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AIBU?

8 year old tantrums or something more?

26 replies

TulipVictory · 22/09/2022 22:43

Posting here for traffic. I will try to keep it as brief as possible but try to best describe my daughter. I feel at a loss with where to go from here to be honest and how to make this better.

My daughter is 8 years old. I have two other children who are 5 & 2. For as long as I can remember and even before she was 1 year old. She would have absolutely huge tantrums for long periods of time just out of the blue over tiny things. She would throw herself on the floor and scream and scream for ages and get really angry and nothing would calm her down. My husband was saying earlier she hates being laughed at or people thinking she is silly. He says he clearly remembers that during her christening on her 1st birthday, she dropped her biscuit and a family member laughed at her and she just burst out crying.

Anyway the tantrums have continued, I would say at the moment she probably has at least 4 a week ! They are mostly closer to bed time but sometimes during the day too. Normally her tantrums are over the same things but not something fixable. Her one at the moment is needing a poo near bed time! She starts shouting because she needs a poo but she doesn't want to poo because it's bed time. We will say if you need a poo go for a poo. But have gotten to a point now where we say this and then say we are not talking about it anymore tonight to try and diffuse the situation because the more you try and reason with her the angrier she gets. She then starts screaming and shouting (whilst on the toilet) getting angrier and then shouting you don't care about me! But there is no reasoning with her when she is like this, you try and talk to her she screams more! I normally talk calmly and then tell her we will talk about it tomorrow. She screams at me then and I walk away, eventually she calms down but it often results in her sister moving to another room because she is screaming and shouting.

Anyway tonight, i retaliated. She was screaming about going for a poo again so I said have a poo and she sat on the toilet shouting about it. By this point, the children were all late to bed (they take it in turns choosing the bed time story). It was DD1s turn to choose tonight and we had already been waiting 30 mins. She is still screaming because she has lots of wiping to do and she is late for bed. I say your sisters need to get to bed, if you aren't ready in 5 minutes DD2 can choose tonight and you can choose tomorrow. She's then screaming it's not fair! It's not my fault I need a poo! My other children by this point are holding their ears. I go in there to her and shout myself saying you are being very silly! She screams back at me you are saying I'm stupid!!! Anyway, we wait five minutes, she is still screaming and shouting so I say we will have her story tomorrow. Start reading to other children and she then quickly flushes and washes her hands and runs into the room! She's screaming and shouting this isn't fair, she's looking at me like she hates me and then says I'm rubbish it's not fair so I tell her to go to bed. She's screaming and shouting. Her siblings by this point are then crying, I stupidly (I know I should never have said it) said your siblings are so good look you're making them sad. She then spins round looks at me and shouts I knew it!! I knew you liked them and not me!! You think I'm disgusting!! I hate you!!! By this point her dad heard and told her not to talk to me like that. But there was no reasoning with her, it was all my fault because she needed a poo so it wasn't her fault, she continued to scream and shout. She just gets angrier and angrier and can't seem to calm back down. I know I shouldn't have retaliated. I just don't know what I can do to help her. The things she has tantrums over don't seem fixable, they are regular and over the same things.. having a poo, but not wanting to poo. Going to bed but then feeling like she needs a wee several times but her saying herself she knows she doesn't need to wee. She went through a phase of screaming and shouting if I didn't tell her the exact time She needs to clean her teeth for and another is which outfit to wear, if I didn't pick between the two.. massive meltdown. I just don't know how to make this better.

She's an intelligent girl. Her teachers have not mentioned any problems with her. None of my family can believe that this happens. For the most part, she's a lovely girl, she asks all the time if I need help with anything, will help me prep dinner etc, set the table. She's loving, she's great with her siblings.
She does lie alot and we catch her out on it all the time. An example will be some dinosaur pictures her sibling got for her birthday, there were only a few and she was drawing on one, I said just use the one though because your sibling has only got a few. The next day after I'd come home from work she was drawing on a second and her reasoning was well I only said one for a minute... she can be quite manipulative. If you tell her off for something there is always an excuse, a reason, the blame is never on her, she always has a smart answer e.g. why have you done this?! Well so and so did it first.
Re; her outburst tonight. She will be acting normal tomorrow and as if nothing happened.
Sorry it's long and some
Of it may not make sense but I just don't know where to go from here. 8 seems to old
For these outbursts. How can I help her? Thanks

OP posts:
TulipVictory · 22/09/2022 22:54

To add she has a blanket on the bottom of the bed and at night she says she feels like she has to fold it a certain way and touch it before she goes to sleep. She'll often say it's annoying because she feels like she has to do it but she wants to go to sleep

OP posts:
Geneticsbunny · 22/09/2022 23:12

She sounds like she is overwhelmed with general life stuff and the meltdowns and poo are just her tipping point where she is so exhausted she is losing her shit.

Geneticsbunny · 22/09/2022 23:17

Is she able to explain what things she finds stressful? School? Busy places? Noise? Homework? Having to sit still? Being quiet? She might be using all her energy up doing this stuff during the day and have nothing left to 'behave' once it gets to the evenings.

MaryVee · 22/09/2022 23:23

ohh OP, sounds very full on.

It sounds to me like she feels she doesn't get enough attention, feels jealous of her siblings, along those lines. It sounds like a cry for attention. Can you give her a bit more 1-0-1 time to reassure her?

The slightly obsessive trait about the blanket can be normal in kids that age, I wouldn't read too much into it. Mine had it too and they grew out of it.

Finally, and I absolutely understand that you're at your wits end, I would try and not pigeonhole her into being the manipulative one if you can.

sending you lots of strength, three kids can definitely be hard to handle. Been there, we have four...

Jules198 · 22/09/2022 23:23

Im wondering OCD? My younger sister was like this around the same age. She went to CAMHS and they helped her

Hankunamatata · 22/09/2022 23:29

Write everything down you have said here, get dh to check and add about her behaviour. Take it to gp and ask for a referral to childrens mental health or whatever it is (you may have to go private if you can as lists may be long). She may be immature for her age or she may have deeper problems such as OCD, or autism or anxiety. At least someone experienced with childrens emotional regulation might able to help her unpick her feelings and offer coping strategies.

Cannylaughs · 22/09/2022 23:30

It sounds like she possibly needs structure.
Perhaps change your bedtime routine to include going to the toilet. Don't say what to do as she might get anxious if she doesn't produce.
Touching the blanket may be trying to gain control and to feel less anxious. Give her a choice of clothes but lead it. She may struggle with processing what's happening during the day and being at home is safe to let the struggle be released

Hankunamatata · 22/09/2022 23:31

I would also perhaps think about doing bedtime story for just her. About that age mine loved a chapter book where they could really get involved each night in the story. May give her 1:1 time. Could you also incorporate toilet time into her bedtime routine like sitting on toilet for say 5 mins when she first goes up to get ready for bed.

ManateeFair · 22/09/2022 23:31

This does sound like something more than just temper tantrums, doesn’t it? You say that it’s always the same things that make her lose it, and the hang-ups about going to the loo at certain times is particularly odd.

I think the fibbing and answering back is probably just an eight year old being an eight year old. But the other stuff is unusual - and as she is otherwise a nice helpful child, good at school, kind to her siblings etc, I do wonder if a CAMHS referral might be a good idea. It really doesn’t sound like it’s just bad temper.

HotIsntIt · 22/09/2022 23:37

I kinda want to say normal 8 yo behaviours.

Go back to basics. Focus on praise when things are going well, and ignoring the tantrums, retorts, and an earlier bedtime routine.

As pp said, attention, reassurance and understanding is what she needs.

Have you spoken to her about the tantrums /upset? She’s 8, intelligent and will require a sensitive yet grown up conversation about behaviours allowed and expected.

I come at this from someone with a strong willed, intelligent daughter, who tantrumed from 1yo to 10yo. I had certain parenting hacks that would work one day then not the other. The biggest was showing her my journal of a memory of when I found out I was pregnant with her. I shared how much I loved her, before she was even born. I told her that even though I’m not screaming and crying back at her, I’m hurting that I’m being shouted at, that I can’t seem to fix the problem she gets upset about. It was like a lightbulb for both of us- she was old enough to understand (being 7-8) and it was a reset for me to stop treating her like a toddler and call out the behaviours for what they came across as.

Based on tonight’s incident you have some feelings she’s shared with you, now’s the time to discuss them in a grown up way. Take her for a cheeseburger, on her own, and talk.

AmaryllisNightAndDay · 22/09/2022 23:48

It sounds as if part of the reason she doesn't want to poo and gets so upset about it is because it messes up the bedtime routine and she can't cope with having her routine messed up when she is already tired.

Getting angry with her or even reasoning at the time doesn't help because it's just giving more input when she is already overloaded. Can you talk to her at a calm time about what happens when she needs to poo at bedtime? Or can you change the routine to do the story before she needs the toilet?

Lying, excuses and reasons may be anxiety and perfectionism. Avoid situations where she needs to lie and avoid visibly "catching her out". If you don't want her to draw on all the pictures then let her keep one and put the others away. When you know she has done wrong then avoid placing blame or asking her if she did it, you already know she did, there is no point asking why she did it, ignore smart answers, instead say what you see and tell her what to do (or what you will do) to put it right. Use a calm neutral friendly voice not an angry one.

It's actually good that she will be back to normal tomorrow(!) In effect she had a meltdown and once it's over, it's over. You could look at strategies for managing autistic anxieties, I'm not at all saying she has autism but some of her needs and her triggers are similar, at least when she is overtired. Clear routines, exact timings, help with choices, needing to know exactly what will happen when.

BlindEye · 22/09/2022 23:49

ManateeFair · 22/09/2022 23:31

This does sound like something more than just temper tantrums, doesn’t it? You say that it’s always the same things that make her lose it, and the hang-ups about going to the loo at certain times is particularly odd.

I think the fibbing and answering back is probably just an eight year old being an eight year old. But the other stuff is unusual - and as she is otherwise a nice helpful child, good at school, kind to her siblings etc, I do wonder if a CAMHS referral might be a good idea. It really doesn’t sound like it’s just bad temper.

I agree with this. I sounds anxious, and overwhelmed, particularly in the evenings when she's tired. It sounds like she's having a hard

BlindEye · 22/09/2022 23:49

Time switching her brain off she she can go to sleep.

Mariposista · 23/09/2022 00:21

This is way more than bratty behaviour - she sounds really anxious. Is going to the toilet something that makes her anxious at other times of day or is it just at night? It sounds like if she doesn't do things within a certain time or in a certain order this throws her. Perhaps talking to her doctor or a child psychologist will help you all.

LicoricePizza · 23/09/2022 03:56

She may be ND & cannot regulate extreme emotions, sensitivities to rejection (rejection sensitive dysphoria) causing meltdowns. I’d ask for a referral for assessment. It can then make a lot of sense for why she’s struggling💐

TulipVictory · 23/09/2022 08:40

Thanks for all of the replies, they are very helpful. Yes I think she does have anxieties around going to the toilet but has never soiled herself or had any accidents etc. An example is as soon as we are about to go out she runs to the toilet for a poo, as soon as I run her bath, she has to go the toilet for a poo, bed time... poo. If we are out and about she will need to go for a wee more frequently, she could have gone to the toilet 20 mins before and then she needs to go again, whereas, she wouldn't do this at home,

Personality wise, she has to be right at everything. She doesn't take criticism well. Even trying to do her weekly spellings with her is a nightmare because if I need to correct a wrong spelling, that's it she says she's stupid and she doesnt want to retry or will be stroppy about it and her bottom lip is out and she takes on a whole attitude to the point we can't carry on u til the next day.
She is forever telling on her siblings, he did this, she did that even if she had been doing the same thing 5 minutes before. She has put her hand up in school to use the toilet and she complained that she keeps putting her hand up but is being ignored so isn't getting to go to the toilet. I complained to her teacher who explained it is difficult because she has always got her hand up telling on other children saying he said this or she said that which I think has made it a bit more difficult for her to make friends although she does have them. She is a rule follower, if the teacher is there saying for the class to be quiet, she is the one sat there in silence with her arms folded. Although, I know she has been known to answer back in the past if she has been told off. She does this at home, answers back, she thinks that's everyone else is wrong and not her or the world is against her I'm not sure. My Husband has spoken to her this morning about the poo situation last night and she is still blaming me for not letting her have a story. I just don't know how to make her see sense.

The tantrums are hard, I feel ignoring her until the morning is best because the more you answer her the more she seems to thrive in getting an argument back. I just don't know what is best for her.

OP posts:
AmaryllisNightAndDay · 23/09/2022 09:19

The toilet sounds like both a cause of anxiety and also a response to anxiety. Sounds as if going to the toilet or needing the toilet increases when she is stressed or anxious or responding to a transition or away from home or in a social situation like school. And on the other hand she may never soil herself but she can still be very scared of soiling herself, it's fear of losing control. The endless wiping may be because she doesn't have a good sense of how clean is clean enough or when she is really "finished". She may get stuck in a vicious circle, the transition to bed makes her want to poo but at the same time she wants to do the story routine so she starts to panic and the more she panics the more she feels the needs to poo and wipe so the later it gets, so the more she panics and round it goes.

Given that, plus the need to always be "right", plus the rule following and telling on other children, plus what you say about her behaviour in school and her social behaviour with other children and her intense anxiety over "small" things , she does sound quite neurodiverse to me. She is probably doing a lot of "masking" to cope which is tiring and stressful in itself.

You cannot make her "see sense" because she's not seeing the world in quite the same way you do. What is trivial to you may be very major to her, what's reasonable to you is not relevant to her experience or mental state. It's not possible to reason with someone if you're not both starting from the same emotional and sensory understanding. She may not be able to explain what is going on for her.

You say she has always been like this and it doesn't seem to be getting better for her. As a pp suggests, I would be looking for a referral to CAMHS. Adolescence may go hard for her if she doesn't have the right understanding of her issues in herself and in the people caring for her.

MbatataOwl · 23/09/2022 09:27

Can't one of you read to the other children and one of you read to her when she's sat on the toilet? It helped with my DDs toilet anxiety. (I know there seems to be more going on but it might help a little).

Snaketime · 23/09/2022 09:42

I would honestly go to the GP OP. It sound slide either OCD or some kind of SEN issues.

SleeplessInEngland · 23/09/2022 09:46

I think by age 8 those kind of meltdowns definitely require further investigation, yes. It's good school haven't reported anything similar, but I would certainly mention it to a GP.

EilonwyWithRedGoldHair · 23/09/2022 10:54

It sounds a lot like DS, who we think is ND, but not saying that your DD is as a lot of DS behaviours come from anxiety.

I'd consider having a chat with the school and your GP. The school in case they've noticed anything that only makes sense when put in context with what you're seeing at home, and the GP to see if he thinks a referral to mental health services is appropriate - in my experience (with DS and through work) CAMHS has a very high threshold for accepting referrals, so you may need to try other options first which is likely to be services offered by voluntary sector organisations.

mamabear715 · 23/09/2022 11:07

Something's not right, is it?
I would personally ask for a referral from your GP, if only to check that she's ok. I have a girl & a boy who are ASD & some 'symptoms' are the same.

QualifiedDys · 23/09/2022 11:29

Does your daughter’s school run the ELSA programme? They may be able to help.

TulipVictory · 23/09/2022 12:57

@QualifiedDys What is this programme? Thanks 😊

OP posts:
QualifiedDys · 23/09/2022 14:07
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