screaming 5 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by just_lost, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. just_lost

    just_lost Guest

    I am out of ideas. My husband and I are blessed with a very precocious just-turned 5 year old. However, she throws screaming fits whenever something does not go her way. These screams can be heard down our block, so much so that I have had to assure our neighbors that we do not beat our children. This is the biggest problem, our other daughter who just turned 2. We have tried positive reinforcement, the problem is there is nothing my daughter wants or looks forward to she would very easily miss her dance recital that she had been working weeks for or a birthday party for her friend. I make sure to praise her for all of her good behavior, but yet she continues the screaming fits. We have tried time out - she could care less and it has not modified her behavior. We emptied her bedroom and play room and she cared less. We have ignored the screaming but it will go on for hours and when I must get to work on time or risk losing my job, there is only so much ignoring I can do. Talking to her is a lost cause, she tell us what we want to hear and then returns to this behavior after a day. I am afraid that my other daughter is now suffering because of this behavior. When my 5 year old screams, she scares her sister and makes her cry. We have also brought this to her attention, (the two are very close) and she will stop, say she is sorry to her, and then go scream in her bedroom. Sometimes I wait so long for her to settle down that my other daugther has missed her play time, or other activity that she was supposed to do. I thought that she may do this on spite but there is no rhyme or reason to it. Anything can set her off. I always make sure that they have individual activities with mom and dad so they do not feel that they are ignored. She only does this with us, her parents. In preschool her teachers love her. She always does what is told and has no problems with school work or social behavior with peers or adults. She is wonderful for her grandparents and aunts and uncles as well. Both of my parents are educators as am I and when I mention about having her speak to a psychologist they think I am crazy. They tell me this is normal, yet I have never witnessed this behavior in other children. I even spoke to my pediatrician and he told me to use time out, which we do consistently but it has not lead to any changes. This is leading to arguments with my husband, parents, and others and I can not continue to go like this. Other parents tell me she will grow out of it, but they have been telling me this since she was 1.5 yrs when it started and it has been 3.5 yrs now of the same behavior. I am just lost.
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Lost! Welcome to our little corner of the internet! You've found a great group here - lots of experience with these things and tons of support for everyone!

    We're not Doctors on here so naturally we can't diagnose things, but you'll see that a lot of questions will be asked which allows different members to better understand your situation.

    You'll want to set up a profile - there are a lot of us on here regularly, so trying to keep each others kids and family setups straight would be impossible (like mine at the end of my post - you can see how in the first forum listed when you log in)!

    Have you ever had a neuropsychologist exam or multidisciplinary exam done on her? This would take some time to set up, but the neuropsychologist provides a lot of insight...they talk to you, test her, observe her (the tests are all outpatient and are done over several days) and allowes them to get a better "sense" about her. You can usually get them done at a Childrens or Teaching hospital.

    Consider reading the Explosive Child by Ross Greene. Many kids can't be parented the same way we were for a variety of reasons - it's a comfortable read (funny in a lot of spots) and quick.

    How was her early development? Did she hit the milestones on time?
    Eye contact with strangers? Have an issue with "itchy tags"? Food aversions? Certain sounds set her off? How does she do with her peers? Has she been super knowledgable on any one particular subject or toy (like an authority?)?

    It's almost 10:30pm, and I've got a ton to do before bed...I'll try and login nice and early in the a.m. - keep it together...more will stop by and help out. We're here for you!

    Take care!

  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Just Lost--I'm really glad that you found us.

    When something is telling you as a Mom to pursue answers for unusual behaviors, it's usually better to listen than to ignore. If your pediatrician isn't getting it, try video taping one of those episodes without your daughter being aware of the fact.

    What have you seen that's "very precocious"?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would take her pronto to see a neuropsychologist. I'm only a mom, but it sounds like she COULD be a spectrum kid...they can not transition without raging and they don't care about the normal stuff other kids care about. Does she have any obsessive interests? Make good eye contact with strangers? Can she deal with crowds and fast changes?

    I'd be wondering about Aspergers. These, and all special kids, do not respond to traditional parenting I'm not surprised that the normal stuff didn't work.

    Welcome to the board ;)

    PS:: YOUR instincts are right. This is not normal, even if she stores it up just for you. THAT is also very common with our kids. They hold it in for others, but they CAN'T hold it in forever so it explodes on us. I'd stop asking others who have no idea about advice. Pediatricians are poor diagnosticians of childhood disorders. It's not their field, which is runny noses and chicken pox.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I agree that your daughter needs a complete evaluation, including Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory issues and speech evaluation for possible language and processing issues. Chances are that it will not be easy to figure it all out, but it will tell you how to help her.

    It sounds like she works really hard when you are not around so that she can keep everything together and please people. When she is with you she knows you love her no matter what so she lets the stress show in these screaming fits. It isn't fun to parent a child like this, but it is a sign that she trusts you to love her no matter what.

    Do sounds, textures, noises, tastes and other types of sensory input either drive her nuts so she avoids them or please her so she seeks them out more than other children do? This is called sensory integration disorder and it means that her brain is not handling input from her senses properly. My youngest could NOT sit in church for the service except in the very few rows under the choir loft. The sounds of the organ were not quite as loud there. even with that it took about six years of leaving early with him before he could handle sitting through a service. The noise bothered him by the volume and the very deep bass and very high pitched singers. There were times I put noise cancelling headphones on him if we didn't want to leave the service. The big old fashioned looking ones that totally cover the ears.

    He is also sensitive to many foods. Not that shows as an allergy, but it certainly changes his behavior. Some of these have been outgrown, thank heavens. He was 5 before he could eat pizza. The cheese and tomato both caused problems. At home we made them with soy cream cheese (which is actually better than reg cream cheese!), veggies and english muffins so he could feel he had pizza. He is 10 now and this has been the first year of school where he did not miss lots of school due to being overwhelmed by the sensory stuff at school. He literally would get really pale and shake slightly for hours when he was overwhelmed. Luckily he learns easily and has always been at the top of his class.

    My son also eats his shirts. He needs to chew on things and shirts seem to fit the need. Every few months I have to replace his shirts, usually at thrift stores because there isn't much point in buying new ones. He doesn't even realize he does it until the shirt collar is all wet or if it has long sleeves the cuffs are soaking. We could try to force him to stop but there isn't much point. He would have to do something else to fill the need. We figure that when he is ready he will stop. I just pray that he doesn't take up smoking or chewing tobacco to fill that need in a more "adult" way.

    If we were to ignore my son's sensory issues I am sure he would have spent hours screaming or crying. He simply would be unable to cope. Lucky for him his siblings also have sensory issues and I have a LOT of them myself. So he has gotten a lot more understanding than he would otherwise. I know for a fact that quite a few relatives think I am too "easy" on him because for years I have let him leave outings/events/church/functions early if he was overwhelmed.

    Treating sensory issues is not as difficult as it may sound. Some of the therapies have actually been shown to rewire how the brain handles the sensory input without the use of medication or anything invasive. Usually brushing therapy is combined with very gentle joint compressions. This MUST be taught by a qualified Occupational Therapist (OT) because if you do not do it correctly you can create major problems. Once you have learned it (it is easy to learn) you can do the entire treatment, without rushing, in about 2-3 minutes. Many kids find it pleasant though some do not. Another part of the treatment is to provide a variety of kinds of sensory input, called a sensory diet. With thank you I was happily surprised that the types of sensation to provide were all things he enjoyed and even sought out. Things we needed to avoid were things he disliked strongly anyway. He cannot tolerate the taste of pineapple or strawberry. Just simply shudders and even gags at it. These are things that are not good for him, that he reacts to. It made letting him eat at school and go to other people's houses really easy. He just politely (mostly) declines those things.

    Your child may have learning disabilities that she is hiding. She may be aware that she is somehow different and is hiding it or something may be uncomfortable or painful and she thinks it is that way for everyone. Holding a pencil is painful for all of my kids. They never said much because they ALL thought everyone hurt if they wrote or colored much. This is one thing a neuropsychologist evaluation can help with. There can be various types of language processing disorders that she may be compensating for.

    Hiding and/or compensating for things like this is extremely difficult. It requires an enormous amount of energy and can inspire real dread in a person. The earlier you can identify problems the easier it will be for her to adapt to new ways to help. It is rare for a child to want to displease her parents/teachers and other adults in her life. Most kids want to please. She shows you that she cares when she can stop herself long enough to get into her own space if her sister is upset by her screaming. This is HUGE. It is so hard for her to do this, and it really shows that she cares and is dealing with something that she simply cannot cope with. It means that if you can identify the underlying problems and make accommodations and supports available she will likely be able to develop better ways to cope.

    It is a big challenge, but it will make a world of difference in ALL of your lives. If she is on the autistic spectrum the earlier you find out the more she will be able to learn to handle her problems and the better she will be able to fit into the world in a more "normal" way. Being on the autistic spectrum is NOT as scary as it sounds. It is a difference in the wiring in the brain rather than being a mental illness. It likely means that she will have things she is extremely gifted in as well as things she has problems with. in my opinion it is one of the most hopeful and positive problems a person can have.