My DD who turned 13 in November seems to have suddenly changed into a very angry and aggressive child over the past 3 months. We are at our wit's end and don't know where to turn.
Bit of background - she started having joint and back pain last summer and had morning headaches and nausea. She had a full investigation from a hospital consultant (including brain and spine MRI). Bloods showed she'd had glandular fever in the past (not recently though) and that her thyroid function was 'borderline' and that she tested positive for an antibody that could eventually lead to hypothyroidism which would need treatment with thyroxine. She is due to have her thyroid levels checked again in April. She has also been diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and is under the care of a physio.
She seems to have had a personality transplant at an alarming rate - is either very quiet and withdrawn (obsessed with her Blackberry phone which I will go into later) or very, very angry, picking fights, throwing hurtful insults at me, answering back and has now ramped it up lately by trying to physically intimidate me when she doesn't get her own way. Then she twists it back saying I'm a horrible, disgrace of a mother and she hates me and that the family are 'all freaks that annoy her into being angry'.
She was on report at school last week for not doing any homework and messing around in class. Rather than punishments we've been trying to go down the consequence route (read lots of good advice on here about this), I've asked her if there's anything apart from feeling angry that she wants to talk about but she tells me to 'go away, not telling you anything' etc etc. She ignores me for several hours a day, completely blanking me. She sleeps a lot after school, feels freezing and hides under a duvet on the sofa.
She hides away on Facebook and her Blackberry - both things that I bitterly regret allowing her to have free reign with. She locks her phone so that I can't see anything; it was taken off her last night (following a warning) due to her aggression towards me, DD2 and DS. She threatened to trash my room, followed me round the house chanting insults at me, plunging me into darkness and then switching the light on and off, lots of 'give me my phone back NOW'. The phone has gone to work with DP (her step dad who has been in her life since she was 4). I don't want to give her it back.
She is also deliberately winding up DS, making him anxious - he has ASD of which she's well aware, but she appears to enjoy being cruel to him and knows which buttons to press. She tries to intimidate DD2, calls her names like 'smelly tramp' over and over again.
I feel sad typing this as it paints such a bad picture of her. She's gone from being a lovely person to be around to someone I'm scared of in many ways. Other times she will be nice, but it doesn't last for long.
Sorry this is long and rambling; there's so much all going on at once it's really hard to put in any sort of order or not miss bits out.
I think it is sometimes worth pointing out to our dc that these situations are often new territory for us as mums/parents too and that we just need to take things slowly so that we can understand what is going on - so that everyone stays in control as it were and so that we can properly support them. So, this in reference to you keeping her phone off her for the time being for instance. I think it can be said to our dc without freaking them out and them thinking that we are out of our depth, so wording it the right way is necessary!
I had to take this approach with my ds15.7 recently as he has his first girlfriend and lives a 10 minute train ride away from her. He visited her after school, having agreed a return train time for me to pick him up, then I got the inevitable text asking if he could get the later one. It was a week day and he's doing his GCSE's so I had to say no, and after much objection from him I began to think I was being too strict. I later explained that I needed to get a handle on what I think the boundaries need to be, because it's new territory for me .... and he understood. Very different from your situation I know and not nearly as deeply emotionally loaded or layered, but I hope you see what I am saying.
Glad things have been a bit better and it sounds as though your dd has had some useful support at school.
Very good point gardeningmama - it's definitely new territory and as a parent our first instinct is to protect and nurture, but I think some of it is about stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, when they start pushing the boundaries (like you I often question whether I'm being too strict).
I just want to say that everyone has to some degree a thing about eating and drinking in front of people. I remember reading that years back. As a teen I had a big thing about it. I was so shy and awkward I wouldnt talk to my family but strangers and school nurse was easier. I never uttered a word at school and didnt try to fit in because I got laughed at anyway. Your daughter is doing better than I did. There is hope and I know that from experience things can change for the better.
also the blackberry. Im guessing it is in an adults name? can you get it unlocked somehow to check it or even to put on some sort of program to check whats going on. I dont think invasion of privacy is a good thing but at this point - what exactly is she hiding?