What am I dealing with here? Help needed - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 11-22-2011, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, will try to be as succinct as possible.

 

DD1 has been a challenge from the very beginning.  Very HN infant, constantly screaming/crying, feeding issues, major sleep issues, never happy. Described accurately by my mom as 'born distraught'.  

 

As a toddler, she got slightly easier once she achieved the major milestones, but was still a lot 'more' than normal.  No amount of distraction/redirection worked at all - this kid was utterly tenacious.  Behavioural issues, including hitting, kicking, biting, running away in public (very dangerously and not stopping) frequent and very intense tantrums.  Still lots of sleep issues.

 

Now, a preschooler, things only seem to be getting worse.  She's nearly 4.  She still has tantrums - often many times a day.  She is very bright, but oh so challenging.  She will argue anything and refuse to do anything she's asked to do.  It's so difficult to get her out the door that we don't go out nearly as often as I'd like.  It often takes 1-2 hours from me saying "Ok, let's go to the park" to actually being able to get her ready to go, and that's with me playing, coaxing, cajoling, threatening - anything and everything.  I always have to give her warning before doing anything, and even then, if I do something she doesn't like she will flip out.

 

I have been losing patience with her lately and my parenting is going downhill.  In an attempt to get things back on track I formalised our house rules (5 very simple basic rules that she helped me to write and decorate the poster).  Number 1 is Be Gentle - No hitting.  I decided to instigate time-out in her room for breach of this rule, since it was a safety issue, and I figured she also needed the time and space to calm down.  (she is not the sort of kid who will just sit/stay in one spot for a time out - she would follow me around, screaming, hitting and kicking)  So, for a couple of days this seemed to be working okay - I have to carry her (45lb of screaming kicking kid) up the stairs and put her in her room and lock the door, but I felt like I was doing something reasonable and she was getting a consequence and the message that her behaviour wasn't acceptable.  Her behaviour seemed to be getting a bit better.

 

But then a couple of days ago, she started a new thing.  She would get upset with me over whatever stupid thing, and start screaming at me, demanding to be locked into her room.  I would gently explain that it was okay to be sad/angry and that if she wanted to go to her room for some space that was fine.  (I didn't want to have to haul her up the stairs, and I'm not crazy about locking her in her room, but it's absolutely the only way to keep her from hurting me or her sister when she loses it)  So she gives me a 'look', marches over and deliberately hits me then says "Now you *have* to lock me in my room".  And, I did.  I didn't see any other way around it.  The rule is - she hits, she gets put in her room.  I couldn't let her hit without following through, but as it was I ended up basically rewarding her for hitting, by giving her what she 'wanted'. 

 

This is just an example - this sort of stuff goes on all the time.  She still wakes a few times a night, and no matter what I do I can't get her to be quiet about it.  She picks fights with me first thing in the morning, before we even get up for the day, about ridiculous things.  Nothing I do is ever right - she's constantly whining at me about something.  I gave her too much water in her cup.  I did this - I didn't do that.  And then the next day, if I do it the other way she whines at me about that too. She's incredibly loud *all* the time and when I try to get her to be quiet (with games and fun!) she yells that she can't help it. If I'm ever on the phone or trying to listen to/watch a clip on the computer she goes manic, grabbing things, stomping, screaming, making more noise than you would think possible, to deliberately annoy me.

 

I guess I just feel like a terrible parent all the time because it seems like I just can't ever get her to obey me.  I mean, I know she's 3 and some rebellion is normal - but all the time? Saying no, or flipping out over everything, all day? Digging in her heels even when it's something fun?  I have read so many parenting books, the GD forum and tried all sorts of things with her - it all seems to go the same way in the end.  I'm just so burned out with it that lately I find myself skipping all the 'nice' stuff and just jumping straight to being really cross and yelling, since that's where it's going to end up anyway.... But that's not the kind of parent I want to be.

 

I should say, that when she's not making me want to pull my hair out, she's a really wonderful kid.  Really clever, sweet, funny, so creative and just lovely with her little sister.  I want to have a good relationship with her, but I just seem to be failing over and over.

 

(Just for perspective - I use the same tools and techniques that failed miserably with her, with her little sister, and they work! DD2 starts getting into something she shouldn't, I distract her with something, or 'honour the impulse' and she's happy! DD1 would just flip out and keep going back to whatever it was over and over and over....  So, if it's partly my fault as a parent, I can be reasonably sure it's not *totally* 'my fault' since I seem to be a pretty good parent to DD2!)

 

Okay, that's not at all succinct - so kudos if you've read all of this! Has anyone dealt with anything similar? I'm fairly sure I'm dealing with something outside the realm of 'normal' and considering taking her to the GP for an assessment, though not convinced they'll take me seriously. What's going on here? What am I missing? 


Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#2 of 5 Old 11-22-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post
I guess I just feel like a terrible parent all the time because it seems like I just can't ever get her to obey me.  I mean, I know she's 3 and some rebellion is normal - but all the time? Saying no, or flipping out over everything, all day? Digging in her heels even when it's something fun?  I have read so many parenting books, the GD forum and tried all sorts of things with her - it all seems to go the same way in the end.  I'm just so burned out with it that lately I find myself skipping all the 'nice' stuff and just jumping straight to being really cross and yelling, since that's where it's going to end up anyway.... But that's not the kind of parent I want to be.

 

I should say, that when she's not making me want to pull my hair out, she's a really wonderful kid.  Really clever, sweet, funny, so creative and just lovely with her little sister.  I want to have a good relationship with her, but I just seem to be failing over and over.

 

(Just for perspective - I use the same tools and techniques that failed miserably with her, with her little sister, and they work! DD2 starts getting into something she shouldn't, I distract her with something, or 'honour the impulse' and she's happy! DD1 would just flip out and keep going back to whatever it was over and over and over....  So, if it's partly my fault as a parent, I can be reasonably sure it's not *totally* 'my fault' since I seem to be a pretty good parent to DD2!)

 

Okay, that's not at all succinct - so kudos if you've read all of this! Has anyone dealt with anything similar? I'm fairly sure I'm dealing with something outside the realm of 'normal' and considering taking her to the GP for an assessment, though not convinced they'll take me seriously. What's going on here? What am I missing? 

 

I would take her to your GP and ask to see for a referral to a developmental pediatrician -- my bottom line for when to have a child assessed is when the things that work for typical children simply don't work, no matter how hard you try. Given your experience with your second child, you know it's not how you're implementing the GD ideas that you're using, but something in how your child is responding to them.

 

Our son has very mild special needs (sensory issues that seem to wax and wane -- they've been on the wane for the last couple of years, and are now rearing their head again), but even so, some of the techniques suggested simply did not work for him. I, too, was surprised when the very same thing worked for his sister. I realize now that his sensory issues were so overwhelming that he was very 'stubborn' at times. It wasn't stubbornness, but inability to function differently. He wasn't stubborn all the time, just some of the time. So, it was hard to figure out. He sat by his boots for an hour or more in preschool once (his teachers felt he should be able to put them on at age 3 if he wanted to play outside). He had the choice of playing inside. He wanted to play outside, but didn't have the motor planning to be able to put the boots on. So he refused to do anything. (He couldn't articulate to his teachers that he couldn't figure it out.) Ditto for when they asked him to put his diaper in the diaper pail. The sensory stuff overwhelmed him. He couldn't do it. So, the poor teachers got to spend several hours in the bathroom with him, trying to wait him out. (Bad call on their part, by the way. We had a talk about that one.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post She still wakes a few times a night, and no matter what I do I can't get her to be quiet about it.  She picks fights with me first thing in the morning, before we even get up for the day, about ridiculous things.

 

This makes me wonder - does she have something going on with her sleep? Honestly, she sounds like a chronically sleep deprived child. I know there's at least one mom on this board whose son had his adenoids removed, which resolved his sleep apnea, which in turn made a huge difference in his behavior. He still has other challenges, but behaviorwise, he improved a ton. Sorry, I can't remember who it is. 

 

The sleep thing might be the way to get your GP to take you seriously.

 

By the way, if she wants to go off to her room, don't talk, just TAKE HER. She's found a way to tell you she needs space, but she probably doesn't have the resources to cognitively process mich talk. She's found a good coping strategy for her. "Ok, let's go." Put her in, shut the door (maybe don't lock it) and see what happens.

 


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#3 of 5 Old 11-23-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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I definitely agree 100% with Lynn. There seems to be something going on. Who knows, maybe it's a sleep issue, maybe something else, and of course, maybe it's just a phase. But you don't have enough info right now to come up with a course of action on your own. The sooner she is evaluated, the more they can do to help. I also think it's a good idea to bring her up to her room. Maybe if she continues to ask for time-out, you can gradually get her to walk up, but for now, just bring her. And during a calm time, maybe talk with her about the fact that she can give herself some quiet time if she needs it.

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#4 of 5 Old 11-24-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I agree completely with the other two posters, go get her an assessment.   It sounds like you know, deep down that she requires something other than "the norm" and it also sounds like you're completely exhausted trying to implement one new technique after another.  Kudos to you for being so patient so far.  There's all sorts of possibilities for what could be troubling her, and it doesn't necessarily have to be something serious -just a different way of learning and interacting with the world.  My mother said that I acted the exact same way ALL through childhood and was finally diagnosed with ADHD.  I know ADHD has a negative reaction by most people now, but as an adult who has learned to deal with it and doesn't take meds, I don't think it needs to be that big of a deal.  It's just a different way of thinking and learning, and it requires your family/teachers/etc to cater a bit more to what those differences are, but when they don't it can be VERY frustrating, especially as a child.  I'm also wondering what her relationship is like with other family members? Is there a dad? grandma? How does she treat her sister? Does she only challenge you or everyone?  Does she go to preschool and if so how does she respond to authority and rules there?  I also agree with the previous posters that it sounds like she's telling you that she needs space when she says she wants to be locked in her room.  And she needs it so bad that she will hit you to ensure that she's put there.  What does she do when you put her in her room at those times? Play quietly, read a book or pitch a fit    Good luck and keep us posted!

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#5 of 5 Old 11-25-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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This sounds EXACTLY like my dd from birth to age 4. What changed was after I took her to see her ped and she suspected food allergies. We drew her blood, one month later got the results, GLUTEN! Took her off completely, within 5 days we saw a change. Here we are 1 year later and while I believe she will always be a passionate individual, the change in her behavior is 100% improvent! She wakes up with a smile on her face, she does what is asked of her usually, she's amazing! I don't know if this could be the case with your dd, but it is worth checking it out!
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