Post # 1
Hey bees I need some advice I have a three year daughter and for the past yr or so when she is in her room as in going to bed at night or in the wee hours of the morning she sits and picks and pulls at the drywall. She has peeled the entire room down to the brown paper on the drywall and has poked small holes in the wall and tried to mess with a light socket the other day. We have done everything we can think of to deter her from doing it but nothing works we are at our wits end any advice on how to curb it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Post # 3
I’m not sure what you have tried, but I suppose there are two ways to deal with this.
1. I assume she understands that she is not supposed to be ruining the walls. She needs to be punished each time she does it. I’d liken this to drawing on the walls.
2. The other option is to offer an alternative. Give her something else to do with her hands (if she likes the peeling, maybe peeling tape or stickers off a piece of plywood).
maybe a combination of the 2 would work best.
Post # 4
Have you taken her to the doctor about it or brought it up during a check up? It may help to know if its just a phase or if its something that you don’t have to wait out. Like maybe she’s bored and not ready to sleep. Or if its a compulsion that you can redirect elsewhere, like crafts.
Post # 5
@babymakes3: I have tried to punish her and it doesn’t work she definetely knows that its wrong yet she still keeps doing it. I do like the sticker idea I will have to try that to see if it helps.
Post # 6
Does she do it while she’s in bed or does she crawl out of bed to do it? If it’s while she’s in bed, try moving the bed to the center of the room. Also, could you find a dry erase board or chalkboard to mount to the wall? Then she could color away/play with the wall and possibly forget about the whole drywall peeling thing.
ETA: What punishment have you tried? You could threaten her with moving back into a “baby bed” (crib) if she doesn’t stop. Most toddlers I know would be mortified to have to move back into a crib.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Have you talked with her about why she is doing it? Obviously a 3 year old cannot fully verbalize her motivations, but you could offer up different options and see which one she latches onto as an explanation. Once you figure out the “why”, you can make a more effective plan for deterrence.
Post # 8
You might want to let her help make it her room, put up new drywall, have her pick ou the color and paint it and maybe put on a magnetic paint so she can hang stuff up on the wall…if she is very proud of what she did in her room she probably will not ruin it. Also, the magnetic paint will allow her to put stuff on the wall and take it down.
Post # 9
One problem I do see is you have let her do this for the last year, it is now a “habit” something becomes a “habit” usually after 20 some days of doing it. If it has been a year or so as you put it you may not be able to break this easily.
I would take her into a doctor, sounds like she may have some kind of OCD?
Post # 10
This doesn’t sound like a “behavior” issue, but instead either a compulsion or sensory issue. I would take her to a child specialist. Best of luck to you or her.
Post # 11
It sounds like a compulsion. I’m obsessive compulsive and when I was small I would pick at stuff constantly, even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to. I would even squirt Elmers glue on my desk at school so I could pick it off the next day. Irt made my teacher furious, but it didn’t matter, I needed to do it. If it is OCD, its not a big deal, I’ve managed my whole life with it, and meds can help, but the biggest thing to understand is that she cannot help it. Punishing her won’t work and will only make her feel misunderstood. I’d ask a doctor about OCD.
Post # 12
@MrsSmith13: “and tried to mess with a light socket the other day“
Whoah, this has moved from a behavioural issue to a safety issue. Please, make sure that you physically keep her away from the light socket. Put something in front of it so it is literally not possible for her to reach it. Electricity is deadly and unforgiving.
Post # 13
@paula1248: Thanks for your responses. I have fixed the issue with the light socket. Also she gets out of bed to do it and will even move her bed to get to areas she has not yet gotten to. I spoke to her dr about it back when it first started and they suggested it was just a phase so we resumed dealing with it ourselves assuming she was acting out. We have also recently put her in a crib to see if that helps and if she can get to a wall she trys to peel it regardless. I have recently considered the ocd angle. She is very particular when it comes to certain things like she wants to put her pillows on her bed in a certain way and you can’t touch them she freaks out. She is also very particular when she eats she wants to sit only in one spot and has to have to cup on one certain side if she sets it down and you pick it up again she freaks I don’t know if these things are considered ocd but they are things I observed about her that I don’t see in her brother also not trying to compare the two just again stating observation. We are making a appt with her dr to discuss this again and see what can be done. I want whats best for her no matter what that might be. Again thanks for the reponses I have bit to think about now.
Post # 14
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@MrsSmith13: OCD? I would take her to a counselor that specializes in younger children. It sounds like she has anxiety, possibly separation anxiety about being in bed alone at night.
What are your rules for when she wakes up in the middle of the night? Does she have to stay in bed or can she crawl in bed with you? Also, have you slept in her room recently with her? Did she pick at the wall then? Either way, it’s going to take time to redirect this behavior since it’s been allowed to go on for so long but you have to figure out what caused the compulsion in the first place.
Personally, I think she has separation anxiety when she wakes up at night because she is probably not allowed to leave bed or call for you. I don’t like allowing kids to sleep in your room but maybe a few weeks of this or you sleeping in her room will help reset this behavior. But I definitely recommend tkaing pictures of the damage to the doctor’s office and then seeking out a counselor for young children to see what they think.
Post # 15
Also I should note she seems to have a complusive need to suck her thumb she did this when she was little and then quit and recently she has picked it up again especially when she is tired or upset at times she will look at me and ask for “permission” so to speak to do it and its multiple times a day.
Post # 16
@beachbride1216: Well she sleeps by herself in her room but if she woke up and wanted to sleep with us she would be more then welcome but it never happens she just sits in her room. The ocd and seperation aniexty at night are good points I will look into those thanks for the advice