who can help DD (sensitive)

(46 Posts)
MissFenella Mon 01-Apr-13 20:12:02

tonight I caught DD asking her 3 year old sibling to 'interfere' with her.
DD is 8 and knows this is wrong etc. As far as I am aware this is the 2nd occasion.

I am wondering what I need to ask her SW for in terms of help. Would it be a child psychologist or something different. She obviously has issues that need working through and I am not content to leave things as she is obviously predatory and I need to think of the safety of her siblings.

Any advice welcome although I won't be giving any more detail than above for obvious privacy reasons - apols if you feel your don't have enough info to comment.

HappySunflower Mon 01-Apr-13 20:27:18

First of all, big hug to you as it sounds as though you could do with one.

I wouldn't worry at this stage about identifying the kind of help you need; her social worker will have dealt with similar issues before so should be able to look into the right kind of support for you all.

scottishmummy France Mon 01-Apr-13 20:29:30

Gosh,that's alarming.is their known abuse in past?it is over sexualised behaviour
I'd call out of hours sw duty team ask for immedate meeting,with regular sw
As you say You need to act to protect 3yo girl.Note date,any triggers,what was said
Theyll convene a safeguarding meeting.take account of what went on
Do you feel safe having 8yo at home?as you say 2nd time you heard this

Make sure you get support too, support the kids but support for you too

MissFenella Mon 01-Apr-13 20:46:28

Thanks for replying.

Just really saddened if that makes sense. She knows its wrong and I just don't understand why she does it.

I feel things in the immediate term are fine but we are very concerned at her vulnerability now and in the future.

Her sibling is fine and was just ignoring, so that at least is a blessing.

Will contact SW now for a chat tomorrow and further support.

Thanks again x

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 01-Apr-13 20:50:13

Hope the meeting with SW goes well, MissF

Lilka Mon 01-Apr-13 21:14:37

I'm sorry this has happened MissFenella. Massive hugs to you, this is very hard to deal with and also very isolating. This is something I do have experience with, but I will PM you

Do you feel she is acting in a very predatory manner? Personally, I would be highly worried if her behaviour includes things like - trying to get her sister to 'not tell mum and dad', trying to bribe her into it, threatening her if she does not comply and so on. Whilst quite a large proportion of abused children do have sexualised behaviour (including between siblings) it's more worrying if they've picked up on aggressive, secretive, grooming, coercing or other very predatory behaviours. It's obviously much more dangerous for other children if there is an attitude of 'I know this is not allowed by mum and dad, but I'm going to do it anyway, I'll just make sure i don't get found out'. I hope this is truly only the second time, but be prepared for it to not be the second time.

You will need to phone SS obviously, I can't remember whether you have legally finalised the adoption yet or not? If not they will be more involved than if you had, because they are legally responsible for her. Your older DD does need therapeutic input but getting it can be hard. If she is acting in a predatory manner she needs therapy even more urgently, don't wait, in under 2 years she will be 10 and if she does it to another child then you may wind up with police involvement. Fight for her to access some form of help, such as referral through to CAMHS. Attitudes among professionals vary though - you may get concerned and helpful professionals and I hope you do, but also be prepared for unhelpful or frankly stupid people.

At home, how are you dealing with this? It terms of safety, do you have a safety plan? Eg. Elder and younger DD will never be left alone together, one child at least must be under line of sight supervision at all times. Not permitting elder DD to go to friends houses and line of sight supervision with friends who come to your house. When friends came over here, I had additional rules, no playing hide and seek ever being one of them. Close supervision is hard to implement and I can't pretend it isn't frustrating, but it may be necessary. Do they currently share a bedroom? If so, I would seriously suggest seperate bedrooms.

Also, younger DD needs some talking to. Empowering her to be able to come tell you if this ever happens again, and encouragement to talk about it. The message of - we talk about sex in this family, nothing is a secret.

scottishmummy France Mon 01-Apr-13 21:31:39

I'd separate them if they sleep in same room.
8yo no unsupervised visits to location with children. Supervise with the 3yo sibling
Talk gently to 3yo,no secrets even if told not to tell,but don't particularly press topic

MissFenella Mon 01-Apr-13 21:39:49

Always had separate bedrooms with us. I can easily keep them apart when we are awake but am concerned about 'sneaking' so have hung some bells on sibling's door.

I feel an idiot because they were sharing a bath (I was in earshot). They don't do this often. We had a lovely day and it was late and they both needed a wash. They were keen to share and usually play well (silly games like 'shops') on the 3 or so times they have shared. I thought with DD understanding it was wrong she wouldn't do anything (previous occasion was at FC)

I was there quickly so nothing happened of that I am sure.

What saddens me is that DD knew I could hear, knew it was wrong but still did it. Cry for help? She has started sleepwalking too recently, perhaps its all about settling in.

No adoption yet (we had just discussed it) but will delay until the help for DD is in place.

Lilka Mon 01-Apr-13 21:56:01

Bells on bedroom door is a good idea

If it is a cry for help, that is also a positive thing. It may also be that she doesn't truly understand the wrongness of it. She may grasp that 'this is wrong because my FC/Mum says I can't do it' but not understand why it's wrong 'this is wrong because it's hurts my sister' IFYSWIM

I think delaying the adoption order is also a wise move at this stage

MissF nothing to add at all but just wanted to say thinking of you and all your children.

MissFenella Tue 02-Apr-13 14:25:03

have spoken with SW and have got a CAMHS referral (although that will take forever no doubt).

Feel better today, spoke with DD and laid down some house rules. Being very serious and yet kind if that makes sense.

Having slept on it DH and I are both concerned about the lack of remorse, empathy and shame. Tears were about being told off rather than having done something wrong. Her 1st words this morning were to blame her sibling for something and then call sib a liar. We have both been feeling uneasy about DD for a few weeks and I think its because we don't actually know DD, she hasn't shown herself she has presented what she thinks we want to see. More and more I think therapy for her is long overdue.

there is a calm in the house and sib is being 'normal' so that is good.

On we go...

tethersend Tue 02-Apr-13 14:37:49

I work with children in care, some of whom have displayed similar behaviour to your DD- the NSPCC worked with one particular child and were able to give detailed predictions of future behaviour and attached support the child would need, which then informed both the long and short term care plan. This assessment was commissioned and paid for by the borough's children's services dept. it may be worth a try- some info here

MissFenella Tue 02-Apr-13 14:56:04

Thanks for that coincidentally SW mentioned some work she had done with NSPCC and was planning to use with DD alongside CAMHS. That sounds really positive

Lilka Tue 02-Apr-13 17:18:01

That sounds very positive MissFenella, very good the social worker sees the need for this help

adoptmama Wed 03-Apr-13 17:35:20

Apologies if I reply twice - Mumsnet ate my reply first time round smile

First thing I would say is that you need as much detail as possible about your DDs background. Triggers for abusive behaviour can obviously be being in a similar situation so if bath time was a time of abuse in the past it can help explain why she acted out in this way. Secondly the lack of empathy are concerning and hint to possible attachment and/or other psychological problems. This doesn't make your DD unadoptable by any means but I think you need to be realistic about the long term needs for therapy that she will likely have. There is not going to be a quick fix for her problems and they will impact you in many ways that will be uncomfortable and challenging; such as allowing her to have friends for sleep overs, or sleeping at a friends, or going on residential school trips. In my experience with working with disturbed and predatory children you really do need to be super strict with rules on contact as children who are determined to abuse will find a way to. So keep a very close eye on her and have consistent rules on contact; hugging, kissing, rough-housing, tickling etc. Even if it has seemed very innocent in the past you need to have very strict boundaries. Also think about whether you should move the 3 year old into your own room for now at night and also whether the bell system is adequate, or if she is smart enough to figger how to muffle it. If so, look into installing an alarm that will sound if the door is opened. It sounds extreme but she needs to know you are keeping her safe as well as her younger sibling.

Good luck. I hope you and your family can access all the services you are going to need to allow your DD to have the healthy and happy future she deserves.

KristinaM Wed 03-Apr-13 17:42:23

She's not remorseful because it doesn't feel wrong to her. It feels normal because of her past. It's not her fault she feels this way . She's not responsible for her feelings, just for her actions.

Did you know that this was a risk when they were placed? We're you offered extra support and training? If not, ask for this now, as well as the therapy for DD.

Don't be palmed off by SS saying they don't have any staff who can provide such training.source it yourself elsewhere and get them to pay for it .

Don't proceed with the adoption just yet as you will get no help, whatever they promise

Branleuse Wed 03-Apr-13 17:54:29

Is there any history of abuse before she came to you?

I wouldnt immediately think of her as predatory, depending on what exactly she asked her sibling to do.

Children do sometimes play stupid games with each other. Doctors and nurses etc. It can be scary for the parent when we are so on the ball these days about child sex abuse etc, but its worth remembering that she IS only 8 too.
I remember being exploratory with my best friend/foster sister and also my mums best friends son. There was no abuse and it never went further.

My ds also had to be told off and given a proper scare when he had a close look at his sisters bits one day when she was sitting on the sofa naked. I absolutely freaked out (privately), but hes never done it again.I had a massive talk with him, and dp did too and explained it being illegal and wrong and why, and may have mentioned police and jail.

scottishmummy France Wed 03-Apr-13 17:56:51

lets see what assessment and plan the sw comes up with
re:external funding they wont automatically pay for external therapy.funding applications go to a panel and need to be approved.Sorry, is not as easy as finding an agency or therapist to do the work - any funding needs approval
on positive note there are camhs team,and partner agencies whom the local authority will have partnerships with.

KristinaM Wed 03-Apr-13 18:59:51

I didn't say it was easy, scottish mummy. Nor did i say it was automatic

But funding therapeutic intervention is cheaper than the alternative. Do you know how much it costs to keep an 8 year old in a specialist residential placement or a psychiatric unit ?

The child is not yet adopted so she is still in the care of the local authority.

Cheshirecookie Wed 03-Apr-13 19:16:26

First of all, like HappySunflower, I'd like to send a big hug. These things help smile I've a background in child development and have managed teams of SWs and the first thing I would say is that it might help you to understand DD's behaviour if you had a quick read up on child development theory, and attachment theory in particular. You need to know what the SWs know (and sometimes, if I'm honest, what SWs don't know).

Essentially, events that happen early in a child's development are 'normalised' for them. That's how all baby animals (humans included) learn how to function. Babies and infants are shown what to do, and learn what is normal, by an adult they are bonded with. This behaviour then becomes so intrinsic that it is entirely instinctive and natural to that child, which is why there is no shame. She needs to relearn 'normal' and that takes masses of understanding, love, compassion and sometimes forgiveness.

It can definitely be overcome and when DD understands what is truly normal, she will acquire the cognitive ability to make the right decisions. But she evidently isn't at that point yet but will get there with love behind her. You can have a huge influence on this child's life and you can give her a chance that she would never have had without your care. You have my utmost admiration and very warmest wishes. Good luck MissFenella

scottishmummy France Wed 03-Apr-13 20:10:45

Take a step back Kristina external funding hard to secure (as you concede)
None of us know what the sw will recommend.
I hope this difficult development safely therapeutically managed

Yes I do know cost and processes involved,that's why I commented

MissFenella Wed 03-Apr-13 21:20:01

Thanks for your responses and I appreciate all of them and will use the advice to suit our situation, there really is no need to disagree with each other ;)
It is very useful to be reminded that we should be shouting and demanding the best for DD and not get too wound up in our natural revulsion. We are her 'chance' and it seems she has been poorly served before, given this is not the 1st time and no help was given then.
She is over mature in some areas and is doing very well at school and yet now, with thought, I feel she hasn't got age relevant emotional intelligence.
DH and I are struggling privately with this because we are trying our best to keep the norm at home and not reject DD as we know that will compound things for her.
Our current fears are while helping her we must keep siblings safe. Its such a mess and I am so very sad.

Thanks all again.

MissFenella, as usual no words of wisdom but a massive hug to you. You are amazing. I hope you get all the help you need for you and all your family.

MissFenella Wed 03-Apr-13 22:57:55

I'm not feeling amazing TBH. Need to get head straight and slap on that smile, fake to make, eyes and teeth etc

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 03-Apr-13 23:05:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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