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12 year old - still causing problems, sanity rapidly evaporating.

(35 Posts)
biffa85 Sun 04-Nov-12 14:52:13

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.

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 21:49:58

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.

flow4 Tue 06-Nov-12 20:30:45

It does sound pretty positive, biffa smile

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 smile

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. hmm angry grin 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!

Brightspark1 Tue 06-Nov-12 19:49:38

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.

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 19:12:57

I'm trying to see the positive in it too smile 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.

bigTillyMint Tue 06-Nov-12 18:39:39

Well that actually sounds quite positive on the whole. Good luck with the meeting!

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 18:34:50

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. hmm

bigTillyMint Tue 06-Nov-12 15:11:06

Oh biffa this sounds heartbreaking for yousad

And I'm not surprised you haven't heard of a CAF assessment - not many people have, including 99% of schools!

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 15:01:39

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)

flow4 Tue 06-Nov-12 10:05:17

You're welcome, biffa smile

Maryz Tue 06-Nov-12 09:31:03

One other thing - have you considered suggesting she goes on the pill? I know she is very young, but sometimes it can help with depression and mood swings with girls.

Maryz Tue 06-Nov-12 09:29:54

biffa, sorry you are having such a shit time.

Can I ask - has anyone suggested a residential boarding school? Because if she is being continually suspended from school, she will eventually be excluded.

You will then be at an advantage if she is a "looked after" child - there are few residential schools that cater for "troubled" children, but there are a few, and at her age I would have thought that might be where she is heading. To be honest, something needs to be sorted out for her now, while she is so young, because when she gets to about 14 they will be thinking "not too long now, we will stall, because when she is 16 we won't have to worry about her any more" - which is what happens to a lot of kids. So they end up out of school and out of control at 16 sad.

In the meantime, I think you need to be much more pragmatic in how you deal with her. I don't think you should insist she comes to contact if she doesn't want to. I think you need to take a step back and pass a little of the responsibility to her. By kicking up, having tantrums, being violent, she is getting loads of attention. If you can possibly ignore some of it, maybe she might stop doing it so much [hopeful].

If you know that turning up at school to collect her is going to cause a fight, then contact ss, tell them that you will be there but if she refuses to come with you, you aren't going to make her.

You have to get some work done and get on with life as well. So while she isn't living with you I would take two days a week where you don't (or at least try not to) think about her at all - get some work done, and do something nice for yourself.

You also should get referred for some counselling - you don't want to end up like me (and stars and so many others), blaming yourself and falling to pieces because you can't make her behave.

The thing I've realised is that there are some things you simply can't control, so matter how hard you try and how much effort you put into it. So you have to let them go, and manage things that you can control - yourself, your own reaction, and planning for the future.

You need to make a list of what you would like to happen next (and not "I want my dd to love me and come home", sorry sad) - things like counselling for you, an education plan for your dd, her future residence (foster care, a home or a residential school - if she is absconding it is their job to keep her safe, even if that means a secure unit).

Work out small things that you would like to achieve, and can achieve, and work on those.

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 09:24:45

Flow4 - that's really useful, thank you. Both her keyworker and the home manager are brilliant - I can ring the home any time of day or night and it's not a problem. The manager has been very supportive of us, so I will mention it to her tomorrow morning when we go to the monitoring meeting. Thanks again for the info.

flow4 Tue 06-Nov-12 09:21:25

OK... Common Assessment Framework = CAF.

They were introduced specifically to make services work better together to support children/young people and their families, and make sure no-one 'falls through the gaps'. It is a joined-up assessment, and it's optional so you as your DD's parent don't HAVE to agree that she has one... But if you do, it means (a) all the agencies involved with your daughter share information; (b) your DD gets a key worker/lead worker, who should be someone she trusts, and maybe already has a good relationship with, or if not, someone she can develop a good relationship with; and (c) you can go to this key worker with ANY concerns and questions - so you have a 'familiar face' to help you and are not just dealing with different people every single time you need to talk to someone.

There is more info here.

If you feel like there is any buck-passing going on, or you have services saying "your DD doesn't meet OUR criteria" then a CAF assessment is especially useful, because it focusses on the child and her needs, rather than the services and the ruts they get into. hmm

It helps to try to get a key worker/lead professional who has some influence if possible. There is a bit of a balancing act to be done, because the people who have the best relationships with children/young people are often the most junior... But if you can find someone you feel is a bit more senior and who is really on your daughter's side and will push and fight (along with you!) for her to get the support she needs, then that can really help... And you can ask for this person to be the 'lead professional' in your daughter's CAF process.

I know about CAF 'in theory' (and in theory I think it's great!) but don't have experience of it in practice. I guess it may be working more or less well in different areas. Maybe there are other people here who have direct experience of how it worked for their DC...?

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:57:16

flow4, what is a CAF assessment? I've never heard of it - or at least, I don't think I've heard of it.....

flow4 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:47:51

biffa has your DD had a CAF assessment? Because she should have done, specifically so that she doesn't 'fall though the gaps' like Bright says. If not, I'll post more... smile

flow4 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:42:46

Definitely post here and not in chat/AIBU if you need advice or even just someone to listen. There are people out there just looking for a fight, and certainly more than a few judgemental arses... hmm
But here, as far as I can see, even if people think you need Telling, they do it sensitively, because they understand how hard it can be, and how you can be driven to the edge of madness and over... And people here know parents with challenging teens need support and often don't get it in RL...

biffa85 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:34:30

Bigtillymint - she was fine in primary school, pretty much. Had one day where she walked out of school and into town instead of coming home, but apart from that her behaviour was fine. It all seems to have changed when she started High School and periods started as well. There's supposed to be a Personal Education Plan meeting on Thursday which I assume is to sort out school etc. Not sure how to go about getting an educational psychologist involved but will mention it at the monitoring meeting tomorrow morning.

Starsandunicorns - it certainly sounds like you've been through hell with your DD. I'm sorry that you didn't get any support from family. I have to admit I think I would have completely cracked up if it hadn't been for the support we've had from family and friends. DH is doing his best to cope with it all, but he feels guilty for signing the forms to have her put into care at the hospital. And I know what you mean about feeling like the worst parent ever - I felt the same, especially when the social worker suggested we have parenting classes! (Presumably he has no children, never mind a 12 year old from hell). In some ways, I think we've been lucky to get her into care because I really don't think we could have managed with her at home for much longer without us cracking up. Luckily, Eldest Daughter has been an absolute star through all of this, although she finds it difficult going to school in case YD is there and starts a problem.

I shall go and don my tin hat and fortify the barricades ready for tea-time.

starsandunicorns Tue 06-Nov-12 07:21:21

Hi biffa just wanted to say i understand. i went through this too my dd1 strated at 11 got worst just about coped till she was 14 then it all fell apart had so many ppl visting i felt like the crappest mum ever. was put on ad my dd skipped school got drunk smoked did drugs became violent towards me (even the dv team of the police came round a good few times )got death threats etc it sounds like you have more support than me school wasnt supportive my gp already had reffered to test for mh but she wouldnt attend more than a few apps my sw for dd blamed me for her hitting me i was sudical self harming they wouldnt take her into care. i am glad that you have your oh with you for support my ex and parents didnt want to know anyway just wanted to say you can pm to vent i live near the A50 so maybe you are close to me its nice to see other mums being supportive i got flammed on here ealier in chat should of put my question to all of you you may of understood

bigTillyMint Tue 06-Nov-12 06:42:33

If she is at risk of permanent exclusion, then surely the school should be looking at what next (not just "keeping" her there) and also perhaps at Statutory Assessment. This is what would/should happen in my LA for primary-aged children. She needs to be seen by a paediatrician and a clinical psychologist for assessment by the sounds of it.

Has An Educational Psychologist seen her at all? What measures are the school putting in place? And how was she in primary?

biffa85 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:18:47

I'm beginning to lose count of the number of agencies that are involved with her. Obviously CAMHS are seeing her, social services are involved although her social worker is possibly worse than useless, she has a keyworker worth her weight in gold, NSPCC are giving her coping strategies, SUSTAIN are also involved with her although I think they've only seen her once so far. I don't think I've missed anyone off the list! We also have a family support worker working with US, but up to now she hasn't met YD and so has no idea what we're up against.

We will wait and see what happens tomorrow when I collect her from school to come home for tea. I suspect we shall have problems.

I think the biggest thing out of all of this that is annoying me is that, despite her being suicidal at the age of 12, self-harming, aggressive behaviour etc etc, no-one else can see that there is a problem (apart from school, who agree with us but can't help in getting a diagnosis).

Brightspark1 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:09:50

I am sorry to say that you might never get a 'label' or diagnosis, in my experience MH diagnoses are nothing more than a description of symptoms. But that shouldn't mean that nothing can be done, your daughter's problems, whatever they are, are obviously severe and need a concerted joined up approach. I know that getting everyone to talk to each other is like herding cats, but your daughter is falling through the gaps, leaving you feeling powerless angry and frustrated. The monitoring meeting is your opportunity to demand the support you and your daughter need, especially as the home visits sound a bit of a disaster. Make a list of your concerns and what you want to see happen, remind them that your daughter has been suicidal, repeat yourself as necessary. This will help you to make your voice heard, and that the meeting stays focused. I always found these meetings intimidating and stressful (despite being used to these sort of meetings in my job!) and would often end up in tears , if that happens, don't try to hide it, they need to acknowledge that you are stressed and upset and justifiably so, make them realise how the situation is affecting you and the rest of the family. Pull them up on any jargon they use and make them clarify anything you don't understand.
Good luck

wigglybeezer Mon 05-Nov-12 21:59:36

I know what you mean Flow, ds1 has behavioural problems, probably due to a mixture of borderline ADHD/ASD type issues. Over the years he has had mild OCD, anger management problems, lots of problems, none of them serious enough to warrant major help from CaHMS but enough to seriously affect family quality of life.
They stall in the hope the problem will go away by itself. When DH had anxiety problems he was sorted out fairly quickly as have been various relatives with depression, children are left to suffer.

flow4 Mon 05-Nov-12 20:28:44

CAMHS are under massive pressure, and their thresholds for specialist support are quite high. From what you describe, it sounds like your DD is already getting 'tier 2' support following a CAMHS assessment, but doesn't hit the 'threshold' for 'tier 3' support. Lower level support is often 'multi-disciplinary' - i.e. provided by people from different services, incl. social services, schools and maybe NSPCC, rather than MH specialists. Effectively, they are not saying she doesn't have any MH problems, but that she doesn't have bad enough MH problems to qualify for specialist support. hmm

Generally, children/young people won't get to see a CAMH specialist unless they have a diagnosed psychiatric disorder, or are at current, ongoing risk of physical harm, eg. from suicide attempts, serious self-harm or eating disorder.

There is a national debate about whether CAMHS are 'fit for purpose'. This article is interesting and depressing, and links to the 2008 CAMHS review report for further info.

I know a lot of parents who have tried to get CAMHS support for their DC - maybe 5 in RL and a similar number who have talked about it here - but only one who has been successful. sad Which is why I said "don't rely on it" above...

It sounds like it's all very, very stressful for you biffa. It is bad enough having to get 'official' services involved to help with your DC; but it is even worse when you do everything to try to get help, and then it doesn't actually deliver what you need...

bigTillyMint Mon 05-Nov-12 19:40:09

Aren't the school pressing CAMHS too? I can't believe they aren't doing more - are they trying to blame it all on you? Even if they are, then they should still be offering some sort of counselling/therapy or pushing for her to be seen by a psychiatrist or something.

Was everything OK at primary school?

biffa85 Mon 05-Nov-12 18:59:02

School have been VERY supportive and have put in place all sorts of measures - she can go to 3 different teachers if she's struggling to cope and they will put her in a 'safe' room. Having said that, she has so far been excluded from school for 11 days this half term - 10 for assaulting a teacher and 1 for shouting at a teacher in the corridor to piss off. If she gets to 15 days (which I have no doubt that she will), we then have to have a meeting with the governors to try and keep her in school and not permanently excluded.

She doesn't have a large number of friends at school and has always got on better with kids a lot older than her.

School also attended the last meeting with the social worker, home staff and a lady from NSPCC who is helping her with coping therapies and backed me up when I said that her problems seem to have started since she started her periods in year 7 and her behaviour has been going downhill since then.

She's in care on a voluntary basis at the moment, because when it all kicked off at school in September, she was threatening to kill herself at school and if she came home. CAMHS then assessed her in A&E and concluded that she should NOT return home due to the threats she was making to kill herself - hence, we signed her into voluntary care to try and keep her safe. Despite all this, they say she has no mental health issues - despite being suicidal, aggressive mood changes etc. We really are banging our heads against a wall in trying to get anyone to recognise that she HAS got a problem of some sort.

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