Im in desperate need of advice with my DD. She keeps lashing out at people around her when she's angry, she's headbutting and punching her key worker at nursery or smashes herself in the face when she's told no. I'm really at my wits end with her, we've tried star charts, time outs and completely ignoring her when she starts hitting herself but nothing works she just does it more.
She witnessed her dad beat me when she had just turnt 1 and has had no contact with him since that day, everything was going pretty smoothly until a month ago when her grandad (his side) visited and since then the violence has appeared and been increasing. I am stopping contact between them as it seems he makes her worse. On Saturday he popped over and within 10 minutes she was fully punching herself when she wasn't allowed something. Once he leaves it calms down but she's still biting her fingers or slapping herself on the arm.
There’s not enough information here to be clear about what’s going on for her, but it sounds horrible for you.
Is her language ok - can she communicate with words when she’s calm? Does she use emotion vocabulary ok?
I’d stop with time-out - she’s so young, and it’s a tricky thing to understand. Of course, make sure she and others are safe, but don’t leave her by herself, it doesn’t sound like she can calm down effectively - which will lead to those frustration behaviours you’re seeing. As far as you can, keep calm and keep consistent. Rewards (small, immediate) are fine, but sticker charts less good for this age - that ‘reward’ for earning enough stickers is so abstract as to not even exist.
Have you talked to a HV? What do you think was going on when she saw the Grandparent?
Her communication at home is brilliant 5-6 word sentences and she tells me if she's scared or hurt ect. She calms down enough to talk to me but even calm she will whack her hand on something or bite her fingers. At nursery she only uses 1-2 words and lashes out at them more than at home, they use the naughty step there as a last resort when she's completely off on one it's more used as a safe space than a naughty chair. We've tried rewards but she wants more immediately and then it's back to her hurting herself. Her keyworker is using a sand timer and worm like teether for her to play with to stop her from a full meltdown.
At home is constant routine and I vary rarely get frustrated with her, when she throws a wobbly as long as she is safe I walk away and she calms down.
Haven't spoken to her hv as she barely sees her anyway and is completely useless for this kind of thing. As for her grandad she was all over him couldn't give him enough cuddles unless you tell her not to do something then its her thumping herself in the face
I forgot to put on the first post we where living at grandads originally and that's where her dad attacked me. She stopped talking for 3 months after the attack. I allowed a first visit from grandad a year later thinking she wouldn't remember as she was so small when it happened.
It is surprising what small children can remember. It might not be the sight of her grandad but possibly the sound of his voice, the way he smells, the way he moves etc which brings back difficult memories. It may not be himBeing only 3 she will have no way of putting into words how she feels so she is using her behaviour to tell you this.