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I'm struggling

(27 Posts)
stargirl1701 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:36:52

I don't really know what to type. I've been crying today about my eldest DD. I'm not coping at the moment but I feel like I should be.

She is 3.6 years old. We see SaLT for a stammer. Her behaviour is just so draining and I'm struggling. I'm not sure if it's just normal stuff for a 3 year old but, increasingly, I worry it is not.

Yesterday was just one tantrum after another. All I saw of her before abs after the childminder was a screaming child. She spends 3-4 hours of the 12 she is awake screaming.

Transitions are a problem. Going from one place to another no matter how much preparation/warning I give just results is screaming. Last Sunday it was 90 minutes regarding a pair of trousers which she didn't like (sensory issue?)

I am a primary school teacher. 20 years into the job and I have 5 years experience as an ASN teacher (Scotland). An inner voice is nagging me that this is outside the normal range of behaviour. Nothing seems to work when she is screaming for hours.

I feel like I am failing as a parent. I'm exhausted. I feel worn out. Is it me? Do I need a parenting course?

Msqueen33 Tue 12-Apr-16 14:38:33

Hugs. My three year old is a screamer. She's just been diagnosed with coeliac but is under investigation for asd. She's exhausting. She screams a lot over not a lot it seems. My now six year was similar she also has asd and the toddler years were horrific but she's easier these days. Does she see a paed? Or any other professionals?

stargirl1701 Tue 12-Apr-16 14:47:04

Just SaLT. We saw Paeds for silent reflux for the first 12 months but she was discharged at that point.

knittingwithnettles Tue 12-Apr-16 16:01:26

Dd had reflux as a baby so you have my sympathies. I think this was a bit of deep seated trauma that affected her later on. She was and is an extremely "sensitive" child, fussy about food, clothes, seeking deep pressure, very easily overtired (slept for hours longer than her brothers), screaming tantrums over choices, disliked transitions (ie hated walking if she could sit in a pushchair, wanted to be carried when we went out)

However she does not have ASD. She is sociable, has loads of friends, no communication issues (except teenage strops) good at school. She still has a form of sensory processing issues to my mind, but she does not have ASD.

Her brother who was a slightly quirky but very cheerful 3 year old, has ASD.

How is she at the childminder's? Could it be overtiredness, separation anxiety, frustration with new skills and how to employ them, the frustration with not being able to speak clearly? I honestly thought my daughter was possessed, sometimes, her screaming seemed so irrational and demanding. She was always much better with other children her own age, and hated to be alone. How is your daughter with other children? Does she seek their company or prefer to play alone?

knittingwithnettles Tue 12-Apr-16 16:03:34

Could she be in pain still? Kidney infection, earache, digestive, swallowing? Sometimes children are like cats they just don't tell you how bad they feel, only their behaviour shows it.

knittingwithnettles Tue 12-Apr-16 16:07:53

A word of advice about clothes. whatever she wants to wear at this age, within reason - just go for it. I can remember my daughter had incredibly strong opinions about clothes, and I always used to admire the parents who sent their children to nursery in fairy dresses, they obviously knew something I didn't, that it didn't really matter what you wear as long as it is passably clean and moderately comfortable. Labels and tight waistbands can feel like a hairshirt, or zips under the chin. Dd hated girls' clothes when she was three.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 09:06:00

She is settled and happy at the childminder's. She plays with the younger and older children. She is exceptionally quiet if they go out to a group or a cafe or if someone pops in.

She is bedsharing with me at the moment and I am aware of night terrors/nightmares.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 09:08:23

She does complain (loudly) about any tiny scratch for days so I don't think she is in pain.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 09:10:54

She picks out her own clothes. She wears organic cotton for her eczema.

We were away for the weekend and she had picked a new outfit to wear to Sunday that Gran had bought her. It was cotton leggings and a top. However, the leggings were cropped which I hadn't realised. Her trousers from the previous day were dirty and wet from falling in a puddle. If we had been at home, I would've simply changed her.

zzzzz Wed 13-Apr-16 09:46:19

Can she be distracted when crying or is it beyond that?

You are probably exhausted. Is there any way your partner could do one WHOLE night and breakfast so you could gorge on sleep?

Are you drinking enough and getting enough exercise (are you outside and moving in the sunlight for part of the day)?

Do you have something to look forward to? This week, this month and this year?

knittingwithnettles Wed 13-Apr-16 10:11:16

Its easy with hindsight isn't it sad. I think one thing I never failed to prepare for was clothes running out, because I had two boys who were constantly wetting their pants or falling in puddles, I think I must have carried a entire set of new clothes with me for all three even if we went out for two hours. I still bring a spare pair of trousers with me for ds2 although he hasn't needed spares for several years blush Yet I often forget my mobile or my keys (dh works from home, so subconsciously I probably rely on that)

Dd once screamed for two hours in a National Trust teashop at 3.6 (ruining our entire day out) because I wouldn't buy her the chocolate gateau and tried to fob her off with a beetroot and chocolate brownie. In hindsight I would have just given her the gateau and eaten half myself.

I suppose these can be examples of things which make one feel utterly drained (the chocolate gateau and the leggings) but there was always another way to approach the problem, with hindsight sad

knittingwithnettles Wed 13-Apr-16 10:13:45

Co sleeping really benefited dd later on (I didn't do it early enough) so I think you are doing the right thing there, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

zzzzz Wed 13-Apr-16 10:19:23

Co sleeping when you are exhausted is shortsighted.

knittingwithnettles Wed 13-Apr-16 10:21:14

There's a very good book which you probably know called How To Talk So Kids Listen by Faber and Mazlish which is about impasses in communication rather than sensory stuff but I found it very helpful later on, and I wish I had consulted it earlier when I felt at the end of my tether with some of dd's behaviour. I suppose my take on the pre school era all boils down to, what seems unimportant to us is really important to them sometimes, and vice versa confused and often we get caught up in cultural norms which aren't appropriate for our child's at their stage of development. Some children are shy and don't like outings when they are little, some children want to stay very close to the carer at that age and don't like adventures. If that is the way that life is around them, then there is a bit of a clash. It isn't that they can get used to it, more that they aren't ready.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:36:51

No, she cannot be distracted in any way once she loses control. It's a wait it out thing.

I feed DD2 approx twice overnight so sleep is in bursts. I bed share with both children. DD1 is happier during the day if we bed share and don't leave the house.

Exercise. Not happening at the moment.

We eat healthily. We cook from scratch. DD2 is allergic to dairy, eggs, soya, nuts, legumes and bananas so food has to be prepared at home.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:37:35

I was looking forward to these holidays we are in now (Easter school holidays). I do not feel any better.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:38:36

We have and I have read How To Talk. I recommend it to parents whose children I teach.

zzzzz Wed 13-Apr-16 16:47:56

If you need to bf during the night there's little you can do unless she would take a bottle to get longer stretches. My eldest was 6 when I had my 5th so I really get the set up grin. The reason I focused on sleep is I find I am far less able to bear the noise when I get poor quality sleep and obviously the whole diet exercise and sunlight feeds into that cycle of chronic tiredness.

What helped me was adding activities to their day. Some children need that to reset and make new and better ways to be. So if she is always crying at X o'clock then change everything and have a bath then, or an ice cream or play dough.

zzzzz Wed 13-Apr-16 16:49:09

Nb if you can't exercise then make sure you are getting a good 15 mins in direct sunlight.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:50:24

Specific behaviours I am concerned about with DD1:

Rehearsing conversations before meeting people and then being upset when the conversation doesn't follow that 'plan'

Echoing my interactions with people out and about - repeating phrases x10.

Social anxiety around hugging/kissing goodbye. Saying she doesn't want. I reassure her she doesn't need to. She then does without prompting and is upset afterwards because she doesn't want to.

I cannot ask her to do anything. I have phrase everything as not a request.

Very upset if someone speaks to her if she didn't want them to speak to her.

The length of tantrums. Hours. One was after Gran took the fish out of the bath in the wrong order. She fell asleep screaming and when she woke the next morning the same tantrum about the fish continued for another 90 minutes.

Attacking things and people when upset. She destroyed a display at the dentist on our last visit.

Very clingy and won't speak when we are in someone else's house.

Repeating 2 phrases throughout the tantrums. I want to talk to you. I have a word to say.

Sensory stuff. Clothes. Weather.

Coke bottle child. Very compliant when left with another adult. Very distressed when returning home.

She sleeps well (12-14 hours) overnight. Food is not an issue. Good imaginative play. No issues yet with other children including her sister. A stunning memory. Her vocabulary is extensive and grammar complex (SaLT believe this is the cause of the stammer).

I realise I should've posted this detail in the OP but I wasn't feeling too coherent yesterday.

My thoughts are;
Attachment issue?
Sensory issue?
ASD issue?

Or, is this normal for 3 year olds?

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:52:42

DD2 is 19 months and has never had a bottle. She suffered a facial paralysis 3 weeks ago so is really seeking bf comfort at the moment.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:53:35

DH had a knee op a fortnight ago and is still recovering. This is also his busiest time of year for work (agricultural consultant).

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:56:31

She enjoys activities. We do Wee Springers (Mon), Swimming (Tues) and Rhymetime (Wed) with the CM on Thurs/Fri while I am at work. The transition from house to car, car to activity, etc. is the issue. Once there she settles.

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Apr-16 17:02:41

Or, could it be anxiety/social anxiety alone?

zzzzz Wed 13-Apr-16 17:22:56

Have you ever read anything about PDA? The techniques might be really helpful and yes it is all typical three year old stuff but it sounds too much iykwim? All the spectrumy behaviour is typical it's how much for how long and how hard that's different.

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