Sad Little Girls.

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.”

“Why not, sweetie? You love school.”

“No I don’t. I don’t like school. I don’t like it!”

“Why don’t you like school?”

“Because my friends are all scared of me.”

This last was said with a quivering lip, eyes full of unshed tears.

And it broke my heart.

It’s true. Her friends are scared of her. She’s been so unbelievably naughty that no one knows when she’s going to lash out. So they, I guess, don’t want to play with her.

My poor little three-year-old daughter. Feeling alienated, friendless and alone.

Her own doing? Sure. But she doesn’t understand that. I don’t think she even knows why she lashes out.

I’ve got lots of guesses. Maybe she was just too tired. Maybe she was hurting – her ears, her teeth, who knows. Maybe she just wanted more attention.

But I don’t have the answers. And she can’t give me any.

So I put her to bed early. Give her tylenol – just in case. And pray.

I don’t want her to be naughty. Not because of the problems it poses in my life. I can figure those out. I just don’t want her to be hurt. Don’t want her to feel like the odd one out – the one no one likes.

I want her to be happy and carefree. I want her to putter and play and, you know, just be a kid.

I want to fix this for her.

So I read books. The latest, “Honey, I Broke the Kids,” tells me that I need to be more democratic in my parenting. That kids who lash out in one way or another are seeking to fill a need – for compassion, control…I don’t know. There are four of them.

It advocates for no punishment. Just logical consequences clearly stated at the outset.She says no timeouts, no sending the kid to her room, none of that.

But I wonder. Has that author ever been faced with a kid so angry she literally can’t hear you? Been so afraid of the next tantrum that she  spent her days walking around on eggshells, trying not to rock the boat?

Democracy doesn’t really seem to work in that situation.

Sure, she’s hurting. I’m hurting. We’re all hurting.

I just hope it all comes to an end soon.




8 Comments on Sad Little Girls.

  1. Andi
    April 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh girl it’s like we are in the same boat. Hours and hours of tantrums a day. Not joking – its really bad. It usually takes about an hour of screaming before he will even calm down enough to read a bookfro bed. So I hear ya. I have no advice. Just a shoulder.

    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:26 am (4 years ago)

      Oh, the screaming. Do you ever wonder how they can even talk the next day? My throat would be ripped to shreds. I hope yours (and mine) get through this phase. And soon.

  2. Rob
    April 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Ok, so I’ve gone to write this a couple of times, but hesitated, because, seriously, what do I know? But here’s an idea. We need to work for an award and a way to track our progress to that award. It needs to be in a prominent place in the house and visible. Difficulty needs to be small at first, and then the bar moves a little each time. I’m thinking each day without biting, we pull a couple of inches of a string (or whatever), when it gets to a certain point, reward time. Whatever If there is biting, it backs up, starts over, stays put, something. I’d start with a goal of six inches (three days) and start on the weekend so she is only one good day at school to get the first reward. Make a big deal of each success with a ceremony and everything. You also want something to keep her focused when she is not at home and can’t see the measurement. Maybe make a bracelet out of the same string and casually drop that she might be able to wear it to school. Make it a big art project and her idea. As much of this as possible should come from her. Success is lots of cheering and celebrating. A setback is just that, quiet, unfortunate, but not devastating. Get all the rules ahead of time and her involvement is crucial. Have a ceremony (it should have a name) each night and talk about how things are going. Play out situations where biting might occur and make sure she has alternatitive words and actions.

    I know this must be terribly difficult for everyone. I really don’t know her, but it may be worth a shot. I’ll be thinking of you guys. Good luck.


    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:25 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the good advice, Rob. We’re thinking that’s a great idea! She’s been doing a little better at school (knock on wood) but the tantrums are still ridiculous.

  3. Jenny
    April 30, 2012 at 5:51 am (4 years ago)

    My son is going through the same thing. And he is 9. I know what you mean by eggshells.

    Hope she gets through it soon!

    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:24 am (4 years ago)

      Nine. Ugh. I guess they just keep doing this until they grow up and leave the house, huh?

  4. BalancingMama (julie)
    May 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm (4 years ago)

    Your line about walking on eggshells? That was me in the fall of 2010. I was afraid of Amelia’s tantrums. I could not physically keep her in a timeout, and more times than I’d like to admit, she hit me, scratched me, pulled my hair. I was actually seeing a therapist at the time for major anxiety. She helped me to see that I needed to assert MY authority so Amelia could begin to understand which one of us was the mom. I had to work on my consistency, I had to make sure I followed through and didn’t make idle threats. And most importantly, I had to reward the heck out of her good behavior – randomly, out of the blue, and OFTEN. I also had to be sure to talk to Amelia about rules, behavior, and punishments at a time when she was totally calm. Because clearly, the middle of a tantrum is not an effective time for discussion. Their minds are literally incapable of reason (or listening) when they are so worked up.

    Anyway, every kid is different. I don’t know what tips will help you… and maybe in reality, it’s just time. Waiting them out. But know you’re not alone! I absolutely lived this here too. (It does get better!)

    • Amber
      May 10, 2012 at 9:24 am (4 years ago)

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you…but thank you. This was really helpful. I just have to keep reminding myself to stick to my guns and we’ll get through it. It’s just hard. I’ll have to try rewarding her more – that does seem to work!


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