my 20 month old is out of control (long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-11-2006, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an extremly high needs daughter. She is clingy, demanding, and very dependent. She has many great qualities as well but I really need some advice on how to cope with her behavior.

Recently she has become the exact child I didn't want to raise. She throws violent tantrums-she throws, she slams her fists into the wall, she kicks and screams.
Today she slammed a drinking glass on to the glass coffee table and shattered the drinking glass. The reason for the fit was that I was on the phone.

I can not take her to do any activities that do not center around her. The last time I took her grocery shopping she screamed at the top of her lungs for so long I debated abandoning my cart. I am afraid to take her places-which makes life really hard. And honestly it is causing me to feel a lot of resentment towards her.

She also hits and bites me and has yet to respond to any of my attempts to get her to stop. i have tried everything from ignoring it to showing her how to touch gently. She attacks me when she is mad but also sometimes just when she doesn't like what I am doing. An example would be that she bites several times every night when I am putting her to bed.

She also can not tolerate me or my husband doing anything that does not involve giving her our full attention. She can not stand for us to talk which drives me batty. If we start a conversation she starts screaming louder and louder until one of can't take it anymore.

I really want to raise a gentle, loving, respectful child. I can't figure out what I am doing wrong. I am consistent and I try to model good behavior (i.e, we don't hit or scram). I fear that she is becoming a monster. Please help

Mom to Iris and Henry
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#2 of 12 Old 09-11-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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I am so sorry you are going thru this, it sounds really stressful for you and your relationship w/ DD. Have you thought about what she eats and how it affects her behavior? Sugar, artifical food coloring, heck, it could be anything. Maybe keep a journal of her food intake and her tantrums and see if you can pinpoint a relationship? I have a neighbor whose son has reactions to food colorings and something else, I want to say it is wheat, not sure, and he gets almost mean when he eats the wrong thing.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-12-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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Hi - I wanted to respond, because I noticed this got pushed down to page 2. Have you considered posting this over on the Gentle Discipline forum? I think you would get lots of great ideas there.

The first thing I would wonder, along the lines of the previous poster, is if your daughter is experiencing some kind of pain. When my daughter is teething, she tantrums. She is unreasonable, whiney, clingy and completely over-the-top. Motrin is our salvation during these times - her behavior changes after 30 minutes. Teething, ear infection, food sensitivity - she might just feel really crappy in her body.

Otherwise, I will try to address a couple of things that have been helpful in our household. First of all, does your daughter have language yet (sign or spoken?) I think this can really help minimize the screaming. I would really work intensively with her to help her name her wants, needs and feelings as much as possible.

Secondly, there are lots of great threads on hitting and biting over at gentle discipline, so I won't go into a lot of detail, but many many posters (including myself) have found success by consistently reminding our children about gentle hands (and showing them what we mean by taking there hand and moving it gently or having them learn to kiss in the case of biting) and also by not allowing our children to hit or bite us (i.e. moving away when they do.) Please check those out - I think you will get lots of ideas that really work.

Thirdly, toddlers do like to be the center of attention. One strategy I have used successfully (and learned from other moms) is to gradually increase the amount of time I expect her to be patient and set aside her immediate need. For example, you might start by asking her to wait for 20 seconds before responding to her - some small amount of time that she can be successful with - and build from there. I find that my daughter is more able to give me a small amount of space if her own emotional cup is full and she feels like she has had some time and space. For example, if she interrupts when we are talking at dinner, i pause and ask her if she has something she would like to share. Often, she has something to say, and once she has had a bit of focused attention, she is happy to let us say something to each other.

Finally, since you sound really overwhelmed, it might help to try to focus on just one or two things that are really bugging you the most, such as biting at bedtime, or going to the store. There are tons of great resources out there and lots of support at MDC. I wish you the best - it sounds like you are doing a great job and just need a little help getting through this developmental stage with your daughter.
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#4 of 12 Old 09-12-2006, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diane B
Thirdly, toddlers do like to be the center of attention. One strategy I have used successfully (and learned from other moms) is to gradually increase the amount of time I expect her to be patient and set aside her immediate need. For example, you might start by asking her to wait for 20 seconds before responding to her - some small amount of time that she can be successful with - and build from there. I find that my daughter is more able to give me a small amount of space if her own emotional cup is full and she feels like she has had some time and space. For example, if she interrupts when we are talking at dinner, i pause and ask her if she has something she would like to share. Often, she has something to say, and once she has had a bit of focused attention, she is happy to let us say something to each other.
Great post by Diane B. I was going to say the same thing as the quote above. My dd is the same way about needing to be the center of attention at all times. I thought it was just normal toddler behaviour, lol. But I find that my dd finds it a whole lot easier to give me a bit of space if she's already had focussed attention from me. Like Diane said - "if her emotional cup is full". I also take small amounts of time for myself, like in the morning I'll sit and read MDC and have my coffee. I show her my cup and tell her that when it's empty I'll be ready to come and play. She often comes to check if it's empty yet, but besides that has become used to waiting until I'm done. Right now we're still working on very short "mommy break" times but it's getting easier for her the more we do it.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#5 of 12 Old 09-12-2006, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the replies. My dh and I had a long talk about reeling some of these behaviors in and I think all of your suggestions will help with that. I have never visited the GD forum but i think it may be time to start. Thank you mamas.

Mom to Iris and Henry
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#6 of 12 Old 09-12-2006, 05:59 PM
 
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I don't know if this is applicable to your situation or not, but I thought I would throw it out there ... did your dd experience a traumatic birth? Or any other kind of trauma since? Have you heard of crying in arms? Mothering used to have a great online article about CIA (originally in their print magazine, although I'm not sure when) but the link appears to be dead now. Here is a link to the same article on a different site, but unfortunately it's missing some of the links the Mothering article had. If I recall correctly, the Mothering article linked to a second article that talked about a mother who successfully used this method to help with her dd's tantruming. Turns out, her dd experienced a very traumatic birth that was never processed/released, and as she became older, she was expressing her trauma as tantrums. By doing the crying in arms, she helped her dd finally let go of that trauma, and the tantrums/acting out stopped.

My dd also had a very traumatic birth followed by deep suctioning which resulted in all sorts of nursing problems. After several months of her screaming every time she nursed (and we had ruled out all physical causes like reflux, etc.), an MDC mama pointed me to that article and I started using the CIA technique. I also took dd for craniosacral therapy which is an incredible thing. (You can read more about our experiences here, and there have been some lively MDC discussions on CIA here and here.) She is a totally different child now. She nurses normally, is incredibly happy and joyful. I really think the CST and CIA are the reason for this.

If you're interested in CST, you can search for a practitioner here. Not all CS therapists are equal, as there are many levels of training. You can see what classes a person has taken on the search page, so I would try to find someone who has at least had CST I and II, SER I and II, and the pediatrics CST course.

Like I said, I don't know if this applies to your situation or not, but I remembered the article about the woman using CIA to help her dd and the tantrums stopped, and we had such good luck with it and CST (dd too young for tantrums, but helped in other ways), so I thought I would mention it. Good luck, mama. I hope things are better soon.

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#7 of 12 Old 09-12-2006, 06:14 PM
 
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Oh nannymom.

I wish I could do something to help.

As you already know from our DDC, I have alot of problems with Julian, too. His temper isn't the same as Iris's, but we have alot of problems with hitting and punching. I worry endlessly about taking him places like LLL or playgroup.
I cried for over an hour yesterday, just worrying about taking him out to LLL tomorrow, because I KNOW he's going to hurt another child, and I'll have to try to explain to some stranger why my toddler does this. I talk to him all of the time about gentle touches, and kissing rather then biting, or petting rather then hitting. He throws things at people and he's violent with our dog. Other times he is so very very sweet. Hugging and kissing, but goes a little overboard. He is enthusiastic about every new situation to a point where its dramatic and overwhelming for me.
I left playgroup for 8 months because I just couldn't take the stress of it anymore. I've just recently gone back, and right away had to do damage control because Julian found a hard toy and hit a little girl over the head with it. Its hard to not feel like I can connect with other parents because of things like this, and its hard because I feel like noone understands. I fear that people look at me and assume I don't know how to parent. But at the same time, I can't keep him away from other children forever. He needs that contact.
Our situations arn't the same, but I just want you to know that I understand how you feel.

Have you read "Parenting your spirited child"? Its directed at children rather then toddlers, but there are some excellent chapters that concentrate on how you view your child, ie: dramatic rather then loud to help you see them in a more positive light.
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#8 of 12 Old 09-13-2006, 02:49 AM
 
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Our ds is 20 months as well and used to fit the description of your dd perfectly...then recently he tested positive for an allergy to wheat/gluten and eggs and since we eliminated those things from his diet he is a completely new and different (and more calm and content) child. Our pediatrician said that kids who have a sensitivity to wheat/gluten will have meltdowns when exposed to it. We tried going completely gluten/wheat free for a few weeks and then gave him a wheat cracker (to test the theory) and his behavior changed right away...I don't know if the answer to your woes is this cut and dry but I thought I would echo the pp's suggestions of a food sensitivity to let you know that (although i didn't believe it at first) it can really impact behavior in little ones.

Christine, wife to my dh since 10/03, mama to my three monkeys ~:-) ds1/6/05, dd9/9/08 and ds 8/3/10

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#9 of 12 Old 09-13-2006, 04:19 AM
 
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I know this is off topic, but I am new and don't really know how to reply directly to a member.... Shanana, you are a brave woman. I just read your birth story (if I would have known it would have taken me all of an hour, I certainly would NOT have ) But I commend you greatly for all your courage. It is women like you, who fight, and believe in themselves, that make all women great. Thank you for sharing.
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#10 of 12 Old 09-13-2006, 04:23 AM
 
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I agree with the food components too but also wanted to add that homeopathy and flower essences have worked wonderfully with my DD and might be worth looking at in conjunction with the other things mentioned. We have used remedies like Chamomilla, Belladonna, Pulsatilla and flower essences like Holly, Vine, Cherry Plum, Rescue Remedy and others when needed. It has made a huge shift for us. DD was not aggressive like that but very high needs and spirited and I dont think I could not have survived withhout these things, and now at 2.5 she has really calmed down a lot (of course I notice it comes in waves and saying this usually results in another big wave lol). Hope this helps!

Who stole my signature!
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#11 of 12 Old 09-13-2006, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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shalena-thanks for the book suggestion I am going to get it today!

Shanana-Your post was so powerful for me b/c I had a terrible birth expereince. I won't go in to too much detail here b/c it may be upsetting but I will say that while assisted into this world by a cnm Iris would not breath and spent five days in the NICU. It hadn't really occured to me that her behavior could be linked to this until your post. Thanks for all your info.

Mom to Iris and Henry
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#12 of 12 Old 09-13-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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Nannymom. I'm so sorry your birth was so hard on you and your dd. I'm glad you found my post helpful. Please, feel free to PM me if you want any further information or just to talk. Also, consider that you may have some lingering effects from the birth as well. I found that I definitely had some work to do to forgive myself for how my birth went and how long it took for me to figure out how to help my dd. Another example is my friend who had a birth experience similar to mine and ended up with a c/s. She still cries every time she talks about it. I am encouraging her to go for CST to help her work through her grief, anger, etc. I think when WE hold onto that kind of stuff, it makes it doubly hard for our kids to let go of it.

IvoryQueen, thank you for your kind comments . As for the length of my birth story, no one has ever accused me of brevity, lol! FYI, if you want to contact a member directly, you can left click on their name, and choose to send a private message (PM) or email (if they have those options enabled). Welcome to MDC!

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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