Is it normal for a 3-4 yo to have a very sudden behavior change literally overnight? It's almost like DD hit puberty or something. She used to be an easy child, not contrary. If I asked her to do something, she was happy to do it or she just didn't mind. She was quiet and very happy. She liked to play and read and was so great with rules, even as a baby. If something was not allowed, she didn't do it.
In one night, her behavior changed. I thought she had somehow gotten some food dye or it was an allergy or she was sick, but no. She has not been vaccinated. She is not on the spectrum. Here are some things that she has suddenly started doing that she has never done before and I do mean it quite literally when I say that these things happen every second of the day. There are NO happy moments.
- CONSTANT arguing. Nothing is okay. Everything must be fought tooth and nail. Everything. "No" is her new favorite word. She's not even happy with her own decisions.
- Cries about everything. Even tiny things she used to ask for help with will just make her freak out. (She is gifted and normally very calm and verbal about all of her needs.)
- Acting crazy, stomping, squealing, screaming, shrieking for no reason at all, persistent irritating sounds, thrashing, becoming angry at nothing for seemingly no reason. We'll be perfectly fine and she will suddenly scream at the top of her lungs "Mommy, you're mean! I'm going away from you!" then will stomp to our room, slam the door and then lock me out.
- Logical consequences not working. "It's time to go, you have to put some shoes on." "NO. I DON'T WANT TO!" "If you don't put shoes on, we can't go." "NOOOO!!!" Then ten minutes later, she will go completely insane because we didn't go and she doesn't learn. She continues to repeat it again and again and again. There are no more logical consequences. There is only "Mommy is mean!"
- Time-outs are the worst thing ever. EVER. They make everything about a hundred times worse and putting her in a time out can take an entire day from sufferable to me being almost ready to drop her off at the nearest orphanage. (Okay, not really, but I think you get my point.) Time-out makes every situation worse.
- I'm normally against punishment of any kind, but have tried it the last few weeks with no success because I didn't know what else to do. Punishments are pretty much the same as the logical consequences and time-out. Same psychotic reaction from child, day ruined. This is every single day without fail. There are no good days, there are no breaks.
- Will not eat. She complains constantly about how hungry she is and eats maybe one string cheese stick's portion size of food a day. She will not eat what we are eating and she will not eat the things she asks for. I have made a rule that if she doesn't eat a meal she requests, she gets nothing else until she does, but the food will sit on the counter all day long, untouched and she will go to bed at night crying because she's so hungry and her tummy hurts, but won't eat the food. "I don't want it," is her new mantra. I really think hunger is affecting her behavior to a HUGE degree, but I can't force food down her throat. I've tried eliminating certain things like dairy and gluten, nothing in our diet has changed, nothing is artificial and she doesn't get sugar.
- No longer follows rules and will purposefully break rules and say things to test me. "Mommy, I'm going to go watch Dora. I know I'm not allowed to, but I'm going to do it anyway." "Mommy, I'm stomping on the kitty." "I'm going in Daddy's office. I know you said 'no,' but I want to." This is constant. All day.
- Acts as if constantly bored, even if I try to engage her. She walks in aimless circles around the house. She will sit and make annoying sounds specifically to bother others. She will kick things around on the floor for long periods of time instead of picking them up to play with them. She won't sit for a story or a game. If I try to get her to do something fun with me, she refuses. She can never find anything to do and getting her out of the house isn't helping. The only things she is interested in doing are activities specifically designed and aimed toward getting into trouble and making others angry.
- Seems unable to hear others. If she's walking toward a busy street and I yell for her to stop, she doesn't hear me. I'll scream it several times and then grab her and she'll look at me totally surprised, completely unaware that I was trying to get through to her. I can ask her repeatedly to stop doing something, but it's as if she can't stop. "Please stop kicking the back of my seat, it hurts." And she will continue to kick for several minutes, despite my pleading with her. She becomes so focused in an activity, she sees and hears nothing else.
She is not in any kind of caregiver situation and no, she is not being abused or molested by anyone. She's only with me all day or I take her to play with friends for playdates, beach and playground days. These are all things she did not do at all prior to a couple of weeks ago.
Edited by amberskyfire - 12/21/11 at 3:34pm