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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:12 PM
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I know I have posted a few times about issues I'm having taking care of my friends daughter. Her mom is getting help for depression and I'm going to have her for at least a year. The little girl won't stay in timeout and whenever I try to take something away she takes it back. Should I try not punishing her and seeing what happens?
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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:16 PM
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Punishing her in what way? Can I ask how old she is? x

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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by silver tree View Post
Punishing her in what way? Can I ask how old she is? x


She's 5. I wonder if I shouldn't punish her at all. Not put her in timeout or take anything away.
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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:26 PM
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What things is she doing wrong when you put her in time out? (just some examples) x

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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:30 PM
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What things is she doing wrong when you put her in time out? (just some examples) x
Going outside without asking, lying and say she ate when she doesn't, refusing to nap, things that will hurt her etc
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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:46 PM
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Going outside without asking, lying and say she ate when she doesn't, refusing to nap, things that will hurt her etc
Those sound like times she could be with you? Eating lunch together, having quiet time or reading together. Maybe she is afraid youre going away too. Can you just keep her closer to you for a while and see if that helps? Cuz it sounds like she is old enough to understand that she shouldnt go outside without letting you know. Is the time-out away from you (in a bedroom) or near you (on a naughty step or stool near you)?
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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:52 PM
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I think you should continue trying the time outs. She is looking for consistency and structure in her chaotic world. Set a timer so she understands when it is okay for her to get up and sit a couple feet away from her so she knows that you are not leaving and knows that you still care. If she gets up from the time out before the timer goes off, walk over and sit her back down without saying anything and then return to sitting close to her. Is she seeing a therapist that is experienced with Reactive Attachment Disorder? It sounds like the other one was not super helpful.....

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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 05:53 PM
  #8
 
At age 5 it is normal not to nap anymore. If she is not eating, maybe she doesn't like the meal you have given to her, she might be one of those picky eaters. Or, her not eating could be her way of feeling a sense of contol. She should not be going outside without permission though.

What kind of "structure" do you have taking place for her? Does she go to kindergarden or nursery school? How about looking into a dance class for her? What do you do together with her? Take her to a zoo, a local museum? Look in your local town paper too and see what kind of things you can do together, little fairs, perhaps take her to a local stable to ride a pony.

I understand that children need to follow rules, but I also think it would be better if you bonded better with her, and that can mean taking her places and doing things together that will be "fun" for her.
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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 06:45 PM
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Reactive Attachment Disorder Symptoms | Psych Central

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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 07:04 PM
  #10
 
Quote:
Going outside without asking
Ok, that one is dangerous and imo time out should be applied here. I think an emotional response is necessary as well (e.g "if you run off you might get hurt on the road or taken away and that will very upset me and brake your Mum's heart, not to mention hurt you. Do you want that to happen?? and then a time out and why) Also, when you put her in time out, do you explain why she is being put in it? and given the '3 strikes' allowance? each time explaining what she is doing wrong and what will happen at the end of the 3 strikes?

I don't think there is anything wrong with expressing to a child how their behaviour is making you feel. Not nasty or rejecting words obviously, but saying that they are upsetting you or you are disappointed that they would treat you a certain way and asking them to not do that, is a healthy way to communicate imo. Equally I think a child needs a lot of positive reinforcement too; always comment when they do something good or that you have asked them too to do (e'g "well don, good girl) Make a big fuss and express positive emotions and praise at the end of a day she has been good.

Do you tell her that you like spending time with he? Take an interest in the stuff she likes and tell her how clever she is when she tries at something? Tell her how much her Mummy loves her? and ask her what she would like to do?

Quote:
lying and say she ate when she doesn't
Punishing her for this is wrong imo. Finding ways to make meal times a happy thing and encouraging her to enjoy food should be the objective. I think a five year old that is lying about eating and depriving herself of food, is one that is exhibiting troubled behaviours imo. Have you talked to her about why she doesn't eat? Have you talked to her Mum about this?

Quote:
refusing to nap
Well she is 5 not 2! Although I agree that quiet time is important, trying to force a 5 year old to have a nap, when they are not tired, is odd imo. Why can't this time be used sitting with a book or singing gentle songs and having a cuddle? Do you play with her at all? or bond with her in any way?

Sorry for the twenty questions, just trying to get a better idea. I also get quite troubled with kids as certain behaviours are for certain reasons imo and it makes me sad when a child is unhappy or troubled x

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Old Sep 04, 2014 at 09:35 PM
  #11
 
You need to continue with the structure. She needs consistency and predictability. She will push back against structure and rules and discipline. But she still needs it. Giving in and not having consequences for behavior will make it worse not better. Are you putting her in another space away from you when you are doing time out? Don't do that. Use a consistent time out space, but one that she can be in the same space as you (ex a corner in the kitchen while you do work in the kitchen as opposed to her bedroom).
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Old Sep 05, 2014 at 06:32 AM
  #12
 
All this is asking a 5 year old to behave in ways that she has never had in her life. And she hasn't got any structure either. As wonderful as you are for being her carer, her sad reality still is that she has a temporary home with someone she fears bonding with and her Mum has left her. Given these circumstances, is then trying to make her behave in a disciplined and structured way, fair on her?

The behaviours you have described are hardly excessively naughty either imo, and I believe they're maybe linked to testing to see if you CARE about her, and not wanting to hurt you.
Leaving the house = would you care if she was gone?
Not eating = do you care that she's not eating?
I think she needs emotion and love and to feel she matters, and not punished. That sends a message that it is bad to look for that reassurance or try to express herself (dysfunctionally, true, but the only ways she knows how )

I think it's the same with the sleep issue maybe. If you spent two years being abused by someone, would you want to be put somewhere with no distraction or noise, alone with your thoughts and unable to sleep? no, me neither. And if I couldn't communicate that, maybe I would get distressed and scream too.

I think you are amazing for caring for this little girl and very warm hearted. You are also extremely brave to ask for opinions and ideas on how to do your best for her. I hope you find the way that works.

Some ideas about dealing with traumatic bedtimes ..

Give her a night light that shines pictures on the walls
An ipod with calming music on and stories that come with the books
Buy her a magic torch (tell her it's magic)
A dream-catcher and tell her it catches happy dreams and keeps the bad ones away
Buy her (or make together) a worry dolly, that she tells her worries to and puts under her pillow and while she's asleep the dolly takes her worries away.
Does she have a night time teddy? Get one from the charity shop and tell her that someone had given the teddy away and he looked sad, so you brought it home so the teddy had someone to love again and a nice home

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Old Sep 05, 2014 at 08:06 AM
  #13
 
Quote:
Give her a night light that shines pictures on the walls
An ipod with calming music on and stories that come with the books
Buy her a magic torch (tell her it's magic)
A dream-catcher and tell her it catches happy dreams and keeps the bad ones away
Buy her (or make together) a worry dolly, that she tells her worries to and puts under her pillow and while she's asleep the dolly takes her worries away.
Does she have a night time teddy? Get one from the charity shop and tell her that someone had given the teddy away and he looked sad, so you brought it home so the teddy had someone to love again and a nice home
these are some great ideas!

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Old Sep 05, 2014 at 11:30 AM
  #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by livelaughlove22 View Post
Should I try not punishing her and seeing what happens?
I would google: parenting classes or search in PsychCentral for parenting articles and information to help me HELP a child.
good luck,
jim
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Old Sep 06, 2014 at 12:27 PM
  #15
 
She needs consistency and structure. Children will rebell against those and push at their limits... but it's because they're testing to see if those rules are for real reasons, or if they're just there just be controlling. Once they know what the limits are, they feel much more safe.

But for a child who has never had that... she won't stop pushing for a long time because she doesn't trust you. Keep the rules. There have been some great ideas posted in the thread for things to do to help. Reward systems are great - you can always get her input on what she'd like as a reward if you don't have good ideas that would work well for her.

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Old Sep 06, 2014 at 12:55 PM
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I read somewhere that "timeout" should not exceed the age, because time to a child is totally different than time is to us. Based on that and since she is 5 years old, the timeout should be no longer than 5 minutes. Set a timer and sit with her until the time is up.

As far as going outside without asking goes, you may need to install locks on the windows and doors that she cannot tamper with and/or open without an adult present ... I know she's five, but she doesn't understand the danger or consequences of going out alone and unattended, and to punish her for that is inappropriate, because it is the adults responsibility, not the childs.

I would ask her what she would like to eat, fix it for her (regardless of whether you feel it's nutritious or not - sometimes empty calories are better than no calories at all), and once she earns your trust with whatever it is - even if it's chocolate cake and orange juice - then she'll probably come around to more nutritious offerings later on. If she says she's not hungry, don't push her or force her to eat because that can very well set her up for disordered eating later on in life.

Remember there's an extra layer of issues you are dealing with here, so above all be as patient, gentle & kind as you can with the wounded child ... And, if you feel that it is too much for you to handle, then call and employee all the professional help and opinions to help y'all through it as you can!

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Old Sep 06, 2014 at 02:09 PM
  #17
 
Quote:
She needs consistency and structure..
But this is as much about providing consistency and structure, than simply expecting a child to consistently follow your structured rules. And she needs consistent love and a structured home first imo and a consistent response to her, based on understanding and patience. She hasn't got any stability and the person she is living with atm is only temporary. She has abuse trauma trust issues and, from what I can make out, doesn't healthily or openly express what her issues are attached to. I don't think unchallengeable rules and punishment should be the priority here. Unconditional love, understanding and trying to support, help and accommodate her, while establishing structured decisions on boundaries (for both the caregiver and child) and accounting for behaviours associated with that trauma, is a better approach imo

Quote:
Children will rebell against those and push at their limits... but it's because they're testing to see if those rules are for real reasons, or if they're just there just be controlling.
I agree to a point. But I also feel that enforcing your will on a child that has already had all control and previous structure taken from her and is now trying to establish how she feels and rely on herself for structure and security, needs to be made allowances for. Plus, other than going outside without telling OP, Which I believe was more about pushing for an emotional response of care and concern for her, than it was boundary kicking and therefore, love, care and worry should have been the first reaction and not a stern one about rule braking. She hasn't done much wrong imo. What we have been told she does wrong:

She wants to be allowed to be independent and rejects practical help ~ so what? Her therapist says this is because she hasn't been able to rely on her carers in the past so has decided it's better to take that responsibility herself. If she feels this gives her her own structure and stability, then providing she it isn't dangerous, why not allow it?

She wont eat and lies about that when quized ~ any expert will tell you that punishing a child with an emotional triggered ED will only make that worse.

She wont go to bed ~ Obviously A line has to be drawn here but experimenting with adjusting where that is drawn is perfectly acceptable imo. She has suffered severe trauma so time alone, with no lights or stimulation providing a distraction from those thoughts, could potentially be very distressing. So why not bend those rules to accommodate this possibility?

You are right that a child will push at boundaries and with none in place could become unruly. But it is also individual to circumstance and about finding a healthy a balanced structure based on those. Imo this child deserves that and needs it too help to rebuild her trust of adults and caregivers and to feel she is of some importance to these people, and not just something belonging to them that they can do what they want to and get rid of when they please x

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Last edited by silver tree; Sep 06, 2014 at 02:27 PM..
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