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I am totally destroying my 7yo DD. Please help me work out what to do.(113 Posts)
I've suffered from MH issues all my adult life, have had every form of therapy, medication, hospitalisation and alternative approaches on the planet: none have helped. I've never managed to hold down a job for long, and though I am married, it's a difficult relationship - for obvious reasons. I currently don't fit the referral criteria for any local MH services due to the duration, complexity and non-response to prior treatment. I had come largely to accept that this is my life from now on, and that I would never feel better and never find the help I needed. Until today.
Today I realised that my DD's recent behaviour has been a direct response to how bad I have been feeling recently. For several days now, she has been screaming at me whenever I have asked her to do anything, has been refusing to eat anything I have cooked (though DH has been feeding her instead to make sure she doesn't go hungry), has been screamingly refusing to do any work or activities (she's home educated). She just seems so angry, and so unhappy. I have another child, DS5, who seems his normal self, but I have always recognised DD to be the more sensitive one.
And so, whereas I know that I can no longer get any help for myself - what do I do about DD? How do I help her? My guess is that (from what I know of family and friends who work within the local CAMHS) that she won't reach the threshold for children's MH services unless she self-harms or does something criminal
oh God please no. But what can I as a mother going through this now do? Should I be firm with DD about the need for family meals and home ed work, or do I overlook her screaming and refusals. Do I try and stay away from DD as much as possible to minimise my impact upon her, or do I try to cuddle and talk to her and reassure her? Do I ask Social Services for advice on handling DD, or will they simply get me removed from the house so I can't make things worse? And how do I make sure that DS is really as OK as he seems?
I've name changed because this is very identifying.
It's also my experience and opinion so feel free to ignore.
I have bipolar. It was made worse by late diagnosis and awful births of DC so I have PTSD as well. My kids are a similar age to yours.
I love my kids very much but I find them overwhelming. Too noisy, too chaotic, too demanding. I get very frustrated when they interrupt me.
I want gently suggest that home schooling may not be the best option. That you and your daughter need some time away from each other. That she would benefit with time with other kids and with an adult who had their professional head on. That you would benefit from space from them so that you can actively be the best parent you can be some of the time but that you get a break from that too.
It sounds like you all need to break out of the house a bit. I have a low level part time job. It's worlds away from what I'm qualified for but that would be too demanding with the kids and my MH post having them. I like my job because it gives me routine and responsibilities and adult interaction.
Given all your MH issues and difficult relationship, why is your DD home educated? Would school, where she would get a break from a possibly difficult home 'mood' be a possibility?
I also have to say my first thought was why is your child being home educated, this does not seem optimal based on what you've said of your own health and must surely be negatively contributing to your child's behaviour. Sorry, I would look at getting the children into school and not looking to start mental health treatment with them that they may never escape from.
I think that you may be right that home educating mightn't be the best for her. But each time I have raised the question of school, DD has been so upset - she says she loves learning at home, doing all her activities within the home ed community.
Given all your MH issues and difficult relationship, why is your DD home educated? I was going to ask the same. She surely needs a break, other adults to talk to, a change in scene.
She isn't enjoying the home environment either. Has she ever tried school? She might just be scared of the unknown.
She's scared of the change but it sounds like you all need that change. Support her through the transition into mainstream school - it really does seem like the very best thing to do.
It sounds extremely claustrophobic at the moment, considering all the elements involved.
I agree, tell her she can try it and if she doesn't like it then uou can review it again together, she's just scared of the change, as indeed may you be. You might even be able to do trial days at the school where she gets to try it in advance.
I don't understand the home schooling thing? Surely you are (perhaps) limiting her potential ability?
I say this, as I left school with 5 O'levels, all crap grades. Whereas, my son left school with 10 standard grades (all A) and 10 Highers/Advanced Highers. Daughter got 10 & 7 respectively. They are both at Uni now and I know they are far more academic than I could ever be. How could I have home schooled them to a higher standard than I was capable of achieving?
In any case, I suspect she would be far, far better off spending the day with children her own age. You are denying her a peer group. And of all of the wonderful things that happen at school. School trips/concerts/sports day etc etc. She's stuck at home. This doesn't sit right with me at all.
Sorry, can't comment on the MH bit, as I have no idea, but I'm sorry you're having a hard time
Please don't see having issues with your child as a failure of home education. Some children are just very challenging even in school.
I think you should put her in school as an experiment. Schools have better access to mental health support than a home educator. A teacher sees thousands of children across a career. They will have strageries and know what is normal and what isn't.
"How do I help her? My guess is that (from what I know of family and friends who work within the local CAMHS) that she won't reach the threshold for children's MH services unless she self-harms or does something criminal oh God please no."
That is simply not true. There all kinds of avenues for seeking support for your child, however its easier to access these services if you have the backing of the school.
I think your child is being vile about eating your cooking as a way of hurting you. I think that if she refuses to eat the dinner you have cooked for her then she should go hungry. Your husband should not pander to her by cooking a second meal.
Look, I can appreciate the reasons why home educating may not be right for my daughter now, but could we try not to turn this into a general home ed bashing thread? I am a PhD qualified university lecturer by profession, so my ability isn't in question - simply my suitability. Having MH issues does not mean a person is thick or lazy.
I know you aren't looking for a debate on home ed versus school and I know some DC really thrive on this approach, but from what you have said, you are not in a good place to be offering this at the moment. It sounds as if your DC would really benefit from time out of the home environment and it would probably do them good to spend time with other children and adults. You would also give yourself some space to think and not worry about the education side for a bit. Your DC are still young, and probably wouldn't take long to settle at school. You can always revisit the idea in the future if you feel you're in a better place.
FWIW, you sound like a lovely mother. You are obviously very focused on your children and this is admirable but perhaps not the best thing for either them or you. All parents need a break from their children and all children need a break from their parents. In school, she'll learn lots that she can't at home. She'll have friends, learn to cope with things not always going her way, learn to share and take turns, learn to cope when things are not fair. She'll also make a supportive network of friends and teachers.
Sorry Xpost with reallytired - I kind of agree with you that DH shouldn't be cooking her a second meal. But I guess I am just worried about her beginning to starve herself etc
Ok I think you have a lot of issues there.
- the help you can or rather cant get and how you can ensure you are coping as well as you can, within your own limits
- the home educating - is that the right solution for your dd. Dont ask her what she's thinks. If she has never been at school, it will be a scary place for her to go to. She wont be used to follow rules and other timetable. It will be a steep learning curve for her. But it still doesnt mean its the best environment for her to be at home all day, everyday. Even if you do go out with other homeschoolers etc... She will need a break from home because she is living with a parent who is ill. And what she needs is to experinec larger time where she can be herself wo having to take your needs into considerations too.
- what is good for you. Would you be a better, more relaxed parent if the dcs were at school rather than home so you had longer periods on your own wo any request put on you? How hard is it for you to deal with constant demands from children?
You are totally true to her behaviour reflects how you are feeling. She will know when you are finding it too much. In some ways her behaviour is a mirror. Look at it, listen to her. What would be the best for her and for you?
I don't think anyone is questioning your intellect (although teaching primary I think is a specific skill set, not just to do with being academic) but it must be like a pressure cooker for both of you being together so much in these circumstances. School could give you both a breather - it's the most obvious change that you could make.
I just I just cannot see how her being in school would suddenly solve everything. She would still be with me for every morning and evening and weekends, and would also be coping with the loss of the large and close-knit peer group she has grown up with. I'm struggling to understand how putting her in school for 6 hours a day removes my responsibility to her for the other 18 hours.
Or to put it another way - when I was at school, I had a fair few classmates whose parents had still managed to f* them up, despite the good influence and support of the school.
school would give her - and you - some much needed space and perspective. Sounds stifling for both of you. AS someone said it's the obvious change.
Plus, she wouldn't be with you every morning, because she'd be in school?
Also yes she'd have a senco etc. Her behaviour sounds pretty disturbed.
it is not 6 hours it is 8.30 til 3.30 which is 7 hours, plus possible after school activities.
HOnestly your thread title says that you need a break from each other, doesnt it?
I am sure you are very clever and everything, but uni lecturers do not get any teacher training do they?
I have bi-polar and a host of other lovely issues.
My daughters been aware from quite a young age. She knows why I take medication and is aware when I've been admitted.
She's 11 now doing well and we have a good relationship, when I've been really ill in the past she has stopped with family and known why. I realise not everyone has family support though. She has had counselling via butterwick during a particularly bad time.
It's important to remember mental health problems can be genetic. CAHMS might be more inclined to treat her with it being in the family.
Social services are there to keep family's together not tear them apart.
Why did you decide to HE her in the first place? Does she have specific issues that would make school difficult for her?
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