Managing willful ( stubborn!) children, and switching problems

And no, I'm not talking about the children in my class, although right now, this post could be about them as well. What I'm talking about right now is the kids inside who are frustrating us adults AND our therapist at this point!
I'm not at all sure what happened in tonight's session, but I do know that Mae was upset, anxious, and angry. It had something to do with notes that our therapist had written down, Mae had given her specific names of who "the bad people" were and I guess didn't want them recorded, but T wrote them down anyway because she has to. Well Mae through a fit over that. In our lives its never been safe to have anything written down. Our parents have tended to snoop. A lot. As in digging through the trash can in my bedroom and taping together pieces of paper that I have torn up to see what I've been writing. So something that Mae and I always do is NEVER leave anything specific written down, in case any of the "bad people" find it. When we do write things down and show our T, Mae then tears it up and puts it in the fireplace afterwards. Which is exactly where everything went tonight, as well.
But I think that Mae was really upset tonight in therapy. I know she had a lot of energy built up inside, I think she was mad at everyone,
possibly had some cross words with our T.
So tired of this. Yah, she's 5. I know. But its just hard to deal with a perpetual 5 year old. She is so willful and stubborn. We know she wants to do everything on her own. Us adults offer to help but she doesn't want it. However, thats what we all had to do when I was little--- it was every man for himself in our house. My sister and I were taught early on to not rely on anyone else to meet your needs, that you had to take care of yourself. So no wonder Mae is doing the same thing.
The problems come when its time to leave a session and go home, and Mae refuses (or just can't do it) to let a grown up take over and get her home. So she leaves T's office still upset and a bundle of nervous energy having flashbacks and wanting to hurt herself and generally not safe, T hates it when she leaves like that, and Mae can't figure out how to let an adult take over. (It involves being able to relax your mind and your muscles and your thoughts, and sort of ...disappearing...going inside...and letting someone else 'in front of you' . For some it is easy, and even a relief to do-- a chance to escape. But for Mae, she resists it, and says she hates being "pushed under". But it is causing real problems, because she's often left on her own with no adult supervision, when she needs to have one of us around to help her calm down, cook her lunch,get her to bed calmly, and deal with feelings safely.
I'm trying to think of a strategy that will work to encourage her. So far we have tried so many things-- rewards, consequences, praise, getting in trouble, you name it. There has got to be something that will work.

Posted by pilgrim | Filed under:

Post a comment

Remember Me?


Pilgrim's Journey
is part of the
Health Diaries network. Health Diaries publishes blogs, articles, and news on health and fitness topics.


free get well cards
Tell someone you're thinking of them with one of our free get well cards. We also have sympathy cards and blank cards if you want to send thanks or just a hello.

Contact Pilgrim:
everyoneinside @
(remove the spaces).
All content published on is provided for informational and educational purposes only. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor before making any changes to your diet, health routine or treatment.

Copyright © 2004-2007 and the author. All rights reserved.