Behavior is great everywhere but at home - any ideas?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by zippy, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. zippy

    zippy New Member

    My 12 year old daughter is the perfect child at school and at friends. At home, she has been a major problem since she was three. We have tried many Psychologists recommendations over the years but none have worked. Our biggest challenges are around respect, accountability and laziness. She argues about everything and the smallest requests turn into major arguments.

    Any ideas?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    You said that you've tried the advice of many psychologists...

    Does your daughter have a diagnosis of some kind?
  3. zippy

    zippy New Member

    We took her to the 1st therapist when she was 7 and have been seeing the current therapist for 1.5 years. None of them have diagnosed her with a specific disorder of any kind.

    With that said, none of their recommendations on checklists, planning meals, or scoredcards, etc... have yielded any postive results.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you:
    How does she do in school, both academically and with peers? In other words, does she struggle with any specific subjects? Does she make and keep friends easily?
    Does she have any specific fears? Is she an anxious child?
    Does she have trouble transitioning from one activity to the next?
    Does she have any sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, food textures, loud noises)?
    Did she have any speech or developmental delays?
    Are there any mental health or substance abuse issues in the family tree?

    Again, welcome. I hope we can point you in the right direction for help.
  5. mauraclegg

    mauraclegg New Member

    I read your post and you could have been writing about my daughter. I am at my wits end with her lately. We have tried every form of punishment and restriction out there nothing has helped... the only thing that really helps is my husband being home (she truly loves him and doesn't want to disappoint).

    without a specific diagnosis how can you know which direction to go for help? my daughter (adopted at 4 1/2, now 9) has a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) - but the more I read the more I think she may have a conduct disorder as well.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Zippy -

    What a cool name. Can't wait to see what you pick for an avatar. Welcome! Yeah, I was kinda thinking it would be helpful to see you answer Daisy and Smallworld's questions.

    I have one too. Has there been any trauma or changes in her life since she was 2? By trauma or changes I don't mean what an adult would call trauma (the obvious of course, animal attack, bad fall, etc.) - I mean anything like divorce, separation, move, loss of a friend? Any other changes that may even be the sligtest bit subtle that you say you noticed the change in her behavior around or after that time? Could even be a thunderstorm or witnessing something bizarre or scary, unknown.

    A lot of 'our' kids with conduct disorder have layers of behaviors that grow over a period of years and psychologists are just now figuring out that these needed to be addressed when they were MUCH younger. Four, Five - in therapy. The catch it when they are young idea is very growing.

    Another thing you need to be aware of is this - a lot of our kids (and consider yourself lucky if you can believe this) CAN maintain for periods of time in one place or another and then WHAM. Your daughter seems to be able to hold herself together at school, for a period of time at friends and then by the time she gets home? KABOOM! Possibly because with you? She feels safe. Sounds ridiculous, but it's a place where she can release all the tension she feels from having to hold it together all day long. If she has ADHD? Have you ever tried to find out what it's like in the head of an ADHDer? I didn't either then I came here and googled just that - What it's like in the head of an ADHDer and OmWord..I nearly cried the first time I listened to the recording of what it's like inside their head. What they hear, how they process information, and then to listen to other outside things on top of trying to do school work, people? I'm telling you, if that were me (and it is slightly I have adult ADD) it's just insane, and stimulants make me worse. So by the time she gets home if she does have ADD or ADHD? She could just be ready to explode and unfortunately for you? She's comfortable with unconditional love. You aren't going to throw her out, or send her to jail - so it's a safe place to blow up. (Just a theory of course) and YOU? Not being used to being talked to like a Pirate -of course probably react in like kind after a period of time - and it escalates, does none of you any good, you get frustrated, she's frustrated - no one wins - and everyone goes to bed frustrated, upset and this is how it perpetuates until someone says "Okay lets just start over." and then you wonder "How many bloody times do we give her a fresh start?" and if you have other kids in the house they're saying "But she gets do-overs all the time!" (insert whine) and the dog and cat are hiding from the little terror, and you love this child but now you're beginning to wonder (ever so slightly) even though she looks like you or your husband IF the hospital perhaps sent home the wrong child......yeah I even checked the little tag I cut off his wrist and put into his scrap book - I'm sure others here did the same at some given point. you're not alone any more.

    Anyway - There is a really good book out - I recommend it a lot. It's about effective communication called How to talk to kids so they will listen and how to listen so kids will talk. EXCELLENT - it should come with the pregnancy announcement. Don't let the kid see you reading it or doing the work pages but RUN screaming to BAM or Amazon - it's worth it's weight in gold. It's like a 2 page a week gold-mine. It will help and if you are in counseling? Throw away the funky charts and chips - save yourself the aggravation. She's 12 - she's looking for short term goals and short term consequences. Charts and chips are for babies. Three chores, three rewards, three consequences - IMMEDIATELY served and ONE long term consequence and GOAL - BIG ONE - like something a little above age appropriate - not sure what that is for a 12 year old girl nowadays - but I'm guessing colored lip gloss, press on nails, lava light or a Twilight book? Not sure - (I'm probably so lame) as for consequence? Scrub a litter pan or take out the garbage whole house. Something really easy at first.

    Glad you are here.
  7. zippy

    zippy New Member

    Thanks for the quick replies and the support!

    Here is some more background that covers the questions asked:

    - She does great in school (all subjects) and is an A+ student. Even does her homework without complaining.
    - She makes friends easily and has a great circle of friends. She is also very generous and respectful with her friends.
    - She does not have any specific fears; she is not an anxious child; does not have an transition challenges; no speech or developmental delays; and no family history of mental health or substance abuse; no signs of ADD or ADHD;
    - On the sensory side, she has refused to eat a number of basic foods for many years including pasta, rice, and soup.

    While there are no specific traumas we can recall, her reaction to her newly born brother when she was 19 months old seems to have been a turning point in being difficult to handle. Our first pre-school teachers conferance was quite a wakeup call when her teacher described her as a "dream" and the best kid in the class as we were expecting her to be described as the terror she was at home. Up until 2 years ago, she used to blame her brother for everything and would often say "I did not want a brother". But - they really do enjoy each others company and play together great for very long periods of time. The Therapy sessions over the years have focused on this Sibling issue including having them together for many sesions with no positive outcome.

    Thanks in advance for all of your ideas and insight.
  8. Blissful_Betty

    Blissful_Betty New Member

    Star*... you described excellently so many of the not so funny, yet hilarious things that go through the parent's mind of a difficult child's... I have not checked the tiny baby bracelet yet, but am thinking perhaps I should... though, I know my DEX... I'm sure it's the right kiddo!

    Zippy and MauraClegg...welcome to your safe spot... where your concerns are heard and many others have been there done that.... many seem to have not the teeshirt but the broken or mending heart to prove it. I wish you lots of luck in your search for answers...
  9. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    My difficult child is the same. He is great in school, and very polite and respectful to adults. His social skills have greatly improved so he has a large group of friends and doesn't seem to annoy them too much anymore. LOL

    We have had parents that compliment him to the point that I get so red in the face and just smile and say thanx.

    It is a long process and I hope you find the help and answers you need.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator