need help with problem 8yo, can't take much more(41 Posts)
I am getting to the end of my tether with DD and am really not sure what to do next. I hate long opening posts that appear on every page, so will expand further in my next post.
I have struggled with DD for a while, and we seem to go round in circles. When she was a toddler she was very difficult and I did a parenting course. My marriage broke up soon after and I have been bringing her up on my own since. Contact with her father has dwindled over the years, to the point that he now sees her randomly every few weeks, with no contact in between. He has made it quite clear that he will not contact her more often despite me asking him to. I no longer ask him. He has a new family now (OW).
The school have been involved and DD has attended the THRIVE programme and the school have been certain that her problems have been caused by the lack of contact with her father. They were also involved, and he attended some meetings, but failed to take on board anything they were saying so it was a waste of time. They stressed that she needed regular contact but he just won't do it.
So that is the background.. DD's behaviour is now such that I just can't cope with it any more. On a daily basis, she is rude, defiant, angry, frustrated. She hates things being out of routine, she has friends, but struggles to make friends in her own class at school. She was doing ok by the end of last term, but is now struggling again at school. School are unable to provide any further assistance and have suggested that I go to see the doctor, on my own initially, then with DD. They have also suggested contact SS, not because I am doing anything wrong, but to get support.
I have never had any dealings with SS and have only read bad things on here once they get involved, so am reluctant to go down that road. I think that there is "something wrong" with her for want of a better phrase, and think that she should be assessed for ADHD or ODD or something similar. I have never wanted her labelled as anything, but it seems that it is the only way that you can get support and for her to get assistance at school!
I can't take her anywhere any more as she kicks off and just won't behave. It is so hard to put her behaviour into words but it is so much more than just being naughty.
If I tell her not to be rude, she just says the same back to me. If I tell her to stay with me, she runs off. If I tell her not to touch anything, she damages displays and things. We can spend 3 hours in a park doing what she wants to do, then she kicks off if she has to spend 1 hour going shopping or to the supermarket.
She wants everything she sees and kicks off when she doesn't get it. If I take things from her, she will attack me to get them back. She won't listen to me, she rolls her eyes and mimics me speaking to her. If I ask her to pick things up she ignores me. If I then put everything into a bin bag as threatened, she is then totally distraught and attacks me to get it back.
Every single day she refuses to brush her hair or brush her teeth. If I tell her what to do she says that I am being mean to her. She says that I don't listen to her, but what I won't do is listen to her going on and on and on when I have said No. She says I don't want to spend any time with her, but she says this at bed time when I say its too late to watch a film with her because its bed time!
I literally cannot get her to do anything that she is told or that she needs to do without it being a battle. She has to sleep with a pile of books and toys by her bed because she can't sleep without them. She has to do certain things in certain ways. We can't change the morning routine or it throws her totally. She is obsessed with times and how long things take. She has no care for actions and consequences.
The school insist things will only get better when contact with her father is resolved, but he has made it clear that it is his way or no contact at all and at one point did not see her for months. DD is constantly worried that she will never see him again because it is weeks between contact.
I can see that some of her behaviour is down to her anxiety about not seeing him, but then she was utterly defiant before he left anyway! I have no idea what she would have been like if he had stuck around. I will never know how much of this is caused by the breakup and how much of it is simply her.
I am thinking of getting her a mobile phone so that she can contact him when she wants to. This is against previous advice from school and a solicitor where I was told that you cannot make a child responsible for contact. I just don't know if it is a good idea or not, but it would take me totally out of the equation and at least she could speak to him, or not, but she will find out for herself that it is not me stopping the contact.
He has blamed me for everything and told DD this so of course she must harbour a resentment towards me which can't help.
I just feel that we are at a point where I can't take any more and I don't know what to do for the best for DD to be happy and to get the help that she needs.
Sorry for what must be a mammoth post, but I need help from anyone who has gone through similar behaviour with their DC, is there something wrong with DD, or is it all simply down to the marriage breakup ? what help did you look for, what did you get, and was your child diagnosed with anything?
Forgot to say that school have advised that the waiting list for CAMHS is months long so even if go down that road, nothing is going to resolved any time soon, so I don't know whether I should find a private counseller. She has had counselling in the past but it was free via the school, so I have no idea of cost.
I think the Dad issue is only part of the problem...
You do need a GP referral for her to be assessed..If the problems were there before you can't assume this is all about contact.
My DS had inconsistent contact till he was 3.. I felt it was more damaging than no contact.
Read up on ADHD and ODD..See if you think they do fit your DD?
Maybe some structured timetable in an evening would actually help.
Your post reminds me a lot of my own DD1 who has ASD (aspergers syndrom) and ADHD - the need for routine (and bad reaction to breaking the routine) the need to sleep with certain books and toys in her bed - she even threw fits if we sat on different places on the sofa!
I think you should see the GP and describe your difficulties so that she can be referred for further assessment and help
How old is she now?
Some of this sounds completely like my dd who, incidentally has a loving close relationship with her father .
Sorry, should have said she has ASD.(Aspergers). The whole doing something she wants to for two hours but if we have to switch to supermarket there's an epic meltdown.
A few of the things you say do sound a bit ASC-ish (autism or Asperger’s Syndrom) to me too. Go to the GP first and just describe how she behaves, maybe keep a diary with examples, and do also say that the school advised you to get her checked out. Can your health visitor give you a bit of support? Mine was very nice when DS went off the rails at school (due to an ASC).
If she needs assistance at school then it’s a god idea to find out what kind of assistance she needs. And that means assessment and maybe a diagnosis (not a label!) which will help to pinpoint what she really needs and what kind of support will work best for her. They will probably check for all kinds of things to start off with including ADD, ASC, ODD etc.
One thing you can try - well kids vary but it worked for my DS! - was to have a very strict routine and plan out each day and have a timetable with not-nice things before nice things. DS needed things to be predictable and he hated unexpected things. So if I needed to go to the supermarket then we’d do that first and then go to the park. At one point we even stopped going to the supermarket altogether and I got a cheapo midweek delivery instead because supermarkets can be especially stressful for kids with ASCs, all the bright lights and echoey noise and smells and hot/cold areas.
Two other things - do feel free to head over to Special Needs Children for support, there are parents over there whose kids don’t have any diagnosis or don’t have one yet but are managing similar behaviour. And one book that I found super useful for managing my DS’s tempers is Ross Greene's The Explosive Child.
You do sound like a lovely caring Mum and your DD is lucky to have you on her side.
Yes, sounds like lots of features of ASD also. My dd is also 8 and had ASD. Read up on PDA, do some reading on ASD, see if you can draw some similarities and then visit the GP. I think contact with her dad is a red herring with regard to her presentation. My dd is very similar (hair, sleep routine ring alarm bells for me). Health professionals are not very good with girls and autism, so do lots of reading and push, push, push.
Read over the SN boards and see if there is anything that sounds familiar to you.
Yes exactly the same as my dd who has adhd and odd (diagnosed.) I started with a gp referral to Camhs and also an educational psychologist through the school and the local authority eventually put in 1:1 support.
Thanks for the replies. I usually do get shopping delivered but occasionally try and have a day out to shop somewhere different like Aldi or Lidl and combine it with a trip to a nice big park for DD.
It's just never ending and when you try and explain to people they just say "all kids are like that". But they're not! My friends have suggested ADHD from knowing others like it, and because DD is very loud and hyper, always fidgeting. She only sits still if she's on her tablet.
She doesn't remember anything, won't bring home school newsletters, and the school just say that she needs to be responsible for it.
She sounds so similar to my DS, who is the same age. He has diagnoses of Asperger's, ADHD (medicated for 1.5 years now) and PDA - pathological demand avoidance.
Have a go at this questionnaire when you get 5 minutes and see how she scores;
I think you need to go back to your GP or school SENCO and ask for referral to your community paediatrician, they can take a full history and make an informed decision based on how she presents.
CAMHS support can be patchy, but don't dismiss it altogether. They review my son 3-6 monthly to make sure he remains responsive to his meds.
Whilst the situation with her Dad will exacerbate her difficulties, it certainty won't of caused them, please don't blame yourself or your circumstances.
I hope you get the support you need, parenting these kids is bloody hard work!!
Are there grandparents/relatives on either side who could work with you and provide a substitute for the father?
It sounds like she really misses him and is hurt by the lack of contact. You cannot change that but someone else might be able to fill a bit of the gap.
When my son is in meltdown or just being an absolute oppositional rage-inducing devil child, I try to remind myself that it is more often than not anxiety as the root cause.
Some strategies you can try in the interim:
- Visual timetables for both school and home so she can see what's happening next, which may start to reduce anxiety, ask your SENCO to help get this in place
- offer her choices so she feels she has some control. E.g "we need to get some bits from the supermarket today, shall we do that before or after we go to the playground?"
- a stop/start chart (Google) listing behaviours you'd like her to stop - ours are to stop shouting, swearing, hitting. And listing behaviours you'd like her to start - again ours are having a shower once a day, sitting down at the table for dinner, playing nicely with siblings. Each time she does a behaviour from the start list you reward with one marble, each time one from the stop chart you take a marble away. Once she has 10 marbles you reward with small gift of her choosing - ours are magazines, sweets, small Lego set.
How old is she now?
8, as clearly stated in the thread title
Sounds the same as my DS who has aspergers
Punkrocker- I can't see the thread title on my phone!
My parents are very supportive but mum has had an operation and will be having another one in a few months. No contact with ex in laws.
I suggested PDA to senco last year but nothing was done. I e now suggested ODD but all they say is see your doctor. I dont want to look like some Munchausens mother always suggesting things though! but I'm sure her behaviour is too extreme to be "normal".
Thanks for all the replies. And thanks for understanding me. For those who saw their doctor, how does the referral process work, assuming they do refer her?
It can take quite a while waiting for referrals. It can be challenging getting a girl diagnosed and PDA doesn't exist as a official diagnosis everywhere as it's not included in the DSM 5.
It took 2 years to get my dd diagnosed. I was told I needed to be a better parent by school (never minds other 3 well-behaved dcs), blamed my history of stillbirth and infertility for being neurotic (child psych) and just a bad case of sibling rivalry (community pead).
It's been a long tough battle, but have found the courage by lurking on the sn boards, and actually by being convinced I was right!
All areas are different. And it can depend on the age of your dc, but most probably a referral to cahms. I'd go straight to the go, but arm yourself by being well read first!
The SENCO can’t diagnose or do the assessments. You really do have to go through the GP to get a proper referral to a clinical psychologist or developmental paediatriatrian or a multi-disciplinary team. Possibly the school may also be able to call in an educational psychologist to do some tests but they are much more limited in what they can/will look for. You wont be seen as having Munchausens if you go to the GP because that’s the usual route, and you don’t need to identify the possible diagnoses, that’s their job But it does take a long time. I was on a waiting list for months. The best thing you can do is to get the process started, the sooner you see the GP then hopefully the sooner your DD will get help!
Go to your GP, with a list of examples of the kind of issues your DD has, situations when she’s lost it, things you aren’t able to do with her, the way she gets upset when her routine is at all disrupted, etc. Tell the GP that the school have suggested the referral, that will help the GP see that you're not just being neurotic. The exact referral process varies from place to place and even for different people in the same area. I went to the GP (without my DS), was referred to CAMHS, sat on a waiting list, eventually saw a developmental paediatritian (who did a long interview with me and then a lot of problem-solving and communication tests with DS) then (quite quickly) a clinical psychologist and finally a SALT. Also they took reports from the school, I had to give permission for that.
While I was waiting I also got referred to a parenting coursem, that was standard procedure in my area. I actually found it helpful because they were very supportive and very sympathetic to the fact that I (and the school!) couldn’t know how to discipline my DS when he hadn’t been assessed and we didn’t know what his abilities or disabilities were. They encouraged me to take very a laid-back and very non-punitive approach, which helped both of us.
Thanks. I try hard to stay calm but it's difficult. I also try not to give a toss what others think hit it's hard when you're in a premier inn eating a meal and she is attacking me because I took her book away as the food had arrived. She kept trying to grab it, knocking drinks over, making silly noises. This iOS shy I think it's just not normal, I never see other kids behaving like it.
I need to start the process but it sounds like it will take so long she will probably be left Primary School by then!
I have ring the doctor and have a half hour appointment on Thursday. I will write everything down.
I'm glad you have an appointment. Hopefully it wont take quite that long to get things sorted for her! The diagnosis took just under a year for us.
It is hard to stay calm. In a lot of ways I found the time before my DS was assessed the very hardest. Once we had his diagnosis (although in some ways I felt sad) I also felt a lot better about not worrying what other people thought, I could say to myself "They don't know anything about ASCs and I do, and as long as DS isn't bothering them it's none of their business if he sits at the table with a book or with headphones in or whatever else keeps him happy". A lot of misbehaviours that I thought I should be able to "fix" I realised were part of his ASC and that there weren't going to be any quick fixes or maybe any fixes at all, it was about finding a way of life that worked for us. Then gradually as he matured and I learned more about ASCs we started to get on top of things.
Your DD might need her book as a distraction/retreat if she finds the restaurant setting uncomfortable for sensory reasons, or she might not understand the social "custom" of not reading while eating. For the time being I would tend to view that as small stuff that isn't worth fighting over. You can tackle it later when you know what's causing it, there's no hurry.
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