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What would be an appropriate punnishment for a very frustrated child ?

(27 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:08:37

My 3.5 year old daughter has a speech disorder and is becomming increasingly frustrated with herself (as she knows she can't make the words sound right) and with me for not always understanding her. She looks to me to translate all the time when she's talking to people, but when I don't understand she gets VERY upset.
She has started shouting "look at me, look at me" while pulling my face close to hers then when she says it again and I don't understand she smacks me.
This has only happened twice when she's been extreamly frustrated. I punnished her by saying in a very calm but firm voice "I know it's hard for you, but you do NOT smack mummy". I then put her in her room for 3 mins time out. When I hear her crying in there, I feel soo bad.sad It must be awful for her but I don't want her to think that it's o.k to smack. I have never smacked her in her life and don't intend to, so I don't know where she's learnt it.
Am I right to put her in time out? or should I deal with it differently? She dosn't mean to be naughty, she just gets desparate I think. She is a very loving little girl but somtimes I just feel useles.

milknosugar Sun 13-Jul-08 20:10:39

its so hard dealing with frustrated kids but i do think you are right to give her time out for smacking. i know its not a long term solution but have you thought of baby signing to help? my son has problems with pronouncing words and he now finds another way to say it or i ask him to show me, but its still hard. he is only just 4

onwardandupward Sun 13-Jul-08 20:12:07

If the words aren't getting across, you could try taking her by the hand and looking eager to please and saying "show me!"

I don't think I'd punish. I'd be talking about how frustrated she must be that noone understands, and you'll help if you can work out what she wants, and in the meantime, would she like to go and do X (where X is a very favourite thing to do)

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:17:48

I try saying "show me" all the time but she won't do it. It's usually not somthing she can show me. Once it was "I want to go to uncle Andys house and play" and things like that. When she has somthing she is desparatly trying to say she can't be distracted at all. I could try offering her a favourate activity though.

dreamymum Sun 13-Jul-08 20:19:40

could she draw you an image of what she wants to say? (more or less?)

LoveMyGirls Sun 13-Jul-08 20:23:09

Awwww bless her little heart! I think signing sounds like a brilliant idea, even when your dd can speak it's a great skill to have and to learn it so young would be much easier.

You must have so much patience, it must be hard for you too, just want to give you both a big hug! (((((((((((((((((((MLL))))))))))))))))))))

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:23:37

dreamymum- good idea but no, she can only scribble. A great idea for the future though.smile
At the moment if she was very stressed and I asked her to do that, she'd probuble scribble a big black mess with lots of aggression.grin

flack Sun 13-Jul-08 20:28:06

Crikey, my 3.5yo DD couldn't have drawn that well.

DC don't have speech disorders, but at 3.5yo I struggled to understand about half of what they said.
We did (still do, DS is barely 4 & I struggle to understand a lot of what he says, still) a lot of 'yes/no' questions.

DS: says something I can't get.
Me: thinking of context -- Do you want cereal?
DS: says same thing, still incomprehensible, clearly agitated I didn't get it first time.
Me: I need you to answer yes or no -- and then I would proceed on a serious of elimination questions, only accepting yes or no answers.

And eventually I'd get what he meant, and repeat it back to him said clearly (although I increasingly question the point of doing that, not sure it ever helped them speak better).

DD's speech improved a lot when she started school & they did phonics. Am crossing my fingers that DS will be the same.

ChukkyPig Sun 13-Jul-08 20:28:47

Are you seeing/could you see a prefessional/health visitor/speech therapist - they might have some ideas?

No experience of this myself but a close friend is having a similar problem at the moment, they attended group speech therapy classes where in addition to helping her DS she learnt ways of dealing with her DS's at times very difficult behaviour.

I know that her DS and your DD probably haven't got the same speech problem but worth a try?

onwardandupward Sun 13-Jul-08 20:30:26

How about having a little booklet, or a display on the wall, which has pictures of all your favourite haunts, so that if she wants to go to a particular place she can point?

You can get little bound books of photos made up at some of those online photo stores now - you know, you upload the photos to Truprint or whoever and then they send you a book. My mum is always sending us little books (with captions) about trips we've done with her (awww)

I really think it's a case of finding solutions to the communication problem rather than punishing unsuitable expressions of frustration, but that's just IMHO.

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:31:07

Thank you LoveMyGirls,smilesmile
I've spoken to her speech therapist abought signing and she said she'll ask a coleague and get back to me. She seems to think that Lucy's vocab is to advanced for this though. She can remember whole songs and speeks in very long sentences, but the words are just so distorted. She knows exactly what she wants to say, and understands everything you say to her. The therapist said that if she had a vocab to match her speech sounds then she wouldn't be as frustrated.

somersetmum Sun 13-Jul-08 20:31:42

I don't think she should be punished at all. She has a very good reason for being frustrated. I would just get down to her level and ask her calmy and clearly not to smack you. I think the drawing idea is a good one. Could you start making a list of the frequent-use words she finds difficult and perhaps invent simple signs for them, so she can sign to you and, in time, her friends as well? Perhaps you could use the official sign language ones. My children are learning sign language at school and I think it's fantastic. They all sign "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "Hello", "Well done" etc. There are no deaf children in the school, but I think its a briliant thing for them to be doing.

somersetmum Sun 13-Jul-08 20:33:34

Oops, cross post

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:38:52

onwardandupward- what a fantastic idea. I didn't know I could do somthing like that. I will go to the photo shop tomorrow and ask them for ideas. That would really help.
I know it's best to deal with the communication difficulty rather than punnishing the aggressive behaviour, but I just don't want this smacking to become a habbit. If she did it at nursery, she'd end up with no friends. What would you do if she smacked you?

milknosugar Sun 13-Jul-08 20:39:42

i dont see how her vocab can be too advanced, some people can only use sign language and they are not stuck in toddlerdom. get on google, there are loads of websites to help you with common signs, start using them as you speak to her and she will pick them up. make a game of it like charades, make a fool of yourself and she will copy. the pulling your face close sounds like she wants your undivided attention, are you getting close to her and making eye contact when she is trying to talk? (sorry if thats too basic)

i know it seems a shame to punish her but smacking is smacking. you dont want her to learn its ok in this instance because there will be loads of other occasions when she gets frustrated and its hard for them to figure out what is ok and whats not then. the best solution is obviously to find a way around the speech problem but allowing her to hit could cause a different problem which will be equally as difficult to sort

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:43:25

When she came out of her room, she had calmed down. She said sorry for smaking and we had a cuddle. I then read her her favourate book. When she gets that stressed it makes her quite tired and when she's calm we often sit and cuddle while watching a favourate DVD or listen to music.

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 20:49:32

Yes milknosugar, I think other ways of communication have to be explored. She's learning new words and phrases all the time and her new words I'm not used to so it's hard to understand. Anyway I'll give it a go. I'll have a word with the speech therapist too.
I agree that she should be called to account for smacking. She needs her bounderies to feel secure.wink

nooka Sun 13-Jul-08 20:52:21

Sometimes timeout is the only way to manage a situation because the child is so frustrated that there are no real solutions. ds didn't have speech problems, but did have communication difficulties and got very frustrated. Once he had blown his fuse he really couldn't calm down, so the only thing was to leave him to scream it out and then start again. Great idea about the little book - it sounds like it's the more complex ideas that your dd is struggling with, so this could help. You could also talk to her about what to put in your book, so if there are things that she thinks she might struggle with (or you might struggle to understand) you can anticipate them a bit. Just make sure it is an aid to speaking not a substitute. Good luck

Prufrock Sun 13-Jul-08 20:58:00

Would it help to think of the time out as ust that - a timeout to help her stop being frustrated, rather than as a punishment - which it really isn't. When she smacks say "no, we don'tsmack, you're obviously very frustrated so go to your room to calm down". Because it's not as if you could accept a smack and then she would be OK is it? Without the timeout she's just going to continue to get frustrated and will end up crying anyway - so you aren't punishing, but helping her break a cycle of anger/frustration.

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 21:05:39

Thanks Prufrock, that's a good way of looking at it. So rather than just saying "You don't smack mummy",and putting her in her room, I could say "you need some time alone to calm down". That way she wouldn't see it so much as a punnishment, but somthing that is nessesary.
She has even woken up in a grumpy mood once and put herself back to bed.grin So she obviously knows she needs time on her own sometimes.

onwardandupward Sun 13-Jul-08 21:09:35

If hit by a frustrated child I would stand up, move away and say "ow, that hurt, no thank you."

Keep facing them, keep body language open. Then just be quiet and wait and see what happens next.

I think a child can take "time out" while still having supportive people around. If she wants to go away and be quiet on her own, she can do that, but as soon as you instigate it, I believe, at this age, it will be interpreted as a punishment.

franch Sun 13-Jul-08 21:14:23

I definitely wouldn't punish. I feel she'd experience being put in her room alone as a punishment, even if you call it something else. I used to do time out and, like you, hated it. I found a book called Unconditional Parenting turned everything round for me.

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 21:18:29

I could try that. When she first did it I said to her NO, mummy dosn't like that and I walked away. She shouted after me NAUGHTY MUMMY!!! and I ignored it. She then started to cry.
I could try staying with her and seing what happens.

mummyloveslucy Sun 13-Jul-08 21:22:30

Franch- I will definatly look for that book. Thanks.smile She is very strong willed so I need to tread carefully so that everything dosn't become a battle.

cmotdibbler Sun 13-Jul-08 21:31:10

I think that signing would really help her - for instance to say 'I want to go and play at Uncle Andys house' she'd only need to sign 'play Uncle A house'. You can get a 'BSL signs for early years' book from Amazon www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Sign-Early-Years-Child/dp/0954238419/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215980890 &sr=8-4 that would cover most things that she'd want to say - the my first signs books are good too - the meal one would let her point out what she wanted in the book in terms of food while learning the signs. Something Special on Cbeebies is all signed in Makaton (which is a simplified version of BSL which is the language of the UK Deaf community), and Ds taught himself loads of signs just from watching that

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