Help! my almost 5 yr old dd is driving me NUTS! - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Help! my almost 5 yr old dd is driving me NUTS!
rocketmom's Avatar rocketmom 05:54 AM 02-14-2002
This is what has been going on (sorry for the rambling getting it out version)-- for the past two or so weeks my dd1, that will be 5 in April, has been acting so strange. We haven't had any big changes in our routine or anything else. First of all at school she has been having pee accidents at least two or so times a week and then today she pooped in her underware. Very odd, she doesn't have accidents at home and she goes to a very wonderful Montessori school. Her teachers are wonderful/aware and she has even been making great new friendships with other children. Next off, she has been constantley running into things–walls, counter top corners, chairs, bags of recycling, door knobs, etc., running over her sister and knocking her down, steping on things that she shouldn't be, & tripping over things etc etc. She also has been laughing at her sister when she gets hurt, falls down, or is upset. She takes things out of the little ones hands and says while dd2 is now crying "Well, she was done with it...." She has been not paying attention at all the her surroundings. Also she has been IMO doing things intentionaly and then just saying "oh ssssoooorrrrry...." sarcastically to some how make what ever she wants to do (whether it is ok or not) right/OK. We have never forced her to say sorry but rather when she was a toddler pointed out that she hurt someone or something etc...trying to create empathy. For the past couple of months she also has gotten quite the attitude going. Who ever said the two's where terrible we wrong wrong wrong, four so far has been a certain degree of hell. It used to be things like "Mom, will you please make my a sandwich?" and now it has been (while her hands are on her hips) "Make me lunch NOW!!!!" Then when she eats she doesn't pay attention to what she is doing and gets food absolutley everywhere. Oh, and how could I forget her rolling her eyes at me when I ask her to do something. Lastly, the poor new puppy gets sat on, laid on, hugged too much, beat on her which I stop immediatley. I have been just asking her to stay away from the puppy so I can keep it safe etc..She has always for the most part been very aware child and had very few problems then all the sudden BAM! all at once she is having such a hard time and driving me absolutley NUTS. Where did my sweet little girl go? Is this developmental or something else??? Please help!!

Thanks so very much!

Alexander's Avatar Alexander 01:58 PM 02-14-2002
In my view, this is the influence of seeing how other children behave at the kindagarten.


Thinking on it.

rocketmom's Avatar rocketmom 08:36 PM 02-14-2002
Alexander I have thought of that and asked her teachers how she acts at school and they say she is one of the sweetest in the class! I laugh and tell them she is totally different as soon as she walk out those doors. It is as if an alien enters into her body and then POOF! I have a child I do not recognize anymore....
Alexander's Avatar Alexander 03:33 AM 02-15-2002
This is what we should expect I think. The fact that she can behave like this is proof of what a good job you are doing at home! I think that if your dd was not so secure at home, and you were a "power cow", she would not be exploring this side of human personalities at home.

ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 10:58 PM 02-15-2002
I also have a 5 yr. old dd. She acts in the same manner. She has always been somewhat difficult but she's been worse lately. Very whiney and has a bit of an attitude. She will come into my room in the morning, climb up on the bed (pretending she's going to lay down) and wake the baby up on purpose! The other day I had a bit of a breakdown and I was crying to my dh when he came home from work. My 3 3/4 year old apologized to me for being mean. My dd said she wasn't sorry at all. :

Anyway, I think it is developmental to a degree. I think they have to be taught the right way to act and they're just testing things out.

Good luck!
rocketmom's Avatar rocketmom 03:03 AM 02-16-2002
I hope it passes soon because boy oh boy is it wearing me out. This has been the ruffest phase so far with her, at least when they are 2 it is a simply tantrum. DD2's tantrums are a breeze.
emmaline's Avatar emmaline 03:13 AM 02-16-2002
Rebecca I have noticed with my kids (4 and 10) that they may be sweet and cooperative at kinder/school but still having some level of stress dealing with something and it shows up as acting out at home. Because they lack the language to name or deal with something stressful they quietly do their best in the big wide world then all hell breaks loose at home.
Kinder and school can be very stressful even if sensitively run etc and finding out what the trigger is may be difficult or impossible. Is there any way you could hang out at her school (say helping with some task) to see what gut feelings you get? Sometimes they can be very happy with friends but there is someone in the room they don't get along with or who bothers them somehow.
Sorry that sounds very nonspecific but I would be concerned by the sort of things you describe, they seem like stress reactions to me.
rocketmom's Avatar rocketmom 04:07 AM 02-16-2002
Ekblad6, Amy thanks for the reply. It is nice to know I am not alone nor is only my child doing this.

Emmaline I think you may have hit the nail on the head! There is a girl at her school that stresses her out and I'm sure there are others and other things. I spend time in her class often, but not as much in the past month. I am going to look into this more next week and see what is going on at school. Perhaps I will spend the whole time she is there (4.5 hrs) with her instead of only a half an hour or an hour. DD2 loves hanging out there with me and I am sure she would would be thrilled to get to stay the whole time too. So we will see. I think I just automatically blamed myself for it that is usually the case with anything (like as if I was being a bad/poor mama to her- and I truely know that isn't the case).

Any other perspectives etc or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

erika's Avatar erika 03:45 AM 03-02-2002
yeah, sounds so familiar. demands rather than the polite requests she used to make. physically attacking me when angry. as i noted in my other thread, 4-1/2 is also when my dd STARTED thumbsucking. i sometimes have thrown up my hands. right now i'm re-reading 'how to talk so your kids will listen and how to listen so your kids will talk' and it's helping a lot.

i think it's a developmental change, and i was still treating her like a "preschooler", but now that she's really a big girl I have to come up with new approaches. sometimes in her most serious-seeming i'm-gonna-stare-you-down mode she'll suddenly break into laughter, as if the hitting and yelling and defiance are really just a big game and i'm the fool!
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 03:59 AM 03-02-2002
My instinct would be to look for a root cause. If there is a girl 'stressing' her out at school, that is likely to be the problem.

I would go back into school and ask for an interview wiht the teacher and anyone else who deals with her. In my school if a parent expressed such a concern about a change of behaviour we would keep a log of what went on to try to identify a cause. Eg on the playground there could be incidents that worry your daughter.

Wetting is often normal at this age, but soiling is a very strong sign of something wrong. My instinct is that some form of bullying is taking place - not necessarily physical, it could be verbal, but that is what I would be looking for, if nothing at home has changed. With the toilet issues, it doesn't sound like simply a developmental phase to me.

I'd be persistent in looking for a reason for her behaviour. You might find answers by being there in school, although this will change the dynamics of your daugthers' interactions with others, so it might not be so simple. I'd put pressure on the staff to work out what is going on. I'm sure they will be concerned to know of her change of behaviour and be keen to find out the cause.

Hope this helps!
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 02:26 AM 03-03-2002
Is she tired? Does she act the same way on weekends or mostly just after school? Has she recently given up naps?

Was she in school last year? You said nothing has changed, but it sounds like there is a baby. If she has recently aquired a sibling and started school she just may be overwhelmed. If you didn't see things change immediantly it doesn't mean they are not the cause. Some things build.

Could she be allergic to something? At first, before you get to the attitude stuff, it seemed like she was sick.

As for being perfectly sweet at school and not so sweet at home I think that may just be a 4/5 year old thing (oh, please tell me they grow out of it) it is so frustrating that someone else gets all thier good behavior and we get all thier bad. I have been on the opposite end of it too. i was the daycare provider who saw perfectly sweet well behaved children freak out on thier parents as soon as they walked through the door. Back then I thought it was because I was so wonderful : I see more clearly now.

Good luck.