Normal behavior for 3.5 year old, mental health issue, "lack of discipline"...???? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 10-30-2011, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
malayasmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

An incredibly long rant, not sure if anyone will actually stick it out and read but if nothing else it will help me to get this out and vent!  :-)  Thanks in advance to anyone who reads.

 

Probably better to explain with examples what my concerns are, but first a little background:

 

Our DD will be 4 in 2 mos., we still let her have a nuk (pacifier) before nap and bed time.  We've tried working with her to give it up before, but she has a very hard time calming herself down and sleeping without it.  We tried and her sleep was awful for a week, then she got sick (bad asthma) and we gave it back to her to help her rest.

 

She still bangs her head.  A lot.  When she's frustrated she bangs her head on anything she can find.  We've tried to help her come up with other ways to get out her frustrations, but this is what she does.

 

Also, DD takes out a lot of frustration on my husband.  She rarely will hit or yell at me, but she hits, kicks, yells, etc. at him.  He is normally very patient and very kind, whereas I have a little more of a temper.  DH and I have different ideas about discipline--I don't believe in or do time outs, punishment outside of natural consequences, etc.  He grudgingly will agree with me but in the heat of the moment he forgets and sticks her in time outs.

 

--Last weekend I had to wake her up from sleep in the car, she was really mad.  (It was cold, I have a 6-mo-old baby, and I can't see that garage/car from the house.)  She wanted her nuk, and I told her she could have it if she wanted to take a nap.  She refused to take a nap but wanted the nuk anyway.  She kept following me around the house, yelling at the top of her lungs "I want you to DIE!!!  I want you to go away forever!  Go AWAY!"  After multiple throwing things, slamming doors, etc. it became eerily calm.  I went in her room, where she had found a nuk under her bed, and she was calmly sitting on the floor.

 

--Yesterday she wanted a piece of bread with her dinner, which we told her she eat to eat more of the other food in front of her first.  (Food she normally loves she we know she wasn't refusing because she dislikes it; also if we give her bread before her meal she'll ONLY eat bread/butter so now we encourage eating other food before eating bread.)  She got out of her chair and started screaming at both of us "I want you to DIE!!!  I want BREAD!!!"  And then she hit my husband.  My husband made her stand in the corner (which I don't agree with, as stated above), after multiple attempts at getting out she finally stayed there 3 min.  Afterwards I tried explaining to her that I felt very sad, her dad made a special trip to the store for pumpkins, a Halloween movie, and caramel apples so we could have a fun family night but now we all felt sad.  She started to cry, which made me think she felt remorse--when I asked her what she felt sad about she sobbed "I'll never have a caramel apple!"

 

--Today we went grocery shopping, and she was upset the whole time because she wanted us to buy her a doll.  (We said today was not a trip to buy her stuff.)  In the checkout aisle there was of course, a doll in a tutu and she begged us to buy it.  We said things like "I know it's hard when you want something and can't have it, but today is not a trip to buy you a doll".  She started running out the door and my husband went after her.  She tried running into a busy street with cars, kicked hit and punched him; head-butted him, etc.  The entire trip home she was screaming, banging her head on the car seat as well as the back of my husband's seat, her knee, etc.

 

When I tell people I know about it, their initial reactions are "Oh my gosh, what's wrong with her?" as though she has some sort of mental health issue.  Secondly, the reaction is that we are not strict enough with our punishment.  My husband thinks she needs more time in the corner, things taken away, etc.  He is a very gentle, calm individual but he has reached his breaking point with her and has no patience anymore.  He has even hinted around that we might need to spank her to get her to listen to us.

 

Is this normal almost-4 behavior?  Has my ideas about discipline gotten her out of control?  Does it sound like she has some mental health issues?  (We have a lot of depression, bipolar in my family so I worry--I am very proactive about seeking therapy etc. and have a professional background in mental health so I'm not opposed to seeking help from a non-MD).

 

Thanks, and sorry for the rant.

malayasmommy is offline  
#2 of 13 Old 10-30-2011, 02:46 PM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,581
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I"ll bite...

 

My DS is the same age and very much a spit-fire.  He gets upset and he yells the meanest things he can think of - or whatever is the exact opposite of what he knows we want.  I can see how if he heard someone use the "DIE" thing he'd pull it out and use it on us.  He learned the word "stupid" and now pulls it out.

 

I'd say the only thing in your description that sounds beyond normal to ME is the head banging. 

 

Now I do NOT let my DS get away with his violent outbursts and I DO use something like a time out (one might call it a time IN), but he would hit and kick and do all sorts of horrible things if he thought he could get away with it.  A lot of people don't even know DS is like this and they don't believe me, because I am very careful about not letting things escalate, especially in public.  I do a lot of removing him from the situation and waiting him out.

 

This morning, DH told DS it was time to go and DS went nuts.  Screaming and flailing and just flipping out.  And we were going somewhere he LIKES.  I've found that DS will do this when he feels frustrated (I also think his ability to self-regulate is worse with dairy, but that's a whole other can of worms).  So, I took DS and set him to sit on our bench.  That is our regular time-in spot.  Usually I sit with the kids and wait them out, but this time I was getting ready to go.  I set him there, he is used to it and knows that is where he goes to calm down.  So I got myself ready and DH got DD ready and in the car and DS kept yelling.  It slowed down as I was just about ready, so I came and asked DS if he was done yelling.  He said he was.  I then said - okay, what is the problem? (That is our routine - we calm down, then talk about the problem.  If the child is still too upset to talk, we wait longer.  If child needs snuggles and whatnot to calm down, I do that too.  It isn't a punishment, it is a calming down.  If child is going to hit me or kick me I'm not going to stay within reach and I'm not snuggling then either. :) ).  Turned out this time DS couldn't remember and he was happy to go get ready now.  Go figure.  Most times we talk about the problem and work on finding a solution we can all live with.  

 

This works amazingly well for my kids.  It takes the fury out of the situation.  It does take a LOT of patience.  I need to be willing and able to wait as long as they need to calm down.  Sometimes it is inconvenient and sometimes they are too far gone (tired, hungry) and I have to modify slightly, but even then we always calm down before we DO anything (except nap - if it is insane and they just cannot calm down, they can go nap).

 

For the Nuk, that is tough.  My DS thumb sucks.  DD was a pacificer girl.  Is it bugging her teeth?  Can you just enforce an "only in bed" thing and leave it at that.  So if she is livid and needs it she can go use it in bed?  We did "only in bed" with the pacificer and that worked well and was consistent so we didn't have fights about it.

 

HTH

 

Tjej

 

 

Tjej is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 10-30-2011, 03:08 PM
 
pbjmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,212
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

She is not the first almost 4 yo to have a nuk. My 3.5 yo has one and my ds gave his up (with lots of encouragement) at 4.5. They both have high suck needs. It sounds like your dd really needs it and it is one of the tools she has to help herself calm down. I would suggest considering encouraging using it instead of limiting. It is working for her.

 

Banging her head could be normal. But combined with several other things you said (out of control body, sucking need, etc) it made me think of sensory seeking behavior. I'm not saying she has spd or anything. My ds had some sensory issues and was in therapy for about 6 months and it made a profound difference in our lives. He does not have spd or anything else diagnosable. But since you are open to other options, I think it is something to consider.

 

"I want you do die" gets a reaction. It hurts when she says that and she knows it. I would go as neutral as you can on that. It hurts mommy's feelings when you say that. I love you and always will. Then nothing - take away the power in that statement.

 

"I'll never have a carmel apple" vs. remorse. She is egocentric. She is 3. Normal.

 

Doll at grocery store - a little extreme reaction but with in normal limits. Egocentric again.

 

My dd is alot like your dd. She gets pissed. She is destructive and mean when she is mad. There was a time when I had a car seat in my house to put her in when she was on a nasty streak. She would harm me and her brother and I could not contain her. (I have a scar from a bike mark on my arm) And I would loose my temper! Oh, she could push my buttons. I strapped her in that thing (after securing so she would be safe) and either left the area so I could calm down or would wait with her until she could calm.

 

After many trials I have found that the best way to help her is to grab her and hold her tight with binky and blanket (if she wants them) and rock her and talk to her softly. Tell her I love her too much to fight with her like this. I will take care of her. Lots of reassuring. My ds needed 'time out'. We called it quiet time - he is an introvert that time out was a good tool for him to deal with his feelings. He needed to get away from whatever situation had him upset. Time to process. My dd has a different spirit and she is an extrovert. She needs to be engaged and loved.

 

Hope something in here helps you. At least you know you are not alone!

pbjmama is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 11-01-2011, 04:22 PM
 
swd12422's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

I think the answer is yes. Normal, maybe something going on like sensory seeking for whatever reason (not entirely familiar so I'm not going to try to address it any more than that), and maybe not LACK of discipline, but ineffective discipline. If you're so against time outs, what do you do instead? Are there any consequences for her behavior when she hits/kicks/etc.? If not, then yeah, lack of discipline too. Timeouts work for some people, but not everyone. I don't think at 4 it's a terrible thing to do, if it works. It has never really worked for DS. I do still send him to his room, however, when he is behaving inappropriately b/c he is not allowed to be near us if he's being violent. But he doesn't have such strong outbursts, so I'm not sure it's really helping him push that "reset" button.

swd12422 is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 11-01-2011, 05:37 PM
 
nextcommercial's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

I think the answer is yes. Normal, maybe something going on like sensory seeking for whatever reason (not entirely familiar so I'm not going to try to address it any more than that), and maybe not LACK of discipline, but ineffective discipline. If you're so against time outs, what do you do instead? Are there any consequences for her behavior when she hits/kicks/etc.? If not, then yeah, lack of discipline too. Timeouts work for some people, but not everyone. I don't think at 4 it's a terrible thing to do, if it works. It has never really worked for DS. I do still send him to his room, however, when he is behaving inappropriately b/c he is not allowed to be near us if he's being violent. But he doesn't have such strong outbursts, so I'm not sure it's really helping him push that "reset" button.



This is pretty much what I agree with.  I think you need consequences.   She needs boundaries, all kids do.  Kids may act or seem as if they want to control the home, but they really don't.  We all wont to know someone is in control, and a three year old really needs to know you guys are in control.  

 

Here is a checklist of things that may or may not sound like your daughter.  http://www.incrediblehorizons.com/sensory-integration.htm  

 

All of us have sensory issues.  Nobody is without some sensory problems, but for some people it interferes with their every day life.  For others, we just need to understand that they are sensitive to loud noises, or socks, or cold or hot.  

 

 

nextcommercial is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 11-01-2011, 06:35 PM
 
zinemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: from the fire roads to the interstate
Posts: 6,569
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Establishing consistent boundaries and consequences certainly sounds like a good idea. But for your own peace of mind, it couldn't hurt to talk to your pediatrician about her behaviors.
zinemama is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 11-02-2011, 06:29 AM
 
meetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 757
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It sounds to me like inconsistent discipline. Kids needs parents to have a united front and they need consistent boundaries. My own personal experience is kids really do need adult imposed boundaries even if it's not a natural consequence.  I think PD is wonderful, it it is always my go to tool, buuuutttttt IME it's not enough in the family setting. In life their are consequences for our actions both good and bad, kids need to learn this too or they are going to be in a world of trouble when they get out in the world. I know there will be a million people to chime in and say on consensual living works wonderfully, they never had to use a adult imposed consequences etc. etc. And that's fine for them (and why I never post in the GD forum), I'm answering your question because you asked. When kids are behaving in anti social ways (hitting, kicking etc) they need to be taught it's not ok. It's very normal for kids to behave like this and they will keep doing it until we teach them not too. Talking does not always work. Particularly in the heat of the moment. Personally I would try enforcing some boundaries for hte next 3 months and see how her behavior improves. Good Luck! 

meetoo is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 11-02-2011, 06:43 AM
 
prancie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,079
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Some of that behavior sounds a little out of the range of normal, especially the head banging.  BUT, I have boys so they don't engage in as much of the emotional "i hate you" tactics that i girl might.  

 

If I were you I would rethink some of the natural consequences stuff.  For instance, a REAL natural consequence to hitting, punching or head butting someone would be to be hit, punched or head butted in return.  Obviously we should not hit punch or head butt our kids so we have to get more creative in order to help them develop their skills of self control.  So, more structure, more discipline, she will feel happier and safer and your home will be more peaceful.  

 

I suggest you hand over some of the reigns of power to your husband, let him have his way in the discipline department and then follow his lead.  Your daughter is not so fragile that she won't survive and thrive even if discipline happens to be overly harsh sometimes. 


Wife to Doug, mom to Hank and Logan !!!
prancie is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 11-02-2011, 06:53 AM
 
Emmeline II's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 8,817
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by malayasmommy View Post

When I tell people I know about it, their initial reactions are "Oh my gosh, what's wrong with her?" as though she has some sort of mental health issue.  Secondly, the reaction is that we are not strict enough with our punishment.  My husband thinks she needs more time in the corner, things taken away, etc.  He is a very gentle, calm individual but he has reached his breaking point with her and has no patience anymore.  He has even hinted around that we might need to spank her to get her to listen to us.

 

Is this normal almost-4 behavior?  Has my ideas about discipline gotten her out of control?  Does it sound like she has some mental health issues?  (We have a lot of depression, bipolar in my family so I worry--I am very proactive about seeking therapy etc. and have a professional background in mental health so I'm not opposed to seeking help from a non-MD).

 

As pp have said, it may "just" be an issue of inconsistent discipline and lack of consequences, though there could be more going on.

 

 My ds (now 7.5) exhibited behaviors similar to your dd (though possibly worse)-- we also have a seemingly NT dd 5yo for comparison--ds' bad behavior/tantrums escalated when he was 4 years old. Halfway through a VERY difficult Kindergarten year we consulted a family therapist who chiefly helped us evaluate our parenting and (dh-Authoritarian, me--Authoritative-but inconsistently applied/and sometimes Permissive); we found that what best worked with ds was Authoritative applied consistently. The following year we worked with a CBT who helped us implement a discipline style based on Positive Parenting & Love and Logic; we have a posted list of house rules (it is recommended that you keep the list to 5 rules) and we do enforce time outs after one warning--ds hadn't responded to time outs in the past, but within two weeks of posting our rules and applying the time-outs consistently (ds also had started on ADHD medication at that time) ds protested them less and we had to use them less. -- An OT would be a good place to start to evaluate for sensory issues; a therapist for working on discipline/behavior (at this age probably a play therapist), helping you two to get on the same page and I don't think any would advocate corporal punishment beyond (possibly) an immediate safety risk; and an eval with a child psychiatrist (not necessarily for medication, but psychologists tend to be reluctant to identify mental health issues in very young children if there is one);  I would also get on the list for a developmental-behavioral pediatrician since it can take 9-12 months to see one, you can always cancel later if you feel it's truly unnecessary. 

 

Ds was eventually diagnosed with ADHD w/disturbance of emotion and conduct (also possibly on the spectrum). Currently ds is having the best (behavior) year he has ever had in school, and is doing well at home too thumb.gif.

 


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
Emmeline II is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 11-03-2011, 10:30 AM
 
minkin03's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post



This is pretty much what I agree with.  I think you need consequences.   She needs boundaries, all kids do.  Kids may act or seem as if they want to control the home, but they really don't.  We all wont to know someone is in control, and a three year old really needs to know you guys are in control.  

 

Here is a checklist of things that may or may not sound like your daughter.  http://www.incrediblehorizons.com/sensory-integration.htm  

 

All of us have sensory issues.  Nobody is without some sensory problems, but for some people it interferes with their every day life.  For others, we just need to understand that they are sensitive to loud noises, or socks, or cold or hot.  

 

 

 

I agree. I have a 5.5 yo dd who has a temper and a short fuse, she has been this way from day 1. The way I handle it with her is she's allowed to feel the way she feels, however, she is not to hurt others, herself, or put herself in danger. When she gets 'out of control', which is usually at home, she goes into her room until she can calm down. I don't call it a time out, it's more of a safe space to feel free to cry and scream as much as she wants without disturbing the rest of us. I just tell her if she wants to cry/scream/kick/etc... she has to do it in her room. She actually makes the choice b/c if she can get her emotions in control she doesn't need to go into her room at all. And she can decide when she's ready to come out, that's also in her control. As long as she is calm when she comes out. 

 

Maybe instead of doing time outs have her go to a 'safe space' where she can have her tantrum, scream, cry, etc... 

 

minkin03 is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 11-05-2011, 01:57 PM
 
JanineRivera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My dd is 3 too and we just went through a complete family break down due to her extreme behavior and after enforcing some firm rules and consistent discipline we are in a much better place.  I think setting clear boundaries is key.  Start with what your intention is for u and ur family and u will find ur way.  It is extremely difficult and painful and u r not alone:)  I am no expert but the head banging does seem a bit worrisome at this age ... ask a specialist about this.  Best of luck.


Wife to my loving husband, James.  Mother to a beautiful daughter, Jules (8/6/08).  Expecting twin girls September 19th, Jade and Jemma.

 

 

JanineRivera is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 11-05-2011, 02:28 PM
 
MountainMamaGC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,055
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)

My DD will be 4 in March and she can really dig deep to get a reaction out of me. She will say things like "I hate you" and "You are not my mom anymore." I used to react and tell her those things were hurtful, but now I dont react at all because I know she wants to use those words to hurt me. She has attacked me, bit me, lunged at me, smashed me in the face with a toy, etc, not without consequence either. We do have boundaries, which she constantly needs to be reminded of.

 

A prime example is this morning actually. She wanted to watch TV, I said no. She starting hitting me. I asked her to stop. I normally would have put her in TO right away, but I just woke up and if she would have just left me alone I would have been happy. But no she had to keep hitting so I put her on the step. Most of the time she will cry and then when she is quiet she asks me to put the timer on. This morning she would not stop screaming. She was saying mean things. She said "I hate you!" I said "Yes you hit me." Then she said " No I hate you!". And I said "Yes I know you hit me!" lol. (I know I shouldnt have pretended to misunderstand her) Then she moved on to keep getting off the step, and then she started throwing dishes off the coffee table. So I put her in her room. Which she destroyed. After an hour of tantrumming she finally cleaned up her room, and sat on the step and asked me to put the timer on. She has asked me to watch TV a couple more times today, but I told her if TV makes her want to hit me, then she cant watch it today.

 

It was a really horrible start to the day. Sometimes when she doesnt get her way, she will try everything in her power to bully me into submission, but I refuse to give in as I am just as stubborn as she is.

 

We always cuddle after time out and talk about what happened. She does show remorse, and does try to make it up when she finally calms down. ex. Cleaning up the wreckage of her tantrum, and finally complying with the consequence of her actions.


Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years.
MountainMamaGC is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 11-12-2011, 10:13 PM
 
Enudely's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We have a rather explosive 5 year old girl and we deal with it just like a past poster.  We put her in her room, and she is free to come out as soon as she is calm.  I usually expect her to say "I'm sorry".  I've gone back and forth about the "forced" apology, since I know it doesn't teach them real remorse.  The fact is, if you scream at someone, kick them, or throw something at them, the polity thing to do is say "I'm sorry", and I want to teach her that.

 


mama to dd (4-15-06) and
ds (2-23-09)
Enudely is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off