Concerned about 12-year old granddaughter

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lourdes Cooper, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    I am new to this forum but I am glad that there is a place where I can vent and try to get additional information. My concern is my 12 y/o granddaughter (gd). She is my biological gd the daughter of my 33 y/o daughter. I raised her from 3 months until 5 years, when my son (C) and his wife (K) asked me to let them parent her since I wasn't getting any younger and they didn't have any children at the time. 2 years ago they legally adopted her and now have 2 additional younger children. The 12 y/o has always been a sweet, smart (honor roll), funny, loved by everybody, etc. Since January of this year she has been slowly changing her moods, becoming more and more angrier at her mother (K) to the point of blocking her in the doorway so her mother couldn't leave the room. She has been lying constantly about everything and stealing from the other grandparents house (body wash, body lotions, etc), $$$ from her younger siblings, and even pens and pencils from teachers. When confronted about why did she do that, her response is "I wanted it"...She seems to think that she can take whatever she wants and the consequences do not matter. They have taken her phone away, her tablet, her designer clothes, and nothing changes. This child has been on more trips than I have, cruises, airplane, weekends in Orlando, and the Keys, and other beaches.... she is being treated just like the other 2 children. The biological parents have been mostly out of her life....she wanted to be adopted and even changed her name....She has been the model child.

    Fast forward to this summer, she has gone on family trips, etc. but there is always that fear that something is going to trigger her and get her upset... which scares the younger kids. She went back to school shopping, and was happy with all of her purchases, the family moved to a new neighborhood, so the old school where all of the kids "hated her" Is no longer an option. She was at this old school for 1 year and did not make any new friends. No neighborhood friends either. Seems like when she moved to middle school, her friends from elementary school, Girl Scouts, Drama Club, etc, moved too.... We all thought that the had turned a new leaf. 3 days into the school year, the mother gets a call to please go to the school and get her. Long story short, she told the counselor and the resource officer that she was going to kill herself. She gave different versions on how she was going to do it. With that said, she was immediately "Baker Acted" because she was a threat to herself. 5 days in the mental hospital, it didn't faze her. She was sent to a residential facility for 30 days to see if they could find a treatment for her. For the last 8 months she was going to therapy and it didn't help, for the last 2 months she started going to a psychiatrist to see if medication would help, and nope....They believe that she suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She blames her mother for everything, from making her do chores, to her had mood, etc...When her parents picked her up to take her to the 2nd facility, she never said that she was sorry, that she missed them, nothing.

    Today is the 3rd day in the residential facility and I am so concerned that they wont be able to help. Has anyone experienced anything similar?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have adopted kids. Some came older...the older the harder. Why didnt her biological parents jeep her? There is a story there. That us cutting her off from them at three months....

    In 12 year olds case she was readopted against her will at age five to parents she didnt know. Most likely she has attachment problems, which causes remorseless bad behavior and stops the child who had been shuffled from family to family to have trouble attaching to or loving anyone. We had teo older adopted kids with these problems. One was sloof. Tje other turned dangerous and had to leave.

    I take it this child never even had counseling for this major life shift from you to uninvolved biryh parents. Not a good plan.

    Im not surprised by this girls behavior and feel badly that she had been shifted around. There seems to be little sympathy for this major family change. It is traumatic, bio parents or not...strangers to her.Material goods do not cause attachment...stable family and consistent caregivers do. You can rehome a dog fine. Humans are way dufferent. I mean no harshness. Just factual.

    I would try to find a special adoption therapist who understands attachment disorders...or things can get way worse. She has been through A LOT. I wish it were handled more gently and with therspeutic help to get thus girl ready to change from your home to bio. Parents hime. Could hsve helped. Do seek therspy abut this, even late in the game. She sounds very unhappy. Of course she knows her parents gave her up, but never gave up her siblings. Trust me, that hurts.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  3. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    Sorry if I didn't make myself clearer... my granddaughter was adopted by my son (her uncle) and he and his wife have always been around her since birth. Child wanted to be adopted because she didn't like her biological parents - my daughter who has been in and out of jail and her biological father- the same. She appeared to be loving her family but now is all a mystery. Last time I saw her ( 2 weeks ago) she was very loving to me but looked like she was waiting for me to say something about her behavior, but I didn't. Her parents have tried to keep the discipline to both of them, no get other members of the family involved.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Ok. Thanks for clarifying. Still believe attachment issues are in play...she has had a few families and her birthmother AND birthfather are unstable...Id take her to an adoption specialist. She has been through a lot. I imagine there is resentment toward other children. It makes sense. She needs a lot of therapy. By no fault of her own, she has been tossed around. Love doesnt cure all. We learned that the hard way.
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  5. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there,

    So sorry for what you are going thru. I agree with SOT, please suggest to your son and his wife that they seek a counselor for your gd with a specialty in adoption related attachment issues.

    It could be that she inherited a bad hand of genes from one or both of her bio parents which triggered at puberty. Many times the sudden rush of hormones can activate traits which were dormant beforehand.

    In any case, your gd is in good hands receiving care and all you can really do is love your family. Sounds like your son and his wife are wanting to handle this without much input from concerned relatives, so you may need to tread lightly there.

    Please be mindful that despite how much your gd loves you, and I am sure she does, if she is truly mentally ill or headed that way, her behavior will not always show that love. In many cases it will look and feel like hate. Try not to take any of it personally. Perhaps a counselor to help you cope with these stressful events in your family may not be a bad idea.

    Best of luck, keep posting.
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  6. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Welcome. I agree with all of the above. First and formost. Family therapy for the other kids and parents. It is so important. We all live in our psyche that is ourbintutive sense. And your GD wi sense that the other siblings fear her. Therapy for yourself to lean how to manage as this is suck. Stressful situation.
    In my books and I am no psychiatrist ODD is a pretty low catch bucket for the behaviour she is displaying. At least Conduct Disorder with traits towards Antisocial Personality Disoorder, and underlying psychiatric issues need to be assessed.

    When you say they tried her on medications and they didn't work, I wonder what medications they tried and for what purpose. As there are no medication for social disorders such as ODD and CD; as GM you may well not know.

    More importantly she is indeed a harm to herself; and not yet others. I do hope they are able to unravel this mystery.

    My son 17 has CD and is an addict. Pot, pills of any sort and alcohol. He has had some wild psychotic breaks. I will tell you I was certain there is also an underlying psychosis. There may or may not be but until we get him off the drugs there will be no way to know. My niece is BiPolar and my mother was certainly depressed and untreated she was a hoarder. But you shake anyone's closet and a skeleton or two are bound to fall out.

    I agree with SWOT. Love can not conquer all. You and your son and his wife should be commended for loving caring and adopting this beautiful child. Nothing you did was wrong and more importantly 110% right. Love just doesn't always fix everything.

    Keep posting and I hope as she progresses through puberty and care they get a handle on what is happening and find a successful treatment plan.

    Big hugs.
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  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I raised my granddaughter from 11 on. I was in her life for her whole life and I was a major caregiver for her for her whole life. She was, like your granddaughter a sweet child. When she hit puberty, that all changed. She was also diagnosed with ODD, which as someone mentioned, can be a catch all and early diagnosis. We got her in therapy. We sent her to religious camps. We got her involved in peer groups and sports. It all helped. However, she was difficult until she turned about 17-18 when it began mellowing out.

    Her early therapist told us that she would likely have to "discover her roots" at some point and that point emerged when she was in the 9th grade. (Her Dad committed suicide when she was 3 and her Mother, my daughter, went south after his death and really never returned to normal)......My granddaughter spent one year with her paternal grandmother at 14 years old. It seemed very important to her to find out if she was like them, or like our side of the family, she was trying to find herself. I understood. When she returned, she was different. She had worked something out for herself, within herself.

    Here's my take on it......I think puberty is tough for typical kids, but when there are "issues" of abandonment, whether thru adoption or whatever reason they're not living with their parents.... I believe puberty is when the child is old enough to become cognizant of their reality from a different perspective. The typical process of detaching from parents becomes uber intense, passionate and deep for them. They are desperate to fit in and to find out who they are. You might find benefit from reading Reviving Ophelia: Saving the lives of adolescent girls by Mary Pipher. It's very informative and will help you to see the pressures they face today. From observing my granddaughter's process, I believe she needed to connect with the various players and come to her own terms about all of it. As time went by she mellowed out and began identifying herself with her Mother's side of the family, and managed to work it out in some fashion with her Dad's family too. The lines of communication were always open for her to discuss how she felt, we were very open and honest.

    It seems to me they have a different path to take to find their way thru puberty and into adulthood. She may not be able to put it into words just she acts out....the anger finds a way to come out ......underneath, there may be sorrow.....but later, like my granddaughter, she may be able to share it with you. My granddaughter actually told me when she returned to me for 10th grade, that she had had an epiphany, that she really put us thru the "ringer" and she was sorry.....she figured out on her own that she was directing all of the anger she had for her Mother, at me.

    I would find a good therapist, for her and perhaps at some point, for all of you. Hang in there. You're not alone. Keep posting, it helps. I'm glad you're here.
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  8. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Middle school is a really tough time for kids, all kids. I agree with the others in that I think your gd has been through quite a lot in her short life. I also agree that adoption therapy may be helpful. As far as her suicidal thinking goes, have they tried different anti-depressants on her? It can take awhile of trying different medications in order to find the one that works for a person. It sounds like she needs one.

    Do you as her grandmother take her periodically to do things with her? She undoubtedly feels like the odd person out in her family. You can make a difference by spending time with just her and talking to her. My grandmother made a huge difference in my life.

    It may also be helpful for your gd to be involved in something just for herself. A sport, a musical instrument, art, karate, volunteering at an animal shelter. Different things work for different kids. She needs a positive outlet for all that anger.
  9. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    Thank you to all of you that have responded to my post. I find it comforting reading about your experiences and your ideas. I will definitely will read Reviving Ophelia to get additional information. As of today my gd is still at the residential facility and I don't know when or if we can visit her. I would love to talk to her but really I am sure that she will tell me lies and tell me that she is doing fine and that all of it is because of her mother. She blames her mother for everything...She has not started her "periods" yet, so I don't know if that is going to help or not. I agree that she finds herself "different" or detached from her bother and sister even though she has always been very nurturing and caring with them. But again, this is a side of her that I have never seen. I can only assume that she is very angry to be "away" from the family and probably won't accept the blame that she is there because of her behavior. I will keep reading your comments and suggestions and I am really happy that I found this site. Thanks to all!!!
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Although she needs to eventually realize that her behavior is on her, it is valid that she is angry at and blames her mothers neglect for her problems. They ARE a big part 4of it. She needs to be able to talk about it until she is in a place where she can let it go. Few kids from her background do not become angry and disturbed because of things like that that they had no control over. Dont tell her its not her mothers fault. in my opinion thats not entirely true. She would probably be better off emotionally if her parents hadnt ended up in jail. This is hard for any child to carry around. Her adoption doesnt cancel out her early years and family history. She was not adopted as a baby. She is going to feel different. I feel much of her behavior is due to her early years, typical of kids adopted at older ages who had been passed around more than once. In general these are attachment problems, uber common in kids who change caregivers and have unstable early years. Plus she has her parent's genes...a hard deck of cards.
    Nice material goods do not help unattached kids learn to trust people. Intensive therapy can, but not always. Yes, they lie and steal and often have a lack of empathy.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  11. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    Thanks Somewhere, but when I say her mother, I mean her adoptive mom, because she calls her mom.... Her biological mother she calls her by her name "G"... and she has talked about how angry she is with "G" because last year my son and his wife took "G" in after she got out of drug rehab and didn't have a place to go. My husband and I refused to bring her back to our house because when we did, she started bringing thugs around and we didn't want her friends come to our house when we were at my son and his wife felt sorry for "G" when she came out of her 3rd rehab and took her in. BIG MISTAKE..... they thought she was going to try to reconnect with my gd.... they gave her 30 days to get a job and save $$$ to get a place... and that didn't happen. 3 weeks later, G left the house because they had "high expectations" of her and that she couldn't possibly get a job in a month. I gave her names and #s of places that were hiring, got her a month bus pass, but that didn't help. All of that hurt my gd because she says that G chose between her family and friends and left with her friends.... gd is still mad and hurt about it. So I do know that she is mad at G but when I say her mom, it is K her adoptive mother, whom she loved to be with an do things with her and all of the sudden is hating her.... SMH
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I see.

    All I know is I adopted a few older kids and they did not have normal reactions to loved ones. One was dangerous and had to leave. Both were very loved by us. We just got them too late.

    I am sorry you are all going through this. Been there.
  13. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    Thank you all for reading and responding. I am very thankful for all of you suggestions and comments. Will keep you updated as soon as I hear anything....
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  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    OH, one parent is ALWAYS to blame for everything. It is the parent they feel safest with. I was that parent with my difficult kid. He lashed out at me something awful because he knew I would love him and draw boundaries anyway. He knew he could hate me if he wanted, I would love him anyway. I would not put up with his nonsense, but I would still love him. Does that make sense? It sure is not any fun to be that parent - do something extra nice for her mom!!

    I would make sure they drug test the girl. 12 is far from too young to experiment with drugs. It often is part of the reason for a shift in behavior and it can be hard to tell why behavior is changing. Often drugs start in late elementary or middle school. My dad was a middle school/junior high teacher and he saw a LOT of drugs, and not just pot, in the schools.

    I am not saying there are not other problems. Attachment issues and adoption issues are probably there also. But often these are first expressed by experimenting with drugs. Sometimes it only is called experimenting, and it really is addiction from the beginning. From what my difficult child has told me, it is pretty easy to find almost any drug you want in a psychiatric hospital. Don't let her being in the hospital make you assume she is clean. I still remember how shocked I was when I learned that my son wasn't asking to go to the psychiatric hospital to get help, he was asking to go because the girl he liked was going to be there that night. We paid all that money, 3 different times, for him to go meet up with the girl he liked. It would have been a heck of a lot cheaper to get them a motel room! NOT that I would have done it - and heknew that!! He was only 13 or 14!! You just never know what they are thinking or trying to do.

    As they are looking into medication, ask them to do the DNA test to find the best medications. I know for antidepressants (if they are looking into those) they can find the ones most likely to work or not work by doing a simple cheek swab. It saves a TON of trial and error, and also can save a lot of time and side effects. Also remember to read read read about any condition and medication.

    Be wary of the ODD diagnosis. It is more of a description than a diagnosis, in my opinion. It really doesn't tell you much. A diagnosis should help point you toward treatment. ODD tells you what is happening, but does not tell you how to treat it in ANY way. It gives you no real help. Almost every child who is taken to get help gets this diagnosis whether they have autism, adhd, bipolar or another disorder. My own mother called it "teenager-itis" when she read the description of it in the diagnostic manual. I thought it could be given to most teens whether they were getting psychiatric help or not. It certainly isn't going to be anything that gives any real help to your granddaughter, and if you let your search for help stop there, you will regret it.
  15. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    My parents would have called it being a juvenile deliquant. And yes ODD and CD are a bundle of behaviours that make up a syndrome. They are not treatable psychiatric ailments or developmental disorders. They are treatable with CBT and other therapy. The are a precursor to many psychiatric and disorder diagnoses.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    And attachment disorder has a different cause, but identical symptoms to conduct disorder.

    I am not a fan of an ODD diagnosis either. It kind of just means "defiant child" without an explanation of why for better treatment.

    I would bet she has attachment issues galore. Look up reactive attachment disorder. Most people without adopted kids never heard of it, including many mental health professionals.
    We adopted a healthy six year old boy who always was well behaved snd smart, but aloof and distant. Right after his wedding he dumped the family and has not spoken to us for fifteen years. He has found his birth relatives per his friends on Facebook list. However the relatives live in the far east.

    Six was too old for him to bond with us. He never did.

    Love does not cure all. Yes, I thought love was what mattered too. But it didnt overtake six years in a very nice orphanage. He could bond with peers (peers were his constant in the orphanage) but could not bond with us as his family. The children we adopted as infants are fine, bonded and doing well.

    Early instability is very important to the development of a young childs brain. You can rehome a dog and the dog will bond, often quickly. But it doesnt work with humans. It causes an inability to trust because early caregivers were ripped away or never there and the developing brain tells them that they need to take carebof #1 because nobody stays. This mindset seperates them from others, morals towards others become unimportant, and life problems develop. And, yes, the symptoms are like conduct disorder. A crazy early life causes limited empathy.

    This gd may be thinking of her birthmother when she thinks about her mother. Hard to say. Could be why there is extra anger toward her. But in attachment disorder, love scares the person. They act worse when loved.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  17. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    After 2 weeks in the mental hospital still no breakthrough. Her parents go to theray once a week but not making any headway. She was supposed to have a pass this weekend because of he hurricane oing to Florida so she could spend it with her family and return back on Tuesday, but the pass was cancelled this morning. Therapist was concerned she would hurt herself or one of the family emebers. They are concerned what would happen when she finally leaves the hospital... I might have to take her in. Not sure how it is going to work out....Therapist said that she is very immature (socially) which explains why she doesnt have any friends.... she can't relate to them. SHe tries to ge attention by being an instigator and causing trouble. I am already drained.....
  18. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This is a case for the experts at this point. She is best where she is, out of harms way and prevented from causing harm.
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lala, if the therapist is concerned she may harm a family member, wouldn't that include you? I am concerned for YOU. Is it possible for her to remain where she is or be placed somewhere else where she will be evaluated and supported? My understanding is that the social workers/hospital/authorities make every attempt for a family member to take the child, however, if the family members refuse, other options arise. However, those other options will not arise, if anyone agrees to taking the child. Lala, explore every option before taking her in. It doesn't sound as if that will be good for her or for you.
  20. Lala in Fl

    Lala in Fl New Member

    I think that her mom is afraid to bring her to the house and she may harm her 5 and 6 year old sibblings, but I just cant see her harming anyone.. I have never seen her act out or be violent, so I think her mom might be intimidated. I know for sure that if she comes here, I WILL NOT PUT UP with any of her drama. She is a little Drama Quenn and pouts and rolls her eyes but I havent seen the worse of her. Waiting to see what the next step it.
    PS After the 30 days in hospital- covered by insurance, the cost will be $550 a day!!! That is way too much for us.....
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017