Twitching eye mom needs help!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by RbkrBkr, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. RbkrBkr

    RbkrBkr New Member

    We have been snowed in for going on 5 days now. We had meltdowns and came back from it, but today.. I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Trying to be a good mom/stepmom and be consistent and teach good values, but I always feel like the bad guy! Jaime is an exceptionally sweet 9 little girl 95% of the time, the other time is a duzzie! (Diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety/Depression and is very behind in school (Psychiatrist and Psychological testing), with questions on ODD, and bipolar).
    My husband and I have been together since she was 4, and sad to say she is rejected by her biomother whom did not come for visits for 7 months and started making regular visits recently. I have been dubbed mom however I try to promote her birth mother in a positive light when at all possible. We have been in therapy for 2 years now and the new feelings that have surfaced are anger. I understand that most of it is projected but it is so hard on days like this. Our family is big on Respect and Character building so when a Character rule is broken it is a given that a consequence is to ensue. Any reprimand for negative behavior is taken as personal attack. However the behavior continues and nothing is resolved just my husband and I are exhausted. We have tried the following types of parenting techniques: explanation of “Why this is not acceptable”, time-outs to calm down (walking, corner, standing outside on the porch), spankings (very rarely 2 times, my husband and I are not big fans), open discussion at home, and in therapy, reward charts/systems, grounding (friends,toys,phone,tv).. We even watched educational videos on certain behaviors, and nothing… Does any of this sound like something you guys have experienced? How did/do you cope?

    Not sure how to do all the code words yet
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome, but sorry you have to be here.

    I have a few questions to ask that can help us help you.

    First off, was your stepdaughter neglected at all during her infancy or young toddlerhood? Did she get passed from mother to dad or did mother neglect her or leave her with different people? An early inconsistency in the caregiver can really screw up the child who needs to trust somebody when she is still helpless. Does she have any half-siblings or full siblings? How are they doing?

    Also, are there any obvious psychiatric disorders on either side of her family tree (birthmother and dad?). Any substance abuse? Did birthmother abuse drugs or drink alcohol when she was pregnant? Alcohol, in particular, can be extremely damaging. I've heard it's worse than cocaine. I know a bit because we adopted a boy whose birthmother used drugs and drank during her pregnancy so I studied up on it and talked to professionals.

    How was stepdaughter's early development? Did she walk and talk on time? Did she make strong eye contact with her parents (you'll probably have to ask hub). Since she has been in your life has she shown any social deficits? Does she know how to hold a give and take conversation? Does she have friends with her same age peers? Is she quirky? Any obsessive interests? Does she make any strange throat noises or copy things people say or she hears on television? Did she ever do this? Does she seem to "get it" or does she seem off in her own world sometimes...and at other times seem with it, but does drift, especially when stressed or with strangers?

    I am not an expert on your stepdaughter, but it does seem that due to her problems you are going to either have to flex on your rules for her or forever be grounding her. She doesn't seem able to grasp what you are saying or, if she does grasp it, she seems unable to put into use what you have taught her. I think a neuropsychologist evaluation would help...that would pinpoint any learning disabilities/deficits and tell you if anything else is going on that was not found. Or even if her diagnoses are correct. NeuroPsychs are very thorough and test from 6-10 hours. Most professionals do not test at all. Many of us here like NeuroPsychs the best for diagnosis. They are psychologists with extra training in the brain. Often they catch what a psychiatrist misses due to the way they test and their extra knowledge in neurology. They aren't neurologists however. To me, her cluelessness sounds like she COULD have Asperger's Syndrome, but I'd have to know more. These kids simply do not "get" social norms or social cues and require interventions specific to the disorder. My son has it and was misdiagnosed as ADHD/ODD and bipolar.

    Is your stepdaughter on medication? In therapy?

    Others will be along too. This is a nice place with super-neat people.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  3. RbkrBkr

    RbkrBkr New Member

    I can’t thank you enough for answering my post! Now I do have to put a disclaimer on this post!! This story I know sounds like it came right out of a transcript of Jerry Springer. I met my husband and he is a super great guy but wow.. there was a whole storage center of baggage. Here is the info I have gathered over the years. As far as being neglected, yes she has been. She has lived with biomom (first year of life to 2 years old, then went back to live with her 4-6), grandparents (2-4) my husband received custody at age 6. There was an abusive stepfather with biomom (whom we later found out through therapy he used duct tape on her mouth for punishment) with domestic violence involved in home. Mother smoked during pregnancy as far as drugs/drinking (not to my husband’s knowledge).
    It is very dysfunctional, and enmeshed. I’ll start with my husband, he has very toxic parents, he had a substance abuse (alcohol) for about 3 years (after grandparents [husband’s mom, dad and stepmom] and biomom received custody). If I were to describe my husband it would be very sensitive, every even with emotions, but frustrated with the same problems reoccurring. Parented out of guilt for a very long time, and often babied too much. He is open to therapy and attends weekly visits with his daughter. He has started to gain the confidence as a dad to create stability between households.
    His parents.. mom (divorced dad when he was 2, they had a daughter previously whom died at birth also named Jaime) =borderline personality, obsessed with plastic surgery and hasn’t been in the picture for 2 years, his dad and stepmom are currently having 1 day a month visitation and there is no diagnosis there because they are not open to therapy and very permissive (no rules, no responsibilities. Coddle to the point of not allowing her to open her own soda, take her own bath, sleeping in her own bed) with grandchild (child) and very cold and condemning towards son (my husband). Custody went something like this, His mom talked him (my husband) into signing custody to her (child age 2)and refused to let him visits and then badgered him over not being there for his child full time. After about a year she sent the child to stay with my husband’s dad and stepmom (husband moved in with them to be with daughter). Describing father-in-law fairly nice but easily influenced by step-mother-inlaw whom is very manipulative and sneaky. It seems to be the Grandparents tried to X out Dad (my husband) and then Biomom did just enough to get custody back. When she received custody she moved 3-4 a year and had a very chaotic lifestyle. I am not sure about disorders for her but if I were describe her it would be uneducated (not sure if LDs or just no desire to learn but surprisingly low written communication skills), manipulative, aggressive when things didn’t go her way, always seeking male attention and promiscuous, craved attention. She seems very emotional unavailable to her children and very attentive to her boyfriends.
    As far as I know milestones were fairly normal. Nothing out of the way except for alphabet and reading. Retained in Kindergarten and tested in 1st grade with school system, secondary psychological testing in 2nd grade by outside source which stated “Axis 1: ADHD predominantly Inattentive, Anxiety Disorder (not otherwise specified with emphasis on somatic-physical symptoms and harm avoidance), Reading Disorder, Disorder of Written Expression, and Axis 4: Academic and behavioral concerns . Therapist wants to look into bipolar onset and depression, Psychiatrist thinks ODD and Anxiety (which we only see for total of 15-20mins once a month). Medications: Vyvanse 40m and is suggesting an Anti-Anxiety Medication(we go in a couple weeks). She has physical symptoms of “headaches” (been to a child neurologist for migraines), “stomachaches”, often with “I feel I’m going to throw-up”. She recently said she was at school and started having those symptoms with dizziness and got hot and sweaty. It is so hard to know what is real and not because at first I would take her to the doctor when she had these symptoms. Often with nothing done and nothing explained.
    Her siblings: Biomother has 3 other children by 2 other men. All have conduct problems (far worse than Jaime). 2 other girls and 1 boy (youngest). All step stone ages. Two youngest have enuresis and (abusive stepfather’s children), the boy is having very hard time in school. The mother shows favoritism to the oldest and the youngest. My husband and I have a 2 year old son and he worships her. She is at times very short fused with him and very agitated with him (no sure how much it is the age difference or something else).

    Socially, she is very reserved. Does not do well in social settings, will wait for someone to come to her and still finds it very hard to make conversation or want to go play. When she was about 6 I noticed a red flag that when I asked her what park she wanted to go to (I was willing to go wherever she wanted to go) she would pick the rundown old park with no one there rather than the new cool park with lots of new equipment with people there. She has done better with not needing someone to walk her everywhere (she use to need me or her dad to walk her to the restroom, classroom, ect) also loud noises where a huge deal but that has gotten better. (ie. Hairdryers, public toilets) Conversation wise she is ok if it is something she wants to talk about but anything else she loses interests very quickly and does not maintain eye contact well at all.

    Odd things I have noticed, that concern me are the fact that she washes her barbies in the bath and wrap them in washcloths A LOT! Has done this for a long time and I’m not sure what that means or if it means anything but I talked to my husband about concerns of sexual abuse (we have openly asked, the therapist has asked and it has always been a solid no). The throat noise, does that kind of sound like a nasal clearing sound?
    Now she is very easy to get angry and take things very personal. The slightest thing is an attact on her. She does show signs of perfectionism and when she is corrected at all she just lets it all go. Doesn’t care anymore. Had a big problem with helplessness. She would ask or expect help for things she obviously could do herself.

    As far as the rules, we are not etiquette police, we are pretty laid back but lying has been a HUGE deal lately. (Hiding her vyvanse in her pocket because her mom told her “they give you that medicine because they think you are stupid”), even gummy vitamins.
    neuropsychologist? She had Psychological testing that took 3 separate appointments to conclude.
    I am going to look into Asperger's Syndrome

    She has been in therapy as we all have (her dad and I) for 2 years, her mom came to one adult session and just acted a fool, accusing the thearapist of not liking her and wanted another opinion on the ADHD saying she didn’t want her child “poppin’ pills” it was tragic. However my husband is trying to get another adult session together to give another opportunity for her and the grandparents to come together to be on the same page.. I am a bit skeptical but I do think it is worth a shot!

    Thank you!!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, here's what I would do and these are my thoughts. She is a lot like a child who is adopted at an older age. Her history is similar since she had a very dysfunctional mom and was shoved around a lot for six years.

    I'd treat her like an adopted c hild in that I'd have her evaluated by a neuropsychologist, who many here feel are the very best in diagnosing. It sounds to me, since I have a similar child, that she could very well be on the autism spectrum (Aspergers) especially if she had a peculiar and early interest in letters and numbers (which you alluded to) and is socially inappropriate. Not being able to hold a conversation, except within the child's narrow interests, is also typical. I'd be looking into that very hard.

    Also, she could have attachment issues due to her early upbringing. Not sure about a mood disorder...possible. It is unlikely that she only has one problem, but tackling one at a time is a good idea.

    A neuropsychologist tests for 6-10 hours and can flush out both psychiatric and neurological issues and tell them apart. A psychiatrist usually can't. After the neuropsychologist evaluation, you can then get appropriate treatment depending on the findings both at home and in school. She is going to be hard to pinpoint and diagnose EXACTLY because so much is going on. But I'd start out reading up on Aspergers and have her tested by a neuropsychologist and take it from there.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I just want to point out the physical symptoms are real to your school district (she feels them), but they could very well have an emotional basis (anxiety). Until the root cause is addressed with therapy and possibly medications, she could continue to feel them. Trying to talk her out of the symptoms may backfire.

    Vyvanse is a stimulant prescribed for ADHD. The problem with treating with stimulants is that they can make anxiety symptoms worse, which is why you may be seeing an increase in somatic complaints. I just wanted to point that out to you so you could make that connection.

    Welcome to the board. I'm glad you found us.
  6. RbkrBkr

    RbkrBkr New Member

    She has been in therapy as we all have (her dad and I) for 2 years, her mom came to one adult session and just acted a fool, accusing the therapist of not liking her and wanted another opinion on the ADHD saying she didn’t want her child “poppin’ pills” it was tragic. However my husband is trying to get another adult session together to give another opportunity for her and the grandparents to come together to be on the same page.. I am a bit skeptical but I do think it is worth a shot!
    Thanks for the responses!
    I agree and I will look into the neuropsychologist.
    I understand that anxiety and depression can cause physical symptoms and I am compassionate. I could be wrong but I feel the coddling has stunted her threshold of being sick. Biomom and Step-grandmother are hypochondriacs and almost strive on attention from being sick. I always check her temperature with a thermometer with a code light (green for > 98, yellow for 99, and red for 100+) and allow her to see the color, then I address the problem with a simple solution first (headaches I ask if it feels like a migraine or a headache, if its a migraine I give her the Rx and if its a headache I'll give her some Tylenol, stomach ache I'll give her sprite and crackers or I'll make some soup for dinner ) and just ask a series of questions "when did you start feeling bad?", "Anything happen or did you have any thoughts that made you feel different than you usually feel, (sad, happy, angry, frustrated)", "Did you eat anything, are you hungry?". Most of the time its an easy fix, after this process she is good to go and back to normal. Being her stepmom and not her biomom I do feel I have many eyes on me watching how I react. I try not to assume anything! All help is greatly appreciated because I feel as though I became a mother of twins just with a 6 year age difference.