Hi everyone, new to the forum, was Googling information to help my 7.5 year old and came across this board. I look forward to joining the community in a more positive fashion but right now I'm desperate for guidance.
***I wrote a novel, it's long because I tried to explain the situation and at some points I ramble, feel free to skip to the end where I ask my questions. I'm trying to be brutally honest, even though I'm sure I'll get some hate, I know I'm not perfect and have made some serious mistakes, please don't judge****
I've become a hitter. :( I don't mean to and am devestated afterwards. It's only happened maybe 6 or so times over the span of her life. My daughter is 7.5 years old. She has no underlying health issues that we are aware of and is a very bright talented child. At school she is the second smartest in her grade, her teachers have even suggested bumping her up a grade or taking advanced classes. They all speak so highly of her, her outgoing, friendly, helpful demeanor, has a ton of friends...but lately, when she comes home, she has been a complete nightmare.
I have two younger children, 5 and 2. She normally gets along well with her 5 year old sister (and adores her baby brother) but as soon as something doesn't go her way she gets pissed. At first it was pretty basic sibling spats, usually fighting over who had a toy first. But now, within the past couple months, it seems the presence of her sister is enough to make her erupt. Earlier today, as we got home from school, my older daughter wanted to do the key to the front door, I gave her the key and she ran to the door. 5 year old was already running to the door and therefore ahead of her, so she erupted right there. SCREAMING, YELLING, saying things like "why don't you listen, I told you not to run" (but screaming at her). Once inside, the screaming and rage yelling continued about how her sister can't sit on the bed with her. At this point, my 2 year old is in the room, crying hysterically out of fear because his big sister is manic at this point yelling at me because I'm telling her to stop. My 5 year old is also crying. I grabbed my 7 year old, pulled her out of the room bear hug style (because she started kicking and flailing) and sat her on our bottom step which is our naughty step. I then went into the kitchen and grabbed her juice bottle (we had just gone to gas station and bought those juice bottles with the charactes on the top) off the counter to put into the fridge. She saw me grab it, came storming over, kicked and broke a Halloween arts & crafts haunted house we had all made 2 days prior, rage screamed that she didn't like me, need me or love me and that she wished I was gone. Keep in mind, the other 2 children were also still hysterical and as always have to follow me everywhere I go, even when I'm just trying to step away from it all. I had a 2 year old at my knees screaming for me to hold him and a 5 year old hysterical over the broken haunted house...It was getting so loud! When my 7 year old screamed those words to me, I erupted. She saw the look on my face and took off running. I caught her quickly and put her on the naughty step again, this time with a bit more force and told her I needed silence and that it was now 10 minutes. She told me she didn't have to listen to me because she didn't love me anymore. At that point I slapped her across the face. Hard. Well not that hard, but hard enough to make her quiet her sobs.
This is just one example, but it's happened in the past as well. She tends to get so enraged by the littlest things and as of lately it's getting to the point that the baby is getting scared and trying to cling to me. Within the past 45 days I have hit her 3 times. The other times were once while we were in the car she started punching her sister because she wanted to color in her sisters coloring book, even though she was the one who brought it and was coloring in it. I reached behind and popped her on the head. Granted, I was aiming for her leg to get her attention because I was driving down a highway...she had just happened to lean her head toward me so it sort of lined up...another time was because she was hitting and shaking her sister and fighting over toys, the naughty step didn't work and she kept attacking her sister so I grabbed her and swatted her butt hard but without even thinking or realizing it, I had a hair brush in my hand so I technically hit her with a weapon! I feel terrible.
She does very well when she is not with her sister. It's like a totally different child. The other day, just me, my 7 year old and 2 year old went to church and after, the mall. She told me how much she loved just spending time with me & her brother because she doesn't like her sister.
But other times she'll talk about how much she loves her sister, loves playing with her and every day after school, when I pick them up, they always greet each other with an excited hug.
I don't know what to do anymore. This rage has become a daily occurance. We've taken away all the toys that cause fights, taken away all electronics, even tried seperating them. The littlest things will set her off, if her sister sings, if she dances, if she colors a picture she doesn't like...she goes NUTS! When I talk to her about it, she said it's just the way her body is and she can't control it and that the anger is stronger than her. I've tried teaching and helping her to count to 10, to walk away, to ignore the things that upset her and the will work for a little while but it always goes back to the rage.
Things never used to be so bad. I think that my daughter and I need to move out and go back to being "one on one" again. We spent the last 6 months alone while she did some film work in CA. The younger 2 stayed with my parents. My husband was with us in CA but his work schedule is very hectic so it worked out best to have the kids stay with my parents. Please don't judge. She was a happy, spunky, energetic girl. When we came back to get the kids it was turmoil. But before we left for CA, things were for the most part ok. Spats and stuff but no outbursts. It's gotten 100x worse since we've gotten the whole family back together. I also thought that maybe it was being back on a regular school schedule and lack of sleep, since last year she homeschooled and went to tutors but since she seems to be thriving and doesn't appear to be overly tired, I'm not sure if that's the case. She keeps saying she just wants to move to NYC or back to LA but that's obviously not a reasonable option. My parents said my 5 year old was a perfect angel but it seems that she too is a bit whinier and quick to cry when I'm around. I figured it was just a parent thing though, that kids feel more comfortable with mom & dad so are more likely to let emotionals fly whereas with grandparents, teachers or friends they are more reserved and polite...but I might be wrong.
But I also feel like I'm starting not to like 7.5 year old. I still love her, I love all of my children, but I'm concerned about my 7 year old's emotional well being right now. I've gotten to the point of telling her she is starting to act crazy and that she needs to the hospital. I hate that when she gets in these outbursts that I start name calling out of anger (the things I wrote above are the only mean names or comments I say...well I take that back, about an hour ago she was screaming at me about going to bed and said she was just going to leave because she didn't need me, so I told her I was going to put her in a box and mail her to China because I was over it...random but in the past we used to joke about mailing ourselves places because it would be cheaper than airfare).
I usually try to contain my thoughts and hands but sometimes I react and I hate that I have become like my parents. I swore I would never hit my kids because as a child I got it pretty bad emotionally and physically. :( They are much better now and regret the punishments my brother and I were given but it has still affected me.
Tried calling several pediatric counselors but no one can see us until Dec or Jan because apparently all are booked solid. So until then, what can I do. I feel like I want to run away and am seriously THISCLOSE to heading to the airport and living in a hotel. :(
Edited by mom3baby - 10/9/12 at 10:44pm