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Uncontrollable Tantrums

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by m7vjewell, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. m7vjewell

    m7vjewell New Member

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    Hi there. I am new to this blog and my head has been spinning this last year! My daughter, now 3, was diagnosed almost a year ago w/ TID. Prior to diabetes, my child was the happiest child ever! I took her everywhere with me: travel, restaurants, movies, etc. She was so well behaved. She also was a great sleeper (bedtime) and is extremely intelligent. When she started to get sick, her behavior started to get out of control. She was having hallucinations (we think) at bed time, waking up multiple times in the night, and all of the other symptoms that go along with T1D before it is caught.

    Well, after she was diagnosed, and we started her on insulin, her behaviors continued. Our discipline became less consistent. It was too hard for me to discipline a 2 year old with a BG of 400! or 40! if she was misbehaving. Well, her BG are controlled fairly well (considering that she's 3), but her behaviors continue. Especially at bedtime. I dread bedtime every night. She screams and cries and only wants to sleep with me. I don't know how to stop this behavior. My daughter has been very clingy to me lately and will only let me take care of her diabetes (not dad). My daughter and I have not slept well in a year and need a fix!

    Are there any parents out there whose child was diagnosed at a young age and struggled with bedtime after diagnosis? Please help!

    Thanks,

    One very tired mom,
    wife of Mark
    mom of Norah 3, dx 10/13/10, pumping
    mom of Maggie, 1
     
  2. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

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    I can't talk re: bedtime -- I still lie down with Selah.

    It's been complicated by the fact that i have to check her at night and we had some bad months that delayed moving out. But I honestly have only so much energy and that's not a battle I feel like spending it on. My two older girls both wanted me to lie down to help them get to sleep for years, and they are dandy these days. But I can understand some (like my mom) think that's horrific and others just don't sleep well with a kid in and out of bed with them.

    The one thing I would suggest is that your siggy says sister came at about diagnosis time (must have been rough! :( ). So I'd consider that some behavior might be more natural sibling stuff with diabetes affecting it, rather than diabetes or inconsistency in itself.

    I agree that consistency is the key, but gosh that's hard with diabetes in the picture. And it's hard enough with a toddler. Also, for us, our terrible twos happened at one and at three. Some behavior is just what toddlers do. Again, all three of my kids have had periods as toddlers when they were rough -- all three are now considered angels when we are out (not so much when they are home and secure!). I had a woman once when my three girls were about look at Selah and smile and say "she's kind of the spoiled one, isn't she?" It was irritating, because she wasn't -- I raised her really about the same as the other two. Her behavior was about the same as the other two's had been. But the other two were 9 and 6, and Selah was 3. They'd all been like Selah when they were 3, so it was goofy of her to be praising me for how I'd raised the older ones and chastising me for how I'd raised the youngest. I'd raised them all the same.

    People sometimes forget what it's like to have a toddler. Toddlers haven't learned to lie about how they feel. They express themselves, often loudly. :eek:

    In any case, if you really feel you are being tested or just can't take the lie down at night, you are totally right to put your foot down on it. But I for one would not consider you any less of a wonder-mom if you give in where you need to.;)

    Some tricks for the transition that worked with my older girls, if you'd like:

    1. Tell the kids you'll check on them every few minutes. Put your head in the door and make a kiss noise, they kiss back. No conversation, no stalling. The first few nights, check very frequently. Make it clear that if they get up or try to talk or break the "rules" you will not be able to check in as frequently.

    2. Say you'll lie down with her, but you have a few things to do first. She needs to go lie down and you'll be there after you do the dishes, or whatever. Stall a little longer every night. If she learns gradually that she can manage on her own, and especially the first night she falls asleep without you, it will help her over the hump.

    3. My oldest got scared easily. I told her it does no good to try to not think about scary stuff. The very act of trying not to think about it makes you think about it! You have to substitute a nice thought. My daughter was always happy to think about what presents she wanted for her birthday, etc. When she was anxious, she'd ask me to help her think of five different things she could think of that would be nice.

    4. My middle daughter suggests (I just asked her) that having a bunch of pillows that you can stack all around you helps.

    As for the clinginess, I think kids go through phases. Next week she might cling to daddy? But I found that it helped get us out of patterns when I left the house entirely with dad watching her by himself a few times -- helped my husband feel more confident in caring for her and helped her accept his ways, because I wasn't there. :p

    Hope something in there helps!
    :)
     
  3. Becky Stevens mom

    Becky Stevens mom Approved members

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    My son was diagnosed at age 3 and did have issues with tantrums and going to bed after diagnosis. He didnt have problems with going to bed at first until he got very sick with a stomach bug and had to be hospitalized over night. After that he did not want to stay in his room alone. I asked the CDE about the tantrums. She asked me gently whether I wanted a child with diabetes or a monster with diabetes. She suggested that if I thought the tantrum was brought on by high or low #s to test Steven, treat the problem and then expect him to behave appropriately and to have the same rules as I did for my older son. It was very hard at first as I felt sorry for my little boy:( I think in the long run its done him good to know where the boundaries lie in his life.

    As far as the sleep issues. We followed Dr Brazleton's advice after reading his book. We would sit quietly by his bed and hold his hand until he got sleepy and then tell him goodnight and leave. He still got up some nights and asked us to come back in but for the most part he would doze off. If we waited till he fell asleep he would get up and come looking for us later in the night.
     
  4. CAGrandma

    CAGrandma Approved members

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    A couple of things occurred to me reading your post, you say
    "When she started to get sick, her behavior started to get out of control. She was having hallucinations (we think) at bed time, waking up multiple times in the night, and all of the other symptoms that go along with T1D before it is caught."
    Was her behavior really 'out of control'? That suggests that it was possible for her to control her behavior at that time and she just didn't - when really she was behaving in the exact way her disease, the high and low BG made her act. Remember that this change in her behavior was a symptom.

    "Well, after she was diagnosed, and we started her on insulin, her behaviors continued." Don't you wonder what influence constant nightmares had on her? How her young brain interpreted how her world had changed?

    "Our discipline became less consistent. It was too hard for me to discipline a 2 year old with a BG of 400! or 40! if she was misbehaving." You're not feeling guilty about this, are you? Of course you can't discipline a child whose BG is wildly out of range - they need their BG corrected, not a lesson on how to behave.

    "Well, her BG are controlled fairly well (considering that she's 3), but her behaviors continue. Especially at bedtime. I dread bedtime every night. She screams and cries and only wants to sleep with me. I don't know how to stop this behavior. My daughter has been very clingy to me lately and will only let me take care of her diabetes (not dad). My daughter and I have not slept well in a year and need a fix!"
    The first year is murder, hard on everyone. You must be exhausted. And she is too. Sometimes kids become more clingy when a parent tries to pull away. If she doesn't want dad to help her with the diabetes care, don't try to force the issue right now. Get Dad to do other stuff, perhaps he can focus on the other child, or on other chores. Can you create a special mommy-daughter time before bed for just the 2 of you? Let her sleep with you, cuddle her for awhile and then explain that you need to getup for a bit and will be coming back. Basically I'm suggesting that you pull her close, reassure her in whatever form she needs it, so she can relax, stop screaming and crying before bedtime, and then slowly make some space between you.

    Are there any parents out there whose child was diagnosed at a young age and struggled with bedtime after diagnosis? Please help!

    Thanks,

    One very tired mom,
    wife of Mark
    mom of Norah 3, dx 10/13/10, pumping
    mom of Maggie, 1[/QUOTE]
     
  5. manda81

    manda81 Approved members

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    My son was dx right before his 3rd birthday. We later learned that all the "great" behavior he was showing before, the easy sleeping schedule, the nice afternoon naps ... all because his numbers were sky high, and that's all he could do, sleep and sit still.

    My son is 6 now, and he slept with us until right before school started this year, so I can't comment much on that. But, from co-sleeping, I can tell you that anytime his numbers are more than about 180, he's tossing, turning, having nightmares, etc... I knew before ever checking his sugar if he was high at night, because he would wake me up screaming, flipping all over the bed, etc. I know you said that her numbers are fairly well controlled, but for us, this was the biggest issue. Once we got our nighttime numbers consistently lower, all of that stopped.

    We never disciplined our son when he was high/low. We dealt with that first, and once he was back in range, we talked with him about it. Now that he's 6, he's doing much better at controlling himself when his numbers are off and recognizing that he's either high/low and communicating that instead of just throwing a tantrum.

    But at 3? Tantrums are kind of their thing anyway, throw in a T1 dx? And I honestly don't blame them. They can't communicate effectively, they may not be feeling well, but don't know why, they don't understand what's going on.

    The above recommendations sound great for getting her to sleep alone, but I can't really help you there. On the nights I couldn't take it anymore, my husband really stepped up and handled things. Now he's on nighttime checks every weekend, and I handle the weekdays. That works out really well for catching up on sleep for me.
     
  6. lisac

    lisac Approved members

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    My daughter was dx'd at 20 months and, this is gonna sound terrible, she is a BRAT! I've had a lot of the same issues. She sleeps in the bed with me most nights, she has temper tantrums (which I rarely discipline her for,) is very particular about how she wants things done, etc. It's really hard to "discipline when their BG is at a normal level" b/c a 3 yr old doesn't remember what they did wrong 2 hrs. ago. I feel like I have to tell her "no" enough b/c of D, that I'm a total sap when it comes to everything else. My concern is that her sibs do get jealous, sometimes, and I just remind them that they don't have to test their BG, change infusion sets, have wildly high and low BG's, etc. Usually it's my son (6) and he gets over it quickly. I spend a lot more time with Hadlee than my other kids, who are older and won't cuddle;)
    I just keep hoping the mood swings will subside, but she's my little diva, and I'll take what I can get:)
     
  7. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

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    Please get help for your family from the diabetes team at your hospital. It is not healthy for a child to not be disciplined appropriately just because she has diabetes. It will harm every relationship in your family as the years progress; I have lived it as a D-sibling. I am so thankful my daughter has not changed since her diagnosis; one thing we established early on is that we are not going to feel sorry for her and that the rules, etc. did not change because of diabetes. She is thriving and embraces life, even though she has to deal with diabetes. My worst fear that she would become a repeat of what I'd lived with before has faded.
     
  8. lisac

    lisac Approved members

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    I don't necessarily NEVER discpline Hads. When her sugar is 300 and she screams at her sibs for no reason. Or throws herself in the floor crying when her sugar is low. She can't really help that. I have to discipline my child's behavior, not the effect of high or low bgs. I don't go back later to discipline those things b/c she's 3. I find it's pretty hard to make sure she understands what she did wrong 2 hrs ago. (I understand a low gets fixed quickly, but a high, not so much.) I am a softie when it comes to her, and if she wants something I don't necessarily want her to have, or do something I don't really want her to do, alot of times I will give in. However, I don't tell her yes and the other kiddos no. They get the benefit of my give-in-ness as well. Some kids are spoiled, she was spoiled before the dx, she's still spoiled. My other kids are older and have never shown any indication that they are jealous. They get to do things she can't so, I'm pretty sure they don't envy her.
    On the note about the hosp., her hosp. is about 4 hrs away. We can't really just nip in there for some family counseling. We're a very close family, my husband and I both work full time, but we homeschool and all of our kids get LOTS of love, time, and affection.
     

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