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is this normal toddler behavior or is this child being abused?

My friend has a 3 y/o DD that I watch for her while she is at work. My friend has been seeing this guy for about a year, living with him for about 6 mo. They are now engaged. I have met him many times, they have come over to our house for game night & dinner. I really like him, he seems very nice. He is a doting fiance & a caring father figure. He does not display any type of aggression.

However, my friend has had some "issues" if you will. (she comes from an abusive relationship so her walls are up. But given her past relationship, she may be seeing something that may not be there, you know?)

Her DD has seemed to regressed in the potty training. She used to tell her mom & me that she had to go or would just go by herself. Now she has an accident almost every day. She seems to have major tantrums often. Tantrums that include screaming at the top of her lungs, crying, etc for extended periods of time. She also does not want to eat dinner. Apparently, she will sit at the table with them & not eat. I am not sure if she is just being picky or what.

I have a 4 y/o of my own. So some of these behaviors I have seen in my own child. He would *sometimes* have accidents. And boy, could he throw a tantrum when things didn't go his way. So I can not be sure what to think.

The little girl seems to love this man, she does not seem afraid of him at all. Same with the mother.

I have been watching this little girl for about a year & a half. She has always been a somewhat difficult child, but also very sweet & kind. Her behavior has only changed over the last few weeks but there have also been a fair amount of changes as well, mom's work schedule has changed & they are preparing to move & fiance has been going away on business quite a bit.

What do you guys think?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 9:12 AM on Feb. 7, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • She may need more attention from her mother, and the only way to get is by acting out

    Answer by ExtremlyUnique at 9:14 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • It could be either way. No way to tell. It sounds like so much is going on in this child's life. Just keep your eyes open. If you have serious concerns talk to your friend in generalities.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 9:15 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • that was what I was thinking....also, discipline is not consistant around their house, so I think that might also be contributing.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 9:16 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • What you described is probably a reaction to the changes in her life, and adjusting to someone else living in her home. Three-year olds are also notorious for pushing their boundaries, mine can be a holy terror if things don't go his way.

    Answer by Scuba at 9:18 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • on top of what the others are saying (needing more attention from her mom), if she's attached to the guy then him being away on business trips mayb have something to do with it. when my husband goes out of town for work or works longer than usual days and doesnt spend time with my 2 years old daughter, she starts to act up on a daily basis. i'm a sahm and i give her alot of attention but it's just not the same

    Answer by Mrs.L.Mita at 9:21 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • It is probably just normal behavior. Children like routine, so with the new changes in her life- living with this guy for the past 6 months- she more than likely needs time to adjust. If your concerns continue, I wouldn't assume it's normal behavior because if something were happening you have to look out for her even if your friend gets offended.

    Answer by Sharell8710 at 9:30 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • From what you described there seems to be quite a few changes going on. It maybe her way of coping with all the changes going on in her life right now.

    Answer by PurplePieguy at 9:46 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I would suggest starting with a visit to the pediatrician, then possibly a counsellor. It could be just 4 year old behavior, which I find worse than terrible 2's! I would still want to make sure there is nothing else, even behavioral thats being overlooked. Good luck I hope it all works out well.

    Answer by jade_Aidan at 9:54 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I would not shout "abuse". My friends little girl went through the same thing. Her mom changed jobs, there was a lack of consistent dicipline at home, and the little girl just got worse as she didn't get her way. She was potty trained, but then started having "accidents" daily, she would pee/poop herself on purpose. She started throwing screaming tantrums that would last for hours. When she was good, she was sweet, but when she didn't get her way, OMG, she was horrible beyond comprehension.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:21 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I doubt it is abuse. It sounds more like an adjustment to a new situation and needing attention and consistency from her mom.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 2:58 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

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