How do you approach a withdrawn child?

Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 06:22 am
As I said before I am raising the 9 year old child I had as a 18 year old, because her mother died in Texas last year and one of the mother's friend just dropped her on my doorstep here in Utah and left her here. She didn't know about me and my wife and 5 and 1 year old sons, but soon settled into the idea of having a papa and mama and little brothers along with getting use to her new home and learning Russian(my wife tutors her). I thought all was well until she began school here in January.Though a good student she was mouthy and defiant. And trouble began at home as well with her throwing tantrums, refusing to listen, and talking back. Someone suggested that maybe it's belated reaction to her mother's death, so I told her that if she wanted to talk about her dead mother. She said 'NO! Mommy's dead and leave her alone!' Ok since it clearly wasn't her dead mother who troubled her I asked if anything else was wrong and again she shouted NO. Since she claimed to be fine I decided to put my foot down, because no child is running my home! I took away her toys and put them up in my own closet. My wife caught her attempting to take them back and asked her to get down at of the chair and leave the toys where I had put them. She pushed my wife and continued until I myself came and physically took her from that chair. I told her, "If you do not leave those toys where they are and stay out of private space you are getting a spanking." I put her down on her feet and she immediately went to the ground in a tantrum. I picked her up and stood her in a corner saying she would get no attention until she stopped that tantrum and calmed down then I walked away. Problem is she refused to stay put. When I ordered her back she refused and when I carried her back she left as soon as my back turned. After 5 minutes of this I had had enough. She flopped on the floor to continue with the tantrum I picked her up again, but not to return to the corner. I busted her butt and put her to bed screaming. It's been 2 days since then and I am honestly worried. She isn't the same child. If it isn't time for a meal or Russian lesson from my wife the child remains in her bedroom and doesn't make a sound. I wanted her to mind, but this is unnerving me!
Oman Ra
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 07:04 am
I had my first and last child at age 17 and know it is hard to be a young father with a difficult daughter.You expect the child to just fall right in when didn't previously know she had a father, stepmother, or siblings? She lost her mother and life as she knew it at 8! Sure you cannot let her run the show, but patience help. If she wouldn't stay in the corner then you should have let her lay on the ground and ignored her until she stopped even if took an hour. Then to just toss the child in bed like a reject?! No wonder she won't come out. I would give a dog more compassion than that,she's still your child even if she annoys you! Go to her bedroom and try to strike up a conversation about how she is and maybe she will talk, but if not don't insist. She can't stay in that room forever, but you can't really blame her.
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Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 07:50 am
This child is grieving - loss of mother, loss of previous life and friends.

Please consider going to counseling. She needs it and you need to learn how to parent a girl without using physical punishment.

Do this ASAP.
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Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 01:53 pm
You asked this same question a short while ago (re your being more compassionate) and marked it as answered.

Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 01:56 pm
Russian Machine may really want a discussion - which I think would be a good idea.
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Reply Tue 2 Jul, 2013 12:59 am
In my answer to your other post I suggested that you put yourself in your daughters position for a moment. Have you done this? Have you even tried to see this from her point of view?

Your daughter is a sad, lonely and confused little girl.

You said that you asked her if she wanted to talk to you about her dead mother. Do you always refer to her as her 'dead mother' as you have a couple of times in this post? If so, no wonder she doesn't want to talk to you.

Your little girl needs grief counseling. She needs to be able to talk to someone who will make the effort to understand what she is going through, and will try to help her.

The way you are going about this is never going to work. You are showing no compassion towards her, and rather than trying to help her, you just punish her yet again. And your punishments are bordering on abuse.

You also need to get counseling as a family to figure out how to make this situation work for everyone.
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