Feel like shit, just dragged DD home while she kicked and screamed at me(12 Posts)
She's 7. She's always been quite, erm, vocal about how she's feeling. Some would say drama queen. So if she's not happy about something we all know about it. But most of the time she's actually quite shy, and very loving, clever and funny.
A couple of weeks ago I picked her up from school and didn't take one of her toys with me. Apparently she wanted this toy and I had supposed to have read her mind. So she immediately started shouting at me, while I tried to reason with her. This didn't work so I said calm down and speak to me nicely or I will confiscate the toy when we get home. This didn't work so i ignored her while she screamed. We ended up walking home while she screamed at me that she hates me while I ignored her. Then at home I confiscated the toy, plus several other toys, and said she can stay in her room until she calms down, and she can earn the toys back over the next few days if she behaves nicely.
Today was even worse. She'd had an argument with a friend and they were both screaming at each other. DD then shouted in the girl's mum's face. I apologised and then tried to remove DD from the situation because I could see her getting more and more angry. It ended up with me literally dragging her home by her arm because when I let her go she tried to run back to school, and over a main road. She spent the journey screaming at me that I was hurting her but I couldn't let go in case she ran into a road. She wouldn't ever run into the road when she's calm but she was so angry she seemed to lose control of herself.
I tried to hold her round her middle so I didn't hurt her wrist but when I picked her up she kept kicking me in the stomach so I had to put her down.
She's eventually calmed down and is now crying in bed. She's had more toys confiscated (that she'd earned back last week!) and she's been told she can't go out to a place we were going tomorrow that she was looking forward to.
I feel awful though. She is clearly trying to express herself and isn't happy for some reason but I just don't know how to handle her outbursts. Me and DP have just been discussing it and we're at the end of our tethers. He is suffering from depression so things are difficult anyway, but we do try to both back each other up with parenting.
I just don't know how to deal with it any more.
Do you think she could be reacting to your dp being depressed? It's hard work living with someone with depression, and that is with the emotional maturity and understanding of an adult. It's upsetting and frightening for a child to be around someone who is depressed. My mother was depressed through some of my childhood and I found it very hard. There was pressure on us to always be on good behaviour incase we upset her, her moods were unpredictable and she could be very cold because she just wasn't coping. I could be way off the mark, but I wondered if it could be a possibility?
I'm not very good with advice but I just wanted to say that you are not alone in this, I am sure of it! You are doing your best and you seem to be following through with the threats and punishment. The dragging her home was obviously necessary if you were by a main road she would've run over.
Just keep remembering her at her best self and you at yours and remember this will not be forever! Maybe some girly time would be good to reconnect and a serious grown up chat on how our actions affect the ones we love without anger or emotion. I'm sure more useful posters will be along in a min, hang on in there!
flanjabelle yes I did think she could be reacting to DP's depression. She doesn't know that's what he has but she must be aware that he's distant and quiet, and probably that I sometimes feel on eggshells around him. DP and I did speak about this and he wondered if he should tell her about his depression. I'm not sure because I'm not sure whether she'd fly understand and it might make her worry more.
We obviously still need to deal with the bad behaviour but I don't know if there are any ways to prevent it. Once she starts shouting it's almost inevitable that she'll go into full tantrum. I wonder if she wants more attention, might be a good idea to do something together just the two of us, once we've got past this so episode as I don't want it to feel as though she is being rewarded for how she's just behaved.
Her reactions sound very extreme. Does she know what the consequences for behaviour like this are in advance? Have you laid out what is unacceptable and what happens if she crosses the line? It's difficult in public places but I would give a warning then follow through. As soon as she starts I would say 'carry on and it's straight home' give her a minute to try and get it together and then if needed take her home.
Doe she have a clam down space? I've seen things like those pop up tents used. I would also look into some anger management techniques for her to start practicing.
I agree that her dads illness may be having an impact.
Does she have these behaviours at school?
I would suspect that reasoning with her is fruitless as she won't be in a place where she can listen.
With The 2 girls screaming at each other I'd have separated them ASAP and taken them both home to sort it out later/next day.
Honestly, I'd tell her about the depression, it might help her feel that it's not anything to do with her. I can't point you in the right direction but there must be some sort of charity/website that you can get some tips on age appropriate discussion- maybe Mind? Good luck x
I don't think it's the right approach to continue to take toys away and give more punishment for the same episode of bad behaviour.
For excessive crying here I send dd to her bedroom and ask her to remain there until she has stopped crying - it does the trick as she never wants to stay in her room.
Have you spoke to the school?
I would agree with pp about trying to ignore as much of the drama as possible. Reasoning with a tantruming child is a pointless exercise that only fuels the drama.
Decide which behaviours will have consequences (so loss of toys/privileges) and which will be ignored in the hope they'll stop.
She apparently is as good as gold at school, although her teacher does say that she sometimes worries and gets upset if she thinks she hasn't done her work properly. But on the whole they say she is popular and happy.
It's definitely much easier to deal with at home than when out. If it starts I just want to get her home as soon as possible, but it's sometimes not possible to get her home without physically holding/carrying her to stop her running in the opposite direction.
My DD was like this. She's now 8 and has much better control of herself. It came to a head for us when she hit a teacher in school while having a tantrum, obviously that is completely unacceptable.
School intervened and the pastoral support lady worked with her for a few weeks, teaching her techniques to help control herself. We also found that shouting back at her just fuelled it. I know its hard when they're screaming at you, and you want to control the situation but getting eye level with her and talking calmly really helps.
Keep as calm as you can, hold her tight so she feels secure (DD really responded to bearhugs when stressed) and calmly tell her that you can discuss it properly once she's stopped yelling. We found that once we'd managed it a few times, she learnt that she got to discuss whatever it was a lot quicker and with less consequences.
It sounds like you're doing really well to cope with a depressed husband and difficult behaviour from your dd - so give yourself credit for that. She sounds a bit anxious and like she struggles to cope with frustration - out of interest, why do you want to get her home as soon as she loses it in public?
A few things to maybe try:
A great book called huge bag of worries can be good for opening up space for talking about worries and feelings - does she do emotional literacy stuff at school? They might be able to help you with this too.
I have a very frustration prone 4yo and have found ahaparenting.com to be really useful and in line with my ideas. It's a bit American but the gist is good imo.
Definitely the bonding time is a good idea - if my 4yo ds starts to lose it then 9/10 what he's doing is asking for connection with me - it is attention seeking and that isn't necessarily the negative thing it's made out to be. It is tricky to not make it seem like a reward but something like regular special time (or dd name time) can help.
Someone once said that any other need we would meet - if hungry feed them, if tired bed early etc. But if attention seeking? Give attention!
Wrt talking about your husband's depression, if you're ever in doubt about whether children have picked up on stuff - they will have, and usually blamed themselves in some way. So a child friendly chat is probably going to be helpful, with the emphasis on it not being her fault and daddy still loves her etc.
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