7 Year Old Daughter Issues

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shanz, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Shanz

    Shanz New Member

    My daughter has been struggling with different changes in her life such as her baby brother being put into foster care, grandparents splitting up, moving houses etc and that's when her behaviour started from 4 and a half years of age. Such as throwing tantrums yelling screaming telling people to shut their mouth name calling braking things refusing to do anything making messes when someone has cleaned up one mess she goes and makes another one, refuses to go bed on time, helps herself to people stuff, the list goes on. She is really good at school just not at home. She always expects something when you go shopping and has meltdowns when you no in a shop. I've tried sticker charts to reward for good behaviour I've tried praising her when she is good plus a few other things. I'm at my wits end and going insane. My daughter is 7 now and we can't keep living like this. I love her to bits but the more I'm putting up with her behaviour its starting to push me away from her which I Dont want. Please help me before I lose my mind.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I guess my big question is why is her baby brother in foster care? Is she getting professional help? Does she get visitation with her brother?

    I think you need to reach out to community mental health care and any services that will help both of you thru this difficult time.

    We adopted our two granddaughters when they were 5 and 7, but their older brother, who was 9 was placed with his bio dad. (His dad was not the girls father) It's a loss that is hard for siblings to deal with.

    Keep in touch, I am sure others will post soon.

  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is very hard for a child to adjust to such huge life changes. Though it does not make sense to adults, children almost ALWAYS blame themselves for these changes. Then they feel unworthy of love, as though they did something wrong, and they often act out to push away those they need the most.

    Please make sure she sees a GOOD child therapist. It needs to be someone you can trust AND someone she can trust. We saw several when my children were young. It took several tries each time to find just the right person. Dr Y, the best we ever saw, was truly incredible. I was able to trust her totally and so was my daughter. Generally I insist on knowing the basics of what goes on in a session, and on being there for at least a few sessions until I am comfortable with the therapist and the dynamic. By the time my daughter was 9, I was fully comfortable allowing them to have sessions where I didn't need to know the details until such time as my daughter was comfortable talking to me about them. In two cases the doctor pushed and insisted that I know right away. Both times were when my older son had hurt her in the middle of the night without me knowing. Giving them this trust, trust that my daughter would tell me when she was ready and trust that the doctor would know when I needed to be told right away, enabled us to help my daughter cope far better than had I not found the doctor we could trust.

    I agree that if it is humanly possible and safe, she needs contact with her brother. In some cases a sibling may be dangerous to another sibling, but even then they at least need supervised and structured visits or phone calls so that she can learn that it is not her fault and that family just doesn't disappear.

    She may be pushing you away so that you won't suddenly leave her. It is childish logic, but not uncommon. Another possibility is that she is so totally overwhelmed after keeping it together at school that she is unable to follow the rules at home. School takes an enormous toll on our children and sometimes it is more than they can handle and still be able to be well behaved at home. Each of my kids had times where this was the case. They each had different reasons that made school hard for them at the time, but until we recognized it and put strategies into place that helped them cope, well, life was not at all fun. My youngest stayed home from school a LOT up until 5th grade. In 4th grade he missed ONLY 1/4 of each 9 week period. He had severe sensory issues and would get overstimulated to the point he literally vibrated back and forth. If he didn't get to come home and stay home for the day and evening, there was no point in sending him the next day. He couldn't learn, and he would literally just shut down. We were happy he was able to be there 3/4 of the time - it was HUGE progress. Luckily I was able to be at home when he needed me, so it was a luxury he could have without the school having to find a time out spot for him to retreat to. Those didn't help him so much. Now, BECAUSE we were able to be so flexible and give him time and the right therapies to develop, he almost never misses school. He loves it and hates staying home.

    There are some books that might help. One is called The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It is a favorite of MANY of us here, because it truly helps you understand what is going on to create such behavior in your child. Another is What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You by Doug Riley. It also helps you understand what is behind the explosions and how to help you child be helping to fix that underlying reason.

    A good thing to remember is that children do well WHEN THEY ARE ABLE, not when they want to. Children have an inborn urge to please us, even if it doesn't seem like they do. Trying to understand what is causing the behavior often does FAR more than simply punishing bad behavior. If you are going to try behavior mod, focus only on the positive things, on rewarding the good behavior. It gets you a LOT farther and gets lasting improvement even though it seems to take a lot longer than punishment does. Don't Shoot The Dog is a book by a dolphin trainer on how to help change behavior using positives. It is a classic for a very good reason - it can really work. Dolphin trainers cannot punish the animals ever. It backfires and the animal can retaliate and kill the trainer. This doesn't happen with kids, but you do have a vastly better relationship and longer lasting change when you approach behavior training this way. I speak from experience here.

    All of these books are available used or in libraries, and all have helped me greatly. The things I am suggesting go beyond stickers or simple rewards. Often the most challenging thing is finding the right currency for the child, that thing they will work for more than any other. For one of my kids it was video game time, for another it was books, for the third, it was hearing me tell someone else that they were good or great for some reason. If we told the child directly that he did a good job, he would immediately go and destroy something or hurt someone. He didn't feel we were sincere (though we were), or that he deserved positive attention. Hearing us tell his grandparents or another adult he cared about that he did a great job or was awesome or impressive, well, that got through. He didn't think we would lie to another adult, esp not to either of my parents. So his currency was having us call my folks and tell them how great he did at something, whether minor or not.

    It won't be easy, but you are a great mom for seeking out ways to help your child. It isn't always easy to ask for help, or to make changes.