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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're going through kind of a tough phase w/ dd right now. She's 3 1/2 and has started this intense, shrill, eardrum shattering screaming anytime she gets upset about anything. This is an EXTREMELY verbal kid that talks (really, asks questions...) non stop, so it's not really a matter of her not having the words to express her frustrations. She's been able to express them pretty well for a while now. Accompanying the screaming is often kicking or hitting at me and occasionally dh. She's absolutely inconsolable during these times. I'm trying to take deep breaths so that when she is at a point that she is consolable we can talk about how that I can't understand what she needs when she is screaming and that I need for her to use words to talk with me. She will then very calmly tell me exactly what she wanted. Often the only thing that works when she's kicking or hitting at me is for me to move myself to another room and close the door. I don't really feel great about that, but on the other hand, I explain to her that I will not allow her to hurt me (she follows me around hitting at me) and that I need to go to a safe place where I won't get hurt.

We are not screamers or even yellers, we don't hit and we don't kick at each other. Her triggers- anytime she's been told that she can't have/do something (another cookie, lick my legs because she's pretending she's a dog, a trip to the park while I'm fixing dinner, etc) AND when dh gets home and my attention will no longer solely be on her. She really directs a lot of this at him when he first gets home from work, which is really affecting their relationship. He's hurt that she's so loudly rejecting him, which gets expressed as irritation. Rather than directing the irritation at her, he retreats and does something alone in another part of the house. A better solution that spending all his time irritated with her, but not a great relationship builder by any means. Besides, I've been dealing with it all day and who does she come to when daddy's clearly irritated-- me.

What's new in our life? I'm 15 weeks pregnant. She's still nursing 2-3 times per day. I'm not actively weaning her, but I'm not jumping for joy when she wants to nurse either since it is really painful. I've explained this to her. She seems to be going through some kind of developmental something as well, since along with all this angst, there are these highly imaginative stories and even more leaps in verbal skill. Other than that, I can't really come up with anything.

So, I guess as much as just needing to vent that she is making me nuts right now, I was hoping for some suggestions. I can recognize that it's really just a stage and it will pass. But I'd like for us to be able to get through without permanent damage to all relationships involved.
 

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it sounds like you're doing all the right stuff, mama, and you're right, I think this will pass as quickly as it came in.

I really would, however, pay closer attention to her relationship with dh. If she's really verbal, can you ask her (and get adequate answer) if she feels like she has enough time with dad. I know she takes it out on him, but maybe that's just it--she's needing MORE from him and doesn't really know how to get it. Maybe dh could spend say 30-60 minutes JUST with her when he gets home and THEN you all can join together...If you notice the angst passing, you can wean back into family time immediately when he gets home.

sarah
 

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Often the only thing that works when she's kicking or hitting at me is for me to move myself to another room and close the door. I don't really feel great about that, but on the other hand, I explain to her that I will not allow her to hurt me (she follows me around hitting at me) and that I need to go to a safe place where I won't get hurt.
This sounds right on the money. Seriously... this is logical and does exhibit to her a strong and solid concept. It is not a punishment, but you are showing her that people have the right to remove themselves from situations that are harmful to them, and that she can take some time alone to vent and be in her emotions safely by herself before vocalizing them.

She is out of control. I say this in its mose true sense, not as a judgement on her or you... she has no control over how she is reacting to her feelings. Yet. With your help and time she will learn how to recognize her feelings and come up with her own coping abilities... but for now, she is just feeling them and reacting the way that is coming to her most naturally. Hey - growing up is hard work! I really identify with how you are relating this to a growth spurt on evidence that other attributes are excellerating. My son goes through this now and again... sometimes he will be more physical, seems emotional at a drop of a pin, and gets anger and frusteration bouts... and this also seems to be the time that I notice shirt sleeves a bit short, his verbal abilities excell, and other obvious growth and developement changes. Again - growing up is HARD WORK!

I suggest having a lot of talks while she is NOT going through a fit... maybe before hand write a bit and come up with some concepts you would like to share with her and things that you would like to explain. Then talk... demonstrate, act (hand puppets act it out, too! stuffed animals may want to jump into the fun!). Repeat concepts a lot, using the same words and new situation, etc. Arm her with an understanding, the starting of empathy, and some words behind it all. Do this through out the day, and talk about how exciting it is to watch her growing up and being such a big kind in all of those new ways!

Then just keep removing yourself from the explosions during the day, and reunite with big hugs and more of that talk... in a easy, exploring type of way, not drilling or punishing.

Now, with hubby... I remember my son went through a phase where he would be upset and my husband would try to interact with him or talk to him... or even come in the same room. My son would say "I DON'T LIKE YOU!" or "not YOU". This broke my husband's heart and he responded by distancing himself and sulking... when really, my son in no way meant to hurt his dad. He was just having big feelings that he did not know how to feel yet. Growing up is hard work, and it is all new to him. Sometimes his intentions and drives exceed his ability for a bit while in a spurt, and frusteration is a very natural by-product.

I talked to my husband at length, and I listened, too. I assured him that the way that our son was acting and talking was normal and part of his growing experience, and had different meaning and impact than if an adult did the same. I told my husband that my suggestion was he kept it simple, not add to the emotional tension in the room, but still make himself available and approachable. So if our son said or did things like that, my husband would say "that's okay Zion... I will give you some space. I love you." and not listen to the resulting screaming or be hurt by it... then he could distance himself to another room or another thing, and revisit our son minutes later when it had all passed. He would smile and tell him that he was happy to see him, that he loved him, and that he wanted to hear about his day, etc.

Meanwhile, in times of peace with my son, I tried to arm him with words to explain his feelings. "Frusterated" was an often used one. After a while, when he started the fit, I could ask "are you frusterated?" and he would respond like "yes *whine cry gasp* I just don't feel good *whine cry gasp*" I also talked about using words that did not hurt. Later my son was in a fit and told dad "I dont care for your company now". I was happy.

Maybe change the routine a bit when hubby comes home? Like, have your daughter have a tea party set up for him and her to sit and catch up for a few right as he comes home.... or maybe something so simple as come outside to greet him as he gets out of the car and go for a short walk together? If she is feeling sensitive, then the transition from him coming home could in itself be enough stress (even good things are stressful) to send her into that uncontrolable frusteration? Taking a short walk together or something like that may help the transition to go smoother.

Just be sure - as soon as you get all used to these new challanges, it will all change!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You guys have made me feel a great deal better about the things that are going on and how I've been handling it. It's tough because she was such an easy kid up until now- very few tantrums, just an agreeable kid, so this is such a big change for her. You guys have made good suggestions. DH and I are going out sunday night with the intention of just spending some time talking. This is something we've neglected over the last couple of months just out of busy-ness. I think things run better overall when we touch base about just relationship stuff periodically.

I got the chance last night to have a girl's night out with a friend that I can really talk to. DD and DH did perfectly fine and everyone was happy when I got home. I felt so much more peaceful for having spent time with my friend- alone. I think January was the last time I had a girl's night out or really even got to spend time with a friend without dd with me. I work part time, but it's out of my home, so I don't get a lot of just time to interact with other adults. I feel so much better today about my ability to handle the more difficult parts of being with a 3 1/2 year old just for simply having had a bit of a break.

Thanks mamas- just to have someone else tell you that you're doing OK does wonders!
 
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