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HELP!....I'm at a loss as to know what to do with my almost 5yr old DD

(39 Posts)
whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 11:08:35

I just don't know what to do. DH and I look at each other when DD2 has her tantrums, which only really started when she started primary school just a few weeks ago....

She can be such a lovely caring loving little girl and absolutely idolises her big sister who is almost 10yrs old.

BUT!...just lately - since she started Reception Year (she goes full-time tomorrow) every time either I or DH ask her to do something we are met with a very strong answer of 'NO!'....this can be for her to get dressed, do her teeth, get in the bath, get out the bath, do a wee before bedtime and go to bed.

She not only says 'No' every time we ask her to do any of the above but she'll scream, kick me, kick DH, throw herself around the floor like some demented possessed child and I simply don't know how to deal with this.

I have tried doing a reward sticker chart - she didn't want to know. I have told her that if she doesn't do as she's told she won't see Santa. She just laughs and smiles at me. I can't reason with her when she's having 'one of her moments' because she can't hear me for all her screaming.

The other night she'd had her tea and went off into the lounge. DH asked her if she wanted a pudding (yoghurt etc) to which she replied 'yes please'. He put it on the kitchen table whilst he did the washing up and she refused to come and sit at the table. She spent the entire time it took for him to wash up and dry up screaming on the lounge floor crying out 'I want Daddy'....DH ignored her but did tell her her pudding was on the kitchen table and if she wanted it she was to come and sit at the taable...and she still refused to come into the kitchen. The pudding was put away in the fridge and she was put to bed. Was that the right thing to do?

Whilst ignoring her is the best advice...I can't ignore her when I have to get them to school in the morning and she refuses to get dressed, put shoes on etc....

What do I do? I ask her if she says no to her teacher and of course she doesn't. I ask her if she kicks her teacher and of course she doesn't. I ask her why she does it to me and her reply is 'because you are my Mum'...this just breaks my heart so much and just makes me feel like a complete failure, tbh.

RiallyEeRiaee Sun 05-Oct-08 14:08:24

bumping for you.

you are cetainly no failure. x

I'm sorry I have no advice (anything I could offer would come from SuperNannyblush)

JiminyCricket Sun 05-Oct-08 14:37:05

it must be really hard if she has not really had problem tantrums before - boundary setting is so much easier when they are smaller and you can just go ahead and put their shoes on etc more easily even if they are kicking and screaming. I don't have much advice, except I would ramp up the positive one to one time and attention (lots of games/cuddles etc), lots of praise when she does listen/acts responsibly etc. Definitely ignore the acting out stuff, but make it clear why you're not responding to it 'I won't answer you when you're speaking to me like that. When you want to speak to me nicely, then i will be here to listen'. Personally I use time out for really bad behaviour - I'd start at the weekend because it would be a nightmare to have to do it on the school run, but I would do it if I had to. Or use something more manageable like taking one toy away for a day (not a comforter kind of toy though). And be really consistent. Make a plan of action (including the positive stuff) with your dh and stick to it together. Instead of a reward chart what about a marble jar, when she can choose an activity for the whole family to do together once she has enough marbles for it? One in for positive listening/behaviour, one out for any bad behaviour, but remember to use it lots for positives (make a big deal) and sparingly for negative so it doesn't lose appeal. Nothing new here, but similar to how they will deal with behaviour at school I would think. I bet it will settle down once she's more used to school anyway, but good luck and hth x

whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 16:38:39

Hi and thanks for your replies.

DH and I have spoken at length today about DD2's behaviour - we had a major tantrum with her this morning because she wouldn't get dressed.

In the end we both ignored her and left her to finish off her screaming and crying (a good 10mins - by which time both DH and I had headaches) and eventually she calmed down enough to get dressed. Problem is I don't have this spare time on school mornings so I can only think we'll have to be even more organised to allow ourselves that extra time if we need it.

As a result of her behaviour I banned tv in the lounge. She did ask a couple of times and I told her no - she asked why and I told her it was because she wouldn't get dressed and screamed/kicked me.

As a result both the girls have played relatively well today including jigsaws and board games rather than be couch potatoes and watch tv...so not bad I suppose.

I feel a failure because it hurts me (emotionally) that DD2 kicks me. She's never done this before and whilst I know she's started school and is tired etc why does she feel she can kick me?

We are continuing with the sticker chart. I don't know if it will work but we've got to try. I do take toys away too...I'm sure depravation works best.

I just feel very disappointed with her and myself at the moment.

onwardandupward Sun 05-Oct-08 16:47:44

What were your arrangements before she started reception? It may be the transition into a much bigger environment than nursery/childminder which is upsetting, or it maybe the HIUGE transition from being mostly with one or other of you into being in a class full of other children which is upsetting.

If you don't work full time, and if you think it might be being in the reception environment so much which is bothering her, you could always try just offering her in the morning "do you want to go to school today?" and if the answer is "no", having the day off and spending it doing fun stuff together. And see if, after a week or two of sometimes going to school and sometimes not, but more on her terms, you get your daughter back

I might well be completely off base with my interpretation (and I give here the disclaimer that I think 4 is often too young for full time school and I am loud about it wherever I see the opportunity...), but if she isn't blissfully happy to be in the school environment for as many hours a day as it's been (and I guess it's about to get even more), then that is a fairly massive loss of control over her own life and her own actions. I wouldn't be at all surprised at a child then trying to exert control in the parts of their life that they do still have control over, like whether to go into the kitchen to eat pudding or not.

but like I say, treat this post withthe contempt it deserves if it has missed the mark by a million miles.

onwardandupward Sun 05-Oct-08 16:48:52

Oh, and of course as you know, full-time education is not legally required until the term after a child's fifth birthday, so any receptioning she's doing is entirely voluntary on your part, whatever the school may hint at.

RiallyEeRiaee Sun 05-Oct-08 16:49:45

IME they show their worst behaviour at home because they know that you have unconditional love and it is a fairly low-risk release for frustration. When our DS1 was being bullied at school we had an awful time at home and someone said, awful though his behaviour was, it was because he felt safe at home and had none of the threats from school etc.

Hopefully it is just the effects of your DD reacting to someting new (school) and will calm down soon. Your strategies sound fairly positive. Good luck.

whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 17:39:06

onwardandupward...that's just it...she loves school! I spoke to her teacher on Friday when I picked her up at midday and asked how she was doing - the reply was 'brilliantly'. Asked if she was being good and the reply was 'perfectly well behaved with lovely manners'...I just can't work out why she lets rip at home! I don't work at all atm....I've been a SAHM for the last 10yrs but we can't live off one wage for much longer (DH's) so I'm looking to go back to work before Xmas...but DD2 has been at primary school since the beg of Sept doing part-time hours and prior to that was at playgroup doing 2.5days per week apart from the 7wks off they have for the Summer hols! She's 5 in February and more than capable of going to full-time school tomorrow!

Rially...thanks for your post too. Thinking back I remember having a similar problem with DD1, especially when DD2 was born. She would be fine at school and pretty awful at home. I just wish my kids would give me the respect they clearly give their teachers!

Othersideofthechannel Sun 05-Oct-08 17:54:26

Does she tantrum as soon as you ask her?
Or is it more 'no!' then you say 'yes, your bath is ready now' and that insisting sets her off?

If the latter, may be you could ask her why and let her have a little more control. Let her do x before her bath if that's what she wants to do.

Or even give her more control from the outset and let her think about what needs to be done and how she's going to do it. You could make an illustrated check list as a reminder.

Smithagain Sun 05-Oct-08 18:27:46

For what it's worth, I think a lot of children are like this in their first term of school. It's like they have to behave so well all day, the strain is just too much, and they let it all rip at home. Where they are loved and safe and don't have to concentrate on all those funny new experiences.

Try and hang in there - she will probably settle down once she's been there a bit longer. (DD1 was a different child in the second term of Reception, compared to the rather hellish first ...)

whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 18:51:09

Well we've just had another session with her.

She was sat at the kitchen table, not wanting her tea, which is fine because she's eaten plenty all day. She started nodding off at the table so we asked her to go upstairs and do her teeth. She refused to go up. Asked her time and time again. In the end DH carried her upstairs and put her in the bathroom. She spent the next ten minutes or so sobbing in the corner of the bathroom sucking her pyjama sleeve saying she wasn't tired and didn't want to go to bed. In the end we both left her in the bathroom to see if she'd do her teeth on her own - no.

I then went in and got her to come to me. Gave her a big cuddle and said to her (again) that Santa will be asking me if she's been a good girl to know whether or not he is to leave her a present. She realised she'd not been good so got on a did her teeth. She is now in bed and having a story read to her by her big sister and DH.

It is so hard for me to keep my cool with her at the moment....I feel like I need to snap but I know I can't. My patience is being put to the absolute limit atm. I don't think I can continue with these tantrums on a daily basis...we've had two sessions today and I'm exhausted.

Othersideofthechannel Sun 05-Oct-08 19:15:16

Falling asleep at the table - she must be shattered. Either brush her teeth for her or just forget, for once it won't do any harm.
When DS is this tired he likes to be treated like a big baby. He is 5.5.

whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 19:18:37

Yes she was tired but up until that point she was racing up and down the garden playing with the dog and was perfectly ok chatting away! It's as if she's got this internal switch...one minute she's fine the next she's nodding off! She is always early to bed...and always gets a good 12hrs sleep and she eats well (fruit and veg etc)...I think I'm just out of practice with this age-group, starting school etc. I last dealt with a child of this age 5yrs ago. Maybe I need to brush up on my parenting skills a bit more, get an even stricter routine and be more organised. I do try!

We get home from school at 4pm, the tea is on the table by 5pm, in the bath by 6pm and lights out by 7pm. I thought I was doing ok!

Othersideofthechannel Sun 05-Oct-08 19:25:48

Sounds good to me.

Mine race around more when tired!

Smithagain Sun 05-Oct-08 19:39:06

Mine too. It does sound as if she was fit to drop. And tbh I'd be wary of bringing Santa into it - there's over two months till Christmas and she doesn't need two months' worth of worrying about whether he is coming, on top of the stress of starting school!

Hang in there - it will get better.

onwardandupward Sun 05-Oct-08 19:55:37

It's sounding just as if she's overcome with tiredness, then. All this calm and offering control as far as you can stuff is going to really help I think

I would also consider

1. for now, keeping her off school on any days that she says she is too tired to go.

and

2. asking her rather than her teacher how she's finding school wink (not that I doubt at all that she's loving it, but it'd be good to hear it from the horse's mouth, if you haven't already!)

whispywhisp Sun 05-Oct-08 20:02:08

I do talk to her about school especially when we're walking home...I ask her what she's been doing, who she's been playing with, what she likes doing the most, who her boyfriend is (she has two!) etc etc....

I think tiredness is a major factor in all this..having read all your posts on here it seems you all agree with me. I've just been chatting to DH again (he's great - such a huge help) and we've agreed that we'll both get up earlier in the mornings and get ourselves ready by the time the kids get up at 7am so we can devote as much time to them before we leave at 8am. I will get as much done around the house and cook a tea during the day so I can heat whatever it is up as soon as we get in the door at 4pm because she does seem to benefit from having a good meal inside her (food is fuel etc) and then I can spend the rest of the aftn/eve with her without having to do jobs around the house before suggesting she has a bath, bed etc by 6pm.

I really want to go back to work ASAP but I think, atm, I'm going to have to get DD2 through these difficult times first because holding down a job plus dealing with her starting school full-time isn't going to work. We desperately need me to work (lack of money etc) but we'll have to live off the basics for the meantime.

RiallyEeRiaee Sun 05-Oct-08 20:06:28

maybe a snack to eat on the way home to keep her blood sugar up (I read this on another thread a while ago). DS2 is like the devil when he's tired, and they all get really hyper.
It's not easy but you do have some good ideas to try out.

Frightattendent Sun 05-Oct-08 20:08:35

I think they find it incredibly stressful having to do as theyre told all day...massive overstimulation of their little brains, and repression of natural instincts and so they end up having a big backlash afterwards.

Sorry you're going through this sad

Smithagain Sun 05-Oct-08 20:10:32

We did find that moving DD1's bed time forward by half an hour made a huge difference to her behaviour. Your DD's bed time doesn't sound late, by any means, but maybe she does need a little longer, if you can fit everything in earlier.

colette Sun 05-Oct-08 20:15:41

Whispywhisp I am watching this thread now as Ds started school in August. He has just started going a full day.He is so tired and says 'No'and rolls around the floor having a tantrum a lot . Generally his behaviour is much worse than before and he bursts into tears more often and is very grumpy.
It sounds as if the tiredness and adapting to a new routine is taking its toll on your dd as well. Often they know when they need to behave and let it all out when they get home. I think I will get him in bed by 7pm every night as well .
He is exhausting lately , I also agree with onwardandupward . Good luck and I will watch this thread !

mytetherisending Sun 05-Oct-08 20:18:09

OK here goes.

On the getting dressed front I wouldn't nag her, she needs to see why she has to get dressed. If she doesn't do it just ignore it. When time to leave just have her clothes in a bag and march her out the door as she is (in PJs if necessary) and without breakfast, shoes, hair done. Let her be mortified by going to school like that. She will probably dress etc when told in future. Tough love smile

If she hits/tantrums put her straight to bed in the evening if its after her evening meal.

If she has tv in her room remove it. Don't have TV on in the morning until she is dressed, breakfasted etc- she might do it more quickly if she can't watch it until all is done iyswim.

mytetherisending Sun 05-Oct-08 20:20:00

Oh and as others have said give her a carb snack in the afternoon. My dd1s blood sugars dip and we notice more tantrums when she hasn't eaten for a while.

ActingNormal Sun 05-Oct-08 20:36:41

I agree with the people who said she gets naughty after school because she is letting out her pent up feelings from controlling herself all day at school. Also because she is tired and children seem to have hardly any self control when they are tired and can't be reasoned with much. My daughter is like this after school still (in Y1 now). I'm definitely going to try the snack as soon as she leaves the classroom for blood sugar (someone suggested to me on MN recently and someone else mentioned in this thread).

I don't think you should feel a failure because I also agree with the people who said she expresses her feelings with you because she trusts you enough to and has a good relationship with you.

It sounds to me like the things you are doing are really good and the things your DD is doing are normal. I think with these techniques you have to keep doing them over and over before your DD will gradually learn what you want her to and I can see that it is really hard and really tiring and it feels like it isn't working because she isn't improving instantly. I think you are really good and just need encouragement to keep going and stay strong and help your DD to cope with the stressful changes in her life.

ActingNormal Sun 05-Oct-08 20:36:41

I agree with the people who said she gets naughty after school because she is letting out her pent up feelings from controlling herself all day at school. Also because she is tired and children seem to have hardly any self control when they are tired and can't be reasoned with much. My daughter is like this after school still (in Y1 now). I'm definitely going to try the snack as soon as she leaves the classroom for blood sugar (someone suggested to me on MN recently and someone else mentioned in this thread).

I don't think you should feel a failure because I also agree with the people who said she expresses her feelings with you because she trusts you enough to and has a good relationship with you.

It sounds to me like the things you are doing are really good and the things your DD is doing are normal. I think with these techniques you have to keep doing them over and over before your DD will gradually learn what you want her to and I can see that it is really hard and really tiring and it feels like it isn't working because she isn't improving instantly. I think you are really good and just need encouragement to keep going and stay strong and help your DD to cope with the stressful changes in her life.

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