Not sure what to do next(21 Posts)
Not sure if this is the right place to post but here goes.
DD1 (9) took objection to something trivial tonight (my request she said goodnight to her sister) and like a switch flicked on became hostile & ejected us frm her room. While I was putting DD2 (7) to bed she quietly packed a rucksack with what she thought she'd need, coat on & popped her her head into bedroom to say goodbye she was leaving. I managed to hide the door keys before she tried to get out (they are normally in the door as we have a second vestibule door to the outside). She put her shoes on before she noticed the keys were gone. I don't know how far she would have gone but the fire in her attitude frightened me that it could've been too far before she realised what she was doing.
This isn't the first time it's happened (the threat). What if she hadn't announced she planned to go? It terrifies me to think. It's taken nrly 2 hrs to talk her down frm the state she was in. She doesn't know herself why she felt as she did.
My question is, can this be normal for some 9 yr olds & my AIBU is, would I be to arrange a chat with the police about the dangers of running away? Because I feel I haven't got through to her or she doesn't believe me regarding the dangers of running away, not sure which. I am a LP & have no family support so I am totally on my own. In general life is ok, not perfect but whose is, but we have a safe house of our own, a lovely pet, she's bright & does fine at school, loves her sister and vice versa, we're going on holiday soon, my point is there's good things in her life yet she gets so extremely sad / angry / reactive out of proportion & I am beginning to feel that rather than a passing theme that emerges periodically tonight I felt scared she could have put herself in serious danger if events had played out slightly differently.
I appreciate there are 2 lines to this going forward, 1. dealing with her sudden intense negative feelings & 2. dealing with her potentially harmful behaviour. Has anyone been through this? I will have to hide the house keys for now but that's not ideal in case of a fire.
Didn't want to read and run, just about to go to sleep!
My DD had similar episodes when she was 7/8. It's bloody scary (for them and us) I even got her to call childline in desperation as I could t get through to her, hoping she could tell them what was wrong, but she said she didn't know herself.
I still don't really know what was the problem, but we spent a lot of time crying and hugging. Eventually she's 'grown out of it'. I think at that age, their feelings are so overwhelming and frightening for them, and things can get out of hand.
DD is now nearly 12 and is a lot more settled. She's very bright, and I don't know if it's relevant to your DD, but mine is being assessed for ASD (Asperger's) at her request. I don't know if her outbursts when younger have anything to do with that, just giving you our story.
Basically I'd suggest some 'love bombing' as much as I hate the phrase, she's a little girl, shocked and scared by the intensity of her emotions, and needs her Mum to be her safety net.
I hope that doesn't come across as patronising, and. I wish you and your DDs the best x
I remember doing something similar at about that age. My mum ruined it by laughing uncontrollably and insisting on looking at what I'd packed in my 'survival kit'. Then laughing more. Rather took the wind out of my sails..
One of mine 'ran away' at about 8. They packed a rucksack and went off in a huff. They didn't get very far before they became a little frightened and came running back in tears.
My son packed action man and his slippers before he left. We did laugh at him because he'd have been worrying about his breakfast within 100 yards.
I think lots of them do it and personally think a matter of fact ' put your things away now' is more effective than hugging/kissing and emotional talking down. Then bed after they've apologised.
DS is 9 and has packed some stuff recently. Nothing practical, mainly cars. But the intention was there and it worrys me. He also hugely overreacts to stuff. Thinks we love DD more because we tell her off less. Problem is we tell her off less because she is better behaved, he can be challenging and he has a real issue with DD. He gets lots of love from us, has lots of hobbies we pay for and ferry him around to, he gets attention but he can be hard work. He is very hard done by and we all hate him apparently (we really don't).
No suggestions OP, but I do get you.
Tbh if she was going to go, she wouldn't have said goodbye. She said goodbye so you could stop her.
I used to leave home regularly at that age, went to the park, indulged myself in feeling hard done by for about half an hour, then got cold, bored, hungry, lonely or whatever and went home. No one took any notice and I grew out of it.
I appreciate times are different and you don't want to let her out of the house because of concerns about her safety. Putting the keys out of her reach sounds sensible, so long as they are easily accessible to you in the event of a fire or whatever. Then just try not to react so much to what are really just tantrums.
By the way, I don't think that she needs to be told to say goodnight to her sister. That seems like a forced and unnecessarily formal and artificial interaction.
It must seem scary but I 'ran away' several times when I was younger. In fact I just used to hide around the side of the house. My mum knew where I was the whole time but I didn't realise ha ha. As PP have said she told you she was going so you could stop her. If she was serious about it she wouldn't have done that.
The fact she told you means she was looking for a reaction. I usually just offer to give mine a hand with the packing. Think it's normal enough. Mine sometimes threaten to kill themselves because i have said no to them going out or have asked them to clean their room. I think some kids have a wider range of emotions or at least the capacity to go from one extreme to the other quite quickly.
Dd did similar aged about 7. DH and I stood on the step and waved her off with me saying "she'll get 200 yards and double back"
As she disappeared around the corner DH and I looked at eachother in shock and he had to dive in the car to fetch her back.
Lesson learned. Our DD is very very stubborn.
It was kind of funny after though.
I remember doing the same when I was about four. My mother said if I was leaving then I left as I'd came and I was unceremoniously dumped in the front porch naked. Bloody harsh, but to be fair I didn't threaten to leave again
I remember 'leaving home' when I was 9... my mum remained calm and helped me 'pack'
Destination was my best friends house 2 streets away.
Got there and realised I'd forgotten my homework diary and my glasses. Off home I went , tail between legs into my mother's arms!
Don't stress too much, I think it's a rite of passage and part of growing up!
She knows what side her bread is buttered on!
I packed my bags loads of times at that age but then decided it was too dark and I'd better wait until morning, I think I might of left a couple of times during the day as well but then had to go home once I'd eaten my sandwiches
I packed a bag and 'ran away' at about 13 or so so a bit older than your DD. I didn't tell anyone (although I don't think there was anyone to tell) I just left at some point and stayed out all night in a field. By 7am I decided 'yhqys it, I've technically stayed out 'all night' so I went back home and had a few hours kip in a nice warm bed. Turns out my parents s had called the police and hinted for some recent pics of me to give them. I felt bad about that but at the time I genuinely didn't think they'd notice/care. Your DD now knows you do so should hopefully end this.
I packed a bag when I was about 11
I remember my mum telling me to feel free to head off but not to expect to see her or my dad on tv doing a tearful appeal for me to come home!! The only reason I stayed was I couldn't find clean socks to pack clearly I couldn't leave home without them
My mum told me about the time I tried to leave home, aged about 4.
I packed my bag and got to the front door, mum and dad said, "Bye then, go on." and I burst into tears and said "You know I can't cross the road on my own!".
Hopefully your DD won't do it again. I also agree with a PP that you shouldn't force her to say goodnight to her sister.
well, she came and said goodbye so was not that serious about going.
ds is a runner too. only he does not bother packing. when he is in that mood the door is double locked and I have the key somewhere safe.
I don't have any answers - I feel your terror and I'd be the same... But I certainly "ran away from home" when small, after being told off. I did the whole spotted hanky on a stick thing. It's kind of funny to think how common it is as a way of lashing out at parents but also scary now I am the parent! Our poor mothers... I think a chat about stranger danger might be a good idea. There are tons of great videos online. Even the old Charlie says ones get the message across.
Me too - I ran away several times at that age. To the end of the garden. When nobody had called the police in a panic within about 5 minutes, I slunk home again.
If you make a big deal about it, she might think it's a good idea to do it. On the other hand, some stuff about not leaving home alone is a good idea. Maybe just keep it serious but don't link it to her threat or something?
Has your DD read the Ramona books? They are quite good for children, funny and deal with having a sister etc, but there is one story I still remember years later where Ramona wants to run away. She is heartbroken when her mother helps her to pack. How could her mother do that??
Only at the end does she realise that her mother has deliberately made her suitcase so heavy that she can't go. It's sweet but it is also a good description of how it feels to be 9 and impotent!
Seems to be a cry for attention and help. Is she jealous of her sister, even though she loves her? Do you ever get to spend time with her without dd2?
I think you are over reacting chloe she didn't want say goodnight and is that that age where she got into a stubborn hump.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.