Behavior Issues at 6 years old

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by ainsleyr, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. ainsleyr

    ainsleyr Well-Known Member

    Hi Ladies,
    I have not posted on these forums in about 2 years, and I apologize for the long absence! It is nice to come back and see so many familiar names.
    My daughters turned 6 today. Generally my girls are sweet and loving, but one of them is having a really tough time controlling her behavior. She has always needed a little more time to calm down than her sibling; she tends to react to situations with an immediate panicked, almost hysterical reaction. The classic is her car seat - if she cannot get her belt done up on the first try, mass hysteria ensues. If she perceives her seatbest is too loose, she has a screaming fit. All of her screaming fits tend to involve sensory issues (clothing too tight, too loose, itchy, etc), and a very, very low tolerance for frustration. If I see them coming, I can generally talk to her about them and avoid an explosion, but if she is tired (e.g. at school pickup), all bets are off.
    Generally, we have coped with this behavior (some days better than others...). On my better days, I stay calm and talk her down; on my bad days when I am tired, or stressed, or we are running late for something, I lose my temper and everything spirals downhill (I do recognize my behavior as a contributing factor, and I am trying to be a calmer and more controlled parent!). Despite these episodes, she is generally a sweet and loving child with a wide group of friends, good relationships with her siblings and really good behavior in school.
    This afternoon, the girls had their birthday party. I initially failed to notice 2 little girls crying, but once I did see them and asked what had happened, I found out that my daughter had punched them in the nose!!! Now, we are not generally a family that does corporal punishment, although there is an occasional smack across the bottom (& I mean occasional - like maybe twice in the past 2 years). So I don't think she is modelling behavior from home, or from TV. She has never hit anyone before. When I asked my daughter about her friends crying, she replied that she had been "trying to be funny", and punched them in the nose (eeek!). Needless to say, we have had the talk about bullying, mean girls, appropriate behavior, treating everyone with love and respect, "doing unto others"...the whole thing. But none of this was a new conversation - we talk daily about respecting others, being good friends etc. I was utterly mortified and totally horrified by this behavior.
    My husband is convinced that she has a borderline personality disorder. She definitely has difficulty modulating her bahavior - she is always the kid who takes it a little too far, cannot turn off or calm down, but up until now I have not thought it anything more than developmental. She definitely is improving in terms of the frequency and intensity of the hysteria, although since the start of kindergarten this year she has been a little more uneven, which I have assumed is tiredness but now I am starting to wonder. Does anyone else have any experience with this sort of behavior in a 5-6 year old? Any suggestions for helping her to some to terms with her emotions? Promote socially acceptable behavior? (Save me from incipient alcoholism?? Because if this keeps going, that may be where I am heading!!!!)
    Thanks in advance!
  2. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    One of the set of books that have helped in my house are The Way I Feel Books by Cornelia Maude Spelman:
    I have found that these books have been very helpful in talking with my kids about their emotions and how to positively handle them, that no emotion you feel is bad but it's what you do with that emotion. I would also ask, are her teacher/s seeing this behavior from her at school? Or is it just at home? Because if it's just at home, I would fall down on the side of you saying she's tired/adjustment to kindergarten...sometimes that can take months for them to adjust. I did an earlier bedtime with mine at the beginning of kindergarten and also offered a nap time after school (which my kids declined). But if you are hearing the issues happening at school, I would ask the teacher if she can see a school counselor.
  3. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Have you talked about it to her pediatrician? I would mention it.
  4. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    As a counselor, I have to tell you first of all that personality disorders do not typically develop until later on. The chances of a 6 year old having the same personality now and as a young adult are very unlikely. PD's can't be diagnosed until at least 18.

    If your daughter has sensory issues, that is very possibly what is triggering many, if not most, of the incidents. Sensory processing disorders can be reactions to a variety of things - texture, sounds, touch, etc. I highly recommend you get this book, "The Out of Sync Child" and see if you find anything that sounds like it might be your daughter:

    If sensory issues are not the trigger, your daughter could also have very low frustration tolerance, which can come from learning difficulties - ADHD hyperactive or inattentive, mild autism, or any other of a variety of sources.

    If she is having any of these issues at school, ask the school to evaluate her. Also, talk to your pediatrician and find out if there is a local child development clinic that can do a comprehensive assessment to look for issues. There may be some neurological or developmental delays or issues going on that are easy to overlook on a day to day basis but that could be really impacting her as well.
  5. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I agree with the pp who stated to have the school evaluate her. That and talk to her doctor. My youngest gets on my last nerve a lot. He is on the autism spectrum and does have some sensory issues.
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