To be scared about 10 year old dd threatening to self-harm(20 Posts)
I feel totally out of my depth here and would really appreciate any advice.
By way of background, DD is nearly 11 and going in to Yr 7 in September. She will be going to small school and her junior school is attached to it - so she is pretty familiar with it all. At my request, the school have ensured that she is in a teaching group with her best friend.
She has always been prone to anxiety and I think she is anxious about the transition. She is very young for her age (to the extent that I worry about it), middle of the road academically (excels at some things and struggles with the odd thing).
We have in the past had some concerns about her behaviour - she will often appear completely clueless as to what is going on around her and have to ask lots of questions to make sure that she gets it. She rarely understands the plot of a film the first time but can recall staggering detail and struggles with multi-layered instructions. We have been told that she may have attention issues but is not autistic and the school think she has no problems in lessons that need to be supported.
Which brings me to the current problem. At the weekend, she was due to go around to a friend's for the night. She was looking for her pjs but all of the ones she wanted were in the wash. I made lots of suggestions about what she could take instead but each one was just shot down. As I had to do something else and needed to leave, I said she should either get her stuff ready or she couldn't go as I needed to leave. Cue the most almighty melt down. I am cruel, she wishes she did not exist, if I don't do what she wants she is going to hurt herself. I tell her that I don't want her to do that but I am not changing my mind and I am leaving. She runs after me into the street and starts raking her nails down her arms and face until she draws blood.
I leave her alone for an hour and her older brother decides to give her a good talking to. She calms down and I decide that to give everyone space, she should still go around to her friend's - otherwise everyone might say things they regret.
When I picked her up, she acts like nothing happened. I explained that there will be some consequences but we need to think about them and they depend on why she acted the way she did. She says she is sad all of the time at the moment and sometimes she just can't keep it in.
Currently, I am thinking what to do next. What should I do?
I would take his seriously. She needs some medical help. GP asap a d take it from there. Please don't punish her for this; it would make things much worse.
Don't punish her. Take her to gp asap so she can get for the anxiety.
Thanks - I am thinking no punishment too as anything I would normally do would just make her feel isolated and lonely and I don't want to do that. I need to do something though.
She also really feels inferior to her brother and I don't know how to address that. She has been so horrible to him lately that he is struggling to deal with her and just wants her to leave him alone. It is causing problems all around.
I wouldn't let someone dismiss ASD, it can present differently in girls and can be very difficult to spot.
Tony Attwood has some very good information about girls with asperger's.
She has just been signed off by CAHMs! Aargh.
I know she won't engage with the GP at all and taking her will ramp up the anxiety further, but am willing to go and discuss her on my own (and was already considering that). Problem I have found in the past is that she masks it so well, people often think I am making all of this up!
I have an exceptional masker (a boy), and people have and do think I'm making things up - he has HFA/PDA.
The most useful thing is to do some research yourself and find strategies to help her.
TBH, a lot of what you've written could have described me as a child, I have recently found out that I possibly have ASD.
I have gone along with it not being ASD as her very best friend's mother with whom she has spent a tremendous amount of time is a pediatric consultant who diagnosis ASD as part of her job. She says in her view, dd meets none of the diagnostic criteria. The GP said on the basis of my paper notes he thought she might be autistic but the consultant who saw her again said not.
I have always thought there is something unusual about dd.
It sounds like your daughter is depressed dear. It happens at any age, I suffered with depression when I was 9. Take her to the gp, explain everything, they can help. Sending a supportive hug.
Also, it can take months of sessions before she might engage with a therapist, but it will be worth it when she does. Took me 6 months to get going, but it was so necessary. Good luck!
In my (admittedly limited) experience, the paediatrician is not the person trained to spot the signs.
At ds's recent assessment, it was the psychologist who saw straight through his mask, the paediatrician listened to us about behaviour etc, but couldn't spot anything unusual about him.
In your case it may not be ASD (we've had a year of assessments and having to do research, so I'm a bit quick at spotting possible ASD, probably wrongly!), but if you think there's something unusual, it's worth investigating, particularly given the anxiety and threats to self harm, and parents usually know their child better than anyone, so are best placed to recognise differences.
The trick is finding someone who will listen! We ended up going private.
I think she might be depressed too - there is a history of it in the family.
What worked for you when you were so young?
I have wondered if accessing some kind of family therapy might help us all. That way dd would not just see it as her issue and the rest of us might stop being so irritated by all the problems she is causing.
Would you tell her senior school? Dh says not but it is a small independent all girls school and I think they will have both the time and resources to deal with this. Dd would most definitely not want me to tell them.
LeChien - I get what you say about getting people to listen. I am not bad at that - I have got her seen at least but then they watch dd for 30 mins and see nothing. In addition, her school also say nothing is wrong (although a couple of teachers have disagreed) - they write letters to the consultant saying everything is fine and dd is lovely and has no problems. Consultant they politely says nothing too wrong.
How did you find a private person? I would be willing to do this.
It is so easy to be an amateur psychologist on here, but she sounds so similar to a friend's DD who is ASD (just diagnosed) and who suffers from extreme anxiety too. Not unusual apparently.
Would the school get the Ed Psych to see her?
photo the scratches and get her to gp asap so gp can see and refer back to camhs urgently.
whether or not its ASd she needs support and strategies for her anxiety.
what is the new school's pastoral care policy?
what do they say about supporting students through their teens? what counselor etc are on board? how have they dealt previously with self harming students (it's not that uncommon..)
being independent may or may not mean they willing to put resources into helping a child with anxiety issues...
presumably you told them something to get them to place her with her best friend? so they already know there are issues?
My dd has ASD and sounds very similar to your dd,spookily so in fact. She self harms too as a result of high anxiety, the move to secondary has triggered regular self harm,it breaks my heart.
Your dd must not be punished, neither does she need a stern talking too, she needs support by the bucketload.
Dd was diagnosed at two but suffice to say our Autism Outreach service and the Ed Psych couldn't spot her alongside her peers because as a girl she has learnt to imitate and fit in.
I'd guess that what happened with the pyjama episode was that she had a very definite plan in her head about the evening.A specific set of pyjamas would have been part of the plan (perhaps because of how they feel or maybe the colour is a comfort or perhaps her friend has once said she liked them) and once they weren't available her plan went wrong and she couldn't imagine how the evening might pan out.Her anxiety rocketed,you leaving would have tipped her over the edge because most likely like my dd you are someone who is a constant and a problem solver. The self harm them was a way to focus not on her emotional distress by causing herself pain and also to let you see how distressed she was.
You can ask for a referralto a specialist diagnostic service for assessment for ASD,the one I recommend is The Elizabeth Newson Centre because ds went to the school attached and their psychologists and SALTs worked with the children in the school.
Thanks. On the punishment front we have settled for working together to try and stop it happening again.
School know she is very anxious, they detect no other problems.
It is quite a caring school. That's why I picked it. Not sure what level of problem they are up to dealing with though.
Insanity, that sounds like a really plUsible explanation. Almost reassuring actually to see some kid of reason behind it.
I have recently been on a training course regarding supporting girls on the the autistic spectrum and from what we were told on the course your DD sounds absolutely typical. Hope you get the support you and she need.
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