Very explosive 12 year old(36 Posts)
I am at a loss as to what to do. She is having a meltdown 1-3 x a day. Her behaviour is very controlling towards us - e.g. some of this is over food, wanting her sandwich a certain way or just the right amount of cereal in her breakfast.
Tonight, I was at my mum's til 8.45. She wanted to go home and when we got in, she refused to clean her teeth, saying I had to do it because she was tired. I refused as I'd done a day's work and was exhausted and, at 12, frankly, we're past this stage. The upshot is she gets increasingly angry and insistent and pours her entire water bottle over her room and her bedding (so has the energy for that). Her argument is I kept her at my mum's too long. Her younger brother, aged 7, didn't mind and just got on with it and it's not as if we have to get up early.
If I issue a consequence, it's like pouring water over a fire. When calm, she concedes her behaviour is unreasonable but there is nothing I can do to either prevent it or stop it from happening again.
Of course, if we give in, then, yes, we can stop it to a point but then she'll make the requests increasingly unreasonable - almost to see what we will say or do.
Her brother is not perfect but, normally, if we try to discipline him, he'll respond, maybe not first time but definitely if we are firm and consistent. With our daughter, it would not matter how long we tried, the outcome would be the same. This has been the case from day 1 - even with sleep training, toddler taming, toilet training etc, etc.
I am very anxious about where this is going and how much longer I can put up with this. I don't enjoy parenting and don't have the strength of character for this.
We have been to the GP over her food anxieties - e.g. worrying about throwing up if she eats too much - but they're not concerned yet as her weight is OK for now.
She has had support at school for issues with concentration and poor academic performance and they have been amazing but now she is having trouble with friends actively leaving her out of things and planning stuff in front of her.
Have you looked up Oppositional Defiance Disorder, OP?
When did her problems start? It must be incredibly stressful for you.
I don't know. She is probably too social for ASD. Before senior school, she made friends very easily.
I have read up on ODD. That would really fit if she were like that at school but she isn't. I don't know. Maybe both of the above and I am missing something?
Also, she was much calmer between 7 and 10. She's never been easy peasy but have coped with her until now. We did have alot of trouble at 4 when her brother arrived. She settled down eventually after several months of similar challenges but , of course, being a lot younger, she wasn't as physically strong.
Sorry, they started (well, the recent problems) when she started secondary school last year.
I'm currently reading the explosive child to deal with my 7 year olds meltdowns. The idea behind it is that some children lag behind in developing the skills they need to handle certain situations without a meltdown. The book helps you identify these in advance so you can attempt to prevent the meltdown and deal with it positively. If you can get past the annoying Americanisms I think it's worth a look
Thanks . I have heard of that book a lot. Have your DC's meltdowns got any better since?
The difference between school and home may not be significant. Many children with ASD or other SN make a massive effort to hold it together when they are at school- and then get home and lose it all.
Have a Google for girls on the spectrum, they present differently to boys and can still be sociable, masking their difficulties (which is not the same as being able to control them).
It's common for ASD to become more apparent when starting secondary.
That is interesting. I had ruled that out when dd was four. She had a camhs assessment which was awful
I have emailed young minds to see what they say and hope I haven't opened a can of worms
In the first instance yes it has..I'm not fully through working out the lagging skills and situations they arise in but I have taken some of the general tips about not engaging when she is angry, not trying to punish/discipline an outburst (while still making her aware it's unacceptable) it hasn't always worked but it has improved, she has been better at calming herself and we have had occasions when she has gone away, calmed down and then apologised without bent prompted which is a big improvement..
Do we have the same child OP? My daughter can have the most awful, hurtful meltdowns (also 12). It's been calm for a while but she was having a doozy over the weekend and when I try to reason with her she just gets more and more worked up. However I never considered she may be ASD, she has always been headstrong, totally different to laid back DS. But she has also gone through puberty early and a lot of her behaviour can be linked to her hormones. I feel for her having to deal with all that as well as the usual pre-teen angst. I was away for a girlie weekend and though you'd think she hated me the way she sometimes speaks I actually believe my presence around makes her feel safe whilst she's negotiating life's bumps just now. She was constantly texting me in capitals and making unreasonable requests that I couldn't possibly deal with and when I got back she looked at me like she hated me and she had a major shouty tantrum. She can be pretty rotten the way she speaks to some of her pals too but she seems more grown up than them, like she is a young woman torn between different age groups. By all accounts she is as nice as can be at anyone else's house and perfectly well behaved at school. It's just at home she saves her best (worst) for. Parents, especially mums, are the bones they sharpen their teeth on. It's hellish for us though. IKWYM about not having the strength of character for it.
That's kind of comforting, voluptua but sorry it's hard for you too
My daughter is very similar .gp. Thinks like a massive pmt type build up and hormones pre first period . My daughter is also aspi . We've had the tantrums , throwing stuff , terrible running off and anti social behaviour round the shops and in the car , wetting herself mid tantrum when she can't get her own way . Lately she's started to find ways of self calming that are a bit regressive but working so we are going with it . She asked for one of her little sisters dummy's and seems to find it calming and will take herself to a quiet corner mid meltdown now , just stop and go off and colour and have a quiet suck and that seems to help her hugely . She seems to have no awarness that others will think it a bit strange and the dummy keeps appearing both at home and out of the house , the professional advise seems to be ride it out . I wonder if there is anything you and your daughter can find that's calming for her .
Prior to that we have seen a behaviour therapist and been shown ways to use time out for older children and various consequences and ways to control more challenging outbursts .
I am still struggling with this after a bit of a reprieve for about a month.
Now it's started full pelt. Thankfully, she is eating better, though not perfectly and I am not sure how honest she is about what she's eating but certainly looks slightly plumper.
The problem we're having are what she calls 'her obsessions' so she says her obsessions 'tell' her to perform certain rituals or not to do things or something terrible will happen, such as her killing someone one day or someone dying. The other fear is still throwing up very high on the agenda so she performs rituals about that - e,g, excess handwashing. She also does things like taking ages to get ready for bed and now I have to come in the bathroom and make sure she doesn;t sit on the toilet too long, wash her hands too long or clean her teeth too long. If I leave her to it, she'll start rolling around on the floor claiming to be too tired to get ready herself.
Today, she chucked my deodorant bottle across the floor because of her obsessions. When I challenged her, she lost it and broke my hairbrush. The fact that I took money for it didn't perturb her. Yesterday, she poured her brother's crisps all over the sofa because he wouldn't share his game.
I have made a doctor's appointment but I haven't a clue what to say this time. Some of it's behavioural and attention seeking, I'm sure but the obsession bit's worrying me. I keep asking whether it's her voice or another one but she says it's hers.
I could have written this thread OP.
My Y7 12 year old DD has been referred to Ed Psych because of exactly this. The reason it flagged with school was that she had a long day trip and couldn't 'keep it in' all the way home as she usually does.
GP said to contact school re referral. School said all OK, 'til she flipped out once there. There's no negotiating, no soothing, she wants to fall out with someone and by god she'll do it. If we ignore it escalates. If DH steps in it escalates. It was described to me by GP as the pre-pubescent meltdown pattern, but I have no idea if that is true and we are the very beginning of our diagnostic journey.
forgot to say: she's being referred for possible ASD.
Hi Zippydoodah my 13 year old son is exactly as you describe your daughter. I have been through all the same things - CAMHS, ed psych, had social services involved because he was so violent to me. I ended up off work with severe depression, and had then gone back to work for only a couple of weeks before having a bad accident and being off work again for months.
This was the thing that has changed everything. I am a single mother and he is an only child, so he has my attention almost whenever he wanted it, but that was never enough. While I was off work the time pressures and tiredness were lifted completely, and once we were both calmer and less tired he was a totally different child. I am now back at work and he is doing great.
Looking back, the things which made the difference for me were:-
Finding a way of putting things so he knew he had no choice in the thing happening (such as going to school or going to bed) but he could choose how it happened.
Recognising that his multitudinal fears are actually anxieties -then being supportive but firm.
Keeping myself absolutely calm - breathing exercises and lots of counting to a million in my head!
Realising that no matter how appalling his behaviour had been, trying to enforce or even state a consequence while he was in that mood was simply fanning the flames - I would wait until he had been calm for a while, and then discuss what had happened and - if appropriate - have some form of consequence then such as a screen ban.
Another thing I found was that if I tried any form of reward and consequence system where he knew that if he did x them this would be followed by y, he would get very angry if he didn't get the reward, even when he patently had not earned it! So now I have a bag of small rewards (toy cars from charity shops - he collects them) and he earns one of those at random points if he has done something without a fuss, or put himself out to be helpful.
I know you will probably have tried all of this, but I remember the way I felt two years ago, and even just knowing that there was someone else with the same trials as I had would have been a comfort.
My DD is being referred because her meltdowns begin like flicking a switch after school, she has become very controlling with food and schedules and Usual calming strategies for hormonal/cranky kids do not work at all.
She can walk in the house and go 'Hi, how was your day' and then suddenly she is screaming at us 30 seconds later.
We and the school filled out a questionnaire and she flagged up for further investigation.
We have been referred on the back of her obsessions and her eating. She'd had a camhs referral when 4 so got it on the back of that. I'd neglected to talk about her temper with the gp.so hope I'll get the chance later
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