5yr old defiant manipulative with 2 personalities

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by betdan, May 12, 2009.

  1. betdan

    betdan New Member

    excuse me for not knowing the lingo but I need help...I don't think I can go on like this anymore. I have a 5yr old little girl that is just driving both me and my husband over the edge. From birth she has always been very advanced in speaking and having a conversation with her has always stunned everyone because it is like talking to a much older person. We have heard the term "old sole" from a hundred different people. She can be extremely loving and caring person and has always shown an extreme amount of empathy but that can change within seconds to her becoming and explosive, manipulative, deceitful person. I have a hard time explaining how she gets but I will try my best. We can be getting along great and I will tell her to stop coloring because she is getting it on the table and then she will just start screaming at me something like "I'm not doing anything" and then I will say "stop talking to me like that" and most times she will repeat what I say in a sarcastic voice and one thing escalates to the next. She has never done what I have told her even the simpliest of things on the first try unless she is what I call her other person where she is the most obediant (over the top obediant). The "other person" never lasts more than a few hours although it once lasted 2 weeks and she says the reason that it lasted that long was because I threatened her that I would have to send her to military school and that they serve bad food there (she loves to eat-but is not overweight, we are somewhat strict with her food). We had made an appointment with a psychologist the week before the two week good period had started so when the psychologist asked her what was different to make her behave this way she said "I don't want to go to military school". She is almost like a lightswitch and can so easily be turned from super nice to horribly disobediant. She talks to herself alot and does ALOT of imaginative play...for instance anything that is going on in her life she will pretend to be...like when I told her she would go to military school she pretended to be the warden or if we come back from the library she will pretend to be the librarian...as she is getting older it has become embarrassing how she talks to herself. She is better in school at home but can't keep friends very long because she is very bossy and tells them what to do..the teacher says she gets along well with the people who listen to her. The longer she knows someone the worse she acts to them so now that the school year is almost over I got a phone call and a note home last week with only one other note prior to that. Both this kindergarten teacher and her preschool teacher say that she needs alot of attention. She takes advantage of anyone who has any kind of weakness...if she meets a kid that who cries easily she will do whatever it takes to make that person cry. She was an only child till 10 months ago and is the BEST big sister ever imaginable...She truly thinks she is his mother and corrects anyone who does not do things exactly the way we do for him...we have sensed some jealousy and has even recently said that she jealous and of course we then swarmed her with attention thinking that was what the problem was with her behavior but that didn't help. In her school work she is at level not exceptional but she is what I would call maybe "criminal minded" in her way of manipulating. She is also good with ALL younger children and is obsessed with being a teenager...I often tell her "teenagers do that" in order to make her do something that she doesn't want to and it works. We have been going to the psychologist for 5 weeks and have seen no improvement and he keeps saying ADD cause she can't sit still in his office but I don't know...I really don't think ADD, I think she is just fidgety in his office and I do realize since observing her so closely that when it becomes a certain time of the day she can't sit still and gets so wild that she can hurt herself by just falling all over the place. The only history of mental illness is in her paternal grandmother and great aunt whom both had sychoprenia. I should mention that both me and my husband have a good relationship and I work a few days a week and my husband is home with her on the days I work, he is an unbelievable father but has become so impatient with her that family members who don't know the whole of what we are going through have mentioned how he isn't being nice to her. She is a beautiful, can be very loving little girl that I just want to see turn out well and get along with others, I am not looking for perfection and I treasure the moments when she is the NICE PERSON because you can't imagine how well behaved and loving she can be. I would appreciate any input what-so ever. I should add that she loves animals almost obsessivley and has recently become obsessed with bugs and tries saving every bug in her school yard and brings them home after I repeatedly tell her not to...very weirdly wants them not to get hurt...she says if she doesn't take them home the teachers will step on them...I don't know where the animal or bug thing fits in but I figured I would mention it.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome! This a wonderful site, full of very experienced and caring parents of children with a wide, wide range of issues.

    Your daughter sounds like there is definitely something going on that is way beyond typical ADHD. If I had to guess, I'd say some type of mood disorder. The fact that there's a family history of schizophrenia does not bode well for her, as many mental illnesses have a genetic component. You are wise to seek help for her now, before things get any worse.

    Has she ever had a thorough evaluation by anyone? Many of us here have found that pediatric psychiatrists are better equipped to diagnose our children whose symptoms are unusual or over the top than your run-of-the-mill psychologist. Also, there are professionals called neuropsychologists who are specially trained in how the brain works in relation to learning, behavior and psychology. An evaluation by a neuropsychologist can be invaluable in determining exactly how your child's brain works and why.

    When you get a chance, please create a signature like one of those you see here. It's a quick way for us to remember your particular info. You can learn more about the abbreviations commonly used here under the FAQ section.
  3. mamabear01

    mamabear01 New Member

    I am wondering if she has transition problems that lead her to have absolute control in a situation.

    I am seeing high language, and being quite litteral.

    If you see imaginative play here.... I see going into her own world....

    "ALOT of imaginative play...for instance anything that is going on in her life she will pretend to be...like when I told her she would go to military school she pretended to be the warden or if we come back from the library she will pretend to be the librarian.

    My boys have sensory problems and have very strange eating habits. Sometimes too much or too little because they lack the signal in there brain that says there full or hungry.

    How is her sleep?

    I talk to myself ALOT. In fact it's a joke between my husband and I lol. It really could mean anxiety, which I do have.

    "She is better in school at home but can't keep friends very long because she is very bossy and tells them what to do.."

    Again needing to control her own world. She may do better at home because she can relax and know you are her "safe" person.

    "if she meets a kid that who cries easily she will do whatever it takes to make that person cry. She was an only child till 10 months ago and is the BEST big sister ever imaginable...She truly thinks she is his mother and corrects anyone who does not do things exactly the way we do for him.."

    again I feel a control issue mixed in with a social skill issue.

    I see some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) here....

    "I should add that she loves animals almost obsessivley and has recently become obsessed with bugs and tries saving every bug in her school yard and brings them home after I repeatedly tell her not to...very weirdly wants them not to get hurt...she says if she doesn't take them home the teachers will step on them...I don't know where the animal or bug thing fits in but I figured I would mention it."

    I could go on and on but I have to say it's really hard to read your post since you don't have any breaks in it. But I would go to this link and do a test. This test doesn't count as a diagnosis, but it does help if you need to show her doctor what her issue's are.

    by the way my son falls all over the place too when he gets overwhelmed. He also falls out of chairs which could be an Occupational Therapist (OT) thing.

    And I want to say, I am not a doctor, but sometimes Schizophrenia can be misdx'd as Autism. High and low functioning. I would look out for that since years ago they didn't even understand Autism, high or low.

    I would do the childbrain thing and bring it to your physcologist the next time you see him..

    This survey helped me tremondously when I didn't know what the heck was going on with my kids.


    Good luck!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son with autistic spectrum disorder and I think she is different than a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child, but to make sure I'd take her to a neuropsychologist. (Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids usually have no imagination). You have schizophrenia in the family. That doesn't mean she has it, but she is at increased risk, even if it's just a grandparent. Actually, that's a close relative. I think you realize she is not your "typical" child.

    neuropsychologist evaluations are the longest and most intentive evaluations available and they are in my opinion also the very best. This in my opinion transcends ADHD. I would want to have her tested ASAP so you can help her as soon as possible. A regular psychologist is normally a poor diagnostician. I have bipolar and with my son's Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) we've both seen a lot of professioanls and I think NeuroPsychs diagnose even more accurately than Psychiatarists because they run testing from 6-10 hours and catch what others miss.

    I wish you and your sweet little one the best regardless of what you decide to do. And welcome to the board :D
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello betdan and welcome,

    Keeping in mind that we're not qualified to diagnose, I agree with Gcvmom and Midwestmom. Your daughter's behaviour does not sound like autism spectrum behaviour, but it does sound mood-disorder-ish.

    A few things to bear in mind when you're starting the process of getting a diagnosis for your child. A lot of childhood disorders present with lookalike symptoms, that can result from very different causes.

    For example: hyperactivity of ADHD looks just like anxiety and agitation from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which looks just like mania from early onset bipolar. ADHD is a more familiar disorder to many psychiatrists, tdocs, etc., so that's often the first diagnosis a lot of us receive. Often, we get the combination ADHD/ODD. That's a red flag that there's something deeper going on with your child.

    I second the recommendation for a neuropsychologist evaluation. The evaluation is thorough and detailed, and can point you in the direction of what's going on with your child, and the right sort of interventions for her.

  6. devira

    devira New Member

    I do not have time to write a long answer. My son (difficult child) had some very similar (but not exactly the same) types of behaviors very young. I started with my pediatrician who also treated him for ADHD. This seemed to work foro a long time, but for almost four years, it just did not seem to help in the mornings, late afternoons and evenings.

    I have changed to a child pyschiatrist for help. What I have found is that it is important to find a physician who can think outside the box. As Trinityroyal said, there are many symptoms that can look like componants of many different diagnosis. There in lies the problem... Doctors do not want to diagnose unless they are sure, so as stated below, get a proper evaluation done.

    Welcome to this group, they have helped me with many trials over the past year.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    To me to sounds like both. Tigger has bipolar disorder and autism. It was very hard to get a diagnosis because everyone kept dismissing the autistic symptoms cause he already had the bipolar diagnosis. If you are near a major city, I would check their children's hospitals for a pediatric psychiatric clinic.

    Meanwhile, I would go to the bookstore or library and look at all of the books by Douglas Riley (The Defiant Child, etc) as well as those by Ross Greene (The Explosive Child, etc.) and see which ones seem to best fit your daughter.

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. All of us here have been through this and we will hold your hand as you get through this.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome.
    Your daughter is so creative ... not that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can't be, just that she is SO imaginative and empathetic, I'd lean more toward bipolar or schizophrenia. You want to keep that creativity going. She sounds delightful. (Okay I'm biased. I'm an artist. :) )
    In regard to transitioning, I would suggest doing some exercizes where you come up with-a word to tell her to start transitioning, and then give her 10 min., then 5 min., then a 1 min. warning.
    I'm glad that JJJ suggested Doug Riley's book because he's really good with transitioning ideas. We've been to him and my son is almost 100% better at transitioning. He was so explosive, I thought I'd lose my mind.
    Also, if she's coloring and getting it on the table, just put down a coated cloth like they sell at WalMart and she can color all she wants--outside the lines, too! Better than correcting her every 2 seconds, because she's not going to stop coloring at this point. :) Sounds like you'll have to make some changes to her environment to make things a bit easier.
    (Don't be surprised if she colors on the wall, too.)
  9. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Hello and Welcome,

    You've been given some great advice and I agree that a thorough evaluation is essential. The thing that struck me about your post was that you mentioned that she was able to hold it togeher for a longer period of time because she was afraid of mlitary school. I think this is very encouraging. It sound like she can be motivated to control her behavior when it is important to her. A reward system may help elimate some negative behaviors. Start with just one or two behaviors and outline specifically what you expect and what the reward will be. For example, when asked to do something, difficult child will earn a sticker on a chart for each time she complies on the first request. After five stickers, she earns a trip for ice cream, an extra half hour of tv time, etc... Make a big deal out of even little successes. Give lots of attention for positive behaviors and try to avoid arguments (this is so hard for me!).

    It also sounds like she wants to be the one in charge, not possible, but giving choices can somethimes cut down on power struggles. "Your crayons are getting on the table, would you like to put newspaper under your coloring book or choose a different thing to do?"

    Good luck,
  10. betdan

    betdan New Member

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is great to have people that are understanding me for once and not someone just telling me "shes extremely smart and that is why she acts that way" I went to bed thinking of a hundred different things I didn't mention. When she does act great, she constantly reminds me that she is acting great, she will say "your playing cards with me because I am being so good, right?" and I will say to her "yes, we can have such a nice life together if you would just listen and behave like this all the time" and she will repeat it with each nice thing I do for her or with her...the reward chart does work when not used for a while but does not work after using it for awhile, after a few days she shows no interest. I have also found a small amount of success with stopping her in her tracks just when she opens her mouth to yell at me and telling her to breathe in and out...don't ask me where I got the breathe idea but its kind of like think before you talk. I am at work and in a hurry but later at home I will print out all of your replies and address them and have my husband read them...I am so happy to have found this forum!!
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would still get her evaluated. She sounds like she could be an Aspie. Not saying she is, but she certainly has the intelligence and precociousness...and she seems a bit quirky. I would see that neuropsychologist. I wouldn't try to handle this alone because the older she gets, the more it is untreated, the more troublesome it can become until she is REALLY out of control. I'm not trying to scare you, but early intervention is the best medicine.
  12. betdan

    betdan New Member

    Speaking to my husband did not go as well as I thought it would...he got pretty defensive when I read back your posts and I was very surprised by his reaction since he has been totally on board to get her help. He told me to do whatever I want but that he thought we should not jump and go directly to a neuropsychologist and that we should take her to a psychiatrist first. I did make an error...the schizoprenia is her GREAT-Grandmother not grandmother...I don't know if that makes much of a difference. I am in NY so I should have the best doctors and hospitals...Does anyone know of a neuropsychologist in NY? I have read through Bi-Polar and ADD information on this site and I am pretty sure she doesn't have ADD and definately not Bi-Polar. Maybe ODD with something else...very interesting that ODD is what I am pretty sure I would have been diagnosed with as a teen. I was very good when I was her age but had quite a few rough years in my teens where NOONE was gonna tell me what to do...and friends that know me from back then have even said "wow she is you as a teenager". I dabbled in drugs and went for counseling, my dad died when I was 5 so my poor mother was left alone with three kids and I still apologize for my behavior till this day. I guess that is a good sign that MAYBE she will be alright since I am fine and have no problems or issues now (I do have a few phobia's such as driving in cars-I constantly think we are gonna crash and I am petrified of planes in the last few years) but other than that both me and my husband are fine. As a child my husband was dyslexic and had a Learning Disability (LD)...which I bet if you put him back in school he would still have some issues (his one thing that stands out is he is extremely sensitive to sound and it has gotten worse in the 11yrs I have known him). I dont think she has a transitioning problem. She is very inquisitive and has a very large vocabulary...at three when she would drop a drink she would tell me "don't worry, it will evaporate". I know I am all over the place but I have so many thoughts on the situation that I want to share. My husband also brought to my attention that lately in her pretend imaginery play that she yells at everyone and tells them what to do. I am back to the chart this morning...she listened pretty good for the 45 minutes she was up before school so I put stars on her chart and my husband will remind her when she gets home.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It sounds like she's responding to some of your techniques. That's good!

    I'm wondering about the accuracy of the great-g's diagnosis, since back then so many diagnosis's mimicked other things.

    So sorry your husband didn't respond the way you hoped or expected. That happens sometimes.

    What diff does it make to husband if you go to a psychiatric or neuropsychologist, as long as it's covered by ins? I would hope that husband wouldn't fret about that.

    Good luck!
  14. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would say a Nuero-psychiatric as well.
    Because then you would take the report and bring it to the Psychiatrist and go from there. The Neuro-psychiatric gives you an evaluation, and diagnosis of learning disorders if any and learning styles.
    THey would also give you what they think is going on with your child. They can give you a diagnosis but I would want the actual diagnosis from a Psychiatrist. Personally.

    If it is possibly BiPolar (BP) then I would go to someone who specializes in that and the same with Autism.
    After that you find the Therapists etc who can help you based on the issues you are dealing with and based on the Neuro-psychiatric and Psychiatrist suggestions.

    If there are no medications some people forego a Psychiatrist after a few visits.

    Welcome and glad you found us.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    NeuroPsychs test more intensively than psychiatrists. I have bipolar. My son is on the autism spectrum. I"ve seen so many professionals that it makes me sick :tongue:. I think NeuroPsychs are far more accurate than Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists usually don't test--they go by what you say--I've heard some pretty "out there" and wrong dxs. for both of us from psyschiatrists. ONce the kids are diagnosed, then they are good for medication, if necessary. But it may not be necessary. The fact is, you have not a clue what she has. She sounds like a combo of Aspergers and possibly mood disorders. ODD doesn't usually stand alone. Most of us here find it sort of a pointless diagnosis. We KNOW our kids are defiant, but we need to find out why. They aren't bad kids. Most are just wired differently and we need to find out the reason so we can hold the key and get help.
    I have no idea why, but many men are very resistent to believing something could be wrong with a child. Often they tend to think it's just the mother's weak discipline, which drives me nuts and is usually not true. Other men just won't accept something could be wrong with their child.