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Counselling for a (nearly) 5 year old?

(14 Posts)
Rindercella Wed 20-Jun-12 12:20:42

I am considering whether or not counselling would be a good idea for DD1 who will be 5 in a couple of months time. I just really wanted to know if anyone has any experience of this and whether or not you think it's a good idea.

DD1 is an absolutely lovely little girl, bright, funny, loving, but she's had a hell of a couple of years and she has huge meltdowns. I am never sure if these meltdowns are a result of the stuff she's had to go through or just 'normal' for a quite high maintenance girl.

Between the ages of 2.5 - 3.5 years, DD1 had to go through so much. Firstly, she started preschool (she had always been at home with me before then), then DD2 was born, so DD1 suddenly had to share me, then DH got seriously ill, diagnosed with cancer and spent a few weeks in hospital. Then her grandfather (my father) died. Then we moved house. All of that was in the space of 4 months. And then, just under a year after being diagnosed, DH died. That's just over a year ago now. So poor DD1 has had so much to deal with in her very young life and I want to do all I can to help her through it.

When DD1 has one of her meltdowns, it can start from anything. Last night it was because DD2 got out of the bath before she did. And so DD1 screamed about it for an hour. My new strategy has been to ignore the screams, which doesn't actually seem to help and the tantrum escalated the same and went on for a similar amount of time as normal. But whatever I do or say seems to have little effect. DD1 becomes so contrary. Getting dressed she might demand that I put her clothes on. If I go to do that, she screams that she wants to do it herself. And then that she wants me to do it, etc. I do try not to get drawn into it, but sometimes it's difficult. And I try not to shout at her, but sometimes that's impossible difficult too.

Arrrgggghhh! my original question, do you think counselling could help DD1? I really don't think that these tantrums are within 'normal' parameters at her age, are they? They seem so extreme and there is just no placating her until she has worked herself into a real state and then eventually calms down.

Any help/advice you could give would be much appreciated, thank you smile

helterskelter99 Wed 20-Jun-12 12:23:12

I would contact Winstons Wish who help bereaved children they should be able to offer you some help and advice

Rindercella Wed 20-Jun-12 12:30:40

Thanks Helter, I have been in contact with WW in the past, as well as a local charity for bereaved children. Both have been really helpful, but I was wondering about how appropriate individual counselling is for such a young child. I guess I could ask them!

nongenderbias9 Wed 20-Jun-12 12:51:38

Hi. It sounds like DD1 has something inside that she finds it difficult to express. There are lots of good books on the market that might help. DD1 needs you to listen to her and give her special time. Reflect back to her what she has said. Empathise. My favourite is "The Heart of Parenting" by Ginot. Also "How to talk so kids will listen", Faber & Mazlish. Good luck. Sorry for your loss.......if you do the counselling option make sure you are there for support and understanding. If you take on the ideas in the books you will be doing very good counselling yourself.

Rindercella Wed 20-Jun-12 14:28:56

nongender, thank you so much for your reply & book recommendations. I will have a look at those. I absolutely agree about listening to DD1. I think this is one of her frustrations. And I know I need to carve out some time just for the two of us - sometimes I make this happen, but most of the time I fail miserably.

I spoke to my local charity a little while ago and one of their people is coming to see me next week. It's funny, you have these resources, you know you have them, but when it comes to actually needing some help you kind of think there's not much they can do. Of course there is and I was very heartened by the conversation we just had.

Darling little DD, I hate to see her hurting, not being able to express it. I just want to help her but instead seem to make it worse sad

DowagersHump Wed 20-Jun-12 14:34:06

Don't give yourself a hard time - you must be struggling yourself to cope with your loss sad

Play therapy can be very effective for younger children in helping them express themselves.

thebody Thu 21-Jun-12 15:21:49

Couldn't not reply to you as your post made me cry. You have been through so much op and now have to be strong for your dd, which you are, perhaps get your GP to recommend a good councellor.

My dd (13) was involved in a very traumatic coach crash in feb on a school trip, her favourite teacher died and she and many of her mates were trapped for hours and badly injured.

The emotional trauma goes on and age gas been diagnosed with PTSD, she too has crying fits and hysteria usually quite out of the blue over nothing in particular but of course being older than your dd she can usually cope with this.

Maybe your dd has PTSD after all she has been through, she sounds angry, just like my dd.

Some counselling has been good and some ineffective so my older Dcs suggested getting her a punch bag, she uses this when she feels stressed and angry and it's helped her, maybe a smaller version of this would help your dd, encourage her to let it all out and say its fine to he angry!!

Anyway hope gets better and that you l

thebody Thu 21-Jun-12 15:22:15

Sorry, that you look after yourself as well.. Xx

Rindercella Thu 21-Jun-12 17:16:44

Thanks Dowager and Thebody. And thebody, sorry to hear your DD had such a traumatic experience - how awful for her.

It's funny, I think we have all been touched by PTSD. Until you live with cancer and watch someone die of it, you cannot believe just how bad it can be. I purposely have locked a certain period down in my mind and do anything not to take myself back to it - it's just too traumatic to remember DH like that. DD1 talks of DH a lot and it's all very natural. God, she was in the room when he died. But we generally just talk about how funny it was when he took her to a swimming pool without a swim nappy and the nappy blew up like a balloon...that kind of stuff. Happy memories!

DH was such a great dad and something you said nongender really struck a chord and echoed what DH used to say - that I need to listen to what DD1 says. I will definitely pay more heed to that. She's a bright girl but has a speech disorder which sometimes makes her difficult to understand (she's having speech therapy) and I know she can find that very frustrating sometimes, although thankfully it is improving.

Things have definitely been a little calmer over the last 24 hours or so. I have promised DD1 that at some point this weekend we will go out and have some "Mummy & DD1 time". Something that can be quite difficult to do when I am by myself with the girls, but luckily my SIL is coming up to stay so it shouldn't be a problem.

I will see what the children's charity person has to say next week when I see her. When we spoke yesterday she intimated that 1-2-1 counselling may not be the best idea for such a young child, but perhaps giving me some help in coping will in turn help DD1.

Thank you all again, just talking it through on here has helped loads smile

openerofjars Thu 21-Jun-12 17:26:14

I have only personal experience to go on but really wish that my sibling and I had been able to access bereavement counselling or an equivalent in similar circumstances: small children who have lost a parent need to be able to process it somehow and IME it would be better dealt with now rather than a few years down the line. You would be doing a great thing for your DD and the rest of your family, now and in her teenage years, if you explored this.

And I think you're brilliant for thinking about this for her.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 21-Jun-12 17:34:52

I do this in the school I work in. It's mostly play based therapy with opportunities for talking depending on verbal ability. She's had a lot of very frightening things happen to her so if I was working with her I'd let her dictate the pace of play and engagement - it would be important to acknowledge her feelings and allow her some safe control of events.

You can do this at home too. When you see her acting in an angry/frustrated way and start to lose control remember that this is scary for her and if you can get close enough to reassure her (not necessarily touching) but just murmuring over and over 'yes, I can see it's frustrating, yes I can see it's difficult'. As she gets calmer some light stroking of the arm can help too. Acknowledging a childs anger (even if it looks inappropriate and misplaced) is really helpful.

It's even more important to give her some safe control so offer choices as much as possible.

It really sounds like you're doing an amazing job by the way, I've read lots of your threads and I'm always struck by how hard you work at it.

hth smile

thebody Thu 21-Jun-12 21:41:41

Rindercella I am in in awe of u, u r a fantastic mom and your Dcs are so lucky to have u... Can't actually post at the moment but will pm u.. Your children will thrive as they have u and obviously had a wonderful daddy.

Keep holding on babe xxxx

thebody Thu 21-Jun-12 21:43:36

Read Lauries post and definatly agree with all she says re support...

habbibu Thu 21-Jun-12 21:49:57

There's a bit in the how to talk book where a parent talks about seeing their child start to lose it, and jsut handing them paper and pens, saying "I can see you feel really angry, can you draw how angry you are?", and the child frantically drew zig zags etc for a while and then just calmed down, and it's been their strategy ever since. I wonder if this might be a string to your bow?

You and yoru family have been through so much in such a short time, it's bound to have fallout, but your awareness of this, plus evident love for your children (and dh, and your wonderful memories of him) will go such a long way to getting you all through this.

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