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At my wits end

(13 Posts)
MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 20:32:44

DD will be 4 very soon and is an intelligent, capable girl. She enjoys all the usual stuff - dolls, toys, scooter, bike, playing in the park etc. She goes to nursery twice a week and has a handful of friends who she enjoys playing with.

However her behaviour is really concerning me & dh and I'm not sure how to handle it anymore. She is naturally quite shy but instead of just being quiet she will scream & shout and appear very rude. She does this when I take her to nursery each time and yet I trust the staff completely and they tell me she enjoys herself there. Other parents have told me she looks happy there too.

If I take her to a friend's house she won't go in, she pulls me back and screams & screams. She is also extremely possessive and screams if anyone picks up her toys etc.

She can be a really fun, loving, kind child too but I am in tears tonight wondering how to stop her behaviour as tbh I feel like running away and leaving them all some days.
Hope this reads ok, can't see the keyboard for tears

JackBauer Sat 05-Sep-09 20:39:05

Oh dear, you do sounds really distressed.
If she enjoys herself at nursery does she scream with them when you are not there? Does she have siblings? DD's are always more badly behaved with each other IYSWIM

What have you tried? DD1 gets a bit drama queen but I tell her that I don't understand her unless she speaks in a normal voice which helps 9 times out of 10.
I don;t have any real advice but didn't want you to go unanswered.

Aranea Sat 05-Sep-09 20:42:20

Does she settle down quickly if you insist, or does she remain distressed?

Do you think she is actually frightened? Is it to do with being left, or just entering a new environment?

MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 20:47:10

Thank you. Don't think she does scream at nursery but she tells me she doesn't answer them if she's nervous. That is quite acceptable IMO at her age.
She has a younger brother who is 1. He doesn't seem to be the problem but perhaps this is an attention seeking thing, as he can't talk yet so he does shout sometimes in frustration when we can't understand him. I think she sees him behaving this way and "getting away with it" and maybe thinks she'll have a go too. But her behaviour goes back to before he was born really.

I do the "can't understand you..." too and sometimes it works. DH's parents are not particularly patient or understanding of her and if she whines in their presence they ridicule her. Thankfully they don't see her very often and DH has had words with them as their reaction horrifies me. The last thing a nervous child needs is humiliation. But I am so fed up.

MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 20:50:22

Aranea she usually remains distressed until after I leave (at nursery) or until we both leave the situation. I am not sure whether she is actually frightened or just wants her own way. I am a sahm and I really want to be able to visit her friends houses and have that social interaction for both of us.

DS is totally different, a real social butterfly.

slowreadingprogress Sat 05-Sep-09 20:58:35

Does she scream etc if you have visitors to your house or just going to other places?

MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 21:06:40

She does it when they come to us too, although this has been getting better, probably because it's her territory and she can retreat to her room if she wants to.
It's as if she has no patience. If she drops something, steps in a puddle on the kitchen floor, can't find something then her first reaction is to scream loudly. She is the least proactive child I have ever met. I see other kids just getting on with it and I feel so inadequate and embarrassed.

Probably not done her any favours tonight either as I have sat down with her and explained how embarrassed I am by her behaviour and how it needs to stop. Then I left the room crying and she is now asleep so I don't know how she's feeling.

slowreadingprogress Sat 05-Sep-09 21:20:36

MrsD the last thing you should feel is inadequate. You clearly are a very patient and caring mum because to be honest her behaviour does sound very annoying and wearing; and I'm sure many other mums would have had alot less patience in dealing with this than you clearly have.

I don't think it was a bad thing that you've spoken to her about her behaviour tonight or that she saw you were upset - actually I think that is a good thing. It's no harm to her to know that her behaviour affects mum and that mum has feelings.

FWIW I do think this behaviour will end sooner rather than later as her social skills kick in a bit more. A child who has some concept of other people's feelings probably realises that if you're screaming blue murder and trying to run away from someone's front door, that person might be a little affronted!!!!

She just sounds a little immature perhaps? Screaming when other kids pick up toys is more a toddler behaviour isn't it. She might just be taking a little longer with her emotional maturity - does that sound possible?

Have you tried positive incentives for not screaming like rewards or stickers and do you praise her when she doesn't scream?

Sorry not to be more help; it must be nut driving. But I'm sure it's an 'early years' problem. As she matures she will grow out of it I'm sure.

What is her vocab like - is it possible you can talk to her to give her more words to describe how she's feeling or actions to do instead of screaming, iyswim?

MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 21:31:20

Thanks slowreadingprogress. I do care about her and love her very much but this makes me very sad. I think you are right about the fact that she will grow out of it, she is perhaps a little immature socially and needs some guidance.

We have a sticker chart which does seem to have a positive effect, although tbh I've been a bit slack with that lately. DH works away a lot and I don't always find time to stick a sticker on but I do try to give praise as much as possible when she is behaving nicely to show her I am noticing and am pleased. DH is learning to be more strict with her outbursts (he works away so doesn't see these outbursts as much as I do.)

Her vocab is excellent. She started talking at 11 months and by her 2nd birthday had a couple of hundred words (we tried writing them down in her baby book but gave up!) That's what makes it more strange, she is very able and speaks, IMO as well as any infant school child. She may well grow out of this when she starts school next year. God I hope so.

Aranea Sat 05-Sep-09 22:38:09

Poor you, it sounds like very hard work.

It sounds as though she just panics and can't see how to solve a situation that she finds difficult. Do you think it might help to give her a coping strategy, eg take a deep breath and count to three, then think what you can do to make it better?

MrsDermotOleary Sat 05-Sep-09 22:41:20

That's a great idea Aranea.It's worth a try. DH is back on Monday so I will have a talk with him.

Many thanks to you all for your advice.

mathanxiety Sun 06-Sep-09 01:41:35

Maybe she is afraid to show that she is ok with separation from you? i.e. if she feels just fine swanning off to nursery, she can imagine you feeling just fine swanning off to wherever you go. Maybe a long shot.
How about asking her if there are certain toys of hers that are off limits to visitors, and having her choose which ones she is willing to let her little friends touch, hold and play with? The ones she wants to keep as hers and hers only can be stashed before friends come over. That way, she has a bit more control over her toys, and you can remind her before the friends are there that she has agreed that the toys that are out are fine for everyone to play with. She does sound nervous and sensitive, and sometimes that goes hand in hand with a need to control things and a feeling of panic when faced with the prospect of spending time on someone else's turf? Maybe she could pick out what outfit she will wear to play in other houses, or pick what book you will read to her when you get home, if she behaves herself at the playdate?

MrsDermotOleary Sun 06-Sep-09 20:01:11

She is certainly very sensitive and your theory about her needing control is very interesting. I think you might be right.

The toy thing is pretty random, it's whatever she's attatched to at that moment. I will definitely take your advice and talk things through with her carefully before a difficult situation. I probably don't prepare her enough as these are (to me) everyday, usual events. She is extremely sensitive and I have to bite my tongue at times so I don't get angry with her behaviour. It can be so frustrating though.

I feel a bit better about it all now, was a bit tired & emotional last night!

Thanks to all for your advice x

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