5-year-old tyrant

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by samara, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. samara

    samara New Member

    My daughter is 5 but started displaying difficult behavior at 22 months. Toilet training took over 1 year (completed by 3 1/2 years). She would hold her urine, sometimes for hours, rather than release on the adult or kiddy potty (seemed to be a control issue). Her defiant behavior is escalating with constant arguing after a request is made of her, giving ugly looks, growling at times, yelling, refusal to comply, "giving attitude", sassy talk, throwing things, etc. This behavior occurs with parents and to a slightly lesser degree, maternal grandparents, whom she sees a few times a week. At school, however, she is generally compliant per teacher and even wants to please the teacher. She sometimes wants to mind other kids' business. She likes playing with a couple of active boys best and is very nurturing towards younger children. She loves to hug and cuddle but will also be unrelentless about having things her way. She has started tantrums after being given a choice and then being unhappy with her own choice! She has been getting occupational therapy for sensory integration since birth. She seems to enjoy the drama and may be drawn to the intensity of the tantrum and works herself up further. We adopted her at birth. She was exposed to crystal methamphetamine in utero but there is little good research on it's effects on the older child. I am sure that plays a role but the fact that she controls the misbehavior at school leads me to believe that she chooses where to misbehave. I love her dearly but am exhausted! I have used positive reinforcement, active ignoring (behavior doesn't taper off), natural consequences, loss of privileges, time-out, and am now starting a behavior report card...your ideas are welcome. I will get The Explosive Child.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son was adopted at two and had drugs in his system. If your daughter's birthmom did meth, she also drank. All of us have to make sure our children don't have fetal alcohol spectrum effects. Children also inherit many personality traits. My son is on the autism spectrum (he is almost 16 now). I recommend, because of your little one's difficult birth history, that s he get a complete neuropsychologist evaluation. It sounds like she has a good heart, and her difficult behavior may not be her fault. Sensory issues are often a red flag for high functioning autism, which is very workable with the right interventions. I don't know if your child has that--it could be many things--but I'd check it out. Since birthmother abused her in utereo, she is going to be harder to diagnose and treat and figure out. My son was in early education at a very early age and is doing really well now. Fortunately, he has no symptoms of alcohol affects, even though I'm sure his birthmother drank, but that is also a possibility. `Our kids often don't respond to typical discipline and we need to know what's wrong and how to work with it.
    Welcome to the board :)
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome! I for some reason think that when a child behaves at school and is much more difficult at home, that child thrives on structure. You could try tightening your structure at home. I know this is hard because I for one absolutely hate having structure - doing the same thing at the same time every single day but I think I am the odd one out on that?

    Do you have meals the same time every day? Are there too many choices for her during her free time? Maybe set the times for "room play" and "t.v. time" and bathroom time (to get ready for bed).

    At five, she is learning so many things in school. She may be ready for the next level of activities at home. Put aside her toddler toys (don't take them away, she may still want to play with them) and start introducing bigger kids toys/activities - playdough, puzzles with a few more pieces, ect. You can ask her teacher which toys/activities she gravitates toward during play time at school.

    She has some very positive qualities in wanting to be kind to younger kids and loving hugs and cuddles. You need to be creative and positive and think outside the box to reach her - find out how she learns and present things in that way. The neuropsychologist evaluation will be a great start.

    Try keeping away from power struggles as much as possible. Be positive in every request. Instead of saying, "It is time to go, get your coat" try "We need to leave in a few minutes, is that enough time for you to be ready?" It is like talking to them as a guest in the home instead of someone who knows your rules. We get frustrated because we believe our kids should know what is expected and if we treat them otherwise, it will be easier for us to show patience.
  4. samara

    samara New Member

    Thank you for the feedback! I don't feel so alone in this!

    I already located a neuropsychologist. I had never considered a specialist like this. I am definitely thinking further about how I can create more structure at home. I do think she may need more than what we already have in the way of routines.

    My best move: I kept her in preschool yesterday until 3 pm, instead of picking her up at the usual noontime, when I'm done with work. She said she enjoyed her afternoon and I enjoyed my time to exercise and have some quiet :D I am playing on doing this twice a week now for both of our sakes!