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View Full Version : Am I doing the right thing?? Very looong)



momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 01:20 PM
My 6 year old suffers from anxiety and there are days that I know it is bothering her and other days when I know she is using it to get her way. Last night was one of those times where she was using it to get her way. She loves to sleep in our bed but she is too big now and it is just totally uncomfortable. We put a stop to this a long time ago and she is constantly trying to get into our bed. She will keep us up all hours of the night screaming and crying saying there are hornets in her room (there are not of course) saying she is scared and she neeeeds us. She is seeing a therapist and she has meditation music on and she knows the tools to get back to sleep, she just wanted her way and was not letting up.

Well, we were suppose to go to an indoor water park today with a bunch of homeschool families. I repeated told her that it is a lot of running around, a lot of physical activitybh and if she did not let me sleep then mommy would be too tired to take her and we would have to sit this one out. Well....she had me up all. night. long! She figured she would get to go anyway since her sister would have to miss out and I wouldn't do that. She woke up this morning after sleeping late because she was tired, I had to get up at 6am after 2 hours sleep because my 3 year old was up for the day and I am totally and completely exhausted. There is NO WAY I was about to go to this park. It's WORK and I am physically and mentally exhausted after the crap she pulled last night. Screaming until she woke up the whole house, whining, sitting on our floor and making noise. It was AWFUL! So, she wakes up this morning and puts on her bathing suit ready to go all smiles. :mad: I was literally in the bathroom throwing up (I get very sick if I don't sleep...sorry TMI) and she has the nerve to think I am taking her.

I feel so bad but I just need to know I did the right thing. My husband is coming home early and taking our 3 year old for a few hours since she had to miss this because of her sister. That was not fair at all. I feel terrible about this. Please tell me I am doing the right thing. I had a couple fo friends tell me that was a harsh "punishment" It was not meant to be a punishment so to speak but a natual consequence. You keep mommy up all night, I don't have the energy to take you fun places the next day. Am I wrong??

Cafdog
09-19-2011, 01:23 PM
Actions have consequences. It's one of the most important lessons we can teach to our children. Good for you for sticking to your guns in a lousy situation.

You did the right thing. :)

Accidental Homeschooler
09-19-2011, 01:32 PM
I agree with Cafdog. You did the right thing.

WindSong
09-19-2011, 01:41 PM
Absolutely, you did the right thing. You showed her that you will not be manipulated.

h5rus
09-19-2011, 01:44 PM
I completely agree with everyone. You most definitely did the right thing.

TamaraNC
09-19-2011, 01:54 PM
I think you did the right thing. Even if she were really having an anxiety episode, what would have happened if her behavior had kept you up all night? You would still have not slept, you would still be feeling unwell, and you would still not have taken them to the park. It is a natural consequence, not a manufactured punishment, and a good lesson for her to remember.

momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 01:59 PM
thank you all so much. My heart is breaking but she sleeps through the night all the time. I feel like she just wanted her own way and if I let her get away with it then it would just get worse!

Jilly
09-19-2011, 02:01 PM
I think you did the right thing. Even if she were really having an anxiety episode, what would have happened if her behavior had kept you up all night? You would still have not slept, you would still be feeling unwell, and you would still not have taken them to the park. It is a natural consequence, not a manufactured punishment, and a good lesson for her to remember.

This is what I was thinking. Regardless of why you were up all night, you are too exhausted to go out to a water park. I would never go to a water park on little sleep. That would be a nightmare.

dbmamaz
09-19-2011, 02:13 PM
I actually agree with you totally - i get sick from lack of sleep, too, and i would also have to not go if i wasnt feeling up for it. But . . . i tend to be gentler w kids who seem to be fearful . . .just because they can sleep through some nights doesnt mean they can sleep through ALL nights. . . i still sometimes have nightmares bad enough that I want to wake up dh to comfort me. Is it possible that she could sleep on your floor in a sleeping bag on her bad nights? Again, only if she SLEEPS, or at least makes NO NOISE . . .but at least that way you are meeting her half way? You shouldnt have to go when you are sick, but helping the house be more peaceful is the best goal in my eyes. oh, and seriously? My 8 yo (who, granted, is my youngest) still comes in to our bed on occasion, but was doing it regularly probably 6 months ago still.

ginnyjf
09-19-2011, 02:31 PM
"Actions have consequences" is one of my very favorite sayings around here. And it is so, so true. It was not a punishment; it was the consequence of her behavior the night before. Pretty clear cut and a good lesson for kids to learn. My son also has an anxiety disorder and he learned very quickly it's not a free pass for anything. So if you're mean, I am, too. :-) Hope you're feeling better.

LovingMyChildren
09-19-2011, 02:54 PM
I agree too. It's not intended to be a punishment but even if it was I'm ok with that. I prefer children to learn that what they do results in other things including an effect on the adults. A note on our society generally: people don't teach their children about consequences enough and so the kids don't seem to care about their behaviors. You did the right thing.

DragonFaerie
09-19-2011, 03:15 PM
I also agree that you did the right thing. I also think that would have been a fine and dandy punishment for her misbehavior, as well as a natural consequence. Actions have consequences. Misbehavior has punishments. Kids these days are not taught personal responsibility anymore. And it shows. You did good. :-)

momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 03:29 PM
My little one and I are getting ready to leave and my heart is breaking looking at her face. I feel like I was too hard on her. (My husband has a horrible cold so does not want to go where there are kids)
She was wakingup because she was scared and now I feel like I did the wrong thing. On the other hand, she was screaming and woke up everyone and the way she handled it was inappropriate especially after I gave her warning after warning.

I am just totally exhauted and my emotions are in over drive. I need to just know I did the right thing and move on.

Amanadoo
09-19-2011, 03:40 PM
Not only do I think you did the right thing, I am impressed that you're worried about your other kid getting to go. My kids are generally required to suffer together. It's just because my husband is gone a lot so it's just me, but I have a working theory that it improves solidarity among the ranks:grin:

bovinesituation
09-19-2011, 04:00 PM
That happens here quite a bit too, but with my 4 year old boy. He *can* sleep in his room but I swear he wakes us up on purpose. Like some nights he'll tell me he'll sleep in his room all night and then he does, so I know he can. But when he doesn't, I explain that I am too tired to take him (and 2.5 yo DD) to the park or whatever.

As to fairness - what can you do? It's all me, all day here. I can't have someone (who had more sleep) take DD to the park while the tired and cranky stay home.

Lak001
09-19-2011, 04:43 PM
I would have done exactly what you did. I would be too exhausted to go to a water-park with so little sleep. It would drive me nuts.

My dd has a similar temperament like yours', and sometimes I just feel like a complete failure as a mother. But then, I have reached my limit and there is only so much I can do. I try not to beat myself up during situation like these. Easier said, than done.

Stella M
09-19-2011, 05:06 PM
I agree with you about not going to the water park. I would cancel too if I had been up all night. Partly, it's a safety issue of not driving when extremely fatigued. I think it's a reasonable decision.

I feel less comfortable about agreeing that a 6 yr old with anxiety is trying to get her way or manipulate you. Even an older child/adult may struggle at times to use the tools they have to deal with their anxiety.

Hugs to you. I know that having a child with anxiety is difficult at times and requires almost superhuman patience. I know a night time flare up is extremely difficult to cope with. Natural consequences are good; just don't be too hard mentally on your 6yr old. Six is very little to be able to manage anxiety effectively, and a failure to do so on any small child's part needs to be distinguished from naughtiness. Blaming her for 'keeping mommy up all night' is likely to increase her anxiety. Warnings won't help a scared child.

You made the right call in not going out today. But I would phrase it differently to myself, dh, and your dd's.
Dd had a really rough night with her anxiety last night and I didn't get much sleep. It's not safe for me to drive to the water park today because I'm so tired. That's a shame, but there'll be other times. What can we do today to make sure Mommy gets some rest, dd gets some rest and help with using her anxiety tools tonight and other dd has something fun to do at home today ?


I really hope you get a better night tonight and some proper sleep. Sleep deprivation sucks.

Jeni
09-19-2011, 05:52 PM
You did exactly the right thing.

Have you thought about putting down a blanket and pillow on your floor for her? That's what we do for our kids. We have one of those small kid couches. They can't sleep in our bed so when they need to be with us, they know they have a spot to be. They also know I will throw a fit to outshine anything they can toss at me. I will scream if they pull any nighttime crap. Dd used to wake up screaming at night and I would flip out, especially after her brother came. She learned it's better not to bother mom at night.

Stella M
09-19-2011, 06:00 PM
Sometimes kids with anxiety don't have a lot of control over bothering mom at night :( Anxiety is an illness and sometimes it gets worse at night. If my child was having a flare up of a physical condition that made them distressed, I'd be nice to them. Why wouldn't I do the same for a child with a mental illness they were having a hard time coping with for whatever reason ?

The OP was completely sleep deprived and I've been there. She has my sympathy. But focusing on the 6 year old's behaviour - her' nightime crap' - as the problem won't help the OP get sleep :( Just my opinion. Just don't discount the real mental suffering anxiety causes, even - especially ? - in little kids.

DragonFaerie
09-19-2011, 07:04 PM
IIRC, the OP said that this was not a 'true' anxiety issue but rather the child making excuses for bad behavior when she didn't get her way. I think we should trust the OP to know her own child, IMHO.

Stella M
09-19-2011, 07:17 PM
It's actually really hard to make that distinction in a child with a medically diagnosed anxiety issue, even as a parent. And the younger they are, the harder it is.

The OP asked for feedback. I do feel that a six year old is too young to be expected to deal with their anxiety by themselves, especially at night, as hard as that is on the parent. The OP is free to disregard my opinion :) I doubt she needs someone to disregard or disagree for her. There's no need to be snarky about someone taking the time to give the OP polite feedback that differs from yours.

DragonFaerie
09-19-2011, 07:38 PM
It's actually really hard to make that distinction in a child with a medically diagnosed anxiety issue, even as a parent. And the younger they are, the harder it is.

The OP asked for feedback. I do feel that a six year old is too young to be expected to deal with their anxiety by themselves, especially at night, as hard as that is on the parent. The OP is free to disregard my opinion :) I doubt she needs someone to disregard or disagree for her. There's no need to be snarky about someone taking the time to give the OP polite feedback that differs from yours.


Sorry. I wasn't trying to be snarky or to offend. I was just pointing out that she'd said it wasn't a genuine attack.

momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 07:39 PM
I agree with you about not going to the water park. I would cancel too if I had been up all night. Partly, it's a safety issue of not driving when extremely fatigued. I think it's a reasonable decision.

I feel less comfortable about agreeing that a 6 yr old with anxiety is trying to get her way or manipulate you. Even an older child/adult may struggle at times to use the tools they have to deal with their anxiety.

Hugs to you. I know that having a child with anxiety is difficult at times and requires almost superhuman patience. I know a night time flare up is extremely difficult to cope with. Natural consequences are good; just don't be too hard mentally on your 6yr old. Six is very little to be able to manage anxiety effectively, and a failure to do so on any small child's part needs to be distinguished from naughtiness. Blaming her for 'keeping mommy up all night' is likely to increase her anxiety. Warnings won't help a scared child.

You made the right call in not going out today. But I would phrase it differently to myself, dh, and your dd's.
Dd had a really rough night with her anxiety last night and I didn't get much sleep. It's not safe for me to drive to the water park today because I'm so tired. That's a shame, but there'll be other times. What can we do today to make sure Mommy gets some rest, dd gets some rest and help with using her anxiety tools tonight and other dd has something fun to do at home today ?


I really hope you get a better night tonight and some proper sleep. Sleep deprivation sucks.

I totally agree with everything you say and my frustration was coming out on this forum but in no way did I say anything like that to her or "blame" her. Actually I said almost word for word what you said except the not safe to drive part. I just simply said "I was to tired to go and run around the park all day" She is in NO WAY dealing with anything by herself. We spend hundreds of dollars getting her the help she needs and I even called her therapist this morning and she agreed that this was one of those times she was not havng anxiety but wanting her way. I know the difference. WE are the most attachment parenting parents you could ever meet. Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, homeschooling mama because I want to be there to help my babies whenever and wherever but last night was one of those nights that was behavioral and not anxiety related. Had it been, things would have been handled much different and working with this therapist for 3 months now we have a great plan on place and her anxiety has been a thousand times better. She sid that kids with anxiety need to feel proud of themselves and when she sleeps through the night she gets a sticker and we praise her. What happened was we camped out on the living room floor the night before as a reward and she decided she wanted that again and when she did not get her way she kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Yes, she got a warning but no in a punishment kind of way but in a way that like you said it would not be safe to go to the park. I felt runnign around in water all day would be unsafe for us all. She in no way feels that she is in trouble or being punished, I made that VERY clear.


She also has every right to wake up at night and come get us but the rulse are if she needs us that she gets up quietly and wispers in our ears so not to disrupt the whole house. She was screaming bloody hell last night to the point her sister was scared something happened to her. THAT is unacceptable and nothing to do with anxiety. I told her several times if it was important to come and get us. E have an oen door policy and our children are welsome to come to us with any need or worry. It was also her approach. Screamimg "you better some here right now, I don't feel like getting out of bed" is not anxiety. Walking into our room saying "I feel scared" that is different.

I totally appreciate your comments and not knowing the situation I would say the same thing to someone. I have thought many times "I can't believe the way some people treat their kids" but then taking a step back, I need to be open to hearing the full story. I was venting on here but I was very loving to my baby girl.

ETA: sorry...lots of typos, I have a little one sleeping in my lap and typing one handed. She just crawled up and fell asleep. LOL!

Stella M
09-19-2011, 07:42 PM
OK. We'll have to agree that we recognise and deal with anxiety and the manifestations of anxiety in small children in different ways. I get how hard it is. Btdt several times over. Backing away from this thread real quick...

Stella M
09-19-2011, 07:44 PM
Sorry. I wasn't trying to be snarky or to offend. I was just pointing out that she'd said it wasn't a genuine attack.

Yeah, thanks, I read that for myself.

DragonFaerie
09-19-2011, 07:50 PM
Yeah, thanks, I read that for myself.

Again, sorry.

momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 07:51 PM
OK. We'll have to agree that we recognise and deal with anxiety and the manifestations of anxiety in small children in different ways. I get how hard it is. Btdt several times over. Backing away from this thread real quick...

Really I don't mind and I want to hear opinions because I want to help her. I can admit if I am doing something wrong and maybe I just don't see it. Like I said, we are doing everything in our power to help her with her anxiety and her therapist has been helping and we are making great progress but if another mom dealing with the same issues thinks they can have some positive feedback I am all ears. I just wanted to make it clear that the way I was coming across on here was not how I was coming across to her. I did not know if you were making your statement based on that. My husband and I believe in very gental parenting but sometimes a maa has to vent and Iw as not going to do that to her. I rather some on a board with moms that are most likely dealing with the same issues and just let off a little steam. Ya know?

Stella M
09-19-2011, 08:03 PM
No problem. Like I said before, the beauty of online advice is that you are always free to disregard advice that doesn't work for you. In any case, I have zero experience of treating anxiety through behaviour modification techniques. My experience is in supporting anxious children to develop more realistic and resilient cognition, but that's much more of a long term treatment.

momofgrlz
09-19-2011, 08:22 PM
No problem. Like I said before, the beauty of online advice is that you are always free to disregard advice that doesn't work for you. In any case, I have zero experience of treating anxiety through behaviour modification techniques. My experience is in supporting anxious children to develop more realistic and resilient cognition, but that's much more of a long term treatment.

Tell me more. For instance, if your 6 year old was waking up yelling for you at night what would your approach be? Also, in a case like this do you think this is anziety or behavioral: I made dinner the other night and the girls take me their plates when they are done eating. She told me I made the mess so I should clean it. Do you think this is from anxiety or is this a behavioral thing. I am seriously asking, I am not being snarky!! I know things can some off different online. I am genuinely curious. I want to be as gentle as possible but also have boundries that should not be crossed like throwing a plate at me telling me "I should clean it"

Also, where do you get your information? Is there somethign I can read more about this? Like I said, we want to help her in everyway possible!

dbmamaz
09-19-2011, 08:55 PM
Just my 2 cents. . . the real way to know if its behavioral or not is to have consitent rules and consequences. If a warning of the consequence gets her to put her dish away herself, then its behavioral (but only if she has seen you follow through w the consequences many times). If consequences dont help her to control her behavior, then her behavoir is not under her control. My older son, eventually dx'd as bipolar and mildly autistic, was not able to control his behavoir, no matter what behavoir mods he had, becuase the self-control part of his brain simply did not work. My younger son is very stubborn and will scream and cry, but if he knows he cannot get back on the computer unless he does xyz, he will do it. While crying, but he'll do it. My older one, threats of consequences would make him fall to the ground crying and saying he's a bad person. but he still couldnt do what we asked him to do . . . mostly in terms of controlling emotional outbursts.

Stella M
09-19-2011, 09:49 PM
Well, seeing as you asked...with the extra info you gave about your dd acting out, I'm not really surprised it happened. Think about it like this - the reward night of camping out in the lounge room probably felt really nice for your dd - safe, cosy and distracted from her anxiety. Next night she has to go back to what seems like, to her, a place where she might be lonely, where she has to grapple with her fears without the distraction or comfort of parents continually in the room with her. I guess that contrast between safe and distracted and having to use her meditation tapes and her tools on her own at times in her room might have felt scary and so she acted out.

I'm not saying it's right for her to express herself the way she did to you. It isn't. But from an outsiders pov, going on the little info you have given, I can understand why you might have had such a horrible night with her.

If it were my child, I'd try baby steps instead of reward. The baby step of sleeping in your bed, but without you staying in there all the time. The baby step of sleeping in a bed next to Mama's. The baby step of starting the night off in own room but being allowed to come in during the night if scared or angry or unable to deal with own emotions....working gradually towards the goal of having a kid who is happy to sleep in her own room all night. I'm not saying you should do that, I'm saying that's what I have done/would do.

I would and do go in at night to a child who is having trouble regulating their emotions, whether that's anger or anxiety or sorrow or whatever. They need my help at those times to get them back on track in terms of using the skills they have or are learning. I have more mature cognition than they do, so I'm the one who has to do the helping. Sometimes, especially if I'm tired, it feels like they are 'doing this to me.' But they're not. It's not personal and manipulative in that way. It sucks having to go in to children at night. I get that.

The plate thing... No, it's not an acceptable way to talk to your Mom. I'd tell my child that and discipline in a way that felt comfortable to me, at the same time as making a mental note - what's bothering this kid ? What's going on to make her feel and act this way ?

We use cognitive behaviour therapy. It does aim to change behaviours but not through a process of external rewards and pressures. It's more about learning to think more realistically.

If my dd was screaming about something like hornets in her room, we'd try to do detective thinking together. How likely is it that there are hornets ? Can we see any ? Can we hear any ? Should we put on the light and take a look ? What would happen if there was a hornet ? How could we deal with the hornet so it didn't cause any harm ? Are hornets more scared of her than she is of them ? Yes, I know, it's easier said than done. I stuff it up on a regular basis.

I don't know you, I don't know your dd, I'm not trying to criticise you or you dd or how you choose to manage her anxiety. I understand that it's hard. I just wanted to give you a different perspective and the title of your post gave me the impression you were asking for input, not just wanting to vent.

Shoe
09-20-2011, 12:32 AM
I agree with what everyone else has said-you did the right thing.

momofgrlz
09-20-2011, 07:19 AM
Corrigan and Sadie. Thank you! You really did give me a different perspective on this and DH and I talked and we are going to change things up a bit. Please do not think I am upset by your posts!! In fact, I am a person who loves to hear different sides and if I am doing something wrong and can fix it to help my kids, I will surely take advice! WE have only been going through this for a few months. (Started at the end of the school year last year) so I am new at this and following a therapists advice and this was her advice. I never thought of the sticker reward that way. I never want her to fee ashamed or that she is bothering us. She knows she can come in our room anytime but she can't scream and wake up the whole house. Last night she came in our room quietly and I praised her for being quiet and letting the others in the house sleep. I went and slept with her and she was fine. We have done the baby steps to her own room and she went weeks being just fine so yes...It was frustrating ater months of hard work tranistioning her but you are right, maybe the whole sticker thing is bothering her and she is acting out on that.

I hate that I came across as a mom who "let's her deal with it on her own" I know I was frustrated and tired and venting but truly, my DD never has to deal with things on her own. I just did not think of the night time issues the way you both explained it and I appreciate you putting it in another perspective because it did change they way I look at it and we are certainly going to change things a bit. I am going to look more into cognitive behaviour therapy. We do see a hypnotherapist as well but not as often because our insurance does not cover it and it's $125 a visit so we try to go once a month instead of weekly. I am going to ask her pediatrician (who is holistic and an intergrative dr.) if she can recommend someone for cognitive behaviou therapy. In the mean time, we are getting a futon this weekend and this is going to be put next to our bed until she feels she can do it on her own. Thanks again!

Brittaya
09-20-2011, 12:53 PM
I agree with Corrigan, I've been having panic attacks since I was about 7 or so and I know how scary it is..
I used to lie awake all night in my bed, my stomach in knots, sweating but cold, shaking and freaking out. I was too scared to go to my parents for help, I knew they didn't want to be up all night so I always toughed it out on my own. I finally started to learn to control them when I was a teenager and now they are pretty rare. I also agree with Sadie maybe see if you can help he confront her fear a bit in a way that she feels safe. Having surgery really helped me get over my fear of hospitals but it was only because my husband was by my side the entire time helping me deal with it. Anyway I hope your little one finds something that works for her because panic attacks and anxiety are horrible.

Stella M
09-20-2011, 05:13 PM
momofgrlz, I'm soooo happy you got a better night! And yay for dd's who come in and express their needs quietly...the futon sounds like it might help everyone get better nights too.

I know it's so horrible when all has been going well and your child seems like they've lost any progress they've made. I don't think learning to deal with anxiety is a linear thing. I think kids seem to cycle around and around until the new ways of thinking and acting really become part of who they are.

I didn't at all think you were leaving her alone to deal with things in general. I was only referring to your OP where you wanted her to use her meditation tapes and therapy tools on her own. She will most likely get to that point some day :)

I'm sorry if I came across more judgemental than I meant to. Corrigan did a better job of not lecturing! I just know how difficult it's been to deal with anxiety for child who is way older than yours, and I couldn't help thinking that for a little one, it must be even more difficult.

Harder on you too. I really hope your dd in time learns to cope with her anxiety consistently, for your sake and hers.

Accidental Homeschooler
09-21-2011, 11:48 AM
I find it difficult sometimes to know what is the anxiety and what is just typical (or more than typical sometimes) childish misbehavior. Sometimes it is very clear, a tantrum over not getting another cookie, not anxiety. Crying at bedtime, possibly she just doesn't want to go to bed or maybe anxiety. Falling apart and crying over a mistake in school work is definitely anxiety. All I can do is my best and sometimes I don't figure out what is going on until I have already made a mistake in how I respond. It is hard.

Stella M
09-21-2011, 04:59 PM
I guess I'd always prefer to err on the side of assuming mental distress over 'naughtiness'. But idk, my kids anxiety is pretty clear cut.

Corrigan, I've been known to snap too :(

Accidental Homeschooler
09-21-2011, 05:35 PM
I guess I'd always prefer to err on the side of assuming mental distress over 'naughtiness'. But idk, my kids anxiety is pretty clear cut.

Corrigan, I've been known to snap too :(

With my older dd it is also pretty clear cut, not so much with my little one.