Self help/behaviour
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  1. #1
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    Default Self help/behaviour

    Hi, am looking for some advice/ opinions. I have an extremely strong willed 4 year old mindee who is starting full time school in September. She is incredibly "particular" about certain things (apologies for labelling, but I'm trying to get this out properly, it's all jumbled in my head!). For example, she likes all buttons done up on cardis, can't bear it if her socks get "bumpy bits" on the bottom (if not pulled up properly), she can't bear sleeves getting caught a bit as her coat is being put on, she likes her cuffs to be equal if they're folded back on her sleeves, and she likes the Velcro straps on her shoes done up so tight you wouldn't believe, because she feels like they might get loose otherwise, which is another sensation she can't bear. On most journeys to anywhere (we're always on foot) we have to stop at least twice because there will be something in her shoe (sometimes she's right, if it's sandals and a tiny stone or bit of something has gone in) sometimes there's nothing there at all. This is incredibly trying. Incredibly. And because she hates all of these sensations so much, as soon as she notices them she'll get annoyed and anxious, and then will say that she can't sort it out herself, she wants me to do it, which will descend into full scale tantrum if I don't do it for her (she doesn't have any physical impairments). I find myself just giving in and stopping our walks every five minutes, brake on buggy, bend down, take her shoes off, check it and shake it, pull her sock up for her if she starts to whine that it's "gone funny", shoe back on, tighten it up because the strap is "too looooooooose!", start walking again, repeat as necessary!!
    Now.... I'm sure some (as would a childminder friend of mine who feels I'm much too soft on that child) would say to just make her do it herself. BUT- of course this always happens when we're either heading out of the door on a deadline, or en route to somewhere, either on a deadline, or surrounded by members of the public, or both! Now this little girl's tantrums could wake the dead, and can go on and on and on, and usually finish with her screaming and sobbing "I want my mummy". I end up giving in and doing these things for her, because I want to get there on time, and I don't want members of the public and parents at the local schools seeing me walking beside a screaming, traumatised child, who apparently I'm refusing to help, and who is sobbing for her mummy! Seriously, what do I do??!!! The main issue really will be the school shoes- the ones she wore for nursery class this year were the typical school style that she'll wear this Sept. Is it reasonable to be expecting an able bodied 4 yo to do these tasks themselves, or is it cruel? Help!!

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    Oh but I do feel for you.... my personal opinion she has you over a barrel.... she knows you do not want a scene and you know you have to go out everyday and try an avoid one. I would be tempted to keep walking and tell her to sort it out herself when you get to the school or whereever you are going. But like you say it causes a scene maybe start by trying it when you are at home. Let her play outside and if she starts saying something in shoe for example tell her to sort it. I had a 3 yo who refused to put on her own shoes. She could do it and I was always putting them on as soon as she back indoors they were off so every time we went out or she wanted play outside I had to stop everything and put them on. One day I had enough and told her I was not doing it anymore and she could stay indoors. There was tears and shouting for about a week but she did learn. I was only able to do this as we were at my house and I let her work the temper out of herself....
    Tess1981

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    I would plan a trip where you've all the time in the world for her to let it out and see she can't have it her way , she'll need time to learn the skills you / mum do for her and get ready for school , once the cycle is broken you won't look back ( hopefully) good luck
    School readiness and school will thank you

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    Is the child like this with her parents?

    If yes instead of thinking she's just particular has the child been tested for any sensory disorders.

    Some of what you describe are classic sensory issues
    When someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to go slam a revolving door

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    Quote Originally Posted by FussyElmo View Post
    Is the child like this with her parents?

    If yes instead of thinking she's just particular has the child been tested for any sensory disorders.

    Some of what you describe are classic sensory issues
    Ahh, just typed out a long reply and it didn't send!
    Basically the idea was briefly touched upon some time ago, when her mum said she had looked online (I think it was when we were struggling to get suncream on her a year ago without a tantrum), but mum said that the websites she looked at talked about sensory issues, but mum felt that it wasn't sensory, it was a control issue (LO does like control in all things). Whilst mum is no expert, LO does have an autistic 13yo brother, whom mum was very quick to get diagnosed at a young age because she picked up on it. So mum is quite "hot" on things like this. However, I suppose it may be that, because LO doesn't have the same issues as brother, and is comparatively easier for mum to deal with, mum is maybe just not realising it, or is perhaps in denial? I'm not sure how I'd bring it up though, and in practical terms, whilst sensory issues/disorder would explain it, I do still need to address the issue that LO can physically help herself, she's a very clever and competent child, but at times (i.e. when we need to get somewhere or are in public), she is refusing to and is having tantrums

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    Will repost when not so tired!
    Last edited by lisbet; 24-07-2015 at 11:26 PM.

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    Gosh, how difficult for you. I think it does need bringing up again with the parents - just ask them how they would deal with the issues. If she is starting school in September could you write a quick report for the school and mention some of the things she gets anxious about - that way they would be alerted to it and could arrange for assessments if they think it is necessary. If you have mum's permission to share info you could even have a word with them - it would be very interesting to hear if they have the same issues with the child.

    If indeed it is a control issue then have you tried rewards? There could be both sensory and control issues at play here - she thinks there is something in her shoe (sensory) but won't sort it out herself (control). As someone else suggested, go on walks where you are not on a deadline. Tell her beforehand that if she thinks there is something in her shoe that you will happily wait for her whilst she takes off her shoe - she must take it off herself but if she needs help you will put it back on for her. Get her to agree to this deal. Eventually you could work to her putting her shoe back on herself but you will help her to fasten it (huge verbal rewards when she does) and then ideally she will work towards putting on and fastening her she all by herself.

    Does she complain that there is something in her shoe if she is playing in a playground/park or is it just when she is walking? Most children I know could happily be on their feet for hours when playing and climbing and don't want to head home, but the minute we start walking home they all complain that they are tired and that their feet are hurting. (I know there are issues other than the shoes for you.) x

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maza View Post
    Gosh, how difficult for you. I think it does need bringing up again with the parents - just ask them how they would deal with the issues. If she is starting school in September could you write a quick report for the school and mention some of the things she gets anxious about - that way they would be alerted to it and could arrange for assessments if they think it is necessary. If you have mum's permission to share info you could even have a word with them - it would be very interesting to hear if they have the same issues with the child.

    If indeed it is a control issue then have you tried rewards? There could be both sensory and control issues at play here - she thinks there is something in her shoe (sensory) but won't sort it out herself (control). As someone else suggested, go on walks where you are not on a deadline. Tell her beforehand that if she thinks there is something in her shoe that you will happily wait for her whilst she takes off her shoe - she must take it off herself but if she needs help you will put it back on for her. Get her to agree to this deal. Eventually you could work to her putting her shoe back on herself but you will help her to fasten it (huge verbal rewards when she does) and then ideally she will work towards putting on and fastening her she all by herself.

    Does she complain that there is something in her shoe if she is playing in a playground/park or is it just when she is walking? Most children I know could happily be on their feet for hours when playing and climbing and don't want to head home, but the minute we start walking home they all complain that they are tired and that their feet are hurting. (I know there are issues other than the shoes for you.) x
    Thanks Maza,

    I hadn't thought of talking to the reception teacher about it to that extent- mum and I have mentioned to teacher together that child doesn't like wearing certain things like aprons etc, and likes to be in control of situations, which can hold her back socially as she isn't very likely to join in with other children's games and dislikes being approached by other confident children, but then the meeting took a different turn so I couldn't quite get across what I wanted. In all honesty, I'm not sure she'll have the clothing issues while she's at school, she's very differently behaved when she's in a large setting, because she doesn't have that same element of control. Her pre school (that she attended twice a week, 3hrs per session) never ever mentioned it, and she was fine with self help there as far as I'm aware, so I think a lot of it may be that mum and I have made rods for our own backs, because the tantrums affect us the most, because we're the ones who have to get LO to places in time! I really do think that's the main issue here.

    LO does mainly have problems likes stones in shoes etc when we're walking, and will seem to have the most attire-based "problems" when we're on a deadline (although it may just seem that way to me, thinking about it!), but the issues are still there in "fun" situations too- she's often been reluctant to run about too fast in case her hat flies off/becomes off-centre or loosens, and although she IS physically capable of most things that a child her age can do, she's quite cautious about things because she doesn't cope emotionally with cuts, scrapes etc (I know all children cry, but her reaction can seem quite extreme, she really does "feel" her emotions!), she almost never wears shorts even in really hot weather because she's worried she'll hurt herself more if she falls over without anything there to protect her skin, so she wears leggings every day. She's very aware of what she doesn't like, and will be quite specific about adapting things to avoid them. For example, because she hates aprons, she was quite accepting of the fact that she would do no painting or creative work at pre school in the last year (she has a special t shirt at my house that she's happy to wear now, but before that she just painted without it and avoided getting herself messy); during the hot weather, because she was so upset at the peak of her cap becoming off-centre and the cap loosening, when she was at pre school and knew they'd expect her to do it herself, she just never took it off once she got there so that she wouldn't have to deal with that issue; because she always detested toddler reins so much she always just stayed right at her adult's side or held their hand when walking never tried to run off; because she hated bibs so much she always ate very carefully even as a young toddler and just never really got dirty. Which I guess is all fine (if a little restrictive for her personally), but like I've said, my issue now is that we've got to the stage where she's finding a new set of sensations that she doesn't like, but isn't (not can't) helping herself, because Mum and I have basically always given in (Mum more than me, I have put my foot down a few times but think I've not been consistent enough).

    What I think I need really is someone to kick my butt, tell me to stop being so soft and intimidated by a young child's tantrums, and tell me it's ok to expect a school age child with no physical disabilities to be able to put their own hat, shoes and socks on, and that t's ok to expect them to be able to adjust them to their own liking!

  10. #9
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    When he was small my son used to struggle with 'bumpy' shoes, and 'scratchy labels' and the worry that his shoes would fall off unless done up tight enough to cut off the blood supply to his feet! He used to have meltdowns over these things, but it was clearly genuine distress over the physical sensation of these things, rather than a tantrum. I used to find it bewildering and frustrating when it made parts of life so difficult, but then I came across the website below which talked about some people having overactive nervous systems that could cause sensory issues (not the same as Sensory Processing Disorder) AND emotional issues, such as anxiousness and 'timidity'. The website described the character traits as 'Highly Sensitive' - a name that I don't like, personally - but it really did describe my son to a tee.

    What you write about your mindee puts me in mind of it too; She has gone to considerable lengths to avoid these uncomfortable sensations over a sustained period (thinking of how she's managed her difficulties with her cap and apron), and the fact that she really 'feels' her emotions intensely seems similar too.

    Once I was able to understand my son's behaviour as coming from a genuine difficulty for him, I found it easier to be calmer about it all and worked to help him understand what was happening: "Your skin is really noticing the feeling of the sock at the moment, but it'll get used to it in a couple of minutes". I used to be understanding of his feelings, but let him know that whatever it was (ie wearing school shoes) did need to happen and encourage him to find a way to manage it - for example, with the socks he used to rub his feet really fast to over-ride the sensation of the sock on his skin. Or he used to run up and down the hall to take his mind off it. When possible we would find ways to work round it and find clothing/ shoes options that were comfy for him (like you did with the comfy painting t-shirt for your mindee).

    Now that he's older he is has got used to the sensations and learned to cope with them/ notice them less (although it takes him ages to make his bed, because it all has to be 'just so' )

    I hope things get easier for you and your mindee x

    The Highly Sensitive Child

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  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisbet View Post
    When he was small my son used to struggle with 'bumpy' shoes, and 'scratchy labels' and the worry that his shoes would fall off unless done up tight enough to cut off the blood supply to his feet! He used to have meltdowns over these things, but it was clearly genuine distress over the physical sensation of these things, rather than a tantrum. I used to find it bewildering and frustrating when it made parts of life so difficult, but then I came across the website below which talked about some people having overactive nervous systems that could cause sensory issues (not the same as Sensory Processing Disorder) AND emotional issues, such as anxiousness and 'timidity'. The website described the character traits as 'Highly Sensitive' - a name that I don't like, personally - but it really did describe my son to a tee.

    What you write about your mindee puts me in mind of it too; She has gone to considerable lengths to avoid these uncomfortable sensations over a sustained period (thinking of how she's managed her difficulties with her cap and apron), and the fact that she really 'feels' her emotions intensely seems similar too.

    Once I was able to understand my son's behaviour as coming from a genuine difficulty for him, I found it easier to be calmer about it all and worked to help him understand what was happening: "Your skin is really noticing the feeling of the sock at the moment, but it'll get used to it in a couple of minutes". I used to be understanding of his feelings, but let him know that whatever it was (ie wearing school shoes) did need to happen and encourage him to find a way to manage it - for example, with the socks he used to rub his feet really fast to over-ride the sensation of the sock on his skin. Or he used to run up and down the hall to take his mind off it. When possible we would find ways to work round it and find clothing/ shoes options that were comfy for him (like you did with the comfy painting t-shirt for your mindee).

    Now that he's older he is has got used to the sensations and learned to cope with them/ notice them less (although it takes him ages to make his bed, because it all has to be 'just so' )

    I hope things get easier for you and your mindee x

    The Highly Sensitive Child
    Thank you so much Lisbet, I'll have a look at the link and possibly forward it to mum

 

 

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