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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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Hi I dont know where to start... I have two children almost

Customer Question

Hi I don't know where to start... I have two children almost six year old girl Elexus and a four year old boy, Evan. I a young parent and come from an extremely disfunctional family. Recently I have noticed my daughter is extremely negative towards herself and her peers. She refuses to work in multi peer or one on one activities. I need advice how to handle this I have tried to have conversations about how acting out at school is inappropriate and she should tell the teacher if she is being bullied. However, she puts her head in her arms lap wherever to hide herself and not talk she even says she doesn't want to talk about it. Her dad and I see two very different ways about parenting i wanna structure things he wants to leave it alone and shell grow out of it. Please help!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

Acting out or oppositional behavior is a child's way of expressing uncomfortable emotions (sadness, fear, or anger). It may be that she does not have the words to describe how she is feeling and that is why she does not talk about it. You might be able to guess what the emotion is and what is causing it. Do you have any ideas? Any recent changes in her life?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She has been bringing up past places we've lived thinking we should move. She says that kids are bullying her alot...I have contacted the school to discuss this but her class is exceptionally large 30 children one teacher and one aide with several extremely autistic students. She was very helpful at the beginning of the year helping some of the needier friends however she got into trouble for tying his shoe and walking with teacher aide. This teacher aide also caused her to have lots of accidents not letting her go in to urinate which I tried to discuss with the principal with no empathy. It has been a very slow change in her personality in the corset of just this school year so I know it is quite possible because of the things that have happened she is acting like this but I don't want her to not praticipate in activities.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Okay, that does explain a lot and she is probably mad, sad and anxious...all at once. She could benefit from learning ways to cope with the situation (while you advocate for her behind the scenes). Either school guidance counselor or a outside therapist can help her with this.

In the meantime, you can help by reading some "therapy" books with her. They will help her to find the words to express her emotions and are also a way for you to open up dialog with her...maybe she will talk more. Here are a few examples from the publisher of these books: Magination Press.

This one teaches relaxation strategies:

Here is a Youtube video on relaxation for kids:

The reading and video will be fun for the whole family and the positive time together will help decrease her oppositional behaviors as well. Combine this with lots of praise for good behavior and things should improve.

I hope that some of these thoughts will be helpful.
Warm regards,