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11 year old DD having violent and aggressive outbursts

(52 Posts)
QueenExhausted Sat 29-Apr-17 11:55:20

I'm writing this as my lovely daughter is throwing her stuff around her bedroom, screaming "I HATE YOU", calling me an idiot, and banging as loudly as she can. She has banged doors within the house so hard cracks have appeared in the ceiling. I have previously had to restrain her after she threw a chair at me, kicked, punched and screamed in my face.

This behaviour has gone on for as long as I can remember - my mum repeatedly tells me she's just a child and this is normal. I don't think it is.

One episode saw her writing me hate-filled notes that state she wishes I was dead and that she wanted to murder me. She was 6. She had such an epic episode at that point I had to remove everything from her bedroom except a mattress. I lay on the grass in my garden and sobbed whilst she raged inside. When she's like this, no amount of compassion or love or calming down works - she just has to rage through, which is the most upsetting thing of all.

She has typical tendencies for her age - the flouncing, the eye rolling, the cheek, but then they extend further than that and small triggers see her flying off the handle. This morning was because the Xbox had turned off (everything in the house turned off temporarily). She was allowed on the Xbox as a reward for good behaviour....

She is from a happy and stable family. She has a social life and friends and to an outsider, she appears to be well adjusted and kind and caring and sweet. I mean, she is. It's just she has this other side where anything I say or ask or tell her to do results in breakdowns like this.

I have tried everything. Love bombing, time outs, rewards, I even tried smacking only that made me feel like I'd lost control. She faces consequences for bad behaviour and rewards for good behaviour. I love her but I do not like her at times and that seems like a huge parenting failure. I know that her behaviour is a reflection of me - I just don't know how to stop it.

Just to add, I have repeatedly sought help - from her teachers, the school, her childminder who was a social worker, different GPs, online research - and had varying results. The school said they were surprised and would never have attributed such behaviour to her, the childminder gave me advice but told me to go through GP, different GPs have said it's normal or that I have to go through the school, the school are so overwhelmed with everything else, nothing's happened there. My mum is in denial and refuses to believe any of her outbursts are that bad - our neighbours must HATE us - 3am sessions of screaming and shouting and banging and crashing are wearing pretty thin.

What more can I do? Please, someone, anyone, is this just hormones or can I do something to help her?

QueenExhausted Sat 29-Apr-17 11:56:50

I didn't realise that was so long and yet not even a percentage of it. Thanks for reading.

Smartiepants79 Sat 29-Apr-17 12:04:32

This is NOT normal. Especially if it is a long standing issue. If had just started I'd maybe say hormones?? BUT if it's always been like this then there is a serious problem.
Why is she even awake at 3am for screaming matches?
I'm very surprised that no one outside the home has witnessed this kind of behaviour. Usually that lack of control and anger is hard to hide.
I think you need to start trying even harder to get some help. Can you flim her to show others what it is like?
Be honest with yourself because in the end the only person who this really affects is you (and her). How consistent are you with boundaries, expectations and consequences? Does your mum undermine you? It sounds like she has learned that somehow this behaviour gets her somehing she wants.
The other option is of course some kind of SEN. But only a professional can tell you that.

QueenExhausted Sat 29-Apr-17 12:15:11

Ever since I can remember she's been prone to these outbursts - they're not every day - there have been months without anything on this scale but then when one happens, we can have a week or a few weeks of them continuing.
Those 3am episodes happen because she has been to bed, woken up, and something has triggered an outburst - the latest one was her coming in and waking me up to tell me she couldn't sleep. I told her to go back to bed and try as she had school. That was not the right answer in her head and so a meltdown occurred.
My brother has witnessed her behaviour as has my best friend - other than that, she manages to restrain herself to secret eye rolls and dirty looks at me whilst in public - for a long time I was convinced she hated me because it's only ever me she would behave like this for.
I've filmed it, I've recorded it - no one seems interested. The last GP I spoke to said I needed to work out her triggers and speak to her teachers to see about a referral. Without evidence from the school it would be too hard to get a referral because services were so overworked.
I try to be consistent and fair and set boundaries with consequences so that she knows what's acceptable and what's not - it's like she gets to a point and there's no going back, even if it means she'll have consequences. It's not about her getting her own way - I don't give in - it's like she can't cope with a level of emotion and she doesn't know how to process it. She's done gymnastics, dance, football, swimming, all in the hope that she could channel her energies better but that's not helped either.
It's just so exhausting. Going out anywhere is so hard because I just don't know what her mood will be like. She once rammed a trolley into me in the supermarket after I told her not to kick the shelves.
She worries what people will think of her - she doesn't like the idea of anyone else knowing about these episodes but not enough to try and manage her temper.

emochild Sat 29-Apr-17 12:23:48

Does she have a need to be in control?

If she does then she sounds like my dd who has high functioning autism (PDA)

Very socially aware, masked totally at school -but violent and explosive outbursts at home
Always there but got MUCH worse around puberty

Not saying that's what the issue is with your child but have you looked at PDA?

QueenExhausted Sat 29-Apr-17 12:35:39

@emochild I felt a bit sick at reading about PDA. When DD was a toddler a friend's mum (an early year's specialist) asked if she had been looked at for autism - I was highly offended at the time as I thought autism was a black and white diagnosis and I ignored it.

On a PDA checklist I have just quickly scanned, she scored 59... At one point I thought it could be ODD but there were only a few of the traits there.

I think I do have to pursue the GP and get some help - if only for coping strategies for her - I hate the thought of her feeling so awful that it manifests into these rages. She's still telling me she hates me and I'm an idiot and banging but she's calmed down a little. I can't go up and see her and cuddle her like I want to because it will set things off again. I have to wait for her to come to me and say sorry and then tread carefully for the rest of the day.

How old is your DD? Do you have any strategies for management for the moment?

emochild Sat 29-Apr-17 12:46:39

Dd is 15.6

Didn't get a diagnosis until she was 13 and 11-13 were probably the hardest years

We got referral for diagnosis via the gp because school refused to refer as they didn't see the issues until she started refusing to go then when we had the assessment we were very lucky that the psychologist recognised that the person school was describing did not match the person sat in front of him and totally disregarded what school had said -others have not been so lucky and have had much less support

There is some fantastic advice on the PDA society website, there's also some excellent Facebook groups for parents that suspect a child has pda

What works for us is giving her choices where ever possible -it looks like very hands off parenting and I've been accused of letting her rule the roost -that I'm not tough enough with her etc -but I tried that and all it did was escalate problems -because she has a physical and mental need for control

QueenExhausted Sat 29-Apr-17 16:42:32

@emochild that must have been so hard for you. Do you find things are easier now you have a diagnosis?

I'll check the Facebook groups out - even if I just get some ideas to help her, it will make such a difference.

Thank you smile

emochild Sat 29-Apr-17 18:10:47

It's easier because now I'm not accused of being a terrible parent grin

Catrina1234 Sat 29-Apr-17 19:24:33

Hello OP - I don't think GPs are any good at this sort of problem and it's extra hard as dd only displays this behaviour with you. I'm wondering about others in the family - is there a dad/step dad, siblings and if so what's she like with them.

The school or a GP can refer dd to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) but there is usually a waiting list and it very much depends on who you get, some are good, others not so much. Glad you are getting help from emochild - you could get dd seen by a clinical psychologist but you'd probably have to pay.

CloudPerson Sat 29-Apr-17 19:31:31

Ds2 is very similar to this, he has ASD/PDA.

In terms of strategies to help manage things, have a look at the book The Explosive Child, it really is excellent, and there's a website called The PDA Resource which is basically a collection of links and information.

As someone said, there are a few FB groups, I've found these very helpful in terms of finding support from others going through similar, so there's less judgement than we tend to get in real life, as PDA can appear to be difficult to understand, and the strategies look like we're pandering to our children!

QueenExhausted Mon 01-May-17 13:33:23

@emochild - I look forward to feeling the same - so much judgement from different family members - I'm too harsh, too soft, too expectant, too this, too that, too the bloody other.

@Catrina1234 DD has a step-dad who she gets along - most of the time around him she'll play the perfect - almost cartoon like - child - where she gets great pleasure in trying to make me look bad. She likes to make little comments that make out I've lied or not done something, just to get a reaction.

She does have outbursts around him and they're normally the worst ones - when she's so far gone she can't control herself. She'll call him an idiot and tells him she hates him - she's put a hole in the wall from slamming the stairgate shut.

She's got a younger sibling who she adores - but I have witnessed her being spiteful and kicking or pushing her - same as she's done with the dog.

It's just SO exhausting - this bank holiday weekend has been a washout of tears and tantrums and door slamming and screaming and shouting.

@CloudPerson I'll check those out, thank you!

It doesn't help that my parents are in full denial of her behaviour and do sneaky things like invite her to stay or go away with them - to give me a break - when actually that causes more problems because it undermines everything and when I say no and put my foot down they say stuff like, "Oh, isn't mummy so mean to you, not letting you come away with us?!"

I feel at the end of my patience today - this is NOT how I wanted to parent, it's not how I thought motherhood would be, and it's so bloody, bloody exhausting.

BarbarianMum Tue 02-May-17 19:01:36

No it's not normal. PDA did spring to mind reading your post - if you've read through the checklist and it's ringing bells I'd investigate that first. flowers Poor you- and poor her too.

cushiemoy Tue 02-May-17 22:12:58

Sounds very like my DD with ASD. Maybe have a look at what Tony Atwood has written about girls on the spectrum, it's made a huge difference for us and DD ( now 15, diagnosed at 9, doing so much better than we would have expected now we all know what's going on).

flowersfor you, it's tough, especially when you don't know what's causing it.

QueenExhausted Thu 04-May-17 15:40:35

Within 2 minutes of her getting in from school she has trashed her bedroom, screamed and kicked and screamed some more and had a major meltdown.

I've tried to groan emergency appointment with the doctor but have to call back tomorrow.

I've sent her outside for both our sakes.

How can one child have so much anger and hatred? I honestly don't know how much more I can take. She is so vile and horrible and violent. I wish I knew how to stop her feeling this way.

cushiemoy Thu 04-May-17 16:18:56

Did something unusual happen at school today - change in teachers, timetable, loud or crowded assembly? Sounds like she's held it together until 'safe' at home to release all the tension.

Hard to deal with but if you can get to the source of the tension then some small adjustments at school may make a huge difference to her day and to your afternoons.

If you have time before doctor appointment tomorrow it might be worth writing down a few notes about things so you can focus on exactly what you want to say and what you want the GP to do about it - refer to CAMHS? Refer for ADOS test? Good luck.

cushiemoy Thu 04-May-17 16:26:11

Just a thought, if you are in England and is she is going to high school after the summer then she may be finding any chat about the transition at school very stressful. Our DD did enhanced transition to high school and it took a lot of the uncertainty and worry out of it for her.

QueenExhausted Thu 04-May-17 16:42:33

@cushiemoy the trigger for today was that she asked to play out - despite making it clear this morning that due to the fact she'd lied about taking her phone to school, had a very messy bedroom, and had done no preparation for her SATs next week, she was to get organised tonight. I thought her having set boundaries with set rules and expectations would help - especially around her revision. She's just not bothered about her SATs - she doesn't care about them, unless of course, it's on her terms, she just wants to do as she pleases.

When she got in from school, she asked and I reiterated what she'd be doing tonight but added if she did everything she'd be able to go out tomorrow. She screamed at me, stormed up the stairs, broke the stair gate, added another crack into the ceiling and threw god knows what across the room. This went on for over 25 minutes.

I don't know what's happened at school - she didn't even say hello to me. It doesn't matter what I do or say or sell things to her, it just sets her off into a rage.

Will I be able to see the doctor without her? I worry that she'll hear what I've got to say and it will make her feel horrible - I just want/need some professional advice. Writing notes is a good idea.

With regards to high school, they do a programme to prepare them to transition but to be honest, she doesn't even seem interested. She just wants to do whatever she wants, when she wants.

I feel so negative but I'm just so tired of it all. It feels like this has been going on for over 10 years now - she's getting bigger and stronger and I feel like a wreck.

emochild Thu 04-May-17 21:58:52

Yes you can see the gp without her, and camhs if you get a referral

I would be pushing for a referral with both the school and the gp

cushiemoy Fri 05-May-17 13:51:58

It's really hard, isn't it. Sounds like talking to the GP without her would help and yes I would also push the school, although if they haven't seen any of this it may be hard to convince them.

I found The Explosive Child suggested by pp really helpful for me to understand DD was not deliberately being like this and it was hard for her too. I guess there is also a vague comfort in knowing that you are her 'safe' person and she feels comfortable releasing all that tension once she's home. This is what I tell myself as I swallow the anti anxiety meds.

All kids are different and your DD may not have ASD but she does sound very similar to mine. From the situation you described after school yesterday mine would possibly have had meltdown as well. She struggles hard all day to act normal and keep it together at school. After school she needs time to recover from the day, for mine it's retreating to her room, for others it may be bouncing on the trampoline. I think for my DD if I had already told her she was not getting her down time after school this would make things extra stressful rather than the boundaries being helpful ifyswim.

Once we worked all this out I would meet her at school with food, say nothing on the walk home unless she started the conversation, and then leave her completely for half an hour. After that, if there were things to be done, homework, tidy room, visit granny etc, we would follow an agreed schedule for the rest of the afternoon. Schedule was agreed well in advance, we sit down once a week and plan out the week, on whiteboard then and now we still do but using calendar app instead. Schedule in the must dos at certain etc, then let her decide when to do the other stuff.. wash hair, tidy room etc. Gives her some control but makes sure she knows what things need to be done and by when. Its not a magic fix (still need to countdown for a transition in activities.. 10 minutes to hair wash etc) and we still get some pushback but a lot better than when I just decided what was going to happen and when.

We do live a fairly structured life which has taken a lot of getting used to for me and DH, but along the way we've gradually introduced some wild cards to the planner to help her cope when things don't always happen as expected. After a meltdown when she is calm I also try and talk to her about what might have made her feel like behaving in that way, if she starts to get wound up again I stop the conversation straight away!

Sorry for the essay, I really feel for you and hope you can access some help for all of you soon.

QueenExhausted Sat 06-May-17 23:07:39

And so it continues. Another day, another meltdown. 30 minutes and counting. Banging, crashing, screaming, another broken stair gate, another trashed bedroom.

I can't book a doctor's appointment until 8am on Monday.

I honestly can't believe how bad things are getting - or maybe they've always been this bad I'm just more aware of it.

I don't know how she has any energy. I can't get anywhere near her without her getting more upset and screaming how much she hates me and wishes I were dead.

Tonight's trigger: being told it was bedtime at 10pm (a treat because of pre/SAtS weekend) and her having to sort her bed out that she'd previously emptied on the floor. Which means this has gone on for an hour.

I don't think think has anything to do with her SATs btw, she couldn't give a toss about them, this is just because she's been told to do something she doesn't want to do.

I've tried all the structured routines so maybe I'll reimplement them and hope there's some more improvement.

Happy Saturday night, folks. Pass the wine 😭

QueenExhausted Sat 06-May-17 23:09:58

Oh, and I'm just going to order The Explosive Child. Thanks to everyone for your support. This feels like the loneliest job sometimes.

mollyblack Sat 06-May-17 23:30:38

This sounds very similar to the situation we have, and have always had with my son who he is 11.

We're waiting for our first CAMHS referral at the end of the month. It came to a head a few months ago and I went to school and GP and begged for help.

No idea if we'll get a diagnosis but already reading The Explosive Child, some PDA websites for info has been incredibly helpful and made a big change. As Emo says it looks like very slack namby pamby parenting where you let them away with everything which can feel tricky but tbh I've given up caring. It works, we're happier.

If people think i'm a rubbish hands off parent them they can try dealing with that shit full time for 10 years. As the ed psych at a parenting classes gently told me "you've been using authoritarian parenting for 10 years, its not working, maybe its time to try something else".

Please do seek lots of help anywhere you can. Yes services are stretched but you are in dire need of support. Check out if there are local charities, parenting groups, anything, who can offer a support group, advice on how your system works locally etc. I was shocked to find out whats possible when you push for help.

QueenExhausted Sun 07-May-17 22:54:21

Hi @mollyblack, thanks for your reply. How long did the referral take? Did you find the GP sympathetic or have you had to fight to go down this path?

Tonight things have come to a head here - the whole day has been a meltdown with snippets of coherence. It got so bad at 8pm that I packed her uniform and lunch up and took her to my parents - more to give her a break than us. I explained this to her as she has her SATs tomorrow and that I loved her more than anything but that she couldn't have another night the same as she has done.

I've spent the weekend being referred to as the idiot and told how much she hates me and wants to murder me. She's had public meltdowns in the supermarket, which only stopped because we bumped into her headmaster (by chance) and she was a different child again. That never ceases to amaze me.

I got to my parents and broke down. My mum was very resistant to this being anything other than normal behaviour and found my version of events of the past 10 years difficult to believe, but I understand that it's hard for others to process if they haven't seen it. My mum was very defensive about her behaviour and thinks I'm making a mistake in seeking to label her... I explained I don't care what the diagnosis is, I need support and so does my DD and actually, we need coping strategies that work.

I'm going to request a GP appointment tomorrow and see what happens. I'm also going to have to empty her room and repair the damage - hopefully her coming home to a clean and tidy bedroom will help her feel loved but who knows.

cushiemoy Mon 08-May-17 10:01:08

Hope you got some sleep last night OP.

My mother was exactly the same re the label, and when we did persevere (for years) and eventually got somewhere she dismissed it as a 'trendy diagnosis'. MIL was equally helpful, when told about DDs diagnosis said 'oh, we can't have that' hmm.

Your DD does sound very anxious about something, I hope it is the SATs so she can relax a bit once they're done (I am not in England so not sure of the exact process, sorry). Supermarkets are a nightmare for lots of people with sensory difficulties (lights, crowds, noise, all the 'stuff') and lots of kids use ear defenders and/or tinted glasses to cope. Even if she copes there normally if she was already on edge beforehand it could easily tip her over.

The HT thing is difficult to deal with, girls seem very good at masking in certain environments and School is often one of those, she probably feels she needs to act 'normally' in front of him. Always looks like they're able to switch the behaviour on and off again though which is sooo frustrating.

I agree with pp about the 'lax' parenting, its best to ignore what others say/think and focus on what's important for you and your DD. For us that is for our DD to develop into a happy and independent young woman who can control her emotions and handle her anxieties in an appropriate way. The way we parent her is slightly different to our other DC but the end goal is the same.

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