Uncontrollable daughter, no help
Oellph · 31/12/2022 09:11
Our daughter is 10. Her brother is 13 and is no trouble at all. Very sensible, grown up and takes responsibility for himself and his actions.
She can be a real darling. Apparently exhibits no bad behaviours at school. But at home she very quickly complains of boredom. Needs constant activity. But the worst comes at bed time. For a long time we've struggled to get her to sleep much before 10:30. Her TV and internet access go off at 10pm unless it's the holidays. She'll demand more and when she doesn't get it, starts banging doors, throwing stuff around in her room (at times it's been impossible to walk through her bedroom because of what was on the floor) and then getting physical with us. She doesn't seem to want to sleep and that then triggers the boredom and uncontrollable desire for TV or internet.
There are days when she refuses to go to school. We've talked with them. Had a few meetings. It seems to boil down to not liking the feel of the school shirt or some other seemingly minor thing.
We've tried CAMHS and GP. Apparently she doesn't warrant help or intervention. But honestly, it feels one step removed from serious harm or incident.
It makes me (her dad) feel so angry. Especially when she hurts her mum.
We've tried reward charts, removal of certain things (iPad etc.). But nothing seems to click. When she gets into this frame of mind, no logic, reasoning or anything else seems to snap her out of it until a point where the escalation has gotten to breaking point :(
Last night was a good example. She's had an iPhone (one of our old ones) for the last year, but without a SIM card. WiFi only at home or via our hotspots. Like her friends, and her brother before her, we gave her a SIM card yesterday as a late Christmas present. (Although she has to pay part of the monthly charge herself). She was over the moon. Really happy. And when we gave it, she promised that bedtime would be prompt at 10pm. But come that time, it all kicked off again. As bad as ever. I just cannot understand how, having been given something nice, a bit more ownership and responsibility, she throws it right back in our face.
If we try non violent resistance, she will start to disturb her brother, or start throwing other stuff around the house. (If she stayed in her room and trashed that, I'd leave her to it).
Earlier in the year I took up archery and I thought it would be a good father/daughter activity and bonding, so she joined with me. We go once or twice a week. But it's another example of nothing really clicking.
When it's at its worst I'm starting to wish we'd never had her ;(
Without any professional help, we feel hopeless.
Dotcheck · 31/12/2022 09:14
She has internet until 10 during term time? Surely that’s far too late for a 10 year old?
LittleBearPad · 31/12/2022 09:17
Turn off the internet and TV before 10pm. Take the phone off her - she’s too young for it. She can read a book before bed. She’s likely exhausted.
ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 31/12/2022 09:18
This sounds very much like ASD. It ticks so many boxes.
Shes having meltdowns when overloaded not misbehaving. Normal discipline makes it worse. Removing tech makes it worse. It’s how my dd calms down.
School refusal is classic ASD. Neatly all school refusers are on the spectrum.
Youve been let down by CAHMs and gp. It presents differently in girls. Archery would have been overload for her. Go back to GP and insist.
Good at school and difficult at home is classic. She’s masked all day and can’t keep it up at home.
Ameadowwalk · 31/12/2022 09:18
My son has sensory processing issues and autism traits (diagnosed). School uniform is a trigger for him. He used to refuse school and part of the problem was noise and being stuck in one place all day. By the end of the day, he was just exhausted. So I would suggest that by 10pm, your DD is quite overtired.
I need to get ready so I don’t have time to write a longer reply just now, but I developed a whole battery of strategies to help - but with the help of a paediatric occupational therapist and literature. A weighted blanket helps with sleep, for example.
user1471530109 · 31/12/2022 09:18
OP, she sounds like me dd (13) who has recently been diagnosed with ASD. It does get easier, we don't have anywhere near as many meltdowns now. Possibly because she's gotten a bit older, but also because of the way I ask her to do things. There always has to be a warning about what's coming up. I still often get a mouthful but mostly not the aggression and violence.
It is SOOO hard. You have my sympathy. I don't always handle it the best way, but losing my temper at her, makes it 100 times worse. I have to walk away then try again. She did eventually start having meltdowns at school after she couldn't mask it any longer, and then eventually people started to pay attention and she was put on the CAMHS waiting list. Took 3 years....
anythinginapinch · 31/12/2022 09:18
I'm diagnosed. Doesn't make me a doctor but I sure as hell recognise a neurodiverse girl from that description.
Oneanddone88 · 31/12/2022 09:20
Autism or ADHD . Could you get melatonin prescribed for a short while..my neighbours daughter is identical and has autism and takes melatonin at 8.30pm each night and is asleep by 9. The daughter didn't sleep properly until she was prescribed these at 10 years old. She's also physical etc too
NCTDN · 31/12/2022 09:23
As a teacher of 10 yr olds, my first thought was asd. I have taught girls who exhibit no traits in school, but once home it all falls apart as they've tried so hard to contain it all day.
Herja · 31/12/2022 09:28
Another saying push for ASD assessment.
Have a read on parenting an ASD child. My DS won't be 'told off', it leads to immediate fury then meltdown. You can have a chat though, explaining the same things and he'll take it in well, so long as he doesn't feel 'punished'. Discovering this made all the difference, he's considerably calmer now. Even if not on the spectrum, then the techniques are worth a shout anyway.
AfricanAmericanFriday · 31/12/2022 09:29
You are too soft on her and you have spoilt her. What do you mean she has tv and internet till 10 pm? She is 10 years old ffs not 16! And why does she have a mobile phone at this age? If she really can’t sleep let her read a book or magazine and that’s it. Anybody suggesting she is autistic or has ADHD is nuts. People are just not willing to acknowledge anymore that badly behaved children are just that: badly behaved. You have to become firm with her and don’t be afraid to shout at her if you have to. Who the hell is in charge in your house?
DrHildegardeLanstrom · 31/12/2022 09:33
10 year olds with ASD can also exhibit 'normal' 10 year old pain the in arse behaviours. I would suggest that @AfricanAmericanFriday hasn't got a clue...
Whycanineverever · 31/12/2022 09:35
@AfricanAmericanFriday - are you just deliberately trying to wind people up? Suggest if you don't have personal experience you listen to those that do......
Random789 · 31/12/2022 09:35
She sounds very much like my son at a similar age. Looking back on it I always wish that I had been more able to frame his behaviour during meltdowns as being the result of soaring anxiety that he just could NOT bring himself down from.
It is very hard, because the behaviour generates horrible anxiety in the parent too, so you have confrontations between two people who are both in the worst possible state for achieving a solution.
If I was in the same situation again now, I would try the following:
- Accept that the child isn't, at that moment, able to control their feelings or behaviour. This means that talk of 'consequences', rues, etc, isn't going to help.
- Remember that it is your own feelings, not those of the child, that you are most able to modify. Do what you can, during episodes and between episodes, to reduce your own anxiety so that you can be a calmer, more anchoring presence for the child.
- If possible, find opportunities, during calmer moments, to talk about anxiety with your child. Don't 'tell them what they are feeling' - that would be annoying. Perhaps speak of your own anxiety in ways that might help them to 'notice' their own. (Part of my son's difficulty was that he couldn't recognise his own feelings -- he couldn't see his anxiety and therefore couldn'yt perceive that all of his catastrophic thinking was the result of anxiety rather than being realistic.)
- During episodes, reassurance is probably what is needed. Some words that might help the child to feel a tiny bit less panicked. Between episodes, try to think of the words that might stand a chance of reassuring the child. Repeat them to yourself so that they come to you automatically, even when you yourself are feeling on fire with anxiety.
buzzswole · 31/12/2022 09:39
In my experience their brains take a good hour or more to wind down from screens.
My DD can be like a wild cat if she's ripped away from a screen when she's tired because their brains are still developing.
I would not have screens in the bedroom after 7pm.
Cocopogo · 31/12/2022 09:40
They won’t prescribe melatonin for that! Nor can anyone diagnose asd from not liking a shirt!
As others have said, 10pm is way too late for a 10 years old. What consequences are in place for this behaviour? Does she lose screens the following day every time she kicks off at night?
musicalfrog · 31/12/2022 09:46
Screen addiction? My kids get like this when they've had too much!
I'd take the family for a short break somewhere, absolutely no screens apart from family tv time and use it to wean them off a bit.
New screen rules when you get home, especially in the evenings. 6pm is the latest we allow them to use their screen games. Make sure you lead by example and are not staring into your phone all day.
Honestly I'd try this before attempting to get any kind of diagnosis.
buzzswole · 31/12/2022 09:47
Im not saying she doesn't have ASD/ADHD/SEND but I think you're giving her more freedom than she's able to cope with at this young age.
Just because her brother was fine with it doesn't mean she's going to be the same.
You need gentle but firm boundaries with her. It might take a while for her to get used to it but there should not be an expectation of unlimited use of devices.
Leave them outside the bedroom in a communal area for her online safety as much as anything else.
Bakingwithmyboys · 31/12/2022 09:53
You could try a weighted blanket at night. We have just bought one for our 8yr old who really struggled to calm himself down at night time and it's been amazing. He loves the feeling of the weight on him. He has recently been diagnosed as on the spectrum but in school he loves learning and is so well behaved. Any meltdowns he has are at home with us.
We noticed that if he was snuggling with us on the sofa and we just put one of our legs over his, he was much calmer, then I put him in my oodie the other day (they have a bit of weight to them) and again it was one of the calmest story times. Might be worth looking into.
She does sound like she might be on the spectrum, I'd be going for a second opinion. School uniform it might be worth looking at marks and Spencers as they have seamless stuff specifically for people who are aggravated by itchy clothing.
As others have said, a 10pm bedtime regularly is far too late for her age, even in the holidays. I honestly thought I was reading about a teenager. Tiredness affects my DS in a big way and he has only just recovered from the last term. Plus if she is on the spectrum, Christmas in itself is so overwhelming.
arethereanyleftatall · 31/12/2022 09:58
She seems to be being treated far far older than a ten year old. At 10, mine were still stories and cuddles etc with a nighttime routine that happened around 8pm. As was every other 10yo i knew. None had phones.
Icedlatteplease · 31/12/2022 09:58
Stop taking the tech at bedtime!!!
Explain you'd like her to stop at 10.00 but as long as she's ready for school the next day you dont care
If you've ever suffered from insomnia you'll know that that is nothing worse than sitting there with your own thoughts.
Do show her sleep sounds and sleep music on her tablet. Try different types. DD responds to rain based sleep sounds, I need electronic specially designed sleep music
Otherwise remove it entirely, afterall shes only 10, so you have the meltdown once and that's it.
The feel of clothes is no minor thing. Try a seem free t-shirt under the shirt and look dor asd sensitive clothing. Otherwise try big t-shirts, look for tall/mens ranges that have wider shoulders. If you are crafty try sewing a fake shirt under her school jumper. It gets worse with stress so try and remove other sources of stress. Tbh I'd be negotiating with school that if you can get her into school with a poloneck on bad days for that to be good enough. Socks and shirts are absolutely the worse. I am still sock sensitive and haven't worn a shirt since Senior school. DD(17) finds 6 form so much easier now she can pick her own clothes
Yy we are all as a family ASD spectrummy although DD and I pass for normal
Geneticsbunny · 31/12/2022 10:00
I would recommend the book the explosive child by Ross Greene. It will help you to understand that her behaviour is not deliberate 'being a shit to wind you up' but is her not having the tools to cope with the things that she is coming across in her life.
I also agree that 10pm is way too late for screen time. There should be a full hour of no screen time before she goes to sleep so if sleep time is 9 then it needs to be off by 8. Especially if it is having an impact on her being able to get to sleep which it clearly is.
She might be using internet to manage anxiety. I.e. filling her brain with stuff so that she doesn't worry about the things which are actually bothering her.
The shirt bothering her does sound like there is likely to be autism too but either way it is about respecting her voice when she tells you things. She is not making the shirt thing up, listen to her and help her. She really needs someone on her side at the moment.
Robotindisguise · 31/12/2022 10:03
As others have said, it sounds a lot like autism or ADHD. But I appreciate that coming to it cold, you may think “hell no”, as there’s a world of difference between how people think these neurotypes present, and how they actually do, especially in girls.
I would really recommend reading “The Explosive Child” - it has some excellent advice on transitions.
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