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Grandparents will not respect my daughters boundaries


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My daughter turned 3 in January and has started establishing some physical/privacy boundaries.

 

Much of this started when she started full swing into potty training, which makes sense.

 

We have a set of grandparents (wife's parents) that live a few hours away.

 

They see her less than a dozen times a year. She is comfortable around them but they don't see her all the time so she is still a bit subdued/shy with them.

 

 

Well I have talked to them on several occasions because they seem to ignore/disregard my daughter when she tells them to stop something she is uncomfortable with.

 

This happens as one of three scenarios typically.

 

They either pressure her to show them physical affection, tickle her while she is screaming for them to stop, or enter the bathroom with her telling them she wants privacy.

 

They came over on Sunday to hang out. I left the room to make lunch and I hear my daughter scream bloody murder so I run in the living room. (My wife was feeding our 6 month old in other room before nap).

 

They were tickling her while she was telling them (screaming) she feels uncomfortable and yelling "please, stop".

 

This is not the first time I have gotten on to them about this either. I go in there and get my daughter to go to her brother's room with my wife.

 

Now I have said the same thing to them many times now, this time I added a threat. I told them if they cannot respect my daughter's boundaries they will not get any unsupervised time with my children.

 

They always try to give me some excuse, typically along the lines of "she is just a kid" This time I was tired of it and didn't even let them give me an excuse.

 

Later that day they asked when she would be able to stay the night with them and I told them again that they won't get to watch her until I trust them to respect my daughter's boundaries.

 

We have an upcoming family reunion with them too. Over 100 family members. This will bring up the other boundary issue.

 

Many of her family members will tell my daughter she better give them a hug and kiss because they came all this way to see us.

 

I stomp this out every time it is said and tell my daughter she only does those things if she wants and has no obligation to give anyone anything.

 

But there is an aunt in particular that refuses to stop, so she is barred from being around my daughter without me or my wife around.

 

Now this was mostly to vent and help me formulate my thoughts but I would like people's comments, concerns, recommendations on how to deal with this.

 

My wife and I are very united and on the same page with this so no resistance there.

 

If they don't start making an effort we are fully prepared to never allow our children around them unsupervised.

 

And the problem aunt that pushes things badly is very close to being disowned by us. She is also my MIL's twin, who never had any girls and somehow thinks my wife is her pseudo daughter, so my daughter is her pseudo granddaughter in her mind.

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My daughter turned 3 in January and has started establishing some physical/privacy boundaries.

 

Much of this started when she started full swing into potty training, which makes sense.

 

We have a set of grandparents (wife's parents) that live a few hours away.

 

They see her less than a dozen times a year. She is comfortable around them but they don't see her all the time so she is still a bit subdued/shy with them.

 

 

Well I have talked to them on several occasions because they seem to ignore/disregard my daughter when she tells them to stop something she is uncomfortable with.

 

This happens as one of three scenarios typically.

 

They either pressure her to show them physical affection, tickle her while she is screaming for them to stop, or enter the bathroom with her telling them she wants privacy.

 

They came over on Sunday to hang out. I left the room to make lunch and I hear my daughter scream bloody murder so I run in the living room. (My wife was feeding our 6 month old in other room before nap).

 

They were tickling her while she was telling them (screaming) she feels uncomfortable and yelling "please, stop".

 

This is not the first time I have gotten on to them about this either. I go in there and get my daughter to go to her brother's room with my wife.

 

Now I have said the same thing to them many times now, this time I added a threat. I told them if they cannot respect my daughter's boundaries they will not get any unsupervised time with my children.

 

They always try to give me some excuse, typically along the lines of "she is just a kid" This time I was tired of it and didn't even let them give me an excuse.

 

Later that day they asked when she would be able to stay the night with them and I told them again that they won't get to watch her until I trust them to respect my daughter's boundaries.

 

We have an upcoming family reunion with them too. Over 100 family members. This will bring up the other boundary issue.

 

Many of her family members will tell my daughter she better give them a hug and kiss because they came all this way to see us.

 

I stomp this out every time it is said and tell my daughter she only does those things if she wants and has no obligation to give anyone anything.

 

But there is an aunt in particular that refuses to stop, so she is barred from being around my daughter without me or my wife around.

 

Now this was mostly to vent and help me formulate my thoughts but I would like people's comments, concerns, recommendations on how to deal with this.

 

My wife and I are very united and on the same page with this so no resistance there.

 

If they don't start making an effort we are fully prepared to never allow our children around them unsupervised.

 

And the problem aunt that pushes things badly is very close to being disowned by us. She is also my MIL's twin, who never had any girls and somehow thinks my wife is her pseudo daughter, so my daughter is her pseudo granddaughter in her mind.

 

All the applause for this! So great you are teaching your kids to have boundaries. As Seraphim says, does your wife step up also and say things to her parents / family?

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THANK you for standing up for your daughter!!

Sometimes kids can be bratty and if your daughter wasn't saying "thank you" when she opened a gift, YES i would MAKE her and not "when she was ready"

But this is different.

 

firstly WHO in their right mind just walks into the bathroom when someone is in there? My brother always knocks on the door even when his little boy who is too young for potty training is in there just to teach his son good manners, too.

 

I think that MIL and Aunt grew up being taught that you always kissed Grandma etc when you saw them and that is what their parents drilled into them. It was required. I think that you should tell the daughter that "grandma and Aunt Mildred were told they had to kiss and hug people and that is why they do that, but you don't have to. ONly if you feel like it." if you think that it helps her understand why they are the way they are.

 

I think that you should physically get between your daughter and the new guest and greet them so that they cannnot walk up and grab her. Perhaps you need to reiterate at a moment where they are not going for a hug and say "we are teaching our daughter that she doesn't have to let someone touch her if she doesn't want it. Tickling too much hurts. And we don't want her to learn she must hug everyone who asks - because then she will feel she has to let strangers hug her too."

 

Most importantly - what does your wife say about all of this? She really needs to be addressing this, since it is her family. She may have a different approach than you do and they may react differently to her saying it instead of coming from you.

 

I do think that you should not allow your daughter to be unsupervised with them until they can respect her boundaries. And only you and your wife decide.

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Have you tired sending these people some of the numerous article out there on why children having personal boundaries is important to their safety and wellbeing?

 

They are from a generation that didn't believe that children needed those things. Maybe some outside information would help them understand why it's so important... although it seems really strange to me that either or both of you saying that it is important, wouldn't be enough.

 

Good for you and your wife. I hope that the rest of your wife's family can figure out how to respect your daughter so that they can have a relationship with her.

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Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.

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Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.

 

You have NO IDEA what you are talking about.

you are way off base.

people should NOT enter a bathroom while someone else is going.

He never said his daughter never wants to follow rules or say please and thank you ---

 

EVERY kid needs to be told that they don't HAVE to be touched. A kid that is told that they have to let any adult touch them that wants to leaves themselves open to being molested because they will learn that they can't say no.

 

I will tell you that when i was tickled as a kid, people would pin me down (uncles, cousins,) and it WOULD HURT. I would physically hurt to be tickled. Did you know that it was used as a form of torture way back when?

 

He is teaching his daughter that her NO means something. And that is VERY IMPORTANT to teach her she can say NO - that her body is hers.

 

I am sure she does hug and kiss other relatives - but it comes FROM HER -- not to be forced.

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Maybe you can teach her that its okay to shake hands? My great-aunt told me that --- "its okay not to hug people, but when you see them, what about shaking hands?" That was very welcome advice from her -- i was overwhelmed by people who just came up and grabbed me or acted like your in-laws.

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You have NO IDEA what you are talking about.

you are way off base.

people should NOT enter a bathroom while someone else is going.

He never said his daughter never wants to follow rules or say please and thank you ---

 

EVERY kid needs to be told that they don't HAVE to be touched. A kid that is told that they have to let any adult touch them that wants to leaves themselves open to being molested because they will learn that they can't say no.

 

I will tell you that when i was tickled as a kid, people would pin me down (uncles, cousins,) and it WOULD HURT. I would physically hurt to be tickled. Did you know that it was used as a form of torture way back when?

 

He is teaching his daughter that her NO means something. And that is VERY IMPORTANT to teach her she can say NO - that her body is hers.

 

I am sure she does hug and kiss other relatives - but it comes FROM HER -- not to be forced.

Amen!

......

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Well I will say my wife does get into it with them about this stuff.

 

My wife and I are both on the same side and totally support each other. I knew she was feeding/putting down our son and she knew I knew that.

 

I am sure she trusted me to step in with whatever the situation because she knew I could stop cooking easier that her stop feeding.

 

That being said, her parents totally disregard her a lot too, in addition to my daughter.

 

Because they have a crazy parental arrogance that has extended into their daughter's 30s. They think what she says doesn't matter.

 

They also think what I say doesn't matter, they have known me since I was 8. They think they are my parent too.

 

Now my wife is soft spoken and her dad will talk over her.

 

I don't think anyone my entire life has ever called me soft spoken. I have kicked them out of our house numerous times for not being respectful to me and my wife.

 

I have tried to explain to them the long term repercussions of not letting children set boundaries. I have tried to give them data on it. They refuse to even look at it.

 

They typically give me a "when I was a kid..." BS. But thanks for the tip Rose.

 

I do actually physically block my wife's family when they meet her because they are very entitled to their "rights" as family.

 

The aunt I referred to actually tried to brush me away and set a hand on my daughter's shoulder. My daughter jumped back and I simply picked her up and walked off. Haven't allowed her near my daughter sense. (She was also forewarned to not do exactly what she tried to)

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A child has a right to protection of their body. Full stop.

 

Yep. And many children, especially ones of earlier generations (like mine) weren't taught this. The result is that, often, they grew into adults with poor boundaries -- not able to say "no" when someone wants to touch them, or hug or kiss them, because they think they *have* to allow it, to be "polite" and to not hurt others' feelings. Ugh. Manners are one thing, but forcing a child to be hugged or kissed by people they don't want to hug or kiss? That's a bad message to be sending kids -- that they have no choice, no control over who touches them, gets in their personal space, etc. All the "stranger danger" lectures we got as kids (I'm in my late 40's) were practically useless because they made it seem as though, if we knew the person, there was no cause to worry. Given the fact that so many sexual assaults, kidnappings, etc. of children are committed by people they know, it seems counter-productive to teach them that they must allow family members and others they "know" to encroach on their personal space even if they don't want to.

 

And...the original post wasn't just about hugging and kissing -- it was mainly about other intrusive/questionable stuff like walking into the bathroom when the child was using it, tickling her even though she begged them to stop, etc. -- that stuff just isn't appropriate AT ALL, no matter the age. I remember my sister tickling me against my will when we were kids, and it was torture, especially when I would beg her to stop and she persisted until my mom got involved and told her to cut it out. Kids aren't just mindless automatons that can't think for themselves. Though they rely on adults for care and upbringing, they DO have minds (even the very young ones), and they have ideas and concerns that need to be acknowledged.

 

To the OP: I don't think you're over-reacting at all. I'm not a parent, but I do have step-kids, and their father has taught them that it's OK to have boundaries -- both physical AND emotional -- as needed for their safety and well-being. I do think your wife should step up and say something, too, as these are her family members. There are ways she can do that firmly without being aggressive, and if the family members don't want to comply, then they don't need to be around kids -- yours or anyone else's!

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Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.

 

Learning personal boundaries is important for a child's safety. Everyone needs to be taught about personal bodily autonomy. I was taught to kiss grown ups and give them hugs or I was hurting their feelings. That is WAY to much emotional responsibility for a child. And those very lessons where part of why I ended up being sexually assaulted at a young age. Because when an adult told me to do something physically, I had been taught to do it, even if it felt bad or wrong... because that it how a child is supposed to treat an adult.

 

You body is yours. Teaching children that their body is open for anyone who is bigger or adult or family... or whatever is wrong and deeply harmful. You don't have to kiss anyone you don't want to. We would never tell an adult to kiss someone because of guilt or "if you don't they will feel bad" why would that be an okay thing to teach children? Bodies involve consent. Learning that isn't just about your body it's about how to treat other people as well. If kids learn about consent in their formative years they are much less likely to violate other people's consent and much more likely to stand up for their own.

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Reading this...wow...they sound controlling. And, you're right, the whole "When I was a kid..." thing just doesn't fly. When I was a kid, it was still OK to whip kids with things like belts, electrical cords, etc. (my parents never did this, thankfully!) and that was a holdover from my parents' generation, when practically beating a kid unconscious could be considered "discipline." It sounds like your wife's parents are hopelessly stuck in the past, thinking that what "worked" when they were kids (it probably didn't, really, but they were conditioned to think it did) is still relevant today.

 

I'm glad to hear you're taking a stand. Your daughter will remember the things you've modeled for her, and she will be so grateful one day.

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I know I am not a normal person. I had many abnormal things happen to me as a child and I frequently see things differently.

 

But I don't care what anyone else thinks, I will not allow my daughter to be brainwashed into thinking that society has some right to her mental/physical sovereignty.

 

It is horrible that parents condition their children to be rape victims because they are too afraid to stand up to people and defend their children.

 

If you want to raise your children that way, then have at it. Not even going to put in the effort to counter you, Danzee.

 

I refuse, even if I am raising my child without anyone else, I will not condone it.

 

But I am baffled why my in-laws think it was better back in their day. Both come from physically abusive fathers. Both talk about how hard and rough their childhoods' were. I just can't understand it.

 

I just feel that I am getting more and more harsh with my in-laws each time something like this happens. This time I left for 5 minutes and they break our rules.

 

I don't get loud or angry in that sense but I can be a little intimidating, but my wife has no issues with me dealing with her parents, and I don't either.

 

As I see it both our parents are our parents. She steps in with mine too, just our dynamic.

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Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.

 

Wow... you are so off base with this it boggles the mind.

 

First off, tickling is torture to the person who doesn't want to be tickled.

 

That child has every right to go ballistic whenever someone does something to her that she doesn't like. What you suggest is what emboldens child abusing family members into forcing silence upon the child they're abusing. Her body is HER body--not her extended family's. They can tickle one another if they've got to tickle something that badly.

 

Her not wanting to be tickled has absolutely nothing to do with becoming anti-social. Robbing a child of their right to determine who touches them and being forced to submit to someone torturing them by tickling til they scream because of the lame, fragile feelings of overbearing adults will do more to create anti-social behavior.

 

Social bonding can be built without forcing a child to do something they don't want done to them. Talking without touching them works wonders in this arena.

 

She is not going to be a terror nor is she going to be labeled as having Asperger's. And even if she was, what's wrong with that?

 

This philosophy of child rearing has become quite standard now in a society that no longer countenances people who take selfish advantage of/prey on children.

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I don't get loud or angry in that sense but I can be a little intimidating, but my wife has no issues with me dealing with her parents, and I don't either.

 

As I see it both our parents are our parents. She steps in with mine too, just our dynamic.

 

I think its time to be a united front --- have YOUR parents watch the kids for the evening and go out to dinner with mom in law and aunt twin without the kids. Go to a place that grownups like to go to without kids and in the course of dinner bring up the topic. You can casually talk about the situation instead of always putting fires out. I understand that you are allowed to talk to her parents, and have that dynamic, but i think when they see you both together as a united front with her starting to lead the conversation, and to chat about it without the kids being there --- it might clear the air once and for all, let them know you are serious, etc., and it will remove the dynamic with the child being there.

 

If they will not listen and they will not change their ways - then you have no choice but to supervise their visits if they will not honor your daughter's "no" when it comes to their body. "no" to bedtime or "no" to washing her hands obviously IS a whole other matter

 

Do you or your wife have siblings? does the child have other aunts and uncles that are a united front with you? If someone else sees it and speaks up - will they get the message deeper?

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That child has every right to go ballistic whenever someone does something to her that she doesn't like.

 

I shouldn't have to say "obviously" this does not include other things like following house rules and school rules -- sometimes she will have to do things she doesn't want to -- but as far as someone touching her -- she absolutely should learn and should be encouraged to say no

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Sorry they keep doing this. Excellent you and your wife are a united front. It's a hardwired instinct to protect your kids. Nothing abnormal about that. The in-laws "feelings" are nothing to protect when they don't respect your and your wife's parenting parameters and the feelings of your child.

I know I am not a normal person.I just feel that I am getting more and more harsh with my in-laws each time something like this happens. This time I left for 5 minutes and they break our rules.
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I know I am not a normal person. I had many abnormal things happen to me as a child and I frequently see things differently.

 

But I don't care what anyone else thinks, I will not allow my daughter to be brainwashed into thinking that society has some right to her mental/physical sovereignty.

 

It is horrible that parents condition their children to be rape victims because they are too afraid to stand up to people and defend their children.

 

If you want to raise your children that way, then have at it. Not even going to put in the effort to counter you, Danzee.

 

I refuse, even if I am raising my child without anyone else, I will not condone it.

 

But I am baffled why my in-laws think it was better back in their day. Both come from physically abusive fathers. Both talk about how hard and rough their childhoods' were. I just can't understand it.

 

I just feel that I am getting more and more harsh with my in-laws each time something like this happens. This time I left for 5 minutes and they break our rules.

 

I don't get loud or angry in that sense but I can be a little intimidating, but my wife has no issues with me dealing with her parents, and I don't either.

 

As I see it both our parents are our parents. She steps in with mine too, just our dynamic.

 

I don’t think my mother conditioned me to be a rape victim it’s just that back in the 60s and 70s children sovereignty over their own body was not even a considered an issue ,not talked about not written about not considered . Children’s rights were absolutely nothing compared to what they are today . Entirely different generational aspect .

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That child has every right to go ballistic whenever someone does something to her that she doesn't like.

 

The bolded is the crux of my point.

 

I've made my observation about the 3 yr old child in question right now in her life--I wasn't speaking to the future.

 

I have a feeling that when that time comes, therealalchemist and his wife will have a plan in place to address that.

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Thanks for the thoughts Broken.

 

 

We have a strong united from with this. My wife and I are very supportive of each other. We also have an insane amount of trust in the other's rational and choices.

 

I haven't tried to remove them from it and do an "intervention" like talk. I like this idea, my wife and I could at least try a different environment.

 

I wouldn't bother with the aunt though, just her mom/dad. But a non retaliatory intervention might help.

 

Aunt isn't ever around and my wife already has removed her from all social media because she is beyond redemption.

 

My wife has a brother, he has no relationship or children though. He is also a bit "broken" by her parents. He does mostly what they think he should, so he actually sides with her parents on this.

 

My parents were the same way as hers to start with. The first time we explained it to them they were 100% on board.

 

***

 

I also do know my daughter uses the protection I give her in this to be bratty. She is 3, pushing the limits is what she does.

 

But it is always a great learning opportunity.

 

Last week she attacked (surprise tickle) me and I turned and got her. She started with the "please don't touch me" and I stopped.

 

She then started tickling me again. I then told her that it is not fair to not allow someone to tickle you but you tickle them, and that I do not want her to tickle me if I cannot tickle her.

 

She tickled me anyways, so she sat in time out crying for 15 minutes because "daddy doesnt like me".

 

Same thing with hugs/kisses.

 

She will get upset because a friend didn't hug her and I tell her the same thing.

 

Or privacy in the bathroom.

 

She isn't being conditioned to be spoiled because I force her to give the same respect she expects to receive.

 

She has thrown tantrums before in an area that required me to quickly relocate her for safety reasons.

 

I don't care about her "don't touch me please" when I must move her. I am her parent and sometimes that involves executive decisions that might not go along 100% with our normal rule set.

 

But those are ONLY to be made by my wife and myself.

 

 

Thanks everyone for taking time out of your day and responding!

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What about if you asked your in laws to ask your daughter if they could have a hug and if she says yes then okay, go ahead but if she doesn't want to, then PLEASE do not push her?

 

There has to be a compromise in this situation somewhere and if one can't be reached then all you can do is keep doing what you're doing but making sure that you're not putting undue fear in your daughter over it.

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