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Can a child really cause so much stress?

(28 Posts)
Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:07:09

I need some help/advice
I feel like I’m failing as a parent towards my DD, we have a lot of issues with her at home. I’ll try not to drip feed, although I’ve been unintentionally guilty of it in the past.
DD is 9, she lives with me and my DP (not her father)
She has always seen her Dad regularly but not consistently. He has his own issues, and stops contact for a while when he feels he’s not getting his own way in any aspect of his life not just during arguments between us. I know this affects her, we can have some nice reassuring talks and I feel she copes well considering her age. But.....
She is defiant, dis-respectful, attention seeking, annoying on purpose and everything is a control issue between us. She constantly has an attitude or is sarcastic. She has to be the boss all the time.
I have tried many things over the years, but every few months she gets worse.this started about 2years ago after contact was resumed after her Dad had a holiday at HMPS.
I have tried, ignoring bad behaviour but get told I don’t care about her or that I don’t give her enough attention. Trying to reward good behaviour, but she will manipulate the small things every child should do to get gifts. Having a talk, which works well for a short term but not long term and most of the time she just wants to convince me that she’s right and I’m wrong.having just mummy time but the past few times we scheduled something she dumped me for going out with friends, reward chart, but doesn’t care about not getting stickers in the midst of a tantrum. I have smacked her on the odd occasion but have decided I don’t like it and it doesn’t work.
Does anyone think I should maybe contact a counsellor for her? She blames me for everything obviously because I’m her mother and our relationship is suffering.

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:09:11

I’m sorry it’s so long,
Just also wanted to add that I’m fed up of hearing it’s just her age or it’s because she’s a girl.
My Xp has also blamed me for her behaviour as I’m her mother and she cannot be held accountable for hers because she’s a child and has learnt it from me.

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:09:59

I’m sorry it’s so long,
Just also wanted to add that I’m fed up of hearing it’s just her age or it’s because she’s a girl.
My Xp has also blamed me for her behaviour as I’m her mother and she cannot be held accountable for hers because she’s a child and has learnt it from me.

Msqueen33 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:12:21

Erm yes I have two kids who both cause me a lot of stress. Not their fault as they have autism. What’s her father like? Could there be issues within their relationship? How long has her behaviour been going on? Some of it will be down to her age but you’re her mum and you know her best. Has she always been like it? Or has she changed a lot?

Bosabosa Wed 01-Nov-17 14:12:40

That sounds stressful OP am sorry. No real advice but I think your idea to seek help is a good one-counsellor/therapy etc. Good to do it now at age 9 rather than have an even more stressful time of it when she’s 14. Get help and get it early. Good luck

Mookatron Wed 01-Nov-17 14:13:45

How is she at school?

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:20:54

her father is a child like party boy, who smokes weed and takes drugs, probably has mental health issues himself. Only takes responsibility when he feels like it and always acts the victim. He does have a nice side to him on occasions, he buys her a lot of presents and takes her out. When his personal life is stable he keeps to his contact dates but a lot of the childcare gets lates into his on/off partner.
There has been a few episodes this year that have left my DD feeling rejected by him but she craves his love and attention so I get the brunt of it. I have heard from his GF that he speaks to her disgustingly and they have control issues too.
Her behaviour started when her siblings were born, one to me and one to him within 6 months she went from being an only child to having a sibling in each home. She found the attention sharing a big struggle but she adjusted a lot when her dad was in prison for a year, then behaviour got worse when he was released.

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:22:35

She is bright and intelligent at school, poplar with many friends. But has shown dis-respect to teachers the past year and refusal to do anything she doesn’t like/want to.
Teachers have also said how she’s likes to be in control/ bossy

BertieBotts Wed 01-Nov-17 14:33:03

Yes I think you should seek out a counsellor for her.

She's had a lot going on, her father sounds chaotic. I would guess you had a difficult relationship with him, possibly abusive, or with substance abuse issues? That is a lot for a child to process in their formative years. Then a break up, so adjusting to that, dealing still with the chaotic behaviour of her dad. Both parents being in new relationships must have been unsettling no matter how well she gets on with your DP (and, TBH, I would hope that she gets on with your DP amazingly... otherwise, that's just another thing for her to cope with.) and then the two siblings being born, which as you say must have made her feel pushed out on all sides. I'm not saying this is your fault as nobody plans things to work out like this, but it's not really surprising that she's acting out in response, is it?

You even said that she calmed down a lot when her dad was in prison and then it's got worse again since he's been out.

I think she desperately needs somebody just to listen to her. You're probably too close especially if she feels like you are part of the problem (which might be due to factors outside of your control).

How much stuff in this girl's life is out of her control? Is it any wonder that she displays controlling and bossy behaviour in response to that? Family therapy might also be useful but I do think a counsellor just for her would be beneficial. And lots and lots of reassurance from you that you love her - I think it's going to make things worse if you approach this as a behaviour issue rather than a mental health issue.

Msqueen33 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:33:51

I think you’ve probably got your answer from your post. I would suggest she has someone professional to speak to. It sounds like there’s a lot for her to deal with and 9 is still young.

Starlight2345 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:42:26

Reminds me a lot of my Ds has ADHD and on the assessment process for asd . His head thinks he has pda . He used to be fine at school but the older he got he found it harder to keep it together so yes search out help and be open to what might help

Mookatron Wed 01-Nov-17 14:42:41

Yes if school are agreeing with you I would try to access some counselling. Family counselling might be useful too so you can learn together how to communicate more effectively.

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 14:44:01

I completely agree, she has had a lot going on. I have kept most of it from her, she doesn’t know anything about domestic abuse or drug taking but she is aware that her dad is aggressive and has a short temper. We broke up before she was 2 so she doesn’t really remember us as a family but she has photos of us all together when she was a baby.
She can get on really well with my DP, but has now started throwing the ‘youre Not my dad’around.
My DD told Me this weekend that she had a talk with my mum but didn’t want to tell me what it was about, I didn’t press her and haven’t asked my mum either as I don’t want her to feel like no one is on her side. My mum hasn’t mentioned anything either
Who do I contact about counselling? Doctor? Or school?

BertieBotts Wed 01-Nov-17 15:16:53

Doctor I think, I don't know if you can self refer to CAMHS. If paying privately would be an option, I'd look into that because NHS waiting lists can be long.

I think unfortunately we can't shield our kids from these things, I know we think we do, but they pick up on it anyway. It's good that you left her dad though as I think it would be much worse if you were still together. I am wondering if she would benefit from less contact but of course it mustn't feel to her like she's being punished or that it's her fault. It's good that she gets on with her stepdad, "not my real dad" is quite par for the course I think at this age.

That's great that she can talk to your mum. Just someone a bit removed from the situation must be a real help.

juststuff Wed 01-Nov-17 15:41:15

Google PDA. Pathological Demand Avoidance.

Control is key ....

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:05:10

Oh my god!
I’ve just read a quick brief of PDA

That’s my daughter!
Meltdowns, attitude and a general avoidance to do even the basic daily tasks.
It all starts with her the minute I say good morning, time to get up.
It Carries on all morning with her, she flips out after each request... pls brush your teeth= screaming.
Can you put the tablet away and brush your hair? = arghhhh why!
It’s time to leave for school= I’m not going coz I’m not ready (screaming)

Does this mean she is in the Autisic spectrum?
I’m a bit shocked, but not shocked at the same time

Starlight2345 Wed 01-Nov-17 21:50:54

PDA is a complicated diagnosis that many authorities won't give.

Ask for a referral to CAMHS...
Also there is a FB group that may help.

Wetwashing00 Wed 01-Nov-17 22:35:33

What can CAMHS do? I don’t know anything about it.

juststuff Thu 02-Nov-17 09:52:52

I don't know whether you daughter is on the spectrum, she might just be having a hard time in general. But you could try using the PDA techniques, which are to REDUCE AND DISGUISE DEMANDS. See what happens. To achieve this you need to consider what your baselines are referring behaviour, and consider relaxing the rules to the very basics - i.e. Eating, sleeping and school must happen + whatever else you consider mandatory.

Also - is there anyone she can talk to regards her school anxiety??

BertieBotts Thu 02-Nov-17 11:06:17

I agree with trying the PDA techniques without necessarily pushing for a diagnosis but continuing to look for support and potential explanation. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I would have thought that it's possible these behaviours are not being caused by a disorder but that it's manifesting in the same way because of all of the experiences she's had of constantly being out of control. That doesn't make it less real but it should mean that with support/understanding there's a chance for it to get better rather than simply being a part of who she is.

CAMHS is Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. It's the central department for mental health support for children and teenagers.

Wetwashing00 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:03:48

Thank you for your replies, I have had a phone consultation with young minds.
They suggested a self referral to relate, but doesn’t think she is showing signs of PDA.
Although she has emotional difficulties

Ohyesiam Fri 03-Nov-17 23:36:55

Look up Hand in Hand Parenting. It's a really different approach and turns the while family dynamic around.

pallasathena Sat 04-Nov-17 15:18:35

She could be feeling very vulnerable because her home life isn't similar to that of her friends.
I had something similar with one of my daughters at the same age. Evidently, she felt 'different', from her school friends because she was the only one whose father wasn't around, she was the only one in her class whose mum couldn't afford proper fly off to the sun type holidays and she was the only one in her class who wasn't allowed into town with her friends until she was a bit older!
She was ashamed of feeling like that she told me eventually...but couldn't help wishing that her background/family was the same as her friends...and her dissatisfaction with her life was expressed in equally negative ways. (All her close friends were from well heeled backgrounds)
She managed to change her attitude when she went off to university but still to this day spends far too much time envying others rather than being satisfied with what she has...

Ktown Sat 04-Nov-17 15:25:16

This is nought to do with you and everything to do with her inconsistent and dodgy sounding father.
By all means allow contact but limit it as it is clearly causing her stress.
You have a window now before she becomes a teen, to make her feel secure without him.
It isn’t her nor you that is the issue.

gelbra Mon 06-Nov-17 09:14:39

OP I might have got the wrong end of the stick here - but don't let anyone but a qualified doctor tell you whether or not your daughter has autism-PDA. That conclusion can only be reached through a specific and lengthy diagnosis process, not a quick phonecall...

Hope you're doing ok.

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