My daughter, age seven, has been really picky lately.
Her sandwich must have crusts, and then her sandwich can’t have crusts. Her shoes are too tight, and then her shoes are too loose, etc.
My grandmother recently visited. My daughter was happy to receive her gift of “My Little Pony” figurines, but then it turned into a tantrum.
That’s because the extremely difficult-to-get “Rainbow Dash” pony wasn't included in her set. She cried for half an hour!
I gave birth to my second daughter three months ago.
Maybe the complaining is just to get attention? I honestly have no clue!
Figuring Out A Seven-year-old
You have the “clue,” right in your lap!
A new baby at home changes everything for a youngster, until things settle down.
The baby’s almost always the immediate focus of attention by everyone.
A first-born girl who once got all the attention, can feel very threatened by a baby sister who’s being cuddled and adored.
The older girl may feel less special. She sees some items she’d like for herself (e.g. stuffed animals) being gifted to this newcomer, instead.
Show her that you understand.
Boost your knowledge of children’s reactions to a new sibling, by reading some of the excellent research on the matter. A Google search will lead you to articles, books, and authors who are considered experts in this field.
If your daughter’s frequently highly reactive to change – even before the arrival of her sister - you might also gain insights from the book, Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
It’s “A guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the relative who’s unsure whether to report a couple’s seeming neglect to children’s services (August 23):
Reader – “If this relative has a reasonable suspicion of child abuse - neglect IS abuse - she has an ethical and, depending on jurisdiction, she may also have legal obligations, to call Children's Aid.
“Yes, the children could be split up. Yes, foster care may be less than wonderful. But regardless of the father's past issues around child pornography (and many studies say that those with significant involvement WILL abuse their own children), she needs to call Children's Services.
“It's not her job to assess the environment or make a judgement call about how bad it is. If she thinks the kids are at risk, she should get a professional in there.
“She can report under confidential seal in most jurisdictions and won't be identified as the reporter.
“As a teacher, I've called Children's Aid three times. I have a LEGAL responsibility to do so.
“I've been told by the social worker involved that they’d always rather be called in on a “maybe” case to do an assessment, than have someone think, “maybe it's not that bad.”
“Generally, if someone outside the home is seeing something, there's something going on.
“In all three cases I reported, children were removed from their homes, two resulted in criminal charges, and the third was resolved in family court.”
Ellie – The laws regarding reporting of child abuse/neglect are very clear in Canada, where the social work oversight is through provincial Children’s Aid societies.
When the term used for authorities is Children’s Services, the locale is more likely in America where the legal obligations to report vary among the States.
That said, your approach is the most certain way to bring professional attention to the children’s situation.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who, having learned at 15 that her famous father whom she admired had repeatedly cheated on her mother, is now struggling years later with whether to forgive him (August 22):
Reader – “I've also had to work through forgiving my dad for infidelity.
“Forgiveness was one step, but reconciliation was a totally different story.
“To this day, he remains unable to acknowledge the pain he caused everyone, and in fact he’s the first one to point out other family members’ shortcomings.
“He remains arrogant and proud. It’s for that reason that he and I have not been able to move forward.
“But I am at peace knowing that it is not my job to punish him… only to love him from a safe distance.”
Ellie – Peace of mind comes from knowing what we cannot change in others, and coming to a decision about what we can or cannot accept.
Tip of the day:
Parents of a highly-reactive child can gain knowledge and confidence from reading and talking to “experts” in this field.