please help, please

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2006
please help, please
Mon, 05-18-2009 - 7:19pm
my daughter is 2 1/2. i'm a sahm. my husband is a soldier, he is gone a lot, it's mostly us day and night. over the past few months things have gotten unbearable. i hate getting up in the morning. to put it plainly my little one is a terror. nothing holds her attention for more than 5 minutes. fingerpainting, coloring, blocks, reading stories, playing kitchen, dollhouse, balls, you name it it's NOT happening. she is not happy unless she is destroying or tearing apart something. she fights for 1, sometimes up to 3 hours before going to sleep, this is naptime and bedtime. i am 5 months pregnant and just exhausted to tears. she has always been a very loud baby, she cried a lot as an infant. it seems like she might be ahead of her age as far as her vocabulary and other things, she is often mistaken for being 3 or 4 years old. i just can't handle her. i hate admitting that, it feels like i am doing something wrong. but i see other kids coloring and reading with their parents, and just playing, and i can't do that with her. honestly i just don't know what to do with her. we can barely take her out in public. she screams and throws fits constantly if she is not allowed to run around and do whatever she wants. this wouldn't be such a problem if she wouldn't destroy everything. that is the only thing she is interested in. at dinner last week she wouldn't sit in her booster seat, we were at a nice restaurant, she got out and pushed over 3 chairs in 30 seconds. it is embarrassing. we are young and so people think we don't know what we are doing. she is so fast and slips away so quickly, everyone in my neighborhood knows us by face, i am the one chasing her across the ENTIRE neighborhood while she is screaming and naked. baby gates don't stop her, doorknob safety things don't stop her, my house is a complete mess all the time. what is going on. is this just how toddlers are? i don't see anyone else going through this. i don't give her a lot of sugar. i discipline her as firmly as i can but i admit sometimes i just give in so she will just stop. my tolerance threshold is extremely low these days. it seems like it gets worse every day. the only thing that holds her attention is tv and sometimes she will play actively like at the park or swimming for about a half hour. what am i doing wrong? i feel like a failure and i am dreading my new baby. i honestly don't think i can handle this x2. any advice or suggestions appreciated. i am posting this in add because i have tried other places and all i got was this is normal. please, this cannot be normal. i can't bring her out in public, or anywhere for that matter.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 05-18-2009 - 9:59pm

Hi, and welcome!

She sounds like a

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

Avatar for imomtojd
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-19-2009 - 7:43am
Great post - consistency and firm limits with known consequences will make a huge difference.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-19-2009 - 9:36am

OK...first, is there *anyone* you can get to give you a break? A young teen that can spend an hour with her after their school, some kind of babysitting, anything? Because 5 mo. pregnant will have something to do with the whole mess, you've got to be SO tired, I just want to get you a bit of extra rest, or a chance to go do something YOU like.

Does that sound normal to me? No, not really. Doesn't sound strongly ADHD either, but that's not why you are here. First, have you talked to your pediatrician? Exactly what you said here & see if they think it sounds like an issue. Assuming you're in the US, you can also get an evaluation through your school system (even at this age), maybe see if they "see" anything.

MY favorite way of preventing kids from getting into things are the magnetic locks, where you have to have the "key" magnet, but those only work on cupboards, not doors. How about a set of hooks up really high where she can't get to them even on a chair?

Have you seen the 1,2,3 magic (OK, basically counting) discipline? She's at the age where that starts being effective.

Positive discipline--sticker charts, rewards programs--can also be alot better than all negative. You pick something you want to work on (going to sleep nicely?) & do it. I think it was around 3ish, but might've been at the age you're at when the rule became that you didn't have to fall asleep but you had to be quiet in your room--meaning reading, usually. The sleep one is the one that worries me the most in some ways, because that's a crazy-insane amount of time to be spending on it. But it might work better to pick something you're closer to "success" on.

Are you asking her to help YOU? I remember my 2 1/2 yr old was really nice at getting me things like glasses of water when I was that level of pregnant with his sibling. Don't know if it'd work for you, but maybe? (PLASTIC glasses of water ;} )

You're stuck in the "oh that's normal" thing: Every thing 99% of ADHD and, say, Aspergers kids do IS normal. The thing that sends 'em all over the top is how many different "normal" things are going on & how hard they are to correct. So, yes, sometimes it IS parenting. And sometimes, the parenting is already where it should be, but the kid is extra tough. I know, for me, I'd already DONE all the things suggested in the ADHD books well before we hit an actual diagnosis.

And 2nd kids aren't necessarily like the first ones. I'd actually say it's rare when they are, even when they have, say, the same diagnosis. Which they don't, generally!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Thu, 05-21-2009 - 1:06pm

First, write down everything you've experienced into a notepad. If things continue, the doctors will want to know the early signs of problems. It very well could be ADHD, it could be something else, it could be you just have a very spirited child. You won't get any real answers, unfortunately, for years. No one wants to diagnose anything until you reach the school years. We sought help from the doctors at age three, though, so you can get help. We met with a child psychologist for tips on managing the behavior (didn't really solve the problems, though). It wasn't until our son was older and could take the ADHD medications that life really turned around for everyone in our house.

I could relate well to the exhaustion you're feeling with the never-ending energy and problems. Our son was that way at that age, too. I'd look at other families and envy how easy they had it. One friend warned me in advance of visiting that her son was very hyper and defiant and I thought he was on sedatives when we met him, he was so mellow compared to our son. Don't discount your suspicions that something isn't quite right and don't blame yourself. If you were a bad parent, you wouldn't be here seeking advice.

Also, don't stress either about the second child. Kids can be very different from one another. Our daughter is very spirited but doesn't have any signs of ADHD. We ask her to do something and she'll say, "Yes, mommy." Seriously, there are kids like that! My jaw dropped the first time she willingly did what she was told because everything is a battle with her brother. You'll be much more skilled as a parent having the challenging child first.

Hang in there and feel free to post here when you need advice. There are some very helpful parents here who can give you useful strategies.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Thu, 05-21-2009 - 7:52pm

I knew that my son was more active at 2 than everyone else. All I had to do was go to the pumpkin farm with 60 other families - and I had to walk the most chasing him! I also was pregnant at the time, and I walked 3 times as far as the others going after my son.

I will second the locks up high. My oldest would go outside when she was the night. That was the only thing that stopped the escapes. If you have metal doors, ask the landlord to help you out - he/she doesn't want a horrible event either. One of those chain locks up high would help with security as well as your child.

Do double check with your doctor and ask for referrals. Also call the school special ed department and ask for testing. Get the name of the contact person and send them a letter as well. Some schools will not act until they have requests in writing. They do have stuff for under age 3 that you might be able to get this summer. At worst an assessment will tell you that she is normal, at best they will give you some help and things that you can do.

I DO understand that consequences may make no difference. My son, the one whom I am worried about, started counting - from 10, and he had to "race" to be to me by the time I got to one. (This was his idea.) Eventually we worked it down to 3. I used a leash on him in public until he turned about 6 and I could trust him not to run off. I had leashes stashed in the car, my purse and assorted bags. When we go out to eat or in public, I tell all three of my kids what will happen. ("First we will go in and wait to be seated. Then we will wait for the waiter to give us our menus. We will look at them and order our food. Then we will wait. In our seats. We will wait and wait and wait. In our seats. Finally the food will come. Then we will put our napkins on our laps...." You get the idea. I have to do the same thing every time I go to the bank because we don't have drive throughs where I live.)

See if there is any low cost or free daycare or programs that you can access. See if you can sign her up for Head Start or anything else that can give you a break. Go to church even if you are not now - perhaps the prayer and break while she is in the nursery will help! ;-) (This coming from a person who does not do church. I would be tempted in your situation though!) Check with your local parks and recreation, YMCA/YWCA and anything else. It really sounds like you need a break, and I do understand that as a military family that things may be tight so ask around for discounts for military families and scholarships. Also see if there are any mom/dad groups that meet at a local park over the summer. Getting out of the house and interacting with other parents is always wonderful. And parks are nice because kids can run and play together.

I wish you the best in your pregnancy and with your daughter! And remember, even if she is ADHD, age does help and things will get somewhat better as she gets older. And if you have a parent willing to come help out when you have the baby....accept gladly with the provision that they keep the oldest occupied!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2004
Tue, 05-26-2009 - 12:43pm

I think you got some great advice here!! I just want to add that my 13yo son was a lot like that at 2, but mostly the destruction and moodiness. He has ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and I was so desperate, I found a psych that could treat him at 2 and a half.