Hi, and apologies in advance for this enormous post. I'm Cress, and have just found this site. My daughter is 7, and has been diagnosed with ADHD, query ODD, and has emotional & behavioural problems on top of that. Her father has done a sterling job of screwing her up (we've been separated since she was 6 months old) by being inconsistent, one minute showering her with presents and love and everything she's ever wanted, and the next he's telling her she isn't loved & isn't welcome at his home any more (four times in the last 2 years, though I'm currently fighting to rescind a contact order so she doesn't have to ever go back there), among other brutal things (all verbal - no physical abuse). I myself am also ill with long-term clinical depression, for which I'm medicated and have been since before she was born - I know I'm not blameless in all this. The ADHD has made her a handful from the start, but she's also apparently 'exceptionally bright', which almost makes it worse. I won't go into details of her past - I wouldn't have the time! - but she's broken out of every house we've lived in (first time at 6am when she was 3... yes it was locked & bolted.), she's destructive, and she's smart. Every single day is a battle, about almost everything. I am so very, very tired. I'm sorry - I don't really know what to say. I just feel so alone. Like the world's worst mother. She can be so wonderful, so charming, so endearing - strangers adore her! Then they spend more than 24 hours with her, and are simply astonished by her endless energy & mania. "How do you do it!?" they ask, amazed. And I really, REALLY don't know. I can't keep it up. I can't remember the last time that I wasn't utterly exhausted. I can't remember the last time that I looked at her and felt something - ANYTHING - other than complete despair. She takes Concerta XL which has improved her behaviour at school exponentially. She is making friends for the first time in her life, because the other children aren't frightened of her any more. At home she's still difficult - the mornings are horrendous, EVERY morning, and the evenings are a battle from about 6pm onwards. She reached some sort of breaking point the night before last. I was expecting a backlash of some sort (her father told her a fortnight ago that he doesn't love her, doesn't want to see her, that she's no longer welcome in his house, that when they said goodbye 'it was forever'...) - after such an emotional trauma she usually just plays up at home and in school. I'd warned school, and was being very aware of her feelings at home. But I was NOT expecting this... The night before last she ran away. I went to pick her up from school, and discovered she'd stolen my glasses & had been wearing them all day, telling everyone she 'has new glasses' (she doesn't wear glasses at all). I was cross, and as we were walking out I told her she would be sent to her room to think about whether taking other people's things is good behaviour (taking things that aren't hers is a constant battle). She said she didn't want to go, slipped my hand, and ran off. For the first 20 minutes I kept her in eye-sight, and she kept running back to check I was still there before running off again. It was a power struggle, and one I was sure she'd run out of steam with soon enough. Then I lost sight of her. And then I couldn't find her anywhere. So I rang the police. Myself, my friends, and a whole host of police cars searched for her for the next 2 hours, before finally the local leisure centre rang 999 because a child had wandered in on her own and told staff her parents were dead and she didn't know what to do. We rushed down, picked her up, and after various police reports (I'm still waiting for Social Services to call back) I brought her home. I tried very hard not to be angry. I told her that I loved her, and had been worried about her, and more than anything, was pleased that she was okay. I didn't hug her, I didn't smother her with affection (which I think she was expecting); I explained I was very very angry because of all the fuss she had caused and the lies she had told (also a constant battle). She went to bed knowing she'd done wrong, but that I loved her. So yesterday morning when I got up at about 7 (she gets up between 5am and 7am, but never wakes me - it's another constant battle) I came downstairs to discover she'd already trashed the house. This is not abnormal - she is destructive (paperwork ripped, clothes all over the floor, food on all the surfaces, books strewn around the room, etc) however this particular morning she'd only gone for things precious to me (that she KNEW were precious, because she'd been told)... special photo albums had been ripped to pieces, old photographs had been cut up, the jumper I was knitting was unravelled and cut up, there was selotape all over the walls, colouring all over the furniture, etc. I put her in her room and rang her Psychologist to explain what had happened and ask if he could talk to her, as we clearly need more help than we were getting. She's now due to start seeing a play-therapist weekly, as well as more regular sessions with her Psychologist. So where does that leave me? Well, this morning was a 'normal' morning for us. She'd helped herself to orange juice (an entire carton of), wasted all the remaining milk pouring it into 4 bowls with cereal, none of which she ate, the laundry was out of the basket and all over the floor again, behind the sofa (her 'hiding place' for sweet wrappers she's stolen, things of mine she's taken, etc) there was more ripped up paper, she'd emptied the bin out back there.... I got her washed & dressed & into school (on time! Which is nothing short of miraculous - fortunately her school is very supportive), and then found myself back home, sobbing, and questioning whether I could do this any more. The house is such a state, and I don't have the energy or motivation to do anything about it. I feel completely defeated. I don't know what to do. I feel like the world's worst parent, like I've single-handedly created a monster, and that the world isn't a nice place for her to be in, and she's going to have so many problems as she grows up and life just gets harder and harder. I am so desperate. I don't know what to do. I am just so tired. Please, I need to know that there's hope.