DD (Jan 08) has ALWAYS been a cryer. Right from the beginning.
Right now she is screaming away because of this conversation.
Ash: "Mama, I wanna go on a train and a plane to Thailand today"
Me: "We can't go today, but we will go back to Michigan (we are in Germany) in a few more weeks"
Ash:" Getting ready to let me have it... (I wanna go today) Then it starts. It has only been 10 minuets since her last melt down.
Me: " I understand that you want to go today, I would really like to go today too. I want to see X, Y and Z."
but we have to wait for your brother and sister to get out of school because they want to go too."
Now it really starts. Uncontrollable Screaming which is starting to drive me NUTS... It makes me soooo angry with her.
She cries about everything. If I start singing the wrong song, If I don't say ok after she says "ok Mama" She totally flips out if I don't try something she wants to stick in my mouth like a booger for example or meat (I am vegetarian)
The meltdowns are horrible. She cries if you console her, she cries if you leave her alone (although they don't last near as long if she is left alone) Sometimes I just need to leave her alone because I feel like I am going to loose it with her.
It is not even 10 am here right now and she has had 3 major melt downs today.
I have asked for help from our doctor, I have gone to a Oestopath, they think I am nuts... Of course she is the sweetest little girl when we are with strangers... No one believes me.
From birth on I have always thought something is not right. She cried up to 9 hours a day as a baby. I even bought ear plugs because I have tinnitus and it was making it much worse.
I need help on how I can better deal with her meltdowns. I feel like I am drowning in her breakdowns and I need someone to throw me a life saver.
Please someone help...
That sounds SO hard! I have a few thoughts:
1) I'm not an expert but have you seen an allergist? Could there be an environmental thing she might be allergic too or a food you haven't detected? At three alone this sort of behavior is not a big deal, but since you say she has been like this since she 9 months old, I'm thinking there might be something more going on.
2) She is three and 4 months, right? Is she enrolled in any activities where you get some time away from her and vice versa? She may just need to spread her upset around a little, even see that the world does not entirely revolve around her desires (not that you teach her that!!! Just that the mentality of a three year old is often one of total id) or at least give you a small break from her upset.
3) in the scenario you described, I came to a point with DS where he would say things like "I want to go Argentina today." and I'd say "Me too! How fun would that be!" and he'd say "Let's go!" and I'd say "Yeah, okay, what should we pack?" and we'd have a pretend moment and he'd be the pilot and we'd go. Every once in a while he'd not be satisfied with the playing pretend and we'd have a meltdown and hug it out and sometimes I'd cry too because wouldn't it be fun to go to the beach right now now? Usually I could distract him after a few minutes with a DVD or fun project, or a Skype call to Grandma. I think it was his way of saying "I'm bored, play with me." and when I was all pragmatics and no no no but but he felt like I wasn't getting him and that seemed to be the source of the crying more than the disappointment of not getting to go.
She might always be a crier, but as she gets more verbal and can start to read and write she can vent some of that emotion onto paper and into books and you won't be the sole recipient of her emotions. Hang in there!
Thanks for the response. She has been doing this since the day she was born screaming...
I have tried to narrow down foods to try and detect something. It is just really hard.
She is in gymnastics, and goes to pre school (they start kindergarden at 3 here) She is away in the morning.
It is so frustrating, I try and try to do everything right (AP) Babywearing (she has never been in a stroller) CLW (Just weening herself now) ect ect... Then I get this... Uggggg and she seems to save all of her anger for me!
We did what you suggested the first couple times she wanted to go on a plane somewhere. We packed her bag and she was furious that we didn't GO. She held it against me for days, you promised... You said we could go... I packed my bag... we DIDN'T and that isn't nice... So I never tried that again... She doesn't want to play. she wants to go.
Today was awful, She flipped about 10 times...
We went for a walk with the dogs and she fell... She screamed all the way home and she wasn't hurt. She told me she wasn't
Sometimes when I ask her "Why oh why are you crying" Her answer is "because it is fun and I like it"
I will be looking up an allergist this week because I have all the sudden allergies of myself. I will take her with but I don't want them poking her... That stresses her out. She was in the hospital because of salmonella and had to get stitches 3 weeks ago because she fell in a sports store and a long board fell on her head. She is afraid that she has to go back to the hospital now when she sees blood. Poor kid
Well...they are going to have to do a scratch test to find out if there is anything she's allergic too. I know it's not pleasant, but if it makes her feel happier and less like crying...wouldn't it be worth it? She sounds pretty stressed out already, ya know?
If she likes it, if she enjoys the way it makes her feel perhaps she needs a catharsis of some sort. Some way to release the feelings...or maybe she likes the way the tears feel in her eyes and she knows if she gets worked up she will have that release. You could offer her eye drops to see if that helps her more than crying.
Good luck with the allergist! I hope they find a solution. When my allergies are acting up I am the most miserable person to be around and I too have cranky meltdowns.
I should preface this by saying that DD is only 17 months so while I have MAJOR sympathy for you, I don't have much experience with this kind of tantrums. Have you read the book "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" by E. Faber? It was a quick read since you really don't need to read it cover to cover. But it had some very helpful ideas. Maybe it would help? There's also "Happiest Toddler on the Block." We've tried a couple of his ideas with limited success. They are kinda ridiculous but worked at least a bit for us. If you can get your hands on the DVD rather then reading the whole book, we found that helpful. Plus I can get DH and I in the same room long enough to watch the DVD but trying to get us both to read the same book is harder. Same with the Faber book, we got it as a book on CD from the library and listened to it while driving.
i don't have the long experience you do, but a few suggestions:
can you keep a log of when they happen? like, could it be sleep related or hunger related? those are biggies.
or, she could just be an emotional child... can you maybe work on steering her emotions to a better way of expression? like have art supplies handy.. noodles or pillows or punching bags she can hit? some musical instruments- and show her some videos of screamy music and see if getting to vent in an artsy way will help? explain to her that artists get mad or upset or unhappy but draw or play or dance and they feel better? <3 i feel for you. my dd was also born screaming. with a c birth, the grandparents etc heard her all the way out into the hallway through two sets of doors where they waited. ;)
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
She gets up at 7:30 am usually screaming and goes to bed at 8:00 pm She just started dropping naps. Which hasn't changed her crying much. She cried when she took naps. She cries now.
Here are some more examples.
Yesterday was another horrible day. She cried because she wanted to go to the circus, we went once and they are gone now, she repeated herself like 100 times. The circus is not gone after I told her that it was gone. I would have showed her but it takes 1/2 hour to get to the town where it was. She was trying to get me to say OK it isn't gone.
She freaked out because she wants it to be fasching (German Mardi Gras) That won't be til next year so I explained that to her. She didn't believe me and said it is "mardi gras" now and cried about that.
When I got her home from Kindergarten she explained to me that she wanted to make a snow man and go sledding right now. I explained that it was in the summer and we couldn't go sledding but we could make a snow man out of paper or cotton balls. Then we had another major meltdown
She asked me if it was her birthday, I told her no that her birthday was in january and she got really mad and cried too.
. When I picked her up from kindergarten she was happy, but the second we walked through the door she started crying again.
i am at a total loss and wish one of these Dr.s, or healers would listen to me and start to believe me... I need help!
I have 2 other children. My son is now 18 he wasn't easy either but he was nothing compared to his little sister... It is not due to my lack of inexperience with children or that all children can be difficult at times. I know that... This is soooo much different
Do you guys think it is possible that it comes from an iron deficiency? I am a vegetarian and Ash doesn't eat a lot of meat either. Could that be it???
I completely sympathize! My son has recently become a bit of a screamer himself. He's always been a bit more demanding of getting exactly what he wants (even if that isn't POSSIBLE) than most other kids I see, and lately it's seeming to be every five minutes. And, in much the same way you described...asking for somewhat unrealistic things...like riding the train, or flying across the country, or refusing to believe that a business is closed...or that a park is the opposite direction of the way we're walking. ect...
it can be tough.
Idk, if I really have anything like advice, but I can certainly sympathize. We've had many of the same conversations about WHY he insists on crying or yelling when he really could just calmly tell me what his needs and desires are so that i might empathize and better answer them. He seems to think that it's not a discomforting SOUND...or that it really bothers me as much as it does.
I think, for us, my son is very sure of himself...which is great! He also believes that he is operating in this world with a large amount of information...which is NOT true! lol SO, I'm taking it with a grain of salt and speaking to him as I would an adult...I first empathize, attempt to redirect the energy, provide my closeness, and then tell him why I'm confused about his behavior. That I would prefer him to use his words so that we can work together to be happier, that I don't like his crying exactly because I then can't understand him...not for a lack of empathy with his emotions. And, more often than not, I go out of my way to illustrate exactly WHY we can't do the thing he demands. Yeah, he's still throwing a fit every five minutes...and it's LOUD, but I'm pretty sure that it's a good sign. I WANT him to feel that he is the big man in the world...there's nothing wrong with feeling that way, I just also want him to develop a better understanding of the world around him...and the limits of my capabilities in satisfying his desires.
Idk, we spend most of our days at the parks...it's just too much to handle indoors. He likes having that freedom to run around the park while I keep an eye on him on a bench. He gets tired, and he sleeps easier. I'm sure that as he grows, he will learn to have more respect for my feelings, and also to respect that when I tell him something just can't happen, it's because it really and truly can't...EXACTLY because I have always answered those needs and desires that CAN be facilitated without compromising something for the rest of our family.
Like I said, I don't know if any of that helps, but maybe just hearing from someone else who might be going through something similar? lol
One thing that sometimes helps when DS is like that is if I just pick a really fun activity & start doing it. At first he'll protest and continue crying about whatever he really wanted to do, but pretty quickly he can switch gears when he sees me doing something he enjoys, and he joins in. If I just talk about it or ask if he wants to do XYZ he just continues freaking out, I have to actually start doing it...
It sounds as though she is holding you hostage. That is what I call it when my son does this. If I were you I'd try not entertaining any of her questions or interactions that lead to meltdowns. So, when she asks you "can we go to thailand today" you say "no" and nothing else. don't explain why you can't because she is purposefully leading you into a trap. she knows that she is asking you to do unreasonable things. don't converse with her when she is melting down at all. Conversing with her only feeds the cycle.
Yes, she will melt down anyways, but let her learn to deal with her powerful emotions. Don't intervene until after she is done. When she is calm you can talk to her about what to do when she has strong feelings.
I bet that she is a bright, energetic and passionate girl. My son is like this, passionate is also my other word for moody. He is awesome with other people but spends his plentiful time with me trying to push my buttons to test how powerful he is. He was also a crier when he was a baby.
I hope this doesn't sound harsh but to me, it doesn't sound like allergies or deficiencies, it sounds like she is a smart little kid who knows how to push your buttons. The fact that you even considered driving to show her that the circus had gone shows me that you are trying to appease her a lot. You also mentioned that the tantrums are shorter when you ignore them. I would pursue this tactic. Just answer one time 'the circus has gone to another town now' and then go about your business. If she follows you around screaming then you could put her in a special place (like the couch) and tell her she can cry there and when she's done you'll do something fun. Give her great attention when she's not crying.
I have a little daycare boy the same age. He does this to his mum and you can see her trying to fix stuff for him all the time. He doesn't do it with me though. One time, I accidentally flicked his nose when the zipper that I was doing up broke. I felt really bad and I'm sure it really did sting so I made a fuss of him and picked him up and apologized. Well the screaming just went on and on. In the end I just put him down and said, I need to get the other kids ready now, you can sit there until you feel better. Guess what, the screaming stopped.
It sounds exhausting though I must say. I feel for you.
I do make exceptions for when he's under-slept, over-sugared, or had milk protein (he's intolerant and it does affect his behavior a lot) in the sense that I know he will be over emotional and need more redirection and support.
There's something to be said for examining WHY exactly your child would be having these meltdowns purely to antagonize you. I, personally don't think that would be the natural impulse of a child towards it's parent unless the child is feeling as though that is being done to THEM by the parent. So, before taking the advice of disengaging from your child when you see one of these meltdowns coming on, I'd think about what exactly is the problem with them. Is it the crying? Is it that she's trying to boss you around? Is it that she's not being respectful to your empathy?
Maybe by pinpointing what is stressing you the most about this situation, it would make it easier to try a more empathetic solution before isolating her feelings and desires exactly BECAUSE they are being expressed in the only way she knows to express them. You said this is how she's always acted...and that she claims to enjoy crying. Then, it might be a logical conclusion that this is the best way she knows to express her feelings ect... Yes, WE as adults don't like it, but she's young and still getting a grasp on the range of emotions and reactions she can make, you know. If she genuinely likes the feeling of crying and she's as young as she is, I'm not really sure if there's any indication that you should necessarily 'correct' this behavior to something deemed more appropriate.
So, with all that said, I would be inclined to review the freedom I'm currently giving my child in all areas of her life, and see if there's any way I can grant her MORE control over herself. It does indeed sound as though this is mostly a control issue...BUT...I don't think that that's a bad thing. She's probably a very smart little girl who wants more autonomy and maybe there's some way to give that to her?
Again, I really sympathize with your situation! I'm sure that it is just insanely stressful, but thinking along AP terms, it doesn't seem very appropriate to (essentially) shun her during these meltdowns.
It could be a control issue, my DS knows how to try to throw fits when he wants his way (33 months).....
However, the constant meltdowns you are describing sound more like something is truly bothering her. My DS has celiac disease (gluten intolerance). When he was on gluten (and the one time he's been contaminated since going gluten-free), he was JUST like this. He would absolutely breakdown and cry (tears! like a small baby!) and scream and was completely inconsolable at the drop of a hat. "Mom, me want go inside playground today." "Hunny, it's nice outside today, so we're going to the park." ((( MELTDOWN )))
When he is gluten free and throwing a fit, he never gets to that level. And when I reiterate that it's a "no" and redirect him, he just gets over it. Since being GF he is a completely different child. Happy, bouncy, an excellent 'listener' , and just pleasant all around. The only thing he needs to stay happy these days is an update about what our routine/plans are. Probably never would have believed his behavior was a food problem - except that I'd been there myself. I also have CD and when I ingest gluten.. WATCH OUT. Grumpy, sleepy, & emotionally unstable would be a very nice way of putting what I am like.
Also as a PP mentioned, it doesn't really seem appropriate AP-wise to isolate your toddler when they need you so badly (even if they seem not to want you!). This is why I started giving DS the option of alone time. I say something like "I'm sorry you don't feel good right now. I would love to hold you but you don't seem to want me to. If you'd like to be by yourself for a little while, the door to your room is open. You can go there until you feel better, and come back when you're ready, if you want." - I always try to stress that this is just an option, not a mandatory thing, and that he is not in trouble, but I'm just giving him a little room to breathe. I am surprised how often he takes that suggestion. He will go up and cry for another minute or 2, then look at a book or something (I have watched from the hall to make sure he's ok), and then come back and tell me he feels better. Sometimes when I suggest alone time, he decides he really does want me to hold him. Either way I end up with a calm child in 3 minutes or less.
Best wishes to you & DD - I know it is SO draining.
Sleepy, running, wife to DH 08/09 - Mama to DS 8/08 & DD 1/11
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb
I'm thinking B-12, actually. Is she on a B complex? It's the one vitamin you can't find in veggie sources I think. Anyway it's the one thing that if I forget to take I am a miserable youknowwhat. It is a serious mood balancing vitamin. It is definitely worth a shot!
How did it go with the allergist?