3 Year Old - Raging/upset. How to help with emotional expression? - Page 3
My 2yo is similarly spirited and intense so I cautiously await what lies ahead...! But, I have changed her diet recently - dairy free since 3mos and now gluten and soy as well - and the intensity of her tantrums has dropped, and I can tell when someone (FIL) has given her something on the no-no list because it shows up in her behavior once he leaves. Now for us, I'm awaiting my own confirmation of MTHFR since I've got issues with methylating b12 on my own and my liver doesn't detox properly, and long story short, one of the effects of MTHFR is anxiety, which I have majorly. Good news it that being on a methyl b12 supplement has helped enormously with the anxiety and thus less mood swings for me, woo! Bad/good news (depending how you look at it) DD has a pretty good chance of being positive for this as well if I am. And if I'm confirmed positive I'll probably have her tested as well. Which would mean getting her on a proper supplement to hopefully ward off the issues I've dealt with for the last 30years. I can say behaviorally speaking, my DD doesn't have much contact with other kids either, but she certainly does well with them and at the same time is very much capable of self entertaining when she's had enough of them. Clingy behaviors can certainly point more towards an insecurity - it fills that need to feel approved. And even the brightest of children can feel insecure about just how bright they are, quite often because they are told so all too often. I wasn't a needy kid in terms of attention, but I was highly insecure and the more people told me I was smart or that I didn't need to be helped because I could do it on my own...the worse the insecurity got. Totally bombed once I got to college and had no idea how to "learn" because I was always told I was smart. Have you tried activities like gymnastics or dance or other things that require coordination and a different skill set? They are great for building confidence. Also, the inability to slow down the brain and settle....sometimes you have to teach that with quiet times. Some people just go go go and never know how to wind down. It's often mistaken for hyperactivity when in fact the body craves a slowdown but doesn't know how to achieve it. I tend to draw on my knowledge as a dog trainer and am always trying to be two steps ahead on the behavior curve and thinking of ways to achieve what I want without asking for it from DD because she is so incredibly resistant to being told what to do or how to do it! It's frustrating and exhausting and I have to tell myself it is only a phase. Doesn't mean I always believe it! But it helps to see that there are kids out there who goes through this and the parents don't end up in an insane asylum when all is said and done lol
I too have a spirited little 3 and a 1/2 year old (she is one of twins). I don't know if you're open to seeing a Naturopathic Doctor or not, but seeing ours has been invaluable. She talked to us about some children having a harder time processing and organizing all of these new experiences and information and she gave us some homeopathics to help her nervous system with this process. We seem to be doing this treatment for 4-8 weeks about every 6 months or so and it has made a world of difference for her! She still has the regular upsets that every kid goes through but the reaction level has come down to a very tolerable one. She calms down much faster and you can reason with her and help her get to a happier place.
I also wanted to mention the possibility of food intolerance. I know that allergy was discussed, but I'm not sure that intolerance was broached. There is a distinct difference....allergy is an immune response and intolerance is a digestive response. But it can very definitely affect behaviour. A Naturopath can also help with this by doing a food intolerance test.
With regard to food. I can only think that she might be having a little too much dairy, and maybe a little too much sugar, albeit natural sugars in fruits and dried fruits mostly.
She does eat a lot of wholegrain bread and pasta...you never know, there might be a gluten thing going on - but fundamentally her diet has remained pretty much the same for a couple of years...will continue to observe on this front.
We're in week 6 (or maybe it's the end of week 7?) - if we're counting.
I can cautiously say that things are better.
Certainly we are not having all day awfulness like we were a wee while ago.
In fact - we just had two and a half splendiferous days in a row, where she was lovely...polite...in really good form in lots of ways. It went to custard on the afternoon of the third day...but still...it was a very sunny couple of days.
And looking back - we seem to definitely be 'coming out the other side' of *something*. She is still being naughty, and apparently finding new ways to be naughty each day (e.g. we've just had to start hiding toilet rolls because, like a puppy...she's been unrolling them all over the house and trying to flush the resulting mess down our loos!) She is still occasionally shouting and screaming, but much less than a couple of weeks ago.
(Just as a complete aside: The idea and practice of timeouts or even time-ins is something we've considered, but is just completely unsuitable for her. She will cling like velcro...and obviously, even in a rage, needs to be with us.)
She is also STILL rejecting her daddy somewhat...but has gone back to going with him a little more willingly on outings (they are currently supermarket shopping together).
Other things of note:
- She is having less nights of minimal 10.5 hours sleep. We are mostly getting 11 or every 2/3 days 11.5 hours. This must be helping. It's certainly not hurting.
- She has surprised us, and the teachers at her preschool, by going from completely angry hysteria at drop-off, to kissing me goodbye without tears, in a mere 5 visits. I think we all thought that she was such a stubborn little critter that it wouldn't happen in a text book way like this. I'm so proud of her...as I know it's a big effort. She still gets visibly nervous when we're approaching the preschool...and has said a couple of times: "Mummy, I will try not to be sad when we say goodbye." Awwwww.... One thing that has helped is making sure she realises she's going 'tomorrow'. We had a few rocky mornings because: "I didn't know it was school day! I don't want to go! I didn't realise it was today!" etc. Just to illustrate the change: Last week sometime she woke up, and the first thing she said to me in the morning was: "Mummy we have to take the calendar off the fridge (calendar is a weekly chart showing 'school' and other things) - that way I won't have to go." To...the last time we went: Also first thing in the morning: "Is it a school day? Hurray!" I know all this might change, in fact that ALL this stuff can and WILL change...but I'm buoyed by this particular aspect of our lives. We do need the break, and she is enjoying it thus far - just a shame it is nearly their xmas holiday and preschool will be shut for a month.
- When she's in a good mood, the small limits and rules we have tried to implement of late are more-or-less being obeyed. Sometimes she will wait for a set period (of her own making) before doing something, but usually she does it in the end. To this end, I've had some success by just stating things very simply, instead of 'asking' her stuff. E.g. There's toast on the floor. Or...TEETH! Or...SHOES! Much work yet to do on this front though - still very much learning what works as we go.
- We are struggling still with a couple of things - e.g. she is still insisting that a bottle of milk is the ONLY thing that will 'cheer her up' if sad. Cuddles, books...nothing else will do. We have been trying to limit her small (120ml) bottles of milk to x3 a day in total...our logic I suppose is that we want her to give them up entirely, but to be honest, this doesn't look likely any time soon...and maybe needs to be a child-led thing? Yesterday she had a major meltdown because she was sad and I wouldn't give her a 4th bottle. Big sad/angry tantrum...I didn't give in - but she was distraught for a long time ("WHHHY can't I have it?? Why? I'm SAAAAD!!!" etc) and then eventually she sat on the couch with me for half an hour whilst I had to make up a big long verbal story to calm her down. Kind of a success in terms of the 'limit' we are trying to enforce, but I'm wondering if I should actually be withholding the ONE thing that she uses to make herself feel better. The milk is very watery...so am not worried about her getting too much really. What do y'all think? Should we just let her have it, especially if it calms her down? (I do wish she could find something else that helps though...but apparently there is nothing else that will do.)
- Our other recent problem (though I'm hoping it's just going to stop very soon) - is that she has BIT me a couple of times. I've been reduced to trying to remove myself, but she just runs after me gnashing her teeth (!?) She thinks it's a funny game. Have explained it IS NOT. She seems very mouthy/sucky/chewy at the mo generally...almost as if she were teething (which is impossible) - so there's that little challenge as well. I know there are threads on here about it, will look them up.
There are other little things - but I can't think of them off the top of my head.
So...provisionally, if awfulness was 100, and fantastic was 0 - I'd say we've gone from days that were 85% 90 (hideous), to nearly the opposite - days that are 85% 0-20 or so. She still has her moments...but it's not nearly as brutal and upsetting for everyone.
There is hope then (for others reading).
I wasn't entirely convinced it was a phase - but it's looking like it is/was. Especially given that she has also matured and changed and become even more smart, and verbal and capable over this time too. An ugly growth/development spurt therefore? She is only 3 and a 1/4, so I'm hoping that this is the half year spurt/upset...and we won't get another one in 3 months!
Have to go now - but thanks all for your posts and input.
I will update again in a week or so - hopefully with even better news.
Edited by Grover - 11/30/13 at 2:42pm
Hope I haven't overstated it! Nor jinxed us. Eeek. Will update....
Very weird. It's almost like she needs a chew toy. It's bizarre.
Late replying to this - but thank you. This reply has partly helped inspire me to formulate a plan to deal with my chronic insomnia (see my other thread). I know that if I'm better rested, I will be able to deal with this craziness that is motherhood.
I would let her have the milk. If it improves her immediate mood, but the general mood starts deteriorating again, you might consider limiting it. A child like this especially, I would be hesitant to remove anything that they use to self-soothe. Only as a last resort would I insist on limiting it.