Empowering Girls: Attitude Problem

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So, you can tell from my Hannah Ban that my 6-year-old daughter’s been having an attitude problem lately.

I dealt with one of the causes, but I’m not crazy enough to think the banning of Hannah will be enough to cure her attitude and the constant crossing of my boundaries.

Here’s what’s really upsetting me about Ainsley’s attitude.

It’s directed at me. And only me.

Her entire bratty dialogue, talking back, rudeness, fit throwing, defiance is directed to a single person on the entire planet and that person is ME.

Her dad says “go clean your room” and she obediently goes to clean her room.

Her dad says “stop doing that” and she immediately stops.

At church and school and over at friends and neighbors and grandparents the child is a “perfect angel.”

I say “go clean your room” and it’s 30 minutes of arguing, whining, fit throwing and negotiating her way out of it.

I say “stop doing that, please,” and she ignores me.

“Please, don’t do that,” she keeps doing it and make up an excuse for continuing her behavior.

“I said top doing that,” and there is angry fit throwing outburst, negotiating and whining and crying.

I SAID STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW! NOW GO TO YOUR ROOM CAUSE I’M NOT PUTING UP WITH THIS!

Jeez. You don’t have to scream at me, she says all hurt.

Oh really? It appears to be the only way you listen to me, I think.

What I say is, I’m sorry I yelled.

Here’s what I want to know – what is different about my “go clean your room” and her fathers? What is different about my “stop doing that” and the neighbors or the teachers or the church lady’s?

I have 3 theories.

The first is that my own mother put a traditional daughter curse on me, “I hope you get a daughter exactly like you.”

One theory is that this is growing/mother/daughter pains that comes with puberty – only it’s lightyears early.

Another theory is that I’m projecting all my daughter issues from my own relationship with my mother on my relationship with my daughter. Put another way, that my feelings about how my own mother disciplined me is preventing me from being an effective disciplinarian for my daughter. In other words, when I say, “Go clean your room,” I hear myself as a rebellious teenager say, No. I don’t want to! Try to make me! It’s MY room. And my daughter is picking up on this inner-conflict via osmosis or emotional consciousness.

Do any other mothers notice their children treating them in a distinctly different way than they they treat the other parent or other adults? How do you explain it?

Come back tomorrow to find out about Attitude Boot Camp.

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