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Life is a constant battle with DD (8). I'm worried about her mental health.

(12 Posts)
squonkyone Mon 12-Sep-16 18:04:03

So as the title says, life is a constant battle with my DD who is 8. This may seem a trivial example, but we have just had a total standoff over tea. She refused to eat it because of one offending ingredient, I said fine, but was not going to cook anything else. She has stormed off.

Trouble is I guess that is all quite normal, but during our constant battles she also throws a whole load of other stuff into the mix. Today a new one is that she started to pull out her hair. Other times she says that she is a bad person, and nobody loves her, and that everybody hates her, including me. She has also started doing some things that seem slightly bordering on the OCD side (for example, constantly biting her cheek on each side a set number of times).

The thing is, she has sort of always been like this, Since she was a tiny baby I have never felt I can do or be enough for her, she seems to want to eat me alive, and is constantly testing boundaries. One example, she refused a bottle AND solids as a baby (of course, eventually accepted the latter), so was breastfed for what seemed forever, just to get food into her. I know this sounds as though it shouldn't be connected to what is gong on now, but somehow it seems as though we're on a continuum.
I work close to full time and she has always made it very clear to me how she feels about that (not good)!!!

I don't know what to do. The worst thing is that I am scared about her behaviour but equally I am really bloody angry and a lot of the time at the moment just feel like I don't like her very much (of course, I love her to distraction). My DH thinks she just knows how to press my buttons and I shouldn't react, but with the hair pulling and the other stuff, I worry it's more than this. Even to the point that I wonder, does she need some sort of therapy, or am I over-reacting? I should say that much of the time she's fine and often after these episodes will be happily talking and playing before long.

What should I do? Is this normal 8 year old behaviour? I'm pregnant with my third and really wondering where the upside is in parenting at the moment (although I know it's very clearly not all about me)!!

Moonrocks6 Mon 12-Sep-16 18:34:45

Have you spoken to school about her behaviour there?
If there are concerns over her mental health you could ask the senco to refer to the school nurse. They can then refer to camhs (child and adolescent mental health service)

squonkyone Mon 12-Sep-16 18:42:12

I think at school she's fine. Doing well, has friends, slightly lacking in confidence but nothing major. That is partly why I am thinking this might be more about the dynamic between me and her. But I'm not sure.

toptoe Mon 12-Sep-16 18:46:12

What is her problem with you working full time? What does she say to you?

LanaorAna1 Mon 12-Sep-16 18:49:12

How is she pulling her hair out? Is she keeping or examining the hairs?

ImperialBlether Mon 12-Sep-16 18:57:39

I think with any kind of difficulty like this it's much better to seek help sooner rather than later, when it might have built itself up into a bigger problem.

I hope everything's ok - having children can be so difficult at times.


Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Mon 12-Sep-16 18:58:58

The fact you work nearly full time stands out to me. Is she anxious that you are away from home so much? Not necessarily from her but just out of the house in general? My dd is 9 and had worries when I started working more hours- would her school clothes be ready for school /pe kit be done etc. I had to explain what a happens if I work - pay bills /shop /treats etc. And what would happen if I was a sahm. A new baby coming along maybe she feels worried less time for her and her place in the family is up for grabs? I have a 2 year old and she was +is the best sibling to him (already had a little bro tho - The hair pulling is a habit or anxiety - she needs a new distraction for her hands. Hobby? Learn an instrument?

squonkyone Mon 12-Sep-16 19:00:13

Hi toptoe - childcare was hard (a lot of clinging on and crying at drop off, almost whole way through). She was almost always fine once I'd gone. Sometimes when I went to pick her up she would be playing happily until she saw me, when she would quickly stop playing and look miserable. So there was an awful lot of guilt on my part, sometimes resentment that she did this to me, though never I hope showing that to her. Now she says that she never sees me (she does - my hours aren't THAT long). But again, I feel guilty.

Lanoar - tonight was the first time she's done the hair thing. She was angry as I wasn't giving in on the food thing. Basically when I said it's pasta bake(!) or nothing, she said, right, I'll pull my hair out then!! And did! No idea where she got this one from!

Thanks for listening to me everybody!

MuffyTheUmpireSlayer Mon 12-Sep-16 19:06:02

God, I could have written this. DD and I have a similar relationship and she also does the cheek-biting (no hair piulling though). She also often says things like "I'm so bad" but is only ever really told off for being rude. At school she is as good as gold.

I have taken her to the GP as it was becoming a real concern and he put it down to separation anxiety and worrying about the change of a new baby coming (I'm pregnant too.)

The GP didn't really do much for the time being, but it helped to know that I'd taken the first step and if it doesn't get any better I can go back and hopefully we will be referred for support straight away.

squonkyone Mon 12-Sep-16 19:06:19

She doesn't know about the baby yet (scan this week and I'm quite old so being cautious!). I have a 6 year old son too - challenging in his own way but nowhere near as bloody COMPLICATED!! I do want to give her much more one on one time, and am really cutting down on weekend social stuff and after school stuff to make time for that. I do work from home a lot, normally around when they get home from school and knock off about 5/5.30 when I don't have to go in. I feel as though she desperately wants to feel special/different and just doesn't!

squonkyone Mon 12-Sep-16 19:12:56

Hi muggy, that's interesting. In a way I don't want to start her thinking that she's got issues as I feel this could make things worse. But on the other hand don't want to bury my head in the sand. One thing that i am aware of is that I recognise her behaviour in me, or vice versa. I tend to be quite down on myself and flirted with eating disorders in my teenage years, and still classic perfectionist behaviour, eg very black and white thinking. I am terrified that she is heading in the same direction.

MuffyTheUmpireSlayer Mon 12-Sep-16 19:21:35

That was what I was worried about, but I tried to make it as if it was no big deal. I phrased my words carefully while DD was in the room and then the GP took her to sit with the receptionist while he spoke with me on my own, so I was able to be a bit more honest about what was going on.

If you've had similar issues in the past (as have I) I would say it's well worth going. I remember all too well how awful it was to feel like this and hate the thought of DD feeling the same.

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