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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When reading the thread by lily67 I was struck by how hard it is to know when you need to try to figure out a diagnosis or reason for a child's behavior vs. when a child is just high needs or spirited.

I had thought about this before from the parent's point of view- like, is my dd such a handful that I need to find out why and figure a better way of dealing with her? However I'd not really thought about it from the child's point of view- that often being sad or upset is hard for a child and maybe they'd be better off if they were "treated" depending on their situation.

So, how can you tell a "difficult" child from one with "a problem"?

How can you tell when they will grow out of it vs. when it may be a long standing thing- like manic depression?

I have thought about this lately because my dd has had a really tough time in the past few weeks. She's a spirited kid, and has certainly had her moments, but other times she's a fun vivacious joyful child.

Lately she gets into bouts of feeling sorry for herself and self hatred. She says things like 'I'm not pretty" and "Nobody wants to play with me." She tells me that no one pays attention to her and that she doen't want to be a little girl.

It breaks my heart.

I don't know where she gets those thoughts, other than that's how a lot of people feel when they are depressed.

Oh, and she's had a lot of fears lately, especially since Halloween. She's been waking up every night since dh went away for work and won't let me be in a different room from her anymore.

She's in a tough place because there's a new baby in the mix, her dad is out of town this week, her best friend told her she doesn't want to play with her anymore (best friend's mom freaked out at me and decided to throw us out of her life, but I wish she could have left the kids out of it.) Then dd got scared by halloween.

Oh, and yesterday another 3 yo told her that everyone dies and she'll have to die someday. Like dd doesn't have enough problems!


This morning she seemed to feel much better. She got a full night's sleep and I think that helped. Some days and some moments she does great. She especially seemed to do well after we spent most of yesterday playing with various kids.

But at what point does a parent decide that being scared and self loathing all the time is a "problem" and not just a reaction to temporary events? How much fear and self loathing is normal for a child? I never thought 3 year olds could have such well-developed negative thoughts.

Anyway- if you're still reading, thanks. I thought this was an interesting topic and I thought I'd use it as a springboard for bringin up my issues of the moment.
 

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I sought help from my dd1's ped from about 1 year of age on. I was blown off. I now realize that I was picking up on signs and should have sought out testing. I finally did when she was 3.5. My dd was also in a difficult spot with me coming off bedrest, having a new baby who was sick, and all that. But still, there was something beyond normal with her. Turned out she had some issues but they were not severe enough to require any special therapy. I got some advice from OT's and read some books and got ideas from them. She outgrew it for the most part, just like they told me she would. Dh had the same issues as a child to a T, according to MIL, so we knew it was genetic.
 

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You sound amazingly respectful and in-tune with your DD. With everything in your life, that may not be easy.

I think you've answered your own question, and may even know it. YOU feel that your daughter may be suffering more than she needs to. That's enough. Now you can go out and see what resources are available in your area. Her pediatrician is a good start, so might be the department of health in your state or the united way. Just to get you pointed in the right direction. "Treatment" doesn't have to be dramatic. And you don't have to do anything that doesn't feel right for you and your family.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
USAmma- The genetic component interests me. There's some serious anxiety issues comming from my side of the family. I also worry that being around me and not dh makes her more anxious. He is much more calm than me and really helps her lighten up.
 

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If I were in your position, I might take my child to a play therapist. You don't need to have a diagnosis to go, and you won't necessarily leave with one. Then you would reap the benefits of asking all these questions to a person who has looked at a number of kids your DD's age.

L.
 

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My 10yo dd had a lot of issues when she was younger. I think 3yo-5yo were the hardest issues. I was worried that she was depressed. I tried to give her special time, talk with her, etc. I really struggled with whether to get a therapist for her.

In our case, she does have mild asthma which wasn't dx'd until she was 5yo. I think there was an underlying "just don't feel quite right" feeling within her. DH and I aren't very schedule-oriented people, but dd really needs schedules. Boundaries are critical for her and she very confused without them. That is hard for me and dh, but we have to have them for dd. And food is a critical component for her too. Eating before she's hungry (had a big drop) is important, as is eating good food like raw fruits and veggies.

At 10yo she's really coming into her own. She still has some issues, but nothing compared to those earlier years.
Getting dd into a good school has been critical. The guidance counselor at her school has really worked well with her various teachers.

Follow your instincts
I agree with the idea of finding someone who knows lots of children her age and can make comments and suggestions based on a broad range of experience. Good luck.
 
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