Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She’s starting to look like a cancer patient

Seen comics that look like this?

 

 

Well this is my life.  Faith really does this.  All of the time.  (Ryan’s cousin pointed out the other day, when I was whining about it, that you see it in comic strips and as a euphemism for frustration.  No one thinks it’s real!)

In case you haven’t noticed…Faith is a little bit of a challenge.  I’ve had 4 other toddlers and I know about tantrums, and I KNOW that this girl does not have normal tantrum issues.  I cannot figure out how to work with her.  We’ve tried EVERYTHING (and trust me when I say that I am awesomely consistent at stuff like ignoring, removing, not giving in). 

She is extremely willful.  I’ve kind of figured out that she’s a “strong-willed” or “explosive” child.  When things don’t go her way she does any combination of the following:

  • screams
  • falls on the floor and kicks her legs
  • begins to gag and barf
  • pulls out handfuls of hair (so upsetting)
  • goes on for hours
  • writhes and kicks and makes it very difficult for us to physically control her
  • tries to bite us and, if that fails, herself

tantrum

 

She is very hard to calm down, distract, reason with (obviously).  Sometimes when another person gets involved (Emma, Ryan), she will settle down…I think because she doesn’t want to “give in” to the person issuing the directive to buckle in her car seat, eat only on the wood floor, get dressed, not steal her siblings’ stuff, stop reading a book, etc. etc.   She is the WORST when we leave the house, because she knows she can get way more leverage when we are in Target and nowhere near her bedroom.  I think it’s mostly about control and she’s VERY smart about figuring out what buttons to push (hair pulling for Vain Me, barfing on the floor for Clean Ryan).

We’ve prayed and I felt directed to become an “expert” on this type of child, so I checked out a million books and searched the web and I found TONS on Strong-Willed Explosive Children, but nothing for kids under 2-3 years of age. 

Can you help?  Any websites, therapists (in the Spokane area), books, articles, ideas would be so greatly appreciated.  This girl RUNS this house with her moods and tantrums and I literally dread when she wakes up in the morning and I have a big knot in my stomach when I have to go anywhere with her.  I kind of wanted to enjoy my last kid, you know?

37 comments:

Rochelleht said...

This sounds particularly extreme. I have very strong-willed children. This takes it to a new level. Although, I certainly understand the knot in the stomach about going anywhere. That's how I feel with Derick. And Ethan screamed himself to sleep for the first 7 years of his life. For up to 3 hours every night. Until he got medication. I don't have much advice, but I do have empathy. Really I do. That's SOOOOO hard. I do think getting a child psychiatrist would be a good move. I'm making an appointment for one for Ethan in the fall. He has such anxiety issues. I never know if he's going to get on the bus calmly or if I'm going to have a riot on my hands. UGH!

jessica said...

I've got nothin'...but I sure love you and that little Faithy Faith. I love it when that little bald head comes running at me for a hug...

I've seen that girl in action and I've seen you respond. You are a great mom and I'm praying for this to pass soon...

Tristan said...

I hope others have good stuff for ya cuz I don't have anything. But I feel for ya and can send you love and support from one Mom to another ;-)

Elizabeth said...

I wish I had a ton of good advice but I don't :-( I know the feeling of dread in the stomach and can sympathise but that's not very helpful.
I hope a counsellor can give you some good tips (but don't doubt yourself because I'm sure you are a great Mum).
Good luck and I really hope its a stage that gets easier with age.

Elizabeth said...

Ok maybe I do have a slightly helpful author. His name is Nigel Latta and I have read and recommend all his parenting books...but I cant remember if he deals with little ones.
his website is here
http://www.goldfishwisdom.co.nz/
I am happy to check them out at my library to see if they are age appropriate (before you spend any $ etc).

shauna said...

Oh goodness, I wish there were easy answers to all the parenting questions! I don't know, but I do want to share about this book I just started reading that was recommended on a few other blogs I read. It's called:
Raising Your Child, Not By Force But By Love
by Sidney C. Craig
(I think I read about it on askingjane.blogspot.com -have you read any of this blog? Good one.)
Anyway, I really like the message of the book... Parenting by the Golden Rule. Let me know what you think if you read it :) Good luck to you!

the wrath of khandrea said...

so. the book i would recommend, although if you've already been to the library, you've probably already found it, is "raising your spirited child" by mary sheedy kurcinka. it delves into a lot of the physiological causes of this type of behavior.
something to consider is increasing the amount of control she has in her life. or at least tricking her into thinking such. choice her to death. "do you want one scoop of macaroni or two? "would you prefer a green cup or a purple cup?" every single opportunity you have to let her make a choice, however mundane that choice may seem, will help her increase her personal feeling of control, and maybe help her find an outlet for that need.
i'll think about this over the next day or so and look through my stuff to see if i can find anything else. this is not fun stuff.

Jamie said...

I know you don't know me from Adam-or Eve in this case-I'm just a random blog stalker who found your blog one night and has enjoyed silently stalking. But, I have this friend-Jenny-she's great, and 6 of her kids have been extremely strong willed, with 2 that (I think) might give Faith a run for her money.

One of Faith's rivals she just sent off to BYU and the other just turned 3, so she has some experience, and is still right in the thick of things. Her blog is www.bjdentonfamily.blogspot.com and if you wanted to get words of wisdom from someone who's been there, done that, and is an incredible woman to boot, I know she'd chat it up with you. She has some great books she has studied on the subject of raising strong willed children, and she's the best at sharing lessons learned. If you want her email drop me a not at primaryrocks at aol dot com.

I have some strong willed ones, but they aren't in your little one's category of strong! They are so challenging, and can make you feel so lost as a mom. Hope you find what you need to take back your home and create the home you'd like for your family.

Kimberly said...

I like the book Andrea suggested. Hang in there!!

Erika said...

Aren't you glad you didn't have her first. There's no way you would have had anymore kids. I've got a friend who does this herbal calming therapy thing (my details are sketcky) I'll send her your way. Hang in there.

The Newell Clan said...

Oh boy, you have your hands full! We don't have things quite at that level yet, but I can relate to the screaming, crying and biting...with our 16 month old! We are finally starting to see improvement as Natalie learns to say a few words and sign a few things...but from birth on this one has been a CHALLENGE! It's true that the strongest spirits are being born now!! We had mass strong willed issues with Garrett and I found the book by James Dobson -Strong Willed Child---to give me some hope. I grabbed it when the cover mentioned something about "do you love your child but you don't really like them..." he advocates spanking but in a very controlled way and the book is just one insight that helped me deal with frustration. If you find a good counselor, will you pass on the name please!!! I have been wanting to find a good one, specializing in children's issues! Hang in there, take lots of breaks from Faith and know that she is in your home because you CAN handle her in a way no one else can! And as for enjoying the last one...I think there is a grieving process with accepting the challenge, maybe similar to having a child with a disability. And people that have never really experienced an extremely challenging kiddo just don't really get it. Sorry. But it's true! Getting some professional opinions might help at least to ease your mind or give you tools...

The Newell Clan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

You don't know me either, but I'm awesome nutritarian Robin's sil. That gives me some credit right? ;) I would totally hugely recommend the book Andrea suggested by Kurcinka and also this one here http://www.amazon.com/Kazdin-Method-Parenting-Defiant-Child/dp/0547085826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279681297&sr=1-1 Both have great tools to try out, and really sound advice.

One of my kids is prone to pulling her hair out and it breaks my heart and makes me furious all at the same time... and I've had stages with all of my 5 kids where I felt like we were all on eggshells waiting for the tantrum to start over anything at anytime, it is exhausting. Aren't you glad you pray? It might not make the troubles go away, but at least you have the awareness that you are not alone and that God does know and understand and hear you. Good luck. Faith (and the others) are blessed to have a Mom like you.

Robin said...

It must be so hard on every one, but especially darling little Faith. No child wants to behave like that. You are such a good mom. I wish I had the solution to your situation, some thing easy like: "No red food coloring" or "it is caused by allergies" or "use soothing music".

Hang in there honey!

Melissa said...

My girls went through a headbanging, hairpulling, biting, and screaming tantrum phase from about 18 months to 2 years. Once they were upset, they were literally unable to calm themselves down. The only thing I could do was try to keep them off the tile floor. I taught them to do "magic" breaths (breathe deeply and slowly -in the nose out the mouth) Once they could do it outside a tantrum, I started to hold their hands and look straight in their eyes and do magic breaths with them at some point during the tantrum. Pretty soon (a few months later) they started doing it on their own before it escalated. I agree with the previous commenters, read tons of books, pray a lot, and examine the processed foods in your diet. There is an answer somewhere out there.

the wrath of khandrea said...

forgot i wanted to subscribe.

the wrath of khandrea said...

and forgot to check the subscribe box again.

Lauren in GA said...

I wish I had some sage advice. I love the book that Andrea suggested...and I am glad that you have gotten such great advice thus far.
I just adore you and I am sorry that you have a knot in your stomach when you have to go anywhere. I love that Jessica A. said that she has seen you respond to Faith and that you are a great mom. I have no doubt that that is true. Oh, and you aren't vain. Nobody wants to see their baby pull their hair out.

Kristen said...

Jessica - I have a strong willed child too...of course, his will is manifest in different ways than yours but it's exhausting and miserable none the less. I just read "Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing CLEAR, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries" by Robert J. MacKenzie. Now, like you said, it doesn't really address the younger than 3 population BUT, even so, I totally recommend this book. It has changed my understanding of my little monster and my parenting. I guess the things that have helped me the most are:
-He has you analyze the natural temperament of your child and then your own and work through the inconsistencies.
-He has his families map their conflicts or "dances" learn where the power struggles are and how the child is manipulating the situation. For me, truly enlightening - for you it might be kind of old news.
-The best thing that I've taken away from this book is that this type of child will "aggressively" test any limit. It doesn't matter who gives it or how much he (or she) loves you - they are simply hard-wired to test more aggressively than their counterparts and the bottom line is that we need to accept it, expect it and work with it.
If you find any other great books please post them...clearly there are a ton of us out there who need them. ;-)

Randi said...

She did pretty good at the park today, it seemed like! :(

Laurie said...

Ooh, sounds like it's time to start potty training too! ;)

About the hair pulling . . . Gabe went through a period of twirling his fingers in his hair, to the point of pulling it out and getting a bald spot. So we shaved his head. By the time it grew out, he'd lost the habit. Not sure how that would work with a girl, but at least she wouldn't be yanking it out?!

Sometimes you can't go over it, you can't go around it, you've just got to go through it. Hang in there. Hopefully this is earning you some good teenage years.

L said...

Hi Jessica
My name is Lisa and I am good friend of Kiley Daines and I know Randi as well.
I am a mental health therapist for children and adolescents. I typically don't work with toddlers however if you want to email me lisaclarizio@yahoo.com I can at least pass along some resources.
I will keep you and Faith in my prayers and best of luck to you and your family.

陳韋夏陳韋夏益東富益東富 said...

從來愛都不知它的深度,非得等到別離的時候.................................................................

Jenibelle said...

Because I have been there with a child with ODD, I empathize enormously. NOTHING is worse than an out of control, unreasonable, loud child. My heart goes out to you. I read Andrea's book, it's informative and worthwhile.

Hopefully she's getting it all out of her system now and will be a model teenager....

I crack myself up.

Seriously Jessica, of all the people I have "met" in blogland, you are the most 'in tune' parent. I admire you more than I can express. You will figure this out because you love her so much and you won't give up. It's going to be okay, eventually.

Brooke said...

Wow. Sounds so hard...wish I had a good suggestion for you. At least she is super cute, right?

Cami said...

Truly sorry that this is going on. However, I can't think of another person who could handle a trial like this with the love, finesse and humility you are apt to use.
I know this will work for your good, but in the mean time. >>hugs<< and may blessings come your and Faith's way.

Christie said...

I have no words of advice, but loads of empathy. It is SO FRUSTRATING when our kids do stuff they know is wrong, and we are left to hold the bag of shame and discipline. So annoying. Hang in there, sista.

martha corinna said...

I can only speak from my own experience but so far what I have found most helpful in finding help for my two special needs children is to reach out to parents of children with similar needs. They are around you, but often you don't know it because they try to remain on the downlow because there is often quite a bit of judgement that the problem isn't with your child, it's with you as a parent (not from professionals, just the lay therapists:).
Anyway, I have found support and direction from other mothers, things that have and haven't worked, therapists, support groups, online help, research, literature, what have you. In fact, I have a friend who has a 4 year old son who was recently diagnosed with explosive personality sydrome and she truly is the best mother I know. She has been a great support to me even though are needs are not exactly similar.
Good luck!

4 My Eyes Only said...

I'm sorry, but you might want to look at austism. I know you don't want to hear that but you should at least look into it. You might want to look at seeing Scott Mabee (he's not LDS but he's good), he would be able to do an eval.

Jessica said...

I don't know how many of you have subscribed or come back to check comments but I thought I'd update a little:

First of all, THANKS SO MUCH for your support and the links and the emails and the book recommendations. I've gotten the Spirited Child book recommended by NUMEROUS people and actually called an office suggested by Lindsey via email, got into a therapist who specializes in young children and we went today!

It was a great session, she assured us that there is no major disorder we're dealing with here and gave us a couple of guidelines as to what we can expect and how to work with Faith. We'll go back in two weeks and report and discuss some more. It was so nice to get some feedback and ideas from a professional.

I'm sure I'll post more down the road, but I thought I'd check in with those interested enough to come back/subscribe. I'm so grateful for this blog!

nurse graham said...

Glad you found a therapist you liked. I was going to recommend Dr. Guzzardo.

Look forward to hearing how things are going with Faith. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Lauren in GA said...

I have been out of town so this comment is late...I wanted to come back tell you that this post has been on my mind since I read it on my sister's computer. I came back to tell you that I admire your honesty, as well. It is tempting to put only cheerful things on a blog. I appreciate how open you are. Truly.
I also just read your update comment. I am so glad that you had a good session with the therapist.

I love how Jeni said that you are such an, "in tune" parent. I totally agree. Like Jeni said, "I admire you more than I can express."

Sara H said...

You are an amazing woman and I really enjoy your blog! A friend of mine has a child that had frequent and severe tantrum episodes when he was 2 or 3 years old. Turns out, he had an allergy that affected his behavior. I can't remember exactly what the allergy was...maybe animal hair? Anyway, some children have different kinds of allergic reactions than the typical ones we usually think of, I suppose. You're very patient! :) I hope things work out well soon for little Faith! She's adorable! :)

La Vie est Belle said...

Author Kevin Leman has some great advice in his books, and he's pretty funny, too!

The Prestwich's said...

Hey-i'm a friend of Andrea's, and stumbled upon your blog. Very funny. I thought I'd throw in my two cents for Faith. My sis has a similar child and has found that his behavior borders on that of children with ausberger's ( I don't know if I'm spelling it right). She has found success with preparing her son before they leave the house, for example, and explaining what he can expect before they do things. Good luck with it. I hope it gets better.

Ali F. said...

Home from vacation and catching up on your beautiful blog. Your family is smart, spiritual, beautiful, fun, what gives? I love seeing what you've been doing "each month!"
I have been doing my own homework on our spirited child! Just finished 2 helpful books with lots on toddlers. "The Challenging child" by Stanley I Greenspan, which talks a lot about different types of personalities, and how to help them cope with their sensitivites in life. What do you know? Kids are born with their own little challenges, but you know that, with 4 before this one. I especially enjoy your stories about your husband growing up in, what town is it? Now i forget, but it's close to here, and we have a similar school environment. Love from CA.

Margaret said...

I found the magic breath info on this comment thread. Thanks.