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End of my tether please help....

Hi all, New here. Really struggling and need either words of comfort or advice..or anything!!

My daughter is 5, 6 in March. She's strong willed, which I try encourage in a positive way. It's just me and her, I am a student nurse in my final year and its been pretty hard on us both. 

She's been a well behaved little girl with the 'typical' tantrum type behaviour, and there have been times we have gotten through it ok and other times I've lost my temper and shouted/smacked her bum. 

The last month or so her behaviour has gotten worse, and the last two weeks have been horrendous. Just to set the scene....

I have avoided shouting as I know it gets me no where, and just sets the example that she can do that. Last week, after me asking her to get her pyjamas on ready for bed, she ignored me and started being silly. I ignored and carried on getting stuff out, when I say if she doesn't do as her told I will have to take away treats (such as movie nights, tea on the sofa, sleeping with mummy, I rarely but chocolate but none of her choc/sweets from christmas). She continued to ignore telling me she 'wasn't bothered' and 'i don't care'. I had to take myself away from the situation as I was going to start shouting. I went outside to try calm myself down, she followed me downstairs and wee'd on the kitchen floor. I took her upstairs, showered her and got her changed, with little communication or eye contact, asked her to brush teeth and she started again, ignoring me, felt like she was trying to provoke a reaction. I explained to her I wanted her to brush her teeth and get into bed. She continued to ignore me. I went in my room and Sat behind the door. That's when the real fun began! I repeated what I wanted her to do, said night night love you, then I was being screamed at through the door, calling me a fat mummy (I'm on the larger side so that hurts), was told that I was horrible, ignorant and if I ignored her she would carry on being naughty....I just calmly repeated I wanted her to do as her told, love you night night etc.....She went in rolls of being angry and horrible, to speaking calm, back and forth. 2and a half hours later she stops and goes to bed. This was at its worst last Monday night. I started a new chart for me and her, with each day putting a smiley face for when I don't shout and lose my temper or she has listen and done as her told or sad face if we shout say mean things.... each day there was something, but I remained calm and I thought I was getting somewhere. Friday I had to go behind my door again because she was doing the same again. The weekend wasn't perfect but not as bad. Come to now, I say it's bedtime, after having tea together and it being ok (except me not.letting her have a chocolate bar after swimming that a friend have her, explaining the reason being her behaviour last night, but we githave through that reasonably well, I explained it was ok for her to be upset about not getting the chocolate, but she needed to understand that how her behaviour can affect what she gets and its ok to behave upset but not to then be mean to me), we looked at spellings and I said lets have a nice bedtime and we'll have time for a story. She wanted a snack before bed but I said no (one of her tricks to delay bedtime), she ran into the kitchen to get some crackers, I managed to get them and said  this isn't good behaviour please don't be naughty now. Upstairs asked to get pyjamas on, said I would help, she was asking me what a Chinese burn is while trying to squeeze my  wrists. I said I'm not telling you because its not a nice thing to do. She was pushing me while I was helping so I warned if she carried on I won't help. She carried on so I said please change yourself (she's usually very independent has dressed herself since 2) I went to get her toothbrush ready, she had followed me in not getting changed pushing and grabbing my clothes, I asked her to stop and she continued to ignore me. I took myself in my room, and as soon as I closed the door she said you're a fat mum! And then started the abuse again, demanding I do this and that. I explained I wouldn't because of her behaviour and if she wants certain things she needs to do as her told and be kind. They cycle continued, speaking kind until she realised I wasn't giving in, then horridness started. 

I feel hiding in my room isn't helping, but I'm getting close to losing it with her and I don't want to scream and snack her.

We have tried naughty step but it's never Sat well with me, she generally would do as her told. We have tried charts, I have a 'happy home list' that lists the things we should do, like no shouting, 'rules' such as no tv in a morning, dressed and toothbrushes before going downstairs etc... It now includes consequences if she doesn't do as her told, such as cancelling movie nights, no slonky teas, no tv, no toys.

It doesn't seem to be working. How do I respond to the things she is saying, especially the 'I'm not bothered I don't care' and the 'big fat horrible mummy'. 

Please help, from a tried, emotional mum trying her best but feeling like a failure.

Jo xx


  • Hi, I didn't want to read and run. I was on the site looking at something else and I stumbled across your post. I registered as a member so I could reply to you so you didn't feel alone. 

    im a mum of 1, a 15 year old boy whom I brought up alone. While I know modern day mothering changes all the time I just wanted to try to give you a little advice from someone who's dealt with this. 

    Your daughter is now at the age where she is not quite the pre schooler she was and not quite the grown up junior she wants to be. She is testing boundaries and knows exactly what buttons to press to get to you. All this doesn't help you I know, but what I will say is this...

    you are doing everything right. You sound like a very caring and attentive mum and by no means are you a failure. 

    try doing some new activities with your daughter such as sticking and gluing / playing a game or simply walking and counting different types of leaves you see, and bring up to her How it makes you feel when she behaves like that. tell her how it makes you feel when you try new things together and how her behaving nicely makes you feel happy and proud. 

    She will remember the new activity you did together as it was out of the norm and she will remember what you talked about.

    you could also try a small compromise on bed time and tell her that if she behaves well then perhaps every other night she can have an extra 15 mins or so to do something she wants to do. 

    these things worked for me, I'm not saying they'll work for you but it's worth a shot. 

    Nutritionally as well, try cutting her refined sugar and see if that helps. (Not just chocolate and sweets but bread and drinks etc)

    As for the name calling and nonchalent attitide she has; tell her simply that it hurts / upsets you and then walk away. She's doing it for attention and if she wants attention but you walk away then she should adapt her attitude towards you.

    i promise they aren't like this forever. It's a battle of wills with children. this will pass in time, once she's tested all the boundaries. 

    Be strong, you can do this.

    i did this on my own at 18 (I'm now 33)

    Louise x 

  • Hi Louise. Thankyou so much for posting a comment on this. 

    I'm currently having cognitive behavioural therapy to help me with my anxiety and past 'traumatic events in my life's - I cringed when we went through that ha!... It's so bizarre as the last two weeks I have felt my best in a long time. 

    Speaking to CBT lady (feels odd to say therapist), she reinforced I was on the right lines, and just to ensure I focus on saying I don't like the behaviour, making sure I don't come across as not liking/loving my daughter. 

    Tonight was a much better night. The last few weeks I have made a conscious effort to really praise the good behaviour, however small it may be. Fingers crossed she is getting it and I remain calm. I hated shouting, but I'm slowly learning not to punish myself wit the help of CBT. Pretty much every minute of every day I would say to myself I'm awful, a carp mum, horrible person. The relief of not doing this to myself is immense and I'm clinging to that feeling at the moment.

    I know 'this too shall pass'.

    Me and my daughter chatted tonight plans for the weekend. We haven't been for a nice walk in so long so  fingers crossed the weather stays dry for Sunday as that's what we have planned, and swimming on Saturday! :)

    Thankyou so much for your kind words Louise xxxc

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  • Hi...sorry you are going throu hell with her and she will grow out of it but you must enforce rules and stick to treats and no toys...make her earn them back with good behaviour...good luck

  • Thanks for your message Amy. I always follow through with the consequences, sometimes unsure what's suitable for what though, and how long to ban something for.... We are getting there.... It's her birthday tomorrow so she has been so giddy! Baring with though lol x

  • Maybe a time to say mummy loves you and you must not be nasty or call names to mummy anymore as im going to treat you to a nice birthday and only good girls get nice days...good luck x

  • Hiya your post and had to reassure you that your doing everything right. The replies from other ladies are right she is testing boundaries as she's still a preschooler but but getting into that junior stage aswel. She will come out of this. And she will realise that her actions have consequences I. E. No toys, TV, chocolate. I would suggest the time out method again and see if it helps. As for her calling you names she still is at that age where she can say hurtful things but doesn't fully understand what they mean and how they can hurt. I agree with the last post regarding this eg. Nice little girls only get nice things...I would like you to say sorry to mummy as that wasn't very nice!? She will come back around. Maybe get a basket of night stuff together...with a few books, teddies, dvds (if she watches in bed) and put some surprises in their like a new toothbrush or new pj's and encourage her that of she gets into bed nicely she can pick something from the basket..I know it's a bit silly but I have seen this work before. :) good luck hun! You are doing a fab job and are a  great mummy! Xxx

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