easy child or difficult child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by house of cards, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    What do you do when you have trouble liking your child? L, 8, has anxiety which can cause annoying behavior but I can deal with that. She is the most selfish, greedy child I have ever known, that is what is giving me trouble. I have tried going out of my way to give and give to her in an attempt to fill the void she seems to have but it isn’t possible. An example, I spent the afternoon/evening out with her, bought clothes just for her, went out to eat…about 5 hours just about her. It is very draining spending that much time with her, on the way home I asked her if we could have quiet time, that my ears needed a rest. She got teary eyed and told me I hurt her feelings. Every time I leave the house she wants to go, never mind the other kids get a turn or I get time alone.
    This hunger for attention goes into eating as well. She has told me she never gets full, we are constantly telling her she has had enough, left to her own, she would easily out eat my 15 yo teen. She is overweight.
    She is a child who tries to get the teachers to feel sorry for her so she gets more attention. She pretends we haven’t given her a lunch so the teachers tell her to buy, She has told them we would not help with her homework when what actually happened was we required her to do all she could by herself BEFORE we would help because we are trying to get her to see herself as capable instead of the helpless victim she likes to be. At times she will say she doesn’t know what 2 + 2 equal.
    Anyway this has turned into a vent (and it felt good) but I really would like ideas about how you would handle her. At this point I have stopped trying to give so much to her and am trying to teach her that she only gets attention when she is nice to be around. I’m at a loss with the eating except to limit her amounts. I want her to feel satisfied….with something. Did I mention she is very negative in her outlook toward life?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First off, does she have any diagnosis and is she in treatment? Is she on medications that cause weight gain or excess hunger? Does she have a history of abandonment? Any psychiatric or neurological issues on the family tree? There must be a reason she is so needy. She either finds life every difficult (like a child on the autism spectrum usually does) or she is insecure for other reasons or she maybe has Learning Disability (LD) problems. I don't believe she is trying to be pesty. I think that, for whatever reason, her anxiety level is very high and she is afraid to try things--I would take her to a neuropsychologist to evaluate her and find out the reason behind her behavior.
    My son is fourteen and still likes to know somebody is nearby to help him with work if he needs it. He is on the Spectrum, very high functioning, and he has an aide. She is doing a great job of pushing him towards independence, but he wasn't independent at first and he can still need to be told, "You can do it!" He also overate on specific medications. I'm on Paxil and I can tell you right now that your appetite is insatiable on certain medications. I gained eighty pounds and losing them was NOT easy. Just some ideas.
  3. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    I just wanted to send some {{{hugs}}}. I'm in the same boat & need advice myself. by the way...that was a very nice thing you did spending that much time just for HER. I would have a very hard time giving something like that a try, too many things go wrong. Hopefully someone will come along & give you some helpful advice!
  4. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    She isn't on any medications. The family tree is ripe with Learning Disability (LD)'s, depression, anxiety, BiPolar (BP), antisocial and boarderline personality traits. Her twin has severe Learning Disability (LD)'s. Her 1/2 brother has BiPolar (BP).
    It is my understanding that medicaid wont pay for neuropsychologist testing in outpatient situation and I can't afford $2,ooo.oo on my own. I can get neuro and psychiatric seperately. I would love to have neuropsychologist done on all my school aged kids.
  5. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Let me add, she was 2 weeks premature,placed with us a 2 weeks old, emergency c-sec, just under 5 lbs. She was in EI and preschool disabled.
    She was a late walker but it was because of orthopedic problems complicated by her insecurities. Declassified and given 504 at first grade. She is on an edge as to where she belongs reg or sped. It is a tough choice. Either she struggles and gets a good education or she relaxes more but doesn't get the same education. I have been watching and letting her struggle as long as it isn't hurting her too much...taking all the heart out of her. So far she is handling it with extra help.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It really is common for adopted children to be so needy. Mine needs attention 25/7 (and, no, that's not a typo). It used to be more like 48/7 but she has grown up a little. Overeating is common. I found that having healthy snacks out at all times helped. There was no limit on carrots, apples, bananas, grapes. She even had her own at-home lunchbox that she could fill with what she wanted. I just made sure there were no sweet treats available. I did have a rule at mealtime -- I would either fill her plate or let her fill it, no seconds. She could, of course, have her munchies after a meal.

    Sadly, girls like yours really do better in a single-child home. Their need is real, they have no control over it. It is hard to get enough attention when parents have to deal with several children all needing help. The best you can do is acknowledge she needs the attention but so do the other kids. You could try setting aside 30 minutes or so every day for just her. Make it at the same time every day and it can only be broken due to illness or emergency.

    Your little ones have a lot of issues. When you add drug and alcohol in vitro into the mix, it makes things even more difficult. If there's Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), it gets even worse since there is real brain damage. Sadly, there are no easy answers. You truly have my sympathy.

    If you haven't read it, please read Adopting the Hurt Child by Keck. It gave me a wealth information in dealing with my daughter.

    by the way -- It is okay to not like her at times. Personally, I think it comes with the territory. Our kids are not always likeable. Just remember that it is her behavior you are not liking, not actually her.
  7. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    My difficult child was also very "needy" but now that we are in the years of teen hell it is amost the opposite. When she was little and went to sleep she ijnsisted I check on her 10 times (yes, she would count each time I came in!) now she hardly says goodnight but is hurt and upset if I don't attempt to go into her room and say goodnight.
    I wish I had more to suggest, but I can say one thing - we don't have to like them all the time or even most of the time, but we do love them. That's why we do what we do.
    As far as the food - Is she just hyped up on eating snack food or is it all food? My "little" one stands at 5'11" at age 13! Her bio dad weighed 400 lbs at time of death and older brother weighed 750 (NO, NOT a typo!) I always had to give her fat free, low fat stuff and use ground turkey instead of burger. But, even with that I had to place limits on portions otherwise she would eat a box of cereal in one sitting. It's very drainng having to be "needed" ALL the time, hopefully it will lessen as she gets older and realizes you are always going to be there for her. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!
  8. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I thank you for the replies, I will read them serveral times and glean what I can, support helps. I want to add that she has many positive traits, she loves to be helpful, nurtures the younger kids, she has a good heart. I really don't think being an only child would help her. She has no skills at playing alone and I can't explain it well enough but I don't think a devoted stay at home mom could fill the empty that is in her. Yes, she is draining but my frustration is really not being able to put a dent in her emotional hunger. How can you never feel full? I've intentionally allowed her to overeat so that she can feel satisfied...it doesn't happen. The hunger is from deep in her. I know I have alot of kids but I live for them. I spend time braiding her hair, I try to have girl talk and make it special. She complains it hurts, her loose muscle tone make sitting hard for her, ect...always negative. I paint her nails, that is one thing she just likes. I spend too much time helping with homework and not enough just having fun. My latest attempt is to go for a walk after my husband comes home from work, just the two of us. She didn't thing it was long enough so I went further only for her to complain she was tired and we turned back. When we can't get out we exercise inside...it doesn't put a dent in her need and I get that it is a real need in her.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think your daughter and mine are related. Mine has always been super needy and I've always explained it like you did - that there is this void that cannot be filled. It started at 3 1/2 weeks. Serious. I've always said that she could be an only child and I a stay at home mom that spent every second of every day with her and it still wouldn't be enough. She eats ALL the time, too, and always has but apparently mine has a hollow leg because she's not overweight. She must burn if off with all of her nervous energy. She's negative and a victim, too. Some days she s-ucks the life out of me. I feel like I could peel off skin for her and it wouldn't be enough. She wants me to fix absolutely everything even when there is no fix and becomes angry with me when I can't and has even told me 'if you really loved me you would think of something.'

    But, you're looking for advice. I'm still learning and mine is almost 13. I have stopped giving into the negative ways of her seeking attention. She comes to me almost daily with complaints of not feeling well or her knee hurts, her ankle hurts, you get the idea. She knows the remedies that I can offer as I've repeated the same things daily for years. So, now I just tell her that I'm sorry she's feeling bad and that I hope she feels better. That infuriates her, too, because I obviously don't care if I don't fix it, but I'm not going to give her attention in that way. I do make sure to highlight the good times and when we've had a really good time in a healthy way, I make sure to tell her how much I enjoyed spending time with her.

    I've basically quit engaging with her when she's being the victim and attention seeking. When she's out of the victim mode, I will talk to her about various things she's complained about to help her with skills. For example, everyone is always mean to her but she never does anything to prompt that kind of behavior from her peers. :rolleyes: So, I will talk with her about what happened, ask her directly what she said or did, what the other person said or did and go over other ways it could have been handled. She never could before look outside of herself.

    When she's seeking reassurance in a healthy manner, I make sure I give it to her. I try to find ways for her to succeed on her own as she always seems to expect to fail. I push for her to be more dependent on herself and less dependent on me. She taught herself to knit within the last year by watching videos online. She would become extremely frustrated and come to me in a hissy fit and I would just calmly tell her that she could do it. She made scarves for everyone for Christmas. She's made pillows, blankets and even a teddy bear without a pattern. Of course, when it doesn't come out perfect (by her amazingly high standards) she's upset, but I make sure to really stress how well she did and ooh-and ahh over it. The teddy bear is in my room. I love it. Not because it's cute or whatever (which it is), but because she did this on her own. I also got a scarf made by my sister-in-law for Christmas, but I make sure to wear the one Wynter made.

    It's been a lot of trial and error and she is still a work in progress...we're not there yet. But, it is getting better. At a snail's pace, maybe, but it's something.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I can't give advice as for dealing with this, other than to say have a very close relationship with the school so some well-meaning person doesn't think you really ARE neglecting or starving her. My oldest really tried to get extra meals, etc... and at one point the school secretary was ready to call and report us. The principal, who knew the entire story, told her that if she did, fine, but she would be unemployed for filing a false report.

    I think most children's medicaid WILL cover a developmental pediatrician, and this may be a very important step. Also, consider a pediatric endocrinologist and a pediatric psychiatrist. This kind of hunger may be an endocrine issue, or a psychiatric one. Hope this gives some avenues for help.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Medicaid usually covers anything done in a Unversity hospital. I'd try to get her assessed. Neurologists are different than a neuropsychologist (they look for tangibles such as an abnormal EEG) and Psychologists know theory of the mind, but not much about neurological disorders. I would find a neuropsychologist who takes Medicaid and do it. in my opinion adopted kids aren't all needy. I have four adopted kids.
    Was your child exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero? That makes a big difference in their development and personality too.
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    excluding the lunch thing that is what my daughter does every single day, emotionally needy clingy academically as well as at home with me. weekends are exhausting overall, anixety is through roof, etc.

    all i can say is it is hard, they need so much from us and never want to leave us.

    i just wanted to say that i can understand a little where you are. i'm sorry you are having such a rough time.

    lots of hugs
  13. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Thanks all, Heather you totally understand, your advice is where I am headed, its just sometimes I feel mean not feeding into her neediness and picking the times when she is appropriate to give the attention, and I needed the validation.
    MWM, I will look into the teaching hospital for the neuropysch testing.
    Meowbunny, I dug out the book, I can use some of their ideas for "fun" times.
    Susiestar, I think I would have had a visit if I didn't already have 2 caseworkers in my home monthly(just got down to one), EI and therapists weekly...They know things aren't abusive burt I highly doubt they think well of us(some do)
    And everyone that offered hugs/ understanding ,thanks...I'll keep my work in progress moving along. Your support has helped me to re-energize.