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Old 02-01-2008, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd2 is very introverted and highly sensitive (well, from my informal diagnosis from Elain Aron's book the Highly Sensitive Child).

She talks and sings and is goofy at home. She's been in preschool for 5 months now and she still is very similar to how she was in the beginning (well, except she doesn't have meltdowns and tantrums when she comes home anymore - I've learned to feed her well before hand, send a substantial snack, and feed her almost as soon as we walk in the door). But she's an observer, and doesn't participate much. She is bright and does her papers just fine, but she won't sing or dance with the other children. She rarely talks (I'm not even sure she actually has said much to the teachers). The ratio is 9 students per 1 teacher, and there are two classes that share the same room (separated slightly by a folding wall). The two classes join for group activities (like the songs and free play). But dd2 won't participate. I observed her early in the year and she was so serious looking, wouldn't crack a smile, until she saw me, then relaxed a bit and smiled. Then she went right back to not smiling and doing her work.

She knows her shapes and colors and they checked by having her color shapes the colors they specified (and since she's 4 so that doesn't surprise me). She writes her own name, colors her papers, and does her artwork without a problem). When it came time to learn her phone number, she showed me how she told them. She used her fingers to show the numbers of her phone number instead of telling them verbally. I don't know if they've asked her what her first and last name is, but I have no idea if she's said what it is (she knows it, and just told me it a minute ago, but I doubt she's told them when asked at school).

She finally interacts a bit with the other kids during free play, but she didn't at first.

Because she's in with the three year old group (because of a late in the year birthday), she's going to have an extra year to get acclimated to being in school. Fortunately she is in a very accepting environment. The teachers and director seem to be very supportive of all the children, and is very patient with her.

But, on the other hand, I worry that she will not be outgrowing this reticence anytime in the near future. I worry that some day she will not have such understanding teachers and she will be judged harshly and treated unkindly.

I had tried to get her evaluated at a state-run preschool early intervention program, before the preschool year started (not because I knew she was introverted at the time, but because she would have multiple excessive meltdowns and temper tantrums). We went to the evaluation and she just wouldn't participate. So they couldn't evaluate. They suggested I either take a wait and see approach or come back to them if she wasn't improving, or find a private specialist.

Has anyone had any similar experiences with a very introverted preschooler? Have you been able to get any kind of help to help them? Did they eventually find their voice at school? Have they not found their voice and have been treated badly by the teacher for lack of verbal participation? She's very cooperative otherwise, and incredibly attentive, but just not verbal in school. In fact, occasionally they see her speak outside of school (there is one boy we live next to that is her friend and they recently observed her chatting up a storm with him. The teacher was flabbergasted to hear her voice).

I don't think she has learning disabilities. I think she is just extremely introverted and I don't want to push her beyond her personal limits (just yet). Well, I've tried, but she is very determined. But I do want to help her communicate in the school setting. At some point it will be required of her.

How can I help her? Any btdt stories?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-02-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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Is the shyness affecting her quality of life? Is she unhappy? Shyness is not necessarily a bad thing.
If it were affecting her quality of life, then I'd say start by pursuing it with her daycare teachers. See what their opinion is.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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kmc, my dd1 had more than her share of struggles at preschool. The first thing I would suggest would be to set up outside playdates with a classmate. A lot of kids do a lot better one on one than they do in a group enviroment. Pick whichever kid she seems to like the most who would be gentle and willing to play and ask the parent. You can explain the situation to the parent, too. When she has that familiarity with a classmate outside of class time that can act as an ice-breaker for her. This has been the single most important thing in helping dd1 with her sensitivities even though sometimes it's a little difficult for me to approach the other parents. Play on their sympathies if you have to. It really can help a lot even if the kids don't really play together very much at the playdate. Just having that extra familiarity can go a long way. My dds both really enjoy going over to other kids' houses, but ymmv and she might prefer to host.

Two other things for you — there's a tribe for highly sensitive children although I don't think anyone has posted to it for awhile. It might be helpful to read through. You'll see quite a few old posts from me there. Here's a link — http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=196898 .

The other thing is I really like Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's books and in particular, "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles", although I'm not fond of the title. It has a whole lot in there about different temperaments and not really that much about power struggles. It's about recognizing different needs for different temperaments within the family and elsewhere. I was able to find my dd in there when so many other parenting books seemed one-size-fits-all, even "The Highly Sensitive Child" — it's kinda one-size-fits-all-highly-sensitives and dd1 has some aspects of that kind of sensitivity and some aspects of spiritedness and some aspects of sensory issues, but I could find her in all her quirks in KPP. It's a great read!

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Old 02-02-2008, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, 34 pages on that highly sensitive child tribe thread. Thanks so much for that link, beanma. I have so much I'll be reading.

Ha, I think I have KPP book on my bookshelf. One of my "to read" books when I get the chance. I will start reading one book, end up losing it somewhere in the house, then forget I even have it. Or we get busy doing other things, and reading books is not something I really make enough of a priority. I need to change that. I need to start taking notes on them - and take notes on the computer, I think. Because when I write stuff down in notebooks, I inevitably misplace the notebook (or the kids use it for scribbling in). I really wish I could just download all the information in them without having to actually spend the time to do it manually.

I have the phone # of one of her classmates, and I was planning on giving her a call, but so far, my kids have been sick with one thing after another for the past 8 weeks, so that hasn't helped. I'm going to try and see if I can't arrange something soon.

Come to think of it, I also know one of the other moms of her classmates - she was my MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) group leader. I think I can probably dig up her phone # too. But again, I have to have some healthy kids before I feel right about inviting them over to the house. But I think, it would be doable in the next few weeks.

Hopefully I will be able to get a playdate or two in.

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Old 02-02-2008, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by leafylady View Post
Is the shyness affecting her quality of life? Is she unhappy? Shyness is not necessarily a bad thing.
If it were affecting her quality of life, then I'd say start by pursuing it with her daycare teachers. See what their opinion is.
She has less issue now than she did before, but I know one of the little boys' mother has told me that he wants to talk more to my dd, but she doesn't talk to him. I've seen her point blank ignore this little boy when I was waiting once for the teacher, and he seemed to genuinely want to talk with her, but she just kept looking away from him. He looked sad a minute, gave up trying, then went off to find someone else to talk to.

But aside from the friendship angle, I worry more about if she gets a teacher who doesn't understand how she works. They test the children verbally about what their name and phone number is. I don't know how she responded when asked about her name (it wouldn't surprise me if she said nothing). I do know that she used her fingers to show her phone number. I don't know if that's how all the kids did it, but I don't think so. Another mother told me her son told them verbally what their phone number is.

All she needs to do is get one unsympathetic teacher and it could negatively impact her for a long time, and it could crush her to the point where she hates her school experience. She's that sensitive.

At any rate, I'm worried more about that than about the friendship thing. She's good with the neighborhood kids, just the school friends and the 2 teachers she won't really talk to, even though she's supposed to sometimes.
Fortunately for now, they are understanding and there is no consequences for not participating in group activities.

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Old 02-04-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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Hey everybody, Miss Information PM'd me because she had seen my article about having been a shy child. I hadn't been looking at this forum so hadn't seen the thread. I'm going to put most of my reply here rather than PM in case it might be helpful to other moms too.

Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Here's an article on shyness with some good advice about social situations. Important point: Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not fear social encounters like shy people do. "If you see two people standing by a wall at a party," Carducci says, "the introvert is there because he wants to be. The shy person is there because he feels like he has to be." Read that and Caring for Your Introvert and see which one sounds more like your daughter. (I added these and a couple more links to the bottom of my article.) Does she need a lot of alone time at home? Does she talk much about other people and their activities, or is she more "living in her own world"?

Based on my own experiences at school, I think that doing well in written work and following instructions will make teachers aware that she is learning. Expect to hear some concern from teachers if she doesn't speak when they ask her to. (I generally did respond verbally when that was expected of me, unless I was put in a really really difficult spot, so I don't know what would have happened if I had refused to speak at all.) It sounds like she has a good environment for "warming up" to school, and after another year there she may make a lot more progress than you expect. Yes, probably someday she will have a teacher who just doesn't understand and treats her poorly. When that happens, you will cuddle your daughter on your lap and practice active listening, and then you will schedule a conference with the teacher and (instead of ripping her to shreds, as you will want to do) you'll patiently explain that the harsh approach is not necessary to motivate your child and give concrete suggestions about how to work with her.

I like the idea of setting up one-on-one playdates (once your kids are healthy!) with kids who interest your daughter. That worked well for me.

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I know one of the little boys' mother has told me that he wants to talk more to my dd, but she doesn't talk to him. I've seen her point blank ignore this little boy when I was waiting once for the teacher, and he seemed to genuinely want to talk with her, but she just kept looking away from him.
Did you talk with her about this? Maybe there is something about him specifically that bothers her, and you could help her work through it. Maybe he's happened to approach her when she was preoccupied with something else, and she didn't realize she was hurting his feelings by not responding.

It's not so bad being an observer. All through preschool and elementary school, I rarely did anything on the playground but walk around observing the other kids. I grew up to become a developmental psychologist.

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Old 02-04-2008, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey everybody, Miss Information PM'd me because she had seen my article about having been a shy child. I hadn't been looking at this forum so hadn't seen the thread. I'm going to put most of my reply here rather than PM in case it might be helpful to other moms too.

Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Here's an article on shyness with some good advice about social situations. Important point: Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not fear social encounters like shy people do. "If you see two people standing by a wall at a party," Carducci says, "the introvert is there because he wants to be. The shy person is there because he feels like he has to be." Read that and Caring for Your Introvert and see which one sounds more like your daughter. (I added these and a couple more links to the bottom of my article.) Does she need a lot of alone time at home? Does she talk much about other people and their activities, or is she more "living in her own world"?

Based on my own experiences at school, I think that doing well in written work and following instructions will make teachers aware that she is learning. Expect to hear some concern from teachers if she doesn't speak when they ask her to. (I generally did respond verbally when that was expected of me, unless I was put in a really really difficult spot, so I don't know what would have happened if I had refused to speak at all.) It sounds like she has a good environment for "warming up" to school, and after another year there she may make a lot more progress than you expect. Yes, probably someday she will have a teacher who just doesn't understand and treats her poorly. When that happens, you will cuddle your daughter on your lap and practice active listening, and then you will schedule a conference with the teacher and (instead of ripping her to shreds, as you will want to do) you'll patiently explain that the harsh approach is not necessary to motivate your child and give concrete suggestions about how to work with her.

I like the idea of setting up one-on-one playdates (once your kids are healthy!) with kids who interest your daughter. That worked well for me.

Did you talk with her about this? Maybe there is something about him specifically that bothers her, and you could help her work through it. Maybe he's happened to approach her when she was preoccupied with something else, and she didn't realize she was hurting his feelings by not responding.

It's not so bad being an observer. All through preschool and elementary school, I rarely did anything on the playground but walk around observing the other kids. I grew up to become a developmental psychologist.
Wow - thank you so kindly for responding with some good information. I will check out those links. I had asked her at the time why she didn't talk to the boy. She told me and still tells me it's because she's "shy". I made the mistake of telling people when she was younger that she was shy, so I think she's internalized the label, even though I've stopped calling her shy to other people. That's the answer she always gives when she's asked why she doesn't talk much.

I know she isn't shy in other situations - like at home and with the neighborhood kids that she knows and is familiar with. But I do know she's very sensitive, and when kids (even her own sisters) don't want to play with her, she takes it very much to heart, is very sad and will usually cry, or alternately, she'll get mad and start getting grouchy. But only when she's playing at home. She doesn't have much of any expression at school - like when she tries so hard not to even crack a smile.

If you are a developmental psychologist, do you think it would be advisable to seek some sort of evaluation for her? I did try to get her screened at a public school system run early intervention program, just to see why she was having the spectacular meltdowns she was having and I had no experience with. She couldn't be evaluated because she wouldn't participate. She did one thing - point to a letter or shape or something, but she wouldn't respond during the other testing. She quietly went with all the testers at each station, and she seemed like she was okay, but when I talked to the coordinator about her eval, she said she didn't participate and therefore couldn't be tested. They said I could try and pursue more privately, or I could wait and see how preschool turns out.

I have lots of book resources, but I sometimes would rather some expert say, well this is your dd and this is what we think and here's the things you need to do to help her. Because all I feel I'm doing is trying to piece things together and not sure if I'm doing it right, and I'm not learning these fast enough.

I've gone down a wrong path or two and it's kind of frustrating to be guessing at this.

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Old 02-05-2008, 06:42 AM
 
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I am unclear as to why you want to put her in an early intervention program. You don't indicate that she is suffering on the academic side or that she has any emotional problems. She is just an introvert (or possibly just plain shy). There is nothing wrong with either of those things, certainly nothing that requires professional intervention.

I would simply find a school that fits her personality rather than trying to get her personality to fit the school. Not all children (heck, not all people) enjoy doing group activities. It sounds like she would do really well in a Montessori program, for example, or some other school that uses developmental pedagogy focusing on individual rather than group activities.

Incidentally, just to underline the fact that shyness and introversion really are two different things, my DD is extremly shy BUT also an EXTRAVERT. She cowers behind me in new situations but once she is comfortable in a group, she participates big time.

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Old 02-05-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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I prefer saying "you are feeling shy" to "you are shy". She seems comfortable with the word as a way to let you know what's going on with her, so I would just subtly correct the usage:

dd: I didn't talk to him 'cause I'm shy.

mom: Oh, you were feeling shy? Well, sometimes you do feel shy and don't want to talk, but sometimes you just talk our ears off, don't you?

Let her know that she can feel shy and it's okay, but she can feel talkative or outgoing (at home, with grandma, etc) and that's okay, too. Sometimes we're happy, sometimes we're sad, sometimes we're silly, sometimes we're mad, etc...

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am unclear as to why you want to put her in an early intervention program. You don't indicate that she is suffering on the academic side or that she has any emotional problems. She is just an introvert (or possibly just plain shy). There is nothing wrong with either of those things, certainly nothing that requires professional intervention.

I would simply find a school that fits her personality rather than trying to get her personality to fit the school. Not all children (heck, not all people) enjoy doing group activities. It sounds like she would do really well in a Montessori program, for example, or some other school that uses developmental pedagogy focusing on individual rather than group activities.

Incidentally, just to underline the fact that shyness and introversion really are two different things, my DD is extremly shy BUT also an EXTRAVERT. She cowers behind me in new situations but once she is comfortable in a group, she participates big time.
Oh, sorry about not clarifying. I don't want to put her in an early intervention program - she's actually in every other aspect besides the emotional one developmentally ahead. I just wanted to know what I was dealing with. I wanted someone to tell me this is why she's acting the way she does and did when things were really bad.

Let me tell you why I wanted her to be evaluated by someone. She would have these really intense meltdowns when she was 3 - about 3 or 4 of them got so severe that she actually looked like she was almost feral. One time she was so upset that she started salivating at the mouth a lot, and her eyes looked a bit wild. When I went close to her to hold her, she grunted and growled, and then when I started to leave the room, she grunted and wailed. Then I just sat on her bed, waited a minute, and then just decided to hold her anyway tightly until her body relaxed.

Another time, I videotaped her (because no one, not even my dh ever knew the intensity of her tantrums/meltdowns) and she got so angry at me that she started hitting me and tried to bite me.

The final straw came when we walked two blocks to her sister's preschool in the fall of 06. It was a beautiful day, I took the baby in the stroller, and my older two walked. But dd2 was really upset about walking to school, and kept asking me to pick her up and carry her. Since I only had the stroller, I couldn't carry her and push the stroller at the same time (it was one of those big honkin' ones, and my oldest never could push it straight). Anyway, by the time we got to the preschool, dd2 was a mess. She was actually crying and screaming by the time we got to school, and this time she didn't care who saw her (normally she acted better in public). This was the biggest tantrum/meltdown in public. I got the recommendation for the Early Intervention from the preschool. When we started to leave and she wailed even louder. I ended up picking her up, trying to push the stroller with her a little bit, put her down when my arms got tired and rested, and picked her up again. It helped her a bit, but it took about 3 times as long to get home (but at least there was time to take, not like it was on the way to school).

She has gotten better since then, but still, she objects the loudest about anything that makes her unhappy, she easily gets upset around the neighborhood kids or her sisters if they didn't play what she wanted to play , she still has a lot of trouble accepting disappointment, she thinks everyone laughs at her to be mean (even when she does silly stuff and we are laughing at what she does just as we do to any of our kids when they do cute things). She digs in her heels when she feels forced to do anything (I try to use playful parenting when she's like that). And she's a perfectionist. If her art doesn't go the way she wants to sometimes, she gets really upset about it. The other day, she wouldn't even let me help her fix it. She just cried for about 10 minutes and was inconsolable until she cried it out.

To an outsider looking in (like my mother and one of my sisters) she looks like she's a brat. If I adopt that view (and sometimes I had), then it puts me really at odds with her. It makes me not like her very much and we engage in a power struggle. However, if I reframe her behavior, and I look at it from the POV that she's a highly sensitive child who's not really capable of emotional self-regulation, then I have a lot more empathy for her. It's really not always easy though. Because I still slip into the mindset sometimes that she's just being obstinate to make my day hard. But I'm working on that, though it's been slow going because I have three little ones to juggle and I have had some of my own issues going on.

So, long story short, I'm working on connecting with her more and learning more about her so that I can help her and we can have a better relationship and I'm thinking of the future and trying to find out what I can do now to set the stage for success on the emotional front at school and life in general. To help her become resilient to the stresses of life (from teachers, from peers,etc).

Clear as mud?

At any rate, you are possibly right about finding a different school, however, I think there's only one M school in the area, and I'm thinking it is going to be expensive (it's in one of the more affluent towns around me). And she may have a problem with not going to the same school her sister is (she tends to want whatever big sister has).

Right now, I do a lot of montessori sensory and practical life things with her at home, but I never really thought about actually putting her in a M school. Maybe it's something I can at least look into. I have 1.5 years yet before I have to make a decision.

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I prefer saying "you are feeling shy" to "you are shy". She seems comfortable with the word as a way to let you know what's going on with her, so I would just subtly correct the usage:

dd: I didn't talk to him 'cause I'm shy.

mom: Oh, you were feeling shy? Well, sometimes you do feel shy and don't want to talk, but sometimes you just talk our ears off, don't you?

Let her know that she can feel shy and it's okay, but she can feel talkative or outgoing (at home, with grandma, etc) and that's okay, too. Sometimes we're happy, sometimes we're sad, sometimes we're silly, sometimes we're mad, etc...
I will definitely have to use this script because it sure makes a lot more sense to say it that way to validate the feeling without labeling the child.

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Old 02-05-2008, 05:01 PM
 
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All of what you describe sounds within the realm of normal to me. Rather than "get her evaluated", I think you should work on "finding help for us to get along together and at school." Look for a family therapist who can meet with both of you (or the whole family) and help you learn effective tactics for coping with your daughter's behavior while also helping her learn more effective ways to express her feelings and to feel safe in public.

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Old 02-05-2008, 05:04 PM
 
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Right now, I do a lot of montessori sensory and practical life things with her at home, but I never really thought about actually putting her in a M school. Maybe it's something I can at least look into. I have 1.5 years yet before I have to make a decision
.

Can't write much now but just wanted to say that Montessori starts at age three and is a three-year cycle.

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Old 02-05-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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I don't usually visit this forum, but saw the title from the new posts page...

This has been a really useful thread in regards to my dd. I think she is definitely an introvert and I have always thought there is a difference between introversion and shyness (people always label her as shy, but I disagree) - now I can with confidence let them know that it is in fact introversion if I feel the need to explain what they see.

My ds is an extrovert (I'm a chatty introvert who likes one on one or two situations) so it's interesting getting the right balance for us all.

OP, I relate to what you say that if you start seeing your dd as a brat in relation to others opinions it starts to really work against the entire relationship and your ability to help your dd (I'm reflecting on myself here!). I also try and approach it from a place of connecting with her and need to ignore others comments (sometimes open and rude comments too around me (had one the other day that made me ).

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All of what you describe sounds within the realm of normal to me. Rather than "get her evaluated", I think you should work on "finding help for us to get along together and at school." Look for a family therapist who can meet with both of you (or the whole family) and help you learn effective tactics for coping with your daughter's behavior while also helping her learn more effective ways to express her feelings and to feel safe in public.
Normal? Maybe, but not one of my sisters kids, not any of my friends children, not my other children, nor any of my siblings (and I have 4) acted this way about anything. She is incredibly INTENSE...LOUD...NEGATIVE...DEMANDING...PERSISTENT ...
but at the same time, can be incredibly cuddly and very empathic.

Strong reactions from others wound her deeply. Even just being firm or raising our voices or telling her she did something wrong or hurtful will end up making her run from the room in tears.

She is just not emotionally resilient right now. She doesn't have true SPD, but she would constantly tell me things were too loud, and water would bother her when she had to wash her hands or if it got on her clothes. That has lessened somewhat.

I think she's incredibly introverted, she's incredibly sensitive, and she's also very hard to handle. It would be a 60-40 chance she'd wake up either crabby or peaceful. And often she would have gotten locked into her emotional state.

Right now, most times, she wouldn't use her words to communicate her needs (and she was quite capable of it, because she's been speaking in complete sentences since age 2).

Even now, she'll often grunt and point because it's too much of an effort for her to speak. She often wants to be babied, and only recently has been wiping herself when toileting.

She's teetering on a meltdown right now because I'm not addressing her needs, she's at a puddle on the floor crying because I'm not jumping up to get her fish crackers. Well, technically there are fish crackers in a bowl, but she doesn't want those crackers, she wants her own crackers.

So, while to some it may be normal. I don't think it's very normal. My 2.5 year old can tolerate a small wait better than my 4 year old can.

It's incredibly hard to put up with. Incredibly. I've been dealing with this for about 3 years now, and I get very tired of it. She's the one that honestly makes me dislike mothering the most. I get very little joy out of listening to her endless voicing of unhappiness at the state of her life. I have 2 other children who have needs to, but she manages to make hers the most known to everyone.

That's why I look for answers and help. Because it's that, or... well I don't want to think about the or. I've wanted to run away from mothering because of dealing with this. Seriously. Walk away for good and find a new life without kids. Not a good situation for either of us.

Now I have to deal with the meltdown she's having because she dropped her fish crackers on the floor.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:41 AM
 
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Ok i have now read your full explanation and I get it. It sounds like she is incredibly sensitive and is indeed, as you put it I think, incapable of "emotional self-regulation".

I think you really do need to help her through this because she will have a very hard time in life if this is not nipped in the bud. Not only will she be very disappointed all the time but no one will like her. Now that I have read the whole thing, I would actually KEEP her in a play-based, group environment at school because I think that she could use as much group interaction as possible.

I would not put her in anything like Early Intervention because it does not sound like she needs help academically or with motor skills or anything like that but I would definitely get her some counseling with a good child counsellor or child psychologist to help her deal with her emotions when things don't go her way.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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Old 02-06-2008, 10:31 AM
 
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go get KPPS off the shelf. She's in there! Your dd sounds a lot like my dd1. I'll be back later to say more, but I've got to get her off to school...

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Old 02-06-2008, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok i have now read your full explanation and I get it. It sounds like she is incredibly sensitive and is indeed, as you put it I think, incapable of "emotional self-regulation".

I think you really do need to help her through this because she will have a very hard time in life if this is not nipped in the bud. Not only will she be very disappointed all the time but no one will like her. Now that I have read the whole thing, I would actually KEEP her in a play-based, group environment at school because I think that she could use as much group interaction as possible.

I would not put her in anything like Early Intervention because it does not sound like she needs help academically or with motor skills or anything like that but I would definitely get her some counseling with a good child counsellor or child psychologist to help her deal with her emotions when things don't go her way.

Hope this helps and good luck!
Whew. You can't know how relieved I am to hear you say this. I love her so much and just want to help her, at the same time, it's so hard because my own parents were very insensitive and really didn't approve of me having any kind of emotional response. I was often sent away and not dealt with. And my eldest dd, well, she really is more even keel, more balanced. She never had these kinds of behaviors, so I really have little experience with these extreme reactions to things. I've been AP since my first, but have since realized that just being AP doesn't automatically equip you to handle every challenge you come across.

What typically works for dd1, and dd3, just doesn't for dd2. So I'm having to really research behavior. Even though I'm sensitive myself, trying to teach her things I'm just understanding now is really difficult. I understand her, but I'm not always helping her in the right way (sometimes simply because I don't plan very well, and other times because I have 2 other children I have to juggle).

I'm working on it, and I've started with the KPP book. I've typed out notes from the first 3 or 4 chapters. I've printed it out for dh too, because even though overall he's a good dad, he (like me), still reacts without thinking sometimes, and makes things worse.

Sometimes I can't believe how this isn't second nature to me, that I have to work so hard at it. But I think that's because it doesn't take much to meet my other two children's needs. Dd1 and dd3 just need a little extra connection, and things are made okay in their minds and they go off and resume playing or whatever. But with dd2, it's like the end of the world sometimes. Even when we attempt to help or fix things, it's not okay in her mind.

I was hoping that school would help give her some confidence, and she'd have some positive experiences there that would help to give her esteem a boost, but that has been slow in coming. She enjoys it enough, and wants to go, but still, she's not blossoming like I'd hoped she would have. I was hoping that having something of her own to look forward to would help her out in other areas. But it's not been quite that way.

I probably should go through some of the posts I've made about her on another message board, and compile them to get a complete picture of her. If I do take her to a psychologist, at least I'd have a pretty accurate history of some of her episodes. I don't want to find out what's "wrong" with her or to medicate her. I want to find out exactly who she is so I can help her.

That's the only reason why I went to the Early Intervention Screening. I just wanted someone to either tell me if there was something I was missing, or that she was quite normal and her behavior was typical and that things would be fine. But I didn't expect her to not participate at all. I half expected her to actually pass with flying colors, and them to say she was perfectly fine and that she was just a little immature but she'd grow out of it. I wasn't expecting them to tell me she refused to participate. That doesn't happen that often during screening. I know this because I asked the counselor right there. I asked her if it was "normal" for a child to not be responsive at all to prompting. She said, "well, no, not really. We usually can get them to do something". But then again, it was a screening with other children. She wasn't the only one that day. They had to move along the children to each station, so I'm sure they didn't have time to really let her warm up to the exercises.

On a side note, this is affecting her life in other ways too. She also wouldn't let the dentist check her teeth for her first appt. Even though I went first, and her older sister went next and she watched both of us. She wouldn't let him near her mouth when I sat her on my lap.

Anyway, thanks for helping me work through this. I'm going to start with KPP and work my way through the other books I have.

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Old 02-06-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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Do you think she could be a perfectionist? Refusing to participate because she's afraid of making a mistake?
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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I probably should go through some of the posts I've made about her on another message board, and compile them to get a complete picture of her. If I do take her to a psychologist, at least I'd have a pretty accurate history of some of her episodes. I don't want to find out what's "wrong" with her or to medicate her. I want to find out exactly who she is so I can help her.
Psychologists and counsellors cannot medicate. Only psychiatrists can do that and I would not go down that road.

Again, from reading your posts, EI is not at all what she needs. She just needs counselling.

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Old 02-06-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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Hi Miss Info,

I'm back. My dd1 is my challenging one. It's also more challenging for me because she's not like me! That's one thing I found very validating in the "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles" book is that your kids may have a very different temperament from you. The book helped me to realize what may work to settle one kid down or one parent down may not work for another member of the family. And, likewise what triggers you may not trigger your dd and vice-versa. It's really about recognizing your needs and your children's needs and working out solutions to meet everyone's needs. I was so happy when I found that book because so many books, even though they may be very AP, are a one-size-fits-all philosophy and as the parent of a kid who definitely is not one-size-fits-all it really helped just to be validated. While all kids are unique I do think my dd1 (who sounds a lot like your dd2) is uniquer-er .

I think she may have/have had some sensory stuff and probably has some sensitivities, but anxiety plays a big part in her temperament, too. Luckily my dd2 is comparatively easy-going. She's much more compliant and willing to go along with suggestions and follow directions. She's plenty good at coming up with her own ideas, too, but she can bend her will to follow someone else's suggestion and for dd1 that sometimes seems like the end of the world!

Quote:
She is incredibly INTENSE...LOUD...NEGATIVE...DEMANDING...PERSISTENT ...
but at the same time, can be incredibly cuddly and very empathic.
My dd1 is also very intense (not so loud, that goes to dd2), can be very negative and get "locked in" that state, definitely persistent, and not as demanding anymore (she's almost 7). She definitely can be very cuddly, but she is not empathic about real people, however, a story-line with the least bit of drama will send her over the edge. She feels fine to whack her sister over the head, though, and wouldn't necessaily be upset to see dd2 or one of us parents upset. Sometimes, though, that little light of empathy does shine through.

Quote:
Strong reactions from others wound her deeply. Even just being firm or raising our voices or telling her she did something wrong or hurtful will end up making her run from the room in tears.
This is sounding like "The Highly Sensitive Child". My dd1 just blows it all off and goes on her merry way, unless I bring out the voice of doom and then she seems to show some remorse. She actually is getting better about this, too, though. DD2 is more sensitive in this way. We had a go 'round last night where dd2 was upset about the Tv being turned off and dh was upset about her being so loud (she's my loud one) and whining about TV. DH being upset made dd2 more upset and louder which, in turn made dh more upset and I thinkn you can see where this is going. Thankfully DH got so mad he left the room and then dd2 was able to calm down.

Quote:
It would be a 60-40 chance she'd wake up either crabby or peaceful. And often she would have gotten locked into her emotional state.
That sounds like dd1. What I do with her is leave her an out. When she's locked into something, "I'll never go to the potty (wash hands, come to supper, read a book, pick up my toys, get dressed, etc)! I hate the potty! I never do that!" I try (emphasis on try) to respond calmly and let her know that we'll be waiting a the supper table whenever SHE DECIDES to join us. The emphasis is on it being her decision and that we'd like it, but I definitely try not to engage her in a power struggle about it because I will definitely lose my cool before she ever gives in. I also try to let her know that it is her decision to be crabby or be happy, that sometimes it takes some effort to make the switch, but she is in charge of her emotions they aren't in charge of her.

Quote:
Right now, most times, she wouldn't use her words to communicate her needs (and she was quite capable of it, because she's been speaking in complete sentences since age 2).
Is this at home or school or both? I would probably explain that it makes it really hard for me to understand what's wrong if she won't talk (I repeat this at least once a day to my 4 yr old when she gets upset and loud). I can see she's upset (or wants something), but it's really hard for me to understand and I'd appreciate it if she'd use some words to tell me. Then when/if she does use words I'd give her a big hug and try to work with the request. (I would probably get her her own bowl of goldfish if she asked nicely.)

Quote:
She often wants to be babied, and only recently has been wiping herself when toileting.
My 4 yr old loves to play Baby, too, and is starting to learn to wipe her bum. I don't think those are out of the realm of normal at all, especially with a little sister. The grunting thing is pretty annoying. Is that as part of pretending to be a baby? My 4 yr old (and sometimes the almost 7 yr old) will talk in baby-talk and ask me for things. It's annoying and sometimes I ask them to use their regular voices, but a lot of times I go along with it. They mostly love to talk and tell stories so we don't have the grunting issue too much.

Quote:
She's teetering on a meltdown right now because I'm not addressing her needs, she's at a puddle on the floor crying because I'm not jumping up to get her fish crackers. Well, technically there are fish crackers in a bowl, but she doesn't want those crackers, she wants her own crackers.
Maybe she wanted you to get off the computer and pay attention to her? My kids do that and also when I'm on the phone :grrr . We have a cabinet of plastic stuff down low for the girls so in this situation I would say, "DD, I'm on the computer right now, but if you go to the cabinet and get yourself out a container I'll help you put some in if you'd like." With my dd2 that would probably work. With my dd1 at 4 it would've been 50/50 and depends on how far down the road to meltdown she'd gone.

Quote:
So, while to some it may be normal. I don't think it's very normal.
Well, I've come to the conclusion that in my dd1's case it is one end of the spectrum of normal. I think my dd1 just has a very unusual temperament. She's highly, highly, highly imaginative, super-duper cautious (almost every question merits a "no" as a first reaction), prone to anxiety, super intense, and can be very persistent, but low movement (doesn't have a great need to jump around, etc, not spirited in that way, just emotionally). But I do think that she's within the range of normal although I have often, often wondered if there was something WRONG WITH THIS KID!? I have come to the conclusion, no, not really — just different. One thing that helps me is she's very much like my MIL who is a very sweet wonderful person who has been pretty successful at life and is happy and can take care of herself. That gives me hope!


Quote:
That's why I look for answers and help. Because it's that, or... well I don't want to think about the or. I've wanted to run away from mothering because of dealing with this. Seriously. Walk away for good and find a new life without kids. Not a good situation for either of us.
Big, big, big .

I'll leave you with two more tidbits. One is an analogy. I often refer to my dd1 as a kitten. She's a kitten in a world of puppies. All the other little kids are really wanting to do what the teacher says and want to sit in the circle, etc, but they're puppies and they're wiggly and it's fun to play and hard to learn to "sit". Dd1 is the kitten in the room. She has no interest in learning to "sit". She wants to curl up in a sunny windowsill and maybe imagine playing with some yarn or something. She can be very sweet and cuddly, but it is just not her nature to want to please like it is to a puppy.

The other thing I wanted to leave you with is one more book recommendation. It's for "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. They have a website at http://www.thinkkids.org/ and the great thing about this book is while it is a one-size-fits-all approach they offer you concrete steps to try when you're running out of ideas. Their big thing is CPS (which stands for Collaborative Problem Solving rather than child protective services).

The cliff notes version is 3 steps.
1. You empathize with the child. You can't skip this step and it has to come first because that let the child know you are really interested in their feelings and working with them. "It sounds like you really want your own bowl of fish crackers." "YEAH!"

2. You define the problem. "Well we've got some crackers here in this bowl, but not another bowl to put them in for you, and I'm on the computer and am not at a good stopping place right now."

3. You invite the child to help you come up with a MUTUALLY AGREEABLE solution. "What do you think we should do?" Listen for their ideas and you are free to make suggestions of your own. Ideally this is all done before the heat of the moment.

It's a good book and I got some good ideas from it — the most important being empathize first even if it's just relective listening.

hth and sorry so long.

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Old 02-06-2008, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh...my...yes! This is extremely helpful. And while I will end up getting that book too, thank you for giving me the cliff notes version. I really need tools and it really takes a lot of time to go through the books to glean the important parts.

Thank you so much. I can't even begin to really thank you for taking the time to write this. I really do appreciate it, and I will be using these tidbits.

I love the kitten-puppy analogy. She is exactly that. Thanks so much for the analogy (I'm a huge cat lover too).

I'm really thinking she's gifted in some ways - because all of her sensitivities, her perfectionistic tendencies, and needing to have things the way she wants them all point to it. She's had some anachronistic development already (walked and talked early), but her emotional self-regulation is in need of help. I've read a few stories of the frustrations the gifted child has when they can conceptualize things but can't mechanically do them yet and it leads to a lot of frustration.

At any rate, she's definitely been an enigma, but I'm piecing together the pieces of the puzzle. Thanks for helping me with finding some of the pieces and some tips to work with her and not against her.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:23 PM
 
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Miss Info,

I'm glad it helped, even if only to know there are other souls commiserating with you.

DD1 had a play at school today and the kids created their own costumes, etc. Well, I knew I'd better get there a little in advance because dd1 had been grumbling and griping and saying "I quit the play" and "I hate my costume", etc for awhile now and then alternately being very excited about it. Unfortunately I did not get there early enough to circumvent the meltdown, but I did get there in time to sop it up and fix the costume and paint her face and get her happy and then "tra, la, la, la" nothing had ever been wrong and she was the star of the show (at least in her eyes). She has no stage fright what so ever, but gets really anxious about things being "right" (in her eyes) so once she was satisfied with her costume, etc., it was okay. She actually did really great and loved it and all the kids were wonderful, but both teachers were saying to me as soon as I got there, "so glad you're here" in a very meaningful way. Oh that girl!

I think giftedness can probably 'cause some emotional issues. I think dd1 is certainly bright, but her verbal and auditory abilities are so far ahead and have always been so far ahead of her writing and reading skills that she is very easily frustrated with trying to sound out words. "That's a baby book!" I think she wants to just jump right into reading chapter books and skip the learning to read stage. She was an early talker, too, and just would listen and tell stories all day long.

Hope things get easier for you and connections closer .

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Old 02-09-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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I would not be afraid. Growing takes care of a lot of it. We have a dear boy from Bangladesh who sounds a lot like your DD. Or at least, he was last year. He used to cry every day and hide in a corner, and never, ever spoke. He didn't speak the language, poor little guy, and his culture is probably quieter than that of the rest of my rough and tumble kids. Now he is cheerful, sweet, still a little shy, but loves to chat. He's light years better. Maybe your dd is on the same path.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Miss Info,

I'm glad it helped, even if only to know there are other souls commiserating with you.

DD1 had a play at school today and the kids created their own costumes, etc. Well, I knew I'd better get there a little in advance because dd1 had been grumbling and griping and saying "I quit the play" and "I hate my costume", etc for awhile now and then alternately being very excited about it. Unfortunately I did not get there early enough to circumvent the meltdown, but I did get there in time to sop it up and fix the costume and paint her face and get her happy and then "tra, la, la, la" nothing had ever been wrong and she was the star of the show (at least in her eyes). She has no stage fright what so ever, but gets really anxious about things being "right" (in her eyes) so once she was satisfied with her costume, etc., it was okay. She actually did really great and loved it and all the kids were wonderful, but both teachers were saying to me as soon as I got there, "so glad you're here" in a very meaningful way. Oh that girl!

I think giftedness can probably 'cause some emotional issues. I think dd1 is certainly bright, but her verbal and auditory abilities are so far ahead and have always been so far ahead of her writing and reading skills that she is very easily frustrated with trying to sound out words. "That's a baby book!" I think she wants to just jump right into reading chapter books and skip the learning to read stage. She was an early talker, too, and just would listen and tell stories all day long.

Hope things get easier for you and connections closer .
Yeah, me too. Thanks. I'm going to be keeping up with my reading and practicing the tips and hopefully we'll get this worked out now, when the problems are small. I don't want her to have this affect her whole life. I just want my kids to feel good about themselves and be resilient when things just don't go as planned.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would not be afraid. Growing takes care of a lot of it. We have a dear boy from Bangladesh who sounds a lot like your DD. Or at least, he was last year. He used to cry every day and hide in a corner, and never, ever spoke. He didn't speak the language, poor little guy, and his culture is probably quieter than that of the rest of my rough and tumble kids. Now he is cheerful, sweet, still a little shy, but loves to chat. He's light years better. Maybe your dd is on the same path.
I hope so. I did ask her if she liked school, and she said yes, so she seems to like it much better. I need to get my MIL to watch my other two, because I'd really like to observe her again. She's always excited to go her 2 days a week and is a bit sad she can't go the other days. But next year, she will be going 3 days a week. She will be going to the same place for pre-K. She won't have to change schools until she's 6 when she goes to K. Maybe by then, between normal maturation and with me helping her, she will be more relaxed about being in school.

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Old 02-11-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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"Normal" and "typical" are not the same thing. I think your daughter is within the range of normal but toward the edge of that range. It's not only abnormal people who sometimes need special attention and help to function optimally. Your feeling that something is off-kilter here and needs attention is completely warranted.

By suggesting family therapy, I didn't mean to suggest that the problem lies with you or your parenting rather than your daughter's natural temperament. What I'm thinking is that at her age, therapeutic techniques for her alone are pretty limited, so things that you and she can do together may be more effective.

It sounds to me like there are two separate things going on in this one little package:
1. She is shy or introverted or experiencing some type of social anxiety.
2. She is emotionally highly sensitive and explosive.
Those two things interact, and both are involved at once in some situations, but they're different.

A girl who's in her fourth year in my Girl Scout troop, now 10 years old, is sensitive and explosive like that (but not remotely shy or introverted--she loves to be the center of attention, no matter how many people are around!). She has improved incredibly on a low-sugar diet. It used to be that the slightest disappointment (and she's quite the hatcher of elaborate schemes, so disappointments are frequent) would send her into a shrieking, sobbing, foot-stamping rage in five minutes or less. Now, she does get hurt and agitated, but she's much more rational and can vent her feelings with one "AAGGH!!!" and then speak in a slightly loud voice, pause to let others explain their positions, and actually think about what they are saying. She's still impatient and demanding, but not to a degree that makes me want to strangle her every week. Huge, huge improvement! As she's matured, her parents have relaxed the rule from "no added sugars at all" to "limited sugar, balanced diet, careful timing" and she's become skillful at recognizing imbalanced feelings and taking appropriate action. For example, she can have a toasted marshmallow on a full stomach, but when she feels her sugar level start to drop about 30 minutes later, she needs an apple or something to prop her up with a less extreme sugar. Anyway, it's worth watching your daughter's diet relative to her outbursts to see if you can pick up any pattern, and you might try cutting back on sugar to see if it makes a difference.

Edited to add: I think your hunch that your daughter is gifted may well be correct. I was a gifted kid and have known many, and intense, deeply felt, long-lasting emotions do seem to be a common trait. In addition to the frustration issues you mention, I think that intellectual maturity ahead of one's emotional maturity can make problems seem bigger than they are--your neighbor's cat gets run over by a car, and not only are you sad that the cat died, but you vividly imagine what it must've felt like, and you get to thinking about how everyone you know is going to die someday and about all the situations in which a car could hit someone you love and how cars could smash together and kill everyone inside, and pretty soon you're bawling about all the pain and suffering of the whole world and the dreadful transience of life itself, and it takes hours just to stop crying, and two months later you can't think of cats or cars or look over toward the neighbor's house without feeling sick and snapping at the next person who happens to speak to you. I was like that as a kid, and the above Girl Scout is too--despite being generally a much more cheerful and less nervous kid than I was, when something bad happens to someone she is hit by a runaway train of empathy and worry. She is extremely bright academically, very creative and quick-thinking and an eager problem-solver in daily life, and she is going to be a really cool adult. It's hard for a little brain and body to handle such big feelings and ideas all connected to one another...but in the long run, IMO, the head start on processing that stuff leads to greater ability to wrestle with difficult issues as an adult, because you've made so many connections and gotten used to so many troubling realities already.

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
"Normal" and "typical" are not the same thing. I think your daughter is within the range of normal but toward the edge of that range. It's not only abnormal people who sometimes need special attention and help to function optimally. Your feeling that something is off-kilter here and needs attention is completely warranted.

By suggesting family therapy, I didn't mean to suggest that the problem lies with you or your parenting rather than your daughter's natural temperament. What I'm thinking is that at her age, therapeutic techniques for her alone are pretty limited, so things that you and she can do together may be more effective.

It sounds to me like there are two separate things going on in this one little package:
1. She is shy or introverted or experiencing some type of social anxiety.
2. She is emotionally highly sensitive and explosive.
Those two things interact, and both are involved at once in some situations, but they're different.
Actually, therapy of any kind would probably be helpful - family or even for just me...

I have my own issues I'm dealing with. Mostly dealing with issues stemming from not having a life outside my kids anymore. I quit my science career to be with my children, because I always felt I needed to be with my kids if I ever had any (and I was already missing out on part of their childhood). My vision for them was to enrich their lives, create a memorable childhood for them, and send them off into adulthood with a strong foundation. But my reality has not been like that. Instead, I'm sad at the life I left behind, I was overwhelmed for a while because I had 3 children in 3.5 years, and while they are good, wonderful children, the dynamic with my dd2 has made it really hard to cope with. Add also a 2.75 year old who is getting to be really stubborn lately herself. I find her mimicking some of the same responses dd2 exhibits.

Sometimes it feels so lonely and it's hard to cope. I'm highly sensitive (and unfortunately, explosive sometimes too because I feel there's no hope).

Yeah, I need to work more on the sugar thing. While we try to eat whole foods for meals, our snacks leave a lot to be desired. They eat granola bars just about every day and Frutubu (organic smooshed fruit) fruit rollups. But two older kids are always bringing treats home from school (holiday parties, birthday parties, etc) or my MIL will send stuff for the kids. I try really hard to limit their intake of sugary snacks, but not always successful at it.

I've read some of the book, Little Sugar Addicts. I see my dd3 being a little Sugar Addict more so than dd2. Dd3 is constantly looking for a sugary treat. And I find I'm too much of a pushover with her. She's very demanding and throws her own fit when she doesn't get a treat. So I cave and end up giving her a little hershey's kiss or something (anything small to stop her screaming tantrum).

Anyway, thanks for trying to help.

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Old 02-15-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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This has been a very interesting read for me. My son often refuses to speak in public, is very guarded at school, does not play much with other children, gets very set in his emotions, he is very intesnse and hard to deal with at home, but school/friends think I'm crazy because he's so quiet around everyone else, he takes forever to "warm up" . . .

Montessori school has been very good for him. There are so many routines that his social anxiety is less. He can work all day next to, but not quite with, other kids so he feels social and can observe without really interacting (if he chooses). He would absolutley not function in a classroom that required group activiites. He didn't even come to the rug for circle time for the first 6 month s of preschool. I'm so thankful that his teachers saw this as an anxiety and not as being naughty. More later. . .
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Flor - please do come back and add more.

Two things have happened recently. I have called a montessori school and have asked about Kindergarten admissions. She's not eligible for K in public school until 2009, so I have a little time to investigate this option further. There is an open house in the montessori school in March, so I may just have to investigate that for her.

I will be going to that and seeing about it. I have montessori sensory things at home (see my blog to see what kinds of stuff we're doing), so she will kind of understand some things (except of course higher quality materials).

We did have a play date with the only other girl in her class. I was babysitting my neighbor's dd while she went to her son and my dd2's class for the valentine's day party. She knew I've been wanting to get my dd and the other child on a play date. So she invited the girl and the mom (she also knew the mom) to her house, knowing we'd be there. So, it turned out that dd2 played so nicely, was as outgoing as she normally is at home, and talkative and everything. Maybe, she will feel more comfortable at her preschool now. It will be interesting to see how she does next week.

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