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Thread: Desperately need help with 5 year old behaviour

  1. #19

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    I know it might be somthing you don't want to hear, but I would be taking her to a GP for a referral. There are many things this could be - she might be just playing games, enticing you into a power struggle. Is she bright? - I'm guessing so.

    Additives in her diet may be contributing - a good book to get is "Additive Alert" - this is beneficial even if not causing her tantrums.

    Like the other girls have suggested - it could be more. I'm a teacher and have come across a lot of defiant kids, that have underlying problems. Once diagnosed and treated accordingly (not just talking drugs, more about appropriate behaviour modification) they respond quickly and everybody is happier. The things that come to my mind are Autism (ASD) and, ADD and ADHD as well as Emotional Disturbance/Conduct Disorder. I know they sound terrible, but - the compulsive thing gives a hint. Lots of these kids are really bright and their way of dealing with sensory overload is to react in a way we see as extreme. I'm not saying that is what it is, but it is worth ruling out if it is causing you both to be unhappy.



    As you say that you are separated, the behavour may be stemming from this as well. Even if you have been separated for a while. Sometimes kids that seem to deal with it well at the time, implode down the track. (or in her case explode!)

    It could also be her way of communicating to you that there is something else going on in her life that she doesn't know how to tell you about.

    I know it sounds doom and gloom, but I'm really just throwing out possibilities that I commonly see in students (mind you I'm a high school teacher). The best advice I can give is start with a GP for a referral to a ped, OT, Counsellor anyone that can possibly point you in the right direction. You should have moments of grief - that's normal of all kids - but you shouldn't be at the point of not really liking her and feeling frustrated, then feeling guilty, as I'm guessing you do.

    I hope this doesn't sound too horrible. I hope you both enjoy each other's company more soon. The best thing is that you are dealing with it and not sticking your head in the sand. It sounds as if you are doing a great job and obviously love your little one very much - if you didn't you wouldn't care so damn much when she was naughty. Best wishes.
    Last edited by Sim; October 25th, 2006 at 01:56 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #20

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    Sim, I was already planning on taking her to get a referal to see either a pead. or OT.

    With her behaviour, I know there are aspects of it that is affected by the spilt family thing, but usually i can tell when and how its affecting her, and its usually more to do with playing daddy and mummy off with each other, which only happens every now and then. I realise there may be other issues because of the spilt family thing but I honestly don't believe there is too much of a problem there.

    My concerns with her behavious is that the bigget issue is always with her clothes and shoes, which i've mentioned before. The thing that makes me not know what to think that is at kinder she's a complete different child. They would not for a second believe that she has any kind of behaviour problems, they're always telling me how polite, kind, caring, helpful, etc. They've also told me how mature she is and so wonderful and helpful with the younger kids. So it makes me think if it was something that surely it would come out there too?

    I'm hoping a specialst can shed more light on the situation and hopefully come up with a way to deal with her issues.

    Her eating has been fantastic this week with the help and suggestions from the great people here on BellyBelly Her latest craze this week is 'subway'
    She's been eating salad rolls every day for lunch cause i set it up like subway with the rolls and salad, i got her some gloves like they wear and we cut up baking paper squares. I order what she deicdes she wants for lunch and she makes it just like at subway, rolls it in the paper and puts it in the bag. Afterwards she sits down and eats the whole thing

    The subway obsession of hers came when she always would eat McDonalds when she was with dad ( i can't stand the stuff) So i told her if she's getting take away ask for subway cause its better than McDonals. Now she loves salad rolls!

  3. #21

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    Hey Dee

    Just wondering how's your daughter going?

    Hope things are going well.

    Take care!

  4. #22

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    Monnie, thanks for thinking of us
    Things are a bit better, but still a constant battle some days, just not quite as often. It seems she will improve for a while, then all of a sudden go back to hysterical child for a while, then back t good again.
    She's very excited at the thought of starting school and has ahad a few orientations so i think this is a big factor in the improvement.

    She is still very 'full on' as in her energy levels and is constantly driving everyone nuts with her need for attention 24/7, and her constant loudness and enough energy for 20 kids.

    Caro, thanks for your suggestions, i realise half the problem is a power struggle, the problem is that the clothes behavious has been since she was 10 months old, and quite obviously a discomfort thing rather that a power struggle.

    I took her to the paediatrician to rule out things like sensory processing disorders, and as for medicating her, thats something i wouldn't consider without a whole lot of research first, as i personally dont beieve its something that needs medicating.

    The paediatrician (we went today) went through everything and checked her out today and didnt seem to think there was anything obviously wrong with her that needed treating in any form, and told me that i'm doing everything right in terms of consistancy and planning ahead etc.

    Its just frustrating that i've been doing the same thing for 4 years now and its not seeming to get much better.

    I smack her as a last resort when she is so hysterical that nothing else works, mainly if i am out and letting her cry it out in time out isnt an option cause my 8 month old nephew is sleeping in the next room.

    Ashlea's dad and i split when she was 15 months old. She doesnt even remeber a time where we were together so for her the whole split family is just that way its always been. She plays up more when shes back from spending time with him because his family are constantly eating junk, she's always up late there and they let her get away with much more than i ever would. There is nothing that can be done about that cause no matter how much i explain to them that she can't have McDonalds and lollies and [email protected] all the time they still give it to her. Its out of my control what they do with her when she is there.
    She spends every second weekend with dad and calls him whenever she wants. i have no problem with her spending as much time with dad as she wants, he just finds it hard to fit her in with his lifestyle, and now we live a few hours apart so its not like that can catch up more often anyway. He says he'ss take her for school holidays but never does. Not much else i can do about any of that.

  5. #23

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    Hey Dee

    That is so great about your daughter being excited about school...sounds like she's really ready for the next challenge!

    Well done for following up with the Paed. Great that he/she thought there were no problems. I'd still keep an eye on how things are going. When she enters school next year, keep in regular contact with her teacher and check out how she is going.

    I read a great quote the other day...it said "reward direction not perfection"...so if your gorgeous DD is heading in the right direction (and it sounds like she is)...even if there are some setbacks occasionally, you're on the right track!!! Fantastic!

    Wishing you all the very best!

  6. #24

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    Caro, I've talked to her dad and family about everything, about her behaviour, her diet, her app with the paed. and no matter what i say, and no matter how much he pretends to understand, it doesn't make a difference when she was there. I actually talked to ashlea about eating [email protected] when with had and suggested to her that if he wants to get McDonalds or anything as for subway instead. I know its not great, but i'd rather her eat a salad and ham roll than a happy meal. Her dad is somewhat an idiot. There is no nicer way to say it.

    He has been with a new partner since a few months after I asked him to leave. He's the kind of person that cant be on his own. His partner and i have had issues since our first encounter ever was her screaming abuse and swear words down the phone at me cause she didnt like that Ex and i were talking. She's a nutcase. Nothing I can do about that either.

    Ashlea is highly intelligent and understands the difference between mum's and dad's, i think her biggest problem is she can't help her behaviour when she is pumped full of sugar. They don't understand that froot loops for breakfast aren't my idea of cereal, and that an entire crunchie bar isn't an acceptable treat for her. Your spot on about the few days to get back to normal! And i am understanding of the fact that her behaviour plays up more after being there.

    Monnie, thanks for your encouragment, sometimes it feels like nothing i do is right, and it really nice to have some encouragment.

    She is just so excited about school, and loving the orientation days there

  7. #25

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    Well, seems ever since going to the paediatrician, despite him having no answers for us, there's been a HUGE change in Ashlea. Obviously while she was playing and we were talking she was listening and taking everything in.
    Since that day we have had not a single problem with shoes or socks. She's wearing anything i ask her to, including heaps of clothes that were sitting in her cupboard for at least a year that she has not once worn. She gets dressed quickly and without a hassel.

    Her behaviour has been so good that last night after dinner instead of getting ready for bed we decided to go back to the beach after a gorgeous day and enjoy it some more. When we got home we baked tuna pasta for her lunches this week, the she helped me clean the kitchen, sweep up the sand, she even offered to mop the floor!

    We had so much fun together, and her 45 minute tantrums are lasting 5 mintues at the most and are hardly even happening anymore. Its only been 5 days since the appointment, but it seems after all that, despite not getting any answers, it actually helped like I can't believe! We've talked to each other about how much nicer things are when we are both happy and get to have more fun times together.

    Hopefully things stay this way

  8. #26

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    Well done Dee!!!

    So pleased for the both of you...

    Sometimes just going to appointments can be incredibly helpful...kids see how worried and concerned their parents are, how much they care...and they also hear another adult (ie. Paediatrician) supporting you...

    Sounds like last night was just gorgeous!

  9. #27

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    Thank GOD for this post - I'm not going insane!
    It's not the new baby, my bad parenting, our personality clashes!
    It's perfectly normal (well at least 2 kids in the world are doing it)

    And THANK you for being honest re. smacking. I'm with you on that, it's a last resort and seems to work at the time, ie. stops the situation escalating, allows her to cry about something else. But it's not how I want to parent and it doesn't work long term.

    Hip Hip HOoray for bellybelly and forums like this.

  10. #28

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    Nickel, Over here its still going in cycles. I have an angel child one minute and a crazy high strung 'princess' the next. Some days are good, some are bad. Her behaviour really hasn't changed a whole lot, after seeing the peadiatrician she was really good for a while but is back to the usual stuff.

    After spending a few days with dad over christmas she came home a monster and almost lost the plot completely.

    I'm seriouslly hoping school helps her, she's hanging out to start school and I do think half her problem is being so bored alot of the time.

    We've been talking for ages about when school starts, and how it means no more Tv in the morning, and the routine that will happen - breakfast, dressed, teeth hair and face etc so hopefully it will all go smoothly. We're making a chart this week with everything she has to do for school so hopefully mornings go smoothly as this is one of the worst times for us, when we are getting ready and have to be somewhere.

    Thanks for letting me know its not just me with the 'challenging' child

  11. #29

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    oh Dee it is so not just you *hugs* It is so hard, and you are doing a fantastic job. You know what you have done that is so fantastic? You have gone outside of yourself & said "hey, is there anything else I could be doing that would help Ashlee become more settled?" WOW, how amazing is that? How many times do we as parents need help and are desperate for help but don't go & get it. Well done Dee.

    I understand the crazy high strung Princess, we call ours "our spirited princess" when we are very exhausted. I reckon school will be great for her, the mental challanges will help settle her. Matilda is only 2 1/2 but is begging to go to school. I am now putting her into a centre program because she is so bored at home (okay only 1 day a week).

    *hugs* you are doing a fantastic job.

  12. #30

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    I AM GOING INSANE !

    Ashlea is an obsessive compulsive pedantic monster at the moment. Horrible thing to say about my own child i know but things are not getting better, they are getting worse and i can't deal with it anymore and right now I want a refund or an exchange for a child that doesn't think water makes you sticky to the point you drop on the ground and scream about it. Or if you wash your hands and they aren't 200% dry between your fingers you need to throw yourself to the ground hysterical. I want a child that thinks 3/4 pants are cool, rather than to scream "i hate these clothes, your nasty and mean and a liar" because i ask her to try on clothes she has been given that are gorgeous, but quite obviously will never be worn cause she hates them, like any clothes, she hates her dress cause it wasn't tied up right, she hates her jocks cause they didnt sit right, she hates her pants cause they aren't ironed to perfection.
    I want a child that wakes up happy instead of having a meltdown withing 10 mintues of getting up cause something isn't the way she wants it.
    I want a child that I enjoy spending time with instead of never wanting to do anything fun because she ruins everything with her feral temper.
    I'm so over everything at the moment and want someone to tell me there is something wrong with her, and there there is something that can be done to fix it cause nothing works, it doesn't get better and she's just so unpleasant to be around.

  13. #31

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    Hey Dee

    Sorry to hear that things are going that well...

    I know you've seen a Paediatrician before and he/she didn't seem to think there was a problem but I'm wondering whether it's worthwhile seeing someone else. Not necessarily a Paediatrician...maybe an OT or a Clinical Psychologist.

    To me, it really does sound like your little girl does have some sensory issues that are really coming out as behavioural problems...and causing great problems for you both.

    There's some books on sensory integration difficulties out there...might be worthwhile just checking them out.

    One of the best ones is called the Out-of-Sync Child but I think it's written more for health professions. I just did a search on Amazon and there's quite a few books of sensory integration (I haven't read them) but some are targeted directly to parents.

    Of course, I'm not saying that she definitely has these difficulties...but I think it might be worthwhile checking it out. If it is sensory integration issues, there ARE things that can be done to help her become less sensory defensive.

    Take care...

  14. #32

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    Oh so sorry Dee. I've been there, asking myself what happened to my beautiful little girl, and when is she coming back? My DH has come home to me on my bed crying, and my DD on her bed naked and crying, so you're not alone there. We instigated routines again which has helped a little and she is going to school this week (woo hoo).

    It's not an awful thing to say about your child really, it's how you feel right now. Plus you are a single mum, and my nephews who have divorced parents have atrocious behaviour, you just get them sorted and they change houses again. Then you get them back and you have to start all over again, so I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you. Plus you are a very stable influence in her life, and you are the safe person for her to act up on, she knows you love her unconditionally even if sometimes it feels like you hate her!! Kids need that safe space, but usually there are two of you to share the load, so you are doing double.

    Big deep breathes.
    I can't believe you iron your daughter's clothes! I'd tell my daughter where she could shove them to be honest! My DH and I had to hold her down the other day while we put shorts on her as she trantrummed (yes it was important, no we couldn't just leave it for all those horrified parents) it felt like she was a mental patient, and I felt absolutely horrible.
    Is Ashlea getting enough/quality sleep? (I know obvious).
    What does she do if you tell her to go jump when she is being unreasonable? After the tantrum?
    Perhaps the sensory thing would be good to explore, and it she sounds like she has a very high emotional IQ, ie. she reads you really well - ie. after the doctor's it settled down etc. Even if she doesn't have the sensory thing, the psychologist may be able to help you with some things to manage her behaviour, Ashlea must be finding it difficult too to be so frustrated all the time.
    Again, you are not the only one who feels like this. I never regret having children, but sometimes I don't want them that's all
    Please keep us updated.

  15. #33

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    oh I'm seeing into the future I swear. Matilda did the same thing all of last week Dee. I screwed the lid on the cup wrong, I packed the shopping in the car wrong... I did things out of order & it meant that she was tantruming for hours afterwards, screaming & crying about the stupid lid on the cup. I was in tears and couldn't figure out how to handle it as it just went on and on.

    She's been doing the clothes thing as well!! Won't wear certain clothes, needs to be naked (Nic I thought of you on this one). Painful really.

  16. #34

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    Monnie, a child psychologist was my next plan of attack. At first I thought what the hell is wrong with my child if she needs a therapist at 5, but then again, i'm happy to see anyone that might be able to help me come up with something to help.

    If the behaviour was slowly getting better as she got older I'd at least be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but its not.

    I was sure there was some sensory issues too, and was suprised when the pead. said there was nothing there to suggest it.
    Maybe i need to video of her putting shoes and socks on and he might suddenly understand!

    Nickel, thanks for your words, I know its hard doing it on my own, but i always tell myself that parenting is hard no matter who you are or what your relationship status and that i just should be able to deal with it. Its nice to hear someone say 'god it must he hard doing it on your own'

    So many people say can't you just let her pick her own clothes? does it really matter what she wears?
    Well i dont mind her picking her own clothes, but every now and then i wish she's wear something particular or nice and it never happens. People give her gorgeousl clothes and its such a waste. The other problem is that even when she is picking her clothes the carry on still happens. Today she put her leggings on and there was a loose thread so she took them off all angry and had to star the clothes dressing all over again.

    The problem is, like you pointed out, she'll have a massive blow out, hysterical trantrum. When she calms down she comes and says sorry and everything is great, little angel child is back. Until 5 minutes later. I was talking to DP last night about it, saying i need to come up with something that teaches her to avoid the tantrums, rather than having them every half hour and being ok in between. I need a stragegy to deal with the things that CAUSE the tantrums, rather than punishment for the behaviours. This is the part i'm struggling with.

    Christy, I hope Matilda grown out of it before Ashlea does cause she is damm impossible! She's so pleasant one minute and so unpleasant the next
    But yes, if i give her the wrong fork, the wrong cup, blah blah blah its the end of the world.
    I look at kids dressed in gorgeous little carpi pants, matching tops, nice shoes and a little headband and think IF ONLY! I see the sutest things and have to stop myself wasting money on them cause i know she just will not wear them. And there is my Ashlea, in a ratty old t-shirt that shes worn to death, a skirt I can't stand but she loves, and thongs.
    I'm dreading winter cause winter means more clothes and more clothes mean shoes and socks and all of that means more arguments!

    Thanks everyone for your replies, it really helps me feel better

  17. #35

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    Last winter was so hard for us. Giorgia refused to wear jackets (I do NOT know what was going on there), and loved being naked all the time, and it wasn't like I could just say - wear what you want, because then she'd get sick from wearing a singlet in 10degree cold! so we finally came to the compromise of singlets and long sleeve t-shirts, and discovered that she loved stockings and dresses (about time, she's nearly 5!) but this Summer she has wanted to wear stockings (thick ones!) and singlets and dresses over things which again I can't just say - wear what you want- because it's over 35degrees out, and she doesn't drink enough anyway.

    Mostly I let her wear whatever, but sometimes she can't (see above). Since christmas she has lived in a cinderella outfit which is 100% polyester/plastic and it's been over 40degrees sometimes! The trouble is so often a smack will stop the situation escalating she'll cry, we'll have a cuddle and it's all ok again. It's like in those old movies where they smack the person getting hysterical who says "thanks I needed that!" but it's not supposed to be the thing that works!

    I know I have control issues (ie. I'm an anal control freak) so I suspect for Giorgia her behaviour reflects her frustration at feeling powerless. For Ashlea, her control issues may be her attempt to control her environment as she feels powerless about her parents. One of my nephews is borderline anorexic at 8 yrs old and has only eaten vegetarian since he was 3. He has no friends because he is manipulative. The youngest one just totally ignores anyone telling him what to do (at 3.5). If you speak to him he will NOT look at you, he mumbles and people can't understand anything he says. He also always carrys a bag around, and when he arrives unpacks it all as if to say, right I'm here now. They are all so violent with one another and they are forever at the hospital emergency ward with cuts and grazes etc. I mean they are kids and they are boys, and they'd probably have behavioural issues and be a bit weird anyway even if their parents were together, but you can definitely see some obvious effects of the rift between their parents. I think it probably takes a lot of time for them to adjust, even though the youngest has never ever lived 100% with his dad.
    You love Ashlea and you'll get there, I believe our boys will turn out okay eventually although I worry about them lots, and sometimes I feel like I hate them too when they are being rude and tantrumming and screaming the place down. I guess it's hard when you don't have words or even concepts for how you are feeling.
    Anyway the above on my nephews is to show you there is nothing wrong with your kid(!) and seeing a therapist/psychologist is great if it helps both of you.

    BTW - when I said I couldn't believe that you iron her clothes, I meant you awesome mummy you! I'm not a patient person at the best of times, and I'm not sure I could be that loving to my DD...

  18. #36

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    Hey Dee

    I think it's great if Ashlea sees someone...some kids do need some extra help...it's not because they are little demons but sometimes they have really strong temperaments (which are fantastic things when they learn to control them) and just need some extra help with things like self-regulation and self-control.

    I think you're a fantastic Mum to be searching for answers...rather than waiting...early intervention is such a key to success...so I think you're doing a great thing.

    Regarding the Paed., to be honest, I'm not surprised. I'm often shocked about how little some doctors know about certain things in child development. They certainly know alot about medical stuff, but some of the developmental things, they are not necessarily clued in on...

    I teach postgraduate Psychiatry students and are constantly amazed how little input they get about the impact of developmental difficulties (including sensory problems) and learning difficulties on emotional and behavioural development.

    So...just as much as I respect Paed's...I do know that their knowledge is not necessarily expansive in every area.

    I encourage you to seek out a Clin. Psych. that specialises in kids...and perhaps one who knows about developmental issues (including sensory stuff). And maybe even a Clin. Psych who has worked closely (or even better still...works closely ) with OT's. Don't be scared to question them prior to making an appointment about their experience in the area that Ashlea is having difficulties in...

    Videoing some stuff is not such a bad idea, you know!!! Maybe not for the first session, but maybe ask the therapist if they would find it helpful...sometimes they do, sometimes they don't...

    Wishing you all the best...there WILL be an answer out there for you...I'm sure of it... hang in there...

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