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Shocked and depressed by dd's behaviour today

(11 Posts)
Sinkingfeeling Thu 09-Jun-11 00:13:44

I have 3 dd (2 x 8 years; 1 x 6 years). DD2 had the most terrible outburst of anger this afternoon which left me reeling and very worried about what the future might hold for us all. sad I picked them all up from school and she immediately started thumping, kicking and punching her sisters when she got home over an argument about which TV programme to watch. She lost control of her temper very quickly and we descended into a vicious spiral of her screaming and me shouting. In the end I hauled her off into the garden to calm down, and locked the door - garden is safe and I was in the kitchen where I could see what she was doing. She hurled stones at the back door (made of glass), hit the door and windows with a broom handle and continued screaming at me. I let her back in again after 5 minutes, mainly because I was worried about what the neighbours might think blush. She then attacked me, hitting and punching me and grabbed the wooden spiked pole which holds the washing line up and ran at me with it. I am ashamed to say that I totally lost it myself at this point and slapped her hard on the legs several times - in shock and anger. She has always been prone to outbursts of temper (in contrast to her twin sister who is usually calm and level-headed), but I have never seen her behave like this before. sad Her behaviour at school is always excellent. I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks wondering how it has come to this. My much-wanted IVF baby seems to have turned into a monster and I can't help thinking it must be something I've done. At my wits' end - please help.

winnybella Thu 09-Jun-11 00:19:26

Jesus. I'm sorry, you must feel awful.
If she behaves well at school...well, can you think about the reason she's like that at home? How do usually react to her outbursts? Do you, perhaps, let her get away with a lot (sorry, not saying you are, just that with being the youngest and IVF, could be doing it without realising it?) Does she have anything to be angry about?
If it's any consolation DS was a nightmare and now at 9 is much, much better.

winnybella Thu 09-Jun-11 00:20:40

do you react and could you be doing

Sinkingfeeling Thu 09-Jun-11 00:28:55

Not sure why she's like this at home sometimes, winny. She's not terribly happy at school, has lots of friends issues, and just struggles a bit to find her path in life I think (she's twin 2 by the way, not the youngest, though she and the youngest also get along very badly and have done for a few months). How do I react? Embarrased to say that I'm probably not consistent enough with any of them - depends on whether or not it's been a long day at work, how tired and stressed I am by other things I guess. Not good, I know. Sometimes I am the queen of calm and speak to her quietly and walk off to another room. Other times, like today, I lose it too. Thanks for your post - helped a lot.

winnybella Thu 09-Jun-11 00:55:51

Hmm. Well, the best way is to always try to have a good relationship with a child, in that that she can talk to you about any issues she has. Then it's about having the authority i.e. being able to be consistently firm iyswim (not harsh, just firm)- I think kids like having boundaries a lot. I know that I have struggled with it- sometimes I would try to be kind and talk to DS and sometimes I would just explode and sometimes I would ignore the bad behaviour if I was really tired or stressed. At some point, though, I assumed the role of a benign yet potentially tough parent and it works out much better, as I don't stress, he doesn't stress as much, yet he's aware that there are things that are out of question iyswim.

DS had friend issues as well but it's getting better now and he's becoming quite a nice fellow, if still prone to stroppiness.

MamaLaMoo Thu 09-Jun-11 09:51:55

First thing I thought when I saw this was that child is very unhappy at school, then I read your comment in your second post. That she flipped out so violently after school suggests something had happened to hurt her a lot that day and she was getting rid of all her anger and upset in a safe environment, at home, and towards the person she feels safest with, you.

That she is being mean to youngest DD is also consistent with this, unhappy and bullied children at school often come home and take it out on younger siblings. I used to be a teacher and I recognise the signs.

I would go and see her teacher, explain how very shocking her behaviour is at home and ask for some serious intervention regarding friendship issues etc. If you get nowhere see the head teacher and see your doctor. Also I would give her a lot of your time, a lot of cuddles and one to one time and gently ask about what has been going on and how it is making her feel. Drip feed her the vocabulary if necessary, play with dolls and act it out.

This is not bad as in disobedient behaviour, this is really extreme mummy-for-gods-sake-help behaviour.

Sinkingfeeling Thu 09-Jun-11 13:31:51

Thank you both - MamaLaMoo, I think you may have hit the nail on the head, and her general unhappiness at school probably at least partially explains her behaviour. In the cold light of day, it's easier to see that. A group of four girls in her class were excluded for a day before half term for bullying another girl (with racist element, according to dd) - one of them was dd's former best friend and another a girl who has been tormenting/teasing/bullying her since Reception. I have been to talk to her teacher several times this year about low-level bullying incidents (and so has the mother of another girls in her class), and been assured that school are dealing with it. It seems to go in cycles, with the last couple of months being a quiet period. We had no angry episodes during half term, interestingly. I will talk to school again and hope and pray that she is in a class with better friendship potential next year. I'll also try to give her as much 1-1 as possible, though the day before she had nearly 3 hours of 1-1 with me as both sisters were on playdates (don't think that's happened in their school career so far!). Thank you both again - you've helped me see things in a completely different light.

tiddlerslate Thu 09-Jun-11 13:46:27

OP hope you and your daughter are ok. As mamalamoo says it sounds like a 'help me' tantrum. I saw this with my cousin when he was younger and had issues with school and friends etc. My dd1 is very well behaved at school but extremely stroppy straight afterwards. I think they take it out on the one they love most. Also I find I put myself under pressure as dd1 was my miracle baby after 3 losses and in reality she is just like any other child. Hope that helps in some way.

cory Fri 10-Jun-11 08:44:37

My dd used to have terrible tantrums at that age and so did my brother when he was a child. They have both grown up into perfectly normal sensible people, so I don't think there was any need to worry too much about what the future held.

What we did have to do, of course, was to deal with the present. I used to find it helped if I restrained dd as soon as the aggressive behaviour started, but very calmly, and just kept repeating in a calm voice: "no, you are not going to hurt anyone, I can't let you hurt anyone". It helped enormously if I did not let her see that I was hurt and frightened; she needed to feel that there was someone who was strong enough to deal with the situation when she couldn't.

She grew out of it about at the same time as she got too big for me to restrain. And like your dd, there was an underlying situation which frightened her and imo caused the behaviour.

FingandJeffing Fri 10-Jun-11 21:15:09

She sounds a rather sad little girl. I bet it is only a phase. Talking to the school is a great plan, it does sound like something happened. She needs you to be firm but loving. It's when they are the most difficult that they need us to love them the most (I have to remind myself that all the time.) She isn't being naughty she is just angry, have you tried talking to her about it? In a non cross way, she probably frightened herself. Also I would say sorry to her for the slap.

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 22:48:06

i would be wondering what had happened at school that day. sounds like she held it together while at school but then let it all out with family.

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