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4 yr old daughter out of control?
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4 yr old daughter out of control?

First of all I am a little concerned that when I looked on the forum I really didn't see any issues with 4 yr old girls...That really scares me!  My husband warned me when we got married that if we wanted to have children, they would probably be similar to him as a child.  Well, it happened!  I was an easy child to raise, from what my parents say but he was DIFFICULT!  We really have been through a lot so I am hoping that this is the reason for the misbehavior.  May 2004, my husband accepted a job in Florida.  He wanted to give it a try w/o us moving just to be safe.  I was 6 mos pregnant so my daughter & I moved in w/ my parents.  After 3 mos, his job was going well so we joined him.  The new baby, also a girl, was born in Sept.  We lived in a dreadfull apt 1st to get back on our feet and then moved into a house 3 mos later. Our 4 yr old(3 @ the time) had to switch to 2 different schools while we were there.  Not due to behavior but location.  She started to "act out" a little @ this time.  When we moved her to the 2nd school she became more of a discipline problem.  Started to hit and scratch.  We could control her w/ timeout at this point but since then we have moved back to Texas (for another transfer).  Now at another school, she has been spitting, hitting, throwing unbelievable tantrums, raising her voice to the teacher, etc...  My husband and I have definitely agreed on spanking her, timeout, redirection, etc... Nothing seems to work.  She is extremely STRONG WILLED! She gets lots of attention from us and our family.  The present school doesn't "believe" in timeout so they just redirect.  We feel that when you have a strong willed child, redirection doesn't always work.  We also tried some visual positive reenforcement with charts and stickers but that was a joke!  On the other hand, she can be the sweetest little girl around.  Sometimes, we wonder that since my husbands mom has bipolar disorder and my mom has depression, that we have created  a serious situation.  She doesn't act this way infront of us so we are at a loss as to what we should do!  We have thought about taking her to some kind of childrens therapist but aren't really sure if we are over-reacting!  Please try and direct us onto the correct pathway. Thank you!
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The appearance at this point is that your daughter's unstable behavior in the out-of-home setting is a result of all the turmoil she has undergone in recent months. You can imagine how unsettling all the change has been - her world has been turned upside down multiple times. Young children require, in addition to sound parenting, a stable and secure environment. Often this entails a routine, a predictable course of events/schedule from day to day. Your daughter certainly hasn't had such a routine, and you are seeing the results in her disorganized behavior. If, on top of that, she already has a baseline oppositionality in her temperament, the baseline temperament will worsen as a result of all the change. The best thing you can do is settle into a daily routine that is structured and not too fast-paced. It isn't good that the school doesn't respond in a stronger way to her behavior - she definitely requires time out in the wake of misbehavior. However, all things considered, she's had enough chnage for a while, so I'm not sure it would be prudent to switch her school setting.
4 Comments
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From what I know, and I am NOT a doctor, if a child is only acting up at school and good at home (or vise versa), it most times isn't a mental problem but a behavioral problem.  Perhaps the school she goes to isn't right for her.  Maybe redirection isn't what will work with her.  She might need time outs to show her that her behaviour is not acceptable and people don't want to play with her when she acts that way.  She is still learning how to socialize.  My son used to bang his head on the floor, kick the duties (playground supervisors) at school, throw rocks and hit kids with sticks and he outgrew it by the time he got to grade 2. He was having a problem learning to interact with others and he thrives on attention. And, sticker charts didn't work with him either.  I don't care what the psychologist said, he was just too young to understand the concept of stickers. He had to be shown that he wouldn't get attention for negative behaviour and had to display positive behaviour to get the attention he wanted.

Remember, I am not a doctor and this is only my opinion and personal experience.

Hope all goes well.
Connie
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello my name is amanda.  I also have a 4 yr old with serious bevahior problems my child is a boy.  I just wanted to let you know that you are not overreacting by wanting to see a child therapist.  My son has been seeing one for about 4 months now but it does not seem to be helping.  He started with yelling and throwing temper tantrums and it has now leaded to him phsycally hurting his 11 month old brother and our pets.  I also dont know what to do. every where I go they say he cant be tested for anything until he starts school but what do we do for him now?  Im afraid for his brothers safety and his own seeing that when he gets into trouble he hits himself or bangs his head on something and says it doesnt hurt. I guess I just want you to know that you are not alone and if you need to talk Im here.  my email is ***@**** please feel free to write.  Good luck.                amanda
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I am not a doctor, but I am a licensed clinical social worker and I primarily work with preschool aged children.  Certainly you don't want to permanently label a 4 year old boy or girl, but in response to the post about a boy who parents have been told he "can't be evaluated until he enters school"--that is just not true.  He can be evaluated, by a well-trained psychologist, child psychiatrist or licensed mental health clinician (like a social worker or professional counselor).  Don't give up.  It sounds like you have legitimate worries about your son, especially if he is hurting his little brother. Ask your pediatrician for a referral, use the yellow pages, call the nearest university--keep trying until you find someone to help. Good luck.
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A related discussion, ready to give up on my 4 year old.. was started.
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A related discussion, out of control 4 year old was started.
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