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  1. Four-year-old's mental health: should I be concerned?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm so glad to have found this forum, as I haven't had much luck finding information on the web about my particular concern.

    I have a four-year-old daughter. She's my first-born, so I'm not sure whether her behaviour is within the realm of normal, or whether I should be concerned. Like I was as a child, she definitely fits the definition of a highly sensitive child, and we also suspect that she's gifted (as I also was). She is very cautious in new situations. For example, she will stand in a corner at a birthday party for 45 minutes or so, before joining in the fun (if she joins in at all). She just likes to observe and absorb everything around her. As well, she's very sensitive to loud noise, changes in routine, scratchy clothing, etc.

    I'm not terribly concerned about those characteristics, as we've learned how to adapt. What does concern me are recent violent tantrums. They usually happen when she's been overstimulated or is tired, or finds she can't do something (she'll have tantrum if she can't solve a math problem...at four year's old!).

    An example is yesterday. We had a playdate in the afternoon at the house of a new friend. I stayed with her the whole time, and she seemed to enjoy herself. However, on the way home, she started tearing apart the craft she had made (a person made from a toilet paper role) because the legs "were funny." She said "I'm going to kill it... I hate it...I hate everything... I'm going to kill everyone...I'm going to kill all the boys." Her language really scared me. In the past few months, she's also had tantrums where she punches us in anger, talks about 'hating everything' and not wanting to 'be here anymore.'

    I have suffered from clinical depression for more than 20 years. It runs through my side of the family, rarely missing anyone in its path. When I see this behaviour in my daughter, I immediately think of her mental health. Should I be concerned, or is this just her way of dealing with frustration. She started kindergarten in September, so perhaps it's related to that?

    Thanks for any advice you might be able to provide, or suggested reading. I have both "The Highly Sensitive Child" and "How to talk so your child will listen, and listen so your child will talk." Any others that might be helpful?

    Mama_Shmee

  2. #2

    Four-year-old's mental health: should I be concerned?

    I'm not a child psychologist but I would strongly suggest that you take her to see one and sooner rather than later. This sort of behavior can create problems with her peer relationships and self-concept/self-esteem and it is wise, I think, to look for ways to address it now before she has secondary issues that will need to be addressed.

  3. #3

    Four-year-old's mental health: should I be concerned?

    Hello mama,

    I never had a child with temper tantrums but did have one with differences. I think you would enjoy this book and if anything you will most likely get at least one new idea to add to your list of strategies in parenting.

    I hope you get some answers to your questions soon.

    The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki

  4. Thank you

    Thanks for the feedback and advice. My daughter has been incredibly happy and cooperative the last few days: this always happens after she's had a major episode of whatever it is she's having an episode of. I definitely want to get to the bottom of it.

    Mama_Shmee

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