I've Been Told My 5 Year Old Daughter Needs Counseling

Updated on March 17, 2013
L.M. asks from Bristol, CT
37 answers

My daughter started kindergarten last fall. During both parent/teacher conferences I've been told to take her to go see a psychologist or counselor. She has terrible attitude (like a 16 year old), she will flat out refuse to do anything she doesn't want to do. Whenever she gets upset she refuses to admit it, even when she is crying or throwing objects. It takes her a real long time to get past being upset and return to classroom activities.

Just today my daughter hit her friend in the face with a hard object. The boys nose bled for at least 15 minutes and my daughter was in no way remorseful. When we confronted her she kicked over a basket with miscellaneous items in it. She then yelled at my husband and stomped up to her room. After 15 minutes of trying to help her recognize what she did/how she felt, she still refused to apologize to him.

I feel as if i have tried everything to help her, and I'm losing my hope. I haven't been able to find an opening for her to see a counselor without giving up a full day of work (as well as a full school day). I feel as if i can't even teach her things anymore. Reading a page out of a book, or practicing tying shoes is like pulling teeth. The second she isn't perfect she shuts down and gives major attitude. It doesn't matter how much patients i have, or what i say, she is always the same. Not to mention the fact that she constantly insults herself about everything. If you don't tell her something she has done is absolutely perfect, then it's the worst thing she has ever done.

I really feel like i am drowning . I would LOVE any advice/experiences others have been though.....Please help!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm guessing that this is NOT something that just started happening and that everything you've tried until now has not been successful. Time to make it a priority, miss a day of work, miss a day of school and get to the root of the problem. It's gone on too long.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Mama, a drowning person reaches out for help. It's past time for you to do that. GO GET HELP! A child psychologist is so important right now.

Good luck.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I understand not wanting to miss work (especially if that means not getting paid) but if she was physically ill that's exactly what you would do, right?
Mental and emotional problems are just as serious, if not more so, than physical ones.
Please get her in to see someone asap.
If she continues along this path you WILL end up missing work anyway, because she will likely be suspended at some point.
Please do whatever you can to help her.

10 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

Your child has had "issues" for at least the last 2 years and you are on a message board asking for advice on whether or not she needs to see a professional? Really? What are you waiting for, exactly? Did you follow up on the call you made 2 years ago? I'm having a hard time empathizing, to be honest.

Not to mention, this phrase from your post - "I haven't been able to find an opening for her to see a counselor without giving up a full day of work (as well as a full school day). " Is your child's well being not worth losing a day of work and school? Are you kidding me?

I find it sad, when parents are in denial about their child's problems and/or their egos get in the way. I understand that it's hard to admit she's not "normal", but do you want her to be ostracized because of her behavior? You could've had her under treatment before she started school and avoided the social ramifications that her behaviors will undoubtedly cause.

DD had a child in her class a lot like this, and he ended up leaving the school because of his actions. The child is now on his 3rd school in 1st grade because his parents ignored his problems. I hope that the poor thing is getting help. I'm actually surprised that your DD hasn't been kicked out of her school yet, with the behavior you described. It's probably not that far off, if she doesn't improve.

20 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This has been going on for years, correct?

Seriously, you're worried about a day of work and a missed day of school? You write about her behavior 2 YEARS ago, and what do you have to show for that? Excuses? Miss a dang day of work. This is your daughter you're talking about. A day of work. The money and time you lose...does NOT matter. YOU HAVE TO. If you do not get her help, you will be completely failing her.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Taking her out of school one day for counseling will probably do her so much more good than having her be there, where it appears she can't function, and is a threat and distraction to the other kids. I'm sorry, but if it were MY kid that got the bloody nose, I would be demanding that the child that had done this not be allowed to return to class until they had starting getting some serious professional help.

So what if she misses a day of school? One missed day of kindergarten/work will mean nothing if she gets the help she needs to make the rest of the year, and the rest of her childhood and schooling, something that can be managed. Like others have said, if she had some kind of medical problem that required missing a day of school to see a specialist, there wouldn't be a question about it.

She's 5 years old. My daughter is also 5 and in kindergarten and for her life is awesome - all rainbows and sunshine, lollipops and unicorns. Your daughter shouldn't be feeling this way about herself or thinking this way at her age. Life shouldn't be this hard at 5. Please do whatever you have to do and get her the help she needs.

ETA: Looking back at your past questions, your daughter has been having issues for quite some time - at least 2 years. How much longer are you going to let this continue?

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

L., if your daughter was physically ill, would you take her out of school and miss work to take her to the doctor? This is along the same lines, I believe. This situation warrants missed school and work time. Not just for you, but for her. If you feel like you are drowning, she is even more so.

Don't wait any longer. It's time to get a professional's help. I am sorry you are all going through this and I hope a counselor is able to help your daughter, as well as you and your husband, through this sticky patch!

I wish you the best! :)

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Problems within our lives do not disappear if we ignore them.

Why in earth did you not heed the directions from Dr's in the past to get assistance?

You could be 2 years ahead of the issues with your child already.

What have you been waiting for? Issues don't resolve by ignoring them. Go fix it and start repair NOW 2 yrs later after you asked already.

What's the hold up? Never compromise on health and safety .

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Just get her.... Therapy. And an assessment.

As hard as this is, bear in mind that it is better to get professional help when the child is younger.
AND, her behavior/actions... also affects, all the rest of the children in school or her classroom.

You need to get outside professional help.
Do what you need to do, professionally... to help her.

I work at my kids' school... and there is a boy there similar to this. But he is now in 4th grade. The school/Teachers/students... have a very hard time with him. BUT the parents, refuse to get him help. So, there is not much the school can do. And it is very sad... seeing the boy just control everyone in his environment or try to, bully his way through things.
And it makes everyone at the school, miserable.
The boy, has to practically be accompanied at all times.

Don't be, negligent. Of your own child.
You need to be responsible, in getting her professional help.
Don't you want her to be happy?

And look, she already assaulted another child.
The child bled... for at least, 15 minutes.
If that were my kid that got hit and bled... I would be pissed off.
And demand, that something be done.

And, it is highly irresponsible... to make the school... responsible for your child and her harming other kids. This is YOUR responsibility to get your child, assessed and diagnosed and to see a proper Professional.
Or, you will have... MANY MANY parents, upset with you/your daughter... and more kids may be getting harmed by her.
Do you want that?
You are the parent.
The school already told you, to get your child professional help.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi L.,

I'm sorry to hear that things are so difficult right now.
The only way things will improve is if you make this a priority. You may need to give up a day of work and school. Consider-- she is not going to thrive and learn at school if this isn't addressed. I am sure the teacher and school counselor will be on board with her missing a day every other week if need be while you seek some help.

I'd also discuss this with your pediatrician to see if insurance can cover this. Talk to your own doctor and let them know how this is affecting you; perhaps this will get you a referral to a family counselor. It's time to make the time for this. Your daughter's self-perception issues will not go away without outside help.

I would also feel remiss in giving you any further advice, as we don't really know what the underlying causes are in *why* she feels so terribly angry and frustrated with herself. I can only say that, from when I was an older kid and acting out, there were a lot of other family issues which fed into how I was feeling. My self-perceptions got better with counseling (in my late twenties and thirties-- I would encourage you not to wait, so she is able to have a fulfilling childhood and schooling.) There's really no way around it.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Listen to the professionals. You are not helping or protecting her by not getting treatment for her. Your daughter is suffering from some severe problems, and needs to be treated.

You need to find perspective, which I think you're neglecting because to admit that something is VERY wrong with your child is extremely painful, especially when it is something you can't handle on your own. But you have to, because if YOU don't deal with it, she won't get the help she needs and will end up hurting someone or herself so badly that the consequences will be a lot higher than a bloody nose. She can't help herself here - YOU have to advocate for her. Doing nothing isn't going to help.

Take whatever vacation time or family medical leave or sick time you need to. She's in kindergarten. It's not like she's going to miss much by missing a day. Heck, she could miss a year and it would have much less effect than not dealing with this issue could cause. One day of work is a SMALL sacrifice to make to prevent weeks and months of treatment and other things that could go wrong by NOT taking time to deal with this now. If she hurts someone badly enough, charges could be brought. You don't want that to happen. Please stop avoiding what you need to do to care for her and your family.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Take that day off work. She can miss a full day of school. And face it -- plan on taking other days off work, and pulling her out of school on other days. She needs help desperately; what you are describing is so clearly a scream for serious professional help. Why are you letting "I'd have to take a day off work" get in the way here? If you're only paid if you're at work, I get that, but this is her health -- she is as sick as if she had a 102 fever and was throwing up, and you would stay home then, wouldn't you? Only this isn't going to end when some virus is finshed with her. You cannot and must not try to cope with this alone! There is help out there -- get it. Don't put it on yourself or YOU will have issues and get depressed. You need to be in good mental shape yourself to deal with her and the therapy she's going to need.

She sounds a lot like two different kids I know and both are benefiting greatly from therapy. Please, please get her help now, and be open to what is suggested (even if it includes medication). I have seen the difference in kids when they got real help and it made their lives so much better. The fact she "constantly insults herself about everything" and feels she must be perfect is very, very telling -- she needs you to get her help now. Take that time off and to heck with school; pulling her out one day, or even multiple days, for her health is not going to hurt. And be sure to keep tabs on your own outlook so you can get help for yourself if you feel overwhelmed.

You barely mention her dad. and you do not say if he is helping you get help for her. Is he not supportive of getting her professional help? Can't HE take a day off work? He is in this too -- you should not go it alone and be the sole parent responsible for her mental health care.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

She needs to see a pyschiatrist ASAP. The poster who stated going alone, that won't work they need to see her. Please take her, I know how hard it is to make that step and admit they and you need help for your child. My son is bipolar. And about missing school, my son has missed a total of 12 days just due to dr visits, and leaving early for them. She needs you to be her advocate.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You feel as if you are drowning, my guess is your daughter does as well. Please make your her your priority and take the time off from work and school necessary, if the situation is as serious as it seems it may require more than one day, depending on a counselor/therapist's schedule availability. You won't be able to teach her anything, nor will anyone else, until she begins to receive help. I hope your family can get the help you need very soon.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i'm sorry, but taking a day off of work or school just is not more important (especially as it is likely she won't get much done on any given day anyway) in the long run. if she's there every day (even for the rest of her school years) what difference will it make if she fails out of school? if your attendance is good at work (which it should be if you are responsible and mature and do what you're supposed to) then they won't care if you take a day off. one day's wages just can't be that important (if you're worried about the money). have a garage sale to make up for it if it truly is really that big of a deal.

you really need to accept that this is a battle you need to fight. it is time you advocate for her instead of fighting with her don't you think?? get her the help she needs. who else is going to? answer - no one. do whatever you have to, to get her the help she needs.

my son was diagnosed with ADHD this year (kindergarten). it was bad enough that he was basically spending most of his school days in a separate room from his class because he was so disruptive. i took him to doctors, met with the school, all that. it was simple. he would not succeed if i didn't. it was a no brainer.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

She is the one drowning! Attention Mamma! Does she have your attention yet? Don't question work, school, tying her shoes ---Please.

Get her in for help before it's too late and in the mean time get the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne ASAP - meaning go to amazon books and order it

Sorry this is a bit rough but the writing is on the wall. But you have asked and so your journey begins for answers and solutions and solutions takes work, honor, integrity, clarity, love and preserverence.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

You need to take a full day off of work and get your daughter some professional help. It's hard to take time off, but your daughter needs help and you have to make it happen. You owe it to her to help her get healthy. Besides, what example are you showing her if she isn't important enough for you to miss a day of work?

There really isn't anything that any of us on here can tell you other than - if you have been told to seek counseling, please do so. If the school nurse told you that your daughter had an illness and needed to see a doctor, you'd take the day off, right? This is the same thing.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When I read your post I was wondering why you wouldn't take a day off work to take her to see a counselor. Missing a day of kindergarten is not a big deal. Then I read the other responses that her behavior has been difficult and scary for the last 2 years and others have recommended having her evaluated. Your child is crying out for help. If you don't take her for a medical/psych evaluation NOW, I hope that the school will report you to CPS for neglect (failing to take care of your child). I hope that shocks you enough into making an appointment and taking her in ASAP.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

a full day of work is a tiny, tiny price to pay in order for you to get some help, and more tools to use with this little girl, and more importantly, to get her some help.
yes, this is not typical.
take some time off work and consult with a specialist now.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

She needs help and soon before things escalate even more. You need to take off from work for a day or maybe more. She comes first!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Seriously. Why haven't you had her evaluated or have taken her to a counselor already?? I'm a little confused .

You ask for help, that you don't know what to do, and have been told by her teacher that she needs to see a child psychologist..Make the appointment. You aren't helping her or yourself by ignoring the obvious...YOUR CHILD NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

My son has anxiety and depression. He is now in therapy for 2-3 hours a week. In addition he is in therapy for feeding issues (sensory) and speech. He misses a lot of school...but these things are more important....especially the therapy for depression and anxiety.

I don't care at all that he is missing school or that I have to take a day off for this. He needs help and it is my responsibility to get him it.

I know the Drowning feeling.....which means I knew I could not be the one to help him. No matter how much I wanted to...i needed help.

You need to get her in therapy. Whatever it takes. It will only get worse. And missing a few hours will be nothing when they don't let her back in school for physically harming other students.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First, this is very much worth a day off from work and school. Don't wait another day, schedule an appointment tomorrow and do whatever you have to do to make sure you have the day off. Her behavior is very atypical for a child her age. There may very well be something developmental or physical that is triggering this behavior. She needs to be seen by a specialist, yesterday.

Second, check out the book The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child. This was recommended to us by a psychiatrist as a great general parenting book (we don't have a "defiant" child per se but the four of them together have some challenging personalities that get magnified when they're all mixed in together). The technique is clear, simple and effective. You can order this book tomorrow, have it by Saturday and start to see results immediately.


Good luck to you, and get an appointment for her ASAP. This behavior isn't something she chooses and it has gone on too long.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Here's another angle on this. Your daughter needs help but you are worried about your job. Your child suffers. One day with no help she decides to get a gun and then what? This just recently happened to people in Connecticut and in Colorado. So you need to really think long range about what you are or are not doing to help your child.

She maybe brilliant and does not know how to cope with everyday life. She maybe brilliant and is not understood by you or other people.
She maybe hurting inside and cannot express her feelings in a good way.

YOU are her advocate. Now get out there and do something about it like yesterday two years ago.

Put out the fire before the forest burns down.

the other S.

PS If your daughter had hurt my son I would be at the school demanding that something be done with the child that hurt my child and I wouldn't stop until it was done.

Off my soapbox now.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Getting her the help she needs is worth taking off a day of work or school. She is in kindergarten, she can miss school for this. The longer you put this off, the harder it is going to be for her. I understand it is difficult, you just need to hunker down and do it :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

You might want to work to get control of the situation NOW before your daughter grows and becomes more than you can handle - although, it sounds like she is already at that point.

Being a parent means making sacrifices for your children. If your child needs medical attention (yes, mental health qualifies as "medical") that requires you to take a day or two off of work, you DO IT! Would you be so upset about missing work if she needed surgery??

You would love any advice/experience, but what will you do with that advice/experience if it requires you to put some effort into helping your daughter? If she is doing things that hurt other people and not showing remorse, she needs professional help. In order to get professional help, you might need to take some time off of work. That professional help will require WORK and EFFORT as a family. If I were you, I would get off of the computer and go start making some phone calls.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Stop trying to get her to read a page or tie her shoes, you are adding to the problem. That;s opening up a door for frustration and shut down.
Would it be easier for you to go alone to a counselor and describe the problems you are having and getting advice how to deal with it?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Counseling sounds like an excellent tool to help you figure out root cause of your daughter's strong feelings. Very likely, it'll give you insight, direction and ideas for helping your daughter. I hope you find a child psychologist in your area. Have you asked your family doctor for a referral? Maybe they know of someone who would meet your scheduling requirements. Or, if you take the day off school/work to meet with someone, perhaps you'll be able to find a time with that person that meets both of your needs.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

First, your child needs help and you must find it for her, no matter what.

My second point I have to preface. I am not doing a blame-the-parents thing. Parents even subtly can influence kids by their own interactions, by their energy, by the way they handle life when their kids are watching. Child and family therapists often find that parents need some coaching, as well. Even if it is only to deal with the challenges of having a child with this sort of issue. If you take your child to counseling, you (and your husband) have to be willing to look at yourselves to see if there is anything you need to change.

I'm not trying to be harsh, just to let you know one aspect of counseling that may come up.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Initial evaluations do take time. You will likely have to miss work and school on more than one occasion while things get sorted out. It's not really any different than being out sick. Do what needs to be done to make it work.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

It is difficult to give advice to anyone without personally being familiar with the situation, but there are two facts here that make it simple. First, you recognize that your child has a problem and second that you haven't been successful in trying to help her. Solution - seek professional help. Every year you look the other way, your child's behaviors are becoming more and more ingrained. Every year, it will become more difficult for her to cope, as well as you. Every year it gets harder to change or manage these behaviors. it will not get better on its own, only worse. are you prepared for it to get worse. I also live in central CT and while the child psych. We used has moved, I know she had Saturday and evening hours. You need to try harder.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlottesville on

Wow, I would take as many days off work/school as necessary if it meant helping my children to be mentally healthy. If you don't address her needs asap, her problems are only going to get worse and harder to fix. And if it was at all financially possible for my family, I would cut back on work (go part-time or stay home) in order to focus my attention on my most important job: raising my kids.

I may even consider taking her out of kindergarten if she needs some extra time to get well. I was having some mental and physical problems when I was in first grade, so my parents took me out of school for the rest of that year, and put me back in first grade the next year. I did so much better the second time around and didn't have any more problems.

I also wonder how firm you and your husband are with discipline when she back talks/screams at you? I would not tolerate that at all- there are serious consequences in our house for disrespect. Children need firm boundaries in combination with an environment of unconditional love and acceptance.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Have you looked back at the questions you've asked? This is her entire life. You are negligent if she has not already seen a counselor. The responsibility is yours. The advice has been given over and over.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Could be anxiety, OCD, ADD, or a big mix of things the main thing is that you need to get her to a Psychologist asap.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

The school should have a social worker or psychologist that could work with her during school hours for free. I would start there and maybe wait till vacation week to get her into private counseling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I am sorry to hear about this. I have been where you are. two years ago the pediatrician was telling me my 4 yr old needed to be screened for bipolar disorder. We did agree to go see a Yale trained therapist in West Hartford, who is trained in the Kazdin method. Only the parents needed to go, not the child which was helpful, though we did have to take time off from work to do so. That helped.
However, what helped the most was going on the Feingold diet. We started off by eliminating food coloring. That helped some. Then we eliminated the preservatives TBHQ, BHA and BHT (read your labels they are in EVERYTHING!). We finally joined Feingold because of all the hidden additives in foods.
I am in the Bristol area, PM if you want to talk more about this! It is hard to find good mental healthcare around here, even with good insurance



answers from Lexington on

See: http://youtu.be/zeFplYBDPdo - Nutrition & Behavior - Russell Blaylock, M.D. He describes in there what we might term Intermittent Explosive Disorder in children, although he is talking about adults. He is saying that often it is genetics bumping up against environmental factors. Well, we can control the environmental factors which then clears up their effects.

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