New and seeking advice on how to help 5yo daughter

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Braelynnsmom, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    I want to apologize in advance for this being rather long and thank those of you who are taking the time to read and respond.

    I first noticed somthing a bit different with my daughter around the age she learned to crawl. She didn't want to be held or cuddled at all anymore and although I thought this was a bit odd, I thought she was just enjoying her new-found independence. I assumed that, in time, she would return my love and affection in ways typical of children her age.

    By 18 months what I thought were the "terrible two's" began. Temper tantrums over the slightest thing and "crying" that seemed endless. As a first-time mom I sought the advice of more experienced family members who told me to "let her cry herself out" when she was just throwing a tantrum. In watching other kids her age, I saw that they would usually stop crying within about 10-15 minutes and would often fall asleep and wake up in a much better mood. My daughter would work herself up to the point of coughing and throwing up and yet she could turn it all off in an instant if something of interest was going on. She still did not want to be cuddled and shyed away from most affection.

    When she turned three, she still had screaming and "crying" (her tears were always fake) fits when she did not get her way. Time outs did not matter to her and I struggled to find a way to let her know that her behavior was unacceptable. Affection had not yet returned and I began to notice that her attention span was pretty much non-existent which I guessed was normal for the age. The only thing that she would enjoy doing for more than two minutes at a time was swinging in a swing. I would try to get her interested in coloring or other projects but she didn't want to create, only destroy things. Potty-training was also an issue and even though we had been working on it for over a year she had serious ups and downs.She would go for weeks of being able to wear her "big girl underwear" day and night and then revert back on a dime. At this age she also began asking questons that absolutely blew my mind. I have always been very careful of what she is exposed to including what she sees on tv so when she asked me "If you put all of the blood back in someone's body, will they come back to life?" I was floored! I didn't let that show but instead told her that unfortunately it didn't really work that way. She seemed to be developing a morbid curiosity that I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It was around this time that I first witnessed a look on my daughter's face that I had never really seen before; pure ice as she told me she hated me.

    The age of four brought an end to the full fledged tantrum but the fake crying remained in full swing whenever she didn't get her way or even if she was told to wait a minute. Teaching her activities of daily living proved near impossible as she refused to do the simple things other kids her age were so proud of learning to do all by themselves. She took a great liking to coloring on all sorts of things she wasn't supposed to and I had to keep all writing utensils far out of her reach so she wouldn't destroy walls, books, clothes, etc. I became accustomed to her "icy glare" when she was not happy with me or anyone else for that matter. She did not mesh well with children her own age and usually leaned towards the younger kids that she could "boss around". She was still frequently wetting the bed and remained distant unless she wanted or needed something from me.

    This past year has been the thoughest. She will be six in a few short months and things have gotten dramatically worse. She has taken to lying quite frequently and it usually is for no apparant reason. She has stolen money so she could "buy ice cream at school" even though she was told she could help out around the house to earn ice cream money. At one point we were playing outside with water balloons and I got her a little wet, it was all fun and games until that moment when she became furious and charged at me. She head-butted me in the stomach and then began punching me in the ribs. When she gets angry or embarrassed she tends to exhibit more violent tendancies. Consequences don't work to discipline and rewards don't seem to intrest her much either. She consistently does things she knows she is not allowed to do and then when she is asked why she shrugs and says it's because she wanted to. She does not seem to show any genuine remorse when she hurts someone physically or emotionally and she looks at people as being completely replaceable. Just the other day she said she didn't care if one of her friends died because she has other friends. She has has instances of being disruptive in class and was actually nearing the point of expulsion earlier this year (she is only in kindergarten). She has finally started being affectionate but it is only when she has something to gain from it or feels that it may get her out of trouble. She will often use affection or offers to help out as ways to get out of doing what she has been told to do. She still enjoys being destructive and cannot be left to her own devices for any length of time. I fear that relationships for her are out of pure necessity and/or for her own amusement.

    I have sought out advice from family and friends but have gotten to a point where litterally no one can relate to what is happening here. I have heeded the advice of seeking professional help and am waiting on an appointment for her to be assessed. She was not subjected to any drugs or alcohol while in utero and has not been abused nor neglected. I love my daughter dearly and just want to know how to help her.
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Your daughter has many red-flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I'd recommend a full exam by a neuropsychologist as soon as possible. She's not behaving in this manner because she wants to. She is behaving in this way to exert control over a world that her feels very out of control.

    The sooner you can get interventions started, the better she will do going forward. Also, write a certified letter to the school requesting a full evaluation for special education services. She needs an IEP at the very least to make school easier for her. Best to get that in place asap.

    You can request changes to the IEP when you get the neuropsychologist exam results. Get going on that right away is it commonly takes a while to get in with one, especially if they are good.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome, I'm glad you found your way here. As GoingNorth stated, your daughter has red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder or possibly Sensory Processing Disorder. How was her development? Did she reach her milestones on time? Any physical problems? Is there a history of developmental disability or mental illness in her family tree (these things often have a genetic component). Does she have trouble transitioning? Any quirky habits? Does she dislike certain textures, foods or odors?
  4. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    Thank you both so much for responding!

    A close friend of mine had her daughter just six weeks after I had mine and we did a lot of milestone comparisons especially in the first few years. She has always been on point with other kids her age and never had any physical problems. Mental illness is prevalent on both sides. I have depression which is well-managed and her biological father has depression and substance abuse on his side. She seems to do well with transitioning. We have moved around a bit and she seems to adjust without any issues. As far as quirky habits go I would say that she is so all over the place at times that she doesn't seem to have many habits at all. For a while she had serious disdain for brushing her hair. It wouldn't matter how gentle I was she would cry and argue over having it done. She has just recently come to terms with the fact that it is necessary and doesn't seem to mind it. She doesn't really like mushy-type foods like mashed potatoes.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has she ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Sounds a lot like autistic spectrum disorder. That is not a mental illness. It is a neurological difference and I'd look into it before I'd think a child so young is mentally ill. Experience talking here. Lots of it. Sensory issues, such as her hair over-hurting when you brush it, would be consistent with this.

    It's up to you, but I'd have her evaluated and not by the school A neuropsychologist is best if you live in the US.
  6. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    I have not had her evaluated by a neuropsychologist but I am certainly going to begin researching ones in my area. I am not jumping to my daughter being mentally ill, I was just saying that mental illness does run on both sides since I know that can impact things. I asked the school to evaluate her and have been blown off on multiple occasions (probably because her report cards and such don't reflect ANY current issues) so I have figured on finding help outside of the schools for now at least.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    After reading this again, I am wondering if your daughter had chaos and multiple caregivers or violence or even divorce in her very early years. Was she adopted? The stealing is not a part of autistic spectrum at all. Nor is lying. That is more often due to possibly attachment disorders due to early upheavals and very unsteady formative years, which may well be NOT your fault at all, but just circumstances of life. I could be way off here but thought I'd give it a try. I have a grown Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son and he is incapable of telling a lie. She does have red flags for autism too. Often our kids suffer from more than one problem.

    Is there a dad around? If not, was dad violent or unstable in her first three years? Any new SOs around? How was your pregnancy? Any complications?

    Again, this all just a guess. Could be way off here.
  8. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    We moved around and her early years were a bit unstable. Her bio father is in the picture, he calls about once a week but due to distance she rarely sees him. He and I tried to work things out a number of times which I'm sure was hard on my daughter even though she couldn't express that. My SO has been in our lives for over a year and they get along wonderfully. Aside from exceptionally high levels of stress and anxiety my pregnancy was completely normal. I think you have a very good suggestion in looking into attachment disorders. I have been a stay at home mom with her for most of her life and am the only real constant she has had. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if in trying to do what's best for her and even with all of the love, caring, and time spent together I caused this :(
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It can't hurt. I'm glad you are now happy. Do take her to see a neuropsychologist (hopefully your insurance will cover the cost). in my opinion they are the best diagnosticians for those living in the US.

    Hugs and good luck.
  10. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    Thank you for the responses. I have been reading articles on attachment disorders and aside from moving a few times she hasn't had to endure any of the things that often cause these disorders. Is it possible that moving alone could have been enough to make her feel uncared for?

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  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I would also want to monitor her for a possible mood disorder, I would think that depression in both parents and substance abuse (which can be self medicating) could genetically predispose her to a mood disorder. You might want to google early onset bipolar.
  12. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    I will certainly do that, thank you :)

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  13. Braelynnsmom

    Braelynnsmom New Member

    I find it both amazing and daunting that so many disorders can have so many symptoms in common and yet be so different. I'm really hoping that the appointment with a child psychologist we have coming up may help point us in the right direction. Being that we are just starting out on our journey to getting her help, it can seem a bit overwhelming and scary.

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