what to do about my 7yr old daughter(55 Posts)
I would very much appreciate some advice as im close to breaking point!
She is 7 a very bright clever girl. Very popular at school one of the top children in her class, always winning awards and outstanding reports.
Since the day she was born she has always been challenging. She was a very hard baby (she is our 2nd child) screamed morning noon and night. Never happy. Mine and dhs relationship came to breaking point as we were both at the end of our tethers with her.
As the years went on we both hoped she would improve but she didn't. Crying all the time, tantrums, wanting and demanding.
She is now a complete nightmare. I love this little girl to bits, constantly showered by affection, and out of all our 5 children she gets the most attention.
For instance if we go to the shops she will be the child on the floor screaming she wants this or that!
She doesn't listen to myself or husband she back chats, screams kicks, hangs off our legs, trashes the house.
We have sat down with all our children (well the ones old enough to understand) the rules in place, which our bad behaviour will be given warning then if continues a punishment will be given. Usually telly out of room, then sent to room, then grounded.
This falls on deaf ears with her, she will say she doesn't care, she will scream at me , she pulled out lounge curtains and poles down, kick the walls , say when we aren't looking she is going out (and does) she unlocks door and runs out, im chasing her and literally dragging her to her room while she screams and kicks , this will continue you till about 10/11 every night till she screams her self to sleep, after waking our little ones up numerous times in night.
I have been in tears, I can be calm with her, ive tried just cuddling her, screaming at her and this is still our everyday life.
Last night was horrendous hence seeking advice this morning, she went on till midnight last night, refused to go to bed , yet again trashed her room.
I have never hit any of my children ever but last night the thought of picking her up and throwing her out the door crossed my mind! Im so ashamed to admit that.
I can't go on likey this anymore Im exhausted and need help. Can anyone help? Suggest someone I could call? Or try.
Just to add I have taken her to doctors and health visitor few years ago and when she was a baby, but apparently she is a normal behaved child. I don't like comparing but my othery xhildren are nothing likey this at all.
I shall post a few places as im desperate. .
How does she cope at school? Do you think you could go to your gp and ask for a referral to a paediatrician and that you need help.
You poor thing.
Sounds very difficult indeed.
Is she not like this at school then?
If she is battling going to sleep until ten or eleven, and you are spending all this time at loggerheads with her, could you try just not telling her to go to bed one night, just letting her stay up until she crashes and falls asleep herself? She probably won't fall asleep any later than she does anyway but at least you wouldn't be spending the night battling with her.
Are there any other times when you can just ignore her and pick your battles?
I have a very difficult ASD ten year old, and we have learnt over the years that for our own sanity, we pick our battles very carefully indeed.
And don't feel bad about any bad thoughts you had, that is perfectly normal when parenting a very difficult child.
I do feel for you, it sounds like you're having a horrendous time. For me, the key thing in your post is that she gets more attention than your other children through this behaviour, and I think that's possibly at the root of this. If she's not like this in school, then she's turning it on just for you, there are no issues with her mental health.
Can you contact some kind of family support service? It sounds like you do need professional help, I know I wouldn't have the patience or expertise to deal with this myself, particularly considering you're looking after 4 other children and not getting enough sleep.
I suspect that the op has tried to give attention for positive behaviour but is overwhelmed with the negatives. I would go back to gp and go from there, cahms can help too. Some children work so hard to conform at school home suffers, I hope you get support soon.
One idea might be to spend one to one time w her just you two so she doesn't demand-crave your attention in the evenings. I think out of house away from siblings ie walk in park, cafe, theatre. That worked for my youngest dd.
Thank you all for replying.
I have ignored her loads and I think for mt sanity its the best result out of all. But she will follow me about screaming at me constantly, causing destruction her where every she goes, but sometimes I think I can't deal with this today and have to ignore for my sanity!
I certainly pick my battles I honestly think if I didn't I would constantly up and down dragging her in her room
Thank you new girl. We do this me and dh make aure once a month we soend 1 on 1 with each child (except our baby twins) ill take her clothes shopping lunch and dh will take her cinema. We haver always done this.
I also always make a point of not using this as a punishment to cancel .. buy some times I feel she doesn't deserve it but proceed anyway to give the otherr children a break from her too.
My eldest son just locks him self in his room when she starts as he cant stand the screaming!
Apologies for spelling I have 2 yr old climbing on me
What are the consequences when she trashes stuff?could take everything from her room,say she throw something,then u take it away?could u talk to her then take a stricter approach on discipline,plus some one on one and focus on the positives?
P.s. I know not popular on minute,but going out. Without permission results in smacking here(happened once)
Just becuase she copes at school doesn't mean all is fine and its the parenting. It is often the case with some children that coping and acting fine at school results in terrible behaviour once home as all the stress of the school day comes out and the child is in their own safe surroundings. The not being able to settle to sleep and only behaving like this at home and the apparent tantrums at seven does not sound typical to me. You should ask for a referral to a paediatrician. I think you need to ask for help now while she is small before the teenage years come. It is not your fault how could it be if you have five other children who behave fine and stick to rules. There are a number of possible reason for the behaviour u describe but as a stranger on the internet I can onlu advise you to ask for help
It starts with her tv being taken out of her room and needing to show positive behaviour before getting it back.
If it continues (which 9/10 does)
Then she will be sent to her room for time out and to think about hee behaviour until we feel she is ready to come down! (Also there are no toys in her room, they were taken a long time ago!)
Then we move on to grounded. She is not aloud to playout the front or back with her friends and no friends aloud in.
Then bed early.
I really don't know what else to try as she isn't bothered at all.
I would certainly go to your GP and explain everything, as you have done here. Ask for a referral.
What's her behaviour like at school?
School she is amazing. A Head of her class, so polite and well behaved!
Well, if she loves school so much... boarding!
I'm not serious (although I definitely wouldn't blame you if you did... 8+ entry... a break for everyone...).
But in all seriousness, I would go to the GP. Write out everything (like you did here) and print it out so you don't forget anything or get distracted.
What is her relationship like with her siblings? She is not afraid of one of them or something like that, is she?
Do you have any help around the house (e.g., a nanny, cleaner etc) and if so, how does she behave around them?
Does she have nightmares? I used to have nightmares and would start having tantrums (screaming, throwing things, having to be carried upstairs) about an hour before my bedtime. It sounds like her behaviour is all day apart from at school, but if she is afraid of going to bed, she might be very tired, hence misbehaviour?
Obviously I don't know your child so everything is idle speculation. You should go to your GP. If she behaves perfectly during all assessments, bring in a tape recording of one evening in your house (or ask for an in-home assessment, *I'm not sure they do those in the Uk*)!
It does sound like an attention/jealousy problem, but I could be jumping to conclusions because it seems the obvious thing as you have 5 DCs.
Does your DD have grandparents/aunts/uncles that she is close to? Is she well behaved for them? Is it possible that she can have a sleepover with Granny whilst you have a little break.
I think you need to take care of yourself too. You and your husband (and your older children) must be exhausted. Take some time out for yourselves and if you feel you need it, when you are at the GP ask for a referral to a counsellor/psychologist for yourself.
And talk to her school/think about school- what is at school that she responds to so well? (Surely it can't be personal attention, there must be a higher adult:child ratio at home!) Was she always so well behaved at school? When does her behaviour change? At the school gates, when she leaves home, on the bus, when she sees her teacher?
Finally, if it gives you any hope, I grew up neighbours with a girl very similar to how you described your daughter, she was the younger of two children, about 2 months older than me, and had tantrums everywhere but school- her house, my house, the supermarket floor, the airport, the car, everywhere! But she grew out of it around puberty, believe it or not, and turned into a lovely teen. I honestly don't know how her parents managed with her (or her sister, for that matter) but they did and I'm sure your family will all come through in one piece. Seek the help that's out there and remember to never feel guilty for walking away if you are getting too angry to deal with things rationally.
Also, is there anything she asks for during her tantrums? I'm not saying you should give her what she wants, of course, just whether she is giving any insight into her tantrums.
Obviously in the toy store she will ask for toys, sweet shop for sweets etc, but does she ask for anything at home?
Are there any noticeable triggers to her behaviour/does it just start/is it constant?
I wish I could afford boarding school. Ibe looked into it already as a last resort!
She has a older brother (10) and 3 younger sisters! Tje three little ones are 2 ans twins 1.
She actually loves the little ones and is really good with them, shw occasionally winds the 2 year old up but nothing out the norm there.
Her tantrums are usually about wanting something. For instance money to walk to the shop with her friends, at 7 that is a no go! Go to park with friends again no, I offer to go but that results in more screams.
We still have ice cream van come round, eveeysay she wants one, but I have told her it is treat for when she has been good not for everyday!
Or she will want to have a friend sleep over which I have many of times let her, but results in 2 tired stroppy kids running around.
Or she will want to stay out past 6:30 again not negotiable. The list goes on!
We went to shoe shop yesterday ro get twins shoes, despite me buying her new pair or trainers to play out in and some boots last week, she wanted some more and kicked screamed, I had ro drag her out.
My son saved his pocket money and went Into a halowwwn shop and boughr something for £3 she screamed she didn't have any money because she spent all hers at the roller disco night before.
Then we went into tje supermarket, she wanted sweets, I said no as she had been to a birthday partyt and already jad a bag full plus cake at home again acrraming embarrassing me, all the while my other 4 children didn't even ask for a thing!
I have mum who is fantastic in fact just picked her up now to give me a break, she behaves better for her not great butr better, because my mum just says carry on you will go home!
She will not stay at my mums as she knows she will be told to go bed and if not again home. She isn't stupid at all.
Ladythatlunches I really sympathise. I'm afraid I haven't got any new advice but going to the GP with a list of concerns and maybe some footage of her rages seems a good place to start. Some kids behave very differently at school and at home.
I've heard this book is excellent, have a look at the link.
Best of luck
Oh, I really feel for you. I'm glad that you have some support in your mum.
I can't really help with any more advice (and I don't want to armchair diagnose). Normally all the the people I've known who have had tantrums that long have had either auditory processing delays, sensory overload or ASD. However, I don't know if your daughter matches any of these things? Hopefully your doctor will be more helpful.
The fact that you're managing to raise five children under 11 (inc. 3 under 3) is very impressive! Hang in there.
She us currently screaming the house down because she wants to watch sponge bob when we are all watching a film, she has been given the option to watch sponge bob in our room, but nope screaming kicking walls.
She said she won't stop screaming till she gets what she wants. .. I just don't know what to do anymore
I know an internet stranger's words don't mean much, but I truly wish you all the best and I think you have done astoundingly well to have been so patient thus far. I applaud your parenting. Keep your chin up and accept any assistance offered when you need it.
Also, your older son might want a day away with your mother if he needs a bit of time out from his sister.
Good luck to you and your family.
Thank you. He stayed last night .. he loves staying there bless him.
She is still going!
I really have no advice, you're doing everything I can think of.
I would write down a typical week of tantrums/behaviours and go to my GP asking for a referral to CAHMs and a paed and I wouldn't leave the surgery until I got one. In all seriousness, if your GP is reluctant I would sob, say my marriage was falling apart because of the stress, say it's affecting your MH,it's affecting your eldest too.
It's such extreme behaviour that I can't help thinking there must be an underlying issue.
It's great that she's good with her siblings and well behaved at school.
My eldest (of 3) has ASD and challenging behaviour most days and my dd (of twins) can be a right grumpy mare at times (simply I think because it's hard being a twin, hard being the only girl, hard being the sister of a child with ASD..but then life is hard for everyone in some ways and kids survive),so I really do empathize and wish you good luck.
Ps I found 'The Explosive Child' interesting reading-worth a try if you haven't already read it.
It seems like you and your husband are exhausted so seeing a child psychologist with your daughter may be helpful - it doesn't sound like there is any mental health issue with her at all , she just sounds like she needs some " emotion coaching" to help her become more "emotionally fit".
Aha parenting is a good website by a child psychologist who reviews the research about punishments and rewards and I think there is now around 40 years research showing that these methods are not effective ( is the child really reflecting on their behaviour and how to become a better person when sent to their room or are they plotting their revenge????). I can't explain it in the same way that child psychologists do so if you have any energy left ! do look on the site. Me and DP have both read her book and use her methods of " emotion coaching" and they are quite eye opening.....
I believe there is a book called something like 'the explosive child'. Also, was she always like this? At 2, 3, 4, 5 years of age?
Apileofballyhoo - just looked that book up and it sounds right for the OP and her daughter.
We did montessori, baby led weaning/ both work PT and co parent/read the baby whisperer, unconditional parenting, how to talk... and the ahaparenting book and we always say " we had to learn a new language!" this sort of parenting is still very much in the minority - when people say " we can't believe how well behaved/ thoughtful etc your 2 boys are" they seem to think that we were the "lucky" parents who punishments/rewards worked for and when we tell them we never did punishments or rewards, they say " oh were you really permissive then????" and we say " no, we did xxx and it took a lot of work!!!" - some have gone on to do the same but others have not believed us and said " you're just lucky"...
Ladythatlunches - Sorry to go on but when I think about how i felt about my parents when they did punishments and rewards and look at my relationships with my 2 boys, i get a bit evangelical about this sort of parenting!
I get told that my DS is very happy and easy - but I put a huge amount of work into it! DH is not so active but he doesn't shout or punish either. I find peacefulparent.com to be another great website. I look at aha too. I've actually learned a lot about meeting my own emotional needs through this journey. It is lovely to meet another peaceful parent - I am always a bit reticent about expressing my views!
Also sorry for going off on tangent. I also see I cross posted with a few people about 'The Explosive Child'; please do have a look at it, OP.
my dd2 is similar in many ways, but younger. not long ago she was having these moody episodes to the point of there was nothing you could do with her, couldn't cuddle, be stern, anything. I came to the conclusion she just couldn't control her emotions (i was the same when i was pregnant with her, she was a very trying baby), and not just in a 'she's only little' kind of way. i decided to concentrate on letting her know what was within her control and what wasn't. I think its good for children to know they are not in charge of somethings, so they don't need to worry about it, they can do that a plenty when they are adults.
so initially, when she started i would sit close by, not touch, and talk very calmly, with a low voice and very quietly (my brother is a teacher who specializes with children with behavioural probs, he once told me the louder the class gets the quieter you speak, not shout, they'll shut up to hear you), eventually she'd start listening (i could tell) and i would tell her she had a choice right now and only she could make it. she could calm down, tell me the problem and i'd help her, or she could keep screaming. i couldn't make that choice for her but i could help if she let me, and i wanted to because i love her. it took some will power on my part but it worked. I put a big emphasis on the fact that whatever the problem was, I would help her with that and we would fix it, but the intial part of her calming down, stop raving and talk to me so i COULD help was a choice that she had, and only she could make.
you need to stay in charge (even if its just a guise!) stay calm, stay focused, tell her what she needs to do and what you can do for her if she'll let you.
make a big effort and it'll pay off in a relatively short period of time. speak to your dh so you're both on board and know whats going to happen.
having re-read all that, wow its long! i hope it might help in some way and not just read as nonsense!
Thank you all so much.
It's so nice to get outside reviews as when you are in the mist of it all you just can't see anything else.
This morning we had full blown again. She wouldn't brush her teeth until I did her hair, so I said ok let's do your hair, she wouldn't stand up abd was rolling on the floor. So I asked calmly if she would stand up I can do her hair for her!! Nope wasn't happening so I left the room.
This resulted in screaming that u don't care about her and I am the worst mum ever, and u should go leave and go live somewhere else.
I told her I love her, and that has upset mummy .. she said she doesn't care im mean.
Anyway she has gone to school no teeth brushed and ni hair brushed!
See a homeopathic doctor. Even if you don't believe it will help. I took angry and and sad DS (14) and the talks and magic pills of nothingness were transforming!
Noteven; what did they do
Im going to Google one now
He went 3 times and talked, he didn't want to tell me loads about it but the guy was a wizard I think!! Prescribed some pills and gave stress managing ideas. DS said they mostly talked about a weird kind of jazz music they both liked but hey, it was miraculous from my point of view.
I was going to mention the Explosive Child book too. I would also seek some outside help from the GP, you all deserve some help at this point!
Im definitely going to get this book. Also going to book an appointment with gp. Going to log everything for a week and take video evidence also as back up!
I have ordered the book. Can't wait to read it. Thank you
You have given me hope at the momost difficult time.
Sounds like Dd1 - another screaming battle today
She can behave dreadfully. She is part way through an ASD assessment.
She is desperately unhappy and insecure and the way she cries breaks my heart.
Might be worth thinking about love bombing. Sounds hard work. Good luck.
I think my dd was having too much sugar for her - and we eat really healthily - I've changed her cereals and I think it's helped
Well she has been good since home. She got another certificate from school (my clever girl) so bar this morning we are having a good day.
Im soaking in the bath she is in my bed watching tv so see how she is when u get out abd remind her she has few minutes till bed time!
Screen time can make some children very cross, OP, just as an aside. I wouldn't be at all bothered about hair or to a lesser extent, teeth, in the morning. Choose your battles!
What is her diet like? Sugar highs and lows? Also thought of this article. http://m.anchoragepress.com/news/the-gluten-made-her-do-it-how-going-gluten-free/article_39e2478e-4585-11e2-a80c-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=jqm
Excellent post by notanyanymore.
Have you tried having a tantrum yourself? It might shock her out of it.
Or record her each time she does it and tell her you're going to show people how she behaves or something.
Have you tried having a tantrum yourself? It might shock her out of it.
Or record her each time she does it and tell her you're going to show people how she behaves or something.
What I do when my youngest is having a hissy fit when he wants his own way.. I do the whole dramatic kung foo slow exaggerated moves with sound effects to distract then move in for a tickle. If that doesn't work, I do a wavy dance with my arms and then move in for a tickle. It gets me looks in public but 9/10 works pretty good. Keep it light and inject some humour.
Sesame - thanks for pm! Tried to respond but on phone and not sure it went through...I don't know of any forums but I follow the peacefulparenting website facebook page and people often post there with queries. A forum would be great!
Sorry for thread hijack again!
Hi OP- it's great that you've getting the book - the author of the book also has a website http://www.livesinthebalance.org/,so you could take in snippets if you have time...
I'm sure this isn't news but the other thing that is exacerbating thing is her late nights. I did the following which a friend who's a paediatrician advised and it worked...
When DS2 was born, DS1's bedtime went from 7.30 pm to 9.30/10 pm and he was a lot crankier/ more prone to emotional outbursts during the day.
When things were a bit more settled with DS2, we got DS1's bedtime back very slowly. We woke him up at 7am every day and aimed to make his bedtime just 15 minutes earlier every week so it took around 7 weeks to get him back to his normal bedtime but because it had occurred gradually, his body clock had adjusted back again....
Was writing so just saw your message - thanks. When DS2 starts school next year, will have a lot more time and am thinking about approaching family guardian to do a series on the research on rewards/punishments not working and successful altermatives!
Read How To Talk So Children Listen by Faber etc.
Also, I took my daughter aged 7 to a child therapist for five sessions. It worked wonders. I felt really fed up with dd's behaviour. (excellent at school and friends' houses of course) I imagined the therapist "sorting her out" and making my life easier, but that wasn't the point at all, oh no. The therapist wasn't that interested in me and my emotions, but focussed on dd and how she was feeling, supporting her if you like. It was what is called Child Centred Therapy. That was a lightbulb moment when I read that phrase on the leaflet the therapist handed me. How did she feel and what made her so angry and unreasonable. It wasn't a question of making her see she was being unreasonable but taking away the reasons for her feeling frustrated in the first place. Dd was acting up apallingly in exactly the way you describe partly to get attention away from two demanding brothers, but mostly because she was extremely frustrated by some failure in communication between us. I had to re-make a bond between us as if she was a much younger child, stop the punishments and rewards threats and bargains. She was trying to control me with things like shopping and rewards, but in reality she just wanted Me, not those things. She was also full of energy and talent, and confused about whether she had the selfesteem to pursue her talents and sociability (if a 7 year old can think in such a way)
Also take the telly out of her room fulltime, not as a punishment but because it will isolate her to watch it by herself. Watch telly with her instead, a film you both enjoy. That's why she's trying to spoil your telly watching with the others. Chat to her, listen to her, don't tell her how to behave, or that she's is behaving badly. Remind her of rules, but don't keep reminding her that she is behaving badly, just what the rules are. Put her toys back in her room, play with her occasionally if you can find a spare moment, even if it is alongside other children. Stop expecting her to behave because she is older than the little ones, treat her as if she is the youngest in the family (imagine you have lots of older children and she is the baby)
Definitely pick your battles. If she is rude after you enforce her going out of the room, don't punish her for that too. It is enough that she has gone out for five mins. Praise her because she has stayed out of the room for five minutes, rather than reminding her that she shouldn't have behaved badly in the first place. I could go on. It is all in the book I mentioned.
Try to imagine you are her, at every point that she loses it, and think what would I FEEL if I was her and my mum was saying x y and z, would it make me feel safer, calmer or crosser?
My dd is 11 now, still behaves like a moody teen sometimes but has dramatically improved. She wanted to be close to me, she was easily overwrought, and she needed to be UNDERSTOOD, not brought into line. The worst thing she can say now, is, You Never Listen. Then I try harder to change how I speak.
Oh and give her lots of responsibilities. Make the fact that she is older a positive thing, she is helping you etc. A bit contradictory combined with the babying in other ways, but it will make her feel proud of her skills rather than anxious to be one of the little ones. Make sure your older son is very polite to her, rather than putting her down. Make sure you praise her in front of him, so that he sees your regard for her. Never point out how much better behaved any of the other children are compared to her. All these make things MUCH MUCH WORSE.
Good luck, it is hard with five! (I only had three)
She also sounds as if she is seeking loads of sensory imput, which dd was as well, with the kicking, the hugging the clinging, the trashing. Can you think of positive ways to get her that input? Dancing, climbing, pets, hugging, rolling her up in sleeping bags, tunnels, crawling over obstacle courses. Some children need a lot of physical sensations to synch themselves. Read Out of Synch Child too.
What swanhida said. I have an eight year old daughter the second of five children. She has an older brother 11 and twin brothers 6 and little sister 3. She has always been the most difficult to deal with. We have tried all tactics but like you our other four children behave very well. We realised a while ago that she needs me more than I realised and found it hard to tell me. I've never had much time for her on my own but I try to give her lots of responsibility and make her feel different to the three younger ones.
Your problems sound v similar to ours. I'm glad to say now that she is a bit older she can articulate her feelings better. I take her with me if I'm nipping out to shops on my own and generally try to make her feel loved.
She says to me now "I want you mummy" and I think that is what she has been trying to say for years with all the difficult behaviour.
Hope you can both fall in love again and find your special relationship like we seem to have managed to.
What wonderful posts swan and miss
That's exactly it. When I spent more time on my own with dd and I hug her every day and at nighttime we got on so much better and she calmed down
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