Marital separation and growing agression in my 5 year old, please help. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 08-31-2011, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll make this short and sweet.  I need tools, badly. And I want them to be as gentle as possible as we are going through an extremely hard time in our family life right now.  DH and I have been separated and living together since March but the upheaval dates way back, most specifically to about 1 1/2 years ago.  I know this is a long time for our DD's ( 5 and 2) to be living in uncertain circumstances and I'm really starting to see some effect on DD1.  Lots of aggression towards me and DD2.  My formerly sweet, easygoing babe has turned into someone who is hard to reason with when problems arise.

 

I hate time outs and don't use them.  What DO I do when she gets aggressive or out of control?  Time ins don't particularly work for us, she's too worked up most of the time.  Logical consequences don't work i.e.-if you're going to hit your sister, then you can't play with her. This is something I never had to worry about with her before, EVER.  She is a bright, very athletic kid who has always been way ahead of her peers in most things.  She was always spirited but fairly easy to manage.  Now I just feel helpless.  Please, please help-I feel like she's slipping away and I want to maintain our wonderful bond.

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#2 of 4 Old 08-31-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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While I generally agree that we must teach our children how to act appropriately, I also strongly feel that when our children are acting out of character, we really need to dig deeper.

 

There is probably some specific need that isn't being met, and discipline, unless unneccessarily harsh, will not make the behavior stop.  Children, as you know, are limited in how they can express their emotions and needs.

 

That said, I would really watch her and see what seems to trigger the behaviors.  I know you know that your living situation is stressful for her, but that's a general problem.  Maybe even keep a journal for a week or so and see if you can find a link to some specific things that really seem to bother her.  Then you'll have some material to ponder what really is bothering her.  Then you can address THAT, instead of telling her she's doing something wrong. 

 

It could be that if you can define what is triggering her to act out of character, you can prevent it by stepping in ahead of time and redirecting her.

 

 


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#3 of 4 Old 08-31-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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I wanted to add that in the moment, while you are trying to sort out the why's of her behavior, I would just say something calm like, "Seems you're having a hard time right now, come sit by Mama for a few minutes."  I know you said that time-ins don't really work, but I wouldn't worry about anything "working" just yet.  I would be concerned with protecting everyone from injury, and from keeping my dd from getting too out of hand. 

 

I also wanted to suggest that you look at her eating and sleeping patterns.  When things are crazy for us (lots of travel, etc), we don't get enough protein, and our immune systems get weak.  And, my kids get grumpy.  WIth all the upheavel, does she still have protein for breakfast?  Still sleep enough?  Those things could seriously impact her behavior, too.


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#4 of 4 Old 09-04-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post

While I generally agree that we must teach our children how to act appropriately, I also strongly feel that when our children are acting out of character, we really need to dig deeper.

 

There is probably some specific need that isn't being met, and discipline, unless unneccessarily harsh, will not make the behavior stop.  Children, as you know, are limited in how they can express their emotions and needs.


I agree with this advice, up to a point. I think that no matter what's going on underneath it all, bad behavior needs to be addressed. Good (gentle) discipline is never NOT appropriate, in my opinion. However....your child is currently living in a "not-the-best" situation. I would make sure that you're affectionate and attentive with her; ask her to tell you how she feels, in whatever way that she's able. Assure her that you love her and her dad loves her and that none of the adults' issues have anything to do with her. I would make sure she knows that, even if it means reminding her of it every day.

 


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