To think my 7yr olds behaviour is not normal?(51 Posts)
This has been our norm for a few years now, can't remember exactly when it started but we just used to think it was typical toddler behaviour but now she's 7, we're starting to think something can't be right
Mostly she's fine and happy etc. Sometimes she'll be grumpy and moody but mostly she's okay. Once or twice a week, sometimes not even that, it can be as little as once a month, you tell her it's time for a bed and in the blink of an eye she's transformed into a screeching wild animal who kicks and hits (used to bite me but she's not done it recently) and laughs that she's not going to bed, she's not tired and you can't make her go to bed. She'll run off and hide behind the sofa or under the dining table and won't come out. The crosser you get, the more gigglier she gets we try our hardest not to lose our tempers with her but it's just so difficult. I've got a bruise on my arm from where she kicked out and caught my forearm with her heel two nights ago.
When she was smaller we'd just pick her up easily and carry her to her room but obviously now she's bigger it's harder and more dangerous trying to carry her upstairs while she's thrashing around. No-one believed us about this until BIL moved in with us and saw it for himself, he was gobsmacked.
The only thing that gets any kind of reaction from her other than laughing, when she's like this, is threatening to take her favourite teddy away, but that just throws her into a complete frenzy, she'll start screaming 'NOOOOOO NOT TEDDY!' So I don't do that but DH can't seem to understand that it makes her worse and makes the already slim chance of her cooperating non-existant
She's not like this at school, but her teacher is pulling her hair out over DDs refusal to do her schoolwork. She was the model pupil in Reception and Yr2 (she had the same teacher in those years) but in Yr1 and now Yr3 with different teachers, she just refuses to do work and no punishment seems to faze her. She doesn't really have friends at school, I can't remember the last time she was invited to a birthday party and she's never ever been invited to play at someones house. She had a best friend in her class but she moved schools at the beginning of Y3 and DD was devastated and still says she misses her. The teacher has noticed that DD doesn't seem to have a specific group of friends and just seems to drift around various groups at playtimes She also says she wants to move schools but we're not sure if it would make everything worse or not. It would be easier for us as we have a school that's a 2 minute walk away whereas her school is a 10 minute drive away.
We have a 10 month old who adores her, and in return she adores him. Except when she's in a mood she'll tell him/us that she hates him and that he's a stupid baby. If she's on the sofa he'll stand up and try to grab her she'll push him down, not hard. She just pushes him gently but it's still a push. I tell her off for pushing him but I just get a shrug and glared at in response.
Lately her bad moods are here more regularly and it puts a downer on almost everything nice that we do. She complains that we don't do stuff together anymore, we try our best to each spend time with her without the baby. The other week I took her to a pottery cafe and we had a lovely time just the two of us. As soon as we got home her foul mood appeared and she was horrible for the rest of the day.
We're at our wits end and so's her teacher with the schoolwork. Not really sure what to do because the worst behaviour is at bedtime so no-one sees it and I don't think her bad moods go to school with her, no-one has ever said anything about her being really moody and grumpy. It's like she saves it for at home. Should we speak to the teacher about all of this or what? We always assumed she would grow out of it back when we thought she was just being a toddler but it's clear that's apparently not going to happen.
The morning after one of these bedtime fights, she'll sometimes say she tries to control it but she just can't. She has also said that she had an angel sat on one shoulder, and a devil sat on the other. The devil was telling her to do naughty stuff, the angel was telling her to be good so the devil killed the angel. I wasn't sure whether to be worried about that because it's in an episode of The Simpsons which she watches occasionally so I just assumed she saw it there. She's also said stuff about seeing monsters that follow her everywhere
Actually seeing all of this written down makes me think we should've gone to see someone about it before now we just thought we could handle it, that she'd grow out of it etc as she will go ages without one of these bedtime fiascos and we think it's all over, and then it'll happen again...
Bloody hell I didn't realise how long that was! I tried not to leave anything out lest I be accused of dripfeeding.
I could’ve written this about my 7 year old, and until you start putting it all together you don’t see the full picture it’s quite scary. I have 3 other older sons who have never behaved like this I was questioning my parenting etc it’s horrible
Ask for a meeting at school and be honest re her behaviour they should support you, our school is v good. You need support from someone, push until you’re listened too.
I’d have a meeting with school especially if some behaviour is showing in school like refusing to do school work. It’s worth a conversation. It might also be worth the senco getting involved to see if there’s any undiagnosed needs.
Do you have a school nurse drop in locally?
I think you're right OP. That behaviour isn't normal! I don't know what to suggest though - maybe see a child psychologist?
I haven’t experienced that with mine or nieces and nephews, or cousins. (I’ve done a lot of looking after kids over the years).
It could be a number of things, but you need to talk to someone qualified who can see her, go through everything and decide if there is something else going on.
Your big thing right now is to ensure that none of this aggression is taken out on the baby. Ask for a meeting with the SENCO, and possibly your GP, and take it from there.
The home side of this sounds like my DD1, though she's ultra-compliant in school. She has a neurodevelopmental disability. I would go to your GP and start the assessment process, at least to rule things out. None of you can go on like this.
Some of this sounds like my nearly eight year old. She has attachments issues and sensory needs and is being seen by her senco with the view to getting her assessed. Her older sister is being assessed for adhd, autism, and something I can't remember. She also has sensory processing disorder and is getting an ehcp.
Eldest is a charm but 7yo is like Jekyll and Hyde.
Have you tried praising her when she is good at bedtime? Positive reinforcement helps.
You mention threatening to remove a teddy but not following through. Have you tried picking an appropriate punishment (no screen time/ treats etc) and actually sticking to it?
Does she have the same bedtime every night and get up at the same time every day?
I second going to the school.My GP just looked at me knowingly when I said my daughter was well behaved at school.The school however referred her to the school nurses and she got 6 weeks of 1:1 work and we got some parenting advice.If they had suspected anything else they have the power to refer to the paedeatricians/family support/CAMHS.
Bedtimes are generally all the same, at the same time, she gets up at the same time every day. Bedtimes that she behaves, she gets a story which she loves having, we read together. And she often reads the baby a bedtime story too which is lovely.
DH does threaten and has removed teddy which made things escalate x100. She's had it since she was 18 months and it's the one thing she truly loves and cares about. Other toys and teddies gets played with or cuddled a few times and forgotten about but this one is her constant special favourite and has been since she got it.
She does lose iPad time which she grumbles about but she doesn't really seem too bothered about earning it back. She has lost the PS4 though which she hates but also doesn't seem fussed about earning it back She loves playing Xbox with BIL but she lost that and same as the others, isn't bothered about earning it back.
I'll email the teacher and try and arrange a meeting.
I would calmly sit her down with dad for a talk. When all is calm. Explain that this is not going to be allowed to happen and if it happens again then I would honestly put the teddy in the bin! Without any more than a quick oh well if we're having this nonsense you know the deal, she has that one chance. No negotiations. It stops immediately or teddy gets it.
I would come down hard and fast on this. No way can she be kicking and carrying on. She's doing it because she can. Especially if you don't follow thru
A fair few people think I'm strict. I am, I'm not here to be their best friend. I'm here to be their parent and shape them into a respectful adult.
It sounds like an attachment issue to me. She's projecting her feelings onto this teddy bear, please don't try and take it away. It will feel like removing a parent to her.
Also get her to a child psychologist..
Has she been through any trauma?
Absolutely not going to throw the teddy away. It's the only thing she truly cares about, she'd resent us forever if we did that.
She's never been through any trauma that we know of.
We did have to send one of our dogs back to the rescue he came from in October 2017, that upset her deeply as we'd had him since she was a baby. He had to go though as he hated DD when she was a crawling/walking baby/toddler. The reacue told us he was child friendly, but tolerant would have been more appropriate. He spent a long time hiding upstairs out of her way even though I never allowed her near him or to mistreat him. He was almost 11 and coming up to the last couple of years of his life I just couldn't put him through the stress of a new baby (I was pregnant when I took him back). He is fine, he was adopted within two days of me taking him back and I'm in contact with his new family and they adore him and he them. We miss him terribly and DD doesn't like to talk about him much as she gets upset. That's the most traumatic thing I think has ever happened to her. But this behaviour has been going on far longer than the dog leaving.
Random idea but it works in this house.
Teddy needs a role. He needs to be taken to bed, or Teddy asks her to get ready with him because he's feeling a bit tired or worried etc. Play acting basically where her hero, Teddy, really wants to see her sensible and caring side. Worth a try if Teddy is real to her, taking the focus off her and on to Teddy instead.
@escape that's a lovely idea. OP I used to do teddy talk with ds when he was that age.
My 8 yr old is very naughty at home, fights with older sibling all the time, but it amazing in school and so clever the teachers told me they are struggling to give her age appropriate work that is difficult enough.
I have no tips, but wanted to say I sympathise greatly.
My DD is our youngest, so no baby sibling in the mix, but this was her between 7 and 10. When she was fine she was delightful, but when she lost it it was really frightening. I got hurt more than once. She also developed some physical and vocal tics. We saw the community paediatrician as we wondered if it might be Tourette's. They diagnosed anxiety and suggested medication, which we declined.
I can't honestly say we ever found an effective way of helping her, but (miraculously given how she then was) she went on a school residential and it was a bit of a turning point. I think there was something hormonal going on too. She didn't actually start her periods until she was 12, but she needed deodorant from 8 and there did seem to be a bit of a cycle.
Hope your road is not as long OP, but if it's any comfort, she's coming up to 16 now and the teenage years so far have been much easier.
I would add that Teddy should be quite a feisty character as well, think multifaceted like a Jim Henson puppet. I bit crazy sometimes, a bit sad sometimes, gets furious , you get the picture. Keep it funny.
Does she have control over bedtime? so 10 minutes before, give her a warning so she can get her head round it, maybe a reward chart, so if she brushes her teeth, gets pyjamas on and is in bed before whatever is bedtime, she gets a reward. if teddy is the right size, maybe a build a bear outfit? Does she have a watch, or a clock so she can tell herself how long she has? Maybe a cheap wall clock, take off the minute hand and colour in chunks to denote what happens when. I'd also suggest if she's not tired, then she can read a book in bed after her bedtime story. Maybe a bedtime to wind down and a lights off time?
The teacher who was good with her may have some insight as well.
I honestly was thinking that you might have given her permission to be in charge of your home,unknowingly of course.But the behavior towards her little brother is scary.
So far everyone has given great advice.
*Your little girl is at an important stage in her life and development.Like the others have said,I'd get in touch with her teacher but I would would get her into the dr asap.
You'll get through this storm.This is the reason God made our kids cute!😉
Escape the Castle - I like the idea of Teddy in charge!
Bedtime is fairly relaxed, she does her 'bedtime jobs' as we call them, 20 mins or so before her actual bedtime then she comes back downstairs and we sit together on the sofa reading a book together or chatting etc. Then when she gets in bed she has a nightlight on, a star projector lamp and her phone to play relaxing music that likes to have on fall asleep to.
I will add that the phone is a glorified ipod with a camera, it's my ancient iphone, it has no sim card, and after I downloaded a load of music on it for her I deleted our wifi out of the phone and disabled Safari too just for good measure. She can't access Youtube or anything at all on it.
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