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Old 12-14-2012, 11:00 AM   #1
Anna0623
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Need advise on how to deal with a child with little to no remorse

Please dont quote me as I may need to delete this post later on.
Dd is almost 5 and she has serious issues. Its gotten to the point that come January we will be making arrangements to have her visit a child psychologist. She has little to no remorse, she is impulsive to the point of seriously injuring herself or ds or even worse killing herself or ds. One of many examples she has tried several times to throw ds of the top of the stairs and tried to lean out of our second story window. She has self control issues and her hands twitch when ever she is trying to keep herself from doing something she knows she is not supposed to do this normally only lasts a few seconds as she quickly gives in the to the temptation. She breaks other peoples things even when she knows she will have to pay for it out of her allowance,lose a toy, or be sent to time out for it. We have purchased a chore chart and will attempt to set up a better point system to see if that helps curb her behavior. She is currently being home schooled and is doing k-5 to first grade work, so intelligence is not an issue. Any advise is great appreciated as this has been an on going issue, i first noticed some of these concerns at the age of two but was told by many friends and family members that it was a stage or normla for her developmental stage.
UPDATE: thank you so much for your comments I did not list of the issues we are having with Dd but she does have problems controlling her emotions and gets joy out of hurting her brother. She is not left alone often or for more than 2-3 minutes at a time, I am always within hearing distance. It has finally gotten to the point that dh noticed it and said she needs to be taken in to see a child psychologist. It may not be safe to add another child to our family.

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Last edited by Anna0623; 12-14-2012 at 03:17 PM. Reason: update
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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I feel your pain. My DD can be much the same way. She also has zero emotional control on top of it. Everyone keeps acting like its a phase, but she Sven this way since she was a year old and she's 4 now. In going to be talking to our ped about it next week at her yearly check up.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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Re: Need advise on how to deal with a child with little to no remorse

That sounds like a serious safety issue, if you are truly that concerned I would push for an appointment with a child psychologist ASAP. If she truly lacks impulse control, then you really probably need constant supervision. You might also try tangible rewards, like, you do something good, you get a sticker, X number of stickers equals some kind of prize, whether it be a food treat or a special activity or some small toy that she can break and it won't matter too much. If it's really that bad you may need to have a lot of a little rewards, as she may not be ready to work up to a big one.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Need advise on how to deal with a child with little to no remorse

I would take her to someone to help give you guys some support and ideas on what to do. Things like OT may be very beneficial for her to. I wouldn't try to force her to feel sorry, its just not how her brain works, at least at this time in her life. You will have to look for other motivating factors for her.

What helps me is to focus on what good behaviors I want to see more of, not what bad behaviors I want to see less of. So when I wanted my son to stop screaming/tantruming every time we left for school I made my goal that I wanted him to walk himself out the door (crying or not) since I usually carried him. I had a treat that he could pick up on his way out if he was walking (it was set in a spot so he could only reach it if he was walking). I honestly did pop, its the best motivator for this kid and I don't give it to him much. It helped. He still threw a fit about once a week but much improvement. I have since cut down on the reward. I tried to phase the reward out completely but that didn't work. He still cries nearly every day we head to school but at least he's walking himself out the door. Its all baby steps.

With my son we do limit temptations. This means myself and my oldest have to do without some things we would typically have.

My son loves tickles so anytime I see him react positively to stess or not steal something of his brothers I know he wanted to I run up all happy and tickle him. Now sometimes he will pretend to think about it to get tickles and I gladly give them to him.

A psychologist would probably do a better job getting to the root of the issue and her motivation behind her behaviors. A psychiatrist will primarily help with diagnosis and medication. The OT would help with sensory issues which is often helpful with impulse control.

I'm a rambler, sorry, and good luck!
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: Need advise on how to deal with a child with little to no remorse

I agree with the pp. I like lots of little rewards and lots of little consequences. It is easier to stick to little consequences and they are often more immediate and more relatable to the situation. Same with lots of little rewards.

A guideline I like is for every 1 time you have to tell her to stop a negative behavior you need to find 5 good behaviors to praise her for.

And my 6 year old still has very little, if any, remorse but he is learning impulse control and judgement. They don't have to go hand in hand.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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Re: Need advise on how to deal with a child with little to no remorse

Good luck mama! We are finding A LOT of good help with our psychologist with DS.

Parenting the Defiant Child by Kazdin helped us with DS. He is younger, but definitely showing the same behaviors.

Also, have you researched Reactive Attachment Disorder? From your brief description, it sounds like your child may have some of the symptoms. The big key for us was that DS was hurting other people and got joy out of their reaction.
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