My five year old daughter beats me up and I don't know what to do

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ikeeptrying, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Ikeeptrying

    Ikeeptrying Guest

    Hi--this is my first time posting. I'm reading the Explosive Child and Parenting Without Power Struggles and trying to implement, but due to a lot of stuff happening in our family, my five year old's tantrums are more frequent. Daily, she hits, kicks, bites, pinches, and spits in both my face and also attacks my 2.5 yr old.

    When she is in the middle of attacking me, what can I do? I want to lock her in another room to protect myself and my other daughter, but my husband doesn't like me doing that and it makes me feel like a wimp. I try to hug her but that just makes it worse. Help!
    I'm also trying to PREVENT these tantrums, but I need help for the during.
  2. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    I Keep Trying ~
    Welcome! I hope you find a wealth of support on this website. It has REALLY helped me get through some rough times...This is a safe place to come to discuss any/all of your concerns because everyone understands and "gets" what you are going through. I am sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time with- your daughter right now. I have been dealing with- many of the same behaviors with my 3 1/2 year old son. Have you talked to your pediatrician yet about her behavior? I would reccommed that you get her an appointment to see a psychologist so that she can be evaluated. My B2 currently sees a psychologist weekly for therapy and has had a full psychiatric evaluation. He was diagnosed with Mood Disorder not otherwise specified (with- the likelyhood of it developing into bipolar), ODD and ADHD. Does your daughter have these behaviors at school as well or does it just happen at home? My B2 would attack me and B1, but not FF1 (hitting, kicking, biting, scratching, spitting). I started to use a reward system with B2. I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of small prizes and he could earn a prize up to 3 times a day (1 at lunch time for not exhibiting aggression in the AM, 1 at dinner time for not having aggression and 1 at bed time for not having aggression). It has been somewhat of an effective tool, but I find myself having to change up the prizes periodically so that he stays motivated to earn them. As time went on unfortunately, he quit liking the rewards, so I ended up taking him to a psyciatrist and he was perscribed Risperdal. This medication has seemed to work pretty well for B2. He went from having 10-12 agressive attacks to 1-3 per day now. As far as how to stop her during an attack, the psychiatrist taught me how to put B2 in a cradle hold (He hates it, but it prevents anyone else from getting hurt). It even got to a point that he would stop the behavior because he didn't want me to put him in a cradle hold. You hold the child facing out on your lap, cross his/her arms in front of them, you hold onto each of their hands kind of wrapping their hands behind their back. I often also have to wrap my legs around his to prevent him from kicking me. Give it a try and see if it helps.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Ikeeptrying. Welcome to our forum.

    It's really tough to determine a course of action when behaviors seem more intense than they should be, and by age 5 she definitely should have more control. You should talk to your pediatrician, but I'd recommend bringing a video so it doesn't get blown off as the usual tantrums. Specifically ask for a recommendation. We favor neuropsychologist or developmental pediatricians for this age group as they tend to do more thorough evaluations, not just a regular psychologist or psychiatrist.

    There's a book that should help you called "What Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You: Discovering the Pathway from Symptoms to Solutions" by Dr. Douglas Riley.

    Outside of tantruming, is there anything else going on that seems unusual about your child's development? Is speech on track? Is she overly sensitive to clothing, lights, sounds? How is her sleep?

    Is there any history of mental health issues in the family?

    Do keep reading The Explosive Child and see if taking preventative measures and problem solving helps. It does help many kids, but it takes a huge effort on the part of the parents to learn to do it correctly and to continue to carry it out.

    If safety is a concern, there is a hold that you can use, but it's critical that you be professionally trained in order to use it, as doing it incorrectly can endanger the child. I'd also mention that this should only be a temporary solution--physical restraint doesn't work for all children and won't work well as the child gets older.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't hold with holding, not in all cases. For a lot of kids it can work well, and so you do it. But some kids can be made worse if you try it and for them, I would recommend against it.

    If your husband doesn't like your option (locking her in a 'safe room') then has he anything viable to offer as an alternative? because if not, it is "put up or shut up" time. You do what you feel you need to do, in order to be safe. Of course your long-term aim is to not need to do this, but you also should not put up with this sort of attack on you with no response. She's also attacking a younger sibling and that is definitely no-go. It's Basket A, in my opinion.

    However, long-term it's worth trying a reward system for an increasing period of time without physical attack. I would also think of providing her with some other physical outlet that doesn't cause pain to someone (like you or your other child). We used to use a jogging trampoline for difficult child 1, so when he was fired up and aggressive he could go jump, literally. A jogging trampoline can be set up in a bedroom, and the child can jump on it whenever they have excess energy to expend. Even in wet weather.

    I do agree with getting her evaluated; also see if you can get some professional advice on how to deal with her attacks. This is not acceptable and you need to draw a line in the sand now.

  5. maxeygirls

    maxeygirls New Member

    I just wanted to put my 2 cents in with the hold that SRL mentioned. I was taught how to restrain my daughter who is 50lbs and roughly the size of a 5-6 year old, it helps but it isn't a long-term solution. It is vital that someone shows you how to do it and tells you what to do. What I did find was that when my younger child was able to move around, the hold became more difficult as she would come close enough to infuriate my older child and make things much worse.
    Does your health insurance have a mental health line? Many insurances do and they may be able to help you set up an evaluation with a psychologist or psychiatrist quickly. I first found help through my pediatrician but later I found the mental health line through our insurance to be a blessing. I really agree with SRL's suggestion about bringing in a video, even if it's just taken and displayed to a doctor on a digital camera, I know that when I did this I quit getting responses like "she's just spirited" and "every kid has tantrums."
    This forum is a wonderful place and everyone here is very supportive, welcome and stay strong!
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Holding can actually make everything worse in some kids. If I held Eeyore, he would calm down very quickly. If I touch Tigger - at all - it escalates everything.

    What helps Tigger is for the lights and all sound (tv, radio, etc) to be turned off and everyone to just back away and wait in silence until he regains control. Once we figured that out, we were all happier. He wasable to express that he hated hitting us but all he knew was he needed us to go away but during his meltdowns he wasn't able to access his language and explain it.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I admit we were never taught how to hold difficult child 3, but perhaps that is because it was fairly obvious that for him, it would be a mistake.

    easy child at 14 was trying to hold difficult child 3 when he was a toddler, and he was still able to throw his head back and gave her concussion. It was just before we had a 3 hour drive to go to a niece's wedding, and we didn't realise easy child was concussed until she began vomiting at the wedding. Not good.

    Holding used to work for difficult child 1 a lot of the time, but when he was angry it was hands off.

  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If her tantrums are to the degree that you are looking for ways to protect yourself, then it's definitely time to look for professional help. Kids don't tantrum to this degree for no reason.
  9. OMG I know what you are going through I go through it too on a daily basis with my almost 5 yr old step-son. Once he starts into a tantrum he just loses all control and it gets to the point of him physically hitting etc both towrds myself and other siblings. We have tried the holding, with no luck he is too strong when caught up in a tantrum to be held. We have his room made as a safe room there is nothing he can harm himself on and we put him there until he can gain some control. We then sit outside his room which has a gate not a door so we can monitor what he is doing and wait it out (this is not normally just a few mins and may be up to an hour). We also are awating profeesional help but in the meantime this is the only thing that is safe and available. It is soooooo difficult to deal with this but this is the safe option for both myself, him and his siblings that we have been able to come up with.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Ikeeptrying.
    I agree with-Marg, that if your husband can't come up with-an alternative, it's put up or shut up. Besides, you're not locking your daughter in a room. You are putting her in a safe place to cool down. Call it her safe place, or her cool down place. Make sure there are no breakables around. It can be her own bedroom, but then you have to remove lamps and expensive dolls or books, which at this point, you should have removed anyway.
    I also agree with-the others that she needs to be seen by a professional.
    Obviously the holding plan is not working. You are getting too banged up. I was taught the holding technique by our child psychiatric but frankly, it only lasted about 2 mo's because by the time I learned it, difficult child was almost my size and definitely stronger than I was. I would get so sweaty, I couldn't hold him and my hands would slip off of his skin. Also, as several people here mentioned, it depends upon the kid. It will calm down some kids, but it will cause other kids to escalate.
    Definitely, keep your kids apart. You've got to protect the 2-1/2 yr old.
    What sets off your daughter? Can you observe her and watch for triggers? Like transitioning from TV to lunch, or going out the door for an appointment, or sharing with-her younger sibling?