Please help me deal with my daughter(14 Posts)
DD is 5 years old and very bright. She is apparently impeccably behaved at school and does well with the work although she is shy in social situations. At home her behaviour is terrible. She backchats, shouts over people when they're talking, loses her temper, hits, bites, does the opposite of what she is told. She's also on the go constantly and never stops needing attention or stimulation from me. Every day is so stressful, I wish I didn't have to wake up in the morning. I feel like I can't talk to anyone about this. DH has the same problem with her but he's not looking after her as much as I am. I hate my life and I'm tired of all the battles. I've tried everything. I don't know what to do anymore. Please tell me what I'm supposed to do.
Have you considered she might have some undiagnosed SNs such as Asperger's or Sensory processing disorder. Essentially she may be "masking" at school but then when she gets home, the strain of holding herself together all day is too much, and she will go to pieces.
In the meantime, it is worth investigating how to make her life at home more stressfree after school. No physical demands (ie chores, picking things up being helpful, taking her clothes off even or putting them on), same routine every day, food she likes, no social demands (ie asking her to be polite or answer questions are social demands)
google autism in girls, and sensory processing disorder.
There are lots of girls with autism out there, undiagnosed until their late forties in some cases, who were impeccably behaved at school, very bright, but find a lot of daily life quite overwhelming. Anger and aggression and bad behaviour can be signs of anxiety or simply tiredness.
Five year olds find school exhausting anyway. Even if there is no question mark over SNs is there something about her school day that could be altered to improve her behaviour - after school club might be very tiring, or does she get the chance to run around a bit after school, or alternatively is the walk home from school too much for her... Is it homework setting her off perhaps, could that be reduced?
All my sympathy, I had a very demanding dd with what I now think was sensory processing disorder; certainly she needed lots of reassurance and cuddles, but it came out in a very "uncuddly" way...spending time with her was not much fun at that age. she was much much better with a little companion, might a friend round also help matters? Dd was always terrible at entertaining herself. Dd does not have autism, but her brother does...
Also, put Supernanny like tactics out of the window. Boundaries and No will not really work well in this situation, and possibility escalate, as will naughty step and any sort of "battle" of wills type discipline like taking toys away. Your aim is to descalate and calm her down. Find some soothing activities which she likes (you could start with a telly programme you both enjoy and cuddle up on the sofa together) could be bubbles in a basin, doing her hair or your hair, tidying a cupboard and sorting out toys together (in a leisurely way, not because you need to but because you want to) Reduce demands on yourself too, so you have more time for her, make meals simple and stop ironing, don't worry about mess if that is a trigger situation where you feel angry with her for not giving you time or creating work for you.
And lots of people find their five year olds incredibly difficult, you are not alone, often sharing how you feel will reduce the pressure to "perform". Or just not expecting your child to do what other people's little girls apparently manage to do. My dd used to demand to be carried to school in Reception. It was a short walk so I did. Lots of people used to comment on how spoilt she must be to need to be carried. Until one friend said, if she needs to be carried for 3 weeks, that is what she needs. Then it was a pushchair, again same friend said, don't worry, she'll give it up in a few months once she sees her friends aren't in one, and anyway who cares? This is just an example of how we beat ourselves up over the ways our children appear to be manipulating us, when really they just "need" something.
Thank you I will google sensory processing disorder. I'm hoping it's not autism, she doesn't have any of the normal signs of autism. I think tiredness could be part of it, she doesn't do after school clubs, she does what she likes after school I don't really demand much from her other than getting changed out of her school clothes, she doesn't have homework at the moment. She's on school holidays this week and worse than ever. I don't know what it is but I will look into that as you've suggested thank you.
Thank you. I'm tired of the battle of wills but she's so defiant that I end up falling into it. We do lots of activities together, she loves craft and baking - she's ultra competitive though and has to make it a competition! She's not really one for soothing activities, she's very energetic but I will still try and steer her towards that kind of thing. The main trigger seems to be when she can't get her way. Thank you for your advice. I really relate to what you've said about the pressure to perform. I work in childcare and couldn't face admitting I'm struggling with my own child.
Sometimes the fallout from being at school is that they really don't know how to get through the more relaxed routine of a day at home, especially at the beginning of the holidays. The answer might be to have a holiday routine, which is very predictable, and talk through any plan in advance (like outings) and make sure nothing is too long or demanding, but there is plenty of chance for physical exercise, if that helps her. Alternately she might be one of those children who actually detests long walks, although can spend hours running round in circles and climbing furniture jumping off chairs Would having a little friend round help at all, with a prepared task (sticking, colouring, baking with packet mix) rather than free play? There are lots of Easter Crafts you could google too, to do with someone else, rather than just mother and daughter (always a bit fraught in our house)
Dd has two brothers, one a twin, one two year older: I don't know whether this made things worse, but she still like to have a friend over, and always behaved beautifully in other people's houses for playdates.
How to Talk So Kids Listen by Faber and Mazlish is a very good book too (do a search on Mumsnet to see how it is widely recommended) It helps all relationships with children, whether there are Sns involved or not. I cried when I read it (mine were 10 at that point) looking back I had misunderstood so much.
Having said that, it is truly soul destroying when your child appears to neither manage with you, or without you, and wants to ruin every moment you spend with her by arguing, complaining, winding you up. In dd's case her speciality was to rip up drawings she had just completed, or start screaming whenever we sat down to eat.
She is now a truly delightful 15 year old, independent, clever, organised, conscientious at school, lots of friends, painted her own room on Sunday, good at most things, but still hates long walks and can still get anxious about small things
Our 7 year old is very similar to your daughter and always has been. It is exhausting and I often ponder whether she is autistic. I have raised this with school but they don't see the behaviour we have to deal with as she is awesome at school. She can be wonderful but it is short-lived she is incredibly volatile and clashes with my husband a lot!
I wish I knew what the answer is but we just lurch from one explosion to another
I think dd is only a delightful 15 year old because we did a lot of thinking through the problems..I think at one point I took her to a person centred child therapist when she was about 8. That helped me to think of things from her point of view. And I found out by chance about sensory processing disorder, because ds has HFA. It is a bit of jigsaw really. She certainly didn't just grow out of it though, no such luck..
All good sound and reassuring ideas and advice from Knit. Resonates with me re my DD who is now 18 and has a lovely circle of friends, a good job and looking forward to uni but also very vulnerable and her anguish is expressed at home and with me in particular. It's been so difficult holding my nerve but she is a delightful individual and now I see that I feel less undermined by her behaviour and the boundaries needed to help secure her.
Sounds like my 5 year old who I've queried a few times if she might be on the well-masked end of the autistic spectrum. Add in the end of the school term tiredness and she's been a right arsey little bugger the last couple of weeks (which is more than likely the end of term stuff kicking in - they're all being horrid to each other at school by all accounts at the moment!)
I've found she's worse if we get into a battle of wills - but she responds better to "We're both getting to the point now we're going to lose our tempers so you go to your room for a few minutes to calm down while I empty the dishwasher and then we'll sort it out then" (basically a fluffier termed time out - I've got a few pretty coloured sand timers she can choose to take up with her). Pointing out and praising the points where she's done well reining in the temper has started to have some effect too - as did pinching the Bing idea of trying to blow the clouds away with her angry feelings.
I have zero tolerance with hitting - she gets sent for a time out (insert the usual posters that this is child abuse here), thankfully she's never really been a biter.
The attention needing and constant need to be telling you something is bloody wearing though - DD1 can keep it up in her sleep as well! As she's getting older between me and school we're starting to get her into a "I know you're desperate to tell me - tell me after X" to just slow it down a bit. Her class teacher is great though - really does "get" her and she comes solidly near the top of the class for everything and gets behaviour awards out of the eyeballs.
My DD is only ten months old so I have no advice to offer, but I just wanted to say that you mums sound brilliant, with your thoughtfulness, bravery, tenacity and creativity in tackling your daughters' issues. Don't take what you do for granted.
It might just be that she is working so hard to lee her emotions and behaviour in check all day at school that it all comes pouring out when she's in her safe space with you, it is probably just time and patience which I know can be quite hard but she will grow if of it.
the well-masked end of the autistic spectrum
I like that term!
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