Originally Posted by mamamille
why do you think she clings to you so? Why she is so relentless sometimes with her energy and body? What do you think she is saying? What does she want out of the turmoil?
|Have you asked her why she behaves the way she does? In all your posts, I only see you express yourself from your own perspective. You evidently don't quite understand where your DD "comes from", but I don't really get the impression you're actively trying to find out?
These are good questions and in fact I have asked her and I do care where she's coming from, but it's very hard to find out mainly because I cannot ask her when she's in a state, it's only when she's calm, and her sense of time is very vague, so her answers about the past are really unreliable. (I mean like at times she uses the wrong details, etc. leading me to believe she's talking about another time entirely.)
And then she very often says, "I don't know."
Sample questions: "You really were having a hard time calming down. Do you know what made you feel so excited?" "I know you don't want to hit. You know it's wrong. How did you feel when you hit? / What did you feel like when you were hitting?"
I do go further, but I always fear my probing questions are too leading in that respect, because open-ended questions get too little response. "I don't remember," for example. I might ask, "Did you feel angry or sad or something else?" But then she'll say, "something else." LOL! I really think she doesn't remember. Blind, momentary rage, so to speak.
There is certainly a physical aspect to it- overtired (as strict as I try to be with naptime and bedtime, it's the army, and we live in an apartment, and there's the baby, so...), hungry (if she chooses not to eat much), or if there are other people coming, going, or are here.
She gets REALLY wound up with other people. Despite five to seven hours a day in a social setting (she begs to go and never ONCE has she asked to leave excepting times I forgot the water bottle and she got super thirsty), she just begs to go out and get out and about. With new people, she literally goes nuts. It is just hard to watch, honestly--it looks like when they show bipolar kids on TV, only it's just while she gets used to the person. It is truly, truly manic.
True, I haven't asked how she feels at those times but she expresses her love for those people, "So-and-so is so fun! I love such-and-such! Can we see my auntie so I can talk to her? I want to go outside where people are!"
As for the arguing, sometimes I do ask her, "Honey, I'm tired. I told you why and it's very important. Can I ask WHY you are arguing?"
She says, "Because I love to argue! Arguing is fun! Don't you like it? I love it! NO! See?" Giggles. In fact I promise that is a verbatim answer from her today.
And I know she likes it. It's her raison d'etre. Which is fine, because now I do have a way to deal with that.
(Did I mention her favorite game is "no no it's mine!" in which two people pretend to fight over a favored object or piece of food? I'm not kidding. I asked what game she wanted to play and she said that was her favorite. WTF
but yes, I did play it...)
|That needs to go back on the shelf.
Marybethorama, first, those are kind of hypothetical imaginary statements I would have in my head when trying to think of something convincing.
I was addressing the point that I couldn't DISENGAGE from these points. I'm not sure what the last words before disengaging would be, but assuming I explained to her why I was giving up... that's what I was saying. They were used to kind of demonstrate how unrealistic and ridiculous it is to disengage from some things (argumentum ad absurdum). Not to explain how I speak to her.
|Sure. I said, "What's the problem, my son?"
"Well, you could give me a hug to help me calm down, and a snack. You could tell me a story. A lullaby would be helpful and lots of kisses!"
And what if you were to tell him, "Sweetie, there's nothing I'd love more. But daddy needs us now... and we have to go..."
So I will try to meet more of her needs... but honestly, it's not like my kitchen is clean (I mean, there is actually food on the floor and counters, and we do not have spoons right now, even though I washed and mopped yesterday), or my husband is happy with me, or my baby has shoes that fit.
I guess that is just one of those times that gentle has to go out the window.
|If the presumption is that children act out/badly/inappropriately b/c of unmet needs or underlying issues, and meeting those needs can do wonders to curb behavior, why wouldn't you just interact with the child?
Well I think I mentioned that my child is perfectly happy when her life is perfectly routine and I spend 100% of my attention on her 100% of the time. She has far fewer tantrums. I have time to soak grains that she likes, I can make three batches of bread so she can ruin them because what's two or five or ten hours in the greater scheme of things? We would wake in the morning and snuggle and then loll about while the eggs fried, daddy would not call (nobody would call, ever, if it were up to my kids, and yours, too, I imagine) except to speak to all of us without giving us stuff to do, the baby would sleep 24/7 and through anything even though she's already 15 months, and so on.
Sadly, that is not our life and THAT is why I wouldn't just interact with the child.
If it were just for five minutes, fine. But I assure you that we don't get to arguments right away. Ooooohhhhhh nooooooo. We try the challenge, then I try a little bit of reason and love and empathy in my last-ditch desperate attempt to be the Good Mom (admittedly my attempts are pathetic nowadays as I have more or less given up hope of her accepting empathy at that point), but that results in a two-minute discussion from which I cannot extract myself without being exceedingly rude, and then I am forced to put it out on the table: "This needs to be done in three or I'll do it for you..."
I'm not a total introvert, I guess I'm just really easily bored. I mean I love explaining physics and other interesting questions. Explaining why we have to go shopping for the six billionth time? Not so much! And again, I need some of my energy for my other child, and my husband.
Today I had zero energy left at the end of the day and I sat on the couch and just let them stay up. Frankly, I'm ready to give up on routine in the military life. I bust my butt to have this routine stable for them and it gets screwed up at least once a week, and then I cannot DEAL with another tantrum that is coming on, I just can. not. deal.
|I plan fun stuff for us to do and hope that we won't make it. I know that sounds weird but I use it as a tool. "If we finish our errands quickly, we'll have enough time to stop at the playground. In order to finish quickly, what do we need to do?" We then list it together.
I should mention that I tried this with my child and that it sort of works. If it's a simple thing, she can keep it in mind. However, there are two drawbacks that are mentioned in this thread.
(1) Most of what we do are really necessary things, things I can't give up. Like park time. Okay, she can't go to the park. But her sister and I need vitamin D as well. Her sister loves to play as well. I need to talk with other adults. So what then? And also...
(2) Diminishing returns.
But yes, we do use that when there is a genuine chance we might miss the fun thing. I don't like to contrive it.
|You know YOUR child best so have to determine what idea might work best for her.
I feel this whole thread highlights the fact that I do NOT know what might work best for her, beyond time-outs or me in a time-out. I have such a hard time connecting with her when she's either hysterically (but happily) defiant, or angry to the point of hitting.
I do not think a hug would help her in the long run. I tried that when she was younger and it temporarily increased hitting, not that she was much of a hitter as a toddler. I think she's experimenting with what she saw other kids do at the playground.
I do appreciate it and there have been so many creative ideas here... my hormones are finally into whack so I do have more perspective. I know she is going to be stubborn but the whole needing to argue thing is just wearing me ragged, LOL!
And I also do appreciate the whole, "You are the parent!" However I feel that this often is misused to say, "You don't have to listen to the child!"
And while there are times when I simply CAN'T listen to her because we have to take the long-term, inconvenient view, there are other times when I feel like I need to hear what she's saying, and yet, "You're a blubba butt" (don't ask, I have no idea, and it's not about fat, it's about heaven knows what) is not fully communicating what she is feeling.
And yet, asking her in English isn't working either.