My 7 Year Old Has a Horrible Attitude Problem and Is Extremely Spoiled!!!!

Updated on January 04, 2013
V.F. asks from Westwood, NJ
22 answers

My 7 year old daughter Briana and I live with my parents. I seperated from Briana's father when she was just 2 and ever since I moved back in with my mother Briana's attitude has been horrible..the older she gets the more spoiled she is espically by my mother. Brianas also spoiled with her dad but he tries to discipline her and she listens more to him then me. I dont spoil briana like everyone else in my family does...i am always on top of her about school and respect but that is something that she refuses to give me. Just today when my father went upstairs to see my aunt I told Briana that she couldn't go because it was getting late at night and my aunt had just arrived to her apartment with her husband tired from a long day at work and Briana fussed with me and stomped her feet and told me no that she was going upstairs this is not the first time that my 7 year old speaks to me like this and wont respect my rules or commands...I got so angry that I pulled on her ear and I do NOT like or enjoy at all hitting my child and if I do its very soft in her hand...I dont like to see her cry and I just take deep breathes and put her on time out or take her toys away but when I pulled on her ear today and I pulled on it softly she immediately went crying to my mother and forget it my mother went off on me! telling me that briana could go tell her dad and her dad could take her away from me...I have the custody of my daughter and I dont claim to be the best mom in the world but I know Im a very good mother. My mother has said often to me that I dont deserve to be a mom and my daughter has also disrespected my mother and talks back to her because my daughter already knows she gets whatever she wants from her grandmother even if she misbehaves. I cant put my daughter on time out or punish her or discipline her because my mother will truly flip. and im going nuts because I need advice on what other options I have what else can I do to discipline my daughter as best as I can without my mother interfering.I often speak to her father about it but sometimes he's no help at all because he also enjoys spoiling her just as much.I have decided to put her in summer school this year as a punishment. Any advice I will appreciate. Thanks.

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answers from Detroit on

You sound so distraught! Be sure to take care of yourself, for if you don't you will find it difficult to take care of anything else. A few long, deep breaths are in order! :) You deserve the chance to regain your tranquility.

You have been living with your parents with DD for the past five years, as far as I can tell. Five years is a long time for routines to get established: yours and your daughter's; yours and your mother's; your DD's between her mother and her grandmother. You will need to make a plan and figure out how to employ it before you make any changes. Likely, you will be best off if you get someone to help you create this plan. Don't let that set you back in your idea. Something this important deserves to have some rehearsal and testing done with a social worker/counselor/therapist person. It will be well worth the effort.

For the plan to work, you will have to get all of the adults on board. This may require you to get different housing arrangements if the other adults in your dd's daily life don't want to get on board. I know what I've said may seem impossible. If living alone was easy to finance, you'd already be doing that. I trust you have already been working towards this goal. How soon can you reach this first goal?

You give no indication of your own age. I only ask because, according to how you describe the situation, your mom is not talking to you as if you are an adult. Perhaps your living under her roof contributes to this; perhaps there are other behaviors that lead her to treat you that way. Oftentimes, people act like their younger selves with their parents (I fall into that trap myself quite often, and so do a lot of other adults). If you feel that you speak to your mother like an adult, dismiss this thought.

Read up on some child psychology books. More than a discipline plan, create how you plan to create an environment in your home and a relationship with your daughter, and then as necessary, with your parents. This is not just a one moment in a day plan. This is a "how I live" outlook in one's life. What to do when your daughter does not follow expected behavior will eventually come automatically once you've figured out how you want you home's environment to be.

Be careful not to get into a power struggle with your DD and / or your mom. Your goal is to have a polite, safe, and well-behaved DD. Do not get caught up in the idea that "My authority is being questioned!" Your goal is not to "win," or even to be "listened to." Your goal is to have a relationship with your daughter so that you can say, "Honey, auntie is tired, and she has asked that you not go up to see her so late at night. Maybe, let's make her a card tonight, and then let's bring her something special for breakfast (or the next time you'll see her.) "Sweetie, I know that you want to see her, but I've made this decision, and I'm not changing my mind. Sorry, sweetie." Look for the natural consequences rather than ways to "punish." See if auntie can get in with the "Nope, this is not a good time to visit" routine. Then, you will have a natural consequence. Consider reading the "Love and Logic" series of books (perhaps they can only be found online.)

As a teacher, I beseech you that you do not use school as punishment. School is the place to discover the world through curiosity and some guidance from the teacher. If she is behind in reading and writing, then find a good summer program that provides a reading and writing workshop and does some enrichment exploration. Perhaps some summer camps, like soccer and art camp, or writing camp, are good choices.

I hope you are feeling less frazzled. I hope things work out for you.

Have a tranquil new year.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

well, first of all: Welcome to Mamapedia. Tough 1st question to post.

2ndly: summer school as punishment? I hope to High Heaven you're kidding us! School should never be a punishment. You will pay a high price for this type of revenge-filled behavior. & that's what this are trying to punish her by having to go to school instead of spending the summer with Gma.

Soooo here's what I'm reading/seeing:
***you're complaining about her behavior.
***you're complaining about how her dad spoils her.
***you're complaining about how your mom spoils her.
***you're complaining that she does not respect you.
***you're complaining about your inability to discipline her.

& it goes on & on. Do you truly not see the root of your problems? You are not Queen of the Castle...your Mom is & rightly so. You are living in her home. You are still under her thumb, as is your child.

The only way to take charge of your daughter's future would be to find your own home. & even then, the mold is formed....& you have Hell in front of you the 1st time you & your daughter butt heads. & you know what? You will butt heads.....all parents/kids do!

There were 5 responses when I posted this.....& they all had excellent points & opinions. Please make some changes before you totally lose control of your daughter!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Your daughter does not respect you because no one else respects you. She is learning from them that you are a person who doesn't deserve respect.
Not only should you move out but move as far away from these people as you can, without violating your custody order. I went through this with my parents. They never respected me so neither did anyone else. Only people who never really knew my parents respect me as a person. They think I'm great, intelligent, caring ect. My parents always twisted everything so I was always the bad guy.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Get out on your own, and you can parent however you like. Just a bit of advice, never use school as a form of punishment.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Please, please, move out. Too many cooks in that kitchen. Your parents do not see you as the sole authority of Briana and so they aren't helping, only undermining you in front of her.

You'd literally be better off in a one-bedroom apartment; let her have the room (so you can send her there when she gets mouthy) and you can sleep on a futon or sofa bed.

I know this advice isn't likely what you want to hear, but if you have your mother telling you that you don't deserve to be a mother, it's no wonder that your daughter doesn't respect you. If you think you can, let your parents know that *they* are setting their granddaughter up to be a spoiled brat because they contradict and counteract every good thing you are trying to do regarding discipline. If you can't see your way to this, move out. Not even summer school can change things if you have everyone else indulging her.

PS- Your mom sounds nuts.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Time to move out.

Summer school is not an appropriate punishment for what YOUR FAMILY is doing to her - which is not setting boundaries and over-throwing your authority. Your daughter is simply reacting to the inconsistency that is going on around her. She should not be punished. Instead she should be raised in a consistent loving environment with rules, guidance and a mom who is able to parent without interference.

Your ONLY option is to move out on your own.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

You can't live with your parents anymore. In their home, you're still as much a child as your daughter. You have to do what it takes to get into your own place and support yourself an your child. Your mother is undermining your authority with your daughter and stunting your own ability to learn to be a parent.

Second, you need to stop justifying your own bad behavior. Pulling ears is never okay, even if you call it "soft:" Get some help via parenting classes. The advice below for smacking a kid on the mouth - don't. Hitting is the laziest form of parenting.

Third, summer school as a punishment for disobeying you is inappropriate and will be ineffective. It isn't related to the issue at hand and summer is months away. Consequences should be timely and logical. In addition, making school a punishment would create new problems rather than solve old ones.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sorry to say this but your screwed. The only way to get her under control is to move out and not see your family for a while, kind of like detox.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

yup you really need to get a job and move out. because this will never get better the way it is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

As for going to visit your Aunt - Visiting someone when you haven't been invited is rude. Your Aunt knows where she is. Auntie needs some time to herself. When she is ready for Briana to visit, she will call down for her.

For discipline - all the adults need to be on the same page, have the same expectations, same boundaries, same discipline. Even if 3 of the 4 are on the same page, you won't get the change you are looking for. All 4 of you need to be working together, not against each other.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

1st of all......... I don't think you should use summer school as punishment. 2nd, any way you can move out? My sister and her 3 yr old live with my Mom. And, what do you expect when you live with them, they are going to butt in if you are living in their house, just my opinion. Your daughter sounds very disrespectful though - I would try any way to get out of that house.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Welcome Mama! Ok repeat after me: " I am in control of my own destiny. I have power and choices to make me life better. If I can't see these choices, I will find them. I am a good mom. I know what is best for my daughter and I will make sure she and I get what we need. I am not stuck. I have choices. I will make this better."

You can do it, Mama! Please take control of your life. Get out of that house ASAP. Push away all those thoughts that tell you that you have to stay. You don't. You are an adult and a mother. Time to live on your own and live the life you and your daughter are meant to have.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You are still the "little girl" doing what ever mommy and daddy say! Are you able to support you child without the $$ of your parents? If not, go to a shelter with your child and get some REAL help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Lots of red flags. You left hubby when daughter was 2 to move home to mommy and daddy. Your daughter is now 7 that means you have lived with mommy and daddy for 5 years. Your parents have had a lot of time to "influence" your daughter's behavior.

In the five years that you have lived with mom and dad, have you saved any money to move out on your own? Have you ever thought about being on your own without mommy and daddy?

It's time to take the bull by the horns and move out. Yes as others have said until you get your own place you will not be the head of the household and your daughte will not understand what momma says momma means and no grandma will be there to intervene. It is going to be hard but you have to do this in order to raise a responsiblle citizen. No one will want to be around her if she keeps up this attitude and her friends may not be the type that you want her to be with.

I say move away as far as your custody states. Also do not give your parents a key to your house or apartment so that you have your space. Do get into parenting classes to learn how to parent. This may take up to three years or more before you have a child you can interact with but it is a start.

Good luck to you. Remember you are the parent and she is the child. She does not know what you know about life and its ups and downs.

The other S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When you live with your parents you are putting yourself as the child in the household. They see their role as parenting you and your daughter. It's been that way since you moved in and it's not going to change just because you don't like it.

You've been there for 5 yrs; plenty of time to get your life on track after leaving Briana's father. If you want to be the adult influencing your daughter then you need to move out and into your own place where you get to make the rules.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Who are you expecting to punish this summer by putting your daughter in summer school? Your daughter or your parents?

Putting your daughter in summer school as punishment isn't going to help. Everywhere you turn, you parents sabotage your relationship with your daughter as her main caregiver and her parent. Instead, they take away your power.

I don't see how you are going to fix this without moving out. Spanking her or slapping her in the face with do NOTHING but make her hate you because her grandparents will fawn over her and treat you like a pariah. Don't go there.

You need to get your parents to the ped with you so that HE can tell them what a monster they are making of their granddaughter.

It sounds to me like they really WANT to make you the girl's big sister rather than the mom. I wonder what they would say if you gave them their wish.

You need an intervention of the biggest kind, V.. If you can't get one, move somewhere else - preferably far away.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Move out, then you will be free to parent as you see fit.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Point blank, you need to get some rhythm in your daily life with her beyond school, and you need to get out of your parent's house. Then when you DO get out - you need to be the parent you wish her to have. Which means while you are making all those plans to exit because you can't control your parents, you need to be changing yourself and your outlook on your parenting.

There's a whole lot more than that, but really, that's the basics.

If moving is not an option, you need to be with your daughter a whole lot more, and research parenting skills and options that are out there for your situation. I suggest giving up any 'alone time' in favor of research on this part. How your daughter treats you and you treat your daughter for the rest of your lives may depend on it.

Good luck,

PS: punishing doesn't work - I think you have ample evidence of that. Discipline must first start with you - and there are attachment parenting websites for help with that - including dr Sears and La Leche (no you don't have to be nursing to use their resources!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

this isn't going to change as long as your parents are there. so you will have to move out, is what i'm saying. it won't change until you do - or until/unless they change their tactics with her (how likely is that?). they're undermining you (and you're letting them get away with it). your child doesn't respect you because your parents don't treat you with respect either.

if you feel you can't move out (and yes, you can - there is always a way) - your only option is to have a sit down and get on the same page with your parents. they HAVE to realize, they are helping raise this child. the normal "spoiling the grandchild" doesn't work in this situation. not only that, they HAVE to respect your decisions. them thinking they can override you has led to this problem. you not putting your foot down and taking charge of your child has made it worse.

when things change (assuming they do of course) - have a sit down with your daughter and explain that things are going to change. she is old enough to KNOW that how she is acting is not okay - it won't be a shock to her. what will be a shock is finding out she won't be allowed to get away with it anymore (again, assuming you follow through).

it's time for tough love mama. she needs it. (summer school should never = punishment, by the way. now if you said you decided to put her in summer school to keep her away from your parents as much as possible, that i'd understand. still not appropriate, but i'd understand it.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

No more of Briana getting exactly what she wants and spoiling her. You need to say more "No"s and so does Grandma/Grandpa and Dad. Everyone needs to get on the same page so if you need to have a family meeting when she is in bed or offsite while she is in school, do it!
This is a really tough one...but the next time she throws a tantrum or behaves like that, you absolutely need to IGNORE her-Yes, IGNORE her. Sounds like she gets attention when she behaves badly so she will continue to behave that way until "she gets what she wants". Absolutely start noticing and rewarding her (NOT with things but with positive comments) when she does things that are good and appropriate.

Schooling should never be a punishment; schooling is a reward (unless grades are bad and one is forced to make up the assignments, do the work etc.).

It also sounds like you need to move out of your parents house if you can so you also have more control of what happens with you and your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My first thought is you need to move. You are not the parent figure for your daughter. In fact, no one really is. Your mother has upsurped that position, but she is not acting like a parent either - she is acting like a grandparent. We grandparents tend to spoil our grandchildren BUT we don't normally live with them so they are not spoiled 24/7.

If you can't move, then you should try to talk with your mother about stepping aside and allowing you to raise your daughter, including discipline.

If mom won't listen, then I suggest you try to do the disciplining out of sight/earshot of your mother. Like take Brianna upstairs to your room to implement the discipline. And DO NOT let your mother undermine it.

Seeing your mother yell at you for disciplining your daughter gives your daughter the power. You have to stop that now!

BTW, tell your mom that your ex cannot take the child away from you because you discipline her. BUT he may have more of a leg to stand on if he tells the court she is disrespectful, obnoxious, doesn't follow any rules, etc., because YOU don't discipline her, her don't teach her how to act or make her behave and your family backs you up on that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Instead of pulling on her ear, you'd be better off with a single swat on the butt. Ears are very delicate and if she has an ear infection and you don't know it, it can really hurt. The butt's got more padding and you will get the same results. Soooooooooo.....This type of punishment isn't working, so you really need to find another way to discipline. For starters, hold a mandatory family meeting with everyone present including your little munchkin. If no one wants to go to a planned meeting, then wait until everyone's in the TV room together and tell them "We have to talk." Keep your voice down, try to talk calmly, be unemotional, and be prepared to listen. There needs to be "a give and take." Do not make accusations like, "You spoil her too much." or they will shut right down. The whole idea is to get your message accross. Explain to them why there are times you need to discipline your daughter and when you do, be sure to let them know how long time-out or time away from a toy is to last. Never throw away toys or you will loose your daughter's respect completely. When you discipline, be sure to tell her why and what behavor you expect. It may be that your parents have a different set of expected behavior than you. Weigh the circumstances and decide if the behavior really is that bad or are you just trying to be controling. Small stuff really is no big deal. Show your daughter love. Play with her, color with her, bake with her, have fun with her. She's only little once you know.

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