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I need BIG TIME help here!

1035 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Evan&Anna's_Mom
DD is 4. She is bright, creative, and funny. But Lordy, can she be naughty!!

Three was HELL. Four is MUCH better, but still needs some improvement.

I lost my job on April Fool's Day. (Reeeeal funny.
Since then, I've been pretty depressed and have been sleeping a lot lately. I haven't been able to drag myself out of bed to get her to daycare except for last Thursday (so 1 day out of 6) when I had an appointment with my counselor.

Today, I took a nap on the couch. She was in the living room watching TV. I was RIGHT THERE. When I woke up, there was chocolate (from her chocolate bunny) rubbed into the rug in front of the TV. Random pieces of paper had been cut into TINY pieces all over. Candy dumped everywhere. Easter gifts all over. Nail polish remover dumped onto the carpet. The tops of both feet were dark purple from the nail polish I bought Saturday night. I was LIVID.

I walked into the kitchen and she said (from the living room) "Look in the bucket." "What bucket?" "The one by the sink."

On the floor by the sink was the plastic pail she had been given for the Easter hunt at DP's family's. In it? A puddle of something and a long snake shapped piece of chocolate. Clarification led to me finding out it was POOP! She SH!T in the bucket?! She's nearly 4.5 and has been potty trained since just before 3. Since she first pooped in the potty, she has NEVER pooped ANYWHERE else. EVER. But today she pooped in a bucket?!

I am soooo pissed off! I couldn't even form words! I stuck her in the tub and told her she couldn't come out until her feet weren't purple anymore. She did a decent job, but they are still purple. While she was in the tub, I gave her her nightly meds. She came out and sat next to me. I told her I didn't want to talk to her. She was very sad and asked why. I told her I was very angry. She ended up falling asleep about 10-15 minutes later.

I have NO IDEA what to do. DP is pissed (I called to tell him what happened) at her for doing it, and me for not punishing/discipling right away. I told him I couldn't form a sentence let alone discipline right then. I told him I would figure something out before tomorrow. He said I couldn't wait and I should have done it right away. He says she should not be allowed to watch TV for a week. But she's 4.5, taking TV away hasn't worked before, and I think she will forget that it's because of pooping in the bucket before the week is over. I just don't know what to do!

ANY insight will help! PLEASE, I BEG of you! I am completely at a loss as to how to punish this behavior and prevent it from happening again. I've been dealing with the mess for a year and a half. It was getting sooo much better. But this behavior is coming between my partner and I and the relationship I have with my daughter. Help!!
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I don't mean to be unsympathetic, but is it possible she just can't be unsupervised for that long? I know you were right there, but if you could sleep through all that then it was a HEAVY sleep (I know I've dozed off after one of my daughter's all night No Sleep For You Mommy parties but it's usually a pretty light sleep) and it must have taken her a while to get up to quite so much.

I think the best consequence would be getting her to help clean up the mess and not giving her quite so much unsupervised time in future.

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. I hope things get better for you soon.
I dont think you need to "punish" her and you certainly dont need to withhold your love (i.e. not talking) to her.
She is crying out for your attention. She is picking up on the fact that her Mama is depressed and withdrawn and acting out in an attempt to get a reaction..any reaction...from you.

Tell her you know she is bored/frustrated and apologize for being so distant. Then, tell her that you feel frustrated when she is destructive...she may apologize, she may not.
Then go do something nice together and put this all behind you.

Until you are certain she will not act out, you simply cant sleep and leave her unattended.
I don't understand why you are angry at your daughter.

You went to sleep and left her alone. You said you've been so depressed that you stay in bed all the time...she's only four years old. She can't take care of herself.

I wouldn't punish the behavior at all, and to prevent it happening again, I wouldn't leave a four year old unsupervised while I took a nap.

I am sorry to sound so harsh. I understand about depression. I have had horrible bouts of depression myself, especially when I got divorced. But it is not your child's fault you are depressed. She is just a little girl. She needs someone to look out for her and if that can't be you right now it needs to be someone else.

Perhaps your partner can take her to daycare, since you aren't up to it right now.

Have you spoken to your counselor about this?
I think it really is the supervision. I was sick and napped on the couch thinking I could hear if anything was happening. Reality was that I had three yogurts on the tv, carpet, wall and he pooped (what is with the pooping in interesting places???) in the cat bowl. I was mad but then blamed myself (even though I was sick, it was still not really their fault). I had them help clean up. That is all I could do and promised myself to call for help if I am that sick. Maybe you could call family or friends for a break. Kids are creative when left alone.
Wow I feel for you but you need to remember she is 4 and needs your love.
I too suffer from depression but even when I am down I have to take care of dgd 21 mo as I am her foster parent too. give her hugs and tell her that you will try to get better.
I understand that it's because I'm sleeping. In the past though, she sneaks out of bed in order to do this. My partner and I have talked with her and explained how dangerous it is, etc. DP and I don't live together right now, and I'm not sure he would be too pleased about me even asking to take her to daycare right now.

I have come to realize that I can't be that mad at her for making messes like this when I'm sleeping because it IS my fault. But she does this when I'm awake, in the bathroom, getting the mail, etc. I'm mostly upset about the pooping.

I've spoken with anyone I can think of about this issue. My counselor, various people involved with children, a child psychologist, etc. The thing is, I have tried every thing they can suggest before they even suggest it. And there are some things that have been suggested that just go beyond my beliefs. (i.e. tying her to me--leashes are for animals)

I'm just at a loss as to how to deal with this....
It sounds like you are very, very depressed. If you cannot get your DD to daycare, where she presumably has a supportive adult, interesting activities and supervision, then perhaps you should ask to be hospitalized and arrange for someone else to care for your DD. If someone was being treated with chemotherapy and couldn't care for her child, people would suggest that that person arrange for a competent adult to care for the child until illness was more under control. It's the same for mental illness; if you are too ill to care for your child, then you must arrange for someone who can.

Whatever "naughtiness" your daughter is coming up with, the fact is that her world is coming apart; her mother is not caring for her, she is trapped at home with no suitable activities or friends to play with, and she doesn't know what to do. If you punish her at this point, you will be laying an additional layer of pain and suffering on top of her situation. Try to have compassion for your daughter, and see that she's being cared for every minute of the day. If you can't do it, you need to find someone who can.
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I don't even really see what she did that was soo worng or even "naughty"
I am sure she tried to paint her nails to look pretty. When she got it on her feet she was trying to fix the problem with the remover than it got knocked over... She was probably eating the chocolate and it got on the rug. She was making art with the paper and scissors. She was keeping herself bsuy and letting you sleep.
My kids still do this stuff..even supervised.
Ok the poop in the bucket is gross but really not that far out there for an unsupervised kid with a fun imagination. She was probably "hey this will be funny"
If it was nail polish on her feet did you really think the tub would get it all off?
I'm sorry you feel so depressed but you can't make be quiet little girl simply b/c you don't feel like parenting right now.
You need some help to help take care of her until you feel better. I really don;t think kids making messes is a naughty behavior.
First, I'm very sorry you lost your job and you are so depressed at the moment. I have been there and it is so hard to get over, and I didn't even have a kid at the time.
I do not think what your daughter did was "naughty" or even wrong. Not at the age she is. It concerns me that you say your Dp was "pissed" at your 4 (!) year old daughter. She is clearly too young to have such little supervision, as I think most would be. Is there any way you can get some help through this rough time?
Take care!

Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
I really don;t think kids making messes is a naughty behavior.

And I agree. But being destructive IS. I can't TELL you how many dozens of eggs have been cracked on the carpets. How many gallons of milk dumped. Butter smeared places. Etc etc. Today, she cut the blinds. We rent.

She has ruined toys, clothes, furniture, etc. I REALIZE that a lot of this is because of me. Hence me mentioning it. I REALIZE too that in order for this to be fixed, *I* have to be fixed. Trust me, I don't enjoy a second of it. I'm a single mom. My partner helps how and when he can. But it angers him a great deal. My mom (the only other person who cares for her regularly) and I have been fighting (as in, no communication) for over a week regarding how she cares for dd.

I know my depression is making this worse. But this is making my depression worse as well. It's a viscious cycle. I look at the homes of people with children, older, younger, doesn't matter. I can't keep half of that stuff around. She ruins it.

I'm sad, mad, upset, the whole deal. And most of it is at myself. I don't know what to do. I love this girl more than life itself, but I realize that I'm hurting her this way. And it's not on purpose. I can't help it. I'm doing everything in my power to fix myself. Therapy, medication, etc. I'm doing it all. I've BEEN doing it all.

Maybe everyone is right and it's not as naughty as I think. I'm just stressed by the disarray of my house, and by all my friends and family blaming me for her behavior. Blaming me is not going to help. I'm just in this deep hole right now. And to answer previous posts, it's NOT bad enough to be hospitalized. I've BEEN hospitalized. Three times in the last four years. I have been seeing my counselor and psychiatrist for nearly five years. I trust their opinions, and they trust me to tell them when I need more help. I can walk in tomorrow and say I want to go into the hospital and they will let me. But I'm not THAT depressed. Right now, it's internal. I have had four jobs in the last 6 months. The last three jobs I have lost before receiving the third paycheck. I'm embarrassed, pissed, and hurt. AT MYSELF. I can't keep a job. This has NEVER happened to me. And I'm internalizing it all. I'm overwhelmed and it leads to me sleeping.

Blah. Maybe this should be in Personal Growth instead....
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Big hugs. It is amazingly overwhelming at times. I'm sorry I can't offer more advice. I agree with you, that maybe you can find some answers in personal growth or mental health section.
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It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now, in addition to the immediate depression issues.

And it also sounds like DD's life is in a state of pretty deep upheaval right now, too. So of course she's acting out and of course she's "hitting you where you live" so to speak with the inappropriate elimination and the destructive tendancies.

Mama, it sounds like you need more hands on help with your DD than you're currently getting. Are you paying for daycare, but not using it? Maybe it should be your goal to get her there 3 days a week at least, and while she's there, you should make it a goal to use the time to work on your own issues.

Maybe your daughter is depressed too, and this is how she shows it.

My father is manic-depressive, I am very prone to depression and must watch myself like a hawk for signs that I am sinking into it again. My children have varying degrees of anxiety, sadness, etc.

Keep going to the doctors. Ask for help whenever and wherever you can and take that help.

You have to know that when it gets to the point where you can't get out of bed --- that IS really bad and it's time for a major intervention.

Originally Posted by churndash View Post
You have to know that when it gets to the point where you can't get out of bed --- that IS really bad and it's time for a major intervention.
Not to be snarky...but what do you suggest? Going to the hospital is not going to find me a job, pay my bills, clean my house, etc. I can't do that there.

Going into the hospital means a higher chance of being assigned a psychiatrist I haven't met before. Which leads them to prescribing me medicine that makes me sleep all day. Literally.

Or it means going to group therapy with yet another person who I've never met before. Who's going to try and solve all my problems in one hour.

All going to the hospital has really done for me in the past is been a "vacation" from the stress of everyday life. But it brings with it more stressors. And then I have more stress to deal with when I come out.

And currently, I have no one to take her.

Hospitalization is really not the answer right now. Finding a job IS. Which is pretty tough in this economy...
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Maybe super childproofing your house will help when she's not at daycare. Putting the scissors up and away, getting door knob covers (if she can't figure them out) or latch and eye hooks to keep her out of rooms, fridge locks, cabinet locks. Containing her to a controlled area will keep the destruction to a minimum since this is an ongoing problem. She just seems to need constant supervision and since no one, even with a healthy mind, can do that you need to make your home as safe as possible for her.

Are you actively searching for a job? If you are so depressed that you haven't been getting her to daycare, I can't really picture you out there but I hope you are. Have you tried a temp agency? With summer coming up there may be some seasonal jobs opening up.

Good luck!
I'm not a child psychologist, but I think your daughter needs help to deal with her feelings in ways other than being distructive. I think you should get your daughter some help with a counselor/ psychologist ASAP as well as to step up your sessions with your own. You both need help right now. You're feelings about your DD's destructive behavior are understandable. I would be pissed as he!! too.

Again, this is an off the top of my head assessment, but here goes: Your DD feels out of control. Probably for many reasons. Could be she has anxiety about her bio dad, you relationship with your DP, your current living situation, could be any number of things in her world she feels out of control, so she is acting out. By her destrucitve behavior, she is screaming for you to re-take control. Kids need boundaries. It's a fine line between setting boundaries and being a tyrant, but it can be done. Your DD needs boundaries.

I'm not sure what to tell you to do about this incident per se. I think the PPs are right. At this point, punishing her is not going to do much. What she needs you to do is retake control. She needs to know that YOU have a plan to take care of her and that things are going to be ok. She needs to see you get up, get dressed, get her to school, and get a plan together for how you are going to cope through this situation. You cannot afford to give into your depression and sleep all day. You don't have that luxury because you have a kid. I don't mean to sound harsh. I have a lot of empathy for you as I also have a depressive mood disorder. RIght now, you need to do whatever you have to to function. Take advantage of the time DD *IS* at daycare to get yourself together. Your DD needs you.
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She sounds like a child who depends a great deal on a high degree of structure. No discipline strategy that you could "try" in the moment can do as much for your kiddo as having a consistant daily routine, and clear expectations that stay the same over time -- and I'm talking a loooong time -- weeks/months.

Couple that with constant supervision -- destructive children can only "unlearn" the habit of destructiveness if there is an adult constantly teaching them to do otherwise. If she wakes up in the night and destroys things, that tells me that she needs more going on during the day to wear her out. She needs to be busy, engaged, supervised and very active.

Structure, supervision, and a high level of activity. To me, this suggests that making it a high priority to get her to daycare is your best bet, at least until you start to feel better.

I took dd to daycare this morning. I missed her parent-teacher conference last Friday, so we did it today. The teacher said everything I expected to hear.
I asked if she showed any signs of problems at home, etc. Her teacher said that there was nothing sending up red flags. No meltdowns, tears, fights, words being said, nothing. I talked to her teacher a bit about what is going on at home with me not having a job and being really depressed, and about my DP. She said that she would report to me anything she heard/saw regarding these issues.
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I think the absolute best thing you can do is get her to daycare regularly. That will give you time to care for yourself and your home, and perhaps put you in a better place to care for her when she isn't at daycare. If you can't get her there, can you get up and get her dressed? Can you find a classmate's parent to pick her up and take her? Its so clear that you need more help than you have. You reached out to the teacher -- can you reach out either to another parent or back to the teacher and ask for the help you need?
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