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#1 of 22 Old 10-03-2012, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter who will be four next month recently tested in the 99th %ile for academic skills.  I had her screened as much of her behavior since birth had challenged, delighted and perplexed me and I wanted to try and understand her better.  The child psychologist (a well-respected professor in her field) felt that we certainly have a very smart and 'probably gifted' child.  We plan to have her fully tested when she enters school, as I understand this is needed in the current education system in order to advocate successfully for these kinds of kids.

My question is has anyone come across a good book or resource for understanding and managing some of the more difficult gifted characteristics like belligerence, bossiness, non-compliance etc that are turning our household into a bit of a battleground?  Frankly, I'm exhausted after four years of serious sleep deprivation (her brother who is 18 months younger is also showing some classic signs of giftedness but is not nearly so difficult to manage - Between the two of them I have been pushed to my limits of exhaustion).

I am reading around the subject as much as I can and haven't yet found a book that has provided that 'aha' moment.  Plenty of books and websites have been great at diagnosing and characterizing giftedness and having an empathetic approach to parenting gifted kids but I have not yet found anything with some concrete ideas on how to create respectful resolution to the problems we are facing with eating, aggression towards her brother and refusal to co-operate (well above and beyond what is normal for her age). 

Just tonight I found myself threatening to send her to bed without dinner after she refused to eat anything at dinnertime, following a day where she has returned from preschool with her lunchbox as full of tasty treats, save for a small yoghurt and few 'Sunchip' crisps, as it was when she left in the morning.  She has successfully refused food to such an extent in the past that she dropped from the 90th to the 15th %ile as a toddler.  This child is determined and extremely non-compliant.  The psychologist didn't think there was any form of illness or disorder around food.  I am putting this and the other major difficulties we have experienced with sleep since birth and potty training among a host of other things, down to her probable giftedness and long for some parenting wisdom to take me beyond sending my hungry child to bed. 

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#2 of 22 Old 10-03-2012, 11:46 PM
 
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My 4 year old son is a lot like this. I haven't had him formally tested but he has a lot of signs of "giftedness."  I have heard these books are helpful: 'Kids, Parents and Power Struggles' by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and also the 'Spirited Child' by the same author and 'Living with the Active Alert Child' by Linda Budd. These are on my bookshelf, but have only browsed through them, so I can't make any claims from personal experience (I have a two-year old too!) My oldest son doesn't eat much either and is on the skinny side. He's just too busy all the time. We are planning on homeschooling him and his little brother and I just don't know if I'm up to the task. smile.gif

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#3 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 02:42 AM
 
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My sympathies...it is no walk in the park. I don't drop by often anymore, so just a very quick take, because I remember those exhausting days as well...power struggles - that's so very hard.. I really cannot think of any one magic solution, or if it was any one thing that we did right to turn the situation because it was a gradual progression rather than anything else. I would consider how things are in school, at home, and with friends. Does she act up in school? Or do you only see it at home? It all have an interactive effect on the child. If one area is not going well, she may be taking it out on another area. If she feels a loss of control or humiliation in school, she may take it out on the brother or on you. My son takes it all out at home on us. The teachers do not see it at all. The most basic of food and sleep can make a lot of difference. But darn, you got it hard there. Okay, never mind, but I must tell you a marshmallow or a special treat when I see his frown while walking home from the school bus has saved my home from being blown up quite a few times. If food doesn't work, try music. Play it just before she steps in to help shift the atmosphere. Sensory issues? Hidden learning issues? My son tested beyond the 99th percentile, but he struggled mightily in school because of 2e issues. The OT told me that he had sensory issues and poor proprioception and that generally kids like that tend to be very "rigid" because they feel so unsure in their own skin. When they feel more confident and comfortable with their bodies - that they can trust their bodies - they will ease up and be more giving towards others. When you have more, you can give more. Connected to above - sound/light sensitivity? Does she suffer from headaches? My son would come home wiht a headache every day when he did not have his Irlen filters. He would bite straight into his little brother the minute he stepped into the house, though marshmallows and music can moderate the reaction. Does she feel like throwing up when she doesn't eat? As a former anorexic, I can tell you that I can go with minimal food for a long time, but I feel really lousy. Being able to control hunger is empowering. I know the psychologist said it is not a food issue. But consider the possibility that she may have stumbled upon an area where she has complete control and you can't do a thing. This is one area where she has found mastery. Unfortunately she is young and will not understand the flip side of its slavery. I would suggest not making food an issue at all and simply continue giving her food and a hug on the way out. Connected to the above food issue - are there any signs of OCD/anxiety disorders in the family? Is it just rebelliousness, or is it more? Have a think. Anger is sometimes used to mask anxiety, especially in children with strong pride. They rather be angry than frightened. And is it such a big deal if she does not do something? Yes, I know it is upsetting, yes I know it is alarming and yes, it is DEFINITELY way over and above normal children's reaction. My son's psychologist, after knowing my history, highlighted to me that OCD/anxiety disorders has a heditary component. I can see it in my mum as well. I learn so much about myself when trying to learn how to manage my son's wilfulness and I knew when he was five that I have to help him manage these huge emotions. We calibrate emotional reaction and discuss what is a one opposed to a five. We do deep breathing. When I snap and cool off, I apologise and tell him I should him done what I told him to do and get a drink or go for a walk. We discuss the difference between wisdom and intelligence, so that he understands I am not belittling him when I tell him he is wrong. Finally, because I need to run, consider if you have in any way, withdrew affection from her recently, unwittingly. With a younger child, it is sometimes easy to forget to hug the older one. Try building in two hugs a day and she may be nicer to her brother. (but don't be afraid to stick to the rules. Just make sure the rules you make do not push you into a difficult corner when you have to carry out penalties - eg the food issue. ) all the best!
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#4 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 02:58 AM
 
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Ah now I can't stop! Just wanted to add, being strong willed has its benefits. During better days I would remind myself that, and I also affirm my son that having a strong mind of his own is a positive thing. My son is 8 now. He is also much more cooperative and a good older brother now. He needed a lot of support for his sensory issues, we talk a lot about situations in school, I try to get him to see things from others' perspectives rather than say "you are wrong". I also take him out to a nice restaurant occasionally, just two of us. His teacher told me he is amazingly mature for his age and knows right from wrong and is able to explain situations to his classmates. So take heart ! This is coming from a mother who once hid in her bed because she didn't think she could take it anymore. smile.gif
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#5 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 04:33 AM
 
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My sonhas always been strong willed, and a picky eater. He used to spend time picking out every "green thing" in the spaghetti sauce, for example. Now that increases in food sensitivities has forced us to make our own sauce, he puts the spices in the sauce, and eats those "green things" (basil and parsley). So making the food with you may help, as she will know exactly what's in it.

Also, he went through stages where he would only eat one thing. Maybe tacos at one time, and then pizza after that. Over the long term, there was variety, but there were stretches of 'the same thing, every night'. I made various foods available, and if he wanted the latest favorite, let him eat it. He grew fine and has had good health. As we came to understand his food allergies and intolerances better, I can see that some of the picky behavior may have been the result of him not feeling well after eating certain foods.

For you and how this affects you, I can only tell you that I used to remind myself that the same behavior I found difficult was going to mean he would be determined and persistent as an adult. Good qualities to have.

Good luck to you.
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#6 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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You need to separate out these issues and not try to blanket them under giftedness. My brother and I both had the label, totally different personalities and issues. DH and his THREE sisters, all identified... the only threads between them are other "family" genetic traits that really have nothing to do with giftedness. I have two identified children. My eldest was the most compliant a 4-year-old you could meet. She needed more sleep than your average kid and ate anything asked of her. My youngest was extremely difficult and will- full. Didn't sleep through the night for years and even when he did, just needed less of it. Meal time was a nightmare... a total nightmare. I'm not suggesting that giftedness is never an issue or that it can't exacerbate certain problems but in your case, you'll have better luck finding resources if you pull apart the issues and seek help from them individually as opposed to assuming high IQ is the root.

 

I highly recommend trying some occupational therapy. We learned our DS had an overactive gag reflex. Most food made him feel like he was choking. It turned around our whole approach. We stopped fighting the food issues with "tough love" (which was what we'd been doing with disastrous results.) We found he had a host of other sensory issues that contributed to everything we were having problems with. The therapist was able to give us actual tools and a plan for handling these issues and it totally turned everything around for us.

 

I recommend the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" as well. I suspect you'll get your Ah-ha moment then. I certainly did.


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#7 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 01:06 PM
 
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Yes, I agree with whatsnextmom -- these are not traits of giftedness. They are traits which can (probably more than one would statistically expect) co-exist with giftedness. Only one of my four gifted kids has fallen under what I would consider a "spirited/challenging" description. And the two most spirited/challenging kids I've known since becoming a parent are not gifted. I would tackle this more as a personality/behavioural issue than a gifted issue. Obviously if your child is gifted you may need to adapt the tone and style of the solutions you try to suit her intellectual level, but for me the basic principles of dealing with the problematic behaviour were those that apply to spirited kids, not gifted kids. The solutions I found were those in gentle discipline forums, in the philosophy of empathic parenting, in a democratic style of family interactions. 

 

"Raising Your Spirited Child" was definitely helpful for me, too.

 

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#8 of 22 Old 10-06-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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It certainly sounds like she's opinionated, but I don't think that's necessarily a gifted issue.   (Not saying she's not gifted.)  If there's any consolation, I had one of those who is now ten and he grew out of everything except the food pickiness by about age 5. 

 

I think you'd be better off handling each behavior separately in the context of your daughter's amazing will power. ;)  

 

First, I would end the food battle.  It's your job to provide healthy meals and your dd's job to decide whether and how much to eat.  It's possible your child has some food sensitivities and that's why food is such a battleground. Two of my three are PG, the other is HG, and my HG boy is the one with food sensitivities.  He was also a poor sleeper, like you say your dd was.  He had reflux and I think that interfered with his sleep.  Foodwise,  he absolutely will not eat squishy food.  He never has, never will.  That means he wouldn't eat baby food.  Wouldn't eat yogurt, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, etc.   He needs food to regulate his blood sugar, (and behavior) though, so I make sure there's always something on the table he will eat.  And he must choose a protein and a vegetable to eat (I always have a choice I know he'll eat.)  This has eliminated that battles.  His two siblings eat anything, so it also allows me to cook for the rest of the family, and let him eat with us.  I gave up trying to force him to eat what I wanted him to like a long time ago, and we're all better for it.  

 

If your dd only eats yogurt, I would provide yogurt and a vegetable or small cut-up protein at dinner, along with frequent snacks.  

 

As for the "belligerence, bossiness and non-compliance." Bad behavior isn't a gifted issue.  It's a parental issue.  Your dd might have a tough personality that needs some redirection.  I've seen "The Spirited Child" referenced often, so it's probably good.  But I think old-fashioned limits are good, too.  I liked 1-2-3 Magic when my kids were little.  It just lets them know you expect them to listen.   If my kids were belligerent or bossy or refused to do what I asked, they would get a privilege taken away. 

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#9 of 22 Old 10-08-2012, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, thanks for your good advice. 

I'm a big believer in Ellyn Satter's 'Division of Responsibility in feeding' approach and have found it's really helped our family.  I've read several of her books and not yet worked out how to apply it fully to my daughter. The non-compliance seems to be the issue, not the feeding behaviour as far as I can tell.  My son on the other hand responds very well to the hands off approach and will choose food from what I provide, unlike his sister who can essentially 'go on hunger strike' (I know it sounds strange given that kids are supposed to give in and eat what's provided once they're really hungry - she just doesn't and loses more and more weight, until I have to step in and start feeding her again, yes and give her attention around food by doing so - I get that.)  Unfortunately, the attention associated with requesting that she eats something for dinner  (I wish that could include any vegetable or protein, fortunately yogurt is still on the menu)  gets the job done, and backing off assuming she will eat what and when she wants results in very little food going in for days at a time.

She was under the care of a specialist between 9 months and 2 years of age following an infection that temporarily damaged her gut.  She was fully tested at that time and no sensitivities, intolerances or allergies were found.  Several doctors I've spoken to since don't seem to think there has been a lasting effect on her physiologically or psychologically from her period of illness. Sleeping only improved after weaning her from the breast at 13 months - It seemed once she was no longer getting her night-time 'mommy fix' that sleeping for several hours at a stretch became an option. 

I'm glad to hear your son overcame his food aversions, hopefully my daughter will too!

I will re-read the spirited child and perhaps with a fresh set of eyes get something more from it.

Thanks for your help.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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I have a friend whose son was in food therapy.  We considered it for my son, too, but he never dipped below 15th percentile in weight, which was the threshold for getting insurance to cover it. My friend's son benefitted tremendously from food therapy.  He's still a skinny guy, but he eats a much broader range of food that my own son.  Especially given your dd's medical history, I would think she would be a prime candidate.

 

Also, re the food-- I never let my son lose a dramatic amount of weight with food strikes.  He was too skinny already and has always had a bit of a blood sugar issue (he was born "shakey," and in need of a bottle right away).  So, in my own house, I would give in to his food issues.  I know that advise is to not do that, so I split the difference.  He got what he would eat (plus he was offered everything else), but at specific mealtimes, which made him more likely to eat.  He's also a huge milk-lover, so I would fortify his milk with instant breakfast to get more calories in him.  Now at age 10, he has protein powder in his milk.

 

Good luck!

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#11 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 03:48 PM
 
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As a mom whose kids are all below the 15th percentile for weight, I just wanted to point out that it means "15 percent of healthy children are at or below this weight." Normal healthy children. My eldest was a beefy baby: she breastfed non-stop, and gained weight like crazy during infancy and babyhood. She was 20 pounds at six months age (90th percentile). After a year, she began to track down towards what is normal for her, which meant dropping from the 90th, to the 50th, to the 25th, to the 5th percentile. She's now an incredibly healthy 107 pound adult and has tracked nicely along the 5th percentile for weight since age 4. She had no food issues. I admit she was an extremely picky eater as a child, and at times seemed to live on nothing, but we never made an issue of it as she was healthy and we had already learned that she had, er... extremely high autonomy needs, to say it nicely. Anyway, she's petite: her younger sisters are similar. Dd9 is under 60 pounds and still fits size 4T underwear.

 

I imagine the original poster knows that there's nothing wrong with being on or below the 15th percentile per se. I just see that percentile being referenced repeatedly as if it's some sort of red flag in and of itself -- and it seems to be for at least one insurance company. Even a drop from the 90th to the 5th percentile can be normal, healthy and physiological, depending on the context.

 

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#12 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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Any child who goes for days without eating or eating very little is not doing it as a control issue. Young children usually forget the next morning that there was a battle yesterday. And as someone who grew up with food issues that were not believed, doctors make mistakes. In my opinion, what children say is discounted too often. And maybe you should try reading a different parenting book. The one you mention doesn't seem to work with this child, regardless of how many other children the advice works for. Yogurt has bacteria. Maybe she's craving helpful bacteria.
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Any child who goes for days without eating or eating very little is not doing it as a control issue. Young children usually forget the next morning that there was a battle yesterday. 

 

At age 3 my eldest dd called my mom by her first name, and when my mom asked her to please call her "grandma," my dd refused for four and a half years to call her anything at all. Just "Hey!" It was a defining part of their relationship for a long time: my mom's regret over turning it into a control battle, her frustration over my dd's iron will, the often-humorous contortions my dd would go through to avoid using her name ... 

 

I realize you said "usually forget," not "always." But really, if you have an intense, stubborn kid who is prone to control battles, forgetting is rather the exception.

 

I agree, though, that doctors are fallible and that it might be worth revisiting physical causes as a possibility if they haven't been investigated in a couple of years. 

 

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#14 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 08:41 PM
 
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Any child who goes for days without eating or eating very little is not doing it as a control issue. Young children usually forget the next morning that there was a battle yesterday. And as someone who grew up with food issues that were not believed, doctors make mistakes. In my opinion, what children say is discounted too often. And maybe you should try reading a different parenting book. The one you mention doesn't seem to work with this child, regardless of how many other children the advice works for. Yogurt has bacteria. Maybe she's craving helpful bacteria.

 

I have to agree with Miranda. I once put my DS on a time out when he was about 3. He was so angry at me he refused to leave the bottom stair the rest of the day, slept on it at night and continued to skulk on it much of the next day. He was once so angry that we ran out of raisin bran, he didn't eat for a good 2 days despite there being other options.

 

Certainly, food issues should be considered and I was grateful to have a doctor who acted immediately when I went to her in frustration. However, there was no denying that a child who displays control issues in every other area of life might also use it in regards to food too.


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#15 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 09:09 PM
 
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I have to agree with Miranda. I once put my DS on a time out when he was about 3. He was so angry at me he refused to leave the bottom stair the rest of the day, slept on it at night and continued to skulk on it much of the next day. He was once so angry that we ran out of raisin bran, he didn't eat for a good 2 days despite there being other options.

Certainly, food issues should be considered and I was grateful to have a doctor who acted immediately when I went to her in frustration. However, there was no denying that a child who displays control issues in every other area of life might also use it in regards to food too.

I do not know how to respond without being adversarial. My response, however, is also off topic.
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#16 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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Hi, thanks for your good advice. 
I'm a big believer in Ellyn Satter's 'Division of Responsibility in feeding' approach and have found it's really helped our family.  I've read several of her books and not yet worked out how to apply it fully to my daughter. The non-compliance seems to be the issue, not the feeding behaviour as far as I can tell.  My son on the other hand responds very well to the hands off approach and will choose food from what I provide, unlike his sister who can essentially 'go on hunger strike' (I know it sounds strange given that kids are supposed to give in and eat what's provided once they're really hungry - she just doesn't and loses more and more weight, until I have to step in and start feeding her again, yes and give her attention around food by doing so - I get that.)  Unfortunately, the attention associated with requesting that she eats something for dinner  (I wish that could include any vegetable or protein, fortunately yogurt is still on the menu)  gets the job done, and backing off assuming she will eat what and when she wants results in very little food going in for days at a time.
She was under the care of a specialist between 9 months and 2 years of age following an infection that temporarily damaged her gut.  She was fully tested at that time and no sensitivities, intolerances or allergies were found.  Several doctors I've spoken to since don't seem to think there has been a lasting effect on her physiologically or psychologically from her period of illness. Sleeping only improved after weaning her from the breast at 13 months - It seemed once she was no longer getting her night-time 'mommy fix' that sleeping for several hours at a stretch became an option. 
I'm glad to hear your son overcame his food aversions, hopefully my daughter will too!
I will re-read the spirited child and perhaps with a fresh set of eyes get something more from it.
Thanks for your help.

My question for you is -- what result do you want? For your child to be healthy and confident? For your authority to be acknowledged? That is important for being able to give you answers that will appeal to you.innocent.gif
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#17 of 22 Old 10-10-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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http://www.bewhatsright.com/

I wonder if you might find some ideas at the above site.
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#18 of 22 Old 10-11-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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 The non-compliance seems to be the issue, not the feeding behaviour as far as I can tell.  My son on the other hand responds very well to the hands off approach and will choose food from what I provide, unlike his sister who can essentially 'go on hunger strike' (I know it sounds strange given that kids are supposed to give in and eat what's provided once they're really hungry - she just doesn't and loses more and more weight, until I have to step in and start feeding her again, yes and give her attention around food by doing so - I get that.)  Unfortunately, the attention associated with requesting that she eats something for dinner  (I wish that could include any vegetable or protein, fortunately yogurt is still on the menu)  gets the job done, and backing off assuming she will eat what and when she wants results in very little food going in for days at a time.

 

She was under the care of a specialist between 9 months and 2 years of age following an infection that temporarily damaged her gut.  She was fully tested at that time and no sensitivities, intolerances or allergies were found.  Several doctors I've spoken to since don't seem to think there has been a lasting effect on her physiologically or psychologically from her period of illness. Sleeping only improved after weaning her from the breast at 13 months - It seemed once she was no longer getting her night-time 'mommy fix' that sleeping for several hours at a stretch became an option. 

I'm glad to hear your son overcame his food aversions, hopefully my daughter will too!

 kiwikid,

You're having it really tough! I had to scroll back up to check how old your daughter was again. I think it may a combination of factors rolled into a negative cycle. I agree that you probably have to separate out the issues in looking for information, but actually dealing with them will require the combined knowledge.

 

I think the food issue is a biggie - which of course you have to hide from her! As one poster pointed out, it affects their blood sugar level and their behaviour big time. You cannot have a realistic picture of the child's temperament when they are at semi-starvation level for whatever reason. It is one thing if your child is eating a lot, healthy and energtic, but still skinny from burning up so much fuel everyday. It is quite another if your child is skinny because she is eating only to survive.

 

It can be food sensitivities, it can be about gaining control.  I have another allergic skinny child with sleep issues, and I was a former anorexic patient, so I really really feel for you AND your child right now. I will just throw up some ideas on what I would do in your shoes, just pick through and see whatever may be useful to you.

 

- I was very concerned to read that she had a prolonged gut health problem previously. I don't know what treatment she went through, but it might have left some impressions. Allergic testing is helpful but not fool-proof and the results change over the years. It may be worthwhile to do another test. (Doctors are usually quite reluctant to test young children until they are in a bad shape because of the invasive nature of gut testing.)  No pds wanted to test my son for allergies until he was in a pretty bad shape, and only until he had a peanut reaction that made them pay attention. That took three years of asking.

 

- Consider that her guts may still be sensitive. Other than food sensitivities (which is a big topic in itself, maybe hop over to allergy forum? :) ) If there was probing of any kind during her period of illness, she may also have an aversion to food going down. Yogurt is non-threatening and easy and doesn't rub. So consider food with similar texture. Smoothies may be a good choice (but hold back on citrus/acidic fruits, tomatoes, ketchup which are not ideal for sensitive tummies), mashed potatoes, risotto. If it is a matter of texture, it may be a good idea to get a therapist to work with her on this.

 

-  If she has been eating very little for a long time, she will not be able to eat much. It is likely that her stomach has shrunk and the digestive juices have decreased. You have to ease her back gradually through small regular mini-meals that are easy to eat. Eating doesn't have to be at the dinner table. It can be picnic at an outdoor concert. Coupling food with fun outdoor activities can give it a more positive association and also make it more "neutral". The activity, not the food, becomes the main event, so she may feel it's ok to eat or that perhaps no one will pay attention to whether or not she is eating.

 

You can also have a very frank talk with her, telling her that you have been worried about her eating because of her past medical history nd you just want to make sure she is ok. If she does not feel well after eating a particular food, she should let you know because she knows her body reaction best. Ask her to name you five food that makes her body feel good (no junk food allowed), and tell her you will make sure there is always some for her in the house. You can also start guiding her to pay attention to how she may feel when she does not have enough food (nausea, headaches etc) so it becomes not a food issue per se, but how to make her feel better.

 

During the time when I had trouble with my strong-willed firstborn and he had a lot of issues going on with him, my one rule that must be enforced was no hurting his younger brother. I told him I would do the same for him if there was an older child living in the house. I also had to make a conscious effort to do nice things with him/ for him amid my busy schedule and despite being angry with him. Instead of facing down every battle, I gave myself time-out when I felt pushed to the wall. It did help things shift to a more positive plane.  

 

It is a lot of work. You should also give yourself a weekly off-day when you can give yourself a pat on your back for making it through the week. For me, I don't cook two dinners a week and instead we go to a fancy restaurant that will cater to my son's allergies and rent funny movies to watch. You need something to keep you going or you will burn out over time.

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#19 of 22 Old 10-14-2012, 11:29 PM
 
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Oh wow, I identify with you!!  My child is definitely very bright but has not been tested for giftedness.   Separately, in searching for answers to her emotional and behavior issues, I stumbled upon "overexcitabilities," and looking into all this seems to explain so much more than any other ideas/advice we've been given so far.  (My husband and I are goth gifted as well.)

 

As for resources: I've taken parenting classes for 3 1/2 years, we've talked to the pediatrician, therapists, a child development expert, early childhood educators, parent educators, and the OT, and I've read so, so many books and I still feel like I'm lacking that "Aha" moment for my 4 year old daughter too, just as you said.  We have gotten some tools that may help a little at times, but not any overarching solution or help that gets to the heart of the problem(s).  I don't think parenting can always be blamed for behavior like this-- some parents, as Kurcinka says in Raising Your Spirited Child, do have to work harder and be more skilled than others, and we must be extreme examples!  I am in no way lacking in parenting skills, but my child has some major behavior issues. 

 

I am currently reading Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, also by Kurcinka.  I think this has been the most helpful so far, but still, a defiant kid can reject your efforts, even when you find an optimal teaching moment.  And her emotions can escalate so fast you just can't stop it and calm her before it gets out of control.  So yeah, helpful, but we still have unaddressed problems.

 

Sorry I don't have more advice, but I will keep checking this page to see if you find any great solutions, and in the meantime, know you're not alone!

 

--Dana

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#20 of 22 Old 10-19-2012, 06:48 AM
 
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I had a talk with my son yesterday about this thread. He said that when so much was out of his control, as a child, it was very important to him to have control over some things. I thought about that observation. I would *never* tell an adult "you must eat this", so I should not do that to a child. Each person has the right to control what goes in his/her body. The parents' job is to provide nourishing food. There are many suggestions in the "super picky 6 year old" thread, and I'm sure on other threads, as well. Maybe you can look for ways to give control to the child.
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#21 of 22 Old 10-24-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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I don't have any answers,I just want to say that this sounds extremely familiar. My daughter is 3 1/2 and a handful. I noticed you got a few replies saying these behaviors are not related to giftedness, and maybe that's true, but they certainly seem to go together. My daughter hasn't been tested yet, and other than how it relates to resources later I don't care if she is officially gifted or not. However, the descriptions of the gifted, highly sensitive child describe her so well. I think it's easy for people to say it's a parenting deficiency but we don't have it easy. Conventional rewards/consequences are useless to her. It's hard to explain but the best I can do is to say that she sees through it. In other words, any artificial system of rewards and consequences is instantly about me and her because she knows that I'm the one making it up and could just as easily do it another way. Not to say there are no behavior consequences, but I've had to really focus on natural, logical consequences so she understands that her behavior has consequences and not because I'm doing it to her. Also, it's definitely a case of choose your battles, as I don't have the energy to engage in every little thing. Big stuff like we use good manners, gentle touch, etc. I try to focus on helping her to internalize some core values rather than adhere to a list of external rules. She's not "bad" most of the time, and is very sweet, just requires massive amounts of energy and attention. I know, all kids do and it sounds like I'm being ridiculous, which is why I don't talk about it a lot, but it's pretty clear to anyone who spends time with her. As for the eating struggles, we have those, too, but definitely not to the degree you describe. For us, the similar issue is with potty training and pooping in particular. When she had just turned 1, she had a stomach bug with diarrhea. It upset her that she couldn't stop it, and she basically decided she wasn't going to go anymore. I mentioned it to our doctor who said kids that age don't have that kind of control. After horrible cycles of refusing to go and painful bowel movements she is on miralax and doing ok. However, she absolutely will not use the potty. She'll play going on the potty but has not even once actually sat down and gone. I tried the 3 day "boot camp" approach, which obviously didn't work, but the big improvement is that she now will talk about going where she was in denial before about ever needing to go. After writing this all out it seems more difficult than it really is (and I didn't mention half of it :-) but it's definitely not all bad! Her personality was so forceful? even pre-birth that I always knew she was going to be difficult and really fun at the same time. So I guess I'm just saying that you're not alone and not imagining or causing it!
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#22 of 22 Old 10-31-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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Only someone who has experienced something like a kid like this can get how blurry the lines of discipline can be in a situation like this.

I have read the aforementioned books, and found them somewhat helpful. Two books I resisted reading for a long time because of their titles, but that I found helpful were "the Explosive Child" and "the Difficult Child." both have some good information and techniques if you can get past the titles. Ross Greene, author of the explosive child has a good website herehttp://www.livesinthebalance.org/

Also,food issues *can* be very tricky,- a Dr or Drs who says there aren't any, or they are "just" behavioral, is not of so much help to you. I had issues with eating as a child, and it was handled with power struggle,not particularly helpful to me. I now have a son, also gifted, for whom eating is tricky, and who also lives on yogurt. We are not to the bottom of it yet either, but we have made great progress using the Ross Greene method.

I also find there are times that feeding my almost 7 year old is ok with me as a way to nurture him *and* nourish him but only when I am in the nurturing place, not the power struggle place.

Good luck Mama trust your "gut" - pun intended wink1.gif and let us know what works,

Wife to Bear - Mom to DS 7, gifted with SPD and DD 2, a Joybunny!
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