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Seriously wondering if there is something wrong with my 10yo DD, maybe she should see a psychologist?

(30 Posts)
Yogagirl17 Fri 10-Jun-11 21:56:53

10 yo DD is bright, friendly, articulate, outgoing, confident, does pretty well at school, invovled in several extra-curricular activities, has plenty of friends, etc, etc. Teachers, coaches, friends' parents all say 'she's so lovely, so mature, so helpful, so polite, an angel' blah blah blah blah blah.

Except at home I swear to god, she is like the psycho child from the exorcist whos head spins round and vomits green goo!!! angryangry

- I ask her to stop making some bizarre annoying noise and she immediately repeats it over and over and does not stop until I shout

- I ask her to eat breakfast, she insists she's not hungry. Except as soon as it's time to leave for school she is suddenly starving and starts screaming that i'm the worst mother in the world for not allowing her any breakfast.

-I ask her to stop making horrible faces at her brother in the car rearview mirror (she's in the front, he's in the back). She looks me in the eye and tells me she's not (she knows I can see her). I tell her to close the mirror. She insists she has to do her hair now, it's urgent. I tell her to close the mirror. She refuses. I tell her she's punished. She screams how unfair it is that I am punishing her just because she wants to do her hair!

-Kids are at table eating, I am next door in kitchen (no room for table in kitchen). She says DS is making faces at her. Try giving her the benefit of teh doubt so tell DS he has to come eat breakfast standing in the kitchen where i can see him. She follows and stands exactly where he is, leaning over him, claiming she's 'just putting her cup down'. Tell her just to move over. She starts saying its not her fault he's annoying her, he's an idiot, he kicked her (again, I can SEE them and he has NOT kicked her). Tell her to cut it out or she will be punished. She starts screaming at the unfariness. I point out she is not punished yet, she still has the chance to chill out and all will be fine. But she is either physically incapable of chilling out/calming herself down (having gotten herslef worked up over nothing in the first place) or can not process what I'm saying becuase she keeps screaming until i too am screaming and then she is punished.

I could go on and on - I say have a shower, she says no. I say ok don't have a shower, go to bed. She says but I HAVE TO HAVE A SHOWER! I am literally tearing my hair out. We have tried everything. WE have tried having heart-to-heart talks when she and I are both calm. Her dad has tried having hear-to-heart talks. We have tried using mobile phone, treats, late bedtime as incentive. At the moment we are working on a 2 strikes and your out (which she says she doesn't have to abide by because she didn't agree to it). She gets 2 strikes a week. The first time she just gets sent to her room for a short period of time or an early bed time. the second time she loses her favourite extra-curricular activity which seriously upsets her but at this rate she's never going to go back to it again!

DH and I are actually at the point where we are considering having her speak to someone becasue we really don't know what else to do.

Sorry, I didn't mean this to be so long. sad

rabbitstew Fri 10-Jun-11 22:02:49

Has she always been like this at home, or is it something that has built up over a specific period of time?

TheSkiingGardener Fri 10-Jun-11 22:04:15

My first reaction (apart from poor you!) is that she has saved up every ounce of her rebelling and boundary pushing for home. Normally, surely, it would be spread around a little.

I'm not sure she needs counselling/other help but a few sessions where you can talk as a family may help her understand the strains that are being created and help you break past this point. Not sure what else may help to be honest but you sound like you are doing everything you can.

Yogagirl17 Fri 10-Jun-11 22:13:32

rabbitstew, it's not new it's just worse now than it used to be. If it were new or out of character for her I would worry that something had happend or was going on that I didn't know about (bullying, hormones, who knows). But to be honest she has always been a bit like this.

When she was potty training (yes, goes back that far) she never had an accident for her child minder but woudl come home and wet the floor!

But then she CAN be lovely at home when she wants to be. And she CAN get along beautifully with her brother when she wants to. She loves having 1-1 time with me which I try to give her when I can and she likes getting more grown up privilges than her younger brother which, again, we try to allow her when she has earned it. But the last few months it has just gotten worse and worse.

Dorje Fri 10-Jun-11 22:30:27

Maybe have her hormones / physical checked? Is she going through puberty? How's her blood sugar? If it's up and down it will affect her moods.

Do you ever tell her that she's being a brat and is upsetting everyone?
Do you ever compliment her when she is being civilised, and fun to be with?

Have you started to taken notes on her and show her how the evidence of her unacceptable behaviour is weighing up, and ask her for a solution to the problem?

Does she have a sport like kick boxing that she could vent her frustrations on?
Do you!!

Do you ever discuss how she doesn't have to be perfect 'outside' the house, but that you expect her to learn to manage her frustrations within the family and not to bully and torment her little brother.
Does she know that she's expected to become civilised, and be pleasant company, both inside and outside the home?.

Is she very anxious with you or does she 'just' act out?

I don't see what the stigma of having a counselling session or family therapy session or ten is. It might be just the ticket.

She may be caught in a rut unable to get out of her loop. You may learn some very useful management skills, and you both may forge a new relationship.

Sounds like a really horrible family situation and I feel for you. Therapy may be the answer.
Good luck.

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 22:38:10

have you thought about giving her a bit more attention and time? Doing some one on one activites and having fun together?

what about therapy for both of you as the problem is a shared one.

brassick Fri 10-Jun-11 22:54:45

This sounds a lot like my dd1 from the age of about 2 to the age of about 11 - I am not joking. If you look back on here under my old name (e m s i e w i l l - am disguising it as my dds don't know my new name), you will see threads going back as far as 2001 where I am despairing of her behaviour and her violent temper.

She didn't do all of the same things, but was (is) incredibly strong willed and had (has) to be in control of everything.

At the time, the only thing I found that worked (and when I say worked, I mean didn't make the situation worse) was to not engage with her on the same level - ie keep calm (yes, so easy!), and not get involved in detailed arguments about the semantics of what I said / what I didn't say / what she understood me to say.

I did consider therapy, we tried many anger management techniques, and I also tried to make sure we had 1-1 time, which she also enjoyed (enjoys)

Dd1 is now 14 and is lovely! She still has her moments, but she is much easier in her own skin. I have come to the conclusion (and have discussed this with her) that she hated being young - even if she didn't know it. Now she's older she does have more control over things, and this seems to help her to keep calm.

So I don't know if this helps you much now, but hopefully it will give you some hope for the future...

deleting Fri 10-Jun-11 22:59:26

You could be speaking about our dd. She's only 4 but is exactly the same and it,s driving us wild. She wakes up every morning moaning and is so awkward and difficult. Torments her brother relentlessly, hates any form of discipline and pushes us to our limits and then smirks when we start shouting! Everyone tells us how great she is, funny and quirky. We get glimpses occasionally but mostly it's pretty grim. Feel for you, it's an awful situation.

Yogagirl17 Sat 11-Jun-11 07:43:12

Dorje
-No obvious signs of puberty yet but certainly could be hormones at this age. Have also always slightly suspected that blood sugar may play some part in it.
-Yes I tell her when she's being unpleasant (tho don't use the word 'brat') and yes make sure to praise her when she is being lovely
-Have asked her what she thinks a good solution is but she just says its not her fault that everyone annoys her and the punishments are too harsh, she should only be banned from things she doesn't like so much (she's not really getting the whole punishment thing, is she?)
-Yes she has a sport she loves and does several times a week - this is what we are being forced to take away when she behaves so badly.
-We're going away soon for several weeks but if this keeps up I may try adn get some recommendations for family counselling when we get back because I think you're right, we both need to learn new ways of reacting/responding to each other.

brassick
I love you! wink
By which i mean you have given me some hope. I have been assuming for years that however bad things are now they can only get worse once she is an actual teenager but maybe not. I have always said she is 6/7/8/9/10 etc going on 17. What you said about your dd hating being young really strikes a chord. She has always been so independent. We have found ourselves allowing her to do things like have a phone & walk to friends/ride her bike alone much younger than we ever thought she would because she seems to be able to handle the responsibility and also, really seems to need it! I too have been on here off and on since about 2001 and have name changed so I probably read some of those threads at the time

SKYTVADDICT Sat 11-Jun-11 07:58:42

You could be talking about my DD2 who turned 11 on Wednesday! We have also considered outside help. She is the perfect child outside the home but has manic anger problems within it. She resents her 15 year old sister and has such a chip on her shoulder about how DD1 never gets into trouble, DD1 gets to do soooo much more than she can etc etc. When the red mist descends it is awful. Her step dad is the only one who can calm her down - sit rationally and chat. Apparently it is how I talk to her that sets her off! Also I have been told she is a lot like me as a child (although I can't see it grin). I have tried spending more time with her, grounding, shouting! Will watch your thread for any further help!

She is 1 of 4 DCs and is and has always been the "hardest work" although lovely and helpful when she wants to be. She is fine until I say "No" to her! We have gotten ourselves into a rut where apparently I speak aggresively to her (her opinion) and it just goes round and round! I sometimes (if I dare say it) really don't like her - although I know it is her behaviour I don't like and I am the adult so try and see past it! Aaargh!

Also Brassick you have given me some hope.

hettie Sat 11-Jun-11 08:52:19

Mmme, well you might well benefit from some family therapy, (any family would find an outside input hepful) but you would have to go private. You can find people via the AFT (association of family therapists) website

GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sat 11-Jun-11 08:54:58

I can't add anything now as we're about to go to the ruddy soft play centre. However, you could be talking about my DD here. Will check back later.

WriterofDreams Sat 11-Jun-11 09:51:40

I don't have a child your DD's age (DS is only 5 months, so it's all ahead of me) but she sounds very like my sister. She's always been hard going but the age of about 9/10 she started getting extremely stroppy and I'll never forget how she wound my dad up, which was shocking as my dad is just about the most laid back person in the universe. My mum got her under control though by just ignoring any ridiculous behaviour. She would moan about dinner, mum would say (very nicely) "There are plenty of things in the freezer," take the dinner and throw it away. Sis would start a strop and mum would look at her with the best "Huh?" face and it was funny to see how quickly sis would have to back down. Basically she just made all of us feel pretty silly if we behaved childishly and it was the best method. She didn't rise to it, at all, ever. If sis started yelling she just walked off, completely calm. Sis tried storming out a few times but that didn't work either. If the behaviour gets no attention then there's no point in engaging in it. Sis is still a handful but she was ok as a teenager and did fine at school. She's nearly 30 now and still a bit of a drama queen but knows not to engage in it around my mum (she tries it out with me now and again, I just use the ignore approach too).

If you do try this approach be prepared for her behaviour to escalate quite a lot at first because she'll do anything to get the reaction she used to get. Hang in there. She needs to learn that ridiculous behaviour - screaming, shouting etc - will never ever get what she wants. BTW my mum never punished my sis, it only made things worse. She just engaged with her on the level she wanted to engage her and that was it, sis just had to fit in with it.

slipperandpjsmum Sat 11-Jun-11 09:53:46

Oh thank god its not just me!!! My dd is very much like to describe. Eg the shower incident just last night!! I try so so so hard to keep my patients but its a challenge!! My MIL who looks after her a couple of days after school says its like walking on egg shells around her - one wrong word and thats it!! My dd says she thinks no one in the family likes her and we talk about other peoples feelings and she tries for a while but then everything goes back to how it was.

She is one of 4 - nothing like this from any other the others and I see them trying not to irritate her which seems like the impossible task.

I spend 1:1 time with her as we thought that might be the problem. We have tried everything we can think of and ideas from others. Although I do have friends that have very similar problems. We have bookshelves full of raising happy children, siblings without rivalry, webster stratton parenting, raising happy daughters I could go on and on.

We also comissioned an educational psychologist who identified areas that we could look at so with school we action planned everything! It has made no difference whatsoever!!!

As SKYTVADDICT mentioned the no word causes problems so we try and construct our sentences with a more positve slant whilst still saying no. We have also tried the blunt approach valiantly trialed by my dh. He admitted defeat and retreated to the garden with a bottle of red!!

There are times when she is so lovely, she is very funny and fantastic company. It breaks my heart that my relationship with her is not better for her as well as me.

So I keep going and hope that in a few years we will have got through these terrible times.

I had dinner with my eldest ds last night. Had a wonderful evening and he said don't worry mum one day you will be sitting here with dd chatting like this. I just cling onto that!!

Oakmaiden Sat 11-Jun-11 10:01:17

It all sounds very fraught.

My only thought is, that perhaps you need to cut back on the punishment side of things? It just seems like a) it isn't working and b) it is adding to the general stress and resentment the whole situation is causing.

Particularly if she only gets 2 "strikes" a week, before losing a favoured activity. If you really think punishments for inappropriate behaviour are the right way to go, then I think you need to offer more strikes in a weekly period. I would be more inclined to work on a daily basis initially, with the reward of a late bedtime/hour on the computer before bed etc if she gets through the day with no strikes.

WriterofDreams Sat 11-Jun-11 10:05:02

Slipper and pjs - can I make a suggestion? I don't know if it'll help as I don't fully know your situation but it might be worth a try. Sometimes one child in the family, like your DD, gets the reputation for being the "difficult" one and they just can't shake it off. They sort of get trapped in playing up to that role and it can be very difficult for them to break out of it, even if they want to. You've tried your best to help her, but perhaps all that intervention was part of the reason she feels no-one likes her - maybe she feels like you tried to fix her when in her own mind she's fine and everyone else is the problem. Would it be possible to just start treating her exactly the same way as everyone else and then just ignoring any playing up? Just be relentlessly friendly and pretend any bad behaviour hasn't happened (unless it's very bad or dangerous). Wear her down so to speak. She is young and confused and possibly a little depressed (her behaviour reads very like that of a depressed person) and she doesn't know how to turn things around. Maybe giving her space and time will do the job. Don't counsel her or try to change her, just let her find her own way.

Yogagirl17 Sat 11-Jun-11 11:41:42

Oakmaiden we used to work on a daisly basis & have only recently resorted to the 2 strikes a week/more serious punishment. Her behaviour often causes the most strife in the mornings before school so it used to be that playing up in the morning led to a fairly straightforward no tv or early bedtime the same day. But this was having to effect and led to me in tears 3 or 4 mornings a week. Hence the new plan.

WriterofDreams your mum sounds great, I do envy people who can take that approach. I do try sometimes, although then she gets hysterical becuase she thinks I'm laughing at her. I just don't think I could maintain it. Plus there are times where I feel i have to intervene because poor DS ends up bearing the brunt of her bad mood.

quietlysuggests Sat 11-Jun-11 11:49:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mungo8 Sat 11-Jun-11 12:25:08

hello
I don't post often just read, but what you describe is exactly my daughter.

So far today, the annoying noise although can't remember how many times we have told her to stop. Until she was shouted at.

Saw her push the door into her brother then blatently denied it. Started shouting she didn't do it.

Constant he did this he did that about her brother who is just sitting there playing nicely.

Crowling and stomping when asked to do something.

At school, her friends house, her numerous clubs they all think she is wonderful and such a perfectly behaved child (she is wonderful) and nobody believes me when I say otherwise.

What I will say is her behaviour has always been a little hard at home, I put this down to a little personality clash with me. As she has got older I have seen a pattern form, she is worse at peak growing times and this week it has been again worse as it clashes with my period so I do think it is a little hormonal, as she isn't this awful all the time. My daughter is 9 1/2

mungo8 Sat 11-Jun-11 12:36:14

Oh sorry I will add that I do not think there is anything wrong psychologically with my daughter. Most girls will be acting like this on varying degrees (numerous talks with daughters friends parents have told me this).

I can only comment on our situation though as you know how bad it is in your household. But is your daughter like this all the time? or is there a pattern to it? is she worse when she has been really busy? when she is tired? or like us when hormones are raging (they do say hormones match)maybe keep a note.

tomhardyismydh Sat 11-Jun-11 12:51:43

sounds like my dd who is only 5, oh the annoying noises gets on my wick.

I think that sometimes a child who is doing very well in all school, sports, extra curricular activities, has a reputation of being mature and grown up from other mums teachers etc, have an expectation that they struggle to keep up with and need to vent the other stuff some times, she is just doing it at home, very much like my dd. she is a little monster at home yet she has this butter wouldn't melt exterior to others. I don't know what to suggest, other than she does know how to behave obviously, I find a few days of quite harsh consequences and for some of the bigger things, like talking back, not looking after her things does improve after a couple of days and gets her general behavior on track and easier to ignore the annoying noises etc.

Is she a little bored maybe, needing some responsibilities and positive activities at home to occupy her a little more. I do encourage dd to go in her room or in the garden to read a book or put music on and she can make all the silly noises, bouncing around she like. does your dd find it difficult to occupy her self?

tomhardyismydh Sat 11-Jun-11 12:53:37

just to add from what you described I dont think you need to seek advice from a psychologist or therapist.

Yogagirl17 Sat 11-Jun-11 13:17:26

Ok, just to clarify when I asked if I thought she needed to see a psychologist, I didn't necessarily mean I think she has a particular diagnosis or mental health issue. I was thinking more either educational psychologist or family therapist - someone who can help either her or us together find better ways of coping and responding to these situations becasue whatever we're doing at the moment clearly isn't working.

I have to say the one thing that a couple of people mentioned on here that really seems to fit is this idea that she has such a wonderful reputation outside the home that she just needs somewhere to vent. I kind of get that and yet still doesn't get me any closer to knowing how to handle it.

I also want to add that I really, really try not to scapegoat her - I am aware that DS is no angel either, no child is. He has his moments too. He might hit her or call her a name or shout at me that i'm stupid (as he just did because I didn't undertsand that he wanted garlic bread AND peanut butter for lunch hmm). But he gets told off. If he doesn't respond he gets a brief punishment or sometimes just ignored if possible adn then it's over. He often even comes up to me shortly after and apologises of his own free will. Whereas her bad behaviour seems to escalate and escalate and can carry on for hours.

Mungo8, she's not like this all the time. She can be lovely and helpful and mature and then suddenly it's like a switch in her brain gets flicked. It coudl be hormonal - although like i said it's been going on for years so can 6,7,8 etc year old get hormone swings? It coudl be a blood sugar thing, I've always very slightly suspected that but can't pinpoint it. I try and make sure she has breakfast to try adn head off arguments in the morning but then that becomes another thing to argue about. It's not horrible all the time bt it does feel really hard at the moment.

mungo8 Sat 11-Jun-11 14:25:58

hello

They do say the first serge of hormones happen around 7? I am sorry it feels so horrible at the moment, I am sure it will get better. I am clinging onto the fact that my daughter is getting it out of the way now and will fly through being a teenager but reality I don't think I will get of that lightly smile.

mungo8 Sat 11-Jun-11 14:38:31

I am sorry I have no answers how to deal with it. With my daughter I just tell her what she is doing is unexceptable and go and sit in her room and think, sometimes she is like a yoyo being sent to her room. I do not argue I am just very clear and shouting is really the last straw. Also when we are having a bad time I will make a really big effort to praise all the fab things she is doing/done, I really don't want everything to be negative for her and for me I hate that when they are in bed you sit down and feel really bad that all you have seemed to have done is tell them off or moaned at them allday.

I hope you get something sorted and things improve smile

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