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to think this is just bad behaviour?

(53 Posts)
alisunshine29 Tue 08-Jan-13 22:44:43

My friend has a 4 year who has regular 'meltdowns' where she kicks/punches mum, cries, shouts, screams etc. In these situations Mum keeps trying to restrain her/tell her to stop which makes her daughter worse. Last night my DD had a playdate with her and her DD had a big meltdown, my friend was in tears asking what she should do with her and whether she should see the doctor about her DD. She said my DD never behaves like hers and so there must be something wrong with her, but in my opinion it's normal (albeit bad) behaviour. AIBU?

littlewhitebag Tue 08-Jan-13 22:48:34

You need to tell her mum it is normal and she needs to ignore the poor behaviour. The constant attention will only make it worse.

TheDeadlyDonkey Tue 08-Jan-13 22:49:44

Buy her a copy of This book

There may or may not be underlying issues behind the behaviour, but reading this book and following the instructions will probably improve your friend's life no end - it certainly did mine smile

DSM Tue 08-Jan-13 22:52:55

My nephew was constantly told his behaviour was just 'bad' behaviour, until DB and DS-in-law finally cracked, took him to the doctor and it turns our he has a severe reaction to additives (e-numbers) and they trigger ADHD.

Of course, it could be just a behavioural issue, but these are often psychological issues rather than badness. Not necessarily medical, but still advice from a doctor could be beneficial.

BluelightsAndSirens Tue 08-Jan-13 22:53:02

Lots of reason for the behaviour at that age, tired, hungry, bored, lacking attention or positive behaviour acknowledgement.

A star chart worked really well for DD as she is the youngest of 3 so sometimes feels the need to act out or get louder because she is feeling left out.

dequoisagitil Tue 08-Jan-13 23:00:29

If she thinks there may be something behind the behaviour, then I'd encourage her to have a chat with professionals. You may not see the full extent of what goes on and she's the one who lives with it.

squeakytoy Tue 08-Jan-13 23:01:42

Never in a million years will I understand "ignore the bad behaviour". It just teaches children that it is acceptable to behave that way. Discipline is what is needed, not a blind eye...

alisunshine29 Tue 08-Jan-13 23:09:52

Problem is, she asks how I deal with my DD when she acts like her DD and I can't answer as my DD doesn't act that way which leads her to think something is wrong with her DD. However I know plenty of children their age who behave like her DD and could give her some advice but it's very difficult to do so without sounding smug and preachy. Yesterday for example, she didn't talk to her DD once while she was playing nicely, she didn't forewarn her that it would soon be time to leave, the only attention she got was when she was screaming the house down. Friend then snapped and shouted, then cried because she was embarrassed about DD's behaviour and also felt bad that she'd shouted and her DD looked at mine and smiled - while continuing to scream, knowing full well the effect she's having on her mum. Her mum always says 'she's so tired' when her DD has a meltdown which DD has latched on to and uses as an excuse afterwards, but my DD does lots more stuff in a day than hers and never melts down. If she did behave like this and used tiredness as an excuse, I'd make sure the next night she was in bed much earlier and then when she kicked off she wouldn't be able to use the tired excuse!

thebody Tue 08-Jan-13 23:10:13

Totally agree squeaky 100%.

Bad behaviour must be challenged, dealt with and stopped.

4 is far far too old to he having melt downs and hitting mum.

None of my 4 would have acted like this beyond 2 but then I didn't ignore my parental responsibilities I dealt with them.

That's the job. Otherwise be prepared to explain to the police why your 15 year old is out of control. Tired and hungry or he didn't mean to wont cut it.

Get control of toddlers and certainly 4 year olds and you have the respect and boundaries to see you through the teen stage.

alisunshine29 Tue 08-Jan-13 23:14:32

I agree too Squeaky and thebody - at 4 they should be more than able to comprehend the idea of treating others how they wish to be treated. Therefore, if my DD even dared to raise her voice or hand to me, which she never would even consider in a million years then I'd ask if she'd like it if I behaved like that towards her - she would see my point, apologise and that would be that.

jennywren123 Tue 08-Jan-13 23:16:55

Another vote for 1-2-3 magic. But she needs to be totally consistent with it otherwise it won't be magic smile

PandaOnAPushBike Tue 08-Jan-13 23:21:05

It was only when the police got involved when my daughter was 15 that people started taking her behavioural issues seriously. Before that I was constantly being told it was bad behaviour, poor parenting, lack of attention, too much attention, too strict, not strict enough etc. All along I kept saying, no, something isn't right with her. But nobody listened. She now finally has an ASD diagnosis, is getting the help she should have been getting all along, and is like a different person now.

Don't discourage your friend from getting her child assessed. There may be nothing wrong, but then again, there may be and only a professional can really say for sure (unless they're one like the ones I saw repeatedly who don't know their arses from their elbows)

thebody Tue 08-Jan-13 23:21:30

Ali agree. Difficult situation but as long as its not rubbing off on your dd then all you can do is show her good parenting and hope it runs off.

Of course we all have problems with our kids, definatly not smug here by any means, but can't abide this ignoring of bad behaviour.

Usually ends up with your kids getting bashed about while a pathetic parent says 'oh dear he's tired'


thebody Tue 08-Jan-13 23:23:07

Panda of course excluding special needs children. That must have been tough for you. Very tough.

WorraLiberty Tue 08-Jan-13 23:26:40

See the term 'meltdown'?

Am I right or wrong in thinking it's generally used to describe when a child with SN 'loses it'? (for want of a better expression) You know where the word 'tantrum' doesn't cover it because it's something far more severe and is normally as a result of their SN?

If I'm right (and I don't know that I am) then I don't think 'meltdown' should be used to describe what is actually a tantrum from a child without SN.

The reason being, if everyone starts using the term 'meltdown' kind of detracts from how severe it really is.

Like when an NT child is playing up and the parent claims they have a 'touch of ADHD'.

PandaOnAPushBike Tue 08-Jan-13 23:31:40

I think the line has already blurred Worra. I tend to use 'autistic meltdown' rather than just 'meltdown' because, as you say, it no longer conveys the severity of the situation.

WorraLiberty Tue 08-Jan-13 23:33:58

Ahh that's probably best Panda

Obviously language changes and 'meltdown' seems to becoming the more commonly used phrase now for a normal childhood tantrum.

3smellysocks Tue 08-Jan-13 23:36:23

I think kids can hold it together when exhausted but let go when safe with mum. However that mean early nights until child was more level.

1,2,3 magic and read toddler taming or the next book up by mr green.

HenryCrun Tue 08-Jan-13 23:46:14

Star charts linked to rewards for good behaviour worked brilliantly for my vile temper. I second that suggestion.

HenryCrun Tue 08-Jan-13 23:52:45

Much as I have complained about semantic nit-picking on here before, I'm not sure I wholly approve of the idea that the use of the word 'meltdown' should only apply to children with SN, as if they have some kind of special radioactive ingredient. "Quick! There's a risk of meltdown! Thunderbirds are go! Manipulate the boron rods!".

For me "meltdown" just means "severe tantrum", SN or no.

pigletmania Wed 09-Jan-13 07:34:27

If mum is concerned she should go to her dictir or HV to be referred to a paedritrician to rule out any sn. Yes children do occasionally have meltdowns, but f this is becoming a regular occurrence to the point of affecting the child and family than it needs professional input. How is the child's interaction with other chidren/ oeople. How is her communication skills?

pigletmania Wed 09-Jan-13 07:35:10

The behaviour might be a reaction to something, or inability to cope with the environment

cory Wed 09-Jan-13 08:34:53

Some 4yos do have meltdowns which are very similar in severity to those of children with SN, without actually having SN (or the potential to grow into violent adults).

At least 3 members of my family did (though in two of those cases it was possibly related to childhood trauma).

All three children were normally well behaved children, noted for their caring attitude most of the time, who would then have moments when they just turned into something different.

Two are now grown up, one is a teen, none of them have ever been in trouble at school or outside the home. But their tantrums/meltdowns were truly spectacular.

My mother, SIL and I, who had to deal with the respective children, found that disciplining after the event was pointless: during meltdown the child would get carried away to the extent where they simply had no recollection of what they had done afterwards; it would be like disciplining me for something stupid I may have said when under the influence of a GA.

What was essential during the outburst was restraint and the firm reassurance that "I will not let you hurt me, I will not let you hurt anyone". They needed to know that precisely because they were frightened by their own lack of control.

I don't think I'm a lax or timid parent in any way and I have never had a problem with disciplining my children in the ordinary course of things. But disciplining dd out of her tantrums - no, I don't think that could have been done, at least not without escalating the discipline to the point of outright abuse. Firmness and calm did better.

thebody Wed 09-Jan-13 08:38:18

Yes agree but you only have to watch supernanny to see that most badly behaved children are due to poor hopeless parenting or chaotic backgrounds and not to special needs.

It's not fair to those children who really do have serious behavioural problems to simply label any random child who behaves like this as having a medical or psychological problem.

I work in a school and some and I mean some of those children who have special needs statements defiantly wouldn't have these oroblems in different home environments.

Stress some and not all.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 09-Jan-13 08:40:32

Never in a million years will I understand "ignore the bad behaviour". It just teaches children that it is acceptable to behave that way. Discipline is what is needed, not a blind eye...

Can you elaborate on what you have done it these situations, because at the moment it sounds like the classic response from nosey people in the supermarket, who usually say "ooh id never have let mine behave like that" but don't actually say what they used to do about it. Judging and nothing else.

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