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Question
Posted by: Kato | 2007/12/11

Spoilt child, how to reverse the damage?

Hi CS,

My 5-year old daughter has been staying with my mother during the day since she was 4 months old while I was at work. I am very grateful to my mom for all her efforts but I'm afraid she has really spoilt my daughter in terms of doing too much for her. She has no interest in doing anything for herself; she cannot play without me being involved and needs help with absolutely everything. Of course I don't think she honestly needs help but she stubbornly refuses to do anything by herself. This is really frustrating to me and I would like to encourage her to become more self-sufficient without having to have a clash of wills every time.

What is the best way to get her to want to try things by herself?

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Our expert says:
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Perhaps your mother was so otherwise unoccupied, that in a sense she became dependent on being too involved in indulging your daighter. If the child is now wholly in your cae, you could set up a new discipline regime to change this. If you are still in effect sharing custody with your mom, the kid will get hopelessly confused if she has to live under two sets of laws and regulations --- you would need to meet with your mom, maybe with the help of a child psychologist for a couple of sessions --- to negotiate a shared and consistent approach that increases the kid's degree of independence , especially as the child will need this to be able to go to school soon and to thrive there. Maybe a pre-schoool setting in the meantime could also help ?
And yes, try the Parenting Forum too

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2007/12/12

Have you tried "reverse psychology"... like "you can't put on that shirt by yourself, I don't believe you can". Or races... "Let's see who is dressed first". Involve her in household tasks... "if you help me hang up this laundry, I will play with you when we are finished". You can also tell her "If you pick up your toys while I do the dishes, we can read a story afterwards. But if I have to spend time picking up your toys then I won't have time to read to you." Then don't make a battle of wills out of it. If you have to pick up the toys, just refuse to read. Stick to your guns and she will soon enough realise that you mean it.

Is your daughter going to school next year? Peer pressure will probably go a long way towards helping her become more independent.

Also post this to the Parenting Forum, perhaps someone there has had a similar experience.

Reply to Maria

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