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5 year old making life miserable

(21 Posts)
CelineK Fri 03-Oct-08 23:21:06

There's no other way to describe the way my 5-year old daughter is making me feel - I am, as the subject says, miserable. I dread evenings and weekends. I feel like an utter failure as a parent.

She was quite shy when she was growing up, and we are still having lots of problems toilet training her (she does poos in pull-ups). However, the 'bad' behaviour didn't start until just over a year ago, when she was about 4 and a half.

There's no easy way to summarise her behaviour. She constantly moans and whinges. She does sarcastic imitations of me. She rolls her eyes at me or pulls faces at me when I try to talk to her about her behaviour. She tells me she hates me / doesn't like me. She tells me I smell (of diaorrhea - lovely).

All this has been compounded by the fact that she's not settled into the new year (1) at school at all well. We have tears every morning. Sometimes I have to physically lift her into the classroom. Since going back to school, for the first time ever, bedtimes have become really difficult, i.e. she refuses to go to sleep. She bangs on the wall / floor, pulls all the covers off her bed and switches on the light.

She's an only child. I don't consider her as spoilt materialistically. We prefer to do activities with her like going to the library, walks up the woods, swimming, going on bike rides etc. We take her out on her scooter / skates. We try to keep things varied and interesting. We limit the amount of TV she watches and I consider her diet to be a good one.

Quite often she has this look in her eyes - I can't put my finger on it, but she almost looks depressed. She'll exhale loudly and say 'boring!', which makes just makes me feel like I'm useless. She makes me feel like I'm not good enough.

My parents (both ex-teachers) look after her 3 afternoons a week after school when I'm at work. She has a fantastic relationship with them, and they have none of the above problems with her.

I don't know what to do next. I hate the anger that I feel towards her. I love her completely unconditionally - but I don't like her very much at the moment.

avenanap Fri 03-Oct-08 23:23:29

sad It sounds like she's deeply unhappy and is reacting this way as her way of showing you. Have you spoken to her teacher?

CelineK Fri 03-Oct-08 23:31:11

Yes, I saw her teacher 2 weeks after she started school. She acknowledged that dd was upset first thing in the morning, and also said that she 'bubbled up' sometimes in the afternoons, but in between she was fine. While I was looking through her school work dd was enthusiastically showing me around the classroom. Her work was really good; she's obviously joining in. A month later I'd say that we've had about 5 'good' mornings, i.e. 5 individual school runs that aren't tearful.

avenanap Fri 03-Oct-08 23:32:41

Was there something that happened at home when this behaviour started? A death etc?

mabanana Fri 03-Oct-08 23:35:05

I would be quite worried about her. Have you seen a doctor about her pooing? Why does she need pullups to poo? Does she go to school in them? Is she being picked on or bullied becaues of this (could the 'you smell' jibes have come from this?) I would also be concerned about the not sleeping and the school refusal. It sounds to me as if something is going on there. I would make another meeting with the school and really try to talk to your dd - maybe when you are alone but doing something else, like driving somewhere.

3littlefrogs Fri 03-Oct-08 23:38:45

You haven't mentioned her relationship with her father?

How about your relationship with your dp/dh?

Could there be anything there that might ring a bell?

Any differences in your attitudes to parenting for example, or any tensions?

The toilet training and school are both areas that I would be very concerned about.

It is unusual to have problems with pooing at this age, and I wonder if there is either a physical problem with her bowels that is causing her to be stressed and anxious, or there is a psychological problem that is causing the poo problem (sorry, can't think of a simpler way to put it).

It is interesting that she tells you "you smell". Do you think her toileting issues are something she gets teased about at school? She may be acting out behaviour she is experiencing. Children can be very cruel.

CelineK Fri 03-Oct-08 23:39:35

My mum has had cancer over the last year, but dealt with it so positively that it dd seemed to be unaffected by it - just accepted that her nanny had a 'poorly in her tummy' that the doctors took out. Previous to that, 2 years ago my partner's mother died of cancer. Dd wasn't as close to her, and has only mentioned a few times that when she looks at the sky it makes her feel sad because her 'old nanny's in the stars'.

3littlefrogs Fri 03-Oct-08 23:40:17

xposts with mabanana. We are obviously thinking in the same direction.

CelineK Fri 03-Oct-08 23:49:41

Regarding the toilet issues, I've tried to get help from the health visitor who referred me to an organisation called 'ERIC' (Education and Resources for Incontinency in Children). They couldn't really help with this particular problem that we're having, which is that dd refuses to do a poo on the toilet (she'll wee on it quite happily). More recently I went to the doctors to ask for help, but he told me not to worry, that it was common. Following that, I went to the school nurse drop-in clinic. As a result we've been referred to a continence nurse. She's suggested that the first step is to get dd to do a sitting down poo in a pull-up, but this in itself is proving to be a battle.
I doubt that she's being teased about this at school - she'll only poo at home (every morning before school regular as clockwork). I think the 'you smell' insult is just a common playground taunt that she's trying out on me.
Dd has good relationship with her father.

NotAnOtter Fri 03-Oct-08 23:51:38

Celine i do feel for you.

Crucial to your whole post to me is the fact that DD is fine for your parents

starting school and learning about new relationships can be a hard time for any child

she is learning how people relate to one another and learning to adapt herself to new relationships

i feel as though maybe at the same time she is testing her relationship with you. she IS an only child. she KNOWS how much you love her and she is testing that love- to the extreme

I dont know how harsh a disciplinarian you are or how able to stand your ground when she is exhibiting 'trying ' behaviours...

I think you need to be strict and firm with her. not allowing her to get away with eye rolling or 'boring' comments

pull her up on these things - let her know you are the parent and she the child

maybe due to the only child thing this line is more blurred ???? ( i am guessing)

tell her that school is compulsary and you are not going to put up with the scenes every morning

at the same time you need to make sure the lines of ommunication stay open. I am not averse to being COMPLETELY open with my 5 year old...'R Mummy does not like it when you baheve like this. we have discussed that there is no reason for you not wanting to go to xyz today so be a good boy and hen it will be more pleasent for eveyone'

I remember when dd wwas on year one i had to ask the teacher to change the rules on parents in the classroom as dd was so diffocult to settle in a morning

I think it is natural to admit feelings of anger etc towards her - her behaviour is not easy for you- she is not making herself likeable,Your reaction is natural

i hope this helps a bit....

avenanap Fri 03-Oct-08 23:52:39

The school nurse can help you with the tolieting problems, you can make an appointment through the school. They are really good and helpful, I would arrange this and have a chat about what you have written above. An illness and a death can have a great impact on a child. It gives them fears that are often kept secret and manifest themselves in the strangest of ways. When a close relative becomes ill then the child normally fears of being left alone, likewise with a death. I suggest you go and see the GP and ask about some counselling or therapy for her. It's possible that she's refusing to go to school or to sleep because she fears that you may not be there in the morning. The knowledge of death in a child this young is generally that the person goes away and never comes back, this is a child's deepest and worst fear and she's reacting to this in a big way. I really would have a chat with the GP. It is also possible that there are problems at school so this should be looked into aswell. smile

NotAnOtter Fri 03-Oct-08 23:53:16

with regard to the toilet issue i would not consider a doctor or continence clinic

dd's problem is behavioural not physiological imo

3littlefrogs Fri 03-Oct-08 23:55:11

I may be wrong, but I think the problem is nearer to encopresis than incontinence. Encopresis has a large psychological component, and I believe incontinence tends to be more of a physical problem.

Someone more knowledgeable/up to date may have better information than me on this.

I know that if you google encopresis there are several support groups and loads of helpful information.

It does sound as though you need to go back to your GP and ask for referral, because it sounds as if you have spoken to 3 different health professionals, none of whom have taken more than a superficial approach to the problem.

3littlefrogs Fri 03-Oct-08 23:56:04

Sorry - I keep X posting.

3littlefrogs Fri 03-Oct-08 23:58:15

There is some very perceptive advice on here.

CelineK Sat 04-Oct-08 00:01:51

Thanks NotAnOtter. It does help.
I am very patient with the whole 'I don't want to go to school' thing. She is genuinely upset, which I find much easier to respond to / deal with than when she is naughty / manipulative. I never go into the classroom. I always tell her that she HAS to go to school, give her a big hug and a kiss and make sure she goes inside the classroom - then I leave.
When she's badly behaved nothing seems to work; the naughty step, the no TV / sweets / access to cat only seem to enrage her all the more. I find myself thinking, 'what would Supernanny do?' - ridiculous!

NotAnOtter Sat 04-Oct-08 00:15:54

I can see what you are saying

with ds3 ( also 5) when he gets angry ( as he often does) when disciplined i TRY to ignore it

Today i sent him to the bathroom for trumping (!) and told him to sit on the loo . He stormed out crying and was barking at me through his tears all the way upstair. when it continued i stood at the bottom of the satirs an said - when you can calm down and come in nicely - you can come back

it took 5 mins but he came back nicely

Had he continued to 'bark' at me etc i would send him to his room and calmly talk to him every 10 mins until he was calm

almost raising eyebrows in a sort of' I am not going to rise to the bait' way... basically 'it's my way or the highway'

this may sound harsh but i do believe there is so much parenting that is children testing boundaries. as a parent i often let them slip and then have to gird my loins and 'rein back in' for a while,. it does pay dividends though. when they know where they are with me nd know my and their limits - we alll get along much better and problems are overcome with more ease. ( or less angst!)

coochybottom Sat 04-Oct-08 10:15:29

NotAnOtter You seem a very wise woman to me! Hope things improve soon CelineK. Kids sure know which buttons to press dont they?

junkcollector Sat 04-Oct-08 10:50:35

This might sound odd and it's only a feeling but have you looked at the possibility of her being very bright and quite frustrated? Maybe she isn't being stretched enough at school or something?

A lot of what you mention is about her wanting control (Delayed toilet training can be a way of being in control) and the way you describe her vocab and imitation sounds quite advanced to me.

Feel free to ignore me as It's only a feeling.

onwardandupward Sat 04-Oct-08 10:57:59

"I always tell her that she HAS to go to school"

You know that legally she doesn't, right?

If a child really really hates school (Which is likely to be signalled by crying in the morning, anxiety at home about the next school occasion, and tears occasionally surfacing during the day rather than crying all day long), then it might be worth looking at alternatives. If a person is really unhappy and trapped in a situation they don't like for 6 hours a day, then that's likely to manifest itself in more generalised stress of various kinds, I'd have thought.

wishingchair Sat 04-Oct-08 13:27:57

I have a friend who was referred to a clinic at the local hospital because her son (4) would only poo in his pants. There was a group of parents with their children. The doctor explained how they should handle it ... talking to the parents but so the children could hear ... and they all went home and put these techniques into practice. Within the week, he was pooing on the toilet. So not all medical referrals are medically based ... this was very focused on behavioural issues.

5 year olds and year 1 is a difficult transition I think. My DD is the same and has been pretty difficult over the last few weeks. Every little thing results in a strop and tears. She's upset because 2 of her friends are sat together and she feels left out. Plus I think the work has stepped up a gear. She loves school but it all comes out at home. No answers ... I'm in the middle of it myself. I've got firmer, no more messing around, and I don't just threaten consequences (she's been wanting to watch the second half of Camp Rock now for 3 weeks ... course she has no clue what it's all about!), I act on them. I would talk to the school ... maybe the head if it's a small enough school as they'll be able to advise about what they can do to help. I agree the loss of one grandparent and the illness of your mum could be upsetting her. My DH was very ill last year and it was hard on DD.

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