12 year old - still causing problems, sanity rapidly evaporating.(35 Posts)
Our 12 yr old YD is now living in a childrens home. The home itself is lovely, and the staff have been brilliant - I really cannot fault them. But her behaviour is continuing to get more and more out of control and we are getting pretty close to our wits end.
Since she has been there (7 weeks now), she has absconded 3 times (once at 1:30am), she has started smoking. On family contact last week, she disappeared after school and was picked up by the police on the A50, 7 miles from our house and walking back to the home (some 15 miles from our house). Staff then brought back to our house, where she promptly kicked off and started trashing the place, all the time screaming vile abuse and both myself and DH. She then tried to shove past DH (who is disabled), so we ended up calling the police and having her removed. (All of this in front of 3 social workers from the home, a PCSO and two police officers, together with a police car parked at the top of our drive).
On the last 2 visits, when she has gone back to the home they have searched her bag and found - on the first occaision a bottle of wine and a can of cider, and then on the second occaision two bottles of wine and a can of lager that she has taken out of the fridge while here and stashed in her bag.
She has said numerous times that she doesn't want to come home and she hates us etc etc. I have threatened to sell her bearded dragon if she continues to cause problems when here on family contact; she has had her mobile phone confiscated etc. I really don't know what else to do.
Meanwhile, social worker continues to insist that she has no mental health problems. She may not, but I feel I am rapidly developing mental health problems as this damn saga drags on. sigh
Our problem is this: she is currently in voluntary foster care, so in theory we can withdraw her from the 'system' and bring her home whenever we want to. Clearly, this is only going to end in tears (probably ours) as she will be utterley vile. The house will have to turned into Fort Knox to keep her in and it's going to be very stressful. Part of me wants to just leave her there and part of me wants to be able to say that, no matter how bad she behaves, we've always been there for her. I know it probably souonds awful for me to say I'm tempted to leave her there, but her behaviour really is unmanageable and she has been absolutely vile towards all of us. Yet on a good day, when she is more like herself, I have hope that we may get through this and she may come back to us as herself.
It's such a nightmare and the stress levels in the house are through the roof. I know that some of you have been in similar situations as we find ourselves in at the moment - how on earth do you manage to keep your sanity?? I'm tempted to pay for a private psychiatric consultant to assess her and see if she has mental health issues that social services have failed to pick up on.
Sorry for rambling.
Maryz - when she was having a 'good' day, ie: I could talk to her and she would respond without screaming obscenities at me, we did have a chat about it and I suggested that maybe something as simple as going on the pill could help to calm things down a bit for her. She refuses to take tablets and has a phobia about needles, so that's the injection out of the window as well. Thanks for the suggestion about boarding school - I must admit it's not something we'd thought of before purely because of cost. I had to give up my £30k a year job to stay at home and look after DH, so our income now is pretty much benefits and whatever I manage to earn when I can do some work from home.
Meanwhile, I've had to collect ED from school as she was ill. The lovely lady on reception gave me a heads up that YD has been to see her this morning to ask her to ring the home and get them to collect her after school because she doesn't want contact today - which means that she's gone to school as Evil Daughter. I can't say that I'm surprised - I've been expecting problems today anyway. I rang the home, and they've told me to just collect her from school as per the original plan and if she kicks off to ring them. Great. So chances are when I go to collect her, she'll scream abuse at me in the car park in front of the other students and refuse to get in the car. Whether I shall resist the urge to run her over is a different matter. sigh(I wouldn't run her over really - it's DH motability car, and I could do without the insurance claim)
Oh biffa this sounds heartbreaking for you
And I'm not surprised you haven't heard of a CAF assessment - not many people have, including 99% of schools!
As expected, when I picked her up from school there was a bit of a tantrum about having to come home for contact. She then (conveniently) got into an argument with DH about her stealing things from the fridge, so I took her back to the home.
Whilst driving back (I was going a lot slower on purpose!), she seemed to have what can only be described as a 'lucid' half hour, where I could talk to her properly. She has said herself that she'll end up in a secure unit at this rate, and I agreed with her. I asked her if she thought depression was a mental health issue, and she agrees that it is. I pointed out that CAHMS say she has no mental health issues and that this must be wrong, and she agreed. I asked her if she would go to the doctors, but she wasn't keen. I suggested that maybe we could get her an appointment with a child psychologist type bod so that she could be re-assessed and she seemed to think this was a good idea. She is also aware that she will end up being permanently excluded from school if her behaviour carries on as it has been, and she doesn't want this to happen. So, some progress seems to have been made in that she agrees she needs help and a diagnosis of whatever the problem is so that we can all work together to work through it.
Ten minutes after getting back to the home, the 'lucid' moment as over and she was back to stomping off in a strop shouting at me (all because I was trying to explain to her why the staff need to search her bag when she comes back in and that she needs to man-up, accept responsibility and earn back the trust that she lost).
Tomorrow, however, is another day.......and a Monitoring meeting to look forward to. Yay.
Well that actually sounds quite positive on the whole. Good luck with the meeting!
I'm trying to see the positive in it too She was convinced that today had been a crap day, but then told me she's stayed in all her lessons today at school, so I pointed out that was a massive positive moment for her! I can't remember the last time she did a full day with any issues.
I'm not surprised her lucid moment happened in the car, it has always been easier for DD and I to talk in the car. I don't know whether she found it easier to talk and listen without having to look at me, somehow it's a less threatening environment. Not good for your petrol bills, but maybe going for a drive might be an easier way to have contact. The residential school might be worth considering, many are means tested so it would not be a financial burden on you. It costs an unbelievable amount to keep a child in care, boarding school would be a less expensive option from a social services point of view. I would have pushed for this had my DD been younger when everything kicked off.
Trying to see the positive moments is so hard in this situation, but you did a good thing pointing them out to her, she might not show it, but I bet she has taken it on board.
It does sound pretty positive, biffa
Car journeys work for me and DS1 too... So does doing housework/practical jobs together (sometimes, so long as we both know what we're doing!). So does going for a walk. Things without eye contact and with movement, it seems
You know what you said about "trying to explain to her why the staff need to search her bag when she comes back in"... That reminded me of how I used to be with DS when he didn't like what he was being told... He used to complain "It's not fair", so I'd try and explain why it was; or he'd ask "But why?" so I'd try to tell him... It took me about a year to realise that actually he knew - he understood perfectly well - but it was just a tactic to keep me 'hooked' into arguing with him, and/or to create a diversion so we ended up talking about something else, and/or give him a reason to shout at me. I bet your DD knows why staff are searching her bag and was doing the same thing! What do you reckon?!
In the end, I learned to say "You know why" or "I've already told you, and I'm not saying it again" and not to try to 'explain the world' to him... And it meant he had far fewer opportunities just to 'dump' his irritation on me!
Thanks so much everyone for all your help, support and kind words. DH sat and read some of this thread earlier ( he has poor concentration and reading all of it would have tired him out too much to be able to stay upright), but I know he found it reassuring as well that we're not the only parents to have been through this.
Interesting to see that car journey's worked for others as well. And yes, flow4, I think you're right about the explanations. I'll try and bear that in mind next time. She's not stupid and probably does completely understand the reasons why.
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