My 4-year-old daughter is beyond high-energy, but not ADHD

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

I am looking for mothers and fathers who are dealing or have dealt with a wild, high-energy child who is not diagnosed with ADHD.

My 4-year-old daughter is wild, smart mouthed (although not abusive, there is no name-calling or claims of not loving my husband or myself), extremely high-energy and constantly on the go. My husband, her father, has likened her to a shark. It is almost as if she is in danger suffocating if she stops moving or talking for a minute.

I have addressed with her pediatrician and her teacher. She is currently attending half-day pre-school. Her teacher thinks she is wonderful and gushes how well-behaved and attentive she is in class. She is smart, helpful, genuinely friendly and is perfectly able to sit down and focus on a task. She has dealt with children with ADHD and feels my daughter does not meet the criteria.

The same is with her pediatrician. After extensive question and answer visits, he feels she absolutely does not have ADHD and is simply a high-energy child.

Here is my problem though.

I am in tears constantly about her behavior. She runs from me in stores, and throws tantrums when she does not get her way, she flat out disobeys me on a daily basis.

It is is not until I am in near tears she stops and apologizes, promising she will be good.

And she is for a short while, but only for a brief time.

I have had other moms sympathize and tell me this is normal, but I have no basis to go on.

I am going to confess and say my daughter might be spoiled.

I am 39 and have no other children. My husband and I had her late in life. While we are not rich, we do pretty well. I left my accounting job to stay home with her when she turned 2. Before then, my mother stayed to watch her, and being her only granddaughter, my mom basically never said no to her.

This rubbed off on me. I gave her a lot of leeway on things, and I realize now it was my mistake.

The problem is now I am genuinely trying to scale back and bring her behavior under control. However, she is fighting it tooth and nail.

I want to be clear she is not mean-spirited. I know she loves everyone, including myself. When I am particularly upset with her and ready to cry, she will try to make small gifts for me. She will often climb onto my lap and tell me she loves me.

Part of me feels she is struggling with something internally, but I'm not sure if is something I did wrong, something going on with her, or a mix of both.

Punishments are typically taking away electronics and some toys. She is not a big TV watcher.

She is, however, pretty smart. In fact her teacher has said she is extremely smart. Which is something I wonder about. I suspect sometimes she is too smart of her own good.

She has her own tablet we monitor. She plays Minecraft and builds entire cities, with working doors, farms, everything. No one ever taught her this. She wanted Minecraft after watching some videos of older kids playing it and wanted to try it. She also can do basic math and I have worked with her on science projects for fun.

So, does anyone have advice on what to do? I feel sometimes I am not talking to a 4-year-old, but to a adolescent. I am not sure if it is because she has grown up primarily around adults and picked up adult behavior, or if it is because of getting her away so often, or if she might actually be a bit smarter than I give her credit for.

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Ev - posted on 09/09/2016

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(Since WORD failed me this time I am going through and editing this to place my reply. Thanks Dove for pointing this out.)



{I am in tears constantly about her behavior. She runs from me in stores, and throws tantrums when she does not get her way, she flat out disobeys me on a daily basis. It is is not until I am in near tears she stops and apologizes, promising she will be good. And she is for a short while, but only for a brief time. I have had other moms sympathize and tell me this is normal, but I have no basis to go on.}

~~~~She is supposed to push your buttons, test the boundaries and so forth. You are supposed to have those boundaries in place.

{I am going to confess and say my daughter might be spoiled. I am 39 and have no other children. My husband and I had her late in life. While we are not rich, we do pretty well. I left my accounting job to stay home with her when she turned 2. Before then, my mother stayed to watch her, and being her only granddaughter, my mom basically never said no to her. This rubbed off on me. I gave her a lot of leeway on things, and I realize now it was my mistake. The problem is now I am genuinely trying to scale back and bring her behavior under control. However, she is fighting it tooth and nail.}

~~~~I think that you should have not started to allow her to get away with everything just because you had her late, your mother let her not hear the word "no", and so forth. She is going to fight the new discipline you put in place.

{I want to be clear she is not mean-spirited. I know she loves everyone, including myself. When I am particularly upset with her and ready to cry, she will try to make small gifts for me. She will often climb onto my lap and tell me she loves me. Part of me feels she is struggling with something internally, but I'm not sure if is something I did wrong, something going on with her, or a mix of both.}
~~~~She seems to have some sort of a conscious if she is making small gifts and goes to your lap and says she loves you. But I doubt she is struggling with anything internally.

{Punishments are typically taking away electronics and some toys. She is not a big TV watcher.}
~~~~~You need to make the punishments fit the behaviors.

{She is, however, pretty smart. In fact her teacher has said she is extremely smart. Which is something I wonder about. I suspect sometimes she is too smart of her own good. }

~~~~~She is smart and that is good. You need to learn to focus her energy into other things or activities.

{She has her own tablet we monitor. She plays Minecraft and builds entire cities, with working doors, farms, everything. No one ever taught her this. She wanted Minecraft after watching some videos of older kids playing it and wanted to try it. She also can do basic math and I have worked with her on science projects for fun. }

~~~~~She really does not need her very own tablet. And she needs it controlled on the amount of time she plays it.

So, does anyone have advice on what to do? I feel sometimes I am not talking to a 4-year-old, but to a adolescent. I am not sure if it is because she has grown up primarily around adults and picked up adult behavior, or if it is because of getting her away so often, or if she might actually be a bit smarter than I give her credit for.

~~~~She is a normal 4 year old with the types of behavior you have described but also has a bit more to work with in her head. She is quick to catch on to things. You just need to adjust things for her to work.

Sarah - posted on 09/09/2016

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You have summed it all up in your post. You have a bright, energetic child. Who is obviously intelligent and is able to behave when she knows she has too. If you were getting complaints from the teachers then the problem may not be as clear. She is walking all over you like a doormat. She knows she can say and do as she pleases when she is with you. When you get upset and beg her to obey, she does for a time and she even tries to make you feels better. This is good, because it shows she has empathy and does not want to sadden or hurt you.
You and your hubby need to get on the exact same page. Decide what behavior is expected and what will not be tolerated. Then when she is in a pleasant mood, you can talk to her (this may take a few tries). Lay out the new rules in writing and post them where she can see them. For example you may have a list of Do's and Don'ts:
DO: make your bed, brush your teeth, say please and thank your, obey mom and dad, etc.
DON'T: no hitting, no yelling at mom or dad, no running off etc.
Kids are very visual, so post those lists where she can see them. Now you gotta figure out a consequence for naughty behavior. A four minute time out during a favorite TV show may be effective. Removing the tablet and she can earn it back thru good behavior, no outside time. You know her best, so you know what will really work as a consequence.
Finally, praise her positive behavior like crazy.! Positive reinforcement works so much better than negative attention. Expect her to initially agree and cooperate; then expect her behavior will get way worse. She is testing you, to see if you meant what you said when you posted the rules. if you can dig in and be consistent, then you can turn this ship back on track.

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