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Finding it difficult to cope with DD (2.11)

(16 Posts)
CharCharGabor Mon 02-Nov-15 20:13:29

I posted in Parenting a few weeks ago about my DD3 but am posting again here as I'm really at the end of my tether. It has got to the point where coping with her behaviour takes up most of my day, which is difficult as I am a single parent and have 2 older DDs.

I have been having issues with her for at least a year, although her behaviour has really deteriorated over the last 6 months. Basically, she won't do anything! Every small request, e.g. get dressed, brush her hair, use the potty etc. etc. is met with complete refusal. She throws herself face down on the floor and covers her eyes as soon as I ask her. Once she's done this it's as if she's totally switched off, I can't get her to hear me or respond. Sometimes she sings to herself while I am trying to speak. It seems that there is nothing I can do to make this stop, and am sometimes waiting and attempting to persuade her for up to an hour to do something as simple as brushing her teeth.

In public she has frequent meltdowns, although I find it difficult to figure out what triggers them a lot of the time. When this happens she just goes slack and lies on her face on the floor and nothing I do can distract or stop her. I either have to wait it out or pick her up (and the waiting it out usually ends with picking her up because she has terrific staying power.)

She also hits/bites/kicks/punches/spits etc. Sometimes she does these things when she's angry with me, and others it seems like she is completely calm and happy. She tends to target DD2 (5), and either hurts her or destroys her toys or pictures. DD2 is v passive (possible ASD although she masks it well at school) and finds it difficult to stop DD3 or come and get me to help.

Nursery have noticed that DD3 panics if another child walks past her when she is playing, and dives on top of her toys as if they are going to take them from her. I have noticed this as well, she frequently shouts, "X child is getting me!" when they are merely trying to play with her. She tried to kick a little boy in the face when we were in the park the other day, because he was 'getting her.' He was just approaching her to play, and hadn't done anything to justify her getting so worked up.

I have tried all the usual techniques: distraction, if you do.... then.... will happen, etc. Nothing makes a jot of difference. It's as if she will do things if she wants to, but if she doesn't then there's nothing I can do.

She is also really clumsy, and falls and bumps herself constantly. Her run looks really ungainly, and as if she is about to fall over all the time. Her feet look like they go inwards when she is running, which may be the cause of this. She walks into things on an hourly basis, often without noticing. She tries to eat with cutlery but usually ends up using her fingers.

DD3 has good eye contact unless I am trying to get her to do something, when she avoids at all costs. She had a hearing test last year which was fine, although she does seem very sensitive to loud or persistent noises and often covers her ears. Her speech is v good and clear.

I have seen the HV about all of this and she has referred DD3 to the paed (although waiting list v long in my area) and physio. And that's it thus far, although she is coming back near the end of this month to see how we are getting on. No one seems to have any more advice on how to manage her.
I have bought the Explosive Child and am ploughing through it, hoping to find something that will help.

Sorry for the ridiculous length of this post. I am really at the end of my tether and once I've got her in bed usually come downstairs for a cry sad I dread waking her up in the morning because I know she's going to refuse to do something essential to get us out of the door, I just don't know what.

NotToWorryHoney Mon 02-Nov-15 20:35:22

Couldn't read this and not comment, sorry to hear what you're going through but unfortunately I have no advice to give.

CharCharGabor Mon 02-Nov-15 20:38:42

Thank you smile I'm just finding it really difficult atm because she is calmer for her dad and nursery than she is for me (although she's totally hyperactive when she gets home) so I feel like all of this is my fault and it's really knocked my confidence. My other two are pretty well behaved, they have their moments but nothing like this. I just don't know where I'm going wrong.

PolterGoose Mon 02-Nov-15 21:03:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CharCharGabor Mon 02-Nov-15 21:30:11

Thank you (crying now). PDA was suggested on my last thread and having looked it up she does tick a lot of boxes. I know she's still young though and I don't think they diagnose in my area anyway. I'll have a look for some tactics on PDA resources, thank you.

My problem atm is getting out of the house in the morning. DDs 1 and 2 are fairly good about getting ready and without putting DD3 into the equation we'd have lovely calm mornings. But once she's in the mix we're usually running out of the door at the last minute minus DD3's shoes/coat and me a completely frazzled mess. If she refused to take her pyjamas off I'd just take her to nursery with her clothes and leave her to it but she's usually very agreeable in getting them off and is then naked 10 mins before we have to leave, on her face under the table.

I'll check out the spd thread, thanks smile I can see she finds noise and busy places with lots of people difficult, just need to figure out some strategies to help with that.

CharCharGabor Wed 04-Nov-15 22:03:11

Sorry, posting here again after another stressful couple of days (the norm for our household now, it seems!) I've started a diary of DD3's meltdowns to try and figure out triggers and ways to avoid them, as well as evidence further along the line. Is this worth doing?

I've also noticed that DD now consistently loses it as soon as she comes out of nursery (she's there 9-12 each day). The smallest remark causes her to run away and hide under the table with her eyes covered, or to completely melt down with biting, hitting, screaming and trying to escape the building. I'm assuming this is normal because she's tried to hold it together through the morning? She attacked me on Tuesday and all of the other parents were just staring at us as I tried to calm her down, it was hideous. I either try to talk her down/distract her or hold her if she's hitting out, until she calms. This can take ages and I feel embarrassed because I can't sort it out. I think I need to grow a thicker skin sad

She put her hands round DD2's neck tonight and squeezed because she didn't like what DD2 was saying. It's so upsetting because DD2 is quite vulnerable herself and not winding her up at all. I hate that this has become a regular, 'normal' occurrence in our house, and that the other DDs have to deal with it.

PolterGoose Wed 04-Nov-15 22:19:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CharCharGabor Wed 04-Nov-15 22:31:52

Thank you flowers This is so difficult. I used to feel like I (almost) knew what I was doing but having worked so hard with her for over a year now it is even harder than when we started and I still haven't a clue! It's really knocked my confidence, tbh.

Fab ideas there, I think I'll have a chat with nursery tomorrow about how we can make leaving a little easier for her. I think because she is fairly cooperative and happy for them they find it difficult to get why this happens as soon as she gets to me. Hopefully if I can explain that we can make it into a little bit less of a stressful time for both of us.

I thought about a visual timetable, especially for the morning as that is when it's hardest to get anywhere with her. I just need to organise myself enough to take the pictures! I like 'when we.. we can..' it's such a subtle change but it really changes the whole meaning smile I try to do races and things but I could definitely do more.

Thanks for your help smile I think if I wasn't so ground down and exhausted I'd be able to think more creatively, but sometimes it just feels like I'm in a big dark hole and I just get stuck on things I know don't work anyway.

CharCharGabor Wed 04-Nov-15 22:33:28

She did make me laugh today though. She was on the potty and had been there for a fair while. I suggested that she wipe her bottom and come for lunch, and she replied, " I can't, my hands are stuck shut!" and displayed her closed fists :D She's nothing if not creative!

PolterGoose Wed 04-Nov-15 22:37:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CharCharGabor Wed 04-Nov-15 22:42:38

I do indeed! I've found that, whichever approach I use at the moment she finds a way to get around it, so I need to get creative and hopefully she won't see through it quite so easily.

I wrote you a long post a few days ago but my battery died in the middle of it and it was lost :-( I'm seeing so many similarities with my DD who is just turned 3. She has an older brother who is being assessed for sensory issues/ASD but who masks spectacularly...she is exactly as you describe and really has got so much worse in the last 6 months (especially as she has decided she doesn't want to sleep any more) - part of me hopes its age or the fact we have a 10 month old and she's finding her place in the family but a lot of it I think is demand avoidance. The thing you say about your DDs hands being 'stuck together' makes me think of the PDA list of traits. I'm assuming you've seen it?

Youarentkiddingme Fri 06-Nov-15 17:32:01

What my DS enjoyed was being given a picture to stick on Velcro when he completed a task. So a large picture of something she likes, laminate, cut up like a jigsaw and give a bit each job she completes. So she's on potty - she gets a puzzle bit. When the puzzle is complete you can then have that item/reward.

With things like hands stuck, legs Wong work etc I'd get creative back. So he couldn't move to table because his legs have broken - oh that's a shame, but your cake looks lovely so I'll eat it. He soon moved wink I just had to be quick that when he moved I started chatting to him about his sandwich or whatever else was there that as less interesting! But TBH right now I'd just get her to table.

CharCharGabor Fri 06-Nov-15 20:51:26

Thanks for your posts guys smile Had a hectic day so just getting back on here now.

NiceCupOfTea, DD2 also has lots of autistic traits and has been seeing the paed for a year. She also masks very well so she seems v compliant but happy at school and I get all of the fallout at home! Many sympathies, it is so hard and relentless, isn't it. DD3 turns 3 in a few weeks and last year I thought we'd be out of the woods by now and she'd have grown out of it. Not so much! It's been the last 6 months that I've seen her behaviour quickly deteriorate as well. I have seen the PDA list of traits and had noticed that one, maybe she's been reading it :D She also fake coughs when asked to do something, or uses a baby or cat voice.

Youarentkiddingme that is a fantastic idea, I think I need to get a laminator! I think that could really help with getting ready in the morning, which is a big flashpoint for us atm. I've tried saying I'll eat her lunch (for example) but she gets really upset. She seems to get really worried about people taking her stuff! I did manage to make her laugh when she said her hands were stuck shut and that seemed to distract her enough to get the job done smile

She had a really awful night terror last night. At least, I think it was a night terror but it looked a lot like her daytime meltdowns, although she didn't seem fully awake. She knelt up in the corner of her bed and sobbed. If I touched her or spoke to her she either shouted "No!" or screeched. It lasted half an hour and I was getting really worried as the time dragged on. I'm hoping I don't get a repeat performance tonight! Her sleep had been gradually improving until half term/going back to nursery, now it's all up the wall again.

I don't know where I'd be without my laminator!

DD has started avoiding going to the toilet if I ask her to go (before leaving the house for example or before bed) or if she says she needs to go and I answer she'll then change her mind and adamantly say she doesn't need to go and then have an accident because she's held on so long. She keeps moving the goalposts with things as well. I used to have a rule that everyone stayed at the dinner table until we were all finished but she couldn't so I said as long as she was done and clean she could play quietly but she just can't stay in her seat and if I say ok that's dinner over or take her plate away she goes nuts. And for someone who appears to struggle with demands she doesn't half dish a few out. I've spent so long being concerned about DS that I feel I've missed things with her. I've a dreadful feeling we'll be seeking assessment for her in a year or two (please let her grow out of it)

I read all this stuff about PDA strategies and I just get so confused. I really struggle with demands myself but we all have natural ways of speaking and I really struggle trying to remember mid-chaos what might be perceived as a demand and a strategy for it.

I hate night terrors, you worry so much for them even though they seem not to be aware or remember anything the next day. I hope you have a smoother night

CharCharGabor Sat 07-Nov-15 00:01:44

Clearly not having a laminator has been a serious error in judgement on my part!

We have toilet issues here too. Sometimes she'll just go by herself or when I prompt but most of the time she refuses. I've given up pushing now and just bring spare clothes or warn nursery.

Moving the goal posts is familiar here as well. Just as soon as I manage to crack one thing she figures out a way to manipulate it to her own advantage. Definitely keeps me on my toes trying to think up new strategies! I find it difficult because I often have to just give up when nothing is working, and that must reinforce her behaviour for her. I do think she wants to do what I ask but can't though, because sometimes I can almost see her battling with herself. It makes me feel sorry for her.

I know what you mean about focussing on your older child. DD2 had anxiety issues outside of school last year and I think that helped DD3 slip past me iykwim. Although I did have a nursery nurse round for a month or two for support. She ran out of suggestions eventually. Poor DD1 hardly gets a look in because she causes fewer issues. Just a total guilt trip!

I think it must take a lot of practice to change the way you communicate. I know I'm finding it really hard. I often start sentences with 'listen' or 'look', but they are triggers for DD2 and once I've said one she's gone. Really hard to change a habit though!

I hope you get some sleep tonight smile

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