She mocks until a fight breaks out and then denies everything.

Photo: Getty Images

She is only seven years old, but Elsie’s daughter Sophia is in charge of the house. The rest of the family walks on eggshells to keep Sofia from getting angry. It exhausts Ilse and breaks her heart, as she sees her “poor child” struggling with her difficult personality.

Ilse (35) has a relationship with Kaj (39) and is the mother of Sophia (7) and Fee (3):

Sophia had a bad start in this world. After a full term pregnancy, she was immediately put on a ventilator and in an incubator. Placental infarcts were found. “Do you smoke?” I asked. But I didn’t touch a cigarette while pregnant.

When I think back, it was so uneasy about Sofia from the start. I suffered from blood loss during pregnancy and regularly felt barely alive. When we got to her house, the crying started. You did nothing else for eight weeks. Cage and I were at our wits’ end. I walked on my gums. Cage came home from work during the day to give me time to eat a sandwich. In the evening we ate in turns.

I sometimes stood outside when Sophia snarled again. I just couldn’t hear it anymore. “I’m going to throw it in the organic trash!” I even called. This was not what I had imagined early motherhood to be. There was no pink cloud. Eventually she gets hospitalised. Sophia was accepted for two weeks, so we can relax again. And she was swaddled, which made her a completely different child. Finally the crying stopped.

the changes

My mother died when I was seventeen. I think that’s why I gave Sofia so much attention as a baby and toddler. It was compensatory behavior, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I was constantly playing with her and never taking a second to myself. I sometimes got comments about it, but I didn’t really care.

A week after Fee was born, Sophia had to go to school for the first time. That was hard for her. Changed a bit in the house and then added to it. We certainly considered keeping her home for a little longer or a few extra days, but it wasn’t wise for us; Then you probably don’t want to anymore.

“You didn’t understand that I could only do one thing at a time.”

At home, Sofia begins to exhibit strange behaviour. For example, if I give Fee the bottle, she will come and stand in front of me and hold a glass of drink upside down while looking intently at me. Of course I was angry about that. Then I started crying loudly. “I want to play, I want to play!” cried. She didn’t understand that I could only do one thing at a time. Toys would regularly fly across the room if I did not respond to what she wanted. If things really got out of hand, I’d put it in the hallway. Usually followed by “sorry” and then it was as if she understood that what she had done didn’t feel right. But the next day – or earlier – it all started again.

Also read – Brother or sister coming? This is your way of preparing your child

war in the house

Saying goodbye at school is becoming a growing disaster. Sophia really didn’t want me to leave. When Corona broke out, we had to drop off the kids at the gate. Oddly enough, it suddenly went perfect. Sofia has been doing well and is still doing well in school and in after school care. There behave in a perfect way. Once she gets home, in her safe environment, things get worse. I have to say one thing wrong and I exploded. If things don’t turn out the way Sofia envisions, there will be war.

“She acts exemplary at school. Once she gets home, in her safe environment, things get worse.”

She also has a hand in it in the morning. For example, she recently thought she wanted to be the first to land. She said: “I want to do everything myself.” This did not suit me. I also had a schedule and still had to unload the dishwasher and butter the bread. ‘Stop!!!’ cried. She does this when contradicted, stopping by screaming very loudly. I got so angry I was able to instantly start a fight early in the morning. It’s very stressful. It destroys you.

I can see how this could be done with Fee. It’s completely different, much calmer. And what I think is really bad: She’s afraid of Sophia. Especially when he’s having another tantrum and screaming really loud, I see the fee shrink. Sophia also bullies her a lot. Really teasing. Then, for example, her sister pricks her finger so that a fight ensues. When I get involved, Sophia denies everything. She says, for example, “The cartoon hit me,” with a straight face. She doesn’t lie much, but she has no problem doing so. Sometimes, they play together. I can then enjoy these few minutes more intensely; I know it didn’t last long.


Sofia does not handle change well. When she’s in the shower, I count the minutes she has left out loud. “You have four minutes left. Three more…” If I don’t make it back like that, she’ll get angry. The stunts also completely disrupt it.

Sinterklaas and Christmas give Sofia a lot of stimuli, then her behavior will only get worse. And if she gets less gift than Fee at the holiday, she can get really angry and spoil the atmosphere. Cage and I often walk on eggshells. Our relationship has suffered greatly under the whims of our eldest daughter. It feels so bad that sometimes you really think your child is a bad kid.

front formation

Cage and I don’t always get along when it comes to parenting. I tend to take the side of Sofia, because I can see that she doesn’t want this either. She can’t always help how she reacts. I see her struggle and it hurts me. Whenever we were in a fight again and Cage was performing, I would knock him out in front of her. That sent a confusing signal, especially when Cage and I got into a fight about it.

Cage is more patient than me, but when he gets impatient, he really does run out and punishment ensues; For example, Sophia has to go to her room. Tensions between Cage and I ran so high that we eventually turned to couples therapy. That definitely helped. We now understand each other better how we stand and try to form more of one front, which seems obvious to Sophia and therefore safe. For me, that means being more consistent.

terrorized by his own child

Find help

My mental health suffers from the situation with Sophia. At the beginning of this year, I was suffering from burnout, for which I was given antidepressants. When someone else in the house recovers in such a situation, I wanted to get back to work as soon as possible. At home, I just went crazy, where the cause of the troubles can be found.

After being exhausted, I wanted to get back to work as soon as possible.

We now asked not only for help ourselves, but also for Sophia’s help. We want to help her as well as stop us from hating her. Someone else might not be able to imagine it, but it does if you’re always fighting. Sophia takes care of anything and everything for us; She calls me “mama’s pussy” and Cage “dad’s pussy” or “idiot” and regularly charges “stupid fairy”. I don’t know where you learn these words. Not from us anyway.

Constant struggle

It’s not a subject you talk about easily; I want to protect Sofia. Only my best friend knows, she also has a child which is not the easiest. However, I share the situation we are in right now because I know we are not alone.

Last week I picked up Sofia from the out-of-school care centre. The cartoon was already in the car when Sophia thought she wanted to show her friend something. I said that this can be done tomorrow too. I immediately started hitting the car. She screamed she wanted to sit in the front. I told her to sit in the back.

She kicked my seat with her feet the entire flight. When I said something about it, she exploded again: ‘Kama! I do not love you!’ Once home, I immediately tried to climb over the fence. Another fight. Cage was already home and we could hear him coming in the distance. Upon entering, Sophia threw her coat and handbag on the floor and for the rest of the evening marked the atmosphere with her anger.

Also read – Heather’s son has behavioral problems: “No one wants to take care of him or play with him”>

full head

Cage and I sense that something else is going on with our daughter. The teacher has already dropped the word autism, but she doesn’t rule out giftedness either. Sofia is an incredibly perfectionist. It only takes one mistake on paper for you to tear it up.

We always stay in the Netherlands on holiday and this is always disappointing. Sophia could not settle down anywhere else. The battle there is more fierce than at home. It should go exactly the way you want it to. If she wants to swim, we have to swim. If we don’t, she’ll throw a tantrum. “My head is so full,” she told us last weekend. She also knows something is wrong. It’s very sad.

Heavy rain

The situation woke me up. I constantly blame myself. What should I do? where did I go wrong? I want to have the tools with which we can move forward. Nothing helps. Don’t get angry, don’t ignore, don’t pressure her and don’t talk about her.

“I often blame myself; what should I do?”

When Sofia gets angry, she freaks out. In the worst moments, she seems to see right through you. She looks at you, but does not see you, her eyes are empty. After such an intense shower, she is devastated, and cannot tell exactly what happened. Sophia is currently receiving play therapy, but this is not helping at the moment. We have now sounded the alarm with Youth Mental Health Care.

biggest wish

I dare not think about the future. Sophia is now seven years old; What will our life be like when we reach puberty? Hope we get the right help. I hope Sofia feels better about herself. My greatest wish is a home full of peace and comfort. I try to create as many moments with Fee as possible, I don’t want her to suffer. But I can’t prevent it.

“Every night I tell her I love her, but I find it increasingly difficult to muster her.”

Every night I try to put Sophia to bed with a sweet word and a big hug. Not a night goes by that I don’t tell her I love her, but it just gets harder and harder to deal with. Our energy is running out.”

This article appears in Kek Mama 12-2022. For privacy reasons, the names have been changed.

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