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 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 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 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 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.

Cheshirecookie Thu 04-Apr-13 08:43:22

Yeah, MissFenella, I agree smile Smiles, even fake ones, release endorphins so you go right ahead and paint that smile on - sounds like you need all the endorphins you can get smile Find a reason to laugh, watch a favourite funny old movie, have lunch with friends. Your health, happiness and sanity are every bit as important as anybody elses. You sound like a lovely human being, so trust your own instincts and I'm sure they'll help you to do whatever feels right for you and your family in the end. Have confidence in yourself.

Lilka Thu 04-Apr-13 19:33:33

Your health, happiness and sanity are every bit as important as anybody elses

Absolutely. This is such a hard time for you and your family and of course you are focussing on looking after your daughters and on fighting for them. But do not forget to look after yourself as well. You need and deserve some head space and time of your own

I hope you are okay this evening, my thoughts are with your family

MissFenella Thu 04-Apr-13 22:43:08

Home is fine - as if it never happened for DD, which concerns us greatly.

Cannot do anything until we see SW so there is no point dwelling and we are just keeping it at one day at a time.

One sad outcome is that DH is now too worried to read to DD at night without me being there.

KristinaM Sun 07-Apr-13 14:18:15

I'm sorry to say that Dh is doing the right thing. I understand how sad it is as you just want the children's have a normal family life. But you need to keep yourselves safe too. Bedtime stories in the kitchen /on the sofa with both of you present are just fine .

Do you have a plan for safe caring, agreed between you and Dh? For bedtimes, bath times, play time when the girls might be alone together, sleepovers , dressing/undressing, swimming trips etc

Please try not to get upset over her lack of remorse. Of course it's as if nothing happened to her, because nothing did. It's normal to her. All the normal feelings of revulsion have been moved from her onto you, you are carrying a double load :-(. I know it's very very hard. When you dream of having a family you don't imagine this as part of your plans .

And you are right that something should have been done the first time it was spotted . Because it certainly wasn't the first time it happened.

flossymuldoon Tue 09-Apr-13 14:44:11

I haven't read the whole thread so i'm not sure whether anyone has suggested, but i read a thread on Adoption UK recently.

The thread was about a little girl masturbating in public and someone suggested possible low Oxytocin levels at birth and if she has found something that feels nice then that might be in an attempt to raise her oxytocin levels. She was not sexually abused so that wasn't the reason she was doing it. The person who commented said that Oxytocin drops had helped her boy.

Might be worth doing some further digging to see if you think that could help?

I can't find it now but will post a link if and when i find it.

flossymuldoon Tue 09-Apr-13 16:39:27

P.S. Hope you are ok. It must have been upsetting for you all so be kind to yourselves xxx

Missfenella I am sure you don't feel amazing and I am sure you do feel awful I just want to say that I think you are an amazing person because you are tackling this and working through it. You are looking for help.

I really, really hope you get the help you all need.

I totally agree with others, look after yourself, find some reasons to smile and have fun. I have no experience to draw on or words of wisdom but if it makes any sense or helps in any way we are all thinking of you.

MissFenella Wed 25-Sep-13 21:16:58

just off loading...

ah well. DD caught 'flashing' at after school club to a boy she was playing with.
They told DH when he picked up.

I asked her if anything happened and she said she got in trouble for playing with a boy and it played out just like last time but without tears.

ASC have this week voiced concerns about DD and her 'control' of peers and her vigilance re:where the adults are. They said they felt she was always looking for an oppotunity to misbehave - and then this happens.

Waiting for a review from CAHMS following the woeful 'help' DD received in the summer. Lets hope she gets something more worthwhile.

I didn't want to read and leave. Sending your family lots of love. You sound like an awesome mum thanks

Lilka Wed 25-Sep-13 21:53:01

I'm sorry to hear this sad

Are the after school club happy to have her back (with a bit more supervision!)?

All of her behaviours (need for control/manipulation, hypervigilance, sexualised behaviour, lack of remorse/empathy etc) add up to a girl with significant emotional needs, who requires more than a few sessions of therapy.

Really hope the review leads into better support for you. Fight for as much as you can get.


MissFenella it must be exhausting, I am so sorry for you and this situation. I just hope she will get all the help she can. Psych yourself up, be the tiger lady, I know you can and I am sure you will get somewhere. Don't let them wear you down. Thinking of you. thanks

MissFenella Thu 26-Sep-13 13:31:37

Hi - yes ASC are happy to keep her on, they are really good and we keep in contact (had a quick catch up on Tuesday) and they will help and do support us.

They raised some of their own concerns regarding DD and that will add weight to our argument for more help, given its a 3rd party saying the same as us.

I just wish the powers that be would get their fingers out.

fossil971 Thu 26-Sep-13 13:48:18

Are you getting any help/training from the Post-adoption team in your LA? (If they won't speak to you tell them you are only delaying adoption order because you want a commitment to ongoing help). I only say because (after years of placement) we are having some post adoption training with our LA and we should honestly have done it years ago. It brought back all that attachment training from pre-approval but in the context of our own children.

Also do stick out for specialist Post-Adoption therapy from CAMHS, I have been advised, not just mainstream. Good luck.

MissFenella Tue 22-Oct-13 20:09:54

well, we had a review with CAMHS and their advice was that we need to keep on doing what we are doing with DD and at the moment no therapy would really help, it could be detrimental.
So that is where we are.
Thanks for all the advice here, I have a feeling I will need you (especially as DD2 has started rattling on about FC and saying she wants to live there) sad

Piffyonarock Tue 22-Oct-13 20:26:30

That sounds tough MissFennella, hope you're OK. It's a horrible feeling when you ask for support and then there doesn't seem to be much when you finally get to speak to someone. I've no advice really, except to say try not to worry too much about DD2 - my DD has phases of being very fixated on her FCs and wants to go back to live with them. She misses them SO much sometimes and I think as she gets older she understands what she is missing a bit more, or something triggers a memory. Its natural, but it makes me feel rejected!

Keep your chin up, you sound like you are doing great smile.

MissFenella Tue 22-Oct-13 20:54:38

Yes rejected, that is me tonight *sips red wine
My new strategy is to just say 'that's nice dear' rather than get into a conversation. I don't want her to feel FC is taboo but FC was a pig to us so it is hard to stay sunshiney!

Piffyonarock Tue 22-Oct-13 21:52:01

Red wine sounds good! We do similar, try not to make a deal about it. We just keep explaining that DD's FCs love her very much, but so do we and we're her forever family in a gentle sort of way. We've kept in touch with her FCs and see them periodically, sometimes DD is OK, occaisionally it affects her quite negatively, so we'll have to see how things pan out over time. I keep reminding myself that she feels worse being so conflicted at times, but it doesn't stop me feeling rejected and worried about our relationship at times.

wine Cheers!

MissFenella so sorry to hear all this. Hope it will get better. Thinking of you.

Hoping things will get better and that social services will come up with some genuine help offers soon. (If you feel therapy would help can you get a second opinion?)

I know it is not the same but when my birth daughter was 3 she went through a real daddy phase where she wanted to live with just daddy. As me and DH (who is her daddy) are still happily married I guess she meant she wanted me to move out! sad. I tried not to make a big deal of it and just explained it was my home too. She grew out of it and even says ow she wants to live here with me forever!

MissFenella Sun 27-Oct-13 20:25:27

Things are better again. DD2 is still being her age but That is life. She really does get upset by SW visits so i will be glad when we adopt next year.

All in all its good.

Thanks for the great suppert here :D

Lilka Sun 27-Oct-13 23:32:25

Really glad to hear things are better again smile

MissFenella great news.

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