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Uncontrollable 4-year-old
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Uncontrollable 4-year-old

My daughter is almost 4 1/2 years old and I am at my wits end. My husband and I are unable to discipline her at all. Time outs have never worked and neither does taking away something that she cares about, i.e. TV or a favorite toy. We have been reduced to spanking out of desperation and that isn't working either. She is defiant most of the time, especially in public places. It has come to a point where we are in fear of her safety. She runs and hides from us whenever we are in a store. And recently on a cross country drive for a vacation, she jumped out of our moving car and ran back into the McDonalds because we made her leave before she was ready to go. She is not potty trained yet, and has been diagnosed with encopresis--chronic bowel retention. She is an extremely intelligent little girl and is very loving and gentle most of the time. It is when she does not get her way that she explodes. She has even told me that "she hopes daddy kills me." As I said we have even tried spanking her...at which she usually yells for 2 seconds and then smiles and thinks it is funny.

Any advice that you have would be most helpful and appreciated. Should I be seeking some sort of medical assistance or am I just an overreacting mother?
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No, you're not overreacting. You're seeking some help by way of interventions that might make a difference, and it sounds like your daughter's behavior is beyond the norm for her age. One thing to consider is an evaluation by a pediatric mental health professional. At the very least, such an evaluation will yield some help for you by way of guidance around behavior management. On the behavior management front, don't give up on the utility of time out as a foundation of a behavior management system. In my thirty years of clinical practice, I have yet to meet the child who did not profit from it. You probably need some help in how you execute the technique. Take a look at Lynn Clark's useful book titled SOS: Help for Parents. You'll likely find it to be a welcome source of practical advice on the topic of managing behavior.
5 Comments
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JamieNick,
My 6-yr-old son has been diagnosed with BiPolar. I could not control him and he would go into rages that would last for hours. When we'd go to a store he would also run, laughing, and I'd have to run after him like a crazy woman. He had threantened to kill him self and is very violent to himself. He is now on Risperdal that controls this anger and rages. And he also has impulses such as running in front of a car or jumping out of a moving car.
If your child wants "Daddy to kill Her" she needs to go to the pschiatrist NOW. Do not wait. I am also on the BPKIDS web site and see if some behavior traits may be that of your daughter.
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I certainly sympathise.  My daughter was like this at the same age (and older!) and it was a nightmare.  The whole situation made me feel like a total and utter failure as a parent.  On the whole, I didn't find professionals helpful, but patronising. They went through the usual behavioural modification techniques, but I suspect they only work on usual children. This isn't to say that you might not find someone helpful, I hasten to add.  

It would be interesting to ask HOW one enforces time out if the child refuses to stay where you put them!  Do you lock them into the place you want them to be?  Do you sit and hold them firmly so they can't run away?  Stay with them all the time? (surely that defeats the object?). Apply another behaviour modification technique? or resort to old-fashioned spanking? (not considered acceptable)- doh!

I eventually did read a book which I found really useful, and which addressed some of the problems I was dealing with. It was called

'Understanding and Helping Easily Frustrated, "Chronically Inflexible" Children.' by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. I looked it up on Amazon.com because I couldn't remember the title.  This is the web address if you want to find out more about it:

http://www.explosivechild.com/books.html

This is not a sales pitch, honest, I have no connection whatsoever with this author or company!

I found a lot of my daughter's behaviour could be boiled down to her inability to tolerate any frustration and cope with even the slightest change, without some 'reaction' - usually totally distracting naughtiness (you can't ignore a 5 year old running away down the street, it's just not safe or responsible to).

It was painfully difficult when she was younger, but I find it a bit easier now because I can better prepare her for any changes, discuss what we are going to do with her beforehand (however small an adjustment it might seem to you), so that she can mentally prepare herself and even suggest her own ways of coping the frustration or change involved, e.g. taking a book along to keep her occupied, or a particular reward when we have successfully done this, this and that, or if necessary firmly stopping the behaviour by using reins and being prepared to ignore the consequent fuss and tantrums.

It also helped to prioritise what really mattered in terms of behaviour.  One tries to make the child 'fit in' with the norm. and what other kids seem to cope with so well, and your child doesn't!  It's so perplexing and embarassing for the poor parents trying to deal with it.

I hope some of this helps at least.  Good luck.
Jule
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi
My son (now 5 and a half) started out just like that. I immediately secrched for answers and help for him. he had diagnosis after diagnosis until finally we realized (the phsyciatrist realized) that my son is High fuctioning Autistic but he also falls well into the aspergers catagory. This explains aggHi
So I finally found other people who suffer from this and I now know that what I have been suffering from, since the age of 13, has a name. Believe it or not, this actually makes me feel so much better. I have to say, that I am happy to know that I am not alone.
I have read all the other comments posted here and can relate to all of them. (especially the 23 year old who expresses her embarrassment) To you I have to say... Don't be ashamed, although it took me many years to feel comfortable with my HS and accept the awful scarring it has left, it was actually my boyfriend who helped me find this site and research and possible help or cures. Please remember this is not a result of something that you have done wrong but the result of some sort of genetic or chemical imbalance that is beyond yours or my control at this point!
In the decade and a half that I have been dealing with this I have tried many many things ...
hot compress's, sitz baths, epsome salts mixtures, tea bags (one of the many home remedies that you'll try when your desperate haha) antibiotics, peroxide, tea tree oil and I do believe the list could go on forever and a day!
I have actually been successful (knock on wood) in stoping these dreaded beasts from returning. Atfer I shower or use the washroom I wipe down my bikini line and surrounding area with alcohol. I keep it extremely clean. since I started doing this I have not had them return. It has worked for me for about a year and a half, its definately worth a try.
Another thing that may have helped me was weight lose. not that I was extremely over weight but, my thighs rubbed together causing friction, more sweat and additional heat down there. hense more infection!
The one thing I still suffer from is trying to find a way to remove the scarring! Any suggestions????
Good luck to all of you!
ressive behavior and defiancey. Thing for him are getting better slowly but every day is a new challenge with him.
We have found meds to be somewhat beneficial but School is still a major problem. Like your son, he is very physical with his sister and his peers but, he never physically lashes out at me.
His teacher are at a loss and are often afraid of him. The other children ridicule him, so a major behavior modification program has been implimented at home. You must be FIRM yet VERY loving.
Do not yell and scream and especially do not slap this will only add fuel to the fire . With my son I  find that if I come down to his level and talk very calmly (as hard as it may be at the time) he seems to calm down and listen. This isn't 100% successful but it has helped prevent many many rage outbursts.
Try to keep his home life as serene and stable as possible. This will help prevent temper or rage outbusts and keep your family life more at peace. Always try to look ahead... If you have to go grocery shopping and he must come, try to remember things that have triggered him in the past and try your best to avoid those situations. I have tried practise shopping trips... meaning I'll go to the store for 5 minutes with him the next time make it 10 minutes see how long he can handle it and expand on that each time . The same goes with sitting at a desk undisrupted doing basic tasks ei. writting name, drawing pictures etc. everyday I try to push him to sit a little longer and focus at the task at hand. This is very trying even without outside influences, but school starts in Sept. grade one for him and I want him as prepared as possible.
In regards to  school, be as open and honest with your sons school as so they can impliment their own programs to help him SUCCEED! There are many programs out there to help your little guy and although you may get a lot of run around, you will eventually find the right help for him.
Good luck
Be STRONG
and always remember that under all of that aggressive behavior and defiance, all of the confused reactions to normal life happening there is a beautiful little boy who is struggling as much as you, if not more so. If you ever need to talk you can get me at Divalatina_73@yahoo adn yes I have messenger too.
TAKE CARE
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Avatar_n_tn
oops it looks like two of my postings got mixed up.
To the parents of the out of control 4 year old YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I have experience all of the things you speak of and then some.
I have had my son make threats and try to jump out of a moving vehicle. He used to have "rage outbursts" that would last any where from half an hour to 3 hours. He could not be calmed down the only way the tantrums would end was by him falling asleep.(literally blowing out his own steam)
He was kicked out of three daycares in a six month span and play and birthday invitations stopped completely. He was ridiculed by his peers at the playgroung and even by family. I had been told that I had a BAD child and that I wasn't firm enough with him.The problem was that the firmer I was with him the worse his reaction was. I have actually had to take him to the crisis unit at the hospital three times and have him physically restrained for his own safety. That was at the age of 4. He is now 5 and a half and things haven't really gotten better, things have just  changed .
He is medicated and this seems to help him function socially better than before. His defiancey is still there and he still says things that are not age appropriate or even socially acceptable.
My little guy has been diagnosed High funtioning autistic but he also falls well into the Aspergers catagory (PDD)
We have had CT scans  and an MRI done he has had full blood work ups and been tested by a pediatric neurologist.
After almost 3 years of searching for answers ASPERGERS is where he seems to fall and Programs are now being implimented.

Whatever you do, don't slap/spank or yell and sream. These children seem to also have sensory issues and it will only make the situation worse. If I yell around my little guy it literally hurts his ears.
Do you find that your daughter complains about hair and nail cuts??
She's actually telling the truth, if she does this . I couldn't understand why my son put up such a fit when it was hair cut time, he would tell me his hair hurt.This made no sense to me until it was explained that PDD (prevasive developmental delay) children actually have feeling in there hair and nails. They also tend to be very sensitive to sounds and lights.
I have done so much research in this area only to find that every PDD child is different and that no set plan works for all of them. Each Pdd child needs a different progams to work for them!
I should also add that like your daughter, my son is very loving and affectionate and highly intelligent.
Don't give up, help is out there, you are not alone and always remember THIS IS NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN!!!! PLease don't worry about why this is or fron whose side it came just focus that energy on getting the help she needs. She will need you to be her tower of strength, always. You will be the one she can truely depend on, to be there, when others (those who just can't or won't understand her) turn there backs and treat her like a stray. (this will include family and friends) So BE PATIENT!!!
GOOD LUCK
if you ever need to talk you can get me at Divalatina_73***@**** and also on yahoo messenger!
From a Surviving parent!
Diva
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A related discussion, uncontrolable 41/2 year old niece was started.
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I am the mother of a 2 year old little girl,and I am at my wits end. If you meet her on a good day,you will see her cuddle,give kisses and hugs,says thank you,please,and excuse me. But lately,those days Are non existant. I cannot take her out to stores,because we will be asked to leave, or everyone will stare and make comments n whisper about "what is WRONG with this kid"? She won't sit in the cart,no matter how tight I strap her in,she screams,thrashes,slaps me in the face,knocks things off shelves,until she climbs out.she runs around throwing stuff off the shevles,smashing tomatoes n apples, n if I try to stop her,she throws herself onthe ground,screaming as loud as she can, and I basically have to drag her around or attempt to shove her back in the cart while she kicks n screams n hits me. At home its the same. She hurts our dogs n cat n thinks its funny, I tell her to stop that she's hurting them n she cracks up laughing n does it repeatedly no matter how many times I pull her away,she runs right back n continues.she won't sleep untill 1am, even though we get up at 645.I try to put her to bed,but she thrashes around hitting n kicking n banging her head against the wall. I almost want to strap her down,bc she will not stay in bed she just keeps getting up n trying to play. I get exhausted bc after work,its a 6 hr process getting her to sleep.even at her preschool,which I enrolled her in to get her socialized and learn manners, her teachers have to come out n talk to me about her behavior.she won't listen or sit during circle time,or do anything they ask. Sorry for jumping back n forth,but at night I try to rock her but she won't let me do anything that in her mind  will put her to sleep.she has a one year old cousin, and I'm sure its normal to not want to share toys, but taking hard objects and hitting him across the head is NOT normal. I thought that she just had too much pent-up energy, and she just needed to do activities to release it,but unbelievably,any activity that wud normally tire a child out, makes her MORE energetic n out of control. She just gets more riled up when I try to excersize the energy out of her. I am physically and mentally exhausted,and I'm just at a loss on what to do.she doesn't listen to ANYTHING,and I mean ANYTHING u ask her to do.some say its normal for a 2 year old not to listen, but when she takes off in a parking lot running on front of moving cars  and I'm screaming n running after her frantically,she laughs n keeps going...she's going to injure herself or someone else and I just can't take it anymore...she also has started humping. I took her to the Dr, bc I thought it was completely horrifying and thought it meant someone had done something to her.her Dr checked her out n said she was fine n it was her way of calming herself when stressed. It's so embarrassing, and I don't want her doing it in school. She has hardly ever been away from me, until I started working n even then,she is only with trusted family,her grandma or my sister so I know nobody is hurting g her, but I don't know what's causing all this and how to stop it. I can't give her time outs, because she refuses to sit anywhere...sorry this is so long,I just need help, please...
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