Our 6-year-old daughter is having behavioral problems at home. Let me begin by saying that in school she is a model student with excellent grades, positive remarks from her teachers and seems to be popular with her classmates. However, at home she is a nightmare. It has gotten to the point that my husband and I countdown the hours till bedtime just so we can get some respite from her behavior. She refuses to do anything we ask of her. The night before school we pick out her clothes for the next day, but when morning comes she always finds something wrong with the outfit – it’s too tight, too colorful, too itchy, etc. – and we spend too much time figuring out a new outfit and nearly miss the school bus several times a week. She won’t eat anything I prepare for her and exists on chicken nuggets, cereal without milk, the occasional yogurt and American cheese or peanut butter sandwiches. If anyone other than me offers to take her anywhere, she refuses to go. For example, Dad asks to take her to the movies, mall, out for ice cream and she won’t go. Grandparents do the same and she refuses. Even if we try to praise her positive behavior by allowing her to earn money towards purchasing something at the mall, by the time we give her the money, she doesn’t want to purchase the goal object and tries to swindle a much more expensive option out of us instead! Trying to get her to take a bath is a hassle that has made it so that she only bathes about three times a week. She hates getting her hair washed and actually physically pushes or punches me until I have to hold her down and wash her hair. We have given the option of bath or shower, she can wash her own hair, etc. but nothing works.
Essentially, whenever we ask her to do something, there is a struggle. She throws a tantrum, screaming and crying and doing a high-pitched wail that makes our dog run from the room! We have tried to do timeouts, taken away privileges, ignored her and many other tactics. Nothing seems to work. She definitely has control issues.
This has gone on for three years. I should add them I’m a stay-at-home Mom, we also have a seven month old (but the behavior started prior to any mention of my pregnancy or the arrival of the new baby). She gets along beautifully with her sister, but not with her parents. My husband and I in addition to our entire extended family have lavished attention on her since she was born, and have really stepped-up since the arrival of the baby. We’re at a loss. Help!
Whenever I see the word "control", the first thing I think of is "anxiety". Surprisingly, the behaviours in your posting could be that of a child suffering from anxiety. Children with mild to moderate anxiety seem to be able to "hold it together" in public, but all is "let loose" in a comfortable and safe environment.
I might suggest you google the phrase "behaviors of children with anxiety" or "anxiety in young children" or similar words/phrases. Please let us know if anxiety might be a possibility. Just wondering ....
It sounds to me like your kid has some tactile defensiveness. Clothing can be a big trigger aand my son has sensory processing disorder. HE will only wear soft, loose clothing. It's tough. Try to let her chose from only really comfy clothing, see if that helps.
Als, please read the book, "the out of sync child" and/or "sensational kids". You can get them thru the public library. see if any of her behavior fits.
You say she has been difficult for three years or so. Also kids with Sensory processing disorder (SPD) have a lot of anxiety I believe. They don't feel comfortable and they hvae trouble managing and regulating themselves (Sensory Modulation disorder).
They are often inflexible and seen as defiant. My son has certain views of how things SHOULD be and if you deviate, it's tough.
If you feel this imght be waht your kiddo has, ask your doctor for an occupational therapy eval.
Good luck, I know it's really tough.
My son used to hit and kick me a lot and pull my hair, scratch me, bite me. He's better, it still occasionally happens, but to a much lesser degree and lesser frequency. It's really tough and make sure the grandparents understand too. I think the older generation a lot of times doesn't and just chops it up to poor discipline in teh home.
Just curious of your outcome. Your description from 2011 sounds identical to my son. We are in the same boat just years behind you. He's 6. Role model in school but a devil at home unless he is one on one with my husband or I. Has no respect for our discipline. I'm a stay at home mom of 3 and this summer was my worst. Any info you could offer on what you've learned would be helpful. We just started seeing a counselor also to help. Thanks!
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