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Help! My 5 year old is driving me crazy!

(2 Posts)
cherokee54 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:27:32

My daughter just turned 5. She's the youngest of 3. I love her to death, but am I having a difficult time with her and I just don't know what to do.

Here is the context: When she had just turned 3, I filed for divorce from her verbally abusive father. The separation period was VERY difficult. In fact, she had such a hard time sleeping and would wake up at night and not go back to sleep. She's also always been rather clingy to me and had difficulties going towards others. Her father and I were legally separated when she started nursery school and once he moved out, it took about a year for us to get into a routine. But, little by little, her temperament started improving to where it was manageable.
She's also been a child who wants her way, who will only accept certain things, who will not accept the contrary to what she wants etc... But, it became more manageable.

When she started school last fall, I noticed a big improvement in her behaviour. Even though she still was very difficult about the clothes she'd wear in the morning and other little things throughout the day, I noticed that the fits were fewer and fewer. I also did a "happy face" chart for the mornings, which helped her get into a good routine of getting dressed and out the door. After that routine was established, I didn't need to do the charts anymore.

Fast forward to October when I learn that her dad is seriously dating someone who has a son the same age as my daughter. At first, I didn't notice a behaviour difference. Then, they moved in together and during the Christmas holiday break, it was the first time my children spent a whole week with this new family set-up. It was when my children came back from that week with their dad that I noticed a huge difference: temper tantrum after temper tantrum.

For her birthday I had got a scooter for my daughter and when she opened the gift she threw the biggest tantrum I have ever seen! She's never happy with anything. Just this morning we were 10 min. late for school because she didn't like any of her shoes and I dared brush a spot in her hair that she had missed, which, according to her, messed up her whole hair. I almost had to pick her up and carry her to school! She is also starting to get into mischief, which she never did before. She'll get into my makeup, write on walls. She even stole a pencil from a store because I said she couldn't have it!!!

I can stay calm up to a certain point, but it comes a time when I just lose it and start yelling. I know that's not the solution. Then, I'll get upset and say things like if she's going to act like that, I don't want to take her on holiday. Also, I spend so much time trying to handle my youngest that my two oldest don't get the attention they deserve.

But, there are times when things go smoothly, when she's absolutely adorable. I try to praise those moments so that she's getting positive attention for positive behaviour.

It just makes me feel so bad that there is this tension all the time. Then, they leave to go with their dad and they leave on bad terms with me.

Any advice is appreciated!

Adikia Sun 16-Feb-14 04:03:49

How is her relationship with her Dad? Does she maybe need a little reassurance that the new partners child doesn't change how her Dad feels about her.

My DS was horrible when his Dad moved in with the latest girlfriend and her daughter and it eventually came out that he was acting up because of a combination of being jealous of the new child and worried about how it would change things for him. (Sadly DS was right, his Dads a dick and hasn't even phoned in nearly 3 years)

Unfortunately I think all you can really do is talk to your DD, reassure her, bring the smiley face charts back out as it sounds like they worked before and then wait for her to settle into a routine again, Dad's new family set-up is a lot for a 5 year old to deal with.

No advice on how to stay calm through it though, I went with bursting into tears every 5 minutes which really didn't help.

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