Manipulative Nightmare

opinion 1
I recently finished a very stressful nanny job that I was in for two years (long story). Fortunately it ended on good terms. I began interviewing with new families and accepted an offer from a seemingly great family. It felt like a great fit.. Really good pay, benefits, an adorable and very charming four year old ("K") and great parents.

The first week was great, and then the nightmare began. I was told during my interview (should have seen this as my big red flag) that the child can be manipulative and likes to "negotiate". K has never had a nanny, but has had lots of babysitters and is very social. The first week was wonderful, but as soon as K figured out i was not just a short term babysitter, K did a complete 180 on me. He is literally the most disagreeable, whiney and manipulative child I have ever met. This kid would literally argue over whether or not the sky is blue. He complains about even the smallest things and refuses to do anything that is not his original idea. I understand that children are challenging- I have a lot of experience with children this age; I have been a nanny for almost five years. I worked primarily with two families and my experiences have been with kids ranging from birth to age six.

Before working as a nanny I worked in a preschool/daycare for a year and a half. I also have my bachelors in early childhood Ed. I have tried all of the typical "love and logic" strategies, positive discipline techniques, giving him choices, warnings, etc etc.. but what I have observed is that this does not seem like he is just testing the new nanny, this seems to be his personality. I watch him plead and negotiate every little thing with his parents and honestly they seem to deal with it really well, however he is just relentlessly disagreeable. I have worked with kids with chronic behavior issues, kids that are aggressive, and I have experience with autism, so just to clarify these issues are not simply me being inexperienced. K is rude, impolite, snappy and orders me around. He refuses to say please or thank you and tells me that he doesn't like me if I don't do something the way that he likes me to. No matter where I park when we go out he will whine and tell me "I don't like where you just parked" or we will pick out library books and he will complain that he hates those books and they weren't the ones he wanted. Whatever I cook for him he won't eat. I could go on and on.

I really like the parents, my schedule, benefits and pay, etc however I am becoming depressed and dreading coming to work after only 2 months. Has anyone ever quit due to a bad match with the kids? It makes me feel terrible to think about leaving but honestly this kid is making my life hell. I am so sad because I was so excited to finally have a great fit after sticking it out in a high stress work environment for two years prior to this.


Laura said...

K sounds like a little pain in the arse and you're right, his issues do seem to be a part of his personality. Saying he doesn't like where you PARKED? That's really ridiculous. Are you looking for other jobs? If you can stand it, it's best to not quit until you have another job lined up. But I do think you should do that: quit. If you are depressed and dreading going to work, it is not a healthy environment for you to continue working in.

Chin up, OP! You sound like a GREAT, patient, kind nanny. (You certainly have more patience than me.) Good luck!

Truth Seeker said...

You know OP, once you start to "dread" going to work, then that is when it is time to quit. If you really need the money, you can wait until you have another job lined up before leaving...but if you will be okay for awhile, I suggest you give notice. You have the option of telling the parents why you are leaving in a diplomatic way, however this is up to you.

Sorry to hear about this, especially after your prior job. Sometimes we have to go through a few doozies before we find the perfect match.

Speaking from my own experience, once I start to dread going into work, I usually quit. Whether it be lousy parents, lousy kids or lousy is just too short to be dreading your job. Honestly..been there, done that.

Best of luck to you. Your perfect family is out there! Have some faith!! ♥

observer said...

Maybe speaking with the parents about having the child evaluated would be a good first step. Aspergers, anxiety, ocd, odd, could all possibly explain the behavior. You sound very qualified. Imagine how your emotions could change towards this child, if he was found to be afflicted with something that made his behavior something he was unable to control and now as a team with his parents and specialists you are all working towards a goal of helping him. You never know, his parents may be relieved if you approach them and voice aloud what is probably going through their heads.

Phoenix said...

LMFAO he is funny. He sounds exactly like my little cousin. She is 15 years younger than everyone in the family and she would come to my moms house and tell her that she hated my moms laundrey detergent, the toilet paper she used, the way people chewed pissed her off, you are ugly in that color, why are you drinking that its bad for you, who left this mess here, I could continue. She was a bitch. And everyone caved to her. If she wanted ice cream for breakfast boy tooten she was going to get it and she would logically argue her point. She was convincing if she needed to be.

Then I got to baby sit her alone. She told me to stop doing my homework and play with her. I told her to shut up and play by herself. Well she argued and argued and argued. finally I got pissed and locked her in a room. She was screaming and destroying things. But I really didn't care. That monster was a bitch. After about 7 hours I let her out. and she listened to me from that day forth. You see kids get away with what we let them. It is still her personality to be a brat but she controls herself when shes around me. No one understood it. I treated her like I treat everyone else.

There are times in life where being mean can benefit you. This is one of those times.

Phoenix said...

of course this isn't actually one of your family members. you can't lock him down for 7 hours. So just ignore him. don't talk to him at all when he says anything to you. He will start to shut up. you can't cave with him. Just let it roll off your back and act like you didn't even hear him. He demands something from you don't do. Pretend you can't hear. He is an invisible child until he can be nice. If you don't speak to him he will get the hint. He is incredibly smart

Nj nanny said...

While I was reading this I could of sworn I wrote it- I am dealing with exactly the same issues with the child I watch. If its not her idea- it can't happen. It goes as far as her sitting in a chair, me sitting in a chair next to her, and her screaming that she wants the chair I am in. She is 3, and has been evaluated, so far no concrete diagnosis. I say quit. That's what I just did! I got exactly how you are getting- I was getting anxiety about going to work, the days are long, and awful. In my situation the parents I work for suck- so it made my decision easier. But the other posters are right- if you don't look forward to going to work, it's not worth it. I became unhappy about 3 months after I started, I've now been with this family for 10 months and just gave my notice a week ago. Needless to say the last 7 months have been nothing but stress. Don't do that to yourself. I get paid very well- and believe me I know staying for the money is tempting, but no amount is worth your own sanity. You'll find another family. My advice, which I'm using for my next job- is when you are hired by a family explain that you are most comfortable with doing a trial- say, 3 months? That way, if at the end of the 3 months you are unhappy, you can walk away without feeling guilty. If I had done this I would have been out the door a long time ago- but I felt bad and stayed even though I was miserable. I have two weeks left and I feel like a weight has been lifted. You won't do your job right if you wake up every morning dreading the day. Good luck!

Bostonnanny said...

I agree with Phoenix, ignore him when he is being a pain in the ass. Tell if he can't find a better way to communicate then your just not gonna pay attention to him or give him what he wants. He throws a tantrum, tell him to go to his room cause you don't want to hear it and when he's done then he can come out. He decides to trash his room, tell him he can't come out until he cleans up. He's a smart kid who is prob bored and wants any kind of attention. Buy him challenging board games, puzzles or workbooks and let him do that with you. If he picks a fight stop and walk away. Your out at an activity and he says a r due comment, won't apologize then you pack up and leave immediately no matter what. Eventually he will realize his behavior doesn't phase you and he will have to change tactics to get attention. This is all about control and you have to be the one who has it.

How is he with other children?

Zarine said...

I would quit. I am a nanny, but can admit I do not have a high tolerance for bratty behavior. It's not worth the trouble.

Phoenix - That's harsh, but totally made me lol.

i believe you because... said...

I nannied a little boy joshua (4 years old) who told me that if i didn't give him something, I forget what he asked for, that he would tell his mommy that I hit him!!!

My jaw dropped! I immediately told mom when she came back what he said. I also told her she needed to have a talk with him and be aware of his behavior.

Psycho kid.

MissMannah said...

Yeah I agree that you should just ignore most of it. He's trying to get a rise out of you and it is working. He sounds like a smart kid. I would start answering all his rude comments with just "OK" until it starts to drive him crazy (and it will). He doesn't like where you park? OK. He doesn't like the books? OK. He doesn't want to eat? OK. Once he figures out that you aren't getting upset or giving him a real reaction, he'll eventually cut it out and start respecting you. (we hope)

On the other hand, what you're describing sounds a lot like me when I was a kid. Is he also moody and still prone to tantrums? Does he get confused about making small decisions and that leads to him yelling at you and blaming you? If yes to both, he needs a psych eval because that isn't run-of-the-mill brattiness, it is more like an emotional disorder.

oh well said...

Are the parents aware that you have a problem? If you want to keep the job, you need to decide with them how far you can go. Firstly, you need to decide what is non-negotiable. Safety is non-negotiable. Saying please is non-negotiable. My random guess is that this kid is used to having too much attention and that having this much power when "negotiating" makes him anxious.
This is why he is testing your boundaries. The last thing you want to do is to show him that what he says or does upsets you. He is obviously trying to communicate with you when he is saying that he hates everything and what you need to show him is the image of a happy and confident adult who will not take bullying. If he says he hates your parking spot, just ignore it or say cheerfully that this is the best parking spot in the whole area. If he says he hates his library books, you can say "too bad" as if it did not matter at all. If he says he hates what you cooked, and you have reason to believe that this is not true, just acknowledge it, take the plate away and do not let him have anything else. Of course you need the parents to be on board with you for this, and this may be where the real problem is.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I am guessing that this child has his parents wrapped around his little finger and he has learned that arguing gets him what he wants. First off, I don't think it is worth it for you to stay with this family, unless you are in it for the long haul because changing this kid's behavior will take a while and will be a lot of work!

Anyway, there are a few things I suggest. First, don't argue with him. If he starts to get into a debate about something, don't participate. He says the sky is green, that's awesome, change the subject.

Secondly, you said he won't do anything that isn't his idea. You need to start (slowly) getting him used to the adult being in charge. If he says he wants to go outside, tell him that's a great idea but first you are going to clean his room, eat lunch, whatever. If he decides he now doesn't want to go outside (which at first he will) and instead he wants to watch tv, oh that's a great idea but first we are going to clean his room, etc. He needs to know that he will be able to do what he wants but on YOUR terms.

And thirdly, don't negotiate. He is the child and you and the parents are the adults. You did say you gave him choices which is great to do when possible. Some people just have those personalities where they have to be in control and I have no doubt that this child will grow up to be like that but at this point he can't be the dictator. For your sanity, you have to stick to your guns and not give into him. It will definitely get worse before it gets better.

The most important thing is to be on the same page with the parents. Nothing will stick unless it is consistent. You said that the parents deal with him really well and you have tried so many techniques so I wouldn't be surprised if you've already tried the advice I gave but I just wanted to add my 2 cents :)

nycmom said...

Yes, absolutely it is possible to have a nanny/kids not be a good fit. I try to be as direct and honest as I can be during the interview about my kids good and bad points. I've mentioned this before, but my 11yo daughter is especially difficult. She has been difficult from birth. Until I had my second, I questioned everything I did. Now I just question how much longer before college! (kidding, most of the time : ).

Both my #1 and #3 had significant toddler "OCD" type behavior such as wanting food cut a certain way, restarting a game if a piece was moved "wrong," needing to be in control of a lot of decisions. I used to fight every single battle with #1, til my husband taught me that some battles aren't worth fighting. So I learned to fake re-butter the bread, or pretend to put "new" toothpaste on the toothbrush. You know, my life got A LOT easier and the kids got over their crazy little obsessions much faster.

Anyway, I won't give any other advice on dealing with this 4yo. I could give a lot, but really only you and mom know if it will work.

I will say, if you really want to keep the job, hang in there. My stubborn kids took 3-4 months to accept and warm up to a new nanny. However, if you really can't stand the little bugger, then by all means move on. If you like mom, tell her the truth, but nicely. If she knows her kid, she will get it in a second.

I have had two nannies that come immediately to mind who were a poor fit for my kids and vice versa, despite not being bad nannies or bad people. The first was just too young and simply had not had enough experience managing difficult kids. (I leave my then 5yo son out of all this as he is a sweetheart and no one has yet had trouble sitting for him.) She had the misfortune of dealing with my difficult 7yo daughter and my infant son (who, of course, had colic and never slept) together. Seriously, she was just destroyed and out of her league. I did check references, etc and she had prior experience with 3 kids including an infant + one reportedly challenging kid. But I think her responsibilities at that job were primarily transport and school related so she was always on the move and did no have to deal with the mind-numbing, perpetual indoor whining/crying combo. She was only with us for a week before Xmas and I gave her a good $ and gifts. But at parting we both made comments about being unsure of our schedule after the holidays and neither of us called. I do usually advocate better communication, but frankly, what could I say to the poor girl? I didn't want to fire her and she didn't want to quit. We just knew we couldn't work together anymore!


nycmom said...

Next was at a similar time. It must have been the search in between my two long-term nannies. So my kids were 7.5yo girl, 5.5yo boy, and 1-3mo boy. This nanny was much more mature and experienced, mid-30s, and had held several nanny jobs. I do not think she had sat for 3 kids before, but my older two were in full-day school and I planned on having two caregivers if I was not home afterschool at least for a few months. I was well aware of the difficulties! She seemed great in the interview, soft-spoken, but nice. Her references were positive, but I do think they were mostly younger children. I was new to having a baby and "older" kids so not yet aware this could matter much. Anyway, she came to work full-time for a week. Each days she said it was "fine" and never raised concerns. That first weekend home, she called and told me she was just overwhelmed, couldn't get along with my daughter, and my son cried all the time. She was professional and offered to keep working if I needed the help until I could hire someone new, but I was still on maternity leave so it was not necessary.

I'm not sure what the lesson was from nanny #2. I did see her posting on craigslist for literally 2+ years after that. It seemed she wanted a job with one child, very close to home, for above average pay. I hope she found it eventually! I don't think that's why the situation failed, though. I think she was just not experienced with older kids or 3 kids. I also think my kids were too difficult for her personality-wise. Interestingly, my kids did not like (from day 1 onwards) either of the nannies that did not work out. It seems that if the feeling is mutual, there is a problem.

Shortly afterwards we found our amazing nanny who was with us for 4 years until our recent move. I'm not a believer in knowing "at first sight." But I loved her instantly. She was confident, experienced, unfazed and had raised 3 kids of her own. She *never* got overwhelmed with my daughter. She handled her perfectly. She was great at soothing my colicky baby. All the kids loved her and we all grew more attached with time.

Anyway, if you feel it's a poor fit after 2 months and the child clearly is not feeling super-connected either, move on. You deserve to be happy and this job isn't it.

Susannah said...


I do not mean this rudely? Have you sought professional help in dealing with your daughter?

You seem to make a lot of posts about how difficult she is and your frustration with it.

Do you think there could be something more serious going on than just being diffiucult?

Susannah said...

There is nothing wrong with leaving if it turns out to be a bad match, It's better to quit than come in to wok daily burn out and feeling negatively about the child and situation.

That's why I'm a huge advocate for trial periods.

If you choose to stay you've been given some good advice on how to proceed

Take care of yourself.

UmassSlytherin said...

OP, I have dreaded going to work at previous jobs, and it is not a good feeling.

My Dad says that if you feel you have given a job as much as you possibly can, then it is time to move on. Do you feel this way?

Amy said...

I didn't read everyone's posts, so sorry if I say something similar as someone else.

I had a child like this too, his name is Michael, and to be honest, my son's middle name is Michael (after my dad, and this child). He was a tough cookie, but I broke him. It took one very long afternoon after working with him for a few weeks. I honestly just told him that I didn't like the way he was behaving and he had to "walk away" from me and couldn't come back until he wanted to play nice. He fought it. He whined, he cried, he even had an all out fit (btw, he was almost 5 years old). I didn't respond to any thing he said, I just stared him down and kept pointing in some general direction, and saying over and over and over and over "you need to walk away from me". Honest to God, that kid eventually walked away, sat down and CRIED for a good 15 minutes. When he stopped crying I went over and sat with him and said something like "It makes me feel bad when you're not nice to me. I love you and want to play with you, if you can use nice words and not hurt my feelings any more we can play together" MAGIC. He was a new child. If he started to get out of hand, I would just ask him if he needed to "walk away", and he would straighten out.

I have used this with EVERY child I have ever worked with since, even my own son. It has worked for all of them. It took me getting to my breaking point, but remaining calm, and just telling him that I am the boss and he has to respect me because I meant what I said and I followed through.

ALSO, why don't you just say "I like where I parked, but I don't like your attitude, so please speak kinder next time" and keep walking. I wouldn't even respond to a rude child. My kiddos learn right quick what the appropriate way to talk to me is. Sure he can voice his opinion, but he has to do it tactfully ;o)

nycmom said...


It's a fair question. She has no behavioral, academic or significant social issues at school. I have discussed with teachers and pediatrician, but no one thinks any kind of intervention will do much.

I am (unfortunately) trained in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry also. She is certainly not someone who needs meds. Therapy might help as a reality check, but I agree with Ped that it is a personality issue more than an Axis I Psych issue. I think the real world will help her more than anything else! She needs to experience the reality involved in truly fending for yourself in life to realize how very NOT unfairly she is treated. Until then, I doubt she will perceive herself as anything other than a victim. Certainly a lot of community service has not helped much. Last summer she did sleepaway camp and will do so again this year. Actually, that helped more than anything else.

I use her as an example mainly to illustrate how hard it can be for a caregiver to deal with a challenging child. Though she is not violent, cursing, etc. She is just argumentative and lazy. If I have portrayed her as the devil, I apologize. She just drives me to insanity at times!

Truth Seeker said...

I would simply quit and let someone else deal w/it.

Life is too short to dread going into work every day. Period.

Best of luck to you.

Leigh said...

NYCmom, my child is much like yours. When he was between 2 and 4 yrs of age, he was a complete nightmare... I almost ran away! lol, then for some strange reason he calmed down a bit when he began school. Then all of a sudden, the ugly dragon reared its head again about 2yrs ago (he is now 10)

I think some of it was: hormones/growing up/being spoiled (my fault)/peer pressure/etc...

Then about a month ago we sat down and had a long heart-to-heart, mother to son. I told him his words were hurtful, I didn't like his tone of voice with me and others, he was being disrespectful and lazy (not doing homework/chores)... he is forever "negotiating" himself out of trouble, and me being so impressed with his intelligence at such a young age, let him get away with it. I was abused growing up and unfortunately slid to the "other side" of parenting because I didn't want him growing up like me.

Since then, he has tried really hard, catching himself when he raises his voice, apologizing when he makes mistakes, being much more respectful and polite. I feel like I'm living in a dream. He now receives punishment "befitting the crime" when he misbehaves, and I have a whole new kid. (I take away games, toys, computer, playdates. etc... and yes, I still use the corner, because I know he hates that one the most!)

I know every situation is different but have you sat down and had some in-depth heartfelt talks with your daughter? I knew my kid was smart but I definitely underestimated him, maturity-wise. I figured he was too spoiled, but thankfully I was wrong about that, too!

I enjoy being a mom now! ;-)

Phoenix said...

I don't know if putting the OP's kid on meds is right. He is just VERY smart. He acts just like my cousin. Too smart for her own good. I was a know-it-all child. I wanted to be a geneticist when I was 10. The things that kept me sane were things like hard puzzles and art and problem solving. If a child is too smart and they aren't being challenged they will go out of their way to make challenging things for themselves.

Ignoring the kid would honestly be the best bet. Ignore him and shove a puzzle in his face. He may not want to do it the first couple times but if you don't talk to him while he's being mean to you he will need to focus on something else.

nycmom said...


Thanks for the kind words and advice. You have some great suggestions. Yes, we have had tons of sit down, meaningful talks, though honestly not so much lately. My husband is a big believer in talking until "it is solved" so we do a lot of talking around here!

My daughter has had brief good periods, usually related to using a reward chart, but its effects only last 4-6 weeks and it is a LOT of work. So once it wanes, we stop. I wish I could say it more positively because I am well acquainted with Antisocial Personality Disorder/Sociopathy from my work. I do NOT think she meets that criteria THANKFULLY. No evidence of Conduct Disorder. She can be manipulative and lack empathy towards her brothers. But she can be incredibly nurturing toward other small children. She is motivated by self-gain, but very much cares about authority and social norms.

She is almost 12yo now and it is getting harder, not easier, as one would expect with an almost teenage girl. I do think your suggestions are good -- I do need to reach out to her more even if it doesn't go well most of the time. And it doesn't. She generally kicks me out and accuses me of some grave offense like saying I did not like her clothes (which of course is patently untrue). Still, I am the parent and it is my job to keep trying. I have been taking the "give her some space" approach lately since she can barely stand to be around me. For example a typical exchange as she gets in the car afterschool with 10yo brother (I try to alternate asking each first):
Me: "Daughter, How was your day?"
D: "Fine."
Me: "Good. Did anything interesting happen."
D: "NO! Why do you always ask me so many questions? You are so annoying!"
Me: "Okay, I'll give you some space. Son, how was your day?"
Son: "Good. We played a board game at recess and in science we are building a terrarium."
Me: "Cool. Do you love it -- I know that's your favorite?"
Son: "Yep. They even said we can take it home at the end of the year!:
D interjects: "Why do you keep talking to him? Why don't you EVER ask me anything? None of my friends' moms are like this. You don't know anything. Oh, and I need a new hoodie because my other one broke and all the kids are wearing one from Hollister here."
Me: "I did try talking to you, remember? I am interested in your day, but you asked me to leave you alone so I was trying to respect that. I'd love to talk more. How is it going with friends X and Y?"
D: "Fine. Can we go get the hoodie right now? I need it."
Me: "No, we have a lot to do today and you both have a lot of homework. How did your old one break?"
D: "I don't know. I guess I dropped it on the floor and everyone stepped on it."
Me: "Did you see it happening? Did you try to pick it up."
D: "Duh. Of course I SAW it, Mom, you are clueless. But I wasn't going to reach under everyone and look like a loser picking it up."
Me: "That doesn't seem reasonable Daughter. You know they are expensive. I told you that the LAST time you ruined one. I'll talk to your father, but I think you are going to have to wear one of your other ones for a month and you can get a new one for your birthday."
D: "No. No way! That is SO unfair. I hate you! I'll just go buy it myself then. And I am taking a two hour break and NOT doing any homework before then so don't even ask!"

Ahh, the joys of parenting. Was I this horrible?

Ditty said...

OP, I understand your position here and will tell you that I left my last nanny position due to their 8 year old child being physically and verbally abusive towards me. It was unfortunate because I loved the baby, and the middle child, but the oldest son would hit me, punch me, tell me I am stupid, and suggest that I get hit by a train and die on my way home. Granted, this child has severe issues, I felt as if I was not qualified to handle such behavioral issues and left the position on good terms with the family. I was very upset because my bosses were amazing, the other 2 children were great, but I could not expose myself to a dangerous working environment any longer. The moment you start dreading going to your job is the moment you need to walk away. I have since found a new position and as much as I miss the baby, I know I made the right choice. I wish you luck with whatever decision you make.

CanadianMom said...

OP - If your tried and true strategies are not working, you should probably just call it a day. It is not worth the stress and not good for any of you if the relationship with the child is not a positive one.

I found this interesting because my 4-yr-old daughter can be like this and it is incredibly challenging, especially as she is rather clever. I think clever kids are often more difficult as they can figure out how to be successful manipulators and know how to push all the right buttons. However, she also complains of being tired a lot and we realised that she is snoring and has slight sleep apnea. Turns out her tonsils are bit big and her adenoids are definitely enlarged, obstructing her airway. She doesn't get a good night's sleep as a result and we and the dr think the behavioural issues are linked to this. We know someone who had the exact same issues and after the tonsil and adenoid removal the child's behaviour was completely transformed. The parents weren't even aware of snoring etc, it only came to light in a sleep study as they were doing a battery of tests for various health issues. I think the tonsils/adenoid issue is quite common and usually associated with behaviour problems.

I use this as an example of how behaviour issues can have so many complex causes that can be difficult to figure out. It is not up to you to solve this for the parents. If they have problems retaining a good nanny perhaps they will eventually be motivated to try to get to the root of the problem.

Good luck!

Phoenix said...

oh nycmom its going to get so much worse. your daughter sounds a lot like me at that age. my mom wanted my sister to my best friend because my mom is that way with my aunts. I generally do not like my sister. I never did. When I was little i loved the movie hocus pocus. Now my friend and I would play it all the time. My sister was 6 years younger than I am and she wanted to play too. So you know what I did? I made her be the little girl at the beginning of the movie who gets her soul sucked out so she wasn't allowed to get up from the chair the entire time we played because she was essentially dead. it is sad what I did to her. I used to beat the crap out of her. And for some reason she still isn't strong. She is 5'9 and I am 5'3 and she still wont step up to me. I psychologically damaged her beyond words. She was very twitchy and paranoid growing up. Even now that we are adults I don't really like her. We aren't out right mean anymore but we don't hug or say I love you. That is partly my fault. But I just don't like her. I hope your daughter will grow empathy toward her little brothers but if she doesn't don't worry about it. Some people just don't get along even if they are from the same parents.

And the give her space approach is the best thing to do. I was mean to my mom. Nasty mean. I would likewise kick her out of my room. Get pissed if she tried to talk to me about anything. I started hating my dad when I was 15. I was an evil evil daughter. The only thing that changed me was meeting my husband. I was 15 when I met him. once I had him I was happy and so I treated everyone else good. I'm not saying that is the right thing for your daughter I am just pointing out that when I had something new to focus on I stopped abusing my parents.

It is hard but keep your chin up and don't pressure her into talking. It gets better, it really does.

I am having some wonderful opportunities to reflect on the devil I was. Good god

Phoenix said...

and oh the other good one was I used to tell my parents that my sister stole stuff from my room so she would get in trouble. I would plant evidence in her room to frame her all the time.

then when she would ask me how it got there I told her you stole it stupid. don't you remember? Are you a crazy person? what is wrong with you that you don't remember what you did?

To give you an example of what my sister became: when she was about 10 she was paranoid that her eyes were going to roll into the back of her head. So she would sit in front of her mirror with a squirt bottle and every time she "thought" her eyes were moving into the back of her head on their own accord she would squirt the water in her face to stop it.

She grew out of that stuff. We don't talk about those times as she isn't willing to share. I wasn't very emotionally supportive of her feelings so she wont talk to me too much.

Now, if that is not bad I don't know what is.

My mom used to cry so much because of how mean I was. Once we were at a movie and my mom said something to me, I can't remember. And we were waiting to go into the theater so there was people everywhere. Anyway, I swatted my moms hand and he large drink spilled all over the ground, all over the people and i refused to pick it up and I refused to get her another one. She was so embarrassed. That may have been Mother's Day come to think about it, just the icing on the cake. And my parents did everything for me. i had a horse. I had a wonderful thoroughbred and I would jump and compete. I was good.

So if you think your daughter is bad or if anyone thinks their kids are bad, be thankful you don't have someone like me for a child.

Evil comes in all forms doesn't it. at least I know how to love now and they forgave me. No matter how mean your kids are, they love you and always will. I never stopped loving no matter how nasty I was. So if you want pointers on how to deal with a bad seed. Do not hesitate to ask the source. I will tell you what did and did not work for me.

nycmom, when is her bday? Just the month, I'm curious

Phoenix said...

LOL. this is so fun to remember. my dad was a passive aggressive person. He would always tell me to do the dishes if I made my own mess cooking. He told me over and over and over. He would use the reverse psychology. "oh well I guess I will do it myslef. Whoa oh whoa." I would say Yup sucks to be you.

Then one day I made this elaborate meal with my friend. left all the dishes in the sink. I left the house and when I came that night all those lovely dishes that were in the sink were sitting on my bed when I got home. WTF DAD!!!!!?????

I did the dishes from that day forth. That one trick worked. i didn't like that I had to clean my sheets now too.

Bostonnanny said...

Wow nycmom, if I ever spoke that way to my mother she would have beat my ass. Culturally for me, you grow up learning to respect your elders and if you ever back talked you immediately get punished. I applaud you for not sending her to boarding school lol.

Phoenix, I find it really sad you don't get along with your younger sister. I couldn't imagine not having a loving relationship with my younger brothers. We would fight and I would beat the crap out of them ( they weren't allowed to hit me cause my mother drilled "never hit a woman no matter what) but I also got in a few fights with neighborhood boys defending my brothers. I actually got suspended from school for punching a kid and the dad came to my house to talk to my mom about her "son Jessie" attacking his son and left extremely embarrassed because Jessie turned out to be a tiny 60lb 4'10 12yrold girl.

Susannah said...

Thank you fo answering my questions nycmom!

Parenting is tough and you seem like a good mom doing your best.

Village said...

You have to go. Life's too short. It's a shame. This type of pessimistic outlook reportedly shortens life spans. Don't put yours at risk.

NVMom-movedtoTX said...

NYC Mom, have you ever read Dr. Ross Greene's books? He wrote 'The Explosive Child' and other books about chronic behavior like this. They are really good and his CPS (Collaborative Problem Solving) methods can be used with lots of kids, not just those with diagnoses such as ODD, etc.
His website is Might be worth a look. It did wonders for our family.

Leigh said...

Yeah, that conversation sounds exactly like the one I'd have with my son. All I can say is: please keep an open dialogue with her, even if she closes herself off from you. Occasionally come up behind her and give her a hug, then walk away... don't even say a word.

One day, just you and her, go to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants. During the meal, let her know that you'll always be there for her, no matter what. You need to find a way to break the ice with her, before it is too late and you "lose" her.

And Phoenix is right, it may get worse before it gets better, but you have to keep trying.

Plan B said...


Dr. Greene's methods have worked for our family, I think his ideas are brilliant. We have a very difficult child (11yo) and since using his Plan B, our daughter has come a long way, especially in school.


In a nutshell, Plan B involves 3 steps; 1. empathy and/or understanding what is bothering your child or why they are upset/disruptive (the child's perspective.) 2. The parent explains their perspective and how they feel about the situation. 3. The parent and child figuring out a solution to the problem.

It sounds simple enough, and it really is. Communication is the key here.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I have quit jobs in the past where the kids were holy terrors. When I do, a HUGE weight is lifted off my shoulders and then I know I made the right decision.

I suggest you do the same OP.

Life is much too short to be dreading going in to work. There are better jobs out there.

Good Luck.

Estabrookken said...

lol Phoenix no one wants you to know their kids birthday. WTF.

UmassSlytherin said...

I have always considered having my own personal troll a compliment. Good for you.

Estabrook: Happy Mother's Day.

Phoenix said...

i wasn't asking for her exact birthday. I was curious about the month only. there are 12 months and about 7 billion people on the planet so....its not like i would have had any identifiable information. WTF is right. use your brain

nycmom said...

Thank you all for all the advice and supportive words, sincerely.


I don't mind sharing a birth month. Heck, you can know them all if you want : ) She will be 12 in mid-June.


I think you are right. I expect it to get worse before it gets better. That is what scares me! She is just so darn hard to LIKE sometimes. Of course, I always love her tremendously, but liking is a whole 'nother story. I promise to keep trying and it is nice to hear from parents going through something similar. There are so many kids who are terrors everywhere, but it's hard to have a child who behaves so well at school, but is so difficult at home.


Sigh. The corporal punishment thing is a tough one. I do not want to start a debate. I am not totally opposed. But we essentially never did it and I certainly don't believe in spanking in anger. Also, she is just too old for that now. I think by almost-teens that loses its effectiveness to some degree. Luckily, she manages not to p*ss off me and my husband at the same time (usually) so we help keep each other in check, take turns dealing with her, and offer support to one another as needed. Though we do not always agree.

NV Mom and Plan B,

Okay. Two votes for Greene's "The Explosive Child." Hmm, I will investigate it. I've only ever read one parenting book out of desperation - "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for my #3 who did not respond to CIO (which I don't love, but tried in desperation). Gotta say I found the book kinda useless, mostly common sense and just one more obligation for my exhausted self. I will definitely go the website first and check it out.

Thanks to all!