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Alright, I guess a little back story would help. I am a single mother and an only child, I will be 21 in a few months. I've graduated high school with honors and have been raising my daughter on my own since her birth. We do live with my parents still, but I blame the economy.

My daughter will be 4 in less than 2 weeks.

We rarely had problems when she was little... But as soon as 3 got close, it became a battle ground.

I do it all, I work from home, provide her with her wants and needs, etc, Dad does NOTHING. I feel horrible for admitting this, but I feel like her and I are starting to grow apart.

We fight non stop, time outs aren't allowed because my parents think they are ridiculous, she back talks, hits, harasses people, she acts out on a whim, she throws tantrums all the time, I can't get her to eat any form of real food... I am at my wits end.

She goes to my mom and dad if I yell at her or if I say "No." Then I get in trouble. But that's not the point.

Everyone sees her as being some sweet and darling child, unless I am with her. Then she becomes a rude and obnoxious little brat. I didn't used to be this way... I am considering therapy because I have reached the point where I am angry and frustrated all the time. Oh yeah, she's spoiled... by EVERYONE.

This may sound like a jumbled up mess, but I haven't slept. She has night terrors and has had them since a newborn. She co sleeps with my mom now because I used to work 3rd shift and I'm still on a night life schedule.

If I had to make one statement to explain how I feel, it would be "I feel unloved and rejected. I wouldn't go back and erase her by any means, but I wish we could grow up as sisters. They're supposed to fight and harass one another until they both run screaming to their rooms.

My friends have seen this, counselors have spent days with us. Everyone suggests we move out. But with what money? Bills and the car and school eat it all. I look for dance lessons and stuff for her to take to get her out of the house. Preschool is when this started... I don't want to lose her, but I don't think this can be repaired.

I am at a loss and I am wondering if any of this is normal?

I know living with my parents doesn't help, but trust me, we are trying. I pay rent and cover our expenses.

Please give me some advice, I don't want her to hate me like my mother and I hate one another.

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"time outs aren't allowed because my parents think they are ridiculous" That's just nuts. Yelling, spanking, or just no consequences at all, are much worse for the kid's development. Perhaps the poor relationship with your mother you mention is due to your parents just being bad parents. Don't let them make the same mistakes with your daughter that they made with you. –  MGOwen Jan 15 at 1:37
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My dad raised me for the most part. Mom worked all the time and when she didn't, she just wanted time alone. Which was great in my head until I hit puberty and needed a woman to talk to. I used to call my aunt crying about stuff that was changing and everything. Dad helped me through a ton of it as well. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:59
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you are her parent, not her best friend, your most important job in your life right now is to teach her how to take care of herself when she grows up! you think she hates you now, which she doesn't 3 year olds aren't even as sophisticated as pot bellied pigs supposedly. just wait until she is a tween and thing get real and serious! –  Jarrod Roberson Jan 15 at 6:02
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I'd like to add that I'm impressed that you had a kid at 17 and managed to graduate high school with honors. If you apply that sort of effort to your child raising, I think you'll both turn out okay. –  JSBձոգչ Jan 15 at 14:50
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You sound like a very strong person reaching the end of her tether. I hope that the comments and answers here give you the comfort of knowing that you are justified in how you feel and will have support, however indirect, in getting through this. –  Jordan Gray Jan 15 at 15:09
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30 Answers 30

She goes to my mom and dad if I yell at her or if I say "No." Then I get in trouble. But that's not the point.

Actually, that is the point.

Especially considering:

I don't want her to hate me like my mother and I hate one another

It sounds like your parents aren't letting you be your daughter's parent. This is a major problem.

You need to sit down and talk with your parents, and establish what your various roles are. Explain that you are your daughter's mother, and that their actions are preventing you from having any sort of authority with your own daughter, and that it is causing problems with the relationship between the two of you.

Describe the behavior issues you're seeing, and tell them that you feel like whenever you do anything to improve the situation, your daughter goes to your parents, and they take her side, effectively preventing you from acting like a parent.

This may or may not be a productive conversation, depending on your parents' perspective, but the calmer you are, and the more you can avoid sounding accusatory, the better your chances of getting a positive discussion going.

If it doesn't go well, ask them if they'd be willing to go to family therapy with you.

Before this conversation, you may want to crunch some numbers. Look at rent costs for cheap housing, come up with some budgets, and look for alternatives for preschool or daycare (since your daughter is not yet 4, I'm assuming she isn't in mandatory public schooling yet). The goal is to see if you can set an ultimatum of moving into an alternative situation, if the conversation with your parents is ultimately not productive. Don't mention this unless it is clear that they are absolutely unwilling to compromise.

Getting yourself and your daughter into a different living situation, even if you have to sacrifice a LOT, may be your best alternative, if your parents are dead-set on ignoring your role as a parent.

As for your relationship with your daughter, it may be hard to find the time, but try to set aside an hour a day to do whatever your daughter wants (within reason) as "Mommy-Daughter time". If you let her have general control of these play sessions (again, within reason), it may eliminate her feeling the need to create conflict with you. Ideally, the two of you will actually have fun. However, it sounds like "just not fighting" would be an improvement, and may help you feel like you're not constantly fighting and harassing each other.

It may not sound like much, but it can be a start.

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Family therapy was thrown at me (literally). Mom threw a book at me and promptly replied with "What? Do you think this family has a problem?" I'm looking into finding a school we can afford and hopefully has a better impact on her. This school has taught her some cruel things. My daughter and I spend about an hour helping each other "get pretty" in the morning. I do her hair and she'll brush mine and assist with make up and all that fun stuff. She sometimes helps me cook. Dad is great, Mom rules the castle, so he won't step up if it means he'll lose his head. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:57
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I'd say the answer to "Do you think this family has a problem?" is "yes!". Perhaps if you go to family therapy without your mom, and she sees that you intend to go through with it regardless of her opinion, she may decide to go rather than risk you talking about her "behind her back." If you can convince your father to participate, even better. –  Beofett Jan 15 at 13:23
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Yes, this family has a problem (as you have noticed). You can’t control your mother’s behavior, but a therapist may help you find better strategies to deal with it. (Really, you can’t control your daughter’s behavior either... at least, not directly. I occasionally tell my children “I can’t MAKE you clean your room. And you can’t make me let you play on the computer.” Then they see the light of sweet reason.) –  Seth Gordon Jan 15 at 15:04
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"Mom threw a book at me" - if you were underage, that'd qualify as domestic/child abuse, alone. –  user3143 Jan 16 at 17:08
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From what you describe, it sounds like you're making a huge and sensible effort to be a good parent. I think you would do well in a situation where you are not overruled. But it's clear from your description that your parents are overruling your parenting decisions, and this is the thing that causes you the most grief. This is what you should work on -- your parents must respect your decisions.

Yes, it sounds like your daughter is spoiled, but that is neither her fault nor yours. Her being spoiled is merely a consequence and it would be futile to fight this without changing the reason first. This consequence is the result of how your parents treat her, and how they treat you.

You must first understand the situation before you can begin to change the situation. By living with your parents, you implicitly accept to live by the rules of the house, and that puts you in a tight spot. Here is my response to a related situation:

When legally adult children continue to live with their parents, they implicitly accept to live by the rules of the house because they are legally free to choose to move out and live by their own rules. [...] You need to understand what your parents' reasoning is. Once you understand their point of view and their concerns, you can prepare a case for yourself. So: first talk to them but don't argue, and then at another time talk to them again and make your case.

You can't change everything at once, but you can either take one small victory at a time, or go for just one bigger issue to begin with. Figure out for yourself what specific things cause the most grief and discuss that single issue.

Beofett's suggestion to aim for positive recreational time with your daughter is very important too! Don't neglect that, because it has nothing to do with your parents and lets you take positive actions as a mental balance to confrontational ones.

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I've been fighting this battle for almost 4 years. At some point someone is going to die or surrender. I know I won't go down easy. I've tried calmly discussing everything and my Mother blows up. I couldn't thank you more for your help. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:47
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First of all, your daughter's behavior is perfectly normal for her age. I don't know if that thought is terrifying or comforting. They are basically hardwired to seek out the adult of least resistance. The usual way for households to survive that stage is by all adults getting on the same page, which is sometimes easier said than done.

Your parents don't see you fully as a parent and an adult. This is common even in situations where people have moved out and gotten married before having children. You are looking for a way to change their mind with a minimum of conflict, but that is essentially impossible to do without their cooperation and support. The only behavior and attitude you can reliably change is your own.

You need to assert your authority. Doing so will make things worse before it gets better, but it will eventually get better. You are fully justified in overriding their decisions where your daughter is concerned, and you should do so. Your daughter flees to your parents because it works. If it stops working, she will eventually stop trying. Your parents should be the ones "getting in trouble" for overriding your parenting decisions, not the other way around.

Take back some of the positive things for yourself as well, like the cosleeping, even if it's a sacrifice for you to adjust your schedule. Try to get to a point where you don't depend on your parents at all for help parenting your daughter, so any help is a bonus, not a necessity. That will show them (and yourself) that you are capable of handling parenting on your own.

Your friends are right that you need to move out, but there are intermediate stages between living with your parents and living completely on your own. If you are paying rent, you should be able to demand some private space that your parents must leave you and your daughter alone in, just as if they were boarding a stranger. If they refuse to honor that, then you should save your rent for a deposit on your own place. Rental agreements go both ways. If they insist on treating you like a child, insist on the concomitant rent-free benefits.

Another possibility is to get a roommate, either another single mother or a friend or maybe one of your own siblings if you have any. There are a lot of people in similar financial situations to yours who are looking for more independence.

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This has been tried. My daughter can't stand my room because the heater scares her horribly. It makes some strange sounds that resemble a moose in heat. I tried the rental agreement thing and we were told to pack up. Unfortunately couldn't find a place available at that time, but now there are a few for a reasonable rent price. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:50
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How much time per day are you actively parenting your child? How much time are your parents actively parenting your child?

The reason everyone suggests you move out is to force you to actively parent your child for more hours per day.

I doubt your parents are actively trying to undermine your authority. Your authority is being undermined as a symptom of your lack of time with your child. It may be that most of her waking hours are spent with other caregivers - in which case she is very likely to having a stronger relationship with them than with you.

Take back your time if you want to take back your authority. Change your schedule so she spends the most time with you and not others, and most of the problems described will be better.

Of course this comes at a very high cost for you in terms of your own convenience and comfort, but in addition to setting rules with your parents and the other suggestions here, the change that will make the biggest impact is simply the amount of time you spend with your daughter every single day.

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I am with her all day. I work from home, she even "helps" sometimes. She also comes to most of my business trips. I'm not worried about convenience or comfort for myself to be honest. I get 3-4 hours a week where nobody is in the house. That's my nap time or bubble bath time. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:37
    
Well, it sounds like you're going to have to bear it until you are able to support yourself. Good luck! –  Adam Davis Jan 15 at 4:42
    
Support isn't the problem. The crummy thing is that we are only $75 dollars short a month to being able to move out with realistic expectations and what not. Thank you though. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 5:02
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@user6460, does your dad support your stance in any way? Seeing that you only need that little extra money, would it be possible that he would lend you financial aid to move out, obviously without involving your mom? Slippery, I know, but worth a thought. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 15 at 6:51
    
@user6460 - see my answer for elaboration, but what Torben said. Your Dad probably spends >$75/month on things he can be without (most humans do unless they are in extreme poverty - fast food, coffee, smokes, movies, other entertainment). Do it as a long term loan if you don't want to feel bad in front of your Dad. –  user3143 Jan 16 at 17:22
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The whole point is your mother and father seem to be trying to control how you raise the child. They are grandparents and as tough as it may be, maybe getting space from them will help you and your little girl. Mom seems to be undermining you. If this is so, then you do not need to take it lying down. You are the only child. That is their only granddaughter. Time to get to ultimatums if your "NO" is undermined.

"Mom, I do not think it is helpful if you tell her yes when I say "no." Is it?"

"Mom, would you like it if I went to dad behind your back and he said "yes" when you said "no"?

This is fixable. Control is about that. And this is a big issue in this household. Do not put up with it. It WILL harm the learning curve of your little girl. Move out is my advice. Do not ask for help from anyone but your mates. Do not leave a forwarding address. It is called tough love. You need to apply to both your girl and your parents.

Mom and Dad no doubt helped you lots and see it as their house their rules. But not when it conflicts with what YOU want for YOUR daughter. Get a roommate who is sensible. Get help vetting them from a trusted mate, aunt, grandmother. They need to talk to you as to why they do this. Maybe they are disappointed, maybe as above "their house their rules." Easy answer.

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Unfortunately friends aren't easy to come by. Most of mine have recently gotten married and I quote "Don't need a 3 foot high cock block, not matter how cute she is." running around. I'm trying to convince my friend to move near me so we can get a place together. We have been close friends for well over 10 years. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:42
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First off, your interaction with your toddler is totally common (I would say it's borderline universal, actually). Toddlers that age love to push boundaries.

I would say two things - the first is, don't sweat it so much. If your kid only eats crap, let it happen. They're seriously not going to be a 20 year old who only eats chicken nuggets. Hitting and being mean to others is bad, so I would focus my energy there. If you're fighting all the time, then try to find things that you can let slide (and really let them slide in your own mind - don't just ignore them and let them fester internally). You'll feel better by fighting less and really, your kid is going to be fine if you let minor things go.

The second thing is that the biggest problem here is your parents. I think a lot of grandparents don't like to say "no", which is fine if the kid only sees them every once in a while. But when it's every day like with you, that's a problem.

I suggest telling your parents that under no circumstances can they undermine you. And if they're not comfortable telling the kid "no", that they should just give the "ask mommy" response. That way they get off without needing to confront the kid - which they're obviously uncomfortable doing - and you get to be the authority.

A quick story to (hopefully) make you feel better - my wife and I are almost always on the same page with our daughter (who's about your daughter's age). But my daughter always asks both of us when she wants to do something and she gets an answer she doesn't like from one. It has basically never worked for her but she does it anyway on the off chance that one of us slips up. Now that's a kid who's been getting essentially non-conflicting answers from authority figures. Imagine what a kid does when "shopping around" for an answer works to her advantage? Your parents need to stop that nonsense ASAP.

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The "ask mommy" recommendation is excellent. –  Karl Bielefeldt Jan 14 at 20:16
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Welcome to the Community JoshG79 what a supportive and clear answer. Thanks for your contribution. –  balanced mama Jan 14 at 23:59
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She doesn't eat crap. She just avoids, meats, cereals, breads, pasta, anything cooked, most fruits and veggies, etc. She eats a lot of cheese, yogurt, crackers, and oranges. It's exhausting. My dad understands the whole "undermining" thing to an extent, but my mom is the Dragon that wants to rule the palace... best way I can word this with no sleep... Lol. I appreciate the advice and help. I hope your daughter stops the answer shopping. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:53
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Food obsessions are pretty normal for this age. As long as she is staying on her weight curve, I think you can let this one slide without feeling guilty. –  Seth Gordon Jan 15 at 11:27
    
@user6460 I remember the day my father caught me asking him after my mom said, 'No.' All hell broke loose (In my then child view. In reality they just made a fuss.) Don't let your child do this. Unfortunately, this requires all of the "parent" figures to work together. –  JS. Jan 16 at 0:37
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If this is how things are, accept that you're going to be living with your mum and dad for quite a bit longer and make the best of it.

Organise something fun out of the house to do with the entire family. A little walk in the park, anything, nothing stressful or fancy, the simpler the better. At a time when everybody can join without being stressed, say for an hour or so in the weekend.

Think very carefully ahead about the trip. Make it as likely as possible to succeed. So make sure she's had her nap if she still needs it, that you've got something with you that she likes to eat and drink, that you have wet wipes or some cloth in case of smudgy accidents. Bring the buggy if it's a bit far for her to toddle all the way. Etc etc. Maybe bring a favorite toy along, or a coloring book if you're going to have a drink at the end. Maybe bring a little present for her to unwrap.

Think about your mum too, try to think of something she too will enjoy. Maybe you can think of something she likes that you can bring along. Piece of chocolate for all to share but that she especially likes, I don't know. Again something simple.

Don't tell them ahead of time where you're going, the trip's likely to get taken over by mum then. Just ask if they can keep the time free to join you. Cause the point is, you'll be planning the trip, and you're bringing the stuff. If your child throws a tantrum, you'll try and fix it and you'll have brought the goods to do so. Don't try to do too fancy a job of parenting exactly then, it's supposed to be fun. But if she's going to get spoiled, you're going to do the spoiling. In short, everybody is happy, and you're in the role where you'd like to be, the parent.

Oh and try not to get into arguments with your mum. If she's being impossible, handle it just like you would the little girl: distract, bribe, apply a sense of humor. And just smile and count to ten. ;-)

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I wish I could put my mother in time out. Lol. Also, even as a kid, we NEVER had a family vacation. Our family "vacations" were going to the grocery store or to a funeral. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:35
    
@user6460 when you eventually do talk to your mom, tell politely that you sometimes feel like she needs a timeout. Not as an accusation but as a way to express your feelings. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 15 at 6:46
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@user6460 But you're older now. If you want to organise a little trip, you can. –  flup Jan 15 at 10:14
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From my experience... children learn from their parents, this also means they do things like copy our mannerisms, behaviour, attitudes, expressions and so on. If you hate your mom, it may be wise to observe, pay attention, and become aware of your thoughts, actions, expression and behaviour. Your daughter is probably copying your behaviour, attitude and how you treat your mom.

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My daughter has seen mom and I get into it twice. Once was when my mother hit me across the face because I asked her what she was upset about. I don't agree with hitting in the slightest. But My girl doesn't see or hear the fights. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:41
    
@user6460 But she feels the fights (even if not physically present). I may be off, but it seems to me that the relationship between you and your parents is not particularly healthy. –  landroni Jan 15 at 13:31
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There are a lot of good answers here. I just want to add one thing that you can do straight away that might make your situation a tiny bit more bearable.

Before entering the house when coming home from work, or before getting up in the morning, anytime just before you will position yourself in a situation that likely will result in tantrums and/or fighting, take a couple of slow breaths and remind yourself to really try to stay calm and positive. It might make it much easier for you not to lose your own temper, and that in turn will result in more positive reactions back to you from both your daughter and your parents.

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Her tantrums are usually because she didn't get something she wanted or someone told her "No." or she's being mean towards the cat. Well, those are some of them at least. The attitude is a big one as well. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:44
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Back when I was a student teacher, my supervising teacher taught me a valuable thing about child psychology: kids (these were elementary-school kids) tend to focus on one person as the authority figure. If I was teaching a lesson at the front of the room but my supervising teacher was still watching in the back, as far as the kids were concerned, he was still The Teacher; I couldn’t be The Teacher until I taught a lesson with him out of the room entirely.

And very young children have an extremely black-and-white view of the world. There is Good and there is Evil and there is no middle ground.

Based on what you’ve written, it seems like you’re in a dynamic where your daughter sees your mother as the actual authority in the house, but a Good authority that dispenses whatever goodies she wants... and you are the Evil intermediary that tries to keep her away from the goodies. And when you and your mother fight over how to raise your daughter, your daughter sees an epic struggle between Good and Evil, and she cheers when Good triumphs.

(All this, by the way, is entirely within the range of normal four-year-old behavior. She can be a first-class beeeyotch at age 4 and still go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize at age 44.)

As others have said here, I think the real key is ironing out your relationship with your own mother. Are there any limits that she is willing to set with your daughter, for the sake of all the adults in the house being on the same page discipline-wise? If she’s against time-outs, what behavior management methods does she accept, and can you stand to use them? Does she think it’s cute when your daughter sasses you? Are there things that your mother wants from you that you can use as leverage to influence her behavior? Etc.

The prudent course may just be to let your mother take point on raising your daughter until you have the means to move out. Which sucks rocks, but sometimes you need to choose your battles.

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If only rent near my place was cheap. I'm still waiting to see if my best friend will move this way and join us. I really appreciate the answer. May the Gods and Goddesses bless you for being a teacher, I could NEVER handle that many children in one room. "first class beeeyotch" Love it. Sounds like my little buglet. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:46
    
...actually, ahem, one of the things that my experience as a student teacher taught me is that I couldn’t do classroom management well enough to go on with teaching as a career. But for some reason they still want me to pay back those student loans. :-/ –  Seth Gordon Jan 15 at 11:12
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In addition to existing good answers.

Don't forget that to manage these multiple situations you have to think straight, so find a way to relax and clear your mind. As they instruct you on the airplanes, in case of oxygen loss, first put the breather mask on yourself, only then on your child. Because if you lose consciousness, your child might not be able to put the mask on you.

About "time-outs". If it works, why not? Unless "why not" is considerable. Be sensible about tricks and roundabout ways to make your daughter behave. Aggressive parenting can lead to serious psychological traumas, but so can "white lies" and other such seemingly harmless things cause your daughter to lose your trust in future. Personally, I recommend honesty and thorough explanations to not telling everything or keeping something from your daughter. If you expect her to grow into a fully developed adult, ask yourself why you would hide some things from her. One way or another she will eventually find out what was kept from her, but better to gain her trust early by telling. Maybe try explaining the parents trying to overrule your authority. Why other people spoil her so much, and why you can't afford (financially and for other reasons) to do so. Explain why it is improper and why she shouldn't expect such behavior from everyone.

Being on bad terms with your parents can be bad influence on your children. Consider living separately. Evaluate your possible new conditions and see if you'd be better off living away from your own parents. It might be best for your daughter too.

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That's the thing, my father isn't really the problem. My mother wears the pants in the house. There's a book I read called "A Mother That Couldn't Love." Which applies to a lot of things from my childhood, but I know she loves me. Dad backs me up when he isn't afraid of getting his head bit off. It's almost like living with a dragon at times. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:34
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That sounds exactly like my 5 year old and my family... don't worry about what anyone says .... you need to be strict... your child, your parents and anyone else spectating should get something else to do when you are helping YOUR child. Don't be mad at them for trying to help but ONE authority is all your child needs. Don't worry you will NEVER lose the battle ... your child will always be YOUR child and she will love you just the same reprimanded or not. DONT GIVE UP. Explain to your parents what you want their role to be. IF they don't agree it is their problem ... be firm hold your ground. TIME OUTS ARE SIMPLY A WAY TO GET THE CHILD TO SIT DOWN AnD THINk OF WHAt THEY ARE DOING. Sometimes I sit and stqare at my child andask what is wrong to get his side...this often lets him get his way without actually getting his way.

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My daughter giggles when she is in time out. The other day she hopped into my one friends lap when he came to visit and coughed in his face. We're all sick now. My daughter seemed upset earlier, and every time I ask her "Honey, what's bugging you? Could you look at me please?" I get a head turn with a side of "Nothing." It's scaring me. –  user6460 Jan 15 at 4:39
    
None of the things you’ve described strike me as signs that your daughter is being psychologically scarred for life. Yeah, she’s learned some bad habits, but once the two of you are in a better environment, you will have the space and time to help her unlearn those habits. As for the giggling: if the time-out took her away from the thing she wanted to be doing, then it’s effective negative reinforcement, giggles or no. –  Seth Gordon Jan 15 at 14:50
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As a father of a young girl only slightly older than yours, I can assure you, all the behavior you've described is perfectly normal. She is doing exactly what a child of her age should be doing. It's a very challenging age. She is a little person with her own personality, her own will, and her own opinions, and this is just how she is attempting to express that.

You need to lose the idea that things are supposed to be easier, or that your relationship with her should be a particular way. Being a parent is just hard work, and it's certainly not always enjoyable.

Just a couple of things that I will say. Don't be in too big of a hurry to move out. You may think it will make things easier, but I can guarantee that it won't. Your parents are probably doing a hundred little things every day to help out, that you may not even be aware of. However hard it is being a parent, it's going to be a thousand times harder doing it on your own.

The nature of your relationship with your parents is very normal for this stage in your life. Everyone goes through this. It's just that much more challenging because you're trying to deal with it at the same time as raising a child.

Something that might be worth remembering. Your parents aren't completely clueless when it comes to child raising. They actually have a lot more experience with this than you do. Their opinions are worth listening to. You are the way you are because of how they raised you.

You don't hate your mum. Really, you don't...

Also, the following statement ... "I don't want to lose her, but I don't think this can be repaired".

What??? This statement makes no sense when you're talking about your child. This is for keeps. You can be a good mother, or a bad mother, but you can't stop being her mother.

Just to clarify this bit...

"I used to work 3rd shift and I'm still on a night life schedule"

So you aren't still working late shift? You've just got into a bad habit of staying up late? If so, be a bit disciplined, and try to fix this. If anyone is co-sleeping with your daughter, it should be you. Co-sleeping can help tremendously to build intimacy and trust with a child.

This statement I find very sad...

"Then she becomes a rude and obnoxious little brat"

Don't disrespect your child... Just don't...

She's not rude, obnoxious, or a brat. She's just being a 3 year old, and you love her with every fiber of your being. She is the reason you exist... Just keep telling yourself this, and you'll be fine.

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Thank you and welcome to the community! –  balanced mama Jan 16 at 2:54
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You sound like you are in a very bad situation right now and I want you to know that you are taking a courageous and important first step by seeking objective feedback about your situation. As a therapist,I will echo what many have said previously...your relationship with your mother is the root of many of the issues you are having with your child. A good policy when approaching a potentially contentious subject with someone is to use "I" statements. For example, you might find yourself saying something like "Mom,you are turning Mary into a spoiled brat by not telling her no when she behaves inappropriately." When phrased that way, your mom is going to be on the defensive from the very beginning and conflict will usually ensue. Try changing your statement to "Mom,I feel overwhelmed and a bit desperate when Mary misbehaves and you do not correct her." Phrased this way, what your mother hears first is what's going on with you...not an attack (or perceived attack) on her. Practice reframing your statements to the "I feel (fill in the blank) when you (fill in the blank)." If you and your mother can get to where you each feel respected by one another,perhaps y'all can have more productive discussions and less destructive arguments. Secondly, as you might imagine,a therapist is going to encourage you to get counseling. I understand that your mother definitely made it clear that she was not interested. Even if she and your dad do not go, you can still gain a lot of useful information and learn new strategies for dealing with your situation by visiting a therapist alone. I also realize that finances are a concern. There are low cost options available,however. If you attend a church/synagogue/etc.,many times someone there will have the training necessary to help you. Another option is that if there is a university where you live, there might possibly be a counseling center where you could get free/low-cost counseling from a student therapist near the end of training. Your city might also provide other affordable options...just a Google search away. I can imagine that you might be thinking "Wait,I am not the problem here. It's my mom...why should I be the one getting counseling?" Don't think of it as you being the problem, think of it as you being the one who is willing to get help with a difficult situation. I wish you, your daughter, and your parents the very best. There is a way out.

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Good answer, particularly the "I" statements. This is something my wife and I try to use when discussing issues, and it really does work. –  Beofett Jan 15 at 13:14
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If I would have acted like that, my parents would have given me a good spanking. Children may seem to be uncontrollable, but if their tantrums cause them pain they will learn.

I realise this will kill the love at first, but it will come back later when the kid learns how nice you are when it's well-behaved.

Also, to the commenter who said that you should indulge in its eating habits: don't. Contrary to what that commenter says, people mostly stick with the eating habits from their youth. There are a lot of reasons why you want to cultivate a varied diet in your kid, like: better health, people with varied diets tend to enjoy food more, they will be less of a pain in the ass when they grow up and they get in social situations where they have to cook together with others. Actually, in the last situation isn't good for the person self either: I know people like that and they themselves too really hate having to argue over food all the time.

And don't let your parents spoil your kid. Go to the gym, bulk up, and just (threaten to) use violence to get them to comply. Kids and grandparents naturally conspire, so this is an excellent example of why you shouldn't get kids when you cannot stand on your own, but what's done is done. Can't get your parents to comply? Move out. If you cannot afford it any more, drop out of school and get some stupid job. Your kid is more important than you, for it will be around long after you're dead and buried.

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-1 for... well, quite a few reasons. Spanking can, theoretically, be effective, but studies have shown that proper application of spanking is impractical in most situations, and improper spanking is actively harmful. Plus spanking is illegal in some places. Food habits staying from youth is in direct contradiction to my experiences; do you have a source to back that claim up? And finally... "Go to the gym, bulk up, and just (threaten to) use violence to get them to comply"? Seriously? –  Beofett Jan 15 at 13:20
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A lot of sensible advice has already been given here. Here are some additional two cents from me:

  • You need to move out, or confront your own parents. Put them in therapy if need be.

    The trouble with parents is that their children never grow up in their eyes, and the parents always think to be smarter and wiser. They also love to keep the same authority over you that they enjoyed when you were a toddler. So my own experience with my parents is that they need a good dose of tough "childing" (the inverse of tough "parenting"): they need to understand that you've grown up, live your own life, and make your own decisions (good or bad). Parents have a tough time adjusting to their children growing up.

    In short, you need to ramp up your authority wrt to your parents. This is a useful fight that you could pick.

  • Your child needs (more) limits. The trouble with kids (and humans, more generally) is that they love to push boundaries. And kids are excellent (intuitively, of course, but still excellent) at power play. They will emotionally blackmail you out of anything they desire. In this sense imposing children with artificial boundaries from earliest possible age is useful. Otherwise they can quickly get spoiled, and assume that they're entitled to much more than they actually are.

    But as others noted, pick your fights wisely: decide for yourself what is (1) absolutely unacceptable and (2) oh well, who cares?. Regarding (2), kids do need a space where they can do stupid things; this will eat up their energy, and they will be less interested in doing (1).

    It is also important to clearly separate punishments from day-to-day business as usual. In the sense that you shouldn't keep grudges from punishments and perpetuate them in day-to-day routine. But punishments for absolutely unacceptable incidents should be swift and automatic; kids need to associate the incident with the punishment, and have a hearty desire to avoid the punishment.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks and welcome to the community! –  balanced mama Jan 16 at 13:16
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Your Mom thinks she loves you but she needs to win! She treats it like a contest. She has many hidden ways of manipulating you and she is hitting you, too. Now she is winning the contest of being a parent to your daughter. All in the name of love, because she doesn't see that the goal of raising a child is to raise an independent strong person.

You think this is a safe environment for your daughter but it is NOT! Your Mom has already manipulated you into saying that you wish your daughter could be your sister. This is horrible. You need to get out of the house.

Your daughter is most important here. Hit up a friend for a loan if you can't do it any other way and you need the money. Be that horrible person who does that. Your daughter is most important here. That your Mom not turn you into a crippled bitter helpless person is next. But promise that in turn you will follow all the advice on this website to raise your daughter lovingly to be an independent strong person. This is the time to make sacrifices to start this process

When you have been out of the house for a while your mother will learn to think of you differently. Then you can be friends. So don't be mean to her or burn your bridges.

Remember that you love your daughter but raising a kid is hard. You can't "react naturally" like you would to friend because she is a child. You have to think first. And you train yourself to react differently, not to get mad when she does things wrong, because she doesn't have the brain yet to do them right. But the joys are amazing!

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How can you be so certain? That is a lot of harsh words to say about someone who cannot speak up for herself. –  flup Jan 16 at 0:59
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Get her out of the bad pre-school NOW! My grandson spent 3 years,(very part time) in a daycare -pre-school with bad supervision, bad, bad bad. He's been in a great pre school since September and the change has been amazing. He's confident. The bad language has almost disappeared, he's a better boy all around. Beyond that, your daughter is aware of and reflecting the problems between you and your mom. Kids are like little wax plates, they pick up the impression of what's around them. If you don't feel like you can move out now, move your daughter out of her grandmother's bed and into a big girl bed. Take her out to the park and play with her. Establish a strong relationship with her away from your parents and their house. So much with kids is a matter of maturation. Your mother loves her and needs help to see how much your daughter needs a strong and healthy relationship with you to be and do well. It's hard working things out between the generations. As a very involved mother of 1 and grandmother of 2, I know. But she needs her mom to be her mom. Take a deep breath. Don't take the bait. Respect and love her and take a time out when you need one. Wishing you the best.

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Thanks and welcome to the community –  balanced mama Jan 16 at 13:17
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Your daughter doesn't see you as an authority figure. You're not mom, you're like a big sister. Your parents are the boss.

Maybe you're staying with your parents because your financial situation doesnt allow you to do any better. Screw the therapy. Your parents are going to do what they're going to do because it's THEIR home. You can't change that.

You CAN go apply for some welfare and get out. Or get some job training. And I promise you, the longer you wait to get the heck out of there, the worse it will be for your relationship with your child. It will become even worse when your child starts to get her own friends and maybe you approve of some but your parents disapprove (or vice versa). Or you have rules for homework and your parents wish to do the opposite. In short, the more structure that you try to place for raising your kids, the more opportunities there will be for your parents to try to do the opposite, just out of their own preference. It will confuse the heck out of your child in the long run. You will argue much. And maybe, if you're not careful, your child won't respect YOU or THEM.

My 21 year old daughter is in this situation RIGHT NOW with a mother who never decided to leave the nest, and her big bad boss of a grandmother.

Keep it movin'!

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I TOTALLY agree with

She goes to my mom and dad if I yell at her or if I say "No." Then I get in trouble. But that's not the point.

Actually, that is the point.

Your parents may well be crippling you; get an independent 3rd party to come along (any wise person you can trust) to secretly observe the dynamic and confirm to you that you are indeed getting shafted. However, be prepared to hear that maybe you are screwing up! But even if so, it's your responsibility to make the rules and not anyone else.

Remind your parents that you only learned your parenting skills from them. If you are a screw-up parent, then they are indicted too. Of course, this could end up as a fight that doesn't go anywhere...

Do they feel guilty of being a bad parent to you, so now they are being totally sooky with your girl? Let them know it's ok for them to be tough with grand-daughter. Tell them you forgive them; they'd probably love to hear "you were right after all". Anything to stop them feeling guilty and weak if that's the problem.

Ultimately, the goal is for you to get primary management of your child, and everyone else in her world must follow your lead. To win this one, you may have to be prepared to find your own place. In fact, start saving, and planning it in your head. Sooner or later, you have to leave home. Having a grand-daughter is a privilege, not a right.

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It seems that moving out isn't realistic (though that would be your best lever), nor is relying on the father of the child (You didn't mention, does he pay child support?)

You need to have a long long talk with your father.

Unless your dad has an objective reason to be afraid (he's penniless and jobless and your mom would divorce him for speaking up; or he just cheated on her and afraid of divorce), he BETTER get his brain into the right place and stand up to her on this.

Show him this whole post and answers and comments, it may help him see the light. Bring HIM to therapy with you without your weird mother. Explain to him that you're in serious risk RIGHT NOW (being a mom with depression isn't a safe thing, for a mother OR a child). Beg. Cajole. Praise. Remind him that you love him and need him as the only real parent you have. He needs to understand just how bad the situation is.

He has access to family money. He can threaten your mother that he will pay for your moving out. He can do a LOT of other things to help you gain leverage.


Also, while it MAY be a bad idea, getting into serious confrontation with your mother may be an option. ONLY if you are 100% sure that she really - underneath that whole thing - ultimately truly cares about your and your daughter's wellbeing.

Flat out tell her: you can't afford good place to live. But if she doesn't stop, you WILL leave the house, and if need be live in dangerous projects or on the street. If need be you will take up dangerous sources of income. She needs to choose whether she wants that as opposed to backing off. Of course, as with any blackmail, you have to be prepared to call her bluff if she does bluff.


On a separate note, find a friend. Someone you can talk to. Online. Better yet, realtime.

May be someone with a small kid, ideally, so you can visit.

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Also, I will reiterate same things others said - on one hand, your mom is definitely sabotaging you. On the other hand, a child behaving that way to you isn't entirely out of normal - you don't need to despair. She will likely change her attitude by 5-6 if you perservere. Important point is for you to NEVER lose your cool and lash out. NEVER. If you punish, it should be with clear head and not emotional. –  user3143 Jan 15 at 23:59
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Small piece of practical advice - fix the heater in your room if it's stopping your daughter sleeping in there with you. If it's a central heating system, you probably just need to bleed the radiator or get rid of an airlock by turning all other radiators off, then turning the boiler and room thermostats on full blast to vent it out of the system. Whatever the type of heater, there's a solution anyway because they are not supposed to make moose-like noises. :)

Also, rather than thinking of massive changes you could give your room a new look. It might sound silly, but little positive changes add up.

Finally, on the note of adding up... think about a cheaper car/cell phone plan/computer etc. Perhaps negotiate a drop in rent with your Dad on the basis that you'll save it up. Maybe do a few extra hours to get money in the kitty too. You might find that when you have the money saved up to move out, the sense of freedom that possibility affords you will be enough to allow you find enough positives in your current situation that you can focus on moving forward in other ways.

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These are actually practical bits of advice, even though on first glance they do seem a bit out of place. Thanks and welcome to the community. –  balanced mama Jan 16 at 2:48
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Thanks, I should have made it clear that I was responding to the additional information user6460 had provided in her replies to comments. –  PaulR Jan 16 at 3:27
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You come across as someone who is trying very much to do your best. You have the instincts of a good parent, I think. I suspect that your fears about your relationship with your daughter will subside once you are both able to move away from the difficult situation you find yourself in.

Until you are able to move out, however, you need coping strategies.

Others have written good advice: - Your daughter's pushing the boundaries is normal, - Plan time with just your daughter and you, away from the home environment, - Don't sweat the small stuff, focus on behavour and not attitude, - Unless your daughter is losing weight or nobviously not growing properly don't get too stressed about her diet. I have a friend whose 13 yo daughter eats mostly white bread, chicken, pasta and supplements: she's approaching 5ft 10" and has already got a fine figure.

I'd also want to add: - Use positive re-enforcement (praise) as much or more than negative, - Pick your battles and work on your daughter's most important behaviours first.

Someone mentioned reframing. You can use re-framing strategies with your daughter too, in the context of the behaviours you find really difficult. When she does something good, praise her, and when she does something you find challenging, make it your first response to say what she actually did that was a problem (avoid making an issue of her attitude) - explain how it makes you feel and why her behaviour is not appropriate - this before you escalate to time-outs or the naughty step etc...

I suspect you could usefully do with some space and time of your own. You need to look after yourself (put on your own oxygen mask first, someone said) because otherwise you will become totally drained. Make sure you eat, excercise and sleep as well as you possibly can, and seek sources of emotional support outside your home - whether this be friends (true friends would never seriously describe your daughter as a 'cock block' - this may be one of those times in life you find out who your true friends really are) other relatives, or someone else you can open up to such as a pastor, or councillor - but first make sure they will listen to you without judgement and not preach to you. Here in the UK we have an organisation called the Samaritans - you can phone them for free and they will listen to you and use questioning skills to help you draw out your own answers. Even if there is no-one local do you have frinds who live away you could skype? I would also suggest learning how to meditate - whatever faith or otherwise you have. It's very useful for de-stressing and letting both your real feelings and fresh insights come to the surface. I'm agnostic and I find meditation very useful. If you are a Christian and thus inclined to dismiss meditation, be assured that there is a Christian tradition (see The Cloud of Unknowing and The Practise of the Presence of God). In the context of your situation, meditation has practical value - you need to find some strength, some objectivity and some clarity.

There are three key relationships here: you and your daughter, you and your mother and your mother and your daughter. You can only affect the third relationship if you first sort out the two relationships involving you. From what you describe, your mother is very much the dominant figure in your household and it seems to me that it is your relationship with her that needs the most work. If your relationship with your Mom was a good one, I suspect the other issues would get fixed, so here is where you need to put in most work. Now, you are only responsible for 50% of this relationship, so you can't solve it on your own - you can only be consistent. The person who wrote about the way you frame potentially confrontational conversations with your Mom gave good advice. Say what you need to say, but do it in a way that seeks to turn down the emotional temperature.

I think you need to take some time to work out your relationship with your mom. Do you really hate her? (ignore the 'relationship police' that say that you shouldn't btw - your feelings are not 'wrong': it is only how we behave that our peers can judge us by, not how we feel). If you hate her, do you love her at the same time? Do you understand what leads her to treat you the way she does? Can you empathise with her at all? Sometimes I find understanding another persons' journey / motivation helps me in managing my own emotional response when in conflict with them. In any case this reflection may help you deal more constructively with your Mom and may create the situation where you can get you own perspective across without incurring her anger.

It seems you may have a potential ally with your Dad - have you tried to have a private conversation with him about the two situations - you and your Mom and you and your daughter - I would start by asking him how he feels - try and get his perspective, then you can get yours across. You may need to do more listening than talking. You might find he's willing to co-operate once he understands your perspective.

I realise that the above advice is easy to give, but difficult to live out.

One final question - is your daughter's father around at all? I'm assuming not since you haven't mentioned him. He should bear some financial responsibility for her upbringing, if nothing else...

I do hope you break through and can change your situation.

With my very best wishes...

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Thanks for sharing, it shows great courage, and it is always conforting for me to see I am not the only one having such a hard time with my girls.
I am going a bit in reverse here, but if your kid is fine when you are not around, then you're doing a fine job as a mother.
As you are describing things, you are the only one setting the rules, and when you are not around she sticks to them. Congratulations ! She knows you are the one in charge. One can always expect to have their children behave more poorly when they are around. At least that's what we say from where I'm from. That poorly may not be common, but you are not in a common situation either.

However, I quote "but I wish we could grow up as sisters." As for me, I am the mother and the mom. However, I am not the sister. Maybe we can be friends when they grow up. I do have my issues with my parents, and I still unsuccessfully try to teach them I am an adult and that my girls are my kids and not my sisters and that I do not want them to redeem the terrible education I had on them. Maybe you can see some common grounds here. I've spent some years in therapy, and for me, it is rather important that generations stick to their role (which can change depending on your culture...).

As for the diet, what she eats seems actually pretty healthy. I mean, all by herself she is not eating only the candies, chocolates, gums.... I am sure your mother would generously provide. Good job on your part !

I wish you well. My 5 year old steak-and-pasta-calamity is now slowly transitioning into a child. The Kindergarten effect ? I hope it will turn out the same for you. And I will laugh very loud when she turns vegetarian at 15.

Take care

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I have a four year old daughter (4 and 1/4), and I am separated from her mother. I have my daughter almost 50%.

The behaviour you describe sounds like normal pre-schooler behaviour.

The thing to keep in mind is, she doesn't realise they anxiety she is causing you, she's an innocent little thing... to her it's just play. There's no malice in what she is doing. It will be not until much later that she will be able to develop proper adult empathy. She is incapable of intending to harm you.

My daughter has tantrums not infrequently... especially when she has been come from her mother's place to stay with me. Her mother is much stricter with her and controlling. When my daughter first arrives at my place, it is like she has forgotten how to relate to me... she will act out and push the boundaries.

However, the way I respond is an attitude of "I don't care if you cry and carry on. It's bad for you if you do that, but it's not bad for me." But all the while I smile and talk in a calm voice. I am careful not to withhold love just because of my child's behaviour.

Often, behind the tantrum, there is something reasonable that she wants, something that is reasonable for her to ask of me. And she is frustrated because she believes herself to be reasonable, a good girl, and finds that I am simply refusing to understand her. You must understand that this is frustrating for children. I try to represent to my child that I'm willing to cooperate and find a good solution... I'm willing to listen, but she has to help herself by calming down. "Listen to my voice... my voice is calm..." Sometimes they perceive that you are simply trying to control them for the sake of it... they resent that.

Four years old is a really interesting time... they are really developing their personality.... it's good to give them the sense that whatever they do, they will be loved. This does not mean that they get whatever they want. But often, what they want is not what they say they want.... and if you guide them towards what they really want they will appreciate it. It's good to show your own positive personality, it really helps them when you show that you'll stay positive and loving even difficult things are happening. Show her how you can assert yourself in a positive way. In one sense, she is play fighting. This is how you teach your child positive self assertion... by play fighting in a positive way.

As for your parents... yes, you need to move out. The fact is, you are living in their house on their terms. You can't control what they say and do... From their point of view, having you live there with your child somewhat obligates them to be involved. It really is impossible for you to live there and not have them being involved as they are. Of course, stay on good terms with them and visit them often.

In terms of feeling angry all the time. I would suggest that nothing can make you angry. It is only your perception of the situation that frustrates you. You are old enough now to observe your own thoughts and to adjust them... change your attitude to suit how you want to feel. When someone is in a good mood, tickling will inspire laughter, but if they are in a bad mood, tickling will cause them to guard their body.... this is how a person's frame of mind affect the perception of a situation.

If you have developed a habit of feeling angry and frustrated, understand that it will take you a long time to change your habit. Perhaps not long time, but it certainly won't be instantaneous. Don't spend your whole life being angry! It's worth developing the habit of seeing the positive side of things... you will begin to see opportunities everywhere!

Start by being kind to yourself as a parent. You've done an amazing job, becoming a mother at 16 is extremely hard. You graduated with honours, that's an achievement. If you get angry at your child or feel like you can't cope, don't be hard on yourself. Be patient with yourself, congratulate yourself on your efforts thus far. Understand that each passing moment is only temporary.

Don't feel angry if others are spoiling your child. Instead be happy. If people are spoiling her, that's bad for them. Trust in the power of your own positive attitude. You will begin to see the small steps of improvement that you can take. Do not concern yourself with things that you cannot change, be happy to change what you can. Believe in yourself... look after yourself and be the person who you really are. You won't be like anyone else, but that's ok. By giving all of yourself, it will make you the ideal mother.

Soon your child will be in school. Make the most of the next year, enjoy the pleasure of being a mother... sometimes it feels like hell, but those are just feelings!

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Welcome to the community and thanks for your contribution! –  balanced mama Jan 16 at 13:14
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All of the above are good answers and have a lot of helpful suggestions. Just wanted to mention one thing that often gets neglected by parents (I forgot about it until I mentioned your story to my wife):

Children often act up in order to get time and attention from their parents. If a child feels he/she is not getting enough "good" attention, they will settle for "bad" attention.

I'm not saying this is your case, but it is possible that your child doesn't feel like she's getting enough time with you. This could be the case if you're working a lot or simply are too distracted with other big issues (easily understandable in your situation).

The TV "Super Nanny" often mentioned this, with her suggestion being to "schedule" an amount of guaranteed "you and her only" time with your child. Simply spending more time overall might help, but she suggested telling your child, "Every day at X o'clock will be an hour for only you and me, no one else." and of course following through.

I don't know if this is your situation or if it will help, but putting it out there just in case.

Sounds like you're doing the best you can with a bad situation. Do hang in there, get help where you can, keep working hard and don't get discouraged. As mentioned by the other folks above, 3 is a tough age and it does get easier.

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Maybe stop defying your parents and your child will stop following your actions. Children develop on what they see happening around them. If you are defying your parents and fighting in front of your child then this behaviour can be expected.

How you treat your mother is exactly how your child will learn to treat you

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I have read a lot of the replies, and I haven't seen anyone be in a similar situation with the parents. I hopefully will be able to shed some light on that part.

Very long story as short as I can make it: Before we met, my wife had always lived with her parents due to her parents health issues. We moved back in with them in April 2008 due to my mother-in-laws declining health so we could help with the daily home healthcare / primary caregiver regiment (I was 39 at the time, my wife was 34 at the time). We were blessed with our daughter being born in December 2009 (both families have a history of fertility issues, so we thought we wouldn't be able to have children). My mother-in-laws health continued to decline until her passing in August 2011, at which time my father-in-law moved out of state (to get away from the memories).

The living situation with our in-laws and my daughter lasted from her birth until she was slightly more than 1.5 years old. My in-laws wouldn't let our daughter cry anything out, or if she acted out they wouldn't correct her or want anyone else to correct her. At the time, I can definitely tell you that I felt that the way that you describe: like it was undermining my relationship with my daughter. I realize that my daughter at the time was younger than your daughter is now, but I would bet that it is the same kind of feeling.

Just like you, I was trying to find a financial solution that would let us move out but in our case it was to be able to afford our own place and still be able to pay for my in-laws housing (as both were too sick to work) and provide home healthcare. Unfortunately, my wife and I never could find that solution.

As other parents have stated, your daughter's behavior sounds spot-on from our experience (our daughter turned 4 in December 2013). I am not trying to excuse away your parent's behavior or your daughter's behavior. I know how frustrating both sets can be; you probably feel like you are getting it from all sides and you don't have any "escape" as you all live in the same house.

In time, especially this past holiday season I have come to realize that my in-laws were doing the best they could try to balance the way they parented their kids with my and my wife's style. Sometimes that didn't work and we were all frustrated, sometimes it did work but we were too tired to realize that it was working.

I hope that reading the experiences of someone else who lived with parents/in-laws helps you understand that you are not alone in feeling the way you are feeling.

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Read picture books to her and sing whenever you get the opportunity.

Sing together if you can. Children don't care if you you're tone deaf or can't really sing...they just like the sound of your voice, maybe seeing you make a fool of your self, or they might sing with you.

She will come to LOVE the sound of your voice.

And when she rests her head on your chest to hear ther source of that voice, she will know and LOVE your heartbeat.

She will soon be out of your mums bed and into yours.

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I went thru the something with my parents. It did started when my son was 3. He is 6 now. And now he knows Dad is the boss. Not because I lay down my authority but because he knows that no one will love him like I do. Just keep her safe and love her. She knows you are her MOM! Nobody will take that away from you.

When ONE is little, ONE always seeks for safety. So dont get caught up into the "do this & dont do that". It is just to-ma-o or to-ma-toe. She wont even remember. I mean I stated remembering when I was in 5th grade. I do remember if I was safe and who provided a safe heaven for me. So just TEACH what you know about love. Help her to learn school stuff. Have lots and lots of patience. Welcome to the parenthood club.

See if your parents have good intentions. When they dont, tell them.

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