Hello ladies! (LONG)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Alttlgabby, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Good day, or not. I haven't been here for awhile other than reading. Not posting. I thought we were making some progress in our lives. J.. difficult child #1 whom we adopted back in September seemed to be making some strides with a few humps in the road. I hate to say it, but I was finally at my last option with her as far as discipline went and put a belt on her butt 3 days in a row (lying, stealing, etc). Alas.. something that really did SOMETHING about her behavior, even though I never wanted to go that route. NOTHING else was working! We do therapy, she has psychiatric appts every month, we talk to her, we ground, we take away privileges, we put her in the corner, we put her on the wall, we work towards rewards, etc.. spanking finally made her straighten up... EXCEPT for the stealing and drawing while in class and not getting her classwork done. It is basically a daily thing for her take things that don't belong to her, and frankly, after two years, it is getting quite old. She will NOT ask the owner if she can borrow their stuff. She simply just takes it. (She has NO trouble asking for ice cream, cake, tv time, computer time, etc). Getting in trouble has made no indention on this problem, even if she has to apologize. She has still been chronically picking and is on medications for it. She has a huge crater on her forehead right now from picking. Today was about my last straw with her after I get an email from her math teacher telling me she had a razor blade in her class today! The teacher took it away, howeover, my "nice and innocent" little child here went back up to the desk after the teacher was not looking and took it back! The teacher went to her in her 4th grade class and asked her where it was since she knew that she had taken it back. She stated that she lost it in her Science class the period before. Science teacher cannot find it in her room. I told the teacher to send her to the Dean's office for having a "weapon" and let her feel the consequences of having such a thing in her possession and then taking it back after it was taken from her. She wanted to send her to the Counselor. I said, whatever it takes to get through her little head that this is NOT acceptable. I start getting ready because I was just going to go up to the school and have her escorted out of class and brought to me in the office. About that time, the Dean calls me and he has her in his office. Yippee. Well, she didn't get expelled, however, she is getting written up for unacceptable behavior. They did check her to try to find it. He said that she had a pencil sharpener (makeup sharpener) that she had taken from her sisters makeup bag. She said it "broke", however, knowing her tendency to destroy things to see how they work, are put together, etc... I think she broke it on purpose. Instead of putting it in the trash, she put the plastic piece in her pencil bag and was playing with the razor. I am not sure what was going through her head as to why she does these kinds of things, and I have no idea what she was planning on doing with the razor. Play with it, hurt herself, or hurt someone else. A bit of history here.... oldest sister was a cutter, and since J does pick and gouge at herself and is hyposensitive.. that is not far off base in my thinking. Also, when she first came to us 2 years ago, MANY of her stories were about kids being chased and killed by monsters carrying knives and axes. Bloody stories. I stopped that as far as writing such things. Then she has had this fixation in the last 6 months or so with drawing "Sexy Purple Ninja" women carrying knives. Says that her friend likes Ninjas, so she is always drawing them for her? I told her she was NO longer allowed to draw such things and to concentrate on drawing pretty and nice things. She has been found standing and staring at not only her younger sister, but myself, while we are sleeping. That in itself is pretty freaky stuff. She has NO behavioral "issues" at school other than the drawing when she isn't supposed to be and not turning homework in once in awhile.. so not a real discipline problem there. At home, she is quiet, however, she has her issues that they do not see at school. Lying, stealing, destroying things that do not belong to her, sneaking, etc.. to gain what she wants. I have to go behind her continually to make sure she isn't sneaking or stealing, but somehow, someway, she does. I know that kids do these things, but this is an EVERY day thing with this child. She DOES know right from wrong, but chooses to just do whatever it is she feels like doing. She is on medications for anxiety and depression and for the picking/hyposensitivity. I have sent an email to our therapist to see if I just sit on this for a few days, or if we need to do something NOW. Right now, she will NOT have a life such as what she has known. She will be sleeping at the foot of our bed and I will be with her aside from school every single day. She will not even be allowed to go to the bathroom by herself. She is 15 and this behavior is totally unacceptable in any way, shape, or form. She was caught yesterday with my daughters gold hoop earrings! A few days before, she was caught with her sisters fingernail clippers because I had taken hers away because she was not clipping her fingernails, but tearing her pencil up with them! Two weeks ago, she destroyed my oldest daughters graduation tassel and then tried to hide it! Ugh!!! I will take something from her and she will turn around and try to sneak it right back. Ooooo la la!!! Drinking a glass of wine doesn't cut it. I need a PEPSI! LOL
    And this too shall pass, but boy, it feels good to type it out and to read that there are a lot of other wonderful mothers out there that do so much for their difficult child children. However, those children, due to their impulsivity or their lack of empathy or understanding for what they put their family through, are out there and doing the same type of things daily. I pray daily for you women, and of course, for myself, and all those wonderful families out there going through the same things. Bless you!
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Just wanted to clarify that you are, in fact, talking about your daughter and not mine? Are you sure???

    It's exhausting dealing with these kids, isn't it?

    No advice from me...but plenty of sympathy and understanding.

    Try to have a good evening.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have adopted six kids. Three are wonderful, but we got them as very young babies.

    Now for the older adopted kids: One was easy to raise, but left us like he'd never known us. One was so abusive he had to leave (he killed our dogs and sexually abused our younger kids). The other had only been with us a year and when this boy sexually abused him, we let him go to another family, which is what he wanted. We adopted our younger kids at one day old (we watched her birth), five months old, and two. All three of these kids are doing great. The ones who did not do well in a family setting were seven, eleven and six when we adopted them.

    You adopted a teenager and after two years in your house (a small part of a chaotic life, you expect her to behave. in my opinion it isn't going to happen and hitting her with a belt won't help one bit. She has to have attachment issues and probably doesn't even really feel like she is your daughter yet. She probably learned to steal and lie because nobody was there to take care of her needs and she learned dysfuctional but necessary survival skills. Our out-of-town social worker for our eleven year old told us 96% of all kids in foster care were sexually abused at least one time along the way so that is probably going on. She likely was also hit...that's one reason why, no matter what, I'd put that belt away.

    A therapist once a month in my opinion is not enough. Nothing may be enough. But in my opinion it is asking too much to adopt a teenager and expect them to adapt to a family, your values (which they did not grow up with) and just meld into the family. I wish love conquered all but I learned from The School of Hard Knocks that it doesn't.

    There are a lot of good books on adopting hurt children (which is what your children are). If you go on Amazon's site and put in "adopting hurt children" many good books will pop up. I suggest reading some of them.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck. But please lower your expectations. Your daughter may be fifteen, but her age was really arrested long ago and she is probably not mature. If her birthmother took drugs and drank while she was pregnant, you have THAT going on too. Alcohol can cause brain damage.

    I highly recommend a neuropsychologist evaluation for your adopted kids plus a Psychologist who understands older adopted kids and attachment issues.

    Been there/done that/wrote the book. Take care ;)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  4. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Daisy Face.. thank you.

    Midwest Mom.. she was NEVER spanked while the other kids were. I am convinced she is a kleptomaniac as she does take things as well that do not have monitary value. She is also a pathological liar. She WAS sexually molested at the age of 13. Claims it was only ONE time, however, therapist and I agree that it was more than likely more than once given the fact that she would never talk. She has MANY issues going on. I do realize that, however, she DOES know right from wrong. She does know that having the weapon could be construed at school as having a weapon. As far as belting, it was my LAST resort to her behavior since we have done everything except hospitalize her. I do know some of her background as she is biologically my niece. As far as therapy goes, we go more than one time a month. It is usually 3-4 times per month.. once a week. This time we skipped a week because we thought she was doing well. That went right down the toilet. Yes, her mother did drugs. I believe that she some Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) stuff going on there as does her Pediatrician, so we are waiting on consult from the Naval Hospital in San Diego to go for testing for autism, Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), and genetics. I really do not believe that my expectations are that high,they may seem like it, but really aren't (the kids don't even do but a few chores around here). Simply abide by the rules and they aren't hard. No stealing, no lying. No drawing in class while you are supposed to be paying attention and taking notes. She missed two tests in one class in two weeks due to the drawing while she was supposed to be taking notes and doing vocabulary. We try to work towards rewards (my niece wants to take her to CA this summer to all the amusement parks) and she doesn't even seem to want to work towards that goal! It is like she simply does NOT care. I don't think that it is so much to ask that for ONE day not to draw in class, or not take something that doesn't belong to her, or not lie. (yes, I know in her world she may not be able to control it, but I was not sure which is why I wanted to try the belt to see if it was simply "behavioral" and the behavior could be rectified in this manner before trying behavioral health! She was always the "coddled" child while everyone else got in trouble.) Actually, it is not even just me doing the asking there in regards to the drawing, but the teacher. I don't want to steer anyone wrong in the fact that she can be a fantastic kid aside from the very issues that make it so insane, and when she is she gets praised for it. She does get hugs. We buy her things she has never had. She has more clothes in her closet than she knows what to do with. She gets to go to the mall with me, and also to the movies, etc.... She does get gentle reprimands as well.. and I KNOW my frustration was coming through in my post. It has been explained over and over and over that if she were to simply stop lying and stealing on a daily basis, she wouldn't get in so much trouble. People wouldn't be so hard on her. Part of her problem is that she tends to make excuses as well instead of owning up to things and then says she doesn't "remember". Yet, if you ask her what the "rule" is, she can tell you EXACTLY what the rule is and whether it was right or wrong. Her choices are wrong. I don't want to have to take her to a behavioral health place and that is why I tried the belt. I used it a few weeks ago and she straightened up. More so than grounding, taking privileges, etc... and believe me, I have about tried it all, because those apparently do not work with her. She acts like she could do those things forever. Doesn't phase her one bit. Last night, I again found more jewelry in her stuff that she had taken! I didn't belt her. I asked her where she got it and she lied to me. Told me her "friend" gave it to her. I know for a FACT that her friend did not give that to her because it was given to the oldest daughter by one of her friends. This kid has jewelry of her own. I mean, this is a chronic thing. This isn't some small issue. As I said before, if it were a once in awhile type thing, I could handle it, but this is an EVERY day thing and today I was really reseaching things. I was also in touch with her former foster mom about some of the issues she had while there. She stole from the YMCA there. She also snuck food in the middle of the night. When they cleaned out the girls room after they came here, they found all kinds of scraps of paper that she had just torn up and thrown under the bed as well as the food wrappers. She put holes in soap. She would take the fireplace matches when nobody was looking and take them downstairs and light them. Melted pens with pins sticking out the end were found but we don't know if it was intended as a weapon or what. I mean, it goes on and on. Yes, I am very frustrated. And yes, I can and will take the criticism as well as the advice. I have read this board for awhile to know that there are so many of you that have the tshirt in regards to these kids and that is why I knew I could type this all down here and not be judged as much for the things I feel or do in regards to my personal situation. You ladies are wonderful. Another hump in the road here, and we will get over it. I am not giving up on her. Will take a lot of time and a few more (maybe hundreds? LOL) doctors appointments, therapies, etc.. in order to get to the bottom of what she is thinking and why her brain tends to work the way that it does, and hopefully, HOW to help HER fix it in such a way she can function in society. Thanks ladies!
    She is seeing the therapist. She saw a child psychologist, but I don't think it was complete neuro exam. We did find out we had some things going on with that. She sees a psychiatrist once a month for her medications and to see how she is doing. She is now on 4 different medications. Anxiety, depression, mood stabilizer and hyposensitivity.
  5. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    by the way.. thanks to you too Midwest Mom, and thank you for sharing your story. I know that even when they are adopted at such a young age, it isn't always the greatest either. My two nieces (sister in law's) were adopted as well and the older one has her own unique set of issues, having been born to a 17 yr old mother. It isn't easy being a parent at all, not even with biologicals. I'll take what I can get here with J because she IS not only my flesh and blood, but because no matter what, and no matter how awful things get or how frustrated I get... I do love her. I have loved her since the day I set eyes on her (she looks so much like me as a child, as does her sister). I would love to wring the egg donors neck though for putting these children (all her children) through what she has put them through in their lives!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry if I came on harsh. I thought she spent years in foster care. However, she did have a tough life.

    Have you looked into attachment disorder? Kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) really *don't* care. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is reactive attachment disorder and perhaps it would be a good idea to visit a therapist who is very well acquainted with this problem, which is very common in adopted kids, especially ones who did not have early stability.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) take a very special type of therapy. And the kids are very hard to reach on a deep level. They *can't* care. They have been through too much and have decided that there is only one person they can depend on: THEM. They have a lot of trouble really bonding and tend to be very charming when they want something. Lying is a coping mechanism. If she has Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), to be honest, they don't learn by either example or repetition. In fact, alcohol abuse in utero can cause organic brain damage, which is what Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is. My son who was adopted at two had been exposed to both drugs and alcohol in utero. We dodged the Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) bullet, but he has a high functioning form of autism.

    Anyhow, just wanted to say I"m sorry.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sometimes what seems simple to us, is impossible for the child.

    You also said that she knows right from wrong. That may be so, but as I said on someone else's thread about their child, kids ALWAYS have a reason for what they do and how they behave. And yes, it is possible that the reason is, "because they want to," but if you have set up a situation where the child wants to do A, but knows he/she will be punished for it, and the child still does A - then there is a very strong reason in deed that your discipline (and threat of punishment) was unable to prevent.

    That goes for stealing, drawing in class, being obsessed with blades, picking - anything.

    I think you need to get your thinking back to basics. I think that is what MWM was trying to say in a way when she said your expectations are too high. It's not that your expecting too much - more that what you're expecting is going on in her head, is actually a whole different ball-game. You're making your choices and management strategies based on what you think is going on, and in fact she is being driven in a totally different direction. Until you work out exactly what is driving her and where, you are not going to have much success.

    You say she's otherwise a lovely kid - that tells me again, that she isn't deliberately choosing to be sneaky and underhand for its own sake. Instead, there is something in her that is a stronger force pushing her to do what she does, than the alternative forces you or the teachers can exert on her.

    What you need to do, is find out what is driving her, why it is driving her and from there, how you can more directly counter it. Because at the moment, you are setting up opposition to her behaviour. In most discipline situations, this will work. But where a kid is driven by obsession or by her own weird routine that she has developed in order to cope - never forget that her drive will always be stronger than your determination to block her.
    And the outcome of this to and fro, "irresistible force meets immovable object" will be an increased trend towards ODD-like behaviours and she will not be controlled.

    In other words - conventional methods don't work in these cases, they'll only make her worse.

    A TV series that was screened in Australia about 20 years ago (based on a true story), dealt with a group of refugees put into quarantine because of a disease that broke out on the ship that was bringing them in to the country. They were refugees from WWII (the series was set in about 1946) and few of them could speak English. However, it was subtitled so we could 'hear' the refugees even while we could see the lack of understanding in the medical staff (who were also quarantined). Each of the refugees had their own story which only made sense if you could follow the subtitles.
    The refugees arrived in most cases with only what they wore, but there was occasionally something extra - one teenage girl had a pair of old, worn boots. She hugged them like a teddybear. To the staff at the quarantine station, the girl seemed very difficult, threw a tantrum if anyone tried to remove the boots. They tried to give her a new pair of boots and she refused them. Then when the medical staff, still stumped by the lethal infection that was claiming the refugees one by one, insisted that the refugees' clothing and possessions all had to be destroyed, there were some interesting reactions, and we found out why (at least, the audience did). The boots had belonged to her father and in the girls' mind while the boots were with her, so was her father. The look on her face as she watched the pile of clothing, including the boots, being burned - heartwrenching.

    Each of the refugees had a story of sorts, that explained what we otherwise saw as really weird and at times dangerous or aggressive behaviour. It really was a case of "you had to be there". They had each endured extraordinary and tragic circumstances, ones which are impossible to really comprehend unless you have been through something similar.

    In some way, your daughter has had years of "brain training" and working out her own ways to cope with extraordinary and at times nasty situations. What she does - it's coping strategy. Until she has an alternative coping strategy, she can't stop. You can't simply say, "Don't do this," unless you can replace it with "Do this instead." and to work out how to "Do this instead," she will need someone to first identify why, then what, and form there, what to replace it with. And work with her to involve her in this process.

    Stealing stuff is not acceptable, obviously. Lying about it - well, she has to cover up for what she does, somehow. Again, it's not acceptable, but it's a natural follow-on from the stealing. So why does she steal? When she takes something back that has been confiscated - in her mind, she is reclaiming her own possessions. Once she's taken something, in her mind it has become hers. Again - why? At some time in her past, having something, having possession of it, has become extremely important and representative of something else. I think it would be simplistic to say it's symbolic of a parent's love. It's probably something more basic than that.

    A friend of mine has a foster son (who only spends some time with my friend, the rest of the time he is with his parents who are loving but neglectful). When the boy visits, one of the first things he wants, is food. He eats as if there's no more food. He is constantly underweight, only when he's been staying with them for a month or more, does his weight begin to get into the normal range. From our observations (and form what we've worked out and know from the family) those kids don't get fed as much as they should. When they do eat, it's poor quality food. They also don't get clothed well.
    This boy, in my friend's home, is always hungry. But my friend has to watch him constantly - he hoards food and steals it. She's made it clear to him, he only has to ask and he can have whatever food he wants (as long as it's healthy) and he's very happy to eat healthy food. It's not junk food he hoards, it's whatever he can get. It's as if he's trying to make sure he will have something to eat in those times when his parents don't have any food in the house for anybody.
    For this boy, stealing food is a coping strategy. Not a healthy one, but it is what he has developed to help him cope.

    What I'm trying to say - your daughter is not an average kid. What she has been through, you only know the tip of the iceberg. At 15 she has probably buried a lot of the nastier stuff and can't even remember, even if she wanted to. But it's still done damage and left her with her "coping strategies". Before she can lose these, she needs to know why, and to have alternative strategies. And they have to be worked out carefully, not simply imposed on her. She's probably had a great deal of people imposing their will on her (it's one facet of abuse, after all) and needs to be part of the process.

    Alternative coping strategy for this will not be as simple as "Do the right thing."

    A quick example - difficult child 3 likes to throw stones. He watches how they fall. it's an obsession with him. We couldn't stop him, his drive to throw stones was too strong. For him, it's a coping mechanism. So we had to give him an alternative, and work with him to develop this. What we gave him (and it seemed to work for him) was - blowing bubbles.
    One day he left his bottle of bubble mix (pocket-sized) in the classroom and wanted to go back and get it. The teacher on playground duty stopped him and he got very upset, screaming at her. Now, I understand why he got upset, it is something absolutely vital to his ability to cope. But the teacher did not understand - to her, this was a kid who had left a toy in the classroom and he needed to learn personal responsibility, having to do without it was his lesson in learning to remember it next time. The teacher didn't understand, and her response, while probably correct for most kids, was very bad in difficult child 3's case.

    Does this help explain what I'm trying to say?

    You are doing a wonderful thing, trying to help this girl. I really hope you are able to help her, but it's clearly no picnic. You need to get right into her head in order to be able to start from there and lead her more gently into the behaviours you want her to adopt. Until you can do this, I think you are set up for failure.

    But if you can find out where all this has come from, and help her replace some of these strategies with more acceptable ones, then you have a much better chance of success. It also should be more painless.

  8. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    just wanted to say, that in my difficult child 2's case---
    she's artsy and loves to draw in general, and does so all the time.
    eventually the drawing was a gigantic red flag.
    the more prolific it became, the more mania became apparent in her.
    it actually did appear to be beyond her control, and was all consuming.
    at first i, too kept telling her to stop doing it, yada, yada because she was getting in trouble over it. she just couldnt.

    certainly not saying this applies to your situation....i only mention it because i pretty much didnt "get" it and assumed wrongly
    that it was behaviorial.

    but i will also tell you now thats she's on the road to proper medication/treatment its back to her regular, "i'm artsy" drawing--and no
    longer covering every single bit of schoolwork. i'm still trying to get her to lose her "professional signature :D" which involves her embellished with stars signature--and practice for when she needs to "sign autographs" when she's famous...ROFL....i dont have the
    heart to argue with that rationale....
  9. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Midwest Mom.. I don't feel you came off as harsh! This is what I am HERE for ... anywhere I can get some kind of support, answers, input, etc...I welcome anything you guys throw at me.
  10. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Thanks. I know where you are coming from. I am not using the belt any longer.. it doesn't do anything obviously. She and I had a long talk yesterday and she said she takes things because her "friends" might need something. Well, of course, *I* don't understand that because she essentially has no friends. When she claims she gets things from her "friends" you ask her for a name and she cannot produce it and claims to have so many that she can't remember their names. I have tried explaining and having her look at the definiton of friend from the dictionary that these people are not her "friends" if she doesn't talk to them all the time and she doesn't even know their names.
    History on this kid: She was born December 24th, due in March sometime. Mom claimed all the time she was 3 months premature (can't count obviously). I cannot get medical records I do not think because of the fact that they are over 10 years old and the hospital claims they most likely no longer have them. Only thing I know is that she was on oxygen, apnia monitor, and she had a spinal tap done. She came home on the oxygen and apnia monitor until the age of 1. She did not walk until well after the age of 1-1/2 (on tippy toes too,..autism?) and she walks on her feet now, but she rubs her shoes right under the big toe, so still "toes". She didn't speak until after age 2 and didn't create sentences until after age 3. In an initial session for intervention at age 3, the ONLY sentence she spoke the entire time was "I want that" when it was time to leave and she saw a piece of candy. She only said things like Bye-Bye, Hi, etc.. simple words. She was mostly expressionless every time I saw her. Mouth downturned. She didn't try to get people to pick her up. Wave, babble, etc.. she just sat there, even if her 7 month old sister was in the same porta crib. I don't remember her playing with toys. I also remember her sleeping a lot. This is what *I* know and remember from the time they lived with us in 1997, and what I have documentation on. She lived with both parents until age 5/6...and with my Mom and Stepfather. She lived with her parents in my parents home for approximately 3-4 years and she was fed there and she was given love, etc... at least by my parents. My mother cannot remember any food issues there, but she certainly has them now. At age 5, her mother left with another man. I don't think she saw them often at all for about 6 months.. and I know for a fact that she was gone to Missouri between Dec. 2001 and July 2002. In February 2002, my brother was forced out my mothers house after being abusive verbally to my mother. My stepfather had died in January 2002. In March 2002, my brother abandoned the girls and their older brother and sister to people that the kids were going to church with and knew. Just dropped them off and never returned for them. These people had the kids for 3 months, in which time, I found out where they were and drove every 2 weeks to see them so that they weren't abandoned by everyone in their lives (I lived 8 hours away). I was there and signed J's IEP for school and that was when I wrestled with what to do. My initial thought was to try to walk into the Texas courts and ask for emergency guardianship of them. Instead, I went home and called their grandmother in Arizona trying to find out where the heck their mother was! (MY BIGGEST mistake!) Mom came and got them and took them back to Missouri. I was able to call them for the first month and after that, she disappeared with them and I had not seen them until 7 years later when CPS from Nebraska called me. They were only in Foster Care there for 7 months. In the last few days, the foster parents also told me that she seemed to have a fascination with taking paper clips. If they would go somewhere, she would also ask people she didn't know for what they had, even if it was something "stupid". Yet, she doesn't ask her own family members (tells me that she has trouble in the relationship area). This is what I have seen here as well. She has absolutely no problem asking a total stranger for money or whatever it is she wants at the time..popcorn at the basketball game, money to get in and money for candy. She comes home all the time with stuff from school and claims that "someone" just GAVE it to her and I do not believe that is the case. I am almost 100% sure that she has asked them for it. I learned yesterday that she had fruit bites in her pencil case. LOL I also learned the other day from her teacher that J is always trying to tell her classmates about her past and her teacher has to redirect the class all the time due to this, and I learned last night that apparently the other day she just yelled out in class that she had been sexually molested! I talked to my stepmom the other day because I remembered a time when my brother was young and had to be tested for something. They brought him home and he had these white circles in his hair from where they were testing his brain. Well, apparently, my brother (her father) was diagnosed with schizophrenia! Oh JOY! And, from what I am reading, it can be a genetic thing. OH JOY again! And from what I am reading.. OH JOY! We just might be on to something there as well. Wonderful! When she first came to live with us, she HONESTLY believed that Chucky the doll and other dolls could come to life and kill people. This is at the age of 12. She claims that she sometimes talks to things or people that aren't there (just imaginary stuff?). She doesn't claim to have hallucinations. Oh, as for the stealing, she has been doing it since she was very small. My Mom said that anytime anything disappeared, all she had to do was go look in the bedroom where J was at and there it would be. So this has been going on for YEARS, so it can't be just the "friend" thing that she speaks about. As for the lying, it isn't just about the stealing or drawing; it is about EVERYTHING! You can ask her a question and automatically it is a lie coming out, but you know when it is because of the look on her face. You can be standing there watching her get ready in the bathroom and she will forget to wash her face. You will ask her if she washed her face and automatically it will be YES, even with her knowing that you were standing right there watching her and knowing full well she didn't! It is almost as though she believes her own "reality" as she creates it. Just as she wrote in her journal (this is her assignment every night) that she did her classwork, homework, journaling, reading, and how she didn't lie or draw in class that day, yet she got caught! It is almost like she is trying to convince herself that it is a reality..or that she truly believes she did all those things. We have so many issues that can go so many ways in a diagnosis with things. I had read up on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) when I first came to this board, but all the traits didn't seem to fit her, however, someone had posted something about SAD, which is very similar and those traits did fit her. I have always thought that she had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) no matter how much she does or does not fit that criteria. I have also thought possibly something on the autistic spectrum. She doesn't hug like other kids do. She just puts her arm around your shoulder and kind of leans in from the side and it doesn't feel genuine. It is almost like she is going through the motion, no emotion, no expression. When I get hugs from her sister, you know it is a hug. She wraps both her arms around you and squeezes, and she gives a peck on the cheek and you can see the expression on her face that she is being genuine. I KNOW that J is impulsive. That one is a given, but if redirected right then she gets back to whatever in the proper manner. She does have something in the way of facial features for Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE).. her pediatrician here noticed it right off when I told her I wanted a consult for it and that is why she was willing to give it. She is getting us sent to San Diego rather than waiting here because it is a year long wait here! Trying to think of whatever other info I can give. She is just a puzzle waiting for the pieces to be put back in place. I just cannot wait for the trip to San Diego!!!!
    Again, thanks..
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  11. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    just wanted to say, that in my difficult child 2's case---
    she's artsy and loves to draw in general, and does so all the time.
    eventually the drawing was a gigantic red flag.
    the more prolific it became, the more mania became apparent in her.
    it actually did appear to be beyond her control, and was all consuming.
    at first i, too kept telling her to stop doing it, yada, yada because she was getting in trouble over it. she just couldnt.

    certainly not saying this applies to your situation....i only mention it because i pretty much didnt "get" it and assumed wrongly
    that it was behaviorial.

    Really, I don't believe that hers is "behavioral" so to speak. More an impulse. She can get caught drawing in school and told to put it away and 10 minutes later, she is trying to sneak it back out. But she does know she isn't supposed to be doing it if she is told not to and she is trying to sneak it back out. But your daughter sounds a lot like mine!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You would need to get it formally evaluated, but everything you describe would fit with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form.

    Believing that Chucky was real for example - we had similar issues with difficult child 3 and really didn't understand properly for ages, just how much we were traumatising him by making him watch movies when to his mind, they were the same as documentaries. For example - we took him to "Mars Attacks!" and the poor kid thought that cities really were being destroyed, people really were being obliterated by ray guns, that a lady's head was transplanted onto her dog - and so forth. After the movie finished (and the poor kid was doing his best to 'fit in' and accept our apparent callous acceptance of other people's suffering, in making the film) he asked us, "Were they able to fix up those people? And those ones that got burned to nothing - how could they make them alive again?"

    That was when we realised - he simply didn't understand about 'movie magic'. It too a lot of intensive effort to teach him, and it wasn't until he was in a feature film himself (and THAT was initially a scary thing, he was at times afraid of what they might do to him) that he was able to work out the difference between the actors standing there saying their lines (over and over, in his case) and what the audience eventually sees. We showed him lots of "making of" stuff on DVDs and it finally did help.

    difficult child 3 is a smart kid, but in social areas he just doesn't get it.

    Now, something you said about your daughter and her "friends" - have you had her checked out for face blindness? That could be why she can't tell you who her friends are. She is also ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous kids who know they can get her to steal stuff for them, she could be trying to buy popularity because other kids tell her it's how you do such things.

    If your daughter has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any form, it could explain a great deal but it also means she needs a very different way of handling. Some battles, you will probably never have to fight with her. Others, will be a headache years after you would think she could manage certain things.

    Girls do express Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in different ways, so in some areas she may seem more capable and "normal", and in others will seem very backward. The best thing you can do is accept her at face value, be vigilant in the areas where you know she is not up to age equivalent, and support her to learn the right way. Support and encourage, rather than punish. At times her behaviour towards you will seem inappropriate and insolent - in fact, it is not what you think. These kids simply can't understand the social gap between adults and children, it is too difficult a concept. They will treat other people the same way those people treat them (because they are great imitators). In this way, a teacher who used to use sarcasm a lot, to try and belittle the kids and bully them into compliance, got sarcasm and "rudeness" from difficult child 3 - he was simply talking to her, the same way she talked to him. He might say to her, "But I handed my homework in, it is right there on your desk. What's the matter - are you blind? If it had teeth it would have bitten you."
    Of course, this would not go down too well, but he was giving back to her, the same language she used on him. And he did not understand when he was punished for it, when she had shown him the way.

    Your daughter's drawing sounds like a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (which is also a common part of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)). There can be so many issues, but they are manageable. And if you and she can understand what is going on that makes her do these things, it could make it easier for her to learn to manage herself.

    Something we were taught very early on with difficult child 1 - keep the kids in the loop re their diagnosis and treatment. Also, make sure they accept this is simply a part of who they are, and that it's not merely a matter of trying to change them into "normal", but helping them accept that this is part of who and what they are, and needs to be embraced and managed. It brings gifts as well as difficulties, and those gifts are worth concentrating on.

    One important gift - believe it or not, is honesty. However, they expect that same honesty from others around them and can't understand or accept dishonesty or unfairness. Her stealing - somehow it is part of her need for fairness and there is something underlying this, somehow she is able to justify this. So either someone is putting her up to it, or in her mind the stuff is justifiably up for grabs somehow. As for stuff taken away from her, in her mind it shouldn't have been taken away and it's hers so she must get it back. She needs to be taught so SHE really understands, just where the boundaries are and who sets the rules, and who does not. I'm thinking she's probably getting conflicting information on this.

    But do check out face blindness, also known as prosopagnosia. Look it up on Google, I think you should be able to find an informal online test so you can find out if she has any degree of face blindness. Clearly it's not total (because she recognises you) but partial face blindness can cause a lot of problems without people realising it's an issue. easy child 2/difficult child 2 didn't realise she was partially face blind until she had finished high school and was in the workforce. She was about 19 at the time. And she had already developed her own technique to cope (sort of). She just thought she wasn't as bright as people thought she was. Now she knows better.

    Also, to informally assess for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), go to www.childbrain.com and look for their Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. You can print the results (even if she scores as normal) and take them to a doctor for their opinion. It lets the doctor know the sort of issues that are concerning you.

    It's interesting you describe your girl as your butterfly - that's how we describe easy child 2/difficult child 2! She's very bright in so many ways, but sometimes very blonde!

  13. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    Thank you so much for the helpful information. I understand totally where you are coming from. I had not really heard so much about the face blindness and will certainly be reading up on that (very much why she thinks "everyone" is a friend, rather than just an acquaintance). As for the stealing FOR people... I don't think anyone is putting her up to it since it is some really "dumb" things such as pencils, paper clips, etc... she has said that nobody is telling her to do it or asking her, so that is good that she isn't trying to do it for acceptance.
    On a better note.. today was a good day. I talked to my oldest son yesterday and asked him if he would take her out and spend some time with her. So, he and his girlfriend took her bowling and to lunch today. I needed a break from her and she needed one from me, I am sure. She and I had a LONG talk last night and she said she was going to try really hard. I told her that I know that she has a really hard time remembering things and that she is very impulsive, but she has to try to remember to try to control these things if she can. We DO keep her on the same page with us as far as her diagnosis and her treatment. I know she is eager to try to help herself because when she first went on medication, she was right on me about getting her medications filled! Now she is on me about getting a diagnosis in San Diego. What seems to worry me about this however, is that she tells everyone at school what is going on. I have told her before that her classmates do not need to know this info about her (kids can be very cruel!).. and she has already discovered this, yet still does it.
    Hopefully, this week will be much better. I am going to go to the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) site and do that before her psychiatrist appointment this week and therapy, and look into the face blindness thing.
    Hope things are going well for others.
  14. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    WOW... she scored at the level of 110.. moderate!
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We went through this with difficult child 1 first, when he went on Disability at 16, and then told people at school. It's not something to brag about, and I think some kids really found it confronting.

    difficult child 3 did it to me last week, at his drama class. He & I were joshing around (I tend to tease him a bit, gently, to encourage him to learn a bit of conversational banter). Now, the other people at drama do understand, because all the kids are difficult children and the parents all sit and chat while the kids are in class, so we all know one another well. But difficult child 3 was mock-angry with me for something I said (it might have been, "Go put your ugly mug and the rest of you in the car...") and was trying to joke back with something like, "If you're not careful, I'll rearrange your face so you won't be able to call me ugly..." but instead he got very inappropriate and said something like, "If you call me that again, you'll have more than just cancer to worry about..." which was NOT a healthy way to tell the other kids at drama class that I have cancer.

    [I know a lot of this banter sounds really bizarre - this is peculiarly Australian, this way of gently slanging off at one another. It takes skills which Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids don't have but need to learn, at least as a spectator sport, if not as participants.]

    So difficult child 3 happened to have just announced very indiscreetly, that I have breast cancer. It really upset a few of the kids, because we're all good friends. while I was OK with them knowing (and difficult child 3 knew I was OK with it), I had to explain to him afterwards, that the only person allowed to make jokes about the cancer, is the person who has it. And that any humour in our banter got totally blown away by him using the news that way.

    I wasn't angry with him, I was just using the situation as a teaching tool. Sometimes it feels freaky to need to teach your child this sort of stuff, but underneath it all, you discover that in there, you have a wonderful human being (for all his/her faults) who tends to be more loving, more forgiving, more honest and more loyal than the average person around.

    See what she thinks about face blindness. We found with easy child 2/difficult child 2, she had no idea she had partial face blindness, she just thought everybody was like this. But with difficult child 3, he could never understand how other people could be more certain of who was who, when he had trouble. There would be problems at school with various kids hassling him, and difficult child 3 was often not sure who it was he was having trouble with. The bullies used to capitalise on this (a few of them tried it with me, tried to pretend I had mistaken their identity) and generally, because difficult child 3 could never name his bullies for certain, they generally got away with tormenting him.

    What easy child 2/difficult child 2 has learned as a coping skill as a "checkout chick" - she talks to customers, chats to them about recipes or other things and generally finds something about their appearance (usually what they're wearing) to compliment them on. That way she can link their conversation to what she said, to what they bought. So if a customer forgot a bag of shopping (which does happen) she would be able to recognise them in some way, when they came back for it. But instead of "lady with blue eyes and kind smile" it would be in her mind, "lady with green blouse and cameo brooch".

    The other thing with easy child 2/difficult child 2 - she says she has to force herself to make eye contact with customers. She actively works on her social skills.

    difficult child 3 said, when he was 8, "I'm getting better at pretending to be normal."

    That's important to remember - they always feel like outsiders, always trying to act normal, trying to modify their behaviour in order to blend in. They don't necessarily mind being different, they often accept that this is how they are.

    difficult child 1's best friend from school is Aspie. The young man had a horrible time of it with teachers, most of whom were scared of him because he's big, stony-faced and sometimes did crazy things like pouring lighter fluid over his hand and setting fire to it. When whispers got around the school that Aspie friend had brought a gun to school, nobody checked whether it was true, they just told him to drop out. "Don't come back next year," he was told, with no explanation. He never told his mother why, he just told her he wasn't going back. because he was old enough, he was able to walk away from school without truant officers getting involved. Of course, he had not brought a gun to school.
    Aspie friend was best man at difficult child 1's wedding. This meant he had to give a speech - it was scary for him, he ended up recruiting the other groomsman to help him.

    difficult child 1 & Aspie friend would go for long walks and talk to one another. Aspie mate would obsess to difficult child 1 about reptiles (his passion) while difficult child 1 would obsess back about birds.
    "We each obsess about our favourite topics and neither of us listens to the other, but we're happy," difficult child 1 explained to me.
    Aspie mate is also now engaged to be married - fiancee is very difficult child herself, but very much a mothering figure too.

    Alttlgabby, be careful you don't set her up for failure. Of course she is motivated to try to overcome impulsivity, but first, that is not specific enough, and it is also something her brain is not yet mature enough (in terms of development and capability) to be able to really control. So help her set smaller and more achievable goals. Also help her put in place some management strategies. For example, difficult child 1 does a lot better if he works from a written list. If he's calmer, he can function better. If he gets anxious or stressed, his impulse control suffers badly.

    When they act out of impulse, it is not the same as a kid being disobedient. You need to be aware of this distinction. If the kid falls down on the task, just give her a hug and say, "You tried. YOu've got this far, that is good. Let's pick up and keep going."
    If you are in a position to support her to calm down when she needs to, and she succeeds in regaining control, congratulate her on this.

    And always - if you're saying something positive to her, keep it unconditional. Try to keep information bits (and instructions) as simple as possible. One bit at a time.

    Take notes. Keep a good diary on her and how she is going. It helps you keep track on her progress.

  16. Alttlgabby

    Alttlgabby New Member

    "Alttlgabby, be careful you don't set her up for failure. Of course she is motivated to try to overcome impulsivity, but first, that is not specific enough, and it is also something her brain is not yet mature enough (in terms of development and capability) to be able to really control. So help her set smaller and more achievable goals. Also help her put in place some management strategies. For example, difficult child 1 does a lot better if he works from a written list. If he's calmer, he can function better. If he gets anxious or stressed, his impulse control suffers badly.

    When they act out of impulse, it is not the same as a kid being disobedient. You need to be aware of this distinction. If the kid falls down on the task, just give her a hug and say, "You tried. YOu've got this far, that is good. Let's pick up and keep going."
    If you are in a position to support her to calm down when she needs to, and she succeeds in regaining control, congratulate her on this.

    And always - if you're saying something positive to her, keep it unconditional. Try to keep information bits (and instructions) as simple as possible. One bit at a time.

    Take notes. Keep a good diary on her and how she is going. It helps you keep track on her progress."

    Marg, first I would like to say that I am so sorry to hear about your cancer and that you are handling it well. I know it is not a fun thing for you or your family to go through. My sister had it and had to have a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) mastectomy done. It wasn't a fun time and at the time she was going through that, the dr found a pea sized lump in my left breast. I had it taken out and it was just a fibroadenoma, but scary all the same.
    As for J... you are right on the money with the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I was looking at some of the other sites as well, and did the "test" thing on the sight. She fits the criteria by about 98%! She also fits Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) from the one website I found. (I found out today that she gets up during class while the teacher is teaching to give her a "hug" and the teacher is becoming uncomfortable with it.)
    psychiatric is going up on the ritalin and paxil. And I got the name of a wonderful doctor to take her to here at the "Brain Institute" here in Las Vegas to get a neuro psychiatric done!! YES!!! He also believes that there is more than likely the Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) going on! I had printed out the emails from her two teachers to take to him in regards to the razor at school and the drawing issues. He doesn't think schizophrenia but won't know anything until we do the neuro. I will be calling tomorrow morning to get her in. Thankfully, with our insurance we can call for psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, etc.... and our first 8 visits we do not have to have a referral and they will pay for it. So, it is just a matter of getting an appointment. Next week could not be soon enough for me! She did pretty well today, although yesterday she had been drawing in another class obviously because she brought something to her teacher. They have testing this week, so there isn't much time for anything in class. I had thought about seeing if the teachers could have her take out a pencil and one piece of paper for notes and leaving her binder at their desk and that way she is not tempted to try to take any paper out of it to draw. If she doesn't have any, then she can't do it. I did talk to the doctor about the face blindness thing but we didn't go into much depth on that one. Will neuro testing tell anything about that as well? Let me tell you, I am here to learn as much as you ladies can/will teach me.
    by the way... I DO keep a journal. Have for a very long time... that is part of my sanity. LOL Even before the girls came, I kept a journal. I write stuff down all the time in my appointment book as well. Tomorrow is therapy, so we shall see how that goes. Today was a pretty good day, although she was going to try to get away without doing the work that was due to be turned in yesterday. She thought I didn't know that they do have a couple of their regular classes tomorrow aside from testing. LOL Anyway... I am going to bed! Thanks!!!!!