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tan253's avatar

Anyone here have a child that doesn't stop?

Asked by tan253 (2241points) October 8th, 2016

I have a darling 4 year old. I’m a single Mum.
My four year old seriously does not stop. It’s getting quite hard for me to manage, I suffer from anxiety as it is, but she seriously never slows down. She is always on the go, she has no awareness of stranger danger – even though we’ve discussed this. If we go out to a cafe she says hi to everyone, will tell everyone to watch her, dances, sings and does everything she can to get attention. At home, if something doesn’t go her way she will throw a full on tantrum and scream only next minute to be fine and she’ll laugh at me for trying to help her. If I explain to her that sometimes her yelling hurts me she’ll just laugh and say, ‘I don’t care.’
She’s an incredibly bright little girl but I’m at my wits end to understand how and why?
I’m very compassionate yet she seems to lack compassion – her school teachers have passed that by me as well. I’ll ask her to be quiet when we are out and to respect other people are enjoying their time but she doesn’t listen at all, in fact, if I ask her to be quiet she’ll yell even louder and she’s started repeating herself to a point of me thinking she’s slightly ADHD. She’ll point at something and say, ‘Car, car, car,car, car,car ..’ over and over again and I’ll respond, ‘I see that darling,’ – then I have to literally say, ’ OK STOP!’ – I’m not an impatient person but I’m exhausted, not a lot of support as no family and I’m feeling a bit worn down. Her pediatrician at 6 months told me she’d be a high needs child, whatever that means – and how would she know at 6 months, but she’s definitely high maintenance and this poor Mummy is exhausted and scared on how to get through another day with patience and understanding… any thoughts?

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19 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but that doesn’t sound too abnormal for her age. How constant is it? Every day? Does she never have calm moments?

Is she getting enough attention? Enough of your attention? Is she away from you the entire workday? Do you feel confident she’s happy where she spends the day?

Kids that age have tons of energy and often don’t fully understand empathy. They want what they want. Most mom’s are overwhelmed and exhausted. You could have her evaluated. Just know that most likely they will be inclined to put some sort of label on her. Still, it might be helpful.

cazzie's avatar

Join a play group or a preschool if you can. Not only will you be able to compare your daughter’s behaviour, but you will have the support of other mothers and (hopefully) qualified, experienced caregivers.

I’m a preschool assistant. I’ve seen the gambit. You don’t mention any destructive behaviour, like breaking things or hurting other children. There are spectrum disorders that I am familiar with, like ADHD and autism. Early diagnosis is essential. If you really have worries, take her to someone who can look at this professionally and not through tired mommy eyes. Also, give yourself a break. Hardest thing for most mothers to learn is self-care. If you don’t look after yourself, you are depriving your child of the best of who you are. ASK for help. There is absolutely no shame in saying you are tired or want some time to look after yourself. It really does take a village. If you don’t have one, learn to build one.

On a personal note, I have a child on the spectrum and am a single mother. I live thousands of miles from my family. I had to build my village. It is both IRL and online. Fluther has helped a great deal, as have getting involved with online science groups. My son has a teacher who really understands him, which is helping a lot and a caregiver that comes in once a week to give me a little break and him a much needed positive male role model. I also have a step son who is very much on the spectrum. I divorced his father, but I remain an active part of my step son’s life and have a close friendship with his mother.

We are advocates for our children. When they need help, sometimes we have to raise our voices and tolerate being called a ‘bitch’ or ‘delusional’. If you need help, ask. Find the places to go and ask.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

She sounds delightful. I understand that you’re exhausted so you’re not seeing the wonder right now, but she sounds like a happy, healthy and intelligent little girl. It’s hard being a single mum. There’s nobody coming home in the evening to share the load or to give you a break. I agree with the idea of joining a play group, kinder or something like that. Even if it’s for a day or two a week, or even a morning or afternoon or two, it will give you some you time. And it might help tire her out too. What about getting her into ballet or a sporting group? Gymnastics or something? Things that will allow her to burn off some of that energy.

If that’s not possible, do you have any friends with young children? Can you do play dates? Either they come over and your kids play together while you have some adult conversation or you take it in turns to give each other a break.

Try not to label her or to quell her exuberance for life. She just sounds energetic and spirited to me. As she gets older, those might be traits that see her achieving her goals and doing things she really wants in her life. I doubt she does lack compassion. She’s four. Give her time to demonstrate such traits.

jca's avatar

It can’t hurt to get her evaluated. If she needs help, she will be able to get it.

My daughter had trouble with her speech. I was all for getting her evaluated and seeing what’s going on. The evaluation was very helpful. This was when she was two. I felt like she was smart and I could understand her ok but I realized that being her mom, I’m biased. They told me she’s very intelligent and they gave me tips to help her with her speech, and she also qualified for speech therapy. She still gets speech therapy in a group at school.

You need an objective person to look at her (meaning professional evaluation). As others have said, also take time to take care of yourself. Find a friend that is willing to be with your daughter for a few hours so you can get a cup of tea in a shop or go to a library or take a walk or do some art or whatever makes you happy and relieves some anxiety and stress for you.

Seek's avatar

I second everything @cazzie has said.

That also said, I’m an introvert and willing social recluse, and my son is every character in a Mel Brooks production writ large. He’s in the spotlight in any room he enters. He’s never met a stranger; everyone is a new friend.

Does it drag me out of my comfort zone? Absolutely. Do I want to meet and chat with new people every week so he can have playgroup time with kids? Not really. I’d just as soon stay home. But as much as I need alone time he needs to People. Peopleing is how he thrives. It makes him his own best version of himself.

So I had to learn how to say “yes” to playgroup, and spending another 20 minutes at the train table in the bookstore, and Lego club at the library, and stopping to chat with the person on the bench who looks lonely.

I had to learn how to say “yes” before saying “no”.

No is easy. No is the simplest way to control a kid’s behaviors. “Can I…”—No. “May we…”—No. Well… Why not?

Stranger danger? Pish posh. People you know are way more dangerous than strangers. And chatting with the sales guy in Teavana about Pokemon isn’t dangerous.

It’s not our job to raise perfectly behaved kids. It’s our job to raise effective, successful adults. The best way to do that is to teach her how to channel her natural abilities, not to control and dismiss them.

Anyway, my two ducats.

cazzie's avatar

@Seek Is my better-self. She teaches me stuff every day and I love her. She is so right. My shit gets masked because I live in an environment where the spoken language is not my first, so it’s all a bit socially awkward for me from the get go.

I love kids. I see the best in them. Always. There is a very good program I went through with my son’s therapist. It’s called PMTO. It has been adopted here in Norway as a standard to help parents with kids who are struggling for what ever reason. There are very good tips in it for any parent.

Seek's avatar

For the misbehavior at home, I’d suggest looking into “exclusion” as a matter of discipline. Boiling it down, it’s rewarding behavior and ignoring the bad.

For heavily attention-driven kids, it’s a godsend as a method.

janbb's avatar

I’m taking a different tack. I think you do need to have her evaluated. Her behavior, if left unchecked, will continue to exhaust you and make schooling and the world difficult for her. It does not sound like she has appropriate social boundaries. What kind of social services are available to you? You might want to see if there is a preschool handicapped program for which she can be evaluated. This was suggested to me by a friend when my three year old wasn’t talking – not because she thought he needed the program but because it was a thorough evaluation. He didn’t need the program but the results were useful. I don’t think you are doing her any good by not looking in to ways to work with her brightness but helping her learn to modify her behavior.

If you like and trust your pediatrician, talk to him or her about sources of evaluation and how you can get some guidance and support.

You don’t have a “bad” child” but you have a girl who may grow up unhappy if you don’t work with her. And you need some support too.

As far as for yourself, can you pay a baby sitter or child care provider for some time during the week when you can be alone? It sounds like you need time to regroup.


Coloma's avatar

@Seek I wonder if Ian is a little chip off his old ENTP dad block? haha

@tan253 High energy extroverted children often get labeled as difficult or high needs or ADD when, in reality, they are just being themselves. I was the same kinda kid and still am as an adult. I have mellowed in my older age now but still talk to strangers, crack jokes, am a closet comedienne at heart and love to capture an audience. Not because I want attention, because I enjoy entertaining and engaging people.

I think it’s great your daughter is a little social butterfly, doesn’t have social anxiety and loves people. The last thing you want to do is burden her with a poor self image because she is “too”. Too outgoing, too boisterous, too friendly, too outspoken. Piss on that!

Read up on personality theory and how to work with your childs temperament.
I’m a female ENTP which stands for extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving and our type is known to be highly gregarious, innovative, quick minded and many entertainers have this personality type.

tan253's avatar

Hi everyone!!! Sorry I wrote that then fell asleep!
I do take all your advice onboard thank you. Firstly no, she doesn’t ever have calm time. I’m teaching her meditation which is hilarious and she is only 4 but she can sit still for 3 secs. We do karate which she loves! High energy. I work from home and I’m a pretty good Mum, I’m attentive, we have boundaries and those have been in place since she was 2 but she still breaks them all the time. Counting to 5 works really well. She doesn’t break things but she does hit. She had moments where she can,‘walk away,’ as we discussed but she can fire from 1 -100 in anger in 1sec. I have mild ADD just diagnosed at 40, introverted, but still pretty good with people. She’s more extroverted than any child I’ve met and I have met a few at preschool or play groups and my sisters 4 children and she’s always the loudest and non attentive :) which I don’t mind, I love her way with people but I have taken her out of ballet as she couldn’t stand still and would distract the other little angels ;) I love who and how she is, I just want to manage it better so in school she doesn’t struggle as I did. You’d love her if you met her. She introduces strangers to each other, asks people how they are, why they are here but then you’ll see her running around and around in circles counting to 20 at the top of her lungs and it’s that behaviour that has me concerned? It’s as if she’s running on a never ending motor (jealous) Do I get her evaluated? She has high energy and I think we stick the adhd label on kids to quickly. If I can find the right ‘management’ for her I can bring up up a healthy ‘go getter!!’ But yep exhausted!!

stanleybmanly's avatar

You need backup. Salvation is to be found outdoors. Hustle her to the parks and playgrounds at every given opportunity. THIS is where you will find the parents of similar litlle criminals who have wised up and know the drill. The little demons will bounce off one another while you and the other battle hardened parents relate tales of combat and “top this” stories. I had the luck to have been a frenetic nonstop kid myself, and retain vivid memories of such wit’s end wailing of tidbits like “for God’s sake will you PLEASE stand still?” And believe me, the kid won’t get it, even though you threaten her with death as retribution. The empathy situation is worrisome, but once again it’s the outdoors where those sadistic impulses can be exerted on bugs and unlucky wildlife too slow to escape. Somebody or something is doomed to torment. Your goal is to insure that as often as it can be arranged YOU are not alone as the “target of of opportunity”. You WILL get better at it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can confront this heroically confined one on one in a household interior. Oh yes, and first aid necessities are essential. Screw American Express. It’s that first aid kit that screams “don’t leave home without it”

janbb's avatar

Get her evaluated, but then weigh any advice as to whether you think it’s worthwhile to follow or not. The more information you can get, the more options you can have; just reject any that doesn’t help you. I have a great-niece that sounds similar – she will be wonderful some day but she does need to learn control and boundaries. And the empathy would worry me too.

tan253's avatar

@stanleybmanly are you a writer? That was throughly enjoyalbe to read. Thank you. Yes outdoors, you’re right – the irony, ’ I’m too bloody tired to go to the park all the time,’ but I shall attempt to.

tan253's avatar

Yes the empathy is a huge battle for me, – I’m overly empathetic, I cry when I see or read about anyone struggle in this life yet she doesn’t. Pre-school have said that if she’s doing something and someone comes over she’ll push them out of the way – if they cry she just ignores them. She has empathy towards snails and slugs in the garden so it’s there, just not with humans at the moment…. I have said a couple of times. oh I’m having a bad day today – to which she’ll respond, ‘Don’t worry Mummy you’re amazing.’ – so she has those moments, it’s just if she hurts someone, or someone falls over she tends to laugh rather than ask if they are ok.
Thanks though, I have spoken to my Dr about it and my landlord is a pediatrician and he’s just said she has high energy and demanding but he doesn’t think it’s anything like adhd and we’ve been with them for 3 years now… but they don’t have her full time! I have ADD and I know for myself i can’t focus on anything for very long without needing to do somethinge else and she’s got some great focus on things. Her preschool said there are no ‘red’ flags but to watch her as she’s definitel the most excitable and loud child at preschool.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@tan253, you don’t sound like a bad mum or like you’re doing anything wrong – just tired and exhausted. And who can criticise you for that. Some kids are high energy! I think I’ve mentioned here taking my son to the bank one day where he proceeded to swing from the bars and talk to me loudly. Some woman said .. “does he have ADD?” He was just a normal, exuberant little boy. And he was a firecracker too. My goodness, when he threw a tantrum all hell broke loose! I remember having to drag him screaming very loudly out of the garbage bin after I put a couple of his toys in it because he wouldn’t pick them up. And there was a period where I would not take him to a shopping centre because he was so naughty. I know I was exhausted during that period, so I can quite imagine how you are feeling. And I’m also an extrovert!

If you feel there is a problem, have her evaluated. My sense is she’s just boisterous and personally, I think that’s something to celebrate. Listen to your own instincts. If you feel there’s something not quite right, speak to someone. Otherwise, I really think going to the park and letting her run some of that energy off is a good plan. You can use the time to start at the sky and meditate. I still find meditation hard. Pity about the ballet, but yes, it is about restraint and order. Great about the karate. What about a team sport? Get her playing soccer or something? That might help with the empathy because she’ll have to learn to work with other people and to be more considerate.

And do keep talking to us here. There are so many mums here who understand how draining (but wonderful) having children can be. We love them, but it can still be exhausting! You do need some time out for you.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was merely reflecting on my own little girl who at age 2 was clearly destined for a life of crime. I thought at the time that I was Ready Teddy having memories of my own childhood and my father’s warning that children are “God’s punishment for the suffering you’ve inflicted on your parents.” One piece of advice I can give you is to document her “adventures” with all the videos and photos you can manage. You are in for some very funny memories that your daughter will attempt to deny 20 years from now. There’s something rather spectacular about a kid that’s absolutely fearless, and nothing can beat the enthusiasm that comes with the energy and eagerness when you propose some task requiring drive and stamina. Keep her busy and watch her diet. Believe me it matters. And finally, don’t be surprised if these tendencies of hers shift dramatically, I can’t tell you how shocked I was when my ball of fire hit puberty and turned into an absolute slug. But that transformation had a huge dietary component that we were lucky to quickly figure out. Good luck, and consider yourself lucky to have a kid that will sharpen your wits and keep you on your toes. And you will find coping allies in the parents of your kid’s fellow criminals.

tan253's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit thank you – I’m crying a lot when I read all your suggestions today so I must be exhausted, plus I have allergies today and feeling miserable but it’s nice to hear that other parents have over excitable children that are just normal. I guess I haven’t met any like Hunter and i’ve met children with ADHD and she doesn’t fit there – they were quite extreme cases… but yes the park. The constant chatter is quite hard to bear as well as I can’t focus as it is – so maybe a lot of it has to do with my temperament and my daughters and finding a balance between that.

tan253's avatar

haha @stanleybmanly yes teeangers and slugs. She’s made a couple of movies actually they are up on youtube – there is no shortage of her singing ‘country road,’ or making up songs in japanese and maori which are neither in japanese or maori.
So yes thank you for allowing me to breathe everyone!!!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I didn’t realise you were in Perth @tan253! I’m in Brisbane. The singing in Maori threw me. Are you originally from NZ? Anyway, I believe singing is a big part of Maori culture, so I’m sure any Maori people would love that she’s paying homage to their language and culture.

And headphones? Perhaps even for a while it might tone down the sound. Not blank her chatter out completely, but when she’s occupied but perhaps noisy you could wear them and listen to some music. You could perhaps use them as a signal to her that you need a little quiet time too.

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