I'm new and my daughter's behavior has pushed me into therapy.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MuniMama, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. MuniMama

    MuniMama New Member

    Hello and let me introduce myself by letting everyone know how desperate I am in seeking an explanation for my 2 year old daughter's behavior. My daughter is a beautiful little girl who is very sweet, intelligent and friendly but has an EXTREMELY volatile and unpredictable temperament. It has gotten to the point where I get nervous when she is around me and I am going to see a therapist. I am severly depressed. My daughter is my life, I live for her like every mother lives for her child. But I am so tired of doing so much and working so hard for my daughter for her to have these violent and aggressive outbursts and extreme mood swings.....and then be fine and rosy with the world 2 seconds later.

    Here behavior patterns go something like this:
    -Gets frustrated extremely easily (example, tries to put on her shoes but gets stuck and starts kicking, screaming, flailing, hittiing me and hitting objects and hurting herself by smacking herself in the head)
    -I took her to wash her hands today after school which we always do and she threw a monstrous tantrum which consisted of screaming, hitting, kicking for about 5 minutes. For something that we do every day!!!!! She does not calm down easily and the more you talk to her calmly and try to get her to relax the more extreme and violent the tantrum gets. It seems like she disconnects from the world and goes into some sort of "tantrum trance." I have even had people mention to friends of mind in public places that they think I must abuse her because of her behavior (which is the farthest thing from the truth, we don't even spank her!!!)
    -She is starting to have an extremely difficult time accepting the word NO. Like all toddlers do I am sure, but she takes it to a violent extreme.
    -Asks for help for simple things that she knows how to do about 1,000 times a day. I think to myself somethimes that she will grow up to be utterly useless. She is excessively whiny and whines and cries most of the day, sometimes for what seems like no reason.

    The bottom line is I want nothing more than to be a good mom, to do things with my daughter and share everything that is special to me with her. That is all I've ever wanted. But I can't, she is a ticking time bomb and I never know when and where she will explode. And once she does, there is no calming her down using suggested methods. Her tantrums and whining keep going and going and going.

    I don't know what else, to do, I have even considered suicide as sick as that sounds. I am sick of people telling me that I am the problem and that my daughter is just going through the terrible twos. This is something different.

    Does anyone have a similar experience??? Anything please!!!!!!!
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome. I'm sorry you have to be here but I am glad you have found us. My first concern is your depression, are you on an antidepressant? If so, are you feeling any better since starting it? Also, is your therapist aware that you have had suicidal thoughts? It's important that you take care of yourself so that you can take care of your daughter.

    While I wasn't depressed, my daughter was difficult like yours. She's slowly improved to the point where I can enjoy being around her again almost all the time (she's seven).

    The biggest things I did for myself was to find some very quiet and peaceful time away from her to recharge myself and learning to not really care what others thought of me and my parenting.

    There's a thread stuck to top of this forum about adapting The Explosive Child. I'd like you to take a moment to read it and consider picking up a copy. Unfortunately, your daughter's young age is probably working against you at this point as most health care professionals won't offer a diagnosis or treatment plan because so many troublesome behaviors are considered age appropriate. You can start by ruling out a physical cause (medical/neurological) and keeping a behavior journal.
  3. laurensmyprincess

    laurensmyprincess New Member

    I am so sorry for what you are going through!

    First, I am very concerned about YOU. You need to speak with someone. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your daughter. Have you spoken to a doctor? I urge you to speak with someone that you trust. You need to get some control over your feelings....this is NOT your fault.

    I am no expert, but I do know what it is like to deal with a difficult, explosive, emotional unstable child. My daughter has Epilepsy, which can cause a whole whack of emotional issues.

    Have you had your child evaluated by a specialist? This would be the next step. Please try and get in to see someone. My experience has been that it can take a while and alot of discussions to get any sort of diagnosis for your child.

    The Ross Greene Strategies around collabrative problem solving are good ones, but might be difficult with a 2 year old. I know I had trouble adapting it when my daughter was 4.

    I am so sorry for your pain. I can hear your sadness. I hope that you can get some answers soon. Please take care of yourself.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome Munimama, I'm glad you found us. There's probably nothing that you're experiencing that parents here haven't already been through so you're in the right place.

    I agree with the others to put yourself first in seeking help and to address the depression. IN addition to seeing a therapist you may want to consider seeing a doctor who can prescribe antidepressants. It's no easy task raising a difficult child, and because progress in our little ones usually takes time it's important to get yourself supported and emotionally on the mend. I would encourage you to post you therapists phone number by your phone in addition to your local crisis hotline in the event you would feel desperate again. I promise you that if you are feeling more emotionally stable, you will be better equipped to cope with her.

    I would advise you keep a journal of your daughter's behaviors--diet, sleep patterns, triggers that start tantrums, etc. The reason I say this is at age 2 it may be difficult to convince a doctor that something may be up if violent tantrums is really the only thing that is outstanding from the behavioral list. I know that you are seeing a whole host of difficult behaviors but the range of behaviors in typical 2 year olds is very broad so the more data you can provide the better.

    Have you or other family members been diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety, or other mental health issues?

    Outside of the outbursts, is there anything else that is unusual about her developmental history? How is her speech?

    Is she very sensitive to lights, sounds, or clothing textures?

    Hang in there.
  5. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member


    Welcome! I'm glad you found the site, and hope that if nothing else, you come to realize that you're not alone in parenting a difficult child, and there are others here to support you.

    What does your DS's dad have to say about her behavior? Does he see a problem? What about her pediatrician?

    I know my husband & I hoped for the longest time that Sam's challenging behaviors were just a phase -- something all kids go through. But reality finally sunk in for us; unfortunately it's taken some convincing of other family members, but there are some who really seem to finally get that there's a problem.

    For me, antidepressants have been a tremendous help (I suffered from depression long before Sam was born), and in surviving Sam, I've found it absolutely necessary to get time to myself. I've even hired a neighborhood teenager to babysit while I go upstairs to read a book or just relax.

    I know exactly how you feel about never knowing when the explosions will start... but The Explosive Child can help you start seeing patterns or triggers, so you can then better prepare yourself for the onslaught.

    Sending you a ((HUG)) across the internet --

  6. MuniMama

    MuniMama New Member

    Thank you all for replying to my post. I feel like I have found some people who really understand me. One of my biggest problems has been people (mainly my husband and my mother) criticizing my parenting style. I feel completely run down and undermined emotionally. They keep saying that I get to angry with our daughter and have no patience. They think that her behavior is normal and is just terrible twos. It is useless to try and talk to them and I feel like I can't parent because they are always interfering and thinking that I am doing a poor job of dealing with her temper or that I'm being to harsh. The combination of all of these things has proceeded to just ruin me.

    In response to your questions about the antidepressants and therapists, yes I have been on anti depressants (cymbalta and lexapro) and I don't think they've helped me, just made me feel stupid. I am going to a therapist this Friday and I am hoping that talking to a third party will help validate my feelings.

    As far as the questions about my daughter, she has absolutely no speech or neurological problems. As a matter of fact she is absolutely advanced in all aspects of her development. The only issue is her defiance and uncontrolable violent outbursts.

    I thought that when I had my baby parenting would be joyous and rewarding. I now find myself in a nightmare for which I feel everybody is blaming me for.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    How long have you been struggling with depression? Was it a problem before your daughter came along or were you struggling with it before?

    Is there any other family history of mental health or neurological problems?
  8. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    I am new here as well. My daughter turned 6 a few months ago, and after months of ineffective therapy, my husband and I decided to see a child psychiatrist. She showed the same behaviors as your 2 yr-old, consistently from around that age. We also thought it was "Terrible 2's", but then came even worse 3's and still worse 4's. By the time she reached age 5, we had even discussed divorce because our family was so stressed out. She has always been a high maintenance child--she had GERD and we were in the ER (ambulance and everything) a few days after we took her home from the hospital because she was choking on milk that wouldn't stay down. It was crazy to go through all of that and have the dr tell us that it was "just reflux". She cried many hours before we finally got her on medications that helped the food stay down and stabilize the acids in her tummy.
    Because we catered to her, (so that she wouldn't choke again) she began to respond to our rushing to her when she started crying. It has been very hard to admit that she does have a problem, especially for my husband. I have had to leave friend's and family's houses because of her behavior, and had to restrain her (just last night, actually) to keep her from hurting us, or destroying things in our house. I have also thought of checking out, or just leaving, because I feel like it's my fault and that her life is going to be so hard.
    The psychiatrist suggested that she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder with ADHD, which made sense when I looked at the characteristics--and quite frankly I was so glad that he didn't think she was bipolar that I was willing to try anything to get it corrected.
    So, she is on the lowest dose of an ADHD medication, which made a notable difference the first day. She still has the tantrums, but she does have more control over her impulsive behavior and that makes it easier to work on her defiant behavior.
    I have been kicked, punched, spit on, head-butted, and pretty much anything she could think of. One day she tried to jump out of the car on an interstate highway. She's gotten out of her carseat and attacked me while driving--and several times I've been hit in the head by things thrown fromt he backseat. Oh yeah, and one day she was jumping on her bed in the middle of a tantrum shouting that she wanted me to "D-I-E".
    She is very intelligent--she's been reading since age 4. I really wish we had taken her in sooner. Please consider doing that for your daughter.
    Our family thought it was normal as well, but then they thought I wasn't being tough enough on her. I teach Special Education. and have had some experience with defiant children, and I know that the conflict is what drives this behavior.
    I take antidepressants and I'm ok with that--I didn't want to medicate her, but I see how it helps her slow down and more easily gain control over her behavior.
    I've read that Cognitive Behavior Therapy really helps, and I'm looking for more info on it. I have been asking her questions like "Is this behavior working for you?" or "What is wrong with your behavior right now?" and "What can you do to turn this around?" I also give her some choices, like Love and Logic, but I have to word it a bit differently for her. I have been telling her that she can do what I have asked her to do, or I can "help" her do it, which takes the control away from her. She has been opting to do it on her own. One day this week, she was having trouble with something and I tried to help her--she punched me in the arm!
    So, I learned that no matter how frustrated she is, I will let her work it out. The main thing is to stay CALM and know that you can do this--if you start now, chances are that she will be successful in controlling her behavior in the future!
    My family thinks that a "good spanking" cures all behavior problems, but with this type of problem, spanking shows the child how to hurt someone else. It's been tough. I've even decided to major in behavior problems in grad school to get better at handling my little girl.
    I am rambling--sorry! I just see myself a few years ago when reading your message! Hang in there!
  9. MuniMama

    MuniMama New Member

    Hey my daughter had GERD too as a baby, really bad. She was on Zantac for months. Yeah I remember how fun that was. I must tell you that I am going in to see a child psychologist this Saturday to get a handle on all this before it becomes a bigger issue. I love my daughter and she is my life. I have had emotions from thinking that she is ungrateful and hates me all the way to I've done something to her for her to act like this, maybe I've yelled to much at her or have fought with my husband in front of her too many times. This list of things that goes through my mind is endless. All I can think about is "how it could have been." How we could have been the picture perfect American family from the beginning, but it has been so hard and I feel like such a failure. I am exhausted but have no choice but to keep going. Thank you for your good advice and I really hope that your little girl is getting along better. When the good times do roll around take advantage of them, best advice I can think of so far.
  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Does your daughter have allergies?
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I've been thinking about what would be the best route for you to go. Unfortunately, at age 2 it's really hard to get a doctor to listen unless you a) there are very definite signs of developmental or medical differences being observed and/or b) you have an exceptionally good relationship with your child's pediatrician. Age 2 is especially hard because as you know people are pretty quick to jump to the terrible 2's explanation. I could see most of what you described as falling within the normal range (which is wide at age 2) but the violent outrages especially wouldn't be typical if your daughter has grown up in a stable environment with mostly consistent parenting.

    Is there a family mental health history--as in did you suffer from depression prior to her arrival or do other close family members have other mental health issues? There's a pretty strong genetic correlation so if you were to approach your doctor and have information about for instance a lot of bipolar in the family that would probably help. I would gather up any information on family history, make a journal of behaviors for a few weeks, vidoetape her violent outbursts, and then take it to my pediatrician. You would be a lot more likely to get a referral for help than if you walk in cold. Usually you'll need to schedule a seperate appointment--ask to discuss developmental/behavioral concerns.

    The other thing that I'm going to mention is that us parents who have been dealing with this for a long time have learned that while our children may have this or that disorder we often DID impact their behaviors in a negative sense because we didn't have the parenting tools we needed. Handling this type of child takes parenting skills most of us didn't grow up watching in our own parents. So we apply what we saw and what most people do and the result for a child who can't handle it is that it often makes the difficult behaviors a lot worse. Pick up a copy of the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and read the thread at the top of this board on the topic. Most of us were able to at least reduce the meltdowns by changing the way we interact with the child and by adjusting what we expect of them. It will look unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first but think of it as a different path to going where you want your child to go.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hello, MuniMom! I can so relate to your feelings about your daughter...I felt such envy for people who enjoyed spending time with their kids, who could go places and have fun, when most of the time, what I got was fights and screaming somewhere along the line. I understand. I also know how it feels to have non-supportive family members...blaming you for their behaviors...when all you're trying to do is get through each day. I'm sure I could have done many things better with Miss KT, but I did the best I could with the info I had at the time. You've found a safe place. Sending hugs.
  13. Joeman

    Joeman New Member

    Hi Munimom,
    I agree totally with the others here that you need to take care of yourself #1. I'm always at my worst when I'm feeling down or frustrated. I too had very similar challenges with my DS at ages 1 & 2. For us, I heard the 'normal 2 year old boy' stuff over and over. I felt like an incompetent parent and I have two older PCs. You are probably in a better position to get help outside of the pediatrician route, like a child psychologist or early intervention to start. Our pediatrician wouldn't even consider further evaluations due to behavior issues until his 3 year old visit.

    I recommend reading SOS for Parents. It is an easy read and offers some basic parenting techniques such as praising good behaviors, ignoring some bad behaviors and implementing a 'non emotional' time out. The book helped me sort out things and feel more organized in my discipline approach. One other thing I did was to take a week break from any sort of 'no', 'don't', 'stop' type of commands or yelling or timeouts or anything. Instead, I hovered, watched what he was doing, offered profuse praise for compliance, gentle redirection when needed, etc. I found my blood pressure immediately droppping 20 points. After that, we implemented timeout for one behavior only and went from there, slowly. The behaviorist we worked with told us to shoot for two positive praises for every one correction. We had completely 'depleted our bank account' and DS's negative, defiant behavior was so intense it was all he was about. The more positive we were, the better things were overall.

    I hope you get the help you need and things improve for you soon. Take care...
  14. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Reading your post has given me flashbacks to when Daughter was her age. At the time, she was receiving chemotherapy for leukemia, so we blamed all the outragious behavior on that. There was a positive to doing that, it opened her up to many services she otherwise would not have qualified for. In the long run, though, after the chemo was done, when she was three, the behaviors didn't stop. They were only getting worse.

    I support the others in you seeking help, and respite, for yourself. Parenting this type of child is exhausting beyond words. To top it off, we carry the burden of worrying to death about exactly what is going on with them. I know when there was some really rough times with either of my difficult children, I took anti-depressants. They helped, a lot. If anything, they kept my mind clear while I had to deal with the chaos of my home life. They probably kept me from running away and changing my identity, too. Not kidding.

    Your family may never really understand. I know it's hard, but you have to do whatever is best for your child, and let their reactions roll off your back. Or, try and think of some snappy comebacks to make them back off. Be firm and calm about it. Or, just ignore.

    If you have a video camera, start filming her behavior.
    Seeing is believing. This is can be very helpful with Peds and psychiatrists. I would definitely start investigating early intervention with her. I'm not sure how it works in your state. Look into it.

    And, keep posting here. Vent, vent, and vent some more! I don't know how I would have survived without this place during my darkest days. I shudder to think where my family would have ended up. It's still extremely stressful at times, but I can actually see a faint flicker of light on some days.
  15. sotired

    sotired New Member

    Hi I am new to this and reading alot of these I seem to see abbreviations like husband DS and difficult child what do these mean? Sotired
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    GERD and allergies run hand in hand according to our allergist (very highly regarded, tops in the state, excellent with kids!). And allergies can cause many of teh behaviors you are seeing, though very few docs, even allergists, will tell you this. Many of the psychiatrists we ahve seen even say this isn't true. But it is. And there is research to prove it.

    I think the journal is an excellent idea. At ehr age, it will be attributed to her age or parenting or overreacting mom. But follow your instincts. Even if she is your only child, your instincts will tell you if there is a problem. And when it comes to a child, the only true experts are that child's parents, esp the mom (yes, this is chauvinistic, but moms often are more tuned to a child. I think it is a partly a due to biology and preservation of the species, partly due to carrying the child inside mom's body for 9 months, but this is just in my opinion.).

    it may take trials on a number of different medications to treat your depression. What is right for one is not right for another. Maybe trying one of the older medications would help. For each medication you take, please google "medicine name withdrawal" because many of the medications have very nasty withdrawals and you should be informed. For me, effexor had the worst withdrawal, lasting months, but for others it was a diff medication.

    I would ahve your child evaluated by a developmental pediatrician. It may take weeks or a couple of months to get in after you schedule, so get scheduled as soon as you can. Then you can work on the journal while you wait to be seen. I also suggest making a Parent Report. It is a framework to organize the info about your child so the docs can understand it. Family history, your hopes adn dreams for your child, etc... are included. It takes several sessions to get it done usually. It will be your new bff, you will take it to the docs, to school, etc.... Here is a link to the Parent Report: http://www.conductdisorders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10

    also, there should be free screenings available for developmental delays if you call the county health dept. It is good to get all the screenings you can, as this can open doors.

    If you can, could you make a signature? It gives us a little info on your family so we can remember who you are as we read each post (you can see other people's sigs at the bottom of each post). Here is a link to that: http://www.conductdisorders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8399



    ps. please don't put info such as last names, pics of teh family in the avatar, etc... This is because anyone could access the board and see info about you. Lots of personal info is shared on this site, so leaving out what you can is for your safety.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, about your mom and other family: they don't live with her, you and husband do. And moms seem to see that things are wrong earlier than dads do. It took about 2-3 years before my husband agreed my son had problems. Others here ahve said that their dhs are slower to pick up on the fact that there were problems, or tended to downplay them. NOT slamming dads, some picked up on problems earlier, but I do think mom's instincts about soemthing being wrong are right most of the time.

    let mom's criticism roll off your back as long as you are comfortable iwth your parenting. I don't know much about SOS for Parenting. The Explosive Child is EXCELLENT, and tehre is a post about using it with young children at the top of this forum's index. MOST of us ahve used this book and gotten a lot of help from it.

    I also recommend the Love and Logic books. For overall parenting, parenting with love and logic is an excellent book. For young kids, Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood is great. You can learn more about L&L at www.loveandlogic.com . PArt of the reason I like this is that the original authors used it and refined it while raising their kids. One of the authors has a son who teaches love and logic adn writes some of the books. They even offer audiobooks so you can learn techniques while commuting to work or exercising or whatever. I went to one of the 1 day seminars, aimed more at teachers, but still very useful. (ANd being a tightwad, it took a program I really had seen a big benefit from to get me to spend the $$$ for the seminar, LOL!) The website has an audio download that is interesting.

    I think it took a lot of courage to admit the suicidal thoughts, esp to a board of parents you don't know. I think you are becoming a true Warrior Mom!

  18. MuniMama

    MuniMama New Member

    Hello everyone. After a bit of a hiatus I'm back and I finally read all of your helpful posts. I am actually just recovering from another one of my daughter's boughts of defiance and extreme tantrum aggression (and from my mom showing up and telling me that I'm the problem, but at least she got my daughter out of my hair for 15 minutes). I was so upset at her I sent to bed without dinner and she screamed in her room for about 20 minutes. So now here I am dealing with the aftermath guilt and wanting to go wake her up and hug her.......A question, what go all those abbreviations mean....girlfriend husband etc....?