Gifted 4 year old emotional issues
It's honestly hard to say, i think. I mean having twins at home is a big thing for a 4 year old, and some children are more aggressive in their displays of affection, but I don't know if you can rule anything out. I am hoping some other members have more suggestions or experience with this.
My thought (for what it's worth) is that a visit with a counselor (not suggesting an evaluation, just interactions with a trained child counselor) might help with some strategies. Although your daughter's behavior is probably related to her intellect, it's not acceptable to play rough with a nine month old, or fail to follow instructions, or become disproportionately upset. Yes, it will likely improve with maturity like my son's behavior improved (he's still challenging at 6 1/2), but if there is a cause like high levels of anxiety, you want to have a handle on it. When we visited with a counselor, I took notes cor a few weeks to share where/when/what circumstances my son had meltdowns.
It may be that the difference lies in routines at school, which help her self-regulate. She also has active models of appropriate behaviour (other kids not getting in trouble when they're behaving). How much structure does she get at home? How much physical activity does she get?
I really like the book linked below, with preview - The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. It's for sensory kids, but the activities help anyone regulate their "engine."
Edited by joensally - 7/16/13 at 6:21pm
So if we tried counseling would I need a specialist or just anyone? School starts back in 5 weeks and today she was a doll.
She seems to do much better with positive parenting. anytime I even make an angry face sets her off. I seem to be the cause but she always wants to be with me even when she's mad at me.
I do try and make sure she has a physical release but again sometimes it is not as much as it could be. But she does swim, run, ride bike etc.
I just want her to be happy, but obviously she cant get away with hitting.and some of her OCD traits concern me.
Thanks for the insights and replies
The really, really good news is that your daughter isn't having problems at school. It may mean that she a) capable of controlling herself in that environment or b) there is something in the school environment that helps her with self control (e.g. the structure mentioned by joensally).
I actually think it's a mistake to create a lot of structure to avert anxiety. I believe in a loose routine, especially regular meals and bedtime, but a tight structure isn't always possible and can contribute to inflexibility. Maybe that's where a counselor can help- finding ways to help your daughter be more flexible.
As far as her getting upset (tantrums?) my son threw tantrums at age four that could not be topped. We were very concerned- the perfectionism got better with kindergarten, and difficulties transitioning got better at around age five. Also, (yea!) he is able to occupy himself much better with independent play or reading. We are now able to talk more about the "right and wrong" of certain behaviors with some success, and have learned to mitigate power struggles (it takes some creativity).
Ach, I thought I'd replied in your thread as well, but must have gotten it mixed up with the other thread concerning a four-year-old!
I'm sure you've checked that one out by now anyway, so I'll try not to be repetitive.
DS1 at four, with DD a baby, was our worst time with him. I shudder to think how we'd have coped with twins.
Once, after I had described in an older thread all the things we do to keep our family more or less running smoothly, the OPer commented: it's good to be reminded that it's a system, and anything can slip and create havoc. So whenever something throws our family out of balance and the kids freak out, I try to think: is it me? DH? is it something at school? is it the weather? do they need more sleep? is someone getting sick? Have I not paid sufficient attention to diet, exercise, downtime, cuddletime?
So it sounds to me like in your "system", you're the lynchpin and anything that throws you emotionally out of balance, your daughter picks up, gets anxious about, and acts in whatever way makes sense to her. As CamMom says, anxiety, hyperfocus and perfectionism may be very pronounced in gifted children, and what would make another child 2e might be your daughter's kind of normal. She's doing well in school - if there were anything to be concerned about, particularly about being aggressive with other children, I imagine you'd have heard about it. I'd say: relax about 2e issues for now, and next try not to be too hard on yourself. You're doing power-mothering here, and in my experience (YMMV) this will get a lot better with maturity.
I do not think, with two 9 months old, you are in danger of creating too much structure! Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do to get your child's anxiety down, because as long as she's anxious, there is no learning. If YOU feel "this is working well", it's probably okay for her, too.
I have always felt that physical release isn't really what exercise is about for my oldest, but I have always found it hard to put my finger on what helped (playing in the mud, hikes) and what hurt (physical exhaustion, being wound up from gym- or pool-based exercise and noise, stress from classes with expectations). i can't tell where you are, but if you could just go on long walks, with the babies safely stowed away in their double stroller and her on a scooter, to a park where you can pay full attention to her while the babies are asleep, and make it a daily "routine" - it might help a lot.
Because I am not sure what all of the "quirks" are, I may be way of base here, but just a thought.... Squeezing too hard and pulling really close to her face sounds to me like she has a strong feeling and wants to display it equally, physically. She also may be sensing the "love" of others in the house on the 9m olds and trying to "show" that she loves them equally. I think that it is reasonable to not understand how that would exactly hurt the baby and to be disappointed and frustrated at the outcome at the end. She may then be following up with an emotional reaction from disappointment. (I'm thinking she probably expects to hear, "your such a great big sister."...and then reacts in disappointment or maybe a little embarrassed). I think all this is reasonable, and sweet, although it may just be overwhelming in display.
My daughter has SPD and a lot of "quirks", and she doesn't register pressure the same way everyone else does...so she squeezes (and other things) to hard, however in turn loves to be squeezed. If you see similar characteristics in your DD, maybe she really doesn't know she is squeezing so hard, because it really doesn't feel hard to her (brain)? I also imagine my DD would have an emotional "overreaction" to this situation. My DD has "characteristics that would suggest she might" have SPD, emotional overexcitablilites, and is unable to self regulate (and ADHD). All things pretty common in gifted children...and display differently in lots of children. She now sees an OT and now that I have a "That's what that is" with some of her quirks...(like jumping up and down the hall as hard and slow as possible)...I understand she isn't actually doing that to solely just grate my nerves and get into trouble, it is what her brain needs to calm itself. We spend time jumping like crazy together, and then I get to practice being quiet together, and just knowing "what that is" has made it so much better. Your DD "quirks" may be totally different that my DD's and may be nothing or may be something, but if you think something is up, see what her pediatrician thinks. I understand not wanting to label. For us it helps to get answers, and OT has helped my DD and family. Oh, and my DD can be "completely normal and charming" when around everyone else...especially around new people or in new situations/places. Hope any of this helps! GL!
Edited by Mom2010 - 7/20/13 at 9:06pm
I think at least part of it is just the age.
Our daughter is the same age and we have a baby on the way. Had some stuff going on in the house within the last week, and the other night she was acting out particularly bad. I asked her, "Where is my sweet girl?" She looked at me like I must be a moron to ask such a question and said, "She is in your head." Spun her dress around and flounced out of the room.
Regardless of gifted or not, children are all unique and different. There is rarely a child who develops exactly according to whatever charts. Maybe the emotional just has a bit of catching up to do with the intellectual.
Also, all people's children generally behave better for other people than their parents.