
You might also want to get "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark. It gives a very good method for changing behavior using the timeout system.
These books together will give you a way to teach her the right way to act, and to change her bad behavior. Hope this helps. Best wishes.
To answer your title question I would say that this little child needs help, what a sad and upsetting life she has had , Its not surprising she cries .,I think you are doing the best you can .some family counselling is in order in my opinion.
She's been through so much! It's hard even on you and you've had years of experience and learning and dealing with situations to know how to deal with this going on at hand. I would continue to be understanding with her and keep reinforcing the things you want her to do. I'm not sure I understand when you say both parents reside here....do you mean the same city or the same house? Because if it's the same house, I don't think things will get better anytime soon at all! As for the bus issue she's probably just traumatized about what happened. Little kids have a hard time understanding that it was just a one time thing. She associates the bus with being lost and not going home, even though it's been fine the other times she rode. It must have really scared her bad for her to act like that. Maybe someone can ride the bus with her a few times to help her? I'm not sure if that's allowed where you live, but I know my mom rode the bus with us like the first and second time we ever went on it. She's been through so much and doesn't know how to express her feelings. Any attention bad or good, is attention on her and that's what she wants. Perhaps make a special effort to have a "(insert name her) time" Like Kaitlyn and mommy time, or whatever and do something special with her, even if it's coloring or watching a cartoon. So that her needs may be met through that time and she'll get over wanting it all day all the time. Good luck and keep us updated!!!
Thank you all for your advice...With the busing it worries me when I try to reinforce, i start to think of all the bad things that could have happened to her alone on that bus that day, but although my mind will wander, I have talked to the teacher and she has also help her to know she is safe, she has a little friend that is her little helper, and both parents(which do stay here at my home) made her a pattern that one day she ride the bus, then the next day one of them will pick her up..She's ok with it(being she seems to like pattern ideas), but until the morning of school she sits at the table, will not eat breakfast and just cries for at least 15-20 min(the teacher says we need to enforce the bus ride)..its hard because we are trying to work with her on this problem, but its heartbreaking..The days the parents have agreed to pick her up then she fears her teacher will be mad at her and wants gramma to call the school and make sure she is not mad. it surprises me that worries her because she is not normally one to act as such things like that bother her(one of her favorite things to do I think is argue with gramma,lol..She did ride the bus today, she came home eyes all puffy and a tissue in hand from crying, same as last week when we enforced the bus. Are we making her fears worse by making her ride the bus or are we helping her? She is very good at knowing how to get what she wants, but at the same time its like a habitual liar, they can be very convincing with their stories, but yet sometimes they are telling the truth..
Both the parents stay with me, but they are not together as a couple, but both thought with the 2 children knowing that mom and dad are here for them that it would help some of the issues they both go through....To try and make a long story short, my son and his wife moved out of state(suppose to be starting new) unfortunately things went horribly wrong and my son returned back with both kids, and the mom moved forward with her life there. Much communication w/ the mom and the kids didn't really exist much. Although, I do have a houseful as I have a severally disabled child 20 yrs old, a 10 yr old and a 14 yr old, I put my time into my grandchildren as well. My son was devastated and kind of tried to do his healing and feeling that as long as he was in the home that both the kids would feel secure, well their only security was gramma and although they have both of the parents I still seem to be their main security...I could blame the change on the kids mom being back in their life, but the issues with my granddaughter stemmed before she returned, now its just added more issues on top of already existing ones. My granddaughter loves attention(all kids do) and she says that she don't want her brother to interfere, which he don't, but now even with my grandson he has became bitter and his pain comes out in anger,he comes up next to me wanting to cuddle or for me to read him a book, and she gets upset and starts crying, so I try to involve them both, and that is not enough for her and her brother gets upset and goes and wanders off elsewhere..its a mess and so hard to explain because there is so much, so please bare with me as I try to explain as much as I can with out writing a book...The mom set up counseling, but unfortunately the agency said the kids weren't that bad for them to accept them, but at least they gave out other agencies that could help....Yesterday my granddaughter threw herself on the floor and cried for 15 minutes, when I would ask her why she was upset, she would scream louder and kick her feet, so I just ignored it and told her when she was ready to tell me why she was mad I'd be here, and the thing she was mad about was I would not at that exact moment play a card game with her, I told he in a little while I would but I had things I had to do first..and she got mad...even her mom said she would play a game and she ignored it and went into her temper tantrum....Sometimes its like no matter how much you give or do that its not enough..so I don't know what to do...I see her brother kind of lost, since his mom has been back he is very much drawn into her, and I know he fears her leaving again, but the girl really don't remember mom,(she just turned 5 in Dec) so she doesn't have that closeness, but yet I know she is feeling something, because of her actions....The mom told me that she sometimes feels in a spot, because she wants to be that fun mom and show them attention, but also wants to be that mom that enforced rules, and homework which then they are mad at her...I know they hold anger and don't speak out much about it, and I am not certain at times how I can help them learn to express feelings w/ out anger...and to let them know that rules are rules...My granddaughter even throws a fit at dinner time about eating, as if Gramma holds a restaurant, because I believe in meals not snack food they can run around with...I'm sorry I'm babbling on and on..
She's just being 5. All kids are diffent but we all grow up so don't sweat it. Honesly. All you can do is "learn" what sets her off and try to talk about your expectation for her behavior are before it happens and it may take awhile but soon she will get on board. It won't last forever but one thing that did help me is reading a book to my daughter every night. It gave us calm time together just her and I and plenty of time to discuss things. And most of all it taught her to listen. Good luck and don't take the behavior personally as my daughter comes from a text book family and upbringing and still had all those problems. But did grow out of it. :) Good luck! And good job she is lucky to have you! :)
You're painting a picture of a child who is extremely insecure and has good reason to be insecure.
She's had a life of upheaval and it's hard to see where she "fits" as a permanent member of this family.
First she had a nuclear family, then they moved away and I guess broke up so she came to live with you and you also have your hands full caretaking a disabled adult and two other children, and her dad and a new girlfriend live there, and her mother does too but she doesn't really have a relationship with the girl and doesn't really know how to be a mom. And her brother is kind of lost.
She's like a little flower growing up out of the concrete. She's desperate for approval and attention - in the form of someone to pick her up from school, in the form of getting what she needs, in the form of hoping her teacher isn't mad at her, etc.
Does she have a space that's all her own - a bedroom, a half bedroom, etc., that is permanently hers?
I agree with Rock Rose. I majored in psychology and this is a crazy situation for a little girl to be in. She had her family and everything was fine. Then everything went crazy and her dad took her from her mom or her mom left her...(however she might see it). Her mom AND dad live there so she's expecting it to be like it was before when they were together everything happy and then the girlfriend comes into the picture, which probably confuses the HELL out of her. I don't think them living there together is a good idea. Living in the same city or street maybe, but same house...crazy. Especially when there is a girlfriend or boyfriend involved. It was hard enough for her as it is moving in with you and everything changing having to share even more of her attention with the other kids that you have, let alone her brother. No wonder she is having a hard time. And to be honest I think she's taking it fairly well!!!
As for the bus riding, why can't someone just pick her up? That might cause a lot of the problems to go away because her anxiety about the bus will be gone. She probably thinks about it all the time if she's acting that way whenever it happens. I think the first thing that needs to happen though is for both mom and dad not to live together. I know that probably sounded like a good idea to begin with, but she expects them to be happy and fine like they used to be and they aren't. Even if they aren't yelling at each other or fighting she still senses that something is different. I don't know if it will get worse if the mom moves out now though. Seeing as how she's come back and is there and now she'll be leaving again. AHHH! This is a tough situation! Perhaps it would help if the girlfriend didn't see the kids....? I wish I could 'peek in' on y'alls lives for like a week because it would help me analyze the situation better!
Like RockRose said though, I think it would be a good idea for her to have her OWN space. completely hers, even if you just rope off half a bedroom and make it hers only. Good luck and keep us updated!!!
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