Help behavioural problems(8 Posts)
I'm new to this site and desperate for advice. I have tried everything I can think of and am at a loss on where to go from here. My child (7) is extremely badly behaved at home. At school she has been called wilful but bright. But at home she has me in tears constantly. I have tried reward charts and punishments but nothing seems to help. I'm starting to think there may be an underlying issue I am missing. The following is a list of things she does on a daily basis.
• says she's poorly and can't go to school
• says she wants to die
• simple requests like put the cup away will be met with a meltdown
• lies and manipulates to get what she wants
• won't sleep alone
• bedtime results in me being abused and lasts about 1 1/2 hours
• if losing a game will become aggressive
• if she attends parties she doesn't participate and just clings to me
• general responses are "I don't care" or "you can't make me"
• if food is not presented as she requests she won't eat it and will become aggressive I.e cut up sausages and toast to the right size. She can do it herself but she won't
• has to choose her own clothes or becomes distressed and refuses to leave the house
• returns from school straight into role playing as the teacher for hours at a time
• refuses to do homework or reading at home. Will have a complete meltdown if forced. Uses excuses like she doesn't understand or her eyes hurt
• shows no remorse for her actions. If she makes me cry she will say sorry but then continue the action and often gets worse
•Her mood changes from calm to crazed in a second for no apparent reason
• will scream or distract in anyway she can if I try to have a conversation
• won't go out unless she knows where, when etc often in spite of herself
There are more but these are the main ones I can think of. I was wondering if anyone has any similar issues and maybe I'm just not parenting properly. She is my only child so I have nothing to compare her behaviour to.
Any advice would be gratefully received.
Lots of the things you are describing suggest insecurity regarding you. It could just be that she's reached that age where she realises you have a life entirely separate from hers and that makes her uneasy. or she could be picking up on your (understandable!) stress and dislike of her behaviour, and that's making her needier (this happened with my DC at around that age.) Or it could be something more permanent.
First, I'd take all battles out of the equation. If she likes to know where she's going etc, just accept that. DS1 was like this for years. I had to give him a full run down of the day including any possible variations. At weekends, I had to give him details and explain very thoroughly if some of our plans were dependent on other people or weather. It was a phase. He got over it. He just needed a lot of reassurance about life. Similarly, they both kept climbing into our bed all night long. I was shattered. Until I realised it was for reassurance and reacted by giving massive cuddles until they wriggled and said, 'I'm too hot' and preferred their own beds. A bit of OTT affection can cure it.
Same with food. Just as you describe. I was tolerant but not a pushover. When he tantrummed, I tantrummed right back at him and said: this is what you sound like when you talk to me like that and I don't like it. Then I'd say in a normal voice: It's scary and rude and hurts my ears. I'll listen to you when you talk to me in a friendly voice. (Obviously you can't do that in public but in the kitchen, over melt downs over the shape of toast in the morning...
One thing that worked really well for us was to have a snuggly chair with blankets, cushions, cuddly toys and a book. Set it up with her, let her choose which cushions and blankets etc and explain it's for her (or you) when you feel really angry or upset, and it's a nice place to hide away and calm down. Instead of getting cross when they tantrummed, I'd just carry them to the chair and say in a sympathetic voice: you sound upset, snuggle down here until you feel better. come and tell me when you feel OK again. That way there's no battle of wills, no naughty step, no punishment and best of all, they learn how to control their own emotions. TBH after starting that they rarely had tantrums.
One last thing - turned out DS2 had ASD which was why he had some of the symptoms you've listed. Not saying your DD has. Lots of this stuff is a phase they go through.
Thank you for your reply she has been like this for years now but gradually getting worse. I should have mentioned that sorry. I will take the chair idea on board I tried her bed but she sees it as a punishment as she never plays in her room.
For DC like ours, I think making sure they don't think of it as a punishment, but as help or a way to solve a problem is really important. They are very strong willed and even if it's hurtful to them will stick at a fight with us and win it rather than back down. So you take the fight away. Honestly, it got so much easier for me when I did. It was exhausting for a while. Would you consider checking if she has autistic traits?
Was she a late developer with her baby milestones?
Did she learn to crawl properly or not?
Does change of any kind drive her nuts?
Is she sensitive to textures, like labels on clothes etc?
It was this sort of thing that made school aware that DS had ASD.
She didn't really crawl much she went to walking over night. Same with potty training she wouldn't use a potty she went straight to the toilet and seemed to learn overnight. I haven't noticed the clothes things really just if a label is particularly itchy like primark ones. She doesn't like loud places like the bowling alley but she likes playing there so it's hard.
Have you tried talking to the school in more depth, spelling out exactly what she is like, if she is able to behave at school, but be awful at home, it sounds more behaviour related to me. Do talk to the school about the fact she refuses to read or do her homework, as the teacher can talk to her, and explain that it is the teacher who says she has to do this, not just you. Is there someone else who could have her for time at the weekend? Would she behave well for them? If my child behaved like that at the dinner table, they wouldn't get anything else to eat (I know easier said than done).
Thanks for your reply. Yes I have spoken to the school I am waiting for the head to come back to me. She behaves the same way for my parents when they look after her. The problem is she would starve she wouldn't give in and eat I've tried it just causes bigger problems that's why I have learnt to pick my battles with her.
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