Advice needed - how to best handle this situation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-03-2010, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, youve been amazing with advice in the past, so hopefully you will have all experienced this before....

Background; Dh and ex (biomom for lack of better terms) broke up, I met DH and all was pretty well. DH went back to back to ex for a night while they sorted things out (long story, will skip over but has been sorted) and kids got to be a 'real' family again.

Since then, DSD (4) has not coped well, she has shown a huge amount of anger and angst when at our home, and while in both homes screams for the other parent. She gets very very worked up about it, and has started lying regarding people abusing her. We dont hit our children, neither does biomom with whom we have a great working relationship. She has started to say I hit her, and biomom hits her (never daddy however?). This talk of violence almost always comes after her wanting the opposite parent.

She has also started showing violence towards her younger brother, although nothing that I would say was out of the ordinary, rather soemthing to be taken care of quickly, however due to everything else going on it has been noted.

Poor thing has had alot to deal with recently, and we are considering counselling for her (although to be honest I dont know how that would work with a 4 yr old ... never tried it!).

Has anyone been through this? and how did you handle it in the moment as opposed to overall... overall hopefully the counselling will work, but we have all been advised to simply ignore her when she does this, and im not sure thats the answer.

Sorry for the long post, hopefully will get some great idea's from all of you!

<3 Zarie
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#2 of 5 Old 07-04-2010, 07:49 AM
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As far as counseling, there are some great play therapists that can really help kids understand what they are feeling and help them find some new ways to work through and deal with the big feelings they are having. With young kids they will also work with the parents to help them understand what is going on for their kids and how to support them. I've seen counseling do some amazing things for even really kids.

As far as what to do? I would start by taking every opportunity to increase her emotional vocabulary by naming feelings she is having, you are having, or you are seeing around you. "That makes me so frustrated!" "Oh, I see your brother is feeling sad. I'm going to see what's made him feel so sad." "You must be so proud of yourself for figuring that out!" Then when she is feeling whatever she is feeling, she is more likely to want a name for how she feels and be receptive to you helping her figure it out. It sounds like she has some really big feelings she doesn't know how to express.

Have you read the book "Siblings Without Rivalry"? I know it seems completely off topic, but I really like some of their clear examples for helping kids through strong feelings... their strategies work in all kinds of situations, not just with sibling issues. You might check that out for some good examples of strategies and phrasing.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#3 of 5 Old 07-06-2010, 03:33 PM
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It does sound like you should at least speak to her pediatrician about the anger issues and counseling. I would. So sorry you are having to deal with this!

I'm a mother to one, stepmother to one and wife to my one.
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#4 of 5 Old 07-13-2010, 09:26 PM
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Another quick vote for counseling/therapy. My DSD is now 11.5. She has never learned appropriate ways to deal with anger and frustration and sadness, etc. She reverts back to being 5 whenever she doesn't get her own way. We FINALLY were able to start therapy last weekend (had to get bio mom's approval. It took years) but I honestly think if she'd had someone sooner she would be in a much better place now.

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#5 of 5 Old 07-14-2010, 08:01 PM
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for me in similar situations i have simply laid down the law, and that is not just the law of our home, but the law of the land. people who are not babies dont get to throw tantrums, scream for the people they want, scream for anything other than being grossly injured, exhibit immature behaviour. these things land you right in "jail" just like the real world. in our little worlds of school and home this boils down to time out.
until they are ready to comport themselves in ways that are acceptable to general society. we dont yell or punish, it is a matter of discipline and not ever letting the child become in control of any given situation. they are too little to control things, that is where we as adults have to step in and make rules and guidelines for our children to follow. i do belive that children are people, but they are not adults in anyway and are not our equals simply because they only have four or five years of life experience, not the 20-infinity that adults have. they are people, but they are "grown ups in training"

i am an attachment parent, i dont yell or cuss out my kids or step kids, i NEVER spank or demean any children in anyway, but i do make it clear that they are not adults and that they have to follow rules just like adults do. they are rather different, but a lot of them are the same.
i have used examples with them, as they got older, of mirroring their behaviour and showing them just how silly they look behaving that way. for the most part this has been successful with them and involved very few time outs. i use the explanation that if everyone acted the way they are acting, chaos would ensue and the police would be called and any grown ups acting that way would be taken to jail.
i am leary of therapy for children, i think it removes the parents from the correcting behaviour loop and leaves a stranger in charge of how they think the child could be "fixed". children dont need fixing they need definine rules to follow, and consequences for their behaviours. at four or five they are way old enough to take responsibility for their behaviour.
i think that a lot of people mix up punishment with discipline, two very different things. i dont often punish my kids but i do discipline them daily... i want them to model our good behavioursand societies acceptable ones too. i think that when they are old enough to attend pre-school, public school etc, they are ready to work through and with societal norms.
angery outbursts and tantrums and screaming for the other parent when separated imo are tactic kids use to see how far you are willing to go to accomodate their whims and antics. in the real world those actions are not accepted, and people who exhibit them do go to jail they are not accepted as member of society. kids of a school age can understand that.
imo she is using anger because it is working and getting everyone in an uproar over her...and what more does a kid want than to be the center of all the attention.


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