3yo DD - Concerning Violent Statements(8 Posts)
Let me start by saying that our 3yo DD has always been ahead with her language and her imaginative play (e.g role playing). So at 18 months, for instance, we counted over 200 words. Very good so far.
For a long time we've noticed her language occasionally being quite dark. Around 2yo she told her mum that she dreamed "mummy put me in an oven, burnt me to a crisp and then ate me". Or "let's play cut the pig". Or "there are needles in our eyes".
I think that generally I've put it down to misspeaking and it just sounding dark to our ears. "Burnt me to a crisp and ate me" could easily be the misunderstanding of the expression "burnt to a crisp" from a book or something.
She now has a 6 month old brother and his arrival has disrupted her a little. We've noticed that sleep, eating and general behaviour is worse. And again, nothing really concerning.
Occasionally she's a little rough with him, but this morning she said something that really alarmed me. She had placed a soft, collapsible container around his face as he was lying down, and was pressing it too hard. I asked her to stop.
At this point she said "no, I don't want him to live any more". She said "I squeezed his head three times and then he cried".
Of course I then attempted to explain that hurting him or wanting to hurt him was wrong. That she was the only person in the world special enough to be his sister, and she should protect him and care for him, as we all protect and care for people in our family. When prompted she apologised.
I'm just starting to worry about the frequency and nature of this language. Last week she described a princess who could spawn a baby from inside her chest, who had a knife in its hands and would "hit soldiers in the head with it".
We're stumped about where this is coming from. She's not exposed to anything nasty on TV, films or videogames. I have a dark sense of humour myself, but can't think of any occasion when I've shown this side to her.
Final point - she's not particularly shy or forward. She's not especially rough. If she leans in any direction, it's towards being scared of getting hurt and of monsters/bad guys in stories. Plus she wakes up every night at least once, saying she has bad dreams. She's also telling a lot of lies at the moment, so this may or may not be true.
Questions are - do we do anything now or any time in the future if this continues? Is it possible that her relatively advanced vocabulary combined with her immature reasoning, give the impression of something that's not really there?
No ideas, just bumping for you. Most of it sounds just like a vivid imagination, but the thing about her brother I would possibly explore a bit more - do you think she knows what it means? Best of luck - hope someone comes along who has good advice!
Sorry, not much good advice, but three-year-olds just have no understanding of the significance of death, even five-year-olds don't. She just wants annoying baby out of her world.
As for the rest, I haven't a clue. Look forward to seeing what more knowledgeable post.
I think you should take a deep breath and try to step back from the situation while empathising with her feelings about your newish arrival. She is expressing her anger about the fact that her baby brother has taken her mummy and daddy's attention away from her. Things have changed dramatically for her and she is trying to deal with that. Her anger is natural and normal. If you so a google search for kids and violent language you'll quickly find out you're not alone!
You're right to put an end to any sort of aggressive behaviour that might hurt the baby but rather than telling her she's not allowed to have these thoughts and feelings (thinking something is very different to doing it - can any of us really say that we haven't had negative or aggressive thoughts towards others when we are angry at them?) - try using this as an opportunity to explore these feelings eg "it sounds like you don't like the baby right now?" And then allowing her (if she chooses) to tell you more about these feelings without telling her she's not allowed to have such thoughts. If you can encourage her in this you are doing her a huge favour because you're not denying her feelings and she will start to understand that it's ok to have all sorts of feelings. There are some feelings we don't act on and you are teaching her this. Most of us as adults walk around with negative feelings deeply repressed because we were taught that these feelings are unacceptable. This can cause all sorts of problems in later life IME.
She sounds very imaginative with a real flair for language. If she is around other children (especially those with older siblings) could she be picking something up from them? It might only take a coups of words from someone else to get her little mind working!
She is experimenting and seeing what sort of a reaction she'll get from you. Stay calm and don't over react and remember, this too shall pass!
Does she put on another voice when saying things like this ??
Mine was like this at 3 (just after baby brother arrived). The nursery teachers thought her role play in the home corner was lovely until she started baking the dolls in the oven and gouging out their eyes with spoons!
We didn't really do anything, didn't react really. Just provided lots of opportunities for role play and joined in with it a lot.
She's also got a very vivid imagination and now at 5 is terrified of anything remotely scary!
Thanks everyone. Some really good advice here. Particularly avoiding negativity around feelings - like, it's not her feelings that are bad.
Apparently yesterday she was in a group with lots of other kids when a santa arrived (unexpectedly). The other kids ran to be with him whilst our DD hung back. My wife suggested "why don't you go with the other children to see santa?". "That's not Santa" she replied "he has a cotton wool beard".
Whatever they are, they're never boring!
"Does she put on another voice when saying things like this ??"
No, it's her usual voice. Though she does growl when she's angry, puts her chin down and bears her teeth. No words when she's like this, just growling.
But the times I'm thinking of, the unusual language just trips off her tongue like anything else she's saying.
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