I have a concern I would like some opinions on

The context: My daughter is 4, she is stubborn and has a lot of bad behavior. Her father and I split when she was 2 and are not on the greatest terms. The household was very toxic with his apathy and my PPD (untreated but has been treated for 3 years) The family we lived with was very toxic (his family) It is also worth noting my daughter does not live with me. I see her weekends. Back to my daughter, she is having a lot of maladaptive behaviors. She says shes “scared” to eat, sleep, and do anything she NEEDS to do. She says she is afraid of bad dreams, and is afraid to eat for illogical reasons. My biggest battle with her is her eating habits. (I can get her to sleep fine, that is not the issue) The topic is her eating and her not listening. She will eat 1-3 bites and say i am full then BEG for snacks. I haven’t been giving in but it still persists. I tried asking her father what he does at his house to which he will not tell me. My daughter goes between 4 houses daily. Her grandparents(both maternal and paternal), her fathers gf’s, mine. Quite frankly I do not think that is very healthy for her. She needs stability. Her father wants to put her in behavioral therapy
Rhonda Strohm
I do not agree with behavioral therapy (but I strongly believe in mental health) She is 4, i feel like this is normal. I work as an RBT and use methods from work with her like “first and then statements”. It does not work. So, I just do not want her to feel like shes the problem. I think its her father not providing that stability.


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. I have a concern I would like some opinions on

First of all, she needs stability. Routine. Sounds like she’s all over the place. Y’all need to get it together.


She bounces between too many homes every day, she has no stability. She NEEDS stability, that would help tremendously.


Seems to me you’re putting the blame solely on the father. You also need to provide stability for her. She is going house to house at just 4 years old. She probably feels as if no one wants her. Her behavior is not normal. There’s no nice way to say this, but you both (dad and mom) need to get your sh!t together for the well-being of that little girl.

If you work as an RBT you should KNOW that the language you use with her is NOT enough. I am also a fellow RBT. You need a professional to set up a plan of action. If she is displaying maladaptive behaviors, she needs to be evaluated…maybe she needs an IEP or a 504. Bouncing to multiple homes is probably the root cause. If you can find a way minimize that, it would be your first step. Then get her evaluated


Does she bounce between so many homes/caregivers out of necessity? It’s a poor environment to raise a child in but I get it sometimes you have to make choices that aren’t ideal. Are you able to provide a more stable home? If so you should fight for custody. Or you & dad can work together to put her in a daycare so she’d have 1 non-parent home? Or maybe work opposite shifts so she’s always with 1 of you? Otherwise if being bounced around is the only way all the caregivers need to sit down & decide on strict set rules. It’s easier said than done. Adults don’t like being told what to do in their own homes especially if they’re watching her for free. She needs stability. She needs to know where she’s going to be & when, what her rules are etc. She doesn’t have that. Then she acts out & is punished when she’s really begging for help. I understand situations like work schedules are hard to work a child into. But something needs to change for her mental well-being.


Children learn to manipulate very quickly. Someone is giving in to her begging for snacks. Way too many houses with different views on upbringing im guessing
Stability, routine and consistency from everyone is needed . A meeting and agreement between adults would go far to adjusting her behaviour I feel .


How does one strongly believe in mental health but not agree with behavioral therapy?

You sound like you want whatever solution is going to place blame on her father rather than a solution that’s actually going to help her. Who actually had custody of this child if she bounces between 4 homes daily? Because THAT person is failing her miserably. Literally every adult in her life sounds like they are failing her by passing her around so much. I’m sure this poor child feels like she’s surrounded by a whole bunch of people who don’t want her. You’re causing her trauma and actively denying help for the trauma. Make it make sense!


Children need routine. You stated that she doesn’t live with you, you only have her on the weekends. I would say whoever has custody (that she lives with full time) is to blame. Whoever has the child the majority of the time is the one who sets her schedule, and enforce it, and anyone else involved (the other parent, grandparents etc) should follow the same schedule. I understand bouncing from house to house, if it’s necessary due to work schedules and child care, but she needs stability and consistency and she needs EVERYONE in her life working together, not against one another. Therapy may be helpful for her, even behavioral therapy because the behavior seems to be the issue. Also, something that may help, is getting her into school. I understand she’s only 4, but most places have a pre-school program for children ages 3-4, to help prepare them for starting school. She may benefit from that, it would give her some routine and keep her from bouncing from place to place daily.

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My daughter is the same age and she pulls the same thing all day long she wants snacks and when it comes time for me to cook a full good meal she only has a couple bites of it and says she’s not hungry so my thing is don’t give in to the snacks so that they are hungry when it comes time to eat that meal. I believe that it’s just normal behavior at that age


Part of it is age… 4 year olds want to live on snacks. But her adults all suck. You people need to get it together and get her the stability she needs. Or meal time will be the least of your worries. And let her dad put her in therapy. :no_mouth:

Pray this poor baby gets the help she really needs

Maybe going to the therapy will help the other adults see she needs consistency etc. I would not turn it down… if anything it opens the conversation that she needs consistency, etc. Plus, coming from someone who isn’t YOU may go further… or maybe the therapist will say it’s not behavioral therapy issue too. It doesn’t hurt to try, imo. My 5yo is a very picky eater, he knows how to play the game on all of us especially if he doesn’t have your full attention… and we aren’t a split home.

Never hurts to TRY.


I think you are describing a condition known as pathologic demand avoidance, which is a feature of many types of autistic behavior.

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To be honest I think you both need to get it together and work together. Sounds like she would be better elsewhere since nobody can do what’s right. She needs therapy asap. She is not a toy. Make her sit at the table until she eats more or put it in the refrigerator for later. If she ask for a snack say no but you may finish your dinner.


THAT is the only control she has. She needs a stable home life. Only one person a day to watch her. How confusing would it be for you if you worked for several bosses a day. All with different rules? Spend one day in your child’s Life and see how well you tolerate all the disruption.


It kind of sounds like she needs stability and therapy. Behavioural therapy could honestly do the trick and it would be worth trying. But yes, jumping between multiple homes all the time isn’t healthy for them.

She needs the behavioural therapy asap, she also needs stability and for her parents to get over their issues and work together on getting this child help. Sounds like the dad wants to do the right thing, but your against it… You can’t believe in mental health ,if your against behavioural therapy 🤦🤦

This is not normal behavior. This is behaviour stemming from trauma, her parents splitting up, bouncing from home to home… She needs help or it will get worse

Y’all need stability and routine!!! Whatever mess is going on between you and dad needs to end asap get the kid in a preschool so she’s not moved around all day every day

You said that the child’s father has toxic environment. Also the Grandparents so my question is why is the child there with them ? Why do you not have custody ? A child needs a mother to guide her ! She doesn’t have that. Then you wonder why the child is acting out !


Many of these responces are using words like “routine”, “stucture”, and “consistancy”, well after digesting your story I think I prefer words like “refugee”, “orphan”, and “custodial continuity”, this child doesnt feel she belongs anywhere, too many cooks are spoilin the stew

Not sure how it’s the father’s fault for not providing stability when clearly you ain’t either. Sounds like she has learned her poor behaviour from the adults around her.

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