Dio's picture

why has it gotten so bad?

I have a 3 and a half year old little girl.  She is very smart and kind.  she has a wonderful imagination and can be the sweetest thing in the world.  She has always been a leader, very strong willed and independent.  tough qualities in a kid her age, but wonderful qualities to have as an adult.  Her temper tantrums last anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 and 45 minutes.  she goes from being a sweet, cooperative child, to a demon, uncontrollable teenager.   I have tried taking toys away, time outs, videos away, spanking, screaming, talking softly, but nothing seems to be working.  My husband and i are to the point of mental exhaustion.  We have an appointment with a therapist this week.  i feel that she is gotten so bad that we can not figure out what to do anymore.  she has had two major surgeries and a total of 5 hospitalizations in her short life.  her last hospitalization and surgery happenned in march.  could she have PTSD or a medical condition?  she used to self hurt, around 2 years of age, went away, but it has started again.  we received a letter from her preschool teachers, questioning us if we were disciplining her at home.  she suggested some books, but i think that we are way past reading books now.  she is not hurting others at preschool, but refuses to participate and will cry for a while at times.  any advice is welcomed.  can she be bipolar? 


Exhausted mom

acitez's picture

Some questions for you -- which your therapist will probably ask you, too.
1. How often and where does she have tantrums?
2. About what time of day do they happen?
3. Could it be low blood sugar, fatigue or food sensitivity?
4. Could it be over-stimulation from the children at preschool?
5. Could it be anxiety because of the separation and trauma that was necessary for the surgeries?

I agree with you that you need to figure out the cause of the tantrums, since they have not responded to the things that usually work.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think the therapist is a good start. Don't jump to conclusions and get yourself all worked up right now.
Can you give us more of an idea why you think these tantrums are starting to begin w/? Is it b/c your daughter is frustrated or just not getting her way? Also, how you choose to handle them is a big factor as well. If you find your daughter is tamtruming for attention, it might be best to ignore the behavior and place her in a safe area where she can't get hurt.
You also mentioned that she hurts herself. What exactly is she doing? Is she biting or hitting herself, banging her head...? Also, what is PTSD?
In addition, you didn't mention what your daughter's surgeries were for. Cld there be a connection w/ her behavior? Cld she be in pain and maybe not know how to express that to you?
There's a lot of things to consider here. If I were you, I'd make a list of all the things that concern you or that you have observed in your daughter since this behavior started. Also include past medical history as that may be a contributing factor. You may even want to keep a log for yourself. Bring as much info as you can to the therapist. This will better help piece things together.
My husband and I took my oldest son to a therapist also for behavior problems. Her method was to nip the behavior in the bud so that you can keep control of the situation before it gets too out of control. We give our son 2 warnings. If the behavior doesn't stop, we sit him in time out. If he gets up or still refuses to listen, we sit him there again. If he attempts to get up again, we hold him in a lock firmly (the therapist showed us this technique), w/out hurting him. It's hard to hear your child kick and scream, and the technique may take a while to get used to, but it does eventually calm the child down. It also helps keep you from getting angry and out of control. Now if my son misbehaves, we give him 2 warnings, put him in time-out, and just say, "Do we have to hold you?" This usually gets him to stop.
The process takes time, and you have to be consistent. You and your husband have to be on the same page too, or it's not going to work.
Go to the therapist and see what he/she suggests. There's also a book called 1-2-3 Magic that's been helpful to us as well.
Please keep us posted on how you make out. Good luck!