Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2018, 11:16:14 AM »
Our 6 yr old daughter sounds very similar, a highly sensitive child, with epic tantrums, which are triggered and worsening with our impatience.


Aww bless her medmama. If we forget about the epic tantrums and the constant drama for a minute, we care really see and marvel at the wondrous child underneath...

That's what I try to do for the most part. Sure, I'm triggered left and right everyday, but I need to be the cocoon to give her comfort.

My Mantra is... I don't get to have a tantrum. She does.

I'm also seeing that she is genuinely feeling that much distress at the seemingly small things at school.

Just last night, my 6yo tried her best to engage me in a power struggle. She said she was exhausted and it was past her bed time, but she wanted to watch TV. I said No TV, go to bed.

She had a complete meltdown. Weeping, crying, emotionally charged words ... At one point, I said, " I said No TV because you need to go to bed and rest. There is no point having this tantrum here, wasting time. It defeats the purpose of my No. So, I need you to go upstairs, brush and get into bed and then continue your tantrum in bed." I say all of this in a caring genuine voice.

Somehow she went upstairs and got into bed... It took another 45 mins to settle, but I'll take this as a victory.

I practiced a lot of validation with her, and now she is feeding off the validation to extend the drama. So I'm learning to validate for a few seconds and then tell her that the magnitude of her reaction is not proportional to the hurt and I teach her to tone it down.... All playfully, in silly voices.

For example: if she stubs her toe, she cries that she will have to hop on one foot for the rest of her life. I say that... It must hurt a lot to stub the toe, but it needs a reaction like "ouch" and not like "ambulance siren sounds " or something.... Just to show her visually the difference in reactions. She seems to be regulating slightly better now.

I noticed she needs my approval all the time. She gets devastated if she doesn't have my approval. So I have to be super careful explaining when she does wrong. They feel ashamed so quickly, so I have to be super careful in correcting behaviours.

I use the words "It's my job to teach you _____"  a lot. The assumption is that she is a child, doesn't know and I teach her. She is not expected to know. It makes correcting her behaviour a lot easier.

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hhaw

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2018, 05:50:42 PM »
I'm jumping in here...

I wish I'd have allowed my kiddos more opportunity to experience logical consequences, and not buffered or protected.... esp my oldest dd.

 I wish I would have allowed them to do more for themselves as they were able from 4 and 6yo on. 

I think at the point we experienced ongoing conflict... we were all effected negatively.  My oldest dd was more sensitive, and oppositional WITH ME.... she was used as a pawn by adults in her life.  It worked against her.  I wish I could have protected her from that, but we're seldom able to completely shield them from family members.   I had to allow a certain amount of harm, prove it, then go about securing protections.  That's something I wish I could change.

I think I stopped laughing at a point, when very overwhelmed.  I think some kids are very in tune with what's going on inside of us, and effected by it.  Oldest DD certainly was.  I wish I could have kept a bubble of time, daily or at least  weekly, where we kept rituals of joyful activities in place.... where I was truly available and present with my children through terribly stressful times over a ten year period.   I think it would have helped my oldest DD to feel more secure, and less displaced, like she lost the mother she had.

I say this bc I remember her face lighting up in 2010..... her eyes sparkled.... when I was laughing and dancing with them in the kitchen once.  It had been 2 years since I'd seen her face look like that, and she'd been the kind of child to light up all the time.  I just didn't notice, bc I couldn't.  At some point her face locked into an unhappy mask, she stopped caring about school, and then finally quit going.   

Oldest DD was strong willed, and always fighting me.  I said left, she automatically said RIGHT.   The joke in the family is that her response will always be NO.... even if she wants what you just said.  Then it's "No.... wait.... what?"  We can joke now, bc it's mostly passed, but she was my challenge.  I think if I could have stayed the calm, consistent, mindful mom it would have helped her in every way. 
 
My older dd held her feelings in and found it impossible to discuss difficult topics.  My youngest had no filters and just let every thought out..... which was much healthier turns out.

I would have kept both children in T, but for an unprofessional T who extended a legal case, and created months of harmful psych evaluations for both children. 

At that point there was no keeping the girls in therapy.  They flat out refused, and I can't help thinking that was perhaps up there as one of the most harmful traumas.

I think a good T can make a difference.

Good luck,






hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2018, 10:37:19 AM »
Thanks for your comment hhaw. My daughter is similar to your oldest DD. Super sensitive. Can I ask how old your dd is now? How is she doing? My biggest worry everyday is somehow, inspite of all my work, I will somehow fall short and she will have enormous emotional pain all her life.

Because believe it or not, people with PDS r not happy. They have a huge hole in their heart, whether they know it or not. I pray so much that my daughter has a whole heart. I have seen so much unhappiness in myself, my brother and my mother that I never want my kid to go through life like that.

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hhaw

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2018, 10:51:25 AM »
rd:

My oldest dd is thriving at this point. 

She's the level headed voice when her peers are struggling.  She's the calm, and rational when everyone else is spinning emotionally.  She's like that WITH her peers. 

I think her deeply carved brain pathways, WITH ME, are something she's struggling with, weather she knows it or not.  Sometimes she seems surprised by her behavior.... which isn't, at this point extreme.  It's just echos of a younger child's behavior... her younger behaviors.  My youngest dd15 talks about it when she sees it, and it makes her angry.  I tend to ignore it, or remain completely unemotional when addressing it.  Giving it energy would intensity it, or so I feel. 

Right now I'm focused on taking back all my negative energy, and being that calm, consistent mom who asks both girls what they're going to do about whatever the situation is.

Had I started asking that when they were 4 and 6yo..... that haunts me for my oldest dd17.  I think she would have been less dependent on me, less defiant to me, more mature emotionally, etc. 

Like I said.... we had a huge challenge when they were 4 and 6yo, with ongoing adult conflict they were sometimes pulled into on the other side of the family.  I don't regret keeping their lives as normal as I could, which included NOT pulling them into the conflict.  Perhaps I could have given them some information in age appropriate terms, but I was overwhelmed and protection mode was second nature.  I couldn't do anything different, looking back.  It might have saved us all years of struggle and pain had I been able to figure out how to DO that, IME.

Looking at oldest dd17 now I watch her face when I respond to her.  She's ready to rise to any challenge... I don't think she's capable of a different response right now, not that it's overt.  It's a reflex... .truly I think it's a deeply carved pathway in her brain, as I said.

So, I go out of my way to remain calm, unemotional, and try to ask her what she's going to do, then don't comment unless she asks.  If I could go back and address her at 6yo, I would have done more of that, as was appropriate, and certainly less saving her from discomfort, which I did until she developed a pleading doe eyed look in my direction that screamed SAVE ME!

At what point did this develop into social anxiety, loss of interest in school, and her final request for help, which was for a Therapist on her terms?  I'd had her in T, and she'd been refusing to go for 3 or 4 years.  I'm a softy... I didn't force her to go... not often, and when I did she sat there refusing to participate, uber angry I'd brought her, and it was counterproductive.  As I stated in last post, a very unprofessional therapist had betrayed my children in a court proceeding, making up things the girls said, and skewing their psych evaluations into laughable over the top obviously biased stories that made no sense, and were based on someone else's stories of who we were supposed to be.  This created a lot of fear the girls would be take from me, though it was never going to happen.  The fear was very real, even though the Judge saw through all the crazy in those reports.

What's my point?  My point is...... finding a good therapist, when your child is young, and getting that solidly in place can be important, IME.  There were lessons my oldest dd17 learned in Wilderness Camp, and at Therapeutic Boarding School that make her an emotional giant at this point. 

At the same time, she's also still who she was.  I have to watch that our old patterns aren't given energy, so we can find new patterns to grab onto.  I'm reminded of the saying "drop the rope," when it comes to my strong willed child.  As difficult as it is to let her make questionable or bad decisions (about school attendance, food, etc) I'm DOING that now, so that she feels agency over her own life, and ownership of her consequences....... nothing to do with me.

It's hard, but what if I'd done that when she was younger?  Where would we be NOW?  That's not the entire picture, there are numerous large factors involved, but that's something I feel I could have controlled.

Mindfully repeated happy routines the girls were used to prior the upset of our lives.  Remembered to dance with them, and find happy things that took me out of my head, and grounded me in my body, which I simply couldn't do at the time, but what if I had?

I think really SEEING our children, looking into their eyes, DOING things with them, letting them do, make mistakes, and see how that feels.... is huge.  Not labeling them, negative or positive, is something I'd consider.  My oldest was labeled defiant, bc she was, and she was also labeled very smart.

How that effected her was.....

she became more defiant, and a bit elitist concerning her IQ, and other people's IQ's, which didn't make her more popular.  She also thought she was smarter than me, which she is in many ways, but it effected her relationship with me.  She spent years being overtly cruel, which she admitted in Therapy at Boarding School, and apologized for.  Looking back I can see that she was cruel, but I was too overwhelmed to identify it or certainly to admit it. 

My youngest dd15 began to hate her older sister.... guessing she was in the second grade when that started.  She also would tell me I should be more strict with her, PUNISH her, etc.  I think I should have disciplined, taught her to do better, allowed her to deal with the consequences of her choices.... that youngest dd was exactly right.

The question is, could I have saved us all from the struggles oldest dd17 experienced?  I think I could have done a lot, frankly, but then I tend to think everything is my fault.  Truthfully I couldn't have changed what the other adults were doing, and so I make peace with the fact I dropped the ball with regard to consistent discipline, teaching healthy boundaries and consequences, (I let oldest trample all over mine during the hard years) and ensuring a good Therapist was always in place, no matter what.

My mother parented at the opposite end of the scale from me.  My oldest was most effected by that, and I think I was MORE protective, and sheltering, as well as the external conflict.  By that I mean.... my mother cared about how we looked to outsiders. I cared about my children's mental health.  I was pushed to be softer than I would normally have been, bc my mother was pushing for things that weren't important, regarding how the girls' dressed, kept their rooms, behaved, ate, etc.  I wanted the give the girls' agency, and feel they had voice in their lives, and could effect the outcome of situations where my mother didn't understand that concept, though she learned, and became sensitive to it later on. 

I wish I could have parented from a place that wasn't fearful.  I think when we see trouble our brains tend to catastrophize, and that sticks in our brains... it effects our thoughts, our words and our actions.

I wish I could have assumed the best, and known I was working toward it, rather than spending my energy fearing.... trying to steer away from the feared thing. There's a difference, IME.

Assuming a good outcome, thinking more about what's going right in our lives, and refusing to ruminate on fear is a life skill, IME.  Our brains are wired to think about what COULD kills us..... in order to retain our place on the food chain, not get stomped to death by a Woolly Mammoth, not freeze to death, etc.... reptilian brain is always awake, and working to survive.

It takes practice to focus on the positive in our lives, and live there.  To teach our children how to do it too. 

Before the initial trauma, I know I looked into my childrens' eyes and saw THEM..... the best of them, every day.  Their potential, and their best selves.  That changed, and oldest dd was the most effected.   She was robbed of the mother she'd had, and she was powerless in her life to change it, understand it, or get answers about it outside the insane stories she was hearing from the other side of the family using pathos arguments...... highly emotionally charged statements that were egregiously false, but managed to stick in a young child's mind.  See, maybe I should have given her answers... something to stand up to the insanity from the other side.

I don't know what your situations is, but kids are smart.  They benefit from the same thing adults do..... give them facts, without expectation, and allow them to come to their own conclusions...bc they will.

Speak to them with respect, and give them choices... good, better, best.  Allow them to live with the consequences now, bc the older they get the larger those consequences will be. 

Get them used to being responsible for what's theirs...... taking ownership of their clothing, toys, friendships, and emotions.  We aren't responsible for those things, though we often believe or act as though we are.  It's hard to follow a child's phases, and be one step ahead all the time.  I would read ahead, and be ready for each... until everything blew up.

Again.....
therapist.
Focus on the positive, and assume the best in your child.
Refuse to live in fear, stop catastrophizing, return to what's going well in your life, and accept your child as she is. 
I think trying to change a child sends signals to you and to her that she's not OK as she is.  One thing my oldest said in therapy was that I should "stop trying to fix" her.  I think our relationships became ME trying to FIX her in many ways, and she was absolurtely right about that.

Don't let that become the defining theme of your relationship with your dd. 

Our children are born who they are, and we make them more or less, what that is.  We teach them how to put off gratification, we provide books, and toys, and games that teach, and engage their brains.  We provide play dates, and the best education we can.  We model calm consistent emotional behaviors, we don't yell, name call, or change topics if we're engaged in a discussion that's important to the other person. 

We don't withold our affection when we're angry.  We ask for time to think about whatever is bothering us, set a time to come back, and speak about it later..... we don't make threats, and we stick to natural consequences, not arbitrary punishment.

I personally didn't spank, and wouldn't allow my husband to teach our children that a man judging their conduct and hitting them was a natural consequence for life. 

As "strong willed" as my oldest dd was.... still is..... both girls are really..... at some point in middle school girls get very insecure, and they have a hard time standing up to their peers, IME.  They could always stand up to ME, bc they felt safe, and secure enough to TO that, but I will tell you...... had I allowed their father to hit them, and he would have done so when they were toddlers, I don't know where they'd be right now.

Both girls have opinions, and believe they're entitled to them.  They're able to advocate for themselves.  Had they been hit  by a large man, I'm not sure if that would have veered off sideways into the belief that bigger and stronger people are right bc they can bully them into giving up their beliefs.

I'm rambling now.

I wish I'd been more present, more positive, and more rooted in the moment.  More consistent with discipline... positive discipline... teaching them to do better.  Punishment was never my idea of teaching.  I prefer humor, and gaining a child's cooperation, rather than overpowering them in the moment. 

I really do believe my oldest dd felt that I'd identified her as   someone I needed to FIX.  If you can avoid that, I would.

Oldest dd did have health issues her little sister didn't.  Then it was her weight, which her father focused on, which lead to me withholding food for a minute, which lead to her hoarding food for a minute, which lead to her eating like an animal for a minute, and I overfed her from birth, bc the lactation specialists said I could never provide enough milk to feed a 10lb baby, which was rubbish, so I overfed her till she puked the first months of her life with supplemenal feedings.... and now DD17 knows she overeats, is overweight, and not much interested in turning that around, on top of 4 sets of braces,  glasses, ongoing asthma from toddlerhood, and the emotional frailty I likely enhanced without realizing it.  There were years of no gluten, sugar, dairy, along with handfuls of supplements several times a day, which dd17 handled beautifully.... youngest railed against the whole way.  One more reason for her to be angry at her sister. 

I will say this... you might try, at this younger age, excluding dairy, gluten and sugar at different times for extended periods to SEE if it has any effect on your dd.  She may have food sensitivities that effect her in important ways.

I wish I'd have raised my girls without g/s/d from day one.  Oldest was a milk and cheese hound, like her father and his father, who all struggled with their weight.  It seems like it's a definite gene thing, bc they're the only ones built like that in either family.  Withdrawals from milk and cheese for oldest was horrific... she howled.   I wish I'd have provided good food choices, and just left both girls alone to make up their own minds.

Wow, this is a lot of information.... read or stop, but oldest dd was dx'd with a whole body infection in fourth grade.  Come to find out it's Lyme's disease, and the inflammation in her entire body is HUGE, along with heavy metal toxicity her sister and I don't share.  I watched the inflammation leave oldest dd's face, neck, body... entirely, as we had 2 solid pristine months of g/s/d free eating, and a stellar nutritionist with supplements saw us every week for the first moth, then less and less as we got things under control.  BTW I didn't care about losing weight, but needed to think more clearly for court, so I had all three of us eat g/s/d free, and do supplemements.  I lost 20 lbs in 2 months, and every dimple on my body came off in layers..... I recognized my body from my twenties.  I was in my 40's.  I could think more clearly, and handle stress better, but it's hard to eat that way when you're living in a house with people who eat those things, which was worth standing in the grocery store crying, wondering what the heck I would feed us.  I figured it out.  Life went on.

So, that's a lot of information given in a disjointed manner.  Apologies ahead, but I hope there's something that makes sense in your situation.

Good luck,














hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

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hhaw

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2018, 01:17:57 PM »
rd:

I read this article after posting here.  It helped me identify my parenting strengths and weaknesses, in a nutshell which reminded me how badly I worded it in my prior post.   I can look back and clearly see things I'd change.  I can see things I believe I did well.  I certainly never felt compelled to do what everyone around me was doing.  I researched different styles, and chose what made sense for me and my children.

About parenting, and how compelled we can feel to FIX our children.....which is still close to my heart....
here's an NPR article about the Belgian town of Geel, where community members take in mentally ill individuals.  It explains why non family members might be better at dealing with struggles family members go through.  On the flip side, perhaps it will give you insights that help you gain emotional distance.... enough to see your child, and her situation, more clearly. 

Copy and paste the link below... that should work.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/01/484083305/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness 




hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

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Penny Lane

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2018, 09:33:35 AM »
Hey rainbowdash! I found this thread because I'm looking for some of the same answers, except in my case it's my boyfriend's kids with a very difficult mom rather than my own kids.

I actually came here to post a recommendation for a hairbrush. His daughter is also very sensitive about her hair and there were always lots of tears at hairbrush time until we got a Goody hairbrush with soft bristles, similar to this one:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001VD4DB2/ref=sxr_rr_xsim_1_a_it?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3513574162&pd_rd_wg=cd8gl&pf_rd_r=JAK62J89DNN0D4CT93NP&pf_rd_s=desktop-rhs-carousels&pf_rd_t=301&pd_rd_i=B001VD4DB2&pd_rd_w=pi7iJ&pf_rd_i=goody+hairbrush&pd_rd_r=722cda37-3e35-482c-8bad-90fcf322e4be&ie=UTF8&qid=1521642100&sr=1

Also, I don't know if what I'm doing is working, but in the past few years I've basically given myself a crash course in parenting best practices. Here's a list of books I found incredibly helpful (some are therapist-recommended when I was looking for ways to help the kids manage their mom). Maybe some of them would resonate with you:

Parenting with Love and Logic
How to to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
Raising a Secure Child
Don't Alienate the Kids! Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce

That last one probably doesn't apply to you as much. But I included it because I thought it was incredibly helpful in talking about how to teach kids to manage their emotions. He uses the metaphor of a hot brick -- so like the kid's negative feelings are the hot brick, and the adult's job is to cool down the brick to a manageable temperature and then give it back to the kid to learn to handle it. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it well but the metaphor really helps me figure out int he moment how to handle tantrums and other strong emotions.

Good luck and thanks for starting this thread! It's given me a lot to think about.

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2018, 10:51:26 AM »
Thanks PennyLane

I will look up those books. I have some of them myself. It has been over a year and I definitely see improvement in my daughter's ability to manage emotions. In healing her, I'm healing myself. And by healing myself, I'm healing her.