Mom Needs Help - Des Moines,IA

Updated on June 07, 2008
A.G. asks from Des Moines, IA
14 answers

My daughter, Akira, age 4, is having a HUGE problem in a structured day care environment, and also sometimes at home, with displaying violent behavior (aka hitting, punching, pushing), and seems to not listen to her teachers or her parents. I was beat up by her biological father the entire time I was pregnant with her, and continued to be in an abusive relationship until she was 2. She was never physically abused herself, but she was subject to watching fights and me getting beat up on a daily basis, even while holding her, and watched things get broken and me be held hostage in my own house. A therapist I went to thinks she has post traumatic stress disorder, and ADD but won't test her for it because she is so young. I am running out of things to do because every day I cry because she is in trouble at school and at home and I just want to love her. I understand children need punished, but it seems like I am having to do it CONSTANTLY. Any suggestions?

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hi A.
My daughter was the same way and she NEVER seen any vilonce. We had her tested and found out she has Sensory Processing disorder. We took her to see an occupational theripist and she is a completley different child she hardly ever gets in trouble now. I would ask to have a evaluation done. Good Luck you are doing the best you can as a mother. :)T.

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answers from Milwaukee on

I'm so sorry for all you've both had to endure. Please take the advice in seeking counseling for your own traumas, but also seek a second opinion or push the original for testing now. Your ex was abusive. There's usually a biological reason for that. His genes are part of your daughter and while her behavior MAY be learned, if you are not physically punishing her yourself then it's not likely she is acting out what she may/may not remember. She's NOT too young to be evaluated. A neuropsychologist is the best route, but a good child psychiatrist can evaluate as well.

The sooner you treat her if there is a chemical imbalance (inherited from dad), the sooner she will get in less trouble and can begin building a positive self esteem. Do NOT try to psychoanalyze her yourself w/ all those questions someone posted. You're not trained in the approach (non-leading questions so as not to put the thoughts they never had into their heads) and it's much better left to a good child psychologist. I began treating my dd for bipolar NOS at age 4. We saw dramatic improvement in just 3 days of medication. Aggression went way down, crying spells vanished, she could finally get to preschool on time (9AM!), etc. She's now being treated exclusively for ADHD and it's a world of difference in behavior when the medicine is active and when it's worn off! We switched her at age 8 and she's now 12. We may have to go back to experiment with mood stabalizers as puberty throws her off course, but for now things are good. Was it a misdiagnosis? Possibly- but her H portion of the ADHD didn't show up until 1st grade. A lot of things are trial and error. At least with ADHD meds it's a take it in the AM and it's out of your body in 8-12 hours depending on the brand. If you take the plunge to test something out and it works wonders, you both will have an easier life even in this last year of day care and she can learn appropriate social skills before getting to her school where kids DO remember past behaviors of classmates.
Good luck and pm me if you have any questions. Don't be afraid to treat young but remember it's a lot of trial and error to find what works best especially if there is bipolar mixed in.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hello A.,
I am so sorry that you are dealing with this, it isn't easy. My daughter has ADHD and was diagnosed at 3 1/2 yo. If you want her evaluated and your doctor doesn't want to do it then find someone else who will. Often kids who have ADHD have other superimposed mental health issues along with the ADHD. Depression, bipolar and many others as well as most have also a learning disability as well. Your school district..even if she is not in school yet can and are obligated to help if she will be attending school within the district. Call your district office and ask about how to be evaluated for special educational assessments. This should be a great spring board for help, even if she doesn't qualify for services they are in contact with all of the organizations that can help in one way or another. Most say the sooner you address an issue the get on it quick before school lets out for the summer. Good luck!!! T.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Hi, I am a grandmother and raised two grandchildren for the first 6 years of their lives. My grandson was like that. It seemed no matter what I did it would do no good.
I had him tested for ADD and ADHD at the age of three in Madison, Wisconsin by Dr. Stafstrum. His number is 1-800-323-8942. He is a super doctor and it did not take long to get a diagnosis. He gave my grandson medication for it and it was like night and day. A BRAT became a VERY LOVABLE child. I also know of another friend (grandma also) who has a child like this too. He is 4. He was tested for ADD and Autism. He has both. You may consider testing for both right away. Good Luck to you and God bless you. Please let me know what you decide and the results. Children just want to be loved and cared for but can not always express it in a positive way like we can. Sometimes they do not even understand the loving positive way. They have been exposed to so much negative. I know from your email and expression of help that you are a very caring, loving mom. You will get answers and you will be able to solve the problem with some helpful ideas to use for discipline and positive strokes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on


I am a mother of three (6,4 & 1) our oldest has special needs and the four year old can be aggressive sometimes. We use a system called 1-2-3 Magic, it works for all children even those with emotional, developmental, etc. problems. The school my son attended also used this system, so my son always knew what to expect - the theme is consistency! The school psychologist actually lent us the video and it is hillarious! We also taught any babysitters the techniques and it works wherever you are even out and about. Check out your local library and see if they carry the book and/or video (although I recommend the video because it is soooo funny). We started a support group for Parents of Children with Special Needs (PCSN) and we taught this method to all of our families. If no library carries the book and/or video I would be happy to walk you through the steps, they are simple and straight-forward. Our oldest son has Asperger's Syndrome (a high-functioning autism) and we use this method with him and it even works to help him come out of some of his melt-downs! Feel free to call me at home ###-###-#### or my cell ###-###-#### - Ask for M.

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answers from Minneapolis on

The best advice that I can give you is take the positives and make them seem BIGGER and BETTER than ever! Show her the excitement that you feel when she put her shoes away ("oh Akira, thank you so much for helping me out! I really couldn't have done it without you!") This will show her that good deeds will not go un-noticed and having her be really proud of it. I have done this with my 3 and 5 year olds and my 5 year old has really caught on. He loves to now help me, it might be cleaning or putting away laundry or even eating all his dinner or even trying something at dinner that I didn't think he would try... Wow you ate that??? WOW really, I can't believe it! You are so awsome, so great! This is really something. He really get's excited over it. It she see more of the positive then maybe she will see that its better than the hitting.
Not sure if it's the best answer but it might be worth a shot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

Sounds like you have come down a long road! I would look into a child therapist. Also, let a trusted someone at her daycare know what the situation is. Start praising her for all of the good things she is doing (I like the way you got your shoes on when I asked you to). It sounds like she is mimicing (sp) past behaviors that she witnessed when your abuser was trying to get your attention. She is now using these behaviors to get your attention. When she is punching or kicking, gently hold her hands and calmly tell her that "mommy doesn't like to get hit". try hugs instead. It can be very hard to counter aggression w/out counter aggression, try to stay calm and hang in there. I worked with violent children for quite a while let me know if you need to talk. [email protected]

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

I would look for an occupational or developmental therapist. I don't know how it works in IA, but in IL if you go to the school district...they will help you get started with the process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Bach Flower remedies will calm her PSD immediately:

Star of Bethlehem, Rescue Remedy and Elm. Put four drops of each in a glass of water and have her sip on it throughout the day. Give these to her daily for a month and then daily any time she starts to slip into PSD symptoms in the future.

You can find Bach Flower remedies (aka., flower essences) at all natural food stores or on the web. Google on either description and much will come up.

I have seen flower essences work like magic in children and adults. They are inexpensive and completely safe - absolutely NO side effects.

Check them out A..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

You need to have a little sit down with your daughter.

What does she like to do. Find something she loves doing and then play that game with her. Take her for a walk. Go for a picnic. Take her to the park. Play with chalk outside on the driveway, sidewalk.

While you are playing with her. Start talking about the way she is reacting. Why she is hitting people, and being naughty.

Ask her if she remembers seeing her mom being hit & pushed around by daddy. Ask her if she thought that that was the right thing to do. Ask her how that made her feel when her daddy was hitting her mommy. Ask her what she would've done differently. Ask her if she felt like it was her fault.

Ask questions...............

Kids are remarkable creatures. They see things differently then we do. Especially when they are so young. Perhaps she feels she's the reason why daddy isn't there anymore or the reason why he hits you and she's acting out.

Also, our news channel had a clip on violent behavior. Several children had a reaction to the food coloring in their cereal!

There is a book out there called the Safe Shopper's Bible. Every person on the planet shoudl own it and I wish I had stoick in it for all the people that I recommend to buy it! But it shares with you the chemicals, toxins in your products foods, etc.

I can't tell you the feelings that were brought about after researching products on the market for my own health reasons.

It is SCAREY!!! You wouldn't believe the products on the market that are sold in our stores that damage the neurological system!


try talking with your daughter. It's the best way to find things out.

Good luck


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Dear A.,

Please don't think I'm being flippant, but I'm going to suggest you try the opposite approach to the "constant discipline" you are having to do. From the moment you get home to the moment you get your daughter in bed, focus on praising anything she does that is positive, healthy, or good. Ignore as much of the bad behavior that you can. Show as much healthy physical affection as you can. Continuing therapy for yourself might be a good idea too. I was a nanny for some kids in a fairly dysfunctional family for a while, and I spent a lot of time just holding those kids and fostering a sense of safety and building their self-esteem. You obviously love your daughter and it's not your fault she's having trouble. I'm so sorry for what you have been through and now what you are going through with your daughter. You must be a very strong person to have weathered all this. I know some of the other ladies will have better advice for you- I just wanted to say I'm here too, and I'm sending positive thoughts your way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

You would probably be surprised at how aware kids are even at such a young age. Its tough to have an aggressive child, especially when you feel like all you do it punish. I would continue to be consistant with the punishment, but also add in catching her being good stuff too. Whenever she is behaving, reward her with a treat or with some tv or with a video game. Try to find activies that keep her busy and that she loves to do, this may require a few activies and a few hit and misses. Reward charts work very well with aggressive children but they need to be done backwards, meaning she will lose a sticker if she is being aggressive instead of trying to earn them, especially since she is already out of control with her teachers. Telling her if she can keep her 5 stickers or whatever number you think is fair by the time she gets picked up, she will get a treat or toy or whatever reward you think is fair. Most importantly though is you need to be patient with trying new things with her and be consistant, if its wrong at home, its wrong everywhere or vice versa. Good Luck and I hope they will get you the help you need when she is old enough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My heart goes out to you. And my brain says get your daughter a therapist. Art Therapy or Play Therapy would be best but anyone that works with young kids has tricks up their sleves other than just talking. FYI, many children who have been traumatized exhibit behaviors that appear to be ADD but are not but are a part of the trauma response. She doesn't need to be tested to receive therapy. A therapist may suggest family therapy for the two of you as well. I work at an agency that sees kids as young as 3. We have two offices in the Milwaukee area. You can call ###-###-#### for a referral. I also know of another agency in the area that could be appropriate too.
Best to you!



answers from Duluth on

My grandson went thru a stage like that and we turned it around by giving him NO attention at all for being bad. When he displayed bad behavior we sat him in a corner (facing the wall) until he could tell us what he did wrong and say he was sorry. We also watched for good behavior and rewarded that. Use humor as much as possible. When my grandson would scream I would cover my ears and say "OH MY EARS HURT". The louder he got the softer I would whisper...he had to quiet down to hear me. If he was having a crabby, angry day I would say today is opera day...we have to sing everything we say. Pretty soon everybody is laughing at our high pitched sing-song talk.

Are you sure you have her in the right day care? Maybe she would be better in a smaller setting with more individual attention to her needs. Just love her and listen to her, try to get her view on things and how she feels. Let her know you love her no matter what and you really care about her feelings. Be careful to be sure your child isn't getting the blame for everything just because the day care has her labeled as the trouble maker.

My grandson lived with his mother and her abusive boyfriend until he was 3. He is now 10...we have come a long way. We were told by his kindergarten teacher that she thought he was ADD and by the doctor that he was too young to be tested. He was tried on a few different medications and doses until we and the teacher felt he showed improvement. He is still very impulsive and has some problems in school. Seems like every year we need to teach the teacher how to handle him. He will finally be tested for ADD this summer.

Hang in there and good luck to you...

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