My 2 year old daughter has had a drastic behavior change in the last week and a half!!

Jen - posted on 06/20/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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It started with her regressing with potty training. She has started peeing on the floor and having accidents. She has been potty trained for 8months. She also started having nightmares about a witch. They get so bad to the point I have to walk her around the house and turn every light on to reassure her nothing is trying to get her. Her teachers have said she seems upset about something and was found at recess with her head down on the table by herself. This is not like her. She is very outgoing and LOVES to play outside. She's very clingy and last Monday freaked out when I took her to school. She usually loves going but all of a sudden she didn't want to. I have talked with the school and nothing has happened there to make her afraid. She goes to her Dad's every weekend and is with me all week. I talked to her Pediatrician who did a physical exam and didn't see any obvious signs of abuse. I also spoke with a social worker but no one has been able to give me any answers. How do I know if something happened to her? Or if something upset her or scared her? It is so hard talking to a 2 year old but something has definitely upset her I just don't know how to find out what!! Help!

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Nichole - posted on 06/24/2013

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How long have you and her father not been together? Was the relationship abusive physically or verbally? If so, I wonder if she is just having safety or adjustment issues. That can be huge for a child! Do you believe he would or could hurt her? If so, I would only allow supervised visits for the time being. If he is a good father his unwillingness to communicate may be due to his own fears. It was really hard for my husband to deal with what happened to our daughter. I was frustrated with him because I felt like he didn't grasp the seriousness. After a lot of fighting he finally admitted that it was extremely hard to face the fact that his little girl had been victimized. Keep trying to communicate without placing blame. If you find any communication with him difficult you may think about writing a letter. That way you can keep record of your conversations with him and think about what you say and how you say it before sending it. It will also give him time to consider what you say before needing to respond. Again, good luck!

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Jen - posted on 06/24/2013

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Her father and I split back in December. Her and I moved out in January so I wouldn't think it is just now affecting her but maybe it is. She handled the change very well and in fact never had a reaction to it. Never asked where he was or anything. He is a great person at heart but when it came to the important things we just didn't agree. He is terrible with finances and we were always behind on bills. I am a financial geek so I tried and tried to get him on financial plans etc with no luck. His money was his money and mine was spent on food and everything for our daughter. It is still that way. She has been in school almost a year and he's never paid a dime toward it along with her medical bills. I just paid off an $800 bill for her pediatrician because she didn't have health insurance until I put her on mine. He has a terrible temper as well and I witnessed him getting upset with her this weekend. She told me he spanked her and that he yells at her and it scares her. He didn't used to do this before but that was because I was there to interject. Now I don't know what happens when she is there alone with him. I would like to think he isn't mean to her but at the same time how can I be sure? She may not understand it fully and might be scared to tell me about it for fear of his reaction.

Jen - posted on 06/24/2013

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Thank you, Nichole. It helps to know others have had these issues and can give me an idea as to what could have happened. The hardest part is talking to her Dad. She sees him on the weekend and I honestly don't know what goes on over there. She's too young to tell me. I've tried talking to him and letting him know she's very upset and fragile right now but he doesn't seem to have any interest in helping me. He hung up on me when I told him I took her to the Pediatrician. He gets defensive when I ask if anything might have upset her while she was there, even something innocent that might have confused her. I didn't allow her to go to his house this past weekend. She told me she didn't want to anyway. So, I allowed him to stay at our house Friday night and witnessed first hand how hard he is on her. In general you should not yell at a child or get so upset with her but especially when she is going through something like this. I left them alone for an hour Saturday and came home to her in hysterics. I could tell she'd been crying the whole time because of her red, puffy eyes. He immediately said she had a bad dream but the second he went outside she said he told her "No!" really hard (which means really loud in her mind) because she wanted him to turn the bathroom light on for her nap. I asked him if this was the case and he laughed like I was crazy. She tells me the truth about everything. I didn't lead her to say any of it. I believe his anger and temperament have a lot to do with whatever is going on. I don't plan to allow her to go to his house this weekend either. We do not have a legal agreement so the only thing he can do is report to the court and that will only hurt him in the long run (i.e. child support).

Nichole - posted on 06/24/2013

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Jen,
I think it is great that you have noticed this behavior and taken steps to find out what has caused it. My daughter had an older female child touch her inappropriately in our home, while we were getting dinner ready. There were several adults near by. She immediately told the other girls parents who then told her not to tell me because I would be mad at her. She began acting out soon after. Unfortunately, my mother in-law passed away about that time so we figured that was the trigger. Over a year later the behavior got so bad I decided to take her to a therapist. I am so glad I did! Come to find out she had really been struggling with what happened, she felt guilt, she was angry that I didn't know, she was scared to tell me and she didn't feel safe because the adult she told didn't protect her. Given my experience I can tell you that it doesn't matter how many adults are around, something still may have happened at school. I would recommend that you make sure she feels safe. Let her know that no matter what you will always protect her and that she can tell you anything. Also make sure she knows that no one should touch her in her private areas and that if they do she should tell you. I am glad you are taking her to therapy. I would bet that she starts to reveal something soon. Until she is able to process and communicate what happened just shower her with love, patience and acceptance. You are on the right track. Good luck! I wish you and your daughter the best!

Jen - posted on 06/24/2013

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Stacy,
She had a problem with a boy at school about a month ago who kept pulling on her nose and just bullying her and all of the other kids. He ended up moving (or so I was told) and everything was fine. Then she told me Friday when I put her clothes out (a t-shirt and shorts) that she didn't want to wear shorts; she wanted to wear pants. She got extremely upset and told me another boy at school had touched her leg. Well I assumed maybe this was the problem all along. So I went to her school that morning and told them what was happening. I took her to work with me because I didn't want to leave her. She didn't even want to get out of the car to go into the school with me knowing she wasn't going to have to stay anyway! I called her teachers later that afternoon and they said they were completely puzzled. Apparently she doesn't interact with this boy at all but they said she may have seem him be aggressive with another boy and that scared her. They did not think he had touched her leg either because there are only 4 kids to a teacher and there are always 3 teachers in there so the chances of something that drastic happening without one of them seeing is slim. So this tells me maybe it is something deeper. I just don't know.

Jen - posted on 06/24/2013

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Danielle - I am bringing her to a play therapist this week actually. I am very anxious to find out from her if she can give me any information.

Jen - posted on 06/24/2013

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Elizabeth - Thank you for commenting. She actually watches Calliou as well. She absolutely loves that show and watches it before bed every night. Maybe that is it? I have started telling her every night that the witches mom won't let her come out tonight because she needs her sleep too and that has worked the past 2 nights. Although, she still screamed and held on to me when I brought her to school this morning. This is still new and I don't understand why she's continuing to do it. Her Dad brought her to school and picked her up last Friday. She started latching on to me and crying not wanting to go that following Monday. I don't know if that little change irritated her but her behavior seems pretty drastic. I took her to her pediatrician and he is running a UA and a culture so I should hear back today on those. Thank you so much for your help!

Elizabeth - posted on 06/23/2013

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Kudos to you for investigating and being your child's advocate! I think that's a good first response. I have worked with children for about 10 years and have 2 of my own ages 3 and 1. I would say that at this age their brains go through a stage of development where they are capable of having real fears whether they are real or made up to us... It could be something happened. I had a little girl (3) tell me she was having dreams and I noticed bruises on her so of course I had to report this. But if you aren't seeing any physical signs then keep up your diligence in watching and asking questions but it really could be just her imagination... You would be surprised what cartoons talk about and it made md a little upset as a mother of a 2 yr old when they showed these kids on tv scared of everything- I was like "why are you pitting ideas in my child's head!?!" But I guess it's there so kids can relate... Anyhow- maybe pay close attention to what is on tv and in stories, I remember my daughter was never afraid of the dark and then after watching a Calliou show she was terrified... A flashlight did the trick for us. They say that all kids really are telling us through these fears is that they need our assurance that yes we will always take care of them and yes we will protect them. You are doing a great job! Keep chasing the witches out and hopefully eventually she will move past this...

Angie - posted on 06/23/2013

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Oh, I forgot to add how I dealt with the fear. My daughter was 2 and was afraid of the witches too, so I told her that I am a good witch and all of the bad witches are scared of me. I pretended to cast a good spell and then told her that the bad witches are now scared of her too. It worked a charm. ;)

Angie - posted on 06/23/2013

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I've experienced this with 2 out of my four children and became alarmed as well. You have done the right thing by investigating the worst case scenarios. Its possible she has been spooked by a scary story or movie that she has been exposed to. If its witches in particular that she appears to be afraid of, then another child may have told her a frightening story. If there are no other changes in her life. At the age of two children develop their sensation of fear, as they are becoming more independent. The reaction seems quite strong though. So you are doing the right thing by exploring it thoroughly.

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 06/22/2013

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If you notice the behavior persists then think about a child therapist. They have methods through play instead of speech that can help figure out what's going on. It could be something as simple as having nightmares about witches, but the regression of potty training is a little alarming. Have you asked her dad what's been going on at his house? Is she behaving the same way? Has he introduced anyone new to her? If you notice your normally happy and outgoing child is withdrawn and clingy then I would continue to try and search for an answer. You have instincts as her mom. Are those instructs telling you there is something more To the story then her simply going through a phase?

User - posted on 06/20/2013

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It seems like you have gone through the right steps. It is soo tough for you to find out whats going on when she cant come out and tell you. Do you think that while at school another kid was being mean to her? It could also be something she watched on tv if she does watch it. Maybe a kid at school showed his fear in something, maybe witches, and she realized it is scary and its really bothering her
Mine is almost 2 1/2 but he went through a similar phase of being scared. Hes not potty trained yet, but whenever he went into his room to go to sleep he didn't want to and was always pointing at the corner of the bed saying spider and monster. He watches tv but never anything with monsters or scary stuff. He didn't even show a fear of bugs either before this, it was all of a sudden. It took about a good 2 weeks for him to be ok. It took a few trys to get what he was saying but then I went on to ask him if he was scared of them, then asked of places where he would have seen them. he would just agree or disagree and cling to me. But after a while of trying to verbally reassure him, I pretended to get rid of the spider and scare the monster off. It took a week every night doing this but he was def more calm when I did it.
Maybe try with the witches and show her in a book what they are and reassure her that they cant harm her and that yall protect her. You could even get her teachers involved in pretending to yield off witches.

Its soo hard to really understand and to get them to let go of the fear but keep trying you can do it. Hope you the best!

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