My 8 yo. has been really difficult by being very rude and disrespectful. I am so upset right now and I'm crying because I feel like packing up everything that belongs to her and take her to CPS and ask them to find her a foster home. I hate feeling this way but I am really fed up and frustrated with her behavior. I feel like I'm betraying her for feeling this way but I just hate having to use magic 1,2,3 with her more than 10 times every day! She has been in therapy for sexual behaviors as she was sexually abused by her cousin few years ago and she has come long way. She used to behave really bad in school but now is doing really well.
I have been and still is in therapy to deal with her sexual behaviors and to deal with my anger by attending cognitive behavior triangle sessions and doing assignments for it.
HELP! I need new ideas!
You say she is `a child from hell`, that she is being `treated for her sexual behaviours`. Doesnt this sound a little like you are blaming her? She is a little girl trying to deal with grown up emotions and problems, with a childs emotions and reactions.
Give her as much attention and understanding as if she was still a small child. She must be feeling so small and scared and lost inside.
It is a trial having to deal with adult issues as such a young age - all of the trials and tribulations and difficulties with none of the benefits.
How could you even write that you think about sending her away! It is NOT her fault she was abused, not her fault she is now struggling with the after effects and will be for the rest of her life. She is a little girl. You are making her out to be a `devil child` when she is just struggling.
Please take time to reconnect, to let her be the small child she is, and to be more gentle with her. Give her time and love in response to her anger. She must be feeling so angry at the world, you cannot blame her for acting out that anger and fear.
I don't think that you are alone in feeling overwhelmed. I have felt like a failure on a few occassions to and I questioned whether I was cut out for being a parent. I don't think that you should feel bad about your feelings, feelings are totally different from actions and you are expressing them in a good way by talking about them and seeking help so you don't feel that way.
Your signature line says you have a 4 week old baby and twins who are also technically babies. Could some of this be you feeling overwhelmed right now and maybe a little post-partum depression? You have a lot on your plate and even normal behaviors may be very irritating when stress is involved. When my dd and I are at odds and I feel like I am not cut out for parenting it helps to find ways to connect with her. Can you have your husband entertain the babies (after they are nursed if you are nursing) while you spend some time playing or reading with your older daughter? Maybe you and she could sit together on the couch and watch a movie while the others play or nap. If you are able to leave the twins with your DH maybe you could bring your DD1 out on a little mama date to somewhere like a coffee shop with the baby in tow and just sit and have some yummy treats and a cocoa. If those things don't work maybe you could connect by just letting her sit with you or lean against you while you are holding/nursing the baby and ask her questions about her day.
I worked with 8-12 year-old sexual abuse survivors in a therapeutic group home for a year just after I graduated from college.
The aftermath of childhood abuse can be intense, and one of the notable things about it is how hard it is for adult caregivers to deal with.
If what this means for your family is that you have to use 1,2,3 Magic 10 times a day, you've gotten off lightly. I understand that your dd is frustrating, and that you aren't in love with this disciplinary method. But if it works for your dd, you should work with your therapist on embracing and celebrating that.
For comparison, some of the kids I worked with had homicidal ideation. Some of them needed to be restrained multiple times daily. A couple of them had command hallucinations. In the year I was there, every single client I worked with had at least one psychotic episode. These are things that do not respond to a count of three. With the kids I worked with, we didn't even consider a behavior problematic if the child could self-correct with a verbal prompt (like counting to three).
It's pretty typical for 8 yos to have episodes of rudeness. It's part of the process of testing their power in the world, and testing the people around them. A history of abuse can make this normal developmental pattern much more intense. It sounds like both you and your dd are receiving therapy. You should talk with your therapist about setting appropriate boundaries on rude behavior and devising a calm, consistent, predictable response (or adjusting your feelings about 1,2,3 Magic, if you are already using that calmly, consistently, and predictably). You might still feel frustrated at the end of the day. Honestly, that's OK, as long as your dd is safe. Tomorrow is another day, and the days will gradually get better.
ETA: I missed your sig! With a 4 week old baby and twin toddlers in the house, I bet sibling rivalry is playing a HUGE part in this right now. Let yourself love whatever works, and give your 8yo as much time and positive attention as you can. And get as much help as you can in this difficult time.
A really excellent book that might help you is: The Challenging Child by Stanley Greenspan -- I like this book because it outlines connection before consequences, but that it also sets up a plan for talking about problems and then following through.
The other thing is: Is there any way you can get help right now? You've got 4 kids to deal with who are all 'difficult' -- your older child because of her abuse issues, and the younger 3 because, they're just plain old young. Is there any chance you've got some post-partum issues going on? I'd keep an eye on how you feel the next few weeks and if it doesn't improve, see your health care provider.
Hang in there momma!
I want to be clear. I said I FEEL like sending her away but doesn't mean I WILL. I know I'll never be able to do that because I love her so much and she IS my life. I am human and its normal for me to be frustrated and angry. I came here to vent instead of telling her exactly how I felt because that would have destroyed her. So, please recognize that it took a strength for me to bite my tongue and to come in here to share. Thanks!
I came here to vent, get support and get some ideas not to get bashed.
And, No I'm not dealing with post partum depression because I have had that with my 8 yo when she was a baby. My little ones are easy to handle and my children's god mother lives with us so I do have plenty of help with little ones. I'm mostly frustrated with my 8 yo. rude and disrespectful behaviors. I know its normal for her to test boundaries and etc but last night, it was just so unbearable.
STIK and everyone else-- thanks for your insight and all.
By the way, my baby is now 6 weeks old. :)
I keep recommending The Explosive Child, too. It's really helpful for dealing with big emotions without always having to be "the heavy" which gets wearisome.
Another good read is Ten Days to a Less Defiant Child--which is a really excellent guide on how to work together instead of fight all the time. Again, how to discipline effectively without being the heavy.
It sounds like you are dealing with a lot right now. The best you can do is take it one step at a time. Be kind to yourself and your little girl and know that some day you'll have worked through all of this.
I was thinking about this post and I wanted to add that if you don't feel like the 1-2-3 Magic advice or the counseling is working (and you have been using it for a while) you might want to look into other counselors and other techniques. I suggest asking the Victim/Witness coordinator who worked with your dd (or if you didn't report it just call the police department and ask to speak with one) to see if they can recommend a good counselor. We had one good counselor (a psychologist) for these things in our area out of hundreds of counselors who would work on these things. She had an enormous waiting list but the Victim/Witness coordinator and the prosecuting attorney are sometimes willing to pull strings to help people bypass that waiting list. There are many bad counselors and they make the anger worse rather than better.
Another recommendation for The Explosive Child. She is also old enough that she could work with you to brainstorm solutions. Let her know some of your feelings--that you are sad and frustrated too--and that being a mom doesn't mean you have all the answers. That you need her help to make things more smooth at your place. Apologize for anything you've done that you didn't mean to--yelling, disciplining in anger, whatever it was. Ask if you can work together in a way that you can both be happy.
I would get some one on one time with her doing what SHE likes to do. Show interest in her likes and try to find something positive. This will help you reconnect and give you some good memories to have with her, and the same for her. If you were getting 100% 'flack' and 0% 'positive' from a 'boss', you'd likely be non-compliant too! She may feel like she can't do anything right, so why try.
Hugs, and absolutely zero judgement here. Hugs.
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
I'll get back to you gals with more thoughts..right now I'm busy. Just wanted to say thanks for more ideas and supports.
I just wanted to say I understand. We got custody of my partners 6 year old daughter after she alleged sexual abuse at her moms house. She was such a handful! I loved and cared for her, but found myself very resentful of all the drama she caused in our house. I fully understood why she was acting like she was. I didn't blame her. She was hurting inside and just acting out. BUT!!! even with that knowledge there were days I wished we could just send her away. It was so hard to be the perfect,compassionate, understanding parent every second of every day. I think unless people have btdt they don't understand how truly draining it can be, Sending hugs to you and your daughter. Hang in there!
People probably think I'm the crazy mom who recommends painting for any kind of emotional thing, but doing something creative really helps kids deal with things. My older DD, 24 now, had some issues at 8 through 14 and painting always took her out of her real world with all it's problems. My younger DD, 5 years old, finds painting and doing art projects calming. My oldest DD is very talented and doing art could be very cathartic, because she could express her emotions with images. Also a person is completely in control when they are creating something. For some kids it can be the only time they really feel in control.
Don't feel guilty. By the time my oldest DD was 12, I'd remind myself that she'd be an adult in 6 years. Hey I was 2/3s through. It sounds bad, but it's normal to have such feelings when you are overwhelmed.
I'm sorry I dont have too much to add but I wanted to send to you because you are doing the hardest job in the world everyday all day with so much love and dedication. Hugs and support to you.
8 was a rough age for my girls with being "mouthy" and seemingly hard to get along with and they were not abused. So hang in there and if you feel the 1,2,3 thing does not work you can always dig into some GD:)
Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS