6yo tantrums - at my wits end(6 Posts)
i have 3 dc, and i'm really struggling with the youngest who is 6. she has epic tantrums which up until now i've calmly ignored but i'm actually getting worried because they seem to be getting worse. today's example:
dd2 has sn and needs quiet to do maths homework. she also needs help. dd3 sits at the desk with dd2 and is generally chattering and distracting her. i say 'please be quiet now, dd3, and read your book or do your spelling, because dd2 needs to do her maths'. so dd3 carries on singing. i explain that she'll have to go somewhere else if she wants to make a noise but she has to be quiet here. so she starts screaming at which point i pick her up and put her next door. she's kicking and biting me at this point. i just kept saying you must be quiet around dd2 so she can work calmly. nothing works. she just keeps screaming for another 30 minutes.
this could be any scenario. any time where she senses she has power and we need her to do something.
another example: all the dc's help with dinner. dd3 was asked to get forks. she refused and screamed at the top of her lungs every time someone said anything, so we couldn't eat our meal in peace, we couldn't talk. it was horrific. there isn't an opportunity to reason. my ears hurt afterwards it was so loud. i picked her up and put her outside the room (glass doors) but i don't like doing that. ignoring is what i usually do, but it doesn't seem to help.
i don't know what to do. i feel like she's trying to control the situation and keep the attention on her. dd2 REALLY needs a lot of attention and absolutely cannot fail her but i feel like i'm being pulled in 2! i can't cope anymore!
Sorry for the delay in answering - I meant to make some suggestions before. My thought is that children who need to feel in control (and it is a genuine need!) often benefit from clear structures.
Some small changes might help. From the outside (where DD2 is sitting!) the homework scenario could look as if right then you don't care about DD2 or her homework at all, all you care about is that DD3 gets her homework done and it doesn't matter what DD2 does so long as she doesn't disturb DD3. Which may not be true at all but that may be the message that DD2 is picking up. So could you try to structure things a bit differently? Could there be set homework time when both girls are supposed to be working quietly and you are there to help both of them if need be - so DD3 is doing her maths and DD2 is doing her spelling and reading and you are mostly helping DD2 but breaking off now and again to look at what DD2 is doing and comment "three so far, four to go" or "nice writing" or "you spelt discombobulate right, good work".
Another small bit of structure that you can try is to say when you will be finished helping DD3 and ready to attend to DD2. If DD2 is making a noise it may help if you can be sepcific "we need to be quiet here for 15 minutes, please can you read your book upstairs for 15 minutes and then I will come and listen to you"?
As for the fork scenario... if your DD2 is a control freak she may do better having a single well defined task all to herself than sharing tasks with others. And she may be very bad at responding to immediate unexpected requests. For us control freaks (OK I confess! ) unscheduled requests are a trigger. So you could make the knives and forks her specific responsibility every time and nothing else. Or let her clear the table all by herself every day and if she doesn't clear everything be super-diplomatic about it - instead of telling her to take the fruit bowl to the kitchen, try telling her how perfectly she has cleared all the place settings and add that next time she is clearing up can she take the fruit bowl as well because that will be even better.
People have different personalities and it may be better (easier, calmer, and more effective) to work with her control-freakery than to fight it.
(Sorry I think I've got DD2 and DD3 the wrong way round!)
Thank you Kleinzeit - that's really insightful! I had never thought of it in terms of control freakery before... That's also given me a whole load of ideas to try.
And thanks for answering and saving me from the tumbleweed!
I don't have much advice but my 6 year old dd is exactly the same... she'll have major screaming fits sometimes several times a day over the simplest things like 'in 5 minutes we'll brush teeth and then read a story' except she doesn't want to brush her teeth so she throws a tantrum it's exhausting, im fed up of listening to her screaming, it feels like she deliberately ignores or refuses to cooperate with every single thing we ask her to do! We are consistent and have routines but sometimes I feel like we start every day with a battle because she won't get dressed/brush teeth/put shoes on etc etc. I really hope you find something that works as it can feel like treading on eggshells some days!
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