I don't know what's happening to DD (13). Really worried.(57 Posts)
My DD who turned 13 in November seems to have suddenly changed into a very angry and aggressive child over the past 3 months. We are at our wit's end and don't know where to turn.
Bit of background - she started having joint and back pain last summer and had morning headaches and nausea. She had a full investigation from a hospital consultant (including brain and spine MRI). Bloods showed she'd had glandular fever in the past (not recently though) and that her thyroid function was 'borderline' and that she tested positive for an antibody that could eventually lead to hypothyroidism which would need treatment with thyroxine. She is due to have her thyroid levels checked again in April. She has also been diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and is under the care of a physio.
She seems to have had a personality transplant at an alarming rate - is either very quiet and withdrawn (obsessed with her Blackberry phone which I will go into later) or very, very angry, picking fights, throwing hurtful insults at me, answering back and has now ramped it up lately by trying to physically intimidate me when she doesn't get her own way. Then she twists it back saying I'm a horrible, disgrace of a mother and she hates me and that the family are 'all freaks that annoy her into being angry'.
She was on report at school last week for not doing any homework and messing around in class. Rather than punishments we've been trying to go down the consequence route (read lots of good advice on here about this), I've asked her if there's anything apart from feeling angry that she wants to talk about but she tells me to 'go away, not telling you anything' etc etc. She ignores me for several hours a day, completely blanking me. She sleeps a lot after school, feels freezing and hides under a duvet on the sofa.
She hides away on Facebook and her Blackberry - both things that I bitterly regret allowing her to have free reign with. She locks her phone so that I can't see anything; it was taken off her last night (following a warning) due to her aggression towards me, DD2 and DS. She threatened to trash my room, followed me round the house chanting insults at me, plunging me into darkness and then switching the light on and off, lots of 'give me my phone back NOW'. The phone has gone to work with DP (her step dad who has been in her life since she was 4). I don't want to give her it back.
She is also deliberately winding up DS, making him anxious - he has ASD of which she's well aware, but she appears to enjoy being cruel to him and knows which buttons to press. She tries to intimidate DD2, calls her names like 'smelly tramp' over and over again.
I feel sad typing this as it paints such a bad picture of her. She's gone from being a lovely person to be around to someone I'm scared of in many ways. Other times she will be nice, but it doesn't last for long.
Sorry this is long and rambling; there's so much all going on at once it's really hard to put in any sort of order or not miss bits out.
Also to say her eating habits have changed - she eats nothing all day until she gets in from school, then binges. She's lately been engineering arguments so that she storms upstairs at tea time and refuses to eat with us. She's very slim, always has been but it's hard to see if she's lost weight as she's very, very private. She started her periods almost 2 years ago but refused to discuss it in any way, I just discreetly leave sanitary pads in a box for her in the bathroom cupboard.
There's a strong history of MH issues in my side of the family and whilst i don't want to go wading in down that road hastily, I really don't want to miss anything,if that makes sense?
She sounds shockingly similar to my dd2, also 13. I have been assuming it is homones tbh.
Thyroid problems can cause issues with mood, anger and aggression -I would be pushing to be retested again before April
with eating habits like that anyone would be hell to live with. But I agree that this sounds well beyond teenage angst and urge you to get her health rechecked.
it sounds like your daughter's gone/going through a tough time, and you are also bearing the brunt of her emotions now.
I read this really good article from Hand in Hand parenting about helping teenagers. www.handinhandparenting.org/news/18/64/Supporting-our-Adolescent-Children
I love the hand in hand approach as it's all about listening to our children and that when our children, feel connected to us, they can talk about their difficulties, and we can understand more about what they're going through.
I know for me, that I become a bit addicted to social media when I'm feeling a bit low. I think we all have that desperate need to connect with others, and her peers are important.
It might be good to offer her some connection, maybe a special time where you do something that she loves like cinema, or shopping, maybe going for a coffee as well, see if that helps to 'warm up' your relationship, if special time becomes a regular thing, she might start feeling as if she can open up, and tell you some of what she's going through.
Thanks all, waiting for GP to ring me to see if he can recheck thyroid (not sure if he will as DD under hospital care but typically I can't get through to man nor beast at the hospital so far today).
Her eating habits are atrocious; I send her with money for school (who have a fingerprint system for buying lunch) but lately she keeps refusing money for her account saying she doesn't need it. I put some in her bag regardless and she went to the Post Office after school and blew it on Mars Bars, energy drinks and crisps.
Thanks for the link cloudhands, will have a read now. I've tried to offer special one on one times but she throws it back in my face. Latest example was last week when I booked her in for a cut and blow dry after school last Friday (got childcare for DS and DD2 )as she'd been tantrumming about her hair every morning; all I got was "Why have you booked this for after school, I hate having to leave the house after school, you should have known this, you're thoughtless" and so on. She actually was thrilled with her hair after it had been done but refused to come for a meal with me afterwards.
Glad you're chasing the doctors. I went through a very similar thing at the same age - even down to the back pain and feeling cold all the time. Lost tons of weight - went down to 6.5 stone (I was 5'4) and for a few months it was put down to hormones, mood swings, growing up etc. Luckily got diagnosis and treatment in time for a fairly serious health problem.
These things are easily missed in teens, because they are changing anyway.
Good luck xx
Thank you Vicky - she's about 6.5 stone (was weighed in September) at 5'2, I have no idea what she weighs now, will definitely keep pushing the consultant and GP for more help (apart from the potential thyroid issue consultant seems happy that the physical issues are all something DD will grow out of). We saw the GP a couple of months ago as DD had come out in a type of eczema (Lichen Simplex ) that she is hellbent on scratching, making it bleed. Her behaviour at this point wasn't 'bad' enough for me to mention at the time, hopefully I will hear back from him at some point today.
Thank you x
Things have taken a downhill turn this afternoon. DD's form tutor rang today (spoke to her last week when DD was on report) and things have deteriorated further. She's been in trouble more times in the past five weeks than in the whole of year 7 (never been in trouble until now). I'd discussed the eating habits last week with the teacher and she'd looked at DD's canteen records for January; she's barely eating (maybe one or two hot meals a week at a push), sometimes buying a drink but most days nothing.
School welfare teacher is now involved as is the school nurse. Form tutor is hoping DD might open up to the school nurse. I've spoke to the GP who wants to see DD next week. I mentioned the GP appointment to DD and she's kicked off, telling me:
- I've ruined her life
- she will refuse to see the GP, I'm a grass and other peoples parents don't treat their children like this
- It's her body, she'll eat what she wants and do as she pleases at school and doesn't care.
- She's going to run away and kill herself, making sure she does it properly so that I have to go to the police station to identify her body
- I'm a liar when I say I love her
I tried to hug her and she told me to get away from her and then punched me
I am so worried, it's as if she's been taken over by someone else, I can remember my sister's wedding in September, she was a bridesmaid in a beautiful dress, happy and full of laughter, looking after the little ones, blowing bubbles, running around etc and in a matter of months have this angry person that hates me
Please help me decide how to deal with this, I feel so alone with it all x
Oh FlyingFig, I am so sorry. I can hear your distress. It is so upsetting when they dump everything on us, isn't it, and when we know there is something wrong but we can't help them.
I will have a proper think and come back and write more later... But for now I just wanted to say that the hurtful things she is saying are just noise - she doesn't mean them - they are just her mind sort of 'over flowing' with angst. I find it helps to think of it as like a pressure-cooker or pot boiling on a hob: the 'heat' has been turned up (her stress levels) and she is bubbling and steaming and whistling, and starting to 'overflow' emotionally. She can't help it. She doesn't hate you; you are just the person who is there, and she feels safe to dump her angst on you, so she does. She still loves you. It isn't personal, however much it feels like it is.
Hang on in there. And keep coming back here. Lots of people will be able to offer support and reassurance.
She doesn't hate you, she's dumping on you. As she has had her period for two years, this change is not likely to be hormonal. Ask the school to bear with, and contact your doctor about her. Something is wrong.
Thank you both, such a relief to be able to come here and speak to people that understand.
GP and teacher asked about any possible triggers; no doubt outing myself here but hell, that's the least of my worries. My DN (a much loved cousin of the DCs) was diagnosed with leukemia last May. It has been a horrendous time but he's now in a good place, on maintenance treatment and gradually gaining strength. My gran took ill in November - DD only visited the hospital once, refused at all other times and when gran went back to the care home for end of life care, she refused to visit. On the day of the funeral she vomited in her bed and refused to come. I separated from her dad when she was 4; she sees him once a month (he lives 100 miles away).
Not sure if any of the above is the cause or just contributory factors; this sudden change in personality seems so sudden.
Oh op what an awful situation watching a lovely daughter change so drastically sounds heartbreaking. I am so glad that the school and GP are taking this seriously. I doubt you will be able to address the issues until you find the cause I agree that it doesn't sound like hormones if she started her periods that long ago. Could she have an eating disorder? Would a referral to camhs be worthwhile? Good luck op
Another thing, what about her friends? Has her relationship changed with them too or is this anger just aimed at you and dc?
No advice, didn't want to read and run or I hope you get some solutions x
Not sure about an eating disorder; school definitely think it's a possibility and are keen to help her sooner rather than later, if it is. The physio suggested DD have a look in a full-length mirror in her bra and knickers to look at her posture; she kicked off when I asked if she'd managed to do so, saying it was a dreadful thing to expect her to do, no way was she looking at herself in her underwear etc etc.
Friends; well that's another possible issue. She has one close friend (lives next door), the other girls from primary have formed other friendship groups. DD doesn't mention many names of friends, never sees anyone other than her close friend out of school. Has a new boyfriend of 2 weeks and has latched onto him in a big way eg "if it wasn't for him I'd run away and live with my dad"
I don't want to alarm you, but are you sure nothing bad has happened to her? She sounds very angry. Sometimes behaviour as you describe is a way of trying to cope with a horrible experience. There was a dreadfully sad post on her a few weeks ago from a mum whose daughter had gone completely off the rails as a teenager. The mum has just found out, 3 years down the line, that this had been triggered when her daughter was attacked by an older boy.
Thank you NaturalBlonde - been copious of all day but may well reach for a when I know DD is in bed for the night and not likely to start up again.
neolara - you've not alarmed me, I've been plumbing all sorts of depths in my mind trying to work out what the hell is happening She is very, very angry and it's come from nowhere.
I tried to have open a discussion with her about boys the other night - she shot me down, said she wasn't discussing boys with a freak like me, how embarrassing etc etc.
She does sounds miserable. I know it's hard but you have to remember that she's only being like this because she is feeling SO awful. The question is, about what?
Her change of modd does seem to have coincided with your gran's illness and death - I'm very sorry for your loss - does it match up?
Has she had previous "relationships"?
What's the age gap and are both your other children her half-siblings?
How's she getting on with you -v- her stepdad?
She sounds like she's desperate for control. A friend of mine was suspected to have an eating disorder (be a girl and lose weight and everyone automatically thinks you're anorexic) but it turned out to be OCD. She didn't care how she looked, she just wanted to control everything.
I found her behaviour odd when gran was ill, but decided everyone reacts to illness and death differently and didn't push her to visit or go to the funeral. That's when I thought how closed off and guarded she was.
She's had a couple of boyfriends since starting secondary but nothing lasting more than a few weeks nor seeing them out of school - she does obsess about having a boyfriend but nothing I haven't put down to raging hormones at that age (or have I missed something?).
Her sister is 12; half brother is 7. She has 2 half sisters that live with her dad. God writing it down makes us sounds like such a dysfunctional family. But up until now I really haven't had any problems with her. She's a very capable girl, in top sets at school, but recently couldn't care less.
She's always been very close to my DP - but lately she's been trying to play one off against the other. She doesn't shout abuse at him like she does me, she just blanks him completely, which hurts him as I think he'd rather be kicked than ignored, he feels like he's lost his 'pal' as it were.
Totally agree about the control issues - especially when I think about her reaction to me booking a hair appointment after school, the sheer anger that her mobile has been removed.
She's flat out asleep in bed, been there since she punched me.
It does sound awful for all of you. I do think a combination of hormones, crap friends (everyone seems to become an arsehole at 13), bereavement and body image stress sounds like a possible culprit. Was she close to her gran? Also if she had a difficult early life it may be she's reflecting on it now and being upset about that. Was her dad violent or was there a lot of arguing?
Sounds like a very bad case of teenage-itis to me
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