Anyone had a very difficult/demanding child who has grown out of it?

(57 Posts)
confusedperson Fri 21-Jan-11 11:35:32

Everyone knows that there are easy children and difficult children. My 3yo DS is a difficult child (aggresively physical, demanding, grumpy, not very happy child in general and makes us tip toe around him) and I wonder if this is in his nature and he will always be like that? Or will he grow out of this?
Sometimes I think that these difficult children can grow up either with a huge potential to achieve well in life, or can be a complete failure. While the "normal" children are likely to grow up to an average person. Maybe I am wrong, but I am so worried about my DS.
Anyone can share any (positive) experiences?

CatIsSleepy Fri 21-Jan-11 11:39:14

i don't know, but i hope so! dd is 4.5 and blooming hard work

wigglybeezer Fri 21-Jan-11 11:39:44

Well not entirely positive DS1 is still difficult but... i have learned how to handle him better and there are now sunny spells between the storms (school helps).

Jdore Fri 21-Jan-11 11:42:39

I do hope so,my daughter is also 3, she has been very hard since the day she was born, her twin is the easiest child ever as so my elder son and he has HFA.I'm also expecting another child.Does your son attend Nursery or a playgroup, have you any other children or socialise with others often, its a complete nightmare isn't. Thats not very positive is it! sorry!

loves2cycle Fri 21-Jan-11 11:48:39

I have a positive experience or rather a work-in-progress child and we're currently in a good phase!

My DS2 is now nearly 6 yrs and has always been a difficult baby/child. When he was 6 months old he would arch his back and scream every time I put him in the car seat! He was a tricky feeder, refusing to feed if other people were in the room, had major tantrums as a toddler and was generally cross a lot. He was much better when it was only me and him around i.e. when DS1 was at school and DH at work. But I think part of DS2s problem was he wanted me to himself all the time and was not up for sharing me.

When he was 3, I contacted a friend who is a psychologist to ask if he should see a child psychologist for his behavioural problems. She (very sensibly I now realise) said he was fine, within the normal range, just an intensely emotional child that needed calm parents, lots of attention, tight boundaries, good sleep, good nutrition etc..

He is nearly 6 and so, so much better than he was at 3. OK so we still have an 'upset' most days where things don't go his way (i.e. yesterday he forgot to take his school library book into school so wasn't allowed to take a new one out) and he will go ballistic at these times. But I talk to him quietly, explain his behaviour is not acceptable and if he continues he will be going to sit in the hall until he can speak calmly to me. If he hits/kicks me, it is immediate hall-time with no discussion, just 'you just hit me DS2, you will stay in the hall until I say to come in.'

We are strict in that we have clear consequences for behaviour, but I think we are far more patient with him that we ever were for DS1 because DS1 was so, so easy and we floated along without need of strict boundaries.

These children are really very exhausting but like you say, their drive and passion might turn out to be fantastic in later life.

Do you have other children?

thenightsky Fri 21-Jan-11 11:51:05


DD was a nightmare child. We couldn't get through a day without at least 2 tandrums and taking her shopping was a nightmare sad She was grumpy, demanding and screamy most of the time.

She is now 23 years old and is happy and fun with a massive group of friends. She is a fantastic organiser of parties etc - people rely on her and people regularly tell me I should be proud of what a lovely young lady she has turned out to be.

However, she is still extremely strong willed and most gets her own way (at work, with boyfriend etc) but she has learned to be 'nice' rather than tantrummy to get what she wants.

She was hell on earth as a teenager though.

notskiving Fri 21-Jan-11 11:51:15

i hope so too!
We say about our DS he'll either end up a high flyer, an academic, or in jail...

ChickensFlyingUnderTheRadar Fri 21-Jan-11 11:52:11

DS2 is, er, challenging. Up until he was about 5 life was fraught. Then he learned to express himself better, and we learnt how to manage his tantrums before armageddon. Now at 7, he is still a door slamming stomper when in a mood, but gets over it quickly and is mostly funny, sweet and good fun all round

loves2cycle Fri 21-Jan-11 12:01:31

I know the whole fruitshoot thing is a bit contentious on here but I think some children are more affected by additives etc. than others.

DS1 has always been able to have fruitshoots or those slushy bright blue drinks with loads of e-numbers in, and he'll be fine. Maybe slightly hyped up but in no way a problem.

DS2 - our challenging one - reacts very badly to those drinks/sweets and becomes a bit manic! He also is very difficult with low blood sugar level, so we don't have much flexibility about mealtimes.

Also bad on too little sleep....the lsit goes on! You can't really relax with these children, can you?

Davsmum Fri 21-Jan-11 12:03:57

I don't think any child can 'make you tip toe around them'
Its probably the tip toeing around the child that creates the problem !

Parents need to be in control. Childrens behaviour, I believe is affected by their environment and the way you respond to them. ?
I think all children are 'normal' however, they are also all different.

My grandson is terribly 'difficult' for his parents but isn't for me and I think thats because he always knows exactly where he is with me - I have boundaries and am consistent - I wouldn't dream of tip toeing around him. I make the rules and this along with lots of love and praising positive behaviour works !

confusedperson Fri 21-Jan-11 12:08:45

Good to know that I am not alone! I do have another child, 2 month old DS2, who is the most happy baby in the world, such a diference to DS1.

13lucky Fri 21-Jan-11 13:27:05

With all due respect Davsmum, I don't think your grandson can be one of these children we are discussing here.

I have 2 children. My eldest is 4.6 and is a very challenging child. I love her unconditionally but she is without doubt very difficult.

My youngest is 2.3 and he is so, so easy by comparison. Yes he can have a tantrum but so do most 2 year olds and it is fairly easy to deal with and easy to distract etc etc.

Both children have been raised the same, had the same experiences and home life etc etc. But they aren't just different because they are different children - my dd is what the others have described her and is very, very challenging. And yes we do have to tip toe round her sometimes. I find it slightly insulting to say that it is the parenting that makes them this way. Good luck everyone! confusedperson you are not alone.

loves2cycle Fri 21-Jan-11 13:42:25

I understand what you mean confusedperson about tiptoeing around your child, but I would re-frame it as 'removing unnecessary sources of stress'!

I think what you're doing when you 'tiptoe' around them is you're trying to ensure that they don't get presented with too much stressful stuff that they can't deal with and that creates noise and chaos for others in the family, if they have a meltdown.

We don't give in to our challenging child - rules are rules - so when he dribbles his food out his mouth at mealtimes to get a laugh from DS1 (lovely I know!), he is sent down from the table to sit in the hall until he agrees to behave pleasantly. The rules are stuck to despite this causing tantrums.

BUT I don't make unnecessary demands on him as a way of reducing the amount of conflict we have, so if he says he doesn't want to wear gloves despite it being snowy outside, I just cheerily say 'OK that's your choice' and we leave the house without conflict. However, I will take his gloves with me, for when he realises after 10 mins outside he's freezing - that then avoids another tantrum.

It's not tiptoeing, it's being kind and meeting the needs of a child who finds normal daily events more stressful than most children.

InmaculadaConcepcion Fri 21-Jan-11 13:44:57

Having just read Toddler Taming, Dr Green (the author), a child psychologist who's dealt with thousands of children, makes the point that nature and nurture both play a role.


Some children are definitely more - um - challenging, often from the moment they are born onwards, while others are much more easygoing.

He says parenting can certainly make a lot of difference, but there's no doubt the innate personalities of children are very important in terms of their behaviour etc.

Yep, some are very hard work, however text-book perfect the parenting may be...

Davsmum Fri 21-Jan-11 14:00:41

I think many parents underestimate the importance of the way they parent ! Its common for parents to feel insulted when they feel they are being challenged in the way they deal with their children - They would rather feel it is the child's 'fault'

If a child can be 'good' and comply with boundaries at school - or with other people then the 'problem' cannot be with the child ?

You say both your children have been raised the same - why ? they are very different.

When I hear a parent say 'my child WON'T wear this - or eat that or do this or that I wonder who is in charge.
I also see children who do as one parent tells them but will not do what their other parent tells them. Its usually because one parent actually means what they say, whilst the other does not have boundaries or be prepared to give consequences.
I think my daughter would say my Grandson is exactly one of the children being discussed here but like many Mums she feels unable to change the way she feels or what she does.

philmassive Fri 21-Jan-11 14:07:06

Davsmum - please could you come to our house and help me?!

Davsmum Fri 21-Jan-11 14:18:36

I went through all these problems with my own two children and made so many 'mistakes' - It took me a long time to realise I was not being consistent - I gave in for an easier life (short term thinking!)
I couldn't bear to see them upset etc etc..

I had an out of control daughter who totally changed once I changed - I took advice, I read what I could and learned from other people who seemed to be more in control.

Parents should not blame themselves - it is not easy and no one is prepared to be a parent. Its all learn as you go !

13lucky Fri 21-Jan-11 14:52:34

Davsmum - I don't think it's the child's 'fault' at all. It's noone's 'fault'. Different children have different terperaments. I think that is fairly obvious and certainly is where my children are concerned.

I have never been known to say 'my child won't wear this or eat this'. My children wear what I put out for them to wear and eat what I cook them. This is not the issue.

I do not give in. I am as consistent as I can be. My dd is still very challenging. My ds is not. That is just the way it is.

Fennel Fri 21-Jan-11 15:00:49

Yes. dd2 was a demanding baby, a demanding toddler and a demanding 4-6 year old. She got gradually better from 5 onwards and now at 9 she's really charming 95% of the time. With the odd flip into challenging. She is strong minded and argumentative but that's not a problem these days. the constant tantrums were a problem but she doesn't really do that any more. She's also got a lot better at entertaining herself, she couldn't do it at all when younger.

Mostly, yes, she was very hard work from 0-5 and now she's perhaps the easiest of my 3. I never thought I'd be saying that.

InmaculadaConcepcion Fri 21-Jan-11 15:09:21

Actually it occurs to me that my DSis' DD2 (second of her 4 DCs) was the trickiest baby (cried a lot, found it difficult to settle to sleep etc.) and was also the most challenging toddler, regularly having volcanic meltdowns.

She grew out of it and became the most well-behaved and biddable to all four. I think she got a lot better from about the age of four...

InmaculadaConcepcion Fri 21-Jan-11 15:10:23

biddable of all four

Davsmum Fri 21-Jan-11 15:10:35

There is nothing wrong with a challenging child, unless the child is aggressive and violent and then I would say it is more than 'challenging' - as is a child who is clearly unhappy.
Its how you deal with the challenging child that matters.
I was making comments about how parents deal with these problems,.. because some do not take control - they flounder and then challenging can become 'problem'

confusedperson Fri 21-Jan-11 15:54:28

Obviously tiptoeing does not mean a child getting everything his way. It is just the way for me to be creative to avoid unnessecary stress. In fact, I started thinking that I am trying too hard to be in control as a parent to put my DS1 under discipline and structure, and maybe I should be more fun.
By the way he can be very nice with other people - maybe because they are only fun and don't demand anything?

Davsmum Fri 21-Jan-11 16:30:03

You can be fun AND in control - Its not one or the other ??
You cannot try to be in control - you either are or you are not.
Surely a child needs to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that someone IS in control -because a child cannot know what is good for itself ?

confusedperson Fri 21-Jan-11 17:12:07

Davsmum, sorry, but your comment for me (the part of trying to be in control) sounds like picking on my words.
Unfortunately, even fun for us often ends up with a big cry, because it has ended.
love2cycle mentioned dependance on blood sugar level, and I actually think this is true - if on certain days DS gets more sweets, it affects his behaviour to worse (or so I noticed).
My DS seems very sociable, likes his little play mates, however then he tends to be more out of control. We have our best time when we on our own, but I want him to socialise as well.

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