In need of help and advice!(16 Posts)
I am new to this, but I am in need of some advice...
To cut a long story short, I am step-mother to a 12 year old. She lives with her Mum and has monthly visits from her dad (my husband) and daily phonecalls, as we live far away.
Over the last few years, her behaviour has been declining and this has resulted in it becoming a Social Services issue, since March this year.
To cut a long story short, Mum has been putting up with high levels of aggression, defiance etc, from her and this resulted in them deeming their relationship to be at breaking point as the child is always trying to take control of mum. It was decided that it would be best if my step-daughter went into the care of her maternal Nan and Granddad, as they lived closeby to Mum, whilst social services and support tried to help to repair their relationship. Mum has taken parenting classes and other courses to deal with challenging behaviour. The child has been excluded from school 4 times in the last month and has said that she is going to continue to act out, because she likes it.
My concern has always been that there may be something underlying and an issue that needs to be resolved and subsequently, she is about to undergo counselling. Social services, school, family etc. believe that the issue is that she is used to being in control and cannot cope with any form of rules/discipline - hence the exclusions from school.
We have all been working together to ensure that she is being positively reinforced when behaviour is good etc. however it just feels like for her, she gets more out of misbehaving. We have all worked closely with Social Services over the last few months, but nothing seems to be working.
She is verbally and at times physically abusive to family members. She has made false accusations about family members, which she later retracts - however she laughs and smirks whilst doing this.
It is absolutely tearing the family apart. Social services are understaffed and under resourced and we have been told that unless she is deemed 'unsafe' - which she's not, there is little we can do.
She isn't bothered about parental, school or even police disciplince. My husband works shifts and every 4 days has been travelling 250 miles to support the maternal family. However nothing seems to be working.
It is getting to a point whereby, she has had her grandparents in tears, Mum is to a point of hopelessness and it is really straining our relationship too. There is part of me that is almost resentful of the situation, but a bigger part of me that knows that the child is the most important thing and we need to do what we can to support her.
However, I feel at a loss of what to do next. There is definite need of some form of respite care, before the family fractures any more. For the last 7 months, we haven't slept properly, eaten properly, relationships have been breaking down - and although we are incredibly supportive of one another, we feel completely helpless, as there is nothing we can do - I feel like we have tried to target as many avenues as possible: Social, CAHMS, School, Parenting classes, GP, counselling. She has said that she is going to continue because she doesn't care. I am worried about everyone.
Has anyone been in a similar situation to this and if so have you got any advice on how to move forward?
Anything would be greatly appreciated, as we feel completely at a dead end and it's really starting to become detrimental.
Thanks in advance,
What a nightmare!
She sounds completely out of control is there any psychiatric issues at all??
Hi Pingu73 - not that we are aware of - the GP and Social Team don't think so either.
Just feel terrible that nothing can be done yet. We have even discussed subtly videoing her when she's like it, so that there is evidence, because to look at she looks as innocent as anything, where as in reality... x
It’s so difficult cos there’s no doubt an underlying cause....obvious I know. My daughter is 13 and has played me and her dad for years she can be quite challenging at times and is getting help through school they mentioned to me narcissist traits so maybe have a look and see what you think
Yes, that sounds about right. We think there is definitely a desire for attention too. She is an only child and cannot seem to grasp that others around her are important too. It is to a point where we are looking at temporary respite, as she is just too demanding and getting quite violent and aggressive to be honest. We love her to bits, but her behaviour is tearing the family apart. It doesn't help that she seems to enjoy it too.
Trouble is they are quite dangerous are t they making allegations and being complete drama queens it’s hard to identify it at first.
I’ve been backwards and forward to court with my ex over stuff she has said but I think we’re all into her now.
We love her but are working to reverse the behaviour in your situation I suspect she will use anyone new coming into help as a way to gain attention it’s needs everyone to be aware of the controlling behaviour does that make any sense??!
Yeah that makes a lot of sense. It’s a hard one because the more we try to do , the worse she becomes . The social worker has said try to ignore it so that we don’t feed into her attention seeking, but that’s easier said than done. Xx
Also she will ramp it up big time and the stories come out to anyone who will listen. I’m working with er counsellor at school to try and come up with some ideas how to challenge back
Yeah, we are trying to do the same. I am also contemplating speaking to our PSO that works with us (I'm a teacher) -just to see is there's anything else we can do. x
I'm sure you are getting more professional help and experienced help than me, but just wanted to say one thing which is probably obvious but sometimes the obvious is never said iykwim?
Her behaviour will get worse before it gets better if you are taking away her absolute control. She clearly wont like that and will increse her behaviour to get the control back. It may take a long time of absolutely consistent non reaction/regaining of control before it sinks in. Hopefully she will be gaining some maturity as that happens.
It sounds an awful situation and tbh although I agree that despite the affect it's having on everyone else, she needs to be the focus but that's also part of the problem. I'm not sure what the way around that is though.
You say she's been under CAHMS, what have they done? I've worked with teenagers with MH issues (made ward of the courts) and I recognise a lot of the behaviour of some of these children with personality disorders, especially Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I would have thought that this would have at least been investigated by a psychiatrist?
You say they don't think it's a MH issue but have they actually done any assessment?
Is there a reason why you have to be so far away from her? She may be reacting to not having her dad around. I get that he's supportive but you are a long distance away and the poor Mum must be at the end of her tether dealing with this on her own. Just a thought, not a judgement by the way. I had a lot of issues with my eldest, and alongside her ADHD, she had ODD as a previous poster mentioned and it wasn't easy remotely. We found that taking her out of mainstream school helped massively, as it turned out there was some bullying underlying it all. It's really good that you are trying to help though.
There has been no formal psychiatric assessment but this is something they are looking into. Dad has always lived away, so this isn’t a new thing. She has always lived with her Mum as they broke up when she was 3 months old. They get on well and have always had regular contact. Just heard from social worker and they are looking at temporary respite , to give family members a bit of breathing space and also to give her some time
Similar but a bit different with our DS, just turned 15. He became much worse over the summer, it was a hellish time for all the rest of the family. No SS involvement so far, but we were being so far pushed towards the edge during his worst, and we now have some suspicions re an external cause but also waiting to find out whether any underlying physical cause can be found by the GP or whether the next step will be a referral to CAMHS or counsellor. School are being very good too and having regular meetings with us.
Where does she go out to and who does she meet, do you know? This could have something to do with her bad attitude and behaviour.
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