This is so, so hard. You love your daughter and want to help but she is wearing you out. You know that you and your husband do well as parents since your other two are doing fine. But there’s something about this one. . . You are already doing the kinds of things I would normally suggest for managing an out of control child. So we need to go deeper – or at least somewhere else.
I recently read a book called “Raising your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. The author talks about children who are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. She has some excellent ideas about how to make these kids more comfortable and how to cope with the tantrums and blowups when they occur. Why don’t you check it out and see if your daughter fits the description.
Another source of help is a child or family therapist. I entered your city into the therapist locator on our homepage and found over 30 profiles of therapists. Make some calls and find a therapist who has experience working with strong-willed little kids. Not everyone has that experience. Someone who does will be able to offer you some practical help as well as some support.
I do think it’s important for you to get hold of what is going on before the next baby arrives. As the mother of 4 myself, I know only too well how hard it is to juggle all that we somehow do. You have 6 or 7 months to focus on making things at least a little better before you have to divide your time and attention even further. I hope you and your husband will commit to focusing on doing what you can to strengthen your family now so you can be more relaxed when the baby comes.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on February 2, 2007.