Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by change, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. change

    change New Member


    My husband and I don't know what else to do. Our daughter is out of control. Yesterday she called her science teacher a cuss word (you know the one) after doing something very inappropriate with some science materials just to get negative attention. She has already pretty much outcasted herself from everyone and this only adds to her bad reputation. We just got her norm-referenced test results in the mail as well and she scored below grade level in most everything. Last year she was pretty much on grade level and above on some. Two years ago she was in the gifted range in most things and all the years before that the same thing. We don't know why she's just been on such a downhill slide. The things that have happened to her have happened to other kids as well and they ahve not just sat and sabotaged themselves like she has. It's wierd too because we have a son that's not in our home anymore and he did the same thing at the same age but under much worse cisrcumstances. They are adopted so it almost makes us wonder if it's purely genetics. It's the age-old question of nature vs. nurture which also makes us feel like it's something we did depite what our professional counselors, and doctors tell us. We have given them every opportunity and we brought them out of poverty into an upper-middle class neighborhood. We are both educated with advanced degrees and both work. We come from educated families and they have grandparents on each side that are educated and not divorced. It doesn't make sense. At this point, she is just spinning out of control no matter what we say or do. You should see her. She flat out doesn't care. She has an excuse for everything or her answer is just "I don't know" when asked why she's behaving a certain way. She also lies constantly and has a blank look all of the time. She does not care at all what people think about her. I know some of you will say she needs to be admitted to a hospital but we tried that with the child that is no longer with us and no one would help us until he broke the law and was removed from our home because it was against his own sister. So we know what it takes in our city and with her insurance to even get a hospital admittance. She would have to try to commit a crime or physically hurt herself before they would admit her. It's pathetic.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome to the board. I have a few questions (I adopted four kids too).
    How old were they when you adopted them, and do you know anything about the birth family? Did the kids have good prenatal care?
    Also, as hard as it is to admit, our kids are born with their genetics and "nature" can only do so much. Just because your entire family has advanced degrees doesn't mean that your kids have that potential. If you have a well-balanced family void of psychiatric problems, that doesn't mean that these two kids have the same genepool or can follow your example, even if it's a great environment. Do you know if there are any psychiatric or neurological problems on the family tree? That will probably tell you more than anything. Also, they don't care that you rescued them from poverty. in my opinion that should never even be brought up--I have a few kids who would have been poor if not for us, but I consider us the lucky ones--we adopted them because we wanted to make them our kids, not to save them. Lastly, has either child ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation? If not, I highly recommend that as the best sort of evaluation a child can get. They catch lots of things others miss because they test very extensively.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm so sorry your family is having such a rough time.

    Your daughter has some serious dxes. What kind of treatment -- therapy and/or medications -- is she receiving? Does she receive any support at school, either in the form of accommodations or direct services? Is there any chance she has some learning disabilities, which might account for her current academic challenges? Has she ever had a neuropsychological evaluation to assess for such disabilities?

    I hope we can point you in the right direction for help.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Hi, another one who adopted an older child. A couple of comments and suggestions. Don't expect your daughter to be grateful for being adopted, whether it was a life of sheer poverty, neglect or abuse. Do be prepared for some serious resentment during the next few years. She's more than likely going to put her biofamily on a pedestal and have a fairy tale dream of what life would have been like had she stayed with them. Stinks for us, but it is something we have to accept.

    If you haven't read it, I found "Adopting the Hurt Child" by Keck to be extremely helpful. Also, "The Explosive Child" for some basic behavior modification.

    Has reactive attachment disorder been ruled out? If you don't have one, try to find a therapist who specializes in adoption issues. If she does have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), you're looking at a whole different ball of wax and behavior modification is only a small part of what will be needed for her. For mine, it took intensive therapy and, ultimately, a long stint at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    You're not alone in this war (and it is a war!). We'll hold your hand through the bad times, cheer for the good ones and even make you laugh a time or two. Welcome!
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    The middle school years are, without a doubt, the worst times for young girls. There are a lot of hormonol, emotional, and social changes going on. Considering the trauma you have hinted at before, I would be surprised if she were not acting out. She needs a good counselor. You need to pull her out of school and place her in a small academic setting or homeschool her while she is healing. Don't expect her to appreciate or like you for at least three more years.
  6. change

    change New Member

    Thank you everyone for quickly replying. (Today is a bad day and I need some support.) I keep getting e-mails here at work about her. She's failing school in other classes I didn't know about and also acting "absent" and disrespecting other teachers besides the science teacher.

    We adopted her at 3 1/2 and brother at 5. They are about 14 months apart. They have been tested numerous times and "yes" to all of the questions that y'all asked about the different types of evaluations and tests. The results were that there was no evidence of drug or fetal alcohol syndrome. There was no evidence of physical abuse in her and one reported incident of a weird physical thing with him at like 6 months old I think. His diagnosis changed many times but he was diagnosed as young as 7 years old with anti-social personality or something like that. Both had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) when we got them. It's been a battle forever. She had gotten a lot better but we've never totally gotten over it. He never came out of it AT ALL. We feel he never really bonded with us. It seemed like it at first, but after looking back, we don't think so. We only recently learned all of the symptoms of that and he has/had them all the whole time. She had some of them for many years, had gotten much better, but still had a couple and now has gotten really bad again. With her, it doesn't make sense. There is a family history of bi-polar disorder but she just had a SPECT scan and she doesn't have it. She has PTSD, ADD, and a ton of anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that she has is weird. She has binge eating, bites her nails, and things like that. She also lies a lot. We have been in talk therapy with them since we got them. They've had a psychiatrist since then too. She now sees an EMDR specialist after the attack by her brother. (It's expensive and I'm not even sure it's helping at all.) She takes Concerta, Effexor (just switched from Wellbutrin), and Topamax (for binge eating). She's out of control with the binge eating too though. She won't much of regular food at all but she pesters others for $, candy, etc. and will steal or go after it all costs if not monitored. It's stressful and awful. She does not care at all that kids talk about her or that she is treated like a criminal over that sometimes. I don't get it. Her life is very lonely but she does nothing at all to change it. Kids want to be her friend (and I've seen her in action) but for no reason at all, she'll be mean to them or act bizarre with them so eventually they'll give up trying. We've tried a small school setting for 2 was awful. We wasted a lot of $ and she got even more behind academically. Financially, we can't afford to quit our job and homeschool.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I'm so sorry for what you are going through. So many times children are adopted and given a new chance at life and it ends up being a disater for the adoptive parents. An author of a book I read once on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) referred to it as "poodles adopting pitbulls." This being said, I can see how much you care for your children by how many things you have done for them. It is so frustrating, I know. We fostered then later adopted our son at age 4. He came to us from an residential facility because of agression in a previous foster home. We thought it was ridiculas for a 4 year old to be in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He did better with us but was always a difficult child. When he was kicked out of several daycares, we hired a private nanny (at our expense even though he was still our foster son), we attended counseling, had testing done, began medications, had in-home behavioral specialists, enrolled him in a specialized theraputic school and later I quit my job as a teacher to homeschool him, and still now at age 9 he is in an inpatient facility for violent towards me and my husband and anyone else that dares to cross him. medications. are not working and we have no idea where to go from here. His violence and behavior problems have made our lives a living hell. And the craziest thing of all, we love him so much that all we want is for him to come home! So from one "glutton for punishmnet" to another, I wish you the best of luck with your situation, and hope the break you are way past deserving finally comes your way.

    Take care,
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Chance, your daughter sounds so much like mine, it is truly painful. The only thing you seem to be missing is the violence mine has inflicted on me.

    in my humble opinion, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) never really goes away. It becomes a part of the person -- if they're lucky they are able to care for people, to even have some empathy and truly love. At the same time, there will always be a part of them waiting for the rejection, the willingness to reject before they reject. This is my daughter. People adore her when they first meet her -- she is charming, sweet, kind. Sooner or later she will do something to drive the others away, which, in turn, validates her own sense of self-loathing. It is painful.

    I do understand the binge eating. While I could never entirely stop it, I was able to somewhat re-direct it and at least stop the thefts. I'd make up a daily basket for her. It would include some of the junk food she adored as well as some healthy snacks as well. There would be enough food in it to last her 24 hours. After about 3 months of having this basket, a lot of the binging stopped (unless I had ice cream in the house). She began to understand that she would never go hungry here and that treats would not be denied her, just not allowed constantly. I don't know if this would work at her age, I did it for my daughter when she was 7 and 8. She was in such fear of not having food after many years of deprivation that she needed this basket and her control of it.

    I also agree that the beginning years of puberty are the absolute worst! Learning how to control the hormones on top of all the anger and hurt of being adopted made ages 11-14 sheer hell in our home. There were no real tricks that worked. It was just survival mode for both of us. Fortunately, things did change for almost a year and then other issues reared their ugly little heads. For those behaviors, it really did take an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Had I known then what I know now, I would have sent her to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) at around ages 12 or 13 rather than waiting. I think the tools she learned would have benefitted her far more had she learned then at a younger age.
  9. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I am sorry you and your difficult child's are going through this. I use to believe that I would have perfect kids! I underestimated the "gene pool" factor. I really believe that genetics plays a much bigger role than most people understand. I too have tried so hard and don't understand why. The only advice I can offer is to not blame yourself and continue to post here for support and advice. My warm thoughts are with you and your family. {{{{hugs}}}}
  10. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    Fellow Texan,

    Sorry for the heartache you're going through. It seems like the wheels of common sense turn ever so slowly. Aaah, as with my difficult child, the lies, the I don't know whys, it can seem a like a bottomless pit. The teenage years don't help either.
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'd like to pop in & have to say that I agree with meowbunny. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a spectrum as you most likely know. I don't think it ever is totally "cured". In my mind, both of my children will never have a complete level of trust in anyone.

    AND I have to say that my tweedles are the worst I've seen them right now. They are 13 & it's very very ugly here & at the group home.

    I don't expect my tweedles to be grateful for taking them out of the lives they lived in - they were used to that life. They resented having to learn to live in a different environment & having to learn different expectations. On top of that, being expected to become a member of a family they had no clue existed & loving that family was more than wm or kt could handle.

    Do they love us - yup, in their own way. I couldn't define what love is for kt or wm.

    The only thing I remind kt & wm to remember is that their anger needs to be directed at others than myself. I'm not the one who hurt them & my job is to parent them & keep them safe. I will love them no matter what.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    ON the subject of the bingeing and the fear of being deprived - my sister went through this with her adopted daughter. Even though my sister got her at 7 months old, she had already been in hospital a few times for malnutrition and it was obvious from the way the baby behaved, that she had never been cuddled. She would only drink a bottle of formula if it was given to her cold and in her cot. As she grew, she always craved all the attention and would have jealous rages if ANY attention went to her siblings.

    Doing well now, though. Married with her own kids, works in childcare. A lot of work, a lot of therapy, but she's thriving now.

    What sort of lies does she tell? How detailed? How obvious? What sort of reason? And how do you find out she is lying? I'm wondering, I have a few theories but I need more information.

    Something else that worries me - a lot of how you describe her sounds more like the phrasing of frustrated teachers than a parent. I'm wondering if you are seeing her so negatively because of what you are told about her, rather than just what you observe?

    I'm not meaning to sound critical of you, I've done the same thing myself. At first I found myself accepting the wisdom, experience and jargon of school staff and other professionals, and ignoring my own instincts. Once I started listening to my own inner voice and giving it more importance (while still not discounting what experts said) I found I had a better understanding of what made my kids tick.

    A strong point I want to make - kids do not choose to be bad. Kids in general would much prefer to get GOOD attention than negative attention. Even the class clown, the kid who seems to misbehave just to get a laugh out of the other kids, is doing it not for the attention but often to deflect attention from some other problem (sometimes because he can't read and doesn't want the teacher to find out).

    Somewhere there is a reason and it is stopping her from doing what she has in the past been capable of. She is frustrated, angry, afraid - and maybe other things too. And for a number of possible reasons, can't tell you. It's likely she doesn't know why herself. Any negative beliefs about her will be amplified by how she is feeling about herself. I suspect the junk food is comfort eating. There could be other reasons too.

    Hang in there, a lot of people here have had similar experiences and can help.

  13. change

    change New Member

    Oh Christy...My heart goes out to you sooooo much. I almost cried reading your post. Your story with your son sounds like mine with our son except that I couldn't afford to homeschool. I considered it and even considered hiring someone else to do it but his behavior was so extreme I couldn't get anyone to agree to it. My mom and the my mother-in-law stepped in and were a tremendous help and so were the grandpas and school personeel also ended up helping a lot because both my husband and are teachers. We had a lot of people not believe us though along the way too though because he is very manipulative. Right now he is in a group home. We still have custody of him but he is also in temporary custody of a state agency because he was arrested and for the safety of our daughter.

    Marg, I didn't take your comments as criticism at all. I deserve it anyway. I know I'mnot being the best mother that I should be because I am so tramautized by everything myself that's happened since the big incident between my children. I still can't believe it. I'm simply not equipped to handle it. I don't see how anyone could be. I am a woman of great faith though and all I can do is hold on to my belief that God doesn't give people things they can't get through. I am a teacher. Maybe that's why you're reading my thoughts on my daughter the way you did. My observations on her are not just from others...I have seen them first hand. I have to monitor her very closely because of the binge eating per her counselor. She says to treat her like an addict right now because there's nothing else we can do for her as far as the binge eating goes.

    I really do wish there was an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program we could put her in that would really make a difference. If any fellow Texans here know of one out there that Medicaid takes...PLEASE let me know. The thing is that we've been down that road before with my son and we couldn't get him in even though he WAS/IS violent and was hurting others. He was shoplifting, hurting animals, destroying property, etc. all since age 9. She's not doing any of those things.
  14. change

    change New Member

    Got an e-mail that we have to meet at the school about my daughter. She's in ISSC (in-school suspension) for 2 days but they might not renew her transfer for next year. She's at one of the best middle schools in the city. It's stressful. Our local one is not hoddible but it's huge and they won't keep such a close eye on her. The local one has "regular" which is what she'll be, honors, and vanguard. She'll be in with the "thugs". She's really not one of those despite all of these issues. I'm sure there are nice kids too in that group but....still. She'll fall through the cracks. Also, she's just likely to get even MORE DEPRESSED and try even less, if that's possible.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I want to make this very clear. There is no way to rule out bipolar disorder by a SPECT test or anything. In fact, with psychiatry and neurological disorders you can only guess. Your doctor is guessing. These tests are very controversial and never have been picked up by mainstream psychiatry. If there is bipolar in the family, I think you need to look at it. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is unlikely to be the cause of everything and it sounds worse than ADHD. There is also something called alcohol spectrum disorder. It is not full blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with the facial features, but it causes all sorts of behavioral and academic problems in alcohol exposed kids, and there is no way to detect it other than putting two and two together. This is the same for your son. These are inexact sciences, and anyone who tries to tell you they aren't is not somebody I'd feel comfortable with at all. I would want a second opinion. The psychiatrist you are seeing sounds kind of "different." Frankly, I'd want a more mainstream approach to diagnosing and treating my kids. Good luck!
  16. change

    change New Member

    Actually this was like our 4th opinion! We've had NUMEROUS tests done on these kids. Our son has had even more since the big incident because his attorney ordered them. My daughter WAS being treated as early on-set bi-polar and still is on the same medications. The only change was from Wellbutrin to Effexor. Our son has had a bunch of changes in medications. They decided that since no medications at all worked on him, his problems were most likely psuchological because otehrwise SOMETHING would have worked. We had a psychiatrist that we were paying out of pocket for years that was trying in vaini to help them. He loved them so much. He even bought them little gifts over the years that he treated them. In the end, he said that he they were his most dificult cases ever and he's in his 60's! He tried multiple combinations and dosages and nothing changed with our son. Our daughter was doing O.K. sometimes until the last 3 years when she started to really go downhill. Of course, this was the same time that our son cegan some EXTREME behavior as far as "law-breaking"...because he has always been extreme. I've educated myself a great deal about bi-polar and I hear what you're saying but I just don't know. The medications don't seem to work at all.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sounds like things are hard for all of you. I am so very sorry.

    YOU DO NOT DESERVE THE CRITICISM!!! There really is no time to blame yourself. You have done and are doing the best you can!!! That is ALL any of us can ever do. PLEASE be gentle with yourself and your husband. Parenting kids like ours is so very hard. It tears marriages and families apart. Be sure to protect your marriage, keep the communication open, and if really helps to get counselling for yourself and husband, both individually and as a couple.

    The abuse of your daughter by her bro is NOT YOUR FAULT. It just isn't. The blame belongs to whomever abused the children before you got them. Period.

    I also would not put many eggs on the SPECT scan. That basket just doesn't seem very steady from what I have seen/read about it.

    PLEASE google effexor side effects and withdrawal. Effexor can cause very scary and uncomfortable brain shivers. Like little shocks in your brain. It is a good medication for some. But it can cause some really strange things also. Even being late by a couple of HOURS can cause withdrawal. (Personal experience, mine and my son's). Make sure that she can talk to you about any side effects.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) isn't going to go away. It can get better. But it is forever damaging. So is the abuse by her bro.

    Have you drug tested her? It is always a good idea to do this when behavior patterns change for the worse. I also think it can be a good idea with the lying.

    It really osunds like you are doing what can be done. Maybe an emotional growth boarding school would help? I know some members here have had a lot of luck with them. It is good to work with an educational consultant to find Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or EGBS placement. Having hte facility near where you live is usually not as important as having a program that will fit the child's needs. Some say that a program far enough away that the child can't run away to be with friends, or come home is a good thing.

    Keep posting, we are here for you. Be sure to take time for a splurge for YOU.

    Also, not all people are able to verbalize their feelings. even when hurt physically. There are cards and books that show various feelings, we found them to be very veryhelpful.


  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I really didn't want you to feel I was criticising you, because you DO NOT deserve it. You have a lot on your plate.

    Possibly what you may have meant is that you recognise that a part of you is detaching emotionally, in self-defence. This is natural, you are trying to keep yourself together so you can continue to cope.

    It's good that you have had teacher training. I've had some, as well. But you do need to look beyond your training and think laterally.

    Guilt is something you need to avoid. It serves no purpose and it slows down your reactions and effectiveness. Whatever has happened, has happened. You need your energies to now deal with the consequences.

    The diagnosis - this is such a difficult one. Especially if a history is complex, partly unknown, confusing, multi-factorial - very hard to pin something down.

    Tests can so often get it wrong or give confusing or conflicting results. It's often also a matter of educated guess, on top of it all.

    Both my boys 'failed' their first IQ tests. With difficult child 1, it was partly the way the test was administered and a lot with how it was scored. He failed to complete the test due to anxiety, but it was scored as if he had failed due to inability. Later, more carefully administered tests showed an IQ around 130.
    difficult child 3 - we were told he was "borderline" (the word 'retarded' was not easy child). But again, later testing (some years later, after he was verbal) showed a score of 140+.

    Tests are only as good as the situation they were developed for. There are many tests which don't pick up all cases and only those cases. In fact, I know of very few conditions indeed, where this is the case (including pregnancy).

    So keep an open mind re diagnosis - always be ready to question, especially if you feel something is not quite right.

    This is where you need to listen to your heart, to your parental instincts. Trust yourself. Maybe that also is what I was sensing - you are so hard on yourself you're not trusting your own instincts, but instead falling back on tried and true, the theory.

    (and this statement is coming from a scientific mind, so if you want to take it with a grain of salt, feel free!)