Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Wonders of Toothpaste and Child Neglect

The spring semester basically sucked. Will and I were sick for most of it and we all had influenza. So, with being sick, going to school, doing school work and trying to keep up with laundry, dishes, and feed everyone, the children's emotional needs were neglected. I'm not sure we did one fun thing with them that entire semester! Well, that's not true. G was not as neglected as S. G, being only 2.5 was home with either her dad or me and so we could take her places with us and I did start a play group at our church. However, she still got the cold shoulder most of the day while W or I did school work. S, who is at school 6 hours a day, did not get much emotional attention from us. As a result, she acted out for attention. She drew on her bedroom wall, she drew on the living room wall and on the carpet, she tore up the decorative boarder on her wall, and she started biting her arm again recently. She bites her forearm when she gets extremely frustrated with her dad and/or me. She started biting Sept. of 2006. It was a stressful time for me and W because W's great-uncle, who lived with us, was diagnosed with Parkinsons and went into the hospital. We weren't sure he'd ever get out. He did and so we worked on helping S not be so destructive. We took a parenting class at her preschool from the book How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. It was very helpful. We also tried counseling, but mostly the change in mine and W's attitudes and language and approach made the difference and she stopped biting by the end of that school year. All last summer and this school year it was a rarity for her to bite. The other thing S did to deal with stress was to stress out about her clothes being uncomfortable. She started that at the same time as the biting. We solved that with giving her overalls and boys boxer-briefs to wear. They were loose and comfortable. She is still happy with wearing overalls or dresses and I'm happy to announce she is wearing girl underwear again!!!

S's attention-grabbing antics made for messy walls, so I looked up how to remove pencil marks and toothpaste was the answer. It worked really well. The smell started to make me sick after a while though.

While typing this, G came over and reminded me that she also has a new stress-relieving habbit: she picks her bottom lip. She makes it bleed. It's really gross.

I can understand how both girls feel. I had a lip-picking episode around 6-8 years old, I'm not really sure. I also fussed about clothing not feeling right. So, was my childhood stressful and I'm repeating that with my children or are we just predispositioned to stress out more than we should? Probably a bit of both. Now that the semester is over I feel much less stressed and summer is my favorite time of year. The girls should have a more involved parent. I just have to do better when the school year starts up again.

1 comment:

jackie said...

I remember lip-picking episodes when I was a kid also, especially the year I switched schools from Catholic to public after our family had moved to a new town. Stress does funny things to kids, but it's great that you all recognized it and took steps to help her deal with stress she's feeling.