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Hyperactive or just three? (whoops long)

(5 Posts)
GrownUpNow Sat 11-Jun-11 13:20:00

I have a lovely DD, three on Monday. She can be delightful, she is intelligent and funny and is excellent at drawing.

However, I am struggling with her behaviour. I have been for a very long time. I am starting to worry that there is more to it than just her age.

She has been very active since the womb. I got comments on how much she moved about and never really had "sleep" periods. From birth she has been fussy and not slept very well. Still now she more often than not takes an average of 2-3 hours to settle to sleep. She does only wake a couple of times a night now and settles back down, but this is often only temporary and lasts for a week or two then she's restless at night again. No matter what time she goes to sleep, she'll get up early again and show no ill effects except that her behaviour is worse in the evening the next night. She dropped day time naps really young.

She needed constant attention, but at the same time did not settle to cuddles or holding, barring the very early days. She has always preferred really busy social situations and being held to look around, but has never been able to behave well in them.

When she was one she went to nursery while I studied, because to be honest I couldn't cope having her all day every day with no break. She was the one who bit and hit other children, which I know is normal, but it was pretty constant. She did love the environment though, which offered her plenty of stimulation and they noted that her speech was very advanced and that she loved to be around other people.

She's never been an eater, is very messy with food, but hardly eats, though she is constantly asking for food. She never sits still, from the moment she started moving independently, I have to strap her down to keep her still for eating and activities. She couldn't sit and watch a TV programme for instance.

She hated the pram, and has been fighting against it for ages, however doesn't behave to walk, as she will run off and ignore what you say or lie on the floor and scream if you hold her hand or put a strap on her. The amount of times she's disappeared of ran off into a dangerous situation, I tend to keep her in the pram for most trips out, except school runs which I do with a friend and we help each other out.

I don't know where to start behaviourally. She is hard work. She wants what she wants NOW! She has screaming tantrums at the sign of any resistance to what she wants despite me being quite firm and using time out for difficult behaviour. Very easily frustrated, quick to tantrum. She hits out, she spits, she screams in you face and she does really naughty things, for example, throwing things out the window at the moment, including toys, books and my DS (console, not her brother). She seems to have no awareness of danger, climbing and jumping of of things, running into roads, doing things I didn't know she was capable of to get something I'd put out of the way safely, for example, climbing a stairgate, getting into my room, then climbing a bookcase to get my medication and a resulting hospital trip. When she has friends around she just ends up screaming because she can't play properly with them, and it descends into hitting and screaming. She terrorizes her big brother. She is defiant about anything and everything, if you say black, she does white.

She just doesn't seem to ever listen, she often does exactly what you tell her not to. She's been toilet trained twice, both times getting it very quickly, regressed the first time and I just figured she wasn't ready, but the second time she's using wetting herself and poohing herself to get out of bedtimes or to simply get attention.

I can't leave her around animals at all. She either stamps on them or tries to poke their eyes out, even as she is being shouted at to stop (as I crossed the room) and just laughs.

She's always just flitting between moods/activities and never settles. The only thing I've ever found that holds her attention is play doh or sometimes drawing, although she's very quick to draw all over herself or anything else if able to.

Have I just got a particularly naughty three year old and need to act on my own parenting, or is it possible she's hyperactive?

I counteract her by having a good routine with plenty of activities to tire her out. Set bedtimes. A healthy diet. Trying to recognise and avoid/minimise trigger times/activities. But it seems to have no effect.

tallulah Sat 11-Jun-11 18:47:45

TBH she sounds exactly like my DD who is 4. We just had her seen this week by a paediatrician and she said she's at the "high end of normal". She (and your DD) may well have ADHD (I have a DS with it) but hyperactivity can't be dx until 6 or 7 because pretty much all 3/4 yos act the way you describe- just to different levels.

I do empathise tho. My DD is exhausting.

skybluepearl Sat 11-Jun-11 21:35:35

I also wonder if she has ADHD? Can you talk to a HV or GP?

GrownUpNow Sat 11-Jun-11 22:24:27

Seeing HV on Tuesday afternoon, so hopefully something will come of it.

runningonmt Sun 12-Jun-11 09:46:57

Nodding head in agreement with tallulah - it sounds to me that you have your hands very full with your lively DD. At this point I would suggest that a formal diagnosis is unlikely to be beneficial but behaviour therapy certainly would be.

It does sound very much like ADHD to me and there are several books available which deal with behaviour techniques designed to help these wonderful (but wearing) children.

But very high on the 'must-do' list is to engage some 'me-time' for yourself. Dealing with these children is increadibly exhausting and unless you recharge your own batteries you are going to be less able to consistantly do your best for her. You are the best chance she has in learning to manage her difficulties and if you are flagging due to exaustion you are not going to be able to function as well in your role of "teacher".

Please try to get some help for the sake of your whole family - good luck x

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