Help -Dealing with more than just behavior issues

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by samsheather, May 12, 2008.

  1. samsheather

    samsheather New Member

    Ok I'm the newest newbie and here's my dilemma (I'll try and keep it short.) We have a 5 almost 6 year old who has gotten herself into such a powerstruggle (especially with potty training) that I am darn near out of my mind. She refuses to potty train and a big part of the problem is that she doesn't care if she's wet or dirty - it does not gross her out. Just recently I sent her to go change after school and mentioned she should go potty first. (Now I should mention that these instructions were about a half an hour after finding out that most of her friends were going to Chuck E CHeese's for the night and I told her we couldn't go due to funds.) So after about a minute I followed her up stairs because I knew right aftre school she'd need to go to the bathroom. I wanted to make sure she went. I find her in her room sitting a stuffed animal that she had already peed on. Now it took a lot to remain calm or atleast not explode. So after making her get off of it I asked her "why did you do this.......You know this isn't right." All she could do was try not to smile at me. She thinks it's incredibly funny to get me going this way. Now that is just one instance. But we're talking about a child that has fingerpainted with her poop and also thinks it's funny. I have tried everything And I DO mean EVERYTHING to help her be successful with potty trainging. And I have been really careful to rule out anything physical. Her DR and I have been working together on this for awhile and we are both convinced that there is nothing going on physically. The reward system always works. She always seems to do really well when we keep track with a sticker chart. And it's not only the potty trainging that we deal with. She does things that are so defiant that it takes more energy for her to do them than to do what it is we've asked of her. Grrrrr. She hides things/takes things. She lies. She starting to become pretty aggressive toward her older sister (especially when she's tired and provoked - even minutely). She yells at me so often that I am desensitized to her crying even when she's truley hurt.
    Now I also want to mention that we are waiting to have her evaluated for possible Auditory Processing Disorder. She has struggled a lot acedemically this year. She was very young starting Kindergarten and her teacher and my husband and I feel she is finally up to grade level. But that has taken all year. We have made the descision to have her repeat kindergarten. She has had her hearing tested with no negative reports but she does not seem to understand or gets so side tracked most the time that she very rarley does what we ask. Her reaction to any sort of disappointment is to pout, cry or scream. I can't describe with words the anger that comes out of this child. And I'm usually the only one who sees it. Her dad does some but it's mostly saved for me.

    I am so at my whits end there are times I just walk out of the house and sit in my car and scream. I need help. She needs help. We have just recently started to see a counselor but I worry that this woman will never experience my daughters anger.

    Any thoughts or advice are truley appreciated....
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Isn't it amazing how kids figure out real fast that they have control in the potty area? If she is doing these things on purpose to get your anger and to say, "See mom, I can do what I want with my potty training." or "you didn't let me do what I wanted so I am going to punish you" try taking some power away from her. Say, "Oh my, you were not able to get to the potty in time. That's too bad. I hate it when I have an accident It can sometimes be so embarrassing and if I don't clean up right away, I sometimes get a rash on my butt. Boy does that hurt! Do you want me to help get you clean clothes or would you rather take care of this in private? Do you think you need a bath so you don't get a rash?" as if it is really no big deal to you but what a hassle for her. If she starts a tantrum, "I am sorry, I don't understand you, but since I don't want you talking to me like this, I will let you be alone for a few minutes When I come back you can decide if you want me to get you clean clothes or not or if I should get a bath ready."

    Then, start acknowleding periods of times when there are no accidents at home. (I think if you do this for outside the home she may start having "accidents" on purpose at those times) Wow, you made it to the potty everytime tonight!!! No embarrasing accidents. I bet you feel real good and proud of yourself. Let's celebrate!!! Then give a hug, read an extra book, give one extra cookie or 1/2 scoop icecream, ect.

    However, you believe some of these accidents are truely accidents, ask your doctor. Maybe there is a reason she is not "feeling" when she has to go.
  3. samsheather

    samsheather New Member

    Adrianne - Thankyou. Those responses are great. Although I must say I have tried ones similar to those many times. I have found that the opposite happens. She then figures "Oh so mommy doesn't mind that I wet my pants. Cool." She then becomes so nonchelonat about having accidents and getting herself cleaned up ( and I use that phrase loosely) that sometimes she makes the effort to actually go to the restroom and other times she just wets herself and whatever it is that she's sitting on. As for natural consequences well. They seem to work at the time but she doesn't learn from them. Ie: She'll have an accident on a weekend right before she's about to go out to play. So I'll say " oh that's too bad kiddo. Someday when you can make it to the potty every time you'll be able to go out and play with friends". Now of course this sends her into such an angry fit that I usually send her to her bedroom. And once she's there behind closed doors she calms down. This (atleast in the past - I haven't been very good about it lately) works atleast for the day. But the next day we're back to square one.

    Have you ever heard of parenting classes called Love N Logic? They teach the same responses you've given. I have tried to react like that but it just never seems to work on her. We do point out when she's had a successful day. It's nothing to hear her scream through the house "Mooooomm I weeeennt Poooooopppp!" and the rest of us CHEEER Hooray!!! We do it on a much smaller scale too. I think I've narrowed it down to two scenarios - 1. I don't get mad I get even and 2. Straight up laziness. I have had her on an every 2 hour schedule for the past 2 months and with much success. The 2-3 times that she didn't make it over that period of time can be catagorized as above.

    Potty training is definatly her deal - the ball is in her court and she knows it. But we're dealing with something bigger. If she is ramotely tired than her ability to handle any sort of diappointment goes down the tubes. She starts out whiney and it escalates into shear violent anger. She claws at her face and arms and screams like someone is tearing off her toes. She has become very sneaky too. She hides things and takes things she knows she's not supposed to have. I have had to put locks on my office door as well as my bedroom door as she'll get into eith er playing on a computer she knows she's not to touch or finds permanant markes and paints on the walls. Or it's my bathroom where she gets into make or lotion and makes a mess with them. I've often compared some of her behavior as that of a 2 year old. And absolutely NO amount of descipline (no matter the kind) deters her. It's almost as if the temptation is too great to pass up it's right in front of her.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I have not heard of Love N Logic classes.

    Maybe she finds comfort in the one area of her life that she "gets". When she is tired or frustrated, she gets overwhelmed over her loss of control in whatever is going on and this is one area she can control - albeit in not the sociably correct way. You are the one person she can direct her anger at so she shows you that she can do as she wants with this the one thing she can control to get back at you for whatever.

    I am sure that once you find the answer to the other issues, this one will settle down. Whatever method you use starting now, remember, that it will most likely get worse before it gets better as she tries to discredit that method. So, choose a method and stay with it for atleast a week regardless of if it stops working. It may start working again the next time or next day or two. She will think, "What just happened? I thought I got around this one already."

    So, what steps have you taken to get help for the violent anger outbursts? If you are feeling this is more than a regular temper tantrum, follow that feeling and seek out help. Others on board will be able to direct you if you need suggestions - I know only to ask your daughter's doctor.
  5. libranaster

    libranaster New Member

    Oh my god you can be my best friend, you just made my kids sound normal with the sneaky behaviour. It can drive you mad I know. I am so sick of things being stolen, damaged and destroyed by my kids its not funny and having to put locks on everything is just hell on a stick. I even had to put a chain at the very top of my front door because the little shizers learned how to unlock it and would get outside. Oh and sure they are smart when it comes to ways to get into stuff but when it comes to developmental mile stones like potty training or learning how to speak we get the 'me no know how to speaka the English' treatment.

    Potty training what can I say I am at the point with my 3.5 year old where I have put my hands in the air and put pull ups on him and I just change 'em like nappies. I am not going to fight it. I can't give you solutions I am afraid I am in your boat sinking with you but I got my son's play group teacher to refer us to the Early Learning Centre I will let you know what I come back with in the potty training area. I was really on the potty training but when I put undies on our son and he was not grossed out by pooping or weeing them I have to say that was the last straw with me I am being as lazy as he is about it :devil2:. You can't fight a loosing battle, make her wear nappies to school :devil2:.

    If my child was like that at six for no other reason than pure laziness and couldn't get how dirty it was I know its mean but I would embarrass her into it by making it clear she wont use the toilet to her class mates you watch how fast she goes when she has the peer pressure and the teasing to deal with:devil2:. Isn't that nasty really but that is what I will be doing with my son I have given up on him and he is due to start school next year. I don't know where you are from but I am from Australia and here children start kindergarten at 4 going on 5. If he wont use to toilet and just pees or poops everywhere still for no other reason than pure laziness than that is it he goes to school in nappies. I of course am having him asessed first I mean I am not going to blame things on him that aren't his fault.

    Its certainly a different world these days its a wonder teasing hasn't started already for your child over this. When I was a kid she wouldn't have stood a chance her lunch money would be stolen and her school days would be Hell unless she was moved to another school where noone knew about the lack of toilet training now it seems it is acceptable for children to not be toilet trained and I just think that it shouldn't be but the blame should not be put on the parent a child over 4 should be able to understand that when you need to pee you go to the toilet, don't play in the water don't pee all over the toilet and don't paint with poop all over the walls go to the toilet. If they can't understand then I feel sorry for them and if they wont I feel sorry for the parent.

    Ok this reply has turned into my own rant about toilet training but I am sure you get my frustration anyway. As I said I will get back to you if the early learning centre can give me any good ideas about potty training that you might not have tried.
  6. samsheather

    samsheather New Member

    As for the violent outbursts well We just started counseling last week. The psychotherapist explained that she's going to start my daughter with scrapbooking. They are either going to make pictures about feelings or cut them out of magazines. And then start connecting words with them. My hope is that she will start to verbalize her feelings rather then become so violent. We'll see. I'm a little skeptical as I'm fairly sure this therapist will never see my daughter as angry as she gets. I was reading in another thread that the mom was frustrated because her kid seems like a normal happy kid when they go to their sessions. I have seen some but very little improvement over the past year with her 'using her words' when she is dissappointed. We'll see.

    I think you are right once we get to figuring out some of the other issues we'll see much improvement on the potty issues. But I am right there with ya girl when it comes to being frustrated!!!!! I am so at the end of my rope - that's about the biggest understatement of the year! You know darn well and good that they are smart enough to decide to make it to the bathroom but they conscienciously (sp?) make the wrong descision. I swear my hair is going to turn white and fall out soon. The pullups may be an idea. Although if that made it so she was not alowed in school which means she'd have to stay home I think we would ........ well let's just say it would be unhealthy for both of us!!!

    Weary in CO - Heather
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, ok. First off, it would help us help you if you did a signature, like I have done on the bottom of the page--a sort of overview of the family tree. That is often VERY telling as to what may be wrong with the child, since many things are genetic.
    I've been through an awful lot myself (I had very early mood problems) and my son (who was misdiagnosed a lot, but has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified--now doing well) and I want to back up and ask a few questions. First of all, please don't think your child is just defiant, lazy, or "bad." Something is obviously very wrong--typical kids don't paint the walls with poop. And kids truly don't wake up each morning and think "WHat can I do to make life miserable for Mom." There is something going on and she needs an evaluation, not just psychotherapy. I would set up a complete evaluation for her with a neuropsychologist or with a hospital for a Multi-Disciplinary evaluation. This child needs to be looked at on all levels. I have a few questions:
    1/ Has she developed normally? Is her speech good and appropriate? Does she make good eye contact with the family and with strangers? How are her fine and gross motor skills? Does she know how to socialize with her peers in an appropriate way? Does she have any strange behaviors such as arm flapping or lining up toys or playing obsessively with lightswitches? Does she have an obsessive interest, such as memorizing dinosaurs? Did you know that some kids have serious sensory issues and can't tell when they have to go to the bathroom and don't care if they are wet (or just don't feel it?).

    2. Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of your child's family tree? Any substance abuse?

    Rather than just looking for a new method of discipline, I'd want this child evaluated completely. I have no idea if these are her problems, but she has some red flags for things like Aspergers Syndrome, childhood mood disorders and other things. Therapy alone will not help these problems. Her pottying and playing with poop are huge red flags t hat something is way out of the norm. A regular therapists or even a regular psychologist probably is not the best one to test and evaluate this behavior to see what it means. Remember, the earlier a child is evaluted and given interventions, the better the better the final outcome. I wouldn't ignore it...I'd go for an evaluation. I prefer NeuroPsychs. You can find them at university and children's hospitals. Beware of evaluations of ODD. ODD almost never stands by itself and is usually triggered by a bigger, treatable disorder...good luck!
  8. I know what you are going through. I had a foster daughter (before I adopted my boys) who would wet herself. She was six and she was doing it in the classroom. She would walk in the classroom and boom, then she would change her pants and boom she would go again. Only pee though! We were sure she had a urinary tract infection but no, the doctor gave me an antibiotic and said start her on it and when I get the results back for the test I will call you. He called the next day and said stop the antibiotic, she is fine! I was so shocked that she would do this at school in front of all her classmates. But she had been going through a rough time, had been disrupted from an adoption and put back into foster care and was feeling so abandoned. I felt for her but was afraid if she kept this up she would be made fun of. Once the teacher realized it was purposeful and told me so to my face (I was shocked!), she stopped on her own and was done. The attention she was seeking was no longer coming to her through the teacher and she quit doing it.

    While you care for your daughter and want her to stop, there is really no way we can control her bodily functions and they know that. Trust me, I am preaching to the choir here because I was really crazy when she was wetting herself because it is gross and I didn't want her to regress.

    I feel for you and hope you are successful in this endeavor.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There can be many reasons for this, from purely emotional to sensory issues to physical problems or any combination of these. But perhaps because of our own experiences in our house, I'm with Midwest Mom on this, I'm thinking Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form at least needs to be considered.

    For now, I'd be putting her back in PullUps. It's an acknowledgement of, "OK dear, you're still not ready to use a toilet, so we'll just have to keep you in nappies until you are." (I know you probably feel this is giving in to her and letting her get away with bad behaviour, and that she could well take advantage of this and be even lazier - sometimes you have to let them have their way for a bit, to make sure they've had enough eventually).

    I remember when difficult child 1 was a baby, we would lie him on the floor on a bouncinette, with a toy stand above him so he could reach his toys and play with them. easy child, who had never shown any interest in such things as a baby especially once she started to crawl, suddenly reverted to baby behaviour and wanting to lie on the bouncinette with the toy stand over her head. So I let her. She tried it out, then pretended to be a baby. I went along with it for a minute and made sure that she knew the difference between being a dependent baby unable to talk, and a capable two year old able to talk, to walk, to dress herself and to feed herself. All she had wanted was a little reassurance that growing up and moving on was OK, and that she didn't have to move on if she wasn't ready.

    Both my boys were a nightmare when it came to toilet training. difficult child 3, even after he was (mostly) trained, wouldn't use a toilet away from home. He often soiled himself at school. I used to teach my (now lunchtime) class after school and often would get one or two kids who "had an air about them", clearly with soiled clothing. I would be stuck with them for an hour, not permitted to touch them or suggest they clean up.

    I also remember the finger painting. Oh, what fun (not).

    Here's what we did (based on my older sister's kids). First, as soon as the kid can walk, I used them to help with nappy changing. The toddler can always put their own nappy in the nappy bucket, or the nappy bin (depending on whether you use cloth or disposable). Any overflow - well, someone has to clean it up. While ever the mother is seen as the one whose job it is to scrub poo out of the carpet or off the walls, then the child will not see any amount of personal responsibility.

    You don't have to do it with an air of punishment - instead, the kid has clearly been entertaining themselves, now it's time to tidy it all up. What? You mean it's NOT as easy to clean up as it usually is to put your blocks away? Hmm, then maybe you need to rethink this one, little darling, before you paint with excreta again. OK, I will help, we will do it together. It would be good to make sure we can clean it so there is no smell, you don't want people coming in here and knowing just from the smell what you've been doing, do you?

    Depending on the age of the child and how much practice they've had, you do need to work alongside them a bit. And to make sure they're not making a mess just to get you to work alongside them, you need to also make time to do fun stuff together, such as bake cookies. Time taken out to clean up a mess takes time away from having fun together. "Sorry, Mummy's too tired to bake cookies with you right now, I need to rest after scrubbing that floor."

    I've handed my kids the scrubbing brush and some warm soapy water, to make sure they clean up after finger painting. I also make them clean themselves up (with help where needed) if they soil their clothes. ALL their clothes have to be changed, they need a thorough wash (in the shower, preferably) and then they need to clean their soiled clothing and put it into the washing machine.

    This is not punishment. It's part of personal responsibility.

    If I spill a cup of milk, I must mop it up immediately. If my child spills a cup of milk, he must mop it up immediately, although if he's very young I will help. But neither of us can move on to play or do anything else until that milk has been mopped up.

    For toilet training difficult child 3 - we went to an expert. We had tried everything and finally needed help. A big part of the problem was that he didn't recognise the feeling of either needing to go, or having just gone. Then you get a psychological overlay on top of it - "Im in trouble again, I don't know how to control this properly, so I may as well get some mileage out of it." Anger, resentment and just downright naughtiness creeps in.

    But the start - we went back to nappies.

    Some kids just take longer because their bodies aren't ready. You can't set the alarm clock by the calendar. One of my nephews was allegedly bowel trained at only a few months old. difficult child 3 was six years old at least.

    And it's not related to intelligence, either - difficult child 3 is one very bright kid. My nephew - yes, he's bright, but I don't think he's quite in difficult child 3's league. He was just ready, that's all.

    I'd be giving serious thought to at least checking out Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) as a possibility. It won't hurt to at least rule it out.