i have never smacked dd, so why the heck is she so violent?(16 Posts)
She's impossible. She's 3.6 and i've been hoping she'll grow out of the hitting and biting for about two bloody years now. We've had wall charts, rewards for good behaviour, and have consistantly used time out for any hurting that she does to herself or anyone else. Nothing works. I just don't think it's true that the kids who behave like this have experienced it from their parents as i made a conscious decision when she was born that i would never ever smack her, even a light tap, as i was hit quite a bit as a child (though i was never a hitter myself) by my parents and it affected me quite badly. I've tried so hard not to repeat their mistakes and yet it seems it's been all for nothing as she does it regardless.
It doesn't make sense; she's so bright, communicative, able, sociable and otherwise friendly and pleasant to be around. yet at the moment i feel of the time i spend with her, about 50% of it she's absolutely adorable and perfect and the other 50% she's positively horrible. She's also taken to verbal threats during these bad times such as 'I'll hit you to dead tomorrow' which i find really upsetting and disturbing. Things like that i presume she's picking up at at nursery or in the playground, certainly not something i'd ever say.
Tonight was particularly unbearable. She'd been hitting etc before bedtime, so i said 'if you do that again, i won't be reading you a story.' (it was too late in the day for time out and to be honest i'd lost count of the number of times i'd used that with her today already, to no lasting avail). Needless to say, she did it again and no stories were read. Not only that but the behaviour continued when i was trying to get her to use the loo and brush her teeth, so in the end i just said 'right, that's it you're going straight to bed' and just put her to bed without even doing the usual routine (absolutely unheard of in our house, i'm usually giving her endless cuddles and kisses and talking about the day's events with her).
Then spent the next half hour downstairs absolutely fuming to dh about what an utter pain in the arse she's becoming (while he looked at me horrified at my heartlessness) and how i don't think i can do this anymore. Even half-seriously wondered out loud whether any of the countless people who remark on how 'gorgeous' she is each day might want to adopt her.
I'm also 5 months pregnant with our second monster which doesn't exactly help me to deal rationally with her senseless violence. I know i don't feel like this every day. Today has been particularly bad. mOst days i can find a way to deal with it and then switch off once she's gone to bed. Does she need to see a child psychologist or is it just me who needs therapy?
Oh I do sympathise, I have a ds who is also much loved, but has been really quite violent in the past. He is a LOT calmer now but it is hard, isn't it? You love them to bits and the discipline doesn't seem to work and you just know everyone thinks it's because you are too soft......(the arses).
So, what worked with ds was NONE of the usual time out/star chart thing - he didn't give a toss. Plenty of talking about emotions. Identifying triggers. We found it was because he cannot cope with 'big emotion'. Helping him deal with that sort of thing was a priority. It could be something really positive that sets him off - same reaction as something negative. Consequences for hurting people have to be strict, though.
We were told (by ed psych) that it's not that uncommon; of course most people just think 'bad apple' or 'if that's what they see at home, that's how they'll behave' - in fact I probably won't come back to check this thread as I've read that too many times on here.
Sorry you're having a hard time, though. I found a bit of space helped no end.
I don't think (sorry)you have a hope in hell of stopping this if she's at nursery. Even if the nursery are good at managing them, the kids hit each other.
It is very sad but a fact of life. Doesn't make it right: I wish nurseries had a magic way of preventing it; and I wish other parents or their siblings wouldn't hit their kids. But once they see it, they do it...
Hi totalmisfit I could have written your post word for word. My dd is just 3 and also like this, never been exposed to violence at home but v agressive and attacks me and worse other children.
Has been going on since 18 months. I've wrung my heart out to my dh too about how I don't even like her anymore and how I hate motherhood despite loving her. Am 41 weeks pg too with number 2 and am absolutely dreading looking after both of them together and the possibility that this one might be the same or even worse.
No words of advice I'm afraid just wanted to say I know what you're going through and it's really really grim.
Sorry should have qualified this: I mean NOW. When she's older it will be much easier as she develops some moral sense and is able - as Pruners says - her own ability to deal with her frustrations that are not violent...
Good luck - am still there myself with DS2 and 3.
I can highly recommend "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk" - the ed psych's advice was this, almost word for word....
It is hideously American and you will feel like a twat saying what they tell you to say but it had good results for us (all tied in with the teaching-how-to-express-emotion stuff).
also have to grit my teeth at the "isn't she an angel" comments from other people. She's just started hitting other kids over the head with toys which she must have picked up at nursery. Sometimes being with her and another toddler is so bloody exhausting I don't know if I can be bothered.
She's fab with older kids (5+) though, completely different ball game.
Sometimes she's so so lovely, kind, sweet, good at sharing.
The talking about emotions bit sounds good, I think I'll try that one a bit more.
She is not a violent damaged child: she is a 3yo fgs! You can restrain her and you can take away treats and that is fine- what you cannot do is to expect her to have an adult take on the subject of violence. She lashes out, eventually you will manage to teach her not to- it's nothing scarier than that. The death threats are also perfectly normal: all it means is that she is far too little to understand the force of the words she is using.
Both mine were exactly the same at that stage: they have both grown into lovely pre-teens. It just took a few years. And 3 was a particularly difficult age: it's one of those transition ages where they seem so grown-up that I think we tend to expect too much of them, and they don't really know if they want to be big or little.
I remember a conversation I had with dd when she was two. She was cross with me so told me she didn't love me.
'Never mind, darling', I said in my best competent-Mummy manner. 'I am still your Mummy and I will always love you'.
'Not when I'm grown-up, you won't'.
'Oh yes, I will. You may go and live in your own house, but I will still be your Mummy and I will still love you'.
'Oh, no' (quite callously), 'you won't; you'll be dead by then'.
I thought it quite funny tbh; it was so obviously a case of her emotional maturity not keeping pace with her verbal development: she could verbalise these things but had no way of gauging how they came out.
I am absolutely positive that at the age of 3 I had never met a child who had been hit: yet I still regularly whacked my little brother and any adult I could reach. I have grown into quite a civilised adult and my Mum has recovered; though she admits that she went around muttering 'I will never rear that child, I will never rear that child'.
prunerz - i was also worried about that response but so far so good. i do try talking about emotions and following the advice in 'how to talk so kids will listen...' it seems to work to an extent, but then the next day i feel like we're back to square one. so little seems to be retained, if anything. i'm sure i probably need to persevere with the book...
vulpusina- i wasn't really saying it's all down to the kids at nursery (probably some of the verbal things are though), she's been like this since about 18 months anyway.
minxofmancunia - how crap for you to be in a similar boat, and for such a long time as well, esp when you're expecting another too. So good to know i'm not on my own with this though. Weird that you say she's better with older kids. I find exactly the same thing with dd, she seems to respect their right to co-exist peacefully in a way she doesn't with her parents and younger kids!
cory- i feel just like that today, in fact it's probably the unconscious mantra i've been walking around playing in my head. nice to know she got there in the end though. I think you're right about emotional maturity not keeping up with her language. She's very curious about death in general at the moment 'will i die?' 'is that ladybird dead?' 'did he/she die?' to things i have on on the radio etc. I try to be straightforward, yet sensitive to her age and comforting in my answers but maybe she senses the underlying anxiety even adults have about the subject and that's why she brings it up, esp when angry about something?
totalmisfit, it's age - they grow into themselves. You will have given her the vocab for the next stage iyswim. I'm sorry, I know it is so so hard and so demoralising, but I do think that for some kids it is just the way they are wired and all we can do is help them!
(TBH it breaks my heart a little, because my brother was very similar, and he has been vilified since he was 3 )
Ah, now see, I have no doubt that they are little violent bundles of fury all by themselves. But I just think it is even harder to keep a lid on when they're at nursery. And I believe in nursery.
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