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Beloved granddaughter driving me mad

(35 Posts)
Lizbethann55 Fri 04-Oct-19 21:16:16

Hi. I regularly read the forums but have never asked for help before. My DD and SiL have gone away for the week, leaving Flo (just 4) and Tommy(1). With us. We regularly have Flo for sleepovers but never before for more than 2 nights. I absolutely adore her, but , oh, she is driving me to distraction. She is very determined and self willed and will not do a single thing she is asked. Absolutely everything is"no" and I am totally losing my patience. I asked her to choose her clothes this morning ( better than telling her what to wear) . No. Breakfast is ready. No. Can I brush your hair . No. Will you get in the car. No. Would you like to go to the park to feed the ducks. No. And so it goes on. Even tomorrow my other daughter is taking her to ballet then out for the afternoon. Flo can't wait. But will she help me choose what she wears after ballet. No. I am not the most patient of people and I am really struggling. My DH has more patience, but it is me who has to do the mundane tasks rather than just play. The week isn't half over yet. I am finding every moment an effort. We have loads of nice things planned but when even getting her washed and dressed is such a trial I don't know if I have the energy to go out. Sometimes I just feel so angry and cross I could really lose my temper so I just leave the room and slam around in the kitchen. I love her so much, but right now, I don't know if i like her that much. Little Tommy is exhausting, but a joy. Please help

Tangerine Fri 04-Oct-19 21:19:44

Are these your grandchildren's real names? Anyone who knows you could perhaps easily recognise you from this post.

Could your other daughter help you more?

I remember my children going through the "no" phase but it soon passed.

Joyfulnanna Fri 04-Oct-19 21:32:34

Lizbethan, it sounds like you need to change tact, star chart for saying yes? And a little treat when she gets 5 stars. She can see what it's doing to you saying no all the time. At age 4, they'll try your patience but you will easily regain control with a little clever reverse psychologyx

CanadianGran Fri 04-Oct-19 21:59:08

At 4 you should be able to have a little talk with her when you are having a quiet moment. Tell her how happy it makes you feel when she cooperates with you, and how frustrated you are when she opposes.

I have found my grandchildren have really gone through a stubborn patch when they are 3, (and I have two of them at that stage!) but they really do respond to praise. My GS who is now 5 is such a good helper when he is visiting us, but boy-oh-boy he was a stinker when he was 3! He helps Grampa doing chores, and loves to set the table for dinner. I'm still working on his 3 yr old sister., but use lots of praise when she does something I have asked.

NanaandGrampy Fri 04-Oct-19 22:33:42

You’re asking a 4 yr old open questions which give her the opportunity to say no . Why not offer her two choices of outfit - she can wear either but that’s all that’s on offer .

Same with meals - you can have this or this , and if she says no to both just say fine . No harm will come to her in the short term .

I just think she needs less choice.

grannyqueenie Fri 04-Oct-19 22:47:27

Spot on n&g, my oldest gd was just like op describes. My tack was along the lines of “We’re going out now, what do you want to put on first, your coat or your shoes?” My dil commented that after gd had been with me and was asked to do something by her mum her response would be “tell you what, mummy, lets do....”, apparently one of my stock phrases! But I feel for you lizbethann55 it’s full on looking after littlest ones they can be very hard work and there’s no respite. Hope it gets easier and you can enjoy it all a bit more.

SirChenjin Fri 04-Oct-19 22:48:31

I agree with NanaandGrampy - I would suggest you don’t offer her open choices but give her a choice of X or Y where appropriate and no choice when you need her to do something. Star/ happy face charts are a good reward when she does something the first time you ask her, with her choice of reward at the end of the day if she gets say three stars/smiley faces or more during the day. I also find a hard stare and a firm “do not tell me no” can work quite well. They really seem to find their voices at four - good luck!

sharon103 Fri 04-Oct-19 22:58:43

Too many choices. Don't ask, tell little Flo what you're both going to do. wink

NotSpaghetti Fri 04-Oct-19 23:46:35

Exactly, NanaandGrampy and others are right.
Would you like to feed the ducks or play on the swings?
Which would you like to wear today, your blue or red jumper?
Would you like to do your teeth before or after you put your pyjamas on?
I hope it works for you!
Good luck!

Apricity Fri 04-Oct-19 23:47:34

Little F is having a ball saying 'NO'. My main rule for clothes is that they have to be weather appropriate and safe for the activity, other than that it doesn't really matter. Don't keep giving her so many options. When food is on the table she eats at the table or she goes hungry. Spell out the consequences for bad behaviour. If she does X then there will be no Y. And stick to it.

Don't engage in endless discussions about the why's and wherefores of every decision, you'll wear out long before she does. And sometimes you just need to say 'we are doing this because I'm the grown up and I say so.'

PS. I've just had 4 grandchildren aged 5-10 staying for a week.

BradfordLass72 Sat 05-Oct-19 09:10:17

I will add one thing, praise her when she does something quite ordinary but acceptable.

'Good girl for eating all your toast!'
'You are a good girl for remembering to wash your hands after your wee-wee.'
'Well done Flo for playing nicely with your brother.'

And so on.

Children love being praised almost as much as they like wrapping Gran round their little fingers by saying 'no' grin

Septimia Sat 05-Oct-19 09:45:03

I agree with the others - less choice!

Also, some of the things you should be telling her to do. Not bossily, but firmly. 'Time to get in the car now', 'Hairbrushing time!' 'Time for bed'. Praise for compliance.

Of course she will still resist because she's been having fun doing that, but she'll eventually respond to the no-nonsense approach.

There will still be things where she'll have more choice and you can ask her what she woud like, but even then she'll find it easier to decide if the choice isn't too wide.

lemongrove Sat 05-Oct-19 10:18:04

Yes, less choice.Also don’t say ‘will you get in the car’ instead say we are all getting in the car now etc.
Don’t give her the opportunity to choose the word no.
She is no doubt reacting to being left for a week by her parents, it’s a long time for a four year old.The two year old has no conception of time so doesn’t realise he is with you for a whole week.
Just be patient, and leave her on her own for a little, do jobs in another room or look after the little boy.She will come around in the end.

wildswan16 Sat 05-Oct-19 11:10:27

No more than two choices - would you like the red jumper or blue jumper, cornflakes or weetabix etc.

"When you're dressed we'll go to the park" - and leave her to it.

Poor little thing is probably very cross that mum and dad have gone off to do exciting things and left her behind.

EllanVannin Sat 05-Oct-19 11:46:59

Ignore her and just carry on with your chores. Children enjoy testing your patience and also enjoy leading you a merry dance but if you ignore her sooner or later she'll come to. She'll be annoyed that her parents have " gone without " her and it's her way of showing disapproval.
Don't get yourself in a tizz or you'll end up in a desperate heap.

Oopsminty Sat 05-Oct-19 11:50:20

Same advice from me.

Don't give choices.

Summerlove Sat 05-Oct-19 11:59:34

Options not choices. Fun grandma can give choices, but this week you are in a parenting role, and must adapt to that.

Do not do a star chart- that will just make her parents lives harder

Is she perhaps feeling put out that she’s been left by her parents?

Most of this sounds very normal at that age.

M0nica Sat 05-Oct-19 12:32:59

Don't ask her, or even give choices (I had/have a DD like Flo and given a choice she would manage to say no to both, just say. 'Time to get dressed and give her some clothes and expect her to out them on. If not, just dress her.

After my Fil died, my MiL came to stay for several weeks. When she left she turned to me and said. 'I used to think that you were a rather strict with DD, but now I have stayed with you and seen what she can be like, I understand.

SisterAct Sat 05-Oct-19 17:33:23

As above less choice.

As for agreeing to a week ? I adore mine but 3days is enough

ElaineI Sat 05-Oct-19 18:27:51

I agree with the no choices - we are getting in the car etc - if no then - we are getting in the car now and if you don't you will be left here on your own. Start eating your breakfast please or I will count down from 5 and when I reach 1 it will go in the bin - you can follow through with that but not the car obviously. I find this works with DGS1 age 5 and is what Mummy does too. Does not work with his sister who is 2 ½ and probably too young.

BlueBelle Sat 05-Oct-19 18:34:05

Kids love a bit of competition too whose going to get there seatbelt on first you or me

Madgran77 Sat 05-Oct-19 19:09:33

Turn every question into a choice." Do you want to walk to the park or do you want to go on the bus?" "Are you going to wear your blue jumper or your red jumper?" " Do you want toast for breakfast or do you want cereal?" "When you have brushed your hair I will get your toast!" . And if she chooses neither of the choices, shrug your shoulders and say OK disinterestedly and walk away! And every time she chooses something say "Good choice!" or "Arent you clever for choosing your red jumper, good choice" ....and so on!!

grapefruitpip Sat 05-Oct-19 19:50:25

Is she at school/playgroup.....something?

Routine, boundaries, less choice.

or a virus brewing.

Hithere Sat 05-Oct-19 20:12:40

Your gc are just behaving like their age. Sassy 4 year old and cute 1 year old.

Kids need to be empowered from very young age to learn to make their own decisions.

I give my kids 2 options that I know they like and a time limit for executing something.
That way, I avoid tantrums and they help me with tasks they are able to do themselves.
By the third time I ask them to do the same thing, they do it much faster and I don't even have to ask them, they do it themselves

Also, please take breaks. Being in charge of kids 24/7 is exhausting.

Lizbethann55 Mon 14-Oct-19 20:33:36

Thank you all for your advice. I am so new to all this that I have only just found your replies!!! How daft am I??? Our week passed fairly calmly, I think. But boy, was I exhausted!! Flo and Tommy are not their real names and my user name is taken from my mum and aunty. I think Flo has been playing up at home this week, probably "punishing" her mum for leaving her. We had a weekend away so I haven't seen them for a few days and I am really missing them!!