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What do we do next?

We have a 4 yr old that is out of control. She won't listen, hurts herself and everyone else in the house( everything from bloody noses on me, biting and scratching to a point that bleeds on herself and her sister, we have lost track of the bruises) She throws monstrous fits, kicking and hitting walls and doors and parents every time we try time-out's. Spanking has absolutely NO effect whatsoever. We have tried every herbal remedy that is safe for younger kids. We are trying a new med that the Dr. has prescribed, but if this doesn't work we have no idea what to do next. It scares us to death what will happen with her if we can't find something to help her.

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Tim C.

Asked by Tim C. at 3:18 PM on Jun. 18, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Wow they crazy. My preschooler throws fits but nothing like that. Maybe try seeing another doctor. When she is throwing a fit like that put her in a safe place where she cant hurt herself. When she is calm ask her what is bothering her and why she is throwing fits. Good Luck!

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 3:30 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • She needs some serious help! Has she always been like this?

    Answer by dancer at 3:33 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Wow, this is awful, for you and for your DD. She behaves angriliy but I wouldn't be surprised if it's an expression of confusion and stress (distress) more than true anger. You all need help. Consider seeing a child psychologist (and perhaps a nutritionalist? Some food intolerances can produce irratic behaviour). I wonder if there is something else in her life troubling her that you might not be aware of or might not think should bother her too much where as it's causing her to feel insecure? Please do speak to a child psychologist. Truly feel for you all.

    Answer by Poppinsie at 3:36 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Let us assume for now that she is a normal, healthy child with a behavior problem. Children generally misbehave for 1 of 3 reasons. Either they have a basic need that isn't being met (food, water, love), or they don't understand the rules, or they are under too much stress to think clearly. If you can figure out the root of the problem, that will help you solve the behavior. For more information on this approach, check out It's online, with free downloads.

    Stop using ALL FORMS of punishment and reward. Both work only because of fear. The child obeys because he fears punishment, or tries to earn the reward because he fears losing your love. You want a child who controls her own behavior because she understands what is expected. You don't want to be disciplining her all the time and besides - what you've been doing hasn't worked with her, right? Out of space - will continue.

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 6:01 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • If she misbehaves because a basic need isn't met, then find ways to meet it. Hunger might trigger her anger. Is she eating healthy foods at regular intervals, or is her daily routine pretty irregular. Work on a daily routine that fits your lifestyle and stick to it! The more regular her days, the more regular her behavior will be. Preschoolers need routine, but kids who are out of control need it even more. And I mean, if nap time is at 12:30, then don't ever put her down for nap at 12:40! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon snacks must be served at regular intervals, about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours apart. If she chooses not to eat, fine. But she gets nothing until the next scheduled meal. Never take her to a drivethrough. Never serve her junk food, prepackaged foods, or candy. She might be sensitive to sugar, and it could trigger more explosive behavior.

    IF she doesn't understand the rules, explain - cont

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 6:05 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • explain them carefully. Are the rules appropriate, or do you expect too much from her too soon? Right your rules down, and focus on them one at a time. This week, the rule is "We do not hit each other. Hands are for nice touches only." Explain the rule. Have her repeat it back to you. Ask her to draw a picture of it, and post it in her bedroom. Praise her when she is using her hands nicely. When she hits, try to ignore her and focus on the injured child. Hug and kiss and comfort the injured child. It might not work, but it's worth a try for now.

    Finally, her anger might be a result of stress. There is actual stress (you just moved, you just divorced, etc.) and there is perceived stress - she feels unloved, she feels threatened by a younger sibling, etc. Teach her about her emotions. Help her learn the words to express her feelings, Talk about feelings and that it is OKAY to feel anger. It is not okay to hit! cont.

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 6:09 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Last of all... if you've read the Happy Child Guide download, you've tried these suggestions, and nothing seems to help, you may need to get professional help. If you cannot afford a family therapist, you might call Catholic Family Services. They have a sliding fee scale, and they are generally very, very good. They will not require you to be Catholic, nor will they press you to convert to Catholicism.This is part of their mission, because they have taken a firm stand to preserve the family. I do not generally believe in medicating a child that is out of control. However, there may be a chemical reason for her bizarre behavior.The important thing to remember, is that you are not to blame! (Unless you have abused your child, but I doubt that is the case! You came here looking for help, and that sounds like you are a sincere parent who only wants what's best for her child). Some children just have a harder time growing up.

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 6:13 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • We are still waiting to hear back from her bio dad to see if there is any history of mental illness that runs in his family. We are getting her in to counseling, I have 3 children nearly grown (2 special needs Aspergers and dyspraxia ), helping raise 3 step children (1 a victim of abuse) and none come close to testing us like she does.
    Tim C.

    Comment by Tim C. (original poster) at 1:00 PM on Jun. 19, 2011

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