How do you help a child with control issues?
I always think twice before I publish posts relating to my children. I don’t ever want them to look on Mummy Matters and feel that I am making fun of them or belittling them in any way. One question I always ask is whether I am writing the post for the right reasons. In this case, the answer is most definitely yes. I want to find ways to help Lillie to live a happier, stress-free life. Something I don’t feel she is getting at the moment.
As parents, we will often sit back and observe our children, assess how they behave and why they do the things they do. Sometimes I can see that all of my children will exhibit a behaviour because it ‘amuses them or gets a reaction from someone (attention-seeking behaviour). At this point, I generally ask the question, “why are they seeking attention?”.
Something which I have come to witness regularly with Lillie since she started at school is her need to be in control. Obviously, we have had issues (and still face issues) with regards to her eating. Part of this, I feel is a sensory issue, but part of it, I think, is down to control, and I have to ask myself if we, as parents, have helped to create this need for control??
In more recent years, we have witnessed a growing need for Lillie to control those around her. Initially, we put it down to sibling rivalry and squabbles, but now I see it is more than that. When she can’t control a situation or an individual, she reacts by shouting or lashing out. Afterwards, she feels great remorse and will berate herself for her outbursts. I honestly believe she doesn’t know how to stop.
This is starting to show in her friendships, too, both at school and in extra-curricular activities. I know that she is at the age where her hormones start to kick in and will undoubtedly play their role, but she pretty much falls out with at least one person daily.
Strengths and weaknesses
Lillie is such a beautiful young lady with so much to offer; people comment all the time about how wonderful she is with younger children (just not her brothers) and what a great help she is to her teachers but maintaining friendships evade her because her peers will tell her “you’re so bossy”. A couple of weeks ago, her class were asked to write a list of their strengths and weaknesses. Lillie said that her greatest weakness was not being able to make friends. Naturally, to hear this made me feel very sad for her.
Chip off the old block?
I am sure old primary school friends of mine will tell you that I was ‘bossy’ too, but by Grammar School, I didn’t feel the need to fight over friendship, if people didn’t like me for who I was, it was their problem not mine and I still have that mindset today. Perhaps that’s why I don’t have a large circle of friends?!
Lillie has gotten into a cycle whereby those around her regularly know exactly which buttons to push as they stand back and watch her blow. Every day when I drop her at school, I say, “keep your cool and walk away”, some days she manages it, others she comes out in tears, and my heart breaks a little for her.
Can you help?
It is clear that Lillie will not be alone in this. There are bound to be many children who will be just like her. Perhaps you have a controlling child? Can you offer any words of wisdom? Sometimes what seems simple to someone else can be the breakthrough for another. I have made an appointment to see someone at school, and Lillie is going to spend some time with my friend Karin who holds Relax Kids sessions, to see if we can work on keeping her calm. One thing is for sure. She will never be alone because she will always have her family xx