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09 Nov

Strained relationship between my 5-year-old and my boyfriend
I've been with my boyfriend now for almost a year and a half and we have been living together for the majority of the time. I also have a beautiful 5 year old daughter but their relationship is very strained. My daughter tends to talk back and because of her strong willed personality and sensitive sensory issues she tends to want to tell you what to do and how to play but this is her way of coping. She doesn't always want to listen, like any other child I suspect and I refuse to give her a hiding every time she doesn't listen. She isn't a naughty child, just hard headed and strong willed and can manipulate me with ease. I am aware of this. He says that she doesn't respect him and he won't allow a child to talk to him the way she does and disrespect him. I try my best to keep the peace but it isn't working. She's been to a therapist and all they can say is that she is strong willed and that she is sensory sensitive. Because of this he is very cold towards me, doesn't touch me or anything because he is not happy with her behaviour but he doesn't want to work on their relationship either because of how she sometimes talks back to him because he says he isn't at fault. How is a 5 year old supposed to work on their relationship? I am so frustrated!! I am tired of having to kill fires and walk on egg shells.. I don't know what to do anymore!
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Expert
CyberShrink
CyberShrink

20 Nov

Hello YN,
Folks, first let me apologize for any delay in my reply :" we had a horrible electrical storm which in 5 minutes of lightning strikes destroyed my modem, router, landline phone, TV, internet connection, etc., and I'm only just now at considerable expense getting these fixed.
Now lets see. You don't mention it, but presumably the boyfriend is the father of this child.  There seem to be at least 2 major concerns here.  One is the conflict with your boyfriend ; you only describe this relating to his concerns about how the child treats him, but there's surely more than than troubling all three of you.   And then there is the issue of a child who seems to be skilled at manipulating you and having her own way.
Giving hidings is not a good idea and never produces the benefits you might hope for, so you're right to reject that approach : though it sounds as though he knows no other approach, and your habitual approach is total surrender.
It does not benefit a child, whether beautiful or not, to make excuses for bad behaviour ; and nobody like or loves a bossy little biddy who expects to always get her own way, and may not adequately respect other people and their needs and wants.
There a real risk to using the inaccurate excuse "this is her way of coping".  No, that is not a mode of coping : it's a way of becoming unpopular and annoying other people, a bad behaviour that needs to be modified.  I'm sorry that the therapist seems to have been so unhelpful : if that is all you were told, it would be of no use at all.  You need a behaviorally oriented psychologist with a special interest in badly behaved children, who can help your child and you, to identify and modify bad behaviour. for everyone's sake, including hers.
Nobody said, encountering Hannibal Lector :"ah, yes, he does tend to eat people, but that's just his way of coping."  I don't want to exaggerate the extent of the problem but you seem to have surrendered power and control to a child,  It's not that you need to be constantly trying to make peace between a child who sounds like she enjoys stirring up your mate, and a rigid man who doesn't want to let her control his life.
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