Cranky is a bit of an understatement really. In all honesty I'm having to dig in deep with some of her behaviour. Sometimes she is sweetness and light and a real joy to be around (mostly in the mornings after a good sleep) but we've had a return of the hitting and spitting when she's angry or isn't getting her own way. She seems to quickly lose all perspective and shouts/screams angrily at the top of her voice with her hands on her hips and slams doors. She then usually manages to bump herself in the process of this which makes her even more incensed. She hurls insults with the passion and power of a javelin thrower. I'm sure you get the picture. Time-out on her stool isn't being overly effective because she is doing everything she can to get attention whilst she's on there. Interestingly (and thankfully) she is fine at school so this behaviour is mostly limited to when she's at home.
Time to review how we manage this......
After having a little think and a chat with some friends, both adoptive and birth parents, I am doing the following:
- When Katie kicks off I take her up to her bedroom to calm down and I walk away. The door remains open and she can come down whenever she is calm again. There is no time specification on this and I am repeating this until she calms down and modifies her behaviour. Cuddles and kisses are waiting for as soon as she is calm.
- Hitting and spitting has a consequence. Tonight the consequence was that she wasn't allowed to watch a programme on the laptop at tea-time; the second consequence, when the offence was repeated, was that she lost her bedtime stories (this was after being repeatedly spat at and slapped). I explained to her that I felt she was behaving unacceptably because she was so tired and clearly needed to go to bed. So she was in bed for 6:15pm.
- I am calm throughout all of this. Other than a stated consequence I am not engaging with her behaviour.
- I'm picking my battles and trying to ignore behaviour as much as possible.
I'll see what happens next. I'm hoping this is just a phase and is just old fashioned tiredness! She has an INSET day on Friday so hopefully an extra day off school might be just what the Doctor (and the Mummy) ordered......