Unschooling a challenging child (update in post #186) - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-28-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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Hugs, Mama! Sounds like you're trying so hard to do everything in your power for your dd, and she truly sounds extremely difficult.

I HIGHLY recommend you look into the Feingold program suggested by the pp. Sounds very much like food sensitivities, and highly sensitive children can react aggressively and vehemently to food triggers, which can range from naturally-occuring salicylates found in strawberries, grapes, apples, tomatoes and others to casein and gluten. It isn't simply a matter of avoiding preservatives, although that can be a trigger for many children.

My older ds gets very negative and disruptive to our family after consuming too much wheat and dairy. It's very much physiological and a huge reason why I'm grateful to be able to homeschool and offer him daily homemade foods that will prevent him from feeling awful and reacting.

I feel very much for your ds and you. I think that if you explain to your dh that wheat and dairy can cause some children to experience stomach pains and headaches, muscle aches, etc that can make them feel awful and react, he should help you out. Especially with the daily stress going on in your home.

Good luck! I sincerely hope this helps.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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She doesn't know that i censor myself, so why would she feel responsibility for this?
If 100% she is really not able to pick up that you are feeling irritated, walking around on eggshells or "censoring" what you are saying, I would consider the possibility of an autistic spectrum disorder.

Parents often really underestimate on how well kids can pick up the energy in the room. They know when parents are irritated. They may now accurately pick up on why - but they get that something is off and it is stressful.

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This is hard, but on the other hand, I think this is her personality. She is a negative, opinionated, highly sensitive person.
I don't really understand the idea that she's highly sensitive to everything but noticing your feelings. Why would that be?

I absolutely agree that kids have natural tendencies. It is about learning to manage them. If the place you are is unable to mention it is a beautiful day without incurring wrath, how is that helping her learn to manage with her personality. That's kind of only giving her one model - be a jerk and eventually the people around you shut up. That isn't really a long term solution to raising a person who has the possibility of a happy life.

People who are highly negative are at greater risk for depression as an adult. That's why I posted the Optimistic Child. Children can learn to be more optimistic.

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But what would be a solution? Let's say I don't censor myself and behave in my normal way, and every time i see something interesting or cute, on-line or outside, or anywhere, I'd tell her, Hey, Jen, look at this gorgeous flower. And because of her usual negativity, she says, "Bleh, I don't like this flower at all, it is ugly and you never show me beautiful things anyway." (general and hypothetical, but representative of her). And I tell her, honey, this is rude and hurts my feelings, I just wanted to share my love for flowers etc etc...
I would not suggest "I don't like this flower" as rude. That sort of label doesn't give her a lot of information that is helpful. I would suggest that you work outside of the moment of her upset on learning problem solving strategies. You've had a number of good materials suggested to you in this thread and it is a good thing you are pursuing therapy later this summer. Until that time I would suggest starting to read with an open mind to better understand what her challenges are and how you might help. I would strongly urge you to get the What to do When You Grumble too Much book.

As a kid who frankly could be described as almost identical to your daughter at one point I can assure you IT DID NOT FEEL GOOD.

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Originally Posted by choochootrain View Post
I don't know. She's allowed to express her feelings.
But, in the current set up it sounds like you aren't.

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Even if she learns to be polite and appropriate, she will still be very negative, and I will still be avoiding sharing with her, because who wants to share with such a negative person...
I am hearing a lot of negativity from you here. It sounds like you've decided what she is right this minute and all she can ever be and that you can never enjoy her company. Where is the hope in that? Where can a kid go with that?

It is possible for people of ALL personality types to learn new ways of thinking and relating to others. She really needs your belief in her possibility of growth.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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As a kid who frankly could be described as almost identical to your daughter at one point I can assure you IT DID NOT FEEL GOOD.


.
How did you stop this behaviour? What coping skills helped?
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After reading all the posts on this thread, I think I would take her to a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist who has experience with varied DXs like ASDs and ODD. I teach 5 and 6 year olds with ASDs and these are ALL behaviors we work on every day:

- perfectionism
- rigidity
- misunderstanding social situations
- over policing peer interactions (you gave an example of mediating)
- "manipulation" that is done in a different way than normal kid manipulation
- explosive episodes which look just like the spiraling or melting you describe
- inability to come out of a melt down
- wanting to fix something that is unfixable (i.e. wishing you had never cut the potato) and not being able to let that go

etc etc...

There's so many things you can do to help these behaviors-- social stories, sensory diets, work with the vestibular system, heavy/hard physical "work," tactile play, RDI, power cards (I love these), voice scales and emotion scales, checklists, schedules, timers, etc.

If you want more info abou any of those just let me know.

It's hard, really hard being with an explosive child. And I only have to do it 8 hours a day! I can imagine how hard it is all day long. There ARE strategies that work though.

Would it still make sense if her behavior was not across the board? She's taken a variety of classes and her teachers describe her as being a pleasure to have in class, a delight. She's polite, considerate, observant, helpful to other children etc.

Does this make sense that she's so different at home?
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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what does this mean... "something wrong with this behavior?"

do you believe that children's behavior communicates what they can't say in words? that needs drive behavior? that maybe there is an underlying issue here that is making this child be intense. nonetheless, her behavior IS. she IS. her mother's discomfort is real, but the mother's feelings about the child belong to the mother, not the child.

from an unschooling/GD perspective there is no "wrong behavior." a child acts the way he/she does because at that moment in time, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

i have a child who acts just like this little girl. i understand perfectly *why* he does what he does. i understand fully what drives his behavior and what is faulty in his hardwiring. and i take full responsibility for *my* feelings about him and his behavior and how hard it is for *me* to have him home 24/7 when he is the way he is. and i don't waste my time labeling his behavior as "wrong." it is what it is and it's my responsibility to help him learn to cope with his issues and for me to learn to deal with my feelings, not try and change him or make him fit some preconceived notion of how he is "supposed" to be.
I believe that there comes a time in every life (unschooled, homeschooled, public schooled, every school in between)when a child needs to learn that they are part of a family, a community, a world and when behavior makes it impossible for that child to participate in that community, other avenues need to be considered. Your child does not exist in a vacuum. No child does. Sometimes it is necessary to begin reaching outside for a different perspective, even professional mental health help.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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Would it still make sense if her behavior was not across the board? She's taken a variety of classes and her teachers describe her as being a pleasure to have in class, a delight. She's polite, considerate, observant, helpful to other children etc.

Does this make sense that she's so different at home?

Yes.

The fact that I see kids professionally and also on their home turf means see this difference ALL the time! The amount of structure in class settings, as well as the novelty of the situation, as well as her knowing those behaviors wouldn't "work" there have a lot to do with it.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes.

The fact that I see kids professionally and also on their home turf means see this difference ALL the time! The amount of structure in class settings, as well as the novelty of the situation, as well as her knowing those behaviors wouldn't "work" there have a lot to do with it.
Thanks!
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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Yes.

The fact that I see kids professionally and also on their home turf means see this difference ALL the time! The amount of structure in class settings, as well as the novelty of the situation, as well as her knowing those behaviors wouldn't "work" there have a lot to do with it.
This is where it seems so many children are so frequently shorted. There are no expectations that they can be capable at home but they are fully capable of behaving in any other situation. It is then attributed to them being able to safely freak out at home.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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from an unschooling/GD perspective there is no "wrong behavior." a child acts the way he/she does because at that moment in time, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
Do you really believe this? I am asking in all sincerity.
Because for this particular child it doesn't seem like these behaviours are the right thing to do by any measure. They aren't healthy, they aren't satisfying, they aren't achieving what she needs or even what she thinks she needs, they are destroying the relationships with those around her, they are inappropriate by cultural standards, and they sound scary for her.

To the OP
Have you ever tried outlining appropriate behaviour for her? Acknowledging her feelings in the moment and then giving her 2 or 3 options about what is an acceptable way to handle those feeling and move on? I have a daughter who has "big" feelings that are sometimes compounded by medical issues. Letting her spiral out of control never helps her. She needs my help to contain those feelings and deal with them appropriately. In calm moments we have talked about what she needs and her preference is always to get some help finding her way out of the emotions that are too big for her.
It really sounds to me like there may be something organic happening but that it is compounded by what seems to be a lack of boundaries and a lack of skills on her part or perhaps support from the adults around her to cope with those feelings.

I hope you and your family can find a peaceful way through this.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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I believe that anyone has a right to have whatever emotion they're having, but they need to express that emotion in an appropriate way. Biting someone's head off for making a pleasant observation is not an appropriate way of expressing "I'm feeling grumpy". Throwing a temper tantrum is not an appropriate way to express frustration. In addition, silence isn't a terribly productive way of expressing "I don't like the way you're speaking to me".

I agree with the PP who said that your daughter does not seem to have a healthy understanding of boundaries, and I'd like to gently suggest that you aren't doing a great job of showing her what appropriate boundaries are. We are all responsible for managing our moods in a way that does not make them everyone else's problem, and we are all responsible for asserting ourselves when we are being mistreated. if she is speaking to you in an inappropriate way (i.e. not a way that you'd like her friends or S.O. to speak to her when she's an adult) you should assert yourself and end the conversation as soon as she starts speaking to you rudely. Otherwise you're teaching her by example that she should tolerate being mistreated by anyone anytime they aren't in a perfect mood. I know that you aren't "anyone" but being her mother doesn't disqualify you from being treated decently.

A six year old isn't going to be able to control her emotions the way an adult should, but she can be expected to try.

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Old 05-29-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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from an unschooling/GD perspective there is no "wrong behavior." a child acts the way he/she does because at that moment in time, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Do you really believe this? I am asking in all sincerity.
Because for this particular child it doesn't seem like these behaviours are the right thing to do by any measure. They aren't healthy, they aren't satisfying, they aren't achieving what she needs or even what she thinks she needs, they are destroying the relationships with those around her, they are inappropriate by cultural standards, and they sound scary for her.
I think the key point in umami_mommy's post is that the behaviour is not right or wrong, it just is what it is in the moment. I'm sure that little girl is doing the very best she can with what resources she has available to her right now. It's not her doing something wrong, it's her reaching for relief in the only way she knows how. Unfortunately, sometimes the thing that feels like relief to us is not always comfortable to those around us.

I don't think that means it's a situation that shouldn't be improved upon. Obviously that's what the OP and her entire family would prefer, and why this thread was started. But I do believe there is a great benefit to looking at something as 'what is' rather than getting tied up in right/wrong labeling.

Not to put words in anyone's mouth, but that's what I took the post quoted above to mean.

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Old 05-30-2009, 11:12 PM
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This thread has been edited, and I'm returning it for further discussion... there's a lot of great info here! In the future, please remember to keep our user agreement in mind when posting.

I know that many of you reported this thread before it was removed, and as mods we really appreciate your help! I'm sorry that MamaMonica and I were both offline that afternoon and weren't able to respond to the reports. If you ever see a thread going bad and the forum mods aren't online, please PM any online mod or admin (at the bottom of the forum list there's a list of all members currently online, and mods are purple and admins are green) and ask her to take a look!

Thanks again for your help.

 
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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Do you really believe this? I am asking in all sincerity.
Because for this particular child it doesn't seem like these behaviours are the right thing to do by any measure. They aren't healthy, they aren't satisfying, they aren't achieving what she needs or even what she thinks she needs, they are destroying the relationships with those around her, they are inappropriate by cultural standards, and they sound scary for her.
yeah, i believe it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H75gb...eature=related

check this out, she says it much better for me.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 05-31-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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yeah, i believe it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H75gb...eature=related

check this out, she says it much better for me.
Thanks for posting that.

I can see where you are coming from on this, but I think that the OP has gotten stuck with "the child is right" - ie "the child is expressing a need" and not figured out a way to move beyond that to address the need, and help her child develop skills and find a more appropriate ways of communicating her needs and behaving in a healthier way. So for this OP I'd be concerned about this kind of advice really helping.

I think that for many parents they can get to "what's behind the behaviour" without going through the step of "the child is right" because often the child isn't right. It doesn't negate that there is a valid reason for the behaviour, or that the child is doing the best they can with what they have at the time, or allow the parent to have empathy for the child.

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Old 05-31-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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OP, from reading this thread and your posts, I thought this mom's blog, who has a 5 yo daughter, might be worth checking out. (Link)

While I was reading her post about her experience with her daughter, there were a few things that made me think of you and your feelings you've expressed here. Hope it helps.

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Old 05-31-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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The thing is with challenging kids is that school doesn't make it better. Sure, it gives you a break but the fallout can be way worse and make the break not worth it. Have you read Raising Your Spirited Child? Because she certainly sounds like one!
yes, yes, yes! I totally agree with 4evermom.

My DD is 7 and last year she attended kindergarten. She has always been very spirited, hard to please, stubborn, wants things her way. It's been a battle with her ever since she was a tiny, unconsolable baby, seriously. But since home schooling for the past year she has gotten SO much better. I can talk to her, spend quality time with her as mother/daughter, laugh and joke and yes I still have to watch what I say because of her sensitivity to words. She is easily offended but at this point at least she no longer yells or demands us to do things her way (we've come a long way from that) and instead she just sulks or walks off quietly and cries for a bit or waits for us to "baby" her which sometimes we will do and sometimes we will not, depending on her reason for being upset. In other words, we've learned not to give in anymore. Yes, part of the way my DD is based on her personality and something we can never change but other aspects of who she is (I believe) is environmental (the foods she eats and stressors that affect her attitude at any given time). My DD still has her moments but I can take her places now without her emabarassing me and she listens to me when I get on to her verbally (we don't spank) and does very well. I'm so proud of how far she has come and I know without a doubt we wouldn't be where we are now if she were in a school this past year. Being in school made her dreadful to live with because of who she is and her personality in the first place.

I also agree with others that you need to listen to your child sometimes. Don't always assume she is being hard to deal with because it's just who she is and you refuse to try to do anything with her and just give up. I got to where I didn't give up. I would listen to my DD and offer alternatives and work with her on her time table. In fact, I know when my DD has eaten the wrong foods by her behaviors so I avoid those and I know when she gets hungry or tired that nothing is going to happen as far as school goes so I keep things low key. I let her give plenty of input on small things so when it's time for me to ask her to do something she doesn't get so upset or refuses to listen to me. Like I said, we've come a long way. My DD has been this personality type since birth. DH and I both remember all too well how she was at 2 months old and it was all just beginning then. So we've learned to work with who she is over the years.

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Old 05-31-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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Are you sure she's not gifted? Cuz no way my six year old can make soup or write an apology note. Plus, my oldest child was dx as gifted which came with the not sleeping enough, being highly oversensitive, perfectionism and meltdowns. Oh yeah and its consistent with the being bored all the time as well! But she seems over the top even for a gifted chlild. ANd youve said she isnt and as her mother, I believe you! You know her best. We are all jsut throwing out suggestions here hopiong something sticks! I have to say that there is a lot of merit in her having an autism spectrum disorder, like aspergers, which is on the high functoining end. By high functioning I mean, those who didnt know,wouldnt know by looking, you would not look at her and say, "shes got autism". Youd just say she has some quirky behviors or doesnt quite seem to "get it" when it comes to social stuff.

If she does have aspergers or something like it, she will need more structure. Kids who have that really really need quite a bit of structure, it will help with the outbursts, she'll know whats coming. I know it doesnt sound very unschooly and maybe its not. But its not so much about her having control or not, having structure and knowing what comes next will actually make her feel MORE in control! And it doesnt have to be structure as in, breakfast at 7sharp, playdough at 8,legos at 9 etc. but in general, breakfast is always first, playdough is always after breakfast etc.

I work with kids like this, I knew one little boy that was fine as long as everyting was as he was use to. But any change in routine was cause for a meltdown, even stopping for gas on their way to his school.

It would be incredibly hard for me becuase Im not a very structured person myself. But if I were you Id at least get it looked into. There are places that work on sliding scales if money is an issue.

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Old 05-31-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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Are you sure she's not gifted? Cuz no way my six year old can make soup or write an apology note. Plus, my oldest child was dx as gifted which came with the not sleeping enough, being highly oversensitive, perfectionism and meltdowns. Oh yeah and its consistent with the being bored all the time as well!
Not to harp on this, Choochootrain, but you can't discount someone being gifted based on not being able to read or do math. Not trying to convince you, lol. You know your dd best. But not all gifted kids are early readers. I don't really know if my ds is or isn't but he does have all the characteristics of a gifted kid EXCEPT being an early reader. So I've found reading about giftedness can be helpful regardless of actual giftedness. Not being in a school setting, I don't feel the need to have him tested. The other thing I wanted to point out is that gifted kids can have learning disabilities which could make them seem not gifted, ya know? It could make them look average. The Misdiaagnosis, Dual Diagnosis book I mentioned earlier talks about that. OK, I'll shut up now.

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Old 05-31-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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yes, yes, yes! I totally agree with 4evermom.

My DD is 7 and last year she attended kindergarten. She has always been very spirited, hard to please, stubborn, wants things her way. It's been a battle with her ever since she was a tiny, unconsolable baby, seriously. But since home schooling for the past year she has gotten SO much better.
Yes, I was pointing that out from the perspective of having tried to put ds in school (pre-k).

God, I was desperate for a break. And I thought he was bored. But it was so stressful for him, I ended up spending all the time he wasn't in school dealing with the fallout, trying to get him fed and rested enough to handle the next day. I swear he never cried outside of infancy or injury until he started school.

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Old 05-31-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Not to harp on this, Choochootrain, but you can't discount someone being gifted based on not being able to read or do math. Not trying to convince you, lol. You know your dd best. But not all gifted kids are early readers. I don't really know if my ds is or isn't but he does have all the characteristics of a gifted kid EXCEPT being an early reader. So I've found reading about giftedness can be helpful regardless of actual giftedness. Not being in a school setting, I don't feel the need to have him tested. The other thing I wanted to point out is that gifted kids can have learning disabilities which could make them seem not gifted, ya know? It could make them look average. The Misdiaagnosis, Dual Diagnosis book I mentioned earlier talks about that. OK, I'll shut up now.
IN fact, not being able to spell worth a darn seems to go along with being gifted, not sure why but it certainly seems to be so. Also, being gifted doesnt mean they are gifted in everything!! My gifted 17 year old still has to ask me what month comes next......

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Old 05-31-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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Plus, my oldest child was dx as gifted which came with the not sleeping enough, being highly oversensitive, perfectionism and meltdowns. Oh yeah and its consistent with the being bored all the time as well!
Bolding mine - holy CRAP, this is my 5 yo son to a T! I've always known he was bright, but I wasn't thinking gifted, but maybe he is?

This thread has been SO helpful to me, OP, as I've been going through a less intense version of what you're going through; thanks for starting it.

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Old 05-31-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that I am *so* glad this thread is back. It has been so helpful to me in many ways! : Thanks for posting it OP!

I had a couple of thoughts as I read through trying to catch up...

OP, your description of the great potato meltdown made me think that perhaps you were trying too hard to fix the problem and/or put it in perspective, when perhaps what DD needed was just to feel heard? Maybe just "Wow, your soup is ruined. It didn't work out the way you wanted it to AT ALL!" would have helped her to feel heard and be able to recenter? Sometimes with my kids it helps if I wait until they've expressed the frustration and felt heard before I start suggesting ways to fix it...

Just wondering how are things going? I hope well.

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Old 06-01-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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I have read most of this thread and could have just used quotes to 'write' a post for all of the pearls in here, but instead, I'll just share some of what I do with our dc who share many inclinations with your dd, OP.

Some of the following is in the moment and some just a part of how we communicate daily and some just when they are calm and open to listen. The three older ones all understand and apply what they understand in this aspect of our life together and the youngest who is 18 months does so in limited ways, but clearly he understands how it all works, even if the self-reflection isn't as deep as it will be later on.

I inform my dc when their response is disproportionate to the event and then give them all of the options I can think of for what an appropriate response would look like. Then I suggest a place for acting one of the options out, like crying on the couch, or in their room, or outside if they need to jump or run around wildly, or quietly and without physical outbursts on my lap and shoulder, etc..

We discuss the effect of our behaviours on others and the universe as a whole.

We confirm and affirm their identities to them when they are acting in a way that is incongruent (and of course at all other times organically; otherwise this would have no meaning). For example, when one hits the other in rage, I might say to him, "DS! You are a loving brother who wants a loving relationship with your family. We know that about you, and you know that about yourself. Hitting doesn't fit with who you are or who we are as a family. Please remember that you love your brother." This ALWAYS elicits calm reflection. It was shocking to me that it did and does still, but because I never say things that are not true about them, and these are characteristics that they express about themselves (they are very self-aware), it really stops them in their tracks. They reflect on their behaviour and whether or not it aligns with their self-identities.

I top their outburst with something completely outrageous that illuminates the absurdity of the drama. When ours over-shoot their reactions to pain, we often offer in some maniacal voice to remove the injured part for them, with a spoon or butter knife or whatever. It seems gruesome, but they really consider the actual severity of the injury when we do that even though they all know well that we wouldn't do that and that we're joking (they always laugh even if they find some other way to dramatise the situation). We don't do this with the littlest one!

In another situation, I might go over-the-top with melodrama. For instance, once my ds threw a fit because his brother didn't leave him enough water. I told him that he can have as much water as he likes and to go get his own. He wailed about how he wanted water in his brother's glass and he didn't leave him enough and now he doesn't want to have to get more and on and on. So, I wailed too, but about how the end of the water in his brother's glass was the end of the possibility of drinking water ever again, that he and everyone in the world is going to dry up into thin, crusty husks and disintegrate into powder, and all because his brother's glass is the only glass worthy of holding water... wahahahaha... It's hard to top that melodrama, even for him.

For dealing with negativity, I have been addressing the looped thoughts my children have and also giving them St John's Wort for their anxiety. We still work on the behavioural thought issues, but the anxiety is reduced to so little that those changes happen easily and in the moment instead of over months of harping on the same things.

If you dd is obsessing or brooding or holding grudges, it is possible that she has cingulate gyrus and deep limbic system overactivity in her brain. She becomes stuck in negative thoughts that loop over and over and prevent her from moving on. For my dc, I just inform them, "You are obsessing. That is a looped thought and you've already addressed it. You must change that thought when it comes again. You could replace it with _____ or ______."

This has been essential for me because I have all of the issues and tendencies of overactivity of those parts of the brain. Meditation and SJW are key to my controlling the behavioural and automatic responses. With anxiety reduced, it is much easier to have a healthy focus and ability to discern my thoughts and change them intentionally if needed.

A pp wrote that there is so much that you can do to help her manage herself, and I agree. There is so much hope. Looking into her brain function and chemistry might add a bit more to your repertoire of strategies.



ETA: I'm in no ivory tower. My dh and all four of our dc have definite textbook symptoms of ADD. I have had OCD and over-focused ADD (the cingulate issue) as do all of our boys, understood retrospectively from birth for two of them. It has not been easy working through what helps and what doesn't for us. I only share this to let you know that I'm not coming from a place of thinking, 'if you just...' which is a phrase that comes with guffaws around here.

ETA#2: How easily I forget what's usual for us. If I don't give them Concentrace- 2 drops each in milk- it will be a terrible day, without exception. And they MUST begin the day with protein, saturated fat, and a complex carbohydrate, so eggs on toast fried in and with butter or oat-squares made with lots of eggs and butter and raw honey are the two breakfasts we have had for years and years (except for the times that informed us that this is what they need; yogurt and fruit or cereal with milk and cream make disastrous days for all of us). Oh, and we eat all organic and traditionally prepared foods. It was beyond ridiculous trying to eliminate things from a diet of conventionally produced foods, so we just quit them altogether.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 06-01-2009, 09:27 AM
 
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Wonderful post, UBA2C! Just one caution to the OP though, the melodrama could seriously backfire depending on the temperament of your child. My son feels like it's mocking him, and it makes everything worse. A lot of playful parentign techniques do work on him, but not this particular one. He is very sensitive to being mocked or patronized.

And how I wish I could help my son realize he is ultimately in control of, and the one who has to change, his negative thoughts. I'm hoping the pages I printed out from the one link supplied above will help him do that. Thus far every time I talk to him about being in charge of his brain to calm it down and think of other things, he tells me he can't. Sigh.

I don't mean to be attacking your post, I promise, just wanted to point out that sometimes even the best intentioned ways of connecting with our kids don't work for their particular personality. Hopefully the OP or others will find these work for them, because they are great techniques.

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Old 06-01-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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I work with kids like this, I knew one little boy that was fine as long as everyting was as he was use to. But any change in routine was cause for a meltdown, even stopping for gas on their way to his school.
This was my DD for the longest time. I finally realized that all it took (for my DD anyway) was to let her know ahead of time where I needed to go and she would be less likely to get upset when I did it if it isn't a surprise.

My DD has gotten used to staying home a lot while I go to the store or to run whatever errands and here lately her dad and brothers are gone together so she has to go with me and she absolutely throws a fit almost every single time because she wants to stay home. I have to give her a rundown of every single thing I plan to do and if I deviate from that plan it upsets her. She doesn't get nearly as upset as she would have a year ago but she still gets upset because she wants things done just as I say they will be done. No surprises.

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Old 06-01-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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The4ofUs,

No worries. Having four very intense children of my own, I am soooooo open to the reality that each person will respond differently to life. Our eldest wouldn't have any of the melodramatic response from me until I had done this with ds2, who first asked me if I was mocking him, and when I said no, he laughed and thought it was funny. Only after that did ds1 begin to enjoy it a bit, but mostly, he smirks and then reflects on his own actual situation and finds other ways to express what he's feeling.

I don't by any stretch have things all figured out, but these things help us all feel a bit better about the chaos.

I should have expressed what you did more clearly so as to not come off as instructional. Thanks for pointing that out.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 06-01-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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Bolding mine - holy CRAP, this is my 5 yo son to a T! I've always known he was bright, but I wasn't thinking gifted, but maybe he is?

This thread has been SO helpful to me, OP, as I've been going through a less intense version of what you're going through; thanks for starting it.

Me, too, with my 7yo dd. Not as intense as the OP, but we're on week 2 of summer vacation and are both going bananas. She wants to HS, but days like these make me wonder.

Thanks for starting this thread, choochoomama, even if you're not a sharer.

mom of 3 , homeschooling the oldest with google and the internet
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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Hi, we've been unschooling all along. I love unschooling. I don't think anything else would work with my daughter. She's soon to be seven, in a few weeks, actually. I know it is the best thing for her. But I have hard times coping with my daughter's negativity and explosiveness. I avoid sharing things, because of her reactions. I don't want to take her places. I don't feel like starting new projects, even if she asks. I feel like sending her to school, but I know she will hate it, and she says she will hate it and doesn't want to go. But I don't know how to deal with having her at home.

Example. My son wanted to attend a community concert. She didn't want to go. For over an hour she whined and cried that the concert would be boring, that she wasn't going to go, and if she goes, she was going to "ruin" it for us. After about 1.5 hours she collected her dolls and said she'd find a way to entertain herself there. After the concert she kept complaining, for several hours, about how boring the concert was.

Example: Walking with her on the street, I see a pretty cat. It would be natural for me to say something like, look what unusual coloring. And yet I bite my tongue, because this is what's going to happen: "No, not unusual at all. And I didn't get a good look. Let's go into their yard and see it again. You never show me cats in time, they always disappear. And it wasn't even a cat."--all of it is whining and lasts for a long, long time.

Example. She wants me to start a craft. I start the craft. At first she's whining that I'm not doing it right, then she's whining that she isn't doing it right. For a long time.

Any outing which is not specifically for her, is HELL. She whines before we leave, she whines there, she whines afterwards. Going to a grocery store is a nightmare. She's bored, bored, bored. Anything I suggest "won't work." Even if I arrange the day that we can have and have hot chocolate and cookies after grocery shopping--she won't be happy with anything. She says things like: "I will be terrible in the store, unless you give me $10."

She does not like her brother, who's 4. She finds him boring, mocks him, is often mean to him, and is grossly unfair. They do get along sort of okay, because he's very accommodating, but she still does not like him. She often verbally attacks him and teases him. Even in her good moments she's extremely bossy with him, and not at all fair.

She's terrible at taking direction, thanks God we are unschooling. But even something like, "Do you want to hear how I'd do it?" which I try to never say, can provoke hours of frustration from her. She was cooking today, a soup. Self-initiated, her own idea. Then she wanted to put whole potatoes in it. I gently asked her if she wanted to hear my idea. She said yes. I told her about how different veggies have different cooking times etc. She agreed. Started cutting potatoes. Got frustrated that she couldn't make the cubes straight. Started screaming that I ruined it. She was upset for so long. Then she demanded unreasonable things--pour what I have out, let me start again etc. I was calm and reasonable for thirty minutes and then I just couldn't take it. I know I'm an idiot for suggesting things, I should've just let her make the mistake. Not a big deal. Normally I just let her do things. I don't even know why I offered my idea, maybe because she was so happy and we had such a good day, I felt almost normal. I felt like I could be myself.

She wakes up and she's upset with something from the very first moment. Today my son woke up first and was playing with her old inflatable bed, the one she didn't touch for 2 years. He even asked me if he could play with it, if it was his sisters. I said he could. He was just sitting on it, pretending he was on a raft. Her first words? It's MINE! Don't touch it, put it back, you are terrible, you're awful! And so on.

Her mornings are negative 80% of the time. I can't stand it. I try and divert, and empathize, and try to calm her, but I hate my mornings.

She's extremely possessive. Of me, of her belongings. She hates sharing. She was never forced to share, we've always been so respectful to her stuff. And now her brother is very generous and shares easily, but she clings to things. If something "hers" she won't allow anyone touch it. She categorizes the world into HERS and not hers and is all about material possessions.

I find it very difficult to find things to do with her or alongside her, that I enjoy. Lately I've been avoiding her. I know she notices. I know she thinks that I like her brother more. He's curious and easy going, and loves to do new things with me, and I can just talk with him and laugh with him and have fun. I feel awful about it.

She's fiercely dependent on me. She won't do things on her own. She wants to be with me all the time, but won't behave in a more appropriate way. If I tell her that if she wants to stay up with me when I'm up, she needs to be quiet, she simply won't agree. I guess it is good that she's uncompromising Yet she refuses to fall asleep on her own. And if I stay with her, it takes her literally HOURS to fall asleep. Her brother is not enough companionship for her. My husband is, but he's rarely home.

I feel when she's home, she makes my son's life miserable. He's very goodnatured and forgiving, but it is not fair that she attacks him verbally so much. And it is very difficult for me to remain neutral. Today she yelled, "Mommy, tell him that it is rude of him to ask me what's my doll's name!" And she was about to push him away. She was not understanding when I tried to explain that objectively speaking there was nothing rude in what he did, he even said "please", and even though she might not like it, I can't tell him that he was rude. He simply wasn't. She misinterprets like this a LOT. A LOT.

I feel so helpless. How can I unschool her and my son if I find her presence so toxic? My only idea is to hire someone to stay home with her for when I take my son out. Has anyone done that?

Other ideas?
I would definitly take her to a therapist.....she may very well be sufferfing from a personality disorder.....possibly Borderline.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the thoughts and responses. PreggyUVBAC, very helpful. I think it would work with may daughter, and it does work sometimes, but most of the time I forget!

I also reread my original post--honestly, things are not so bad. We were in a very low point, everything looked worse. She was starving for my attention, and I couldn't give it to her because I just couldn't stand her negativity. It was awful.

I also realized that just like a baby / toddler regresses before a leap, she still does this too. I always remember after the fact, that she gets worse before something new emerges.

She's been sleeping on her own, and overall acting more "maturely" now. She's delightful and we are having fun! I mean she's still challenging, but much closer to "normal" than "abnormal", that's for sure.

I'm more centered and we are doing just great. I definitely don't think she's anywhere near a personality disorder. She does have anxiety issues, and we will be addressing them. The posts about underdeveloped limbic system were very helpful, this could be an issue.

I love this thread, I'm so glad it is back!
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:21 PM
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I would definitly take her to a therapist.....she may very well be sufferfing from a personality disorder.....possibly Borderline.
Personality disorders can't be diagnosed until someone is in their teens, at very least... I think the DSM says 18. A lot of personality traits that are "disorders" in adults are perfectly normal and developmentally appropriate in children nd adolescents.

 
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