Concerned about my 10yr old

(13 Posts)
birchykel Thu 31-Jan-13 07:46:25

Hey sorry for late reply. Been crazy. My girl came home from her dads in bits. Turns out he never spends time with her when he has her and now she feels he doesn't love her. Apparently his wife won't let him either. Bless her though she said there's no point telling him cos we have told him so many times before to spend with her and he says ok but then never does it. And it's true I've tried so many times over the years and he makes promises but never keeps them. She spent Monday at school crying.

Since this she has been very good and no melt downs so far so I'm thinking maybe this was the problem.?

Spoke to my DH and we agree that we need to give her more time even when LO is up and running around, we need to give her our time and not keep saying ' wait till LO is in bed'.

I'm feeling positive now.

Thanks again.

X

Andro Sat 26-Jan-13 22:43:53

I have talked to my mother, she knows how much she hurt and used me but even though she regrets what I went through she still thinks the twins needed her more. We have agreed to disagree on that point and get on well as adults. I still give her the respect of Mamá, but our relationship is not a mother/daughter one.

Returning to your issues, your DH is right...you're being too hard on yourself. Your family situation is complex so it stands to reason that there will be issues - as long as you're working on them you're being a great mum. One lesson I learned a long time ago is learn from the past, don't live in the past - easier said than done but it really helped me.

How to get your DD1 to open up...reassurance is probably going to be the big factor. Assuming for a moment that she is struggling with her feelings (not certain of course) she quite possibly feel guilty/embarrassed/ashamed. She needs to know that she won't get into any trouble for anything she's feeling, for example getting cross if she says she 'hates her sister' or 'you love DD2 more than me' won't help. A lot of negative feelings are fear based, make sure she knows that whatever she is feeling is okay - but mum can't help her cope if she doesn't know there's a problem (rule number 1 in the Andro/Mr Andro household and invaluable with 2 adopted children - communication is vital).

Reassurance, hugs, 'I love you and I'll always love you' (or your version) and above all no interruptions - you can't get into an emotional talk and then leave part way through (if at all avoidable). Try to keep it calm, but tears are not always a bad thing (yours or hers), they can be healing.

The other thing is that you might not get to the bottom of any issues on the first attempt, but if she believes you'll listen and not judge the door is then open.

Oops, nearly forgot - emotion faces. If your DD is having trouble putting her feelings into words, emotion faces can help. You can 'open the door' by using a worried one and explaining the mum's worried that she (DD) is not happy about something but doesn't know how to tell you. (haven't used this one regularly for a couple of years but my DD still has hers and occasionally one appears - usually the confused one or the sad one as she find these more difficult to explain/describe).

Good luck with your daughter (I really hope she is just being a stubborn 10yo)

Now I've gone off on a ramble...oh well, never mind - it's good to talk

birchykel Sat 26-Jan-13 20:11:23

andro sorry about how u feel, must be horrible. Have you ever spoke to your mum about it? I think that's what I worry about so much, I know my childhood affected me big time and I'm probably slightly messed up because of it and because I know this I'm very aware that the things I do or say could have an affect of my children and I don't want them growing up looking back and feeling like their childhood was bad or my actions made them hurt in the future if that makes sense.....it also must sounds selfish of me but I honestly mean I don't want them hurting through my actions. I just don't want to get it wrong.

DH did take her bowling a couple of weeks ago and she loved it, he does do things like with both older ones so he gets to spend time with them and spoil them a little but with my eldest I think she needs the little things like maybe cooking a meal, reading, drawing or just talking. He does actually go and sit with her while she plays in her room and just talk with her about anything she wants to. He is a good step dad I just think she maybe needs a little more emotionally from him.

I spoke to my DH this morning about this thread and my concerns.....he thinks I'm too hard on myself and that I beat myself up. He said I need to talk to her when she is in a good mood not just after she has had a meltdown cos maybe she sees it this way she gets my attention and may keep doing it? I'm not sure about that. I am going to talk to her about her feelings when she is simply playing in her room and so it's a relaxed time. Thing is though she usually says she's ok, nothing is wrong, or she doesn't want to talk about....so any ideas on what I need to say to her? How do I start it? How do I get her to open up to me?
I think if I suggested counselling for us both to my DH that he would disagree and think I'm over worrying. Sometimes he explains it all in away that makes me think that she probably is like other kids, acting up etc but I just have a feeling it's more and she's bottling it up.

jiltedjohnsjulia i would love nothing more than for her father to leave her alone, nasty I know as she loves him and it would bring more issues for her but he is a waste of space. I've asked for help from social services a few years back because she came home with drawings her and her half sister had drawn and they were inappropriate I tried talking to her dad and he said I'm trying to make something out of nothing but she didn't want to go back to him after that visit....thing is social services came and investigated me and my family in our home!!!! They didn't even call her dad, write to him or see him. We got a report back telling us how great it is we have pictures of her school work up, she has a bed of her own and toys for her age group. It said she seems happy with us !!
Yet I gave them evidence of the pictures, I had kept a record of visits he let her down on, violence towards me, aggressive behaviour and they didn't care. They said I needed to encourage her to see her dad.
I've always supported her, always tried to speak to her dad about things that go on in her head...well the things that she does tell me. But if they are negative towards him he blames me.

I guess I should have been tougher and sorted supervised visits along time ago, I just tried to do the best for my daughter at that time. The man scares me still.

My eldest was 2 when her dad left, she witnessed afew violent attacks. And altho she was young ill never forget when she was about 4 and we had the swimming pool out in the garden, my now DH was splashing me and then tried throwing me in the pool.....she went crazy, shaking and crying and screaming. Wow it breaks my heart even now.

I think maybe I need help, help to work out a way for myself to keep calm in meltdown moments. Possibly help in finding away to stop blaming myself for everything I feel terribly guilty for the way her dad has behaved and for not getting the balls to say to him right it stops here, take me to court.

I've gone again and I'm sorry, but you have really helped me. I think I need to go with my instinct, because what if I just think she's doing what all kids do and she ends up messed up? She's at her dads tonight and all I wana do now is go see her and hug her.

Thanks again for your help and advice. If u have any ideas on how I can keep calm and how I can get her to understand that sometimes she just needs to do a she is told the first time...then they would be gratefully received.

X

Andro Sat 26-Jan-13 18:04:11

I think you do need to talk to her and really try and dig out what she's feeling and what she's scared to tell you in case you get cross with her.

Counselling for the two of you together might not be a bad idea, it might help her articulate her feelings better.

My past has had an impact on me. My relationship with my father is fantastic (always was and always has been) but my relationship with my mother took a nosedive when the twins were born and took 10 years to repair - we are close now and she adores my dc. I ended up being very self reliant, not entirely a bad thing but it made me very reluctant to trust anyone - I didn't want to 'need' anyone in case they let me down. Probably the worst effect it had on me was that I'm incredibly intolerant of ineptitude, I perceived my mother's actions as her being incompetent (with hindsight she wasn't, she was just selfish) and that has carried over.

The big different between you and my mother? You care! You want the best for both your children - my mother preferred the twins and made no effort to hide the fact. I can cook, bake, do laundry etc...the twins can't. My mother has pampered them so much, they expect that when they marry their respective wives with do everything for them because in their opinion, that's what women are for - I don't have a great relationship with them.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 26-Jan-13 09:09:06

I've got no experience of this but you are not a bad mum, you sound like a really good mum, if you were a bad mum you wouldn't give a stuff about her feelings.

You say he was violent to you, did she ever witness this? I think the counselling could help. It would (hopefully) be someone experienced in getting children to open up and would be someone independent for her to talk to.

If his only regret at hitting your daughter is that he hurt himself, and he must have hit her hard to do this, I would consider changing his access to supervised access. If you ring your local court and ask for the family department they should be able to talk you through the procedure, although I appreciate that you may not want to change your arrangements if they have been longstanding and he is awkward.

Could you have a chat with DH too? Maybe suggest that sometimes he hugs Dd1 first and do some things with her? She would probably love it if she went to the cinema or went bowling with him. Even getting some popcorn, sitting together and watching a film can be nice, cooking a meal together or going for a bike ride. It doesn't have to be expensive.

It's good too that she gets on with her elder step brother. Try to get DH to include her sometimes when his son comes over. You don't want her to feel that she is second best to his DS and dd2.

birchykel Sat 26-Jan-13 07:49:13

Sorry things were difficult when u were young, has it made a difference in how you are today? You don't have to answer of course.

Thank you for taking the time to reply and help. It has made me think about what I do during the day with both girls and whether we do anything more for her and I think we probably do more to entertain the LO sometimes not thinking about it. The LO is a handful, always on the go and I guess I'm guilty of always trying to keep her happy and entertained.
I'm not very good at doing things with the eldest while the LO is running around. I feel bad when I have to stop and sort LO out and I do end up saying ' we will do it once LO is in bed' and my eldest just agrees.which I guess now she just does it cos its what I say. When maybe she just wants to say ' mum please just do something with me '.

Relationship with her dad is a strange one, she loves him loads, just wants to spend time with him but he has an older girl (who doesn't live with him) and a younger son who lives with him. ...and he never has my eldest on his own to spend time with her he always makes sure he has the other girl too and always tells me that she has to fight for his attention cos he has other kids. He cancels on her if he has other plans that he 'forgot'about and sometimes he has her but then takes her to his mums house. She has come home before and said what's the point of going. She wrote him a letter saying how she felt but he replied not even acknowledging what she had wrote. But it seems he can do anything bad to her and she will always adore him cos he is her dad. He smacks his kids when their naughty, infact his son told that he got hit round the face by his dad but that dad got him some sweets after to calm him down. My eldest has told me she got smacked a few times recently and I had words with her dad (as we had an agreement he wld never raise his hand to her, he was violent to me) and his answer was ' I wish I never now as I cut my hand from hitting her' he laughed and went mad at him. I spoke to my eldest about it and she knows he shouldn't hit her or the other kids and I always tell that she doesn't have to go of she doesn't want to.

Her step dad is much more like a real dad to her although he still steps back sometimes I guess cos he feels she her dad and doesn't want to push in although we have been together seven years. They spend 1:1 time together sometimes, he works funny shifts so sometimes we all don't see each other properly for a week but he does have an older son too who is 13 so he has to try to fit everyone in. Luckily we all get on, my eldest and stepson adore each other they look out for one another. I do feel that from my eldest point of view when my step son comes over then her step dad does do more little things with him like play on the Xbox, watch footie, play football manager etc and I don't think he does little things like that with her probably cos she is a girl and he has no idea what to suggest to her. I don't know. I can see sometimes when he gets up from a late shift and my LO runs to him for a cuddle I can see my eldest is hovering as though she wants the same and admittlingly she will usually just get a hello or morning etc. although having said that coming home from school yesterday he did grab her and give her a huge cuddle and told her he loved her.

I've gone on loads here sorry. Just don't know what to do, it's like we need to sit down with her and talk to her. Her concentration isn't the best,she has problems with auditory memory and she switches off at times but I feel we need to do something. I even thought maybe she needs counselling.?
She tried to say something to me last night after all the craziness but cldnt say it properly she said she didn't know how to explain.

I'm really worried.
Again sorry for massive long reply.

Andro Sat 26-Jan-13 00:05:39

I walk over to her and was about to go to her eye level and calmly say please lets not do this come on bedtime but she shouts get away from me as if im going to attack her. ...ive never hit my kids and this upset me dearly. So she continues to shout and wakes lo up.

Has anyone else hit her?

My mother was a study in what not to do, so you're already in a far better situation than my family. The following is just a list of questions to consider - please don't take it as an attack (it's certainly not meant that way)

What your DD is feeling and what she can articulate easily may well be two different things (it was with me) - have you discussed this with her?

How much 1:1 time does she get with you - other than when your lo is in bed? I vividly remember feeling that the only time my Mother had any interest in me was when she wanted me to do something (you sound much fairer on that) or when the twins were asleep (very rarely). I felt as though I wasn't as important, I was even invisible to other family members (not my father though) - do other family/friends inadvertently exclude her?

Jealousy is a big issue, maybe she doesn't feel as though she can talk to you about it?

What kind of relationship does she have with her own dad (if any)?

What is her relationship like with her step dad and has it changed since the lo arrived? Maybe there's some fear that now you and him have 'your own' child he won't want her in the picture and she's taking it out on you?

Do you do anything 'age appropriate' with her when the lo is awake? The 'lowest common denominator' factor can be incredibly disheartening.

Bear in mind that your perceptions, her perceptions and the reality could very easily be 3 different things. The possibility of early stage puberty is also not going to make her any calmer or rational - hormone roller coasters are nothing if not unpredictable. Don't beat yourself up, you sound like a good mum who is trying her best. smile

birchykel Fri 25-Jan-13 23:08:36

Sorry was meant to say too that she is stubborn she refused to move away from the table and go to bed for me. Point blank refused. What shld I do? She has no respect for me. If it were her step dad she wld just do it. So hard.

birchykel Fri 25-Jan-13 23:04:56

Thanks for the replies something for me to think about.
I haven't seen that book but will look for it.
I can imagine being the only child for so long and then another baby girl comes along must be very strange and my eldest must have feelings on this.....she really is a good big sister and told this regularly. I have to say I dont palm lo off on her dont really ask her to do much for her only maybe keep an eye on her while I go to the loo etc. If anything she asks if she can do drawings etc with her and she takes her in her room. She seems to love spending time wiv lo but I guess as soon as lo gets frustrated then so does she. I have sat her down and botb agreed on a plan about what she shld do if lo hits her but she doesn't stick to it. Its almost like she plays mummy. Ill give it some thought on maybe allowing her to put lo in hall. I guess she needs to know we are all united in discipline.
My eldest has always been a good sleeper so mostly sleeps thru lo waking the odd occasion she has woken eldest up.

Feel like a crap mum at mo. Tonight is an example of what happens. Lo in bed so I suggest we play a game together which we do, lovely. Then we talk about tattoos as I am planning on having one and I suggest she designs one for me as she is a fantastic little artist. She gets so excited and starts straight away. Ten mins later she gets upset cos she cant draw what she wanted to so I said calmly not to stress it isnt a big deal maybe you can try again in the morning. She gives me attitude and mumbles. I keep calm and say come on lets get to bed its 9pm anyway. She refuses to move I explain that if she doesn't move and do as I ask that we cld end up arguing. She doesn't move. I walk over to her and was about to go to her eye level and calmly say please lets not do this come on bedtime but she shouts get away from me as if im going to attack her. ...ive never hit my kids and this upset me dearly. So she continues to shout and wakes lo up.
Finally we talk and she calms and we agree to try and recognise wen its getting silly and both think of different ways to handle the situation. But im worried cos we have spoke before and after a day or two she starts again. Is this normal for a ten yr old?
I try my best to give her as much attention as lo. As soon as things dont go her way though she turns nasty.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 25-Jan-13 12:48:32

Great post Andro with some really good points smile.

Birchy if sleep is an issue have you read 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep or seen this book? Both are written by parents and both are evidence based [smille]

Andro Fri 25-Jan-13 11:07:29

Does she feel as thought you're brushing the Lo's bad behaviour under the proverbial carpet?

You say the Lo is not sleeping through, is your eldest being woken up as well? If so she may also be tired as well as possibly hormonal.

How long has the behaviour been going on for? Is some of your eldest's problem frustration?

What's the balance of attention like between the children? Does the eldest feel as though she's no longer as important/wanted? Does she feel as though you 'palm her sibling off on her' and then criticise her when it doesn't go perfectly?

Underlying feelings are not always rational or logical (to the parent/s) but are very real to the person feeling them (I speak as someone with a 12 year age gap between me and my younger twin brothers)

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:50:28

There is some good information here on stopping toddler hitting.

Personally I'd have no problem with dd1 putting Lo in the hall. It gives Lo a clear message and I'm from a large extended family where its always been acceptable for older cousins/siblings/GPS/aunties and uncles, basically whoever is there to discipline the child if the parents aren't around. If you feel like dd1 should be getting you to discipline Lo, could you talk to her calmly? Think you both need to come up with a plan together of what is going to happen if Lo steps out of line with dc1 rather than just shouting when it does happen.

My eldest is 8, almost 9, so I could be talking out of my arse though grin

birchykel Fri 25-Jan-13 07:00:45

I have a 10yr old and an 18mth old, big age gap! They love each other loads and my eldest is brilliant with my youngest but there are times when my eldest gets slapped by the youngest. Before she would shout at her baby sister then put her in the hallway......where I would then have ago at my eldest for taking it into her own hands to discipline. So now I encourage her to ignore bad behaviour and just come to get me or her step dad and we will sort the little one out.....
It is working sometimes but now my eldest winds the little one up sometimes and when I tell her not too she comes back with you always blame me, what have I done, oh god and then cries. I'm stuck cos I need to tell the little one not to hit or pinch but then I have to explain to the eldest not to wind her up but it just seems crazy when I try this cos both are crying!

Not only this but my ten ur old I'm guessing is hormonal cos she is very emotional. But I don't help matters by shouting at her and losing my rag with her. I hate being like this, and usually only happens when im tired (which is a lot as my youngest still doesn't sleep through) so when I see her beginning to give me attitude I warn her that she is doing it and ask her to think about how she is talking. Sometimes she sulks and its over in minutes. Other times she answers me back gives me nasty looks, and cries and screams. I don't know how to react and honestly I do lose it sometimes, I shout and tell she will lose everything in her room etc. I don't hit my children to discipline but I don't want to shout either. We were so close before the baby came along and still are really but I'm worried about what is really going on with her.

I take it personally when she misbehaves instead of thinking this is normal, other kids do it too. I just want to change my approach to it maybe.

Oh and if anyone has any ideas on how to stop my little one from slapping and pinching I would really appreciate it.

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