New here - some questions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by bluebluesky, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. bluebluesky

    bluebluesky Guest

    Hi. I'm glad I found this board. To say I am confused would be an understatement. I have a nine-year old daughter and I am having issues. I don't know where to turn to anymore, because everyone around me says it is all okay.
    For the longest time I have had the hardest time creating a support network for me and my daughter. I am a single mom and feel very alienated and isolated and the moment. I can't put my finger on what is wrong. All I know is:
    1. I have been trying to create consistent friendships for my daughter forever, and it has been very hard.
    2. I take my daughter out and almost always either get unfriendly stares or very bored looks toward my daughter. No idea why.
    3. If I thought I could create a nice community type feel here where I live, I was seriously wrong. Most people in my building show complete disinterest or are moodly and are not always friendly.
    4. Even the counselor at camp where I put my daughter looked at me very coldly when I picked my daughter up and proceeded to give my daughter a very cold and unfriendly stare as my daughter asked another girl a question, then the counselor hugged the other girl and took her to the other room as we left. I thought it was the girl's mother, and was unaware it was one of my daughter's counselors, since she was so unfriendly toward me and my daughter and so friendly toward the other girl. It doesn't help that this is an artistic camp (acting, dancing, singing), so it makes me feel she doesn't acknowledge my daughter or her talents.
    The reason I am writing on this board is because my daughter exhibits very difficutl behavior at home and am now seriously considering testing her for odd, although if she has it, I believe it is very mild. I spoke to her guidance counselor at school, as well as a counselor I am talking to about the way people react to her and they said everything seemed to be fine. Lately, though I wonder if there is something more here, and even though on the playdates she has been in the past, the parents said the kids played nicely, something just doesn't add up here.
    At the very least, I have no clue why people react to her the way they do. Adults don't seem to respond well to her, though she is very well-mannered when we are outside. Okay, I get that people obviously don't think that she is pretty, since I never receive a compliment on how cute she is, but still, she is a child and I have seen kids receive compliments no matter what. I am confused. I am scared that she somehow does not form connections to the adults around her, i.e., our neighbors, the camp counselors, etc. and so on. What could the problem be?
  2. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    check out the Collaborative problem solving approach by Ross Greene - my blog has some articles and links
    see - Children do well if they can +links , Social skills, untangling behaviors from diagnosis

    I think you need to get feedback from others about your child - from the camp , school , anybody you know who has contact with her to understand how they perceive her - you have to ask.
    I recommend older sisters, mentors, buddy-tutors , also try to find positive teenagers from maybe your church who can spend time and befriend your child.

    I am not a big one for diagnosis , better to start out with the and do a journal of situations, a situational analysis of problematic behaviors and problems.
    We also need input from your child so we can understand her concerns. We need to see each situation in the context of her concerns and missing skills.

    The way to go is speaking with your child , meaning we listen and direct conersations with questions focusing on perspective taking and problem solving , even chatting on general stuff

  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Allan has provided very good resources.

    I just want to add something from a motherly touchy-feely point of view. Often, as parents who love our children sooooo much, we don't want to hear or believe that their lives are touched by negative experiences. I think that what Allan said about talking with your daughter is key. You really need her to open up to you about what her daily experiences are at camp, school, outings, etc. Just listen, ask indirect questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no. Meet privately with her teacher/school admi/counselor and perhaps have a private phone call with the counselor. I think it's really important to listen to what people are telling you as well as helping to understand how your daughter is reacting to certain situations.

    Your gut is telling you that something is not quite right, that something doesn't add up - listen to your gut. But do your initial research privately without spilling or spelling it out to your daughter. She's a young girl and should not be burdened by your worries about her.

    When my difficult child was young (now almost 21) it became apparent to me that she had trouble picking up on everyday 'normal' social cues. She had trouble playing with others without having hurt feelings if she wasn't receiving all of their attention, had trouble with group settings because she was always focused on what the others were saying to her, looking at her, and would often misconstrue a look or glance. She came across at times as being spoiled, mean, and selfish. She was not spoiled, happens to be very empathetic and compassionate - so I was often confused why she was getting herself into little snits with these other girls.

    Another thing was that to me she made it seem like her day was miserable and then I'd check in with her teacher and the teacher would inevitably tell me everything was fine. I used to pop in at lunch time/recess with McD's just to see for myself how she was interacting with others. Most of the time she was sitting with others, though not actually interacting with them. Other times she would be sitting alone. I spoke with the school counselor and asked her to find a volunteer job for daughter to perform twice weekly during recess time - just to see. She liked having an excuse to get away but she still had those 3 other days to form relationships with others.

    In retrospect, I often question my difficult child's diagnosis and subsequent treatment...but then I go back and read my diary from those times and it's good for me to see everything in writing. I'm not saying you should run out and have your daughter evaluated, though I do think you should do some private research by speaking with her teachers, counselors, doctor, etc.

    I used to think it was awful for my daughter to be in Special Education so her needs could be met (outwardly, she showed no signs of needing any special services, so it wasn't always easy for her to be in the resource room three days a week!), but then I remember how it would be worse for her to have to pretend to be like everyone else and feel so isolated and alone. I should add that at the high school level, we sent her to a different alternative school so she could be with kids who were just slightly left of center and feel more comfortable in her own skin. I happen to believe that it's more important for our children to feel comfortable with themselves and be able to function on a social level before worrying so much about having A's/B's struggling through school, Know what I mean?? The alternative charter school she attended allowed her to open up and learn how to be a friend. She still missed social cues - a lot - but she grew and that mattered to me more than her getting an A but feeling shunned in her own home town school.

    You know your daughter best. If something doesn't feel right, investigate it - but like I said, do it privately. You don't want to make her feel under the microscope. That is the only thing I regret. There were times when I should not have let her know what I was up to. She used it to manipulate whoever she could instead of being mature enough to know that mom was only looking out for her. At nine years of age, they are still little kids and should not have those worries hanging over their little heads. Best of luck - and hugs.
  4. bluebluesky

    bluebluesky Guest

    Thank you so much for your answers. I definitely understand that this is something I must investigate further. I just want to be able to help my daughter and this is done very discreetly around her.
    What is so frustrating is that I have talked to other adults regarding this.
    Teacher said,
    "everything is fine, the other kids look up to her, if other parents are not reaching out, it might be because they are from different countries, and it is a different mentality."
    The school guidance counselor said
    "you are a single mom, try to build your life now, your daughter is doing fine and I don't see any problem."
    The therapist I started seeing, who met her once said
    " I think your daughter is appropriate and engaging and if there is a problem I can't see it.
    I am planning to take her to a special place that does social therapy but I can only go when I receive some extra funds and that will be in October.
    I think kids love her; it's the adults I find that do not seem to take to her. Even though all the adults I've spoken to said everything was fine, on the flip side, they did not gush or compliment her.
    Again, I am confused and it is more confusing when the so-called professionals cannot detect a problem. I cannot wait to go to the social therapy center to get more info on what I can't see. I never connected her being very difficult at home to what could be happening on the outside since a) she is well-mannered when we go out and b) at the homes she's been to, there have been no complaints.
    So, even if there is a problem, no one is letting me on. Thank you again, any more helpful info would be greatly appreciated.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I was a single mom from the time Miss KT was 3 until she was almost 9. Miss KT had difficulty (still does) working and playing well with others, and I got the stinkeye from the parents because of her behavior/attitude. I also got calls from school on a regular basis. She does a great job of ticking people off, and since she rarely catches a clue about how she is perceived by others, she just goes along, continuing to tick people off, and then she wonders why people don't like her. She wears people out, and changes friends every six months or so.

    Your daughter may be well-mannered when you are with her, but completely different without you around. If she doesn't pick up social cues, she won't understand how to behave just from watching others. I can't even count the number of times I could cheerfully have murdered Miss KT when I'd grasp her arm, trying to convey that she needed to SHUT UP RIGHT NOW, and she'd scream, "Don't pinch me!" Also, just because there have been no complaints to you doesn't mean there haven't been any, there just won't be repeat invitations.

    Does your daughter think there's a problem? With a new school year starting soon, I'd suggest being aware of what might be going on, but not hovering over her.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Or maybe you are just being paranoid. Sorry, but it had to be said. If you continue to get no real feedback, just assume it is your own perception and maybe there is not a problem.

    More likely, there is something she is doing that you are not aware of. Does she bathe regularly? hair brushed? When you say 'she is not pretty' does that mean she has a birth mark all over her face? or is one eye bigger than the other? Sometimes it can be such an innocent, petty thing that people can not get past.
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    The idea that you feel that adults don't warm up to your daughter seems odd. I would probably watch how she interacts with the camp counselors and teachers. Maybe ask if difficult child is being difficult through the day and that you are concerned that she isn't connecting with her peers or the adults.
    I don't get why you think people should think she is cute or compliment her? Does no one who has contact with difficult child have anything positive to say about her? Maybe you can ask counselor to tell you the positive things she is doing. It's just a different thought process to want difficult child to be complimented. I guess I came from the camp that was relieved they hadn't asked my child to leave camp.
    If you feel something isn't quite right, I would pursue the concern but you might want to ask yourself what does your child need to function and grow. Maybe she doesn't need the constant stroking by adults.
    Your description of her behavior and the words the adults use to describe her are really opposite of what you are perceiving as their reactions.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    These two comments jumped out at me and I agree with-them:

    Does your daughter think there's a problem? With a new school year starting soon, I'd suggest being aware of what might be going on, but not hovering over her.

    Your description of her behavior and the words the adults use to describe her are really opposite of what you are perceiving as their reactions.

    I wish I could add more, but you've already gotten some good responses and feedback. Best of luck! Oct. is a long time to wait.
  9. bluebluesky

    bluebluesky Guest

    Thank you guys so so much for responding. I knew, that on a board with parents who have issues they are struggling with everyday, there would be real help and practical answers. I hope you understand that I truly feel there is a problem. I cannot explain what it is but the isolation and loneliness are very real. I don't think I am being paranoid because my daughter is alone with me most of the time and there is no one to turn to for support. My sisters are doing their own thing (they have no kids yet) and they are completely unaware of the isolation I feel at the moment. Although I have pointed it out to them, they continue to be in their own world and unsupportive. I have mentioned to them that it would be nice if they took daughter out once in a while, to make her feel like she has family around; it has yet to happen. I told them I would give them the money to do it (even though extra money is scarce), but still they haven't offered.
    I used to be a lively person who socialized very well (although I myself have had problems sustaining friendships for years and years, but still a happy and vivacious person. For a few years now, I just feel like something is going on, and I am not trying to blame my daughter; it's just that no matter what I try at this point I cannot seem to create a warm and loving community for us. I used to be able to do it when it was just me, but now I don't know what is going on. Coupled with the fact that parents almost never invite her for playdates and parties altogether, I am so incredibly fearful for my daughter. The agony I feel is heartwrenching. I just want my baby to fit in with society in general and so far I cannot find a fit. That is why I am looking forward to social therapy. As long as she can fit into some kind of group. I have never been so heartbroken in my life. Her father is completely unaware that this is happening, because he is so unhelpful, it is better to leave him out of it. I pray that this is a "phase", but I will also have her checked for odd, since the behaviors I notice at home is consistent with some of the things on the checklist. Although, again, I didn't think these things were displayed in other people's homes. Thank you for answering. Seriously, thank G-D for the internet. But then again, before computers kids used to play outside. I wish that it could be like that again with adult supervision. It is summer and I have yet to see any play outside.
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! How are her grades in school? Does she speak like an extremely smart child, but her grades are low? I agree that it would be a good idea to mention your worries to her couselors and see if they can spot something. I know that all of this is "gut instinct" but it's still best to check!

    Feel better -

  11. bluebluesky

    bluebluesky Guest

    Hi. Actually, she gets very good grades. She is quite good with her vocabulary words. I think that she could actually do even better at school, but she refuses to read books at home. Anyway, wanted to mention some of the things I see in her, and pass it by here to see if this sounds like it could be odd.
    1. Doesn't like to apologize.
    2. Never seems to see the other side of the argument (meaning other people's).
    3. Doesn't seem to understand that their are rules in the house, and doesn't think she needs to follow them.
    4. Actively annoys you even if you ask her a million times to stop, i.e. poking, scaring, putting her foot on you.
    5. Gets into these tantrums, not full-blown ones, but ones where you have to ask her many times to relax and talk calmly.
    6. If she wants something, forget it. Today, although she had two sweet things already, she wanted one more. It took me so long to convince her that there is a limit, and I will give her a piece of fruit, which is sweet, but healthy.
    7.Is incredibly worried about getting to places on time. Even though we are usually on time and on schedule, she has a huge fear of ever being late.
    With all of this, she has a very sweet side. She likes to hug and loves animals. She could be the sweetest thing on earth. I realized today, though, that I really need to limit sugar, because I notice her craving it more and more. Thank you for any help.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    BBS, I think you have just given us the information you need to point you in A direction. It still might not be the right direction, but what you describe is not just imagination or paranoia. You have had your radar sending you subtle signals, but I've seen the same sort of things on my radar too, and I have spent time with parents who have been through the same thing.

    I caution you - I could be wrong. But it IS a starting point for you to begin making enquiries. We are not qualified to diagnose here and even if we were, nobody can diagnose long-distance.

    So here are some things for you to start with.

    1) get your hands on a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Regardless of diagnosis, it helps you learn how to manage the behaviour of a child such as you describe. She fits the bill. The book also makes the job easier, I found. Some books make you tired just reading them, because you have to set up charts, you have to make lists, you have to stick up things around the place and keep notes. Well, some notes you should be keeping anyway... but this book I found reduced my workload, it didn't increase it.

    2) Go to and do their online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. Whatever the result, print it out and take it to the doctor next time she sees him. It can help.

    3) Keep a diary. Keep notes of what she does, anything odd or interesting. Also anything relevant that you need to tell the teacher (such as "Daughter slept badly last night, she might be irritable today"). Get the teacher to also write short notes in the diary. Have the diary travel in difficult child's schoolbag. It greatly reduces classroom step conferences and lets both you and the teacher get home to have a life.

    I mention Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) because it is an umbrella term which covers Asperger's Syndrome, autism (high-functioning as well as the more severe forms) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (Not Otherwise Specified). Diagnosing this in girls is tricker than in boys as a rule. Girls really do think differently and in my opinion, seem to adapt better (which masks the condition). However, there are two girls in difficult child 3's drama class who have autism. One is non-verbal but very bright.

    Autism is not necessarily bad news, but it would explain a lot of what you describe. The sense of justice is keenly felt by these kids, but it is justice according to the rules as they understand them to be. Often they will also follow rules as laid down officially, but if in their observation those rules are not consistently enforced, they will be more inclined to break them. They also car argue with you until you're exhausted, using every form of logic they can summon to justify you giving them what they crave. Repetetive obsessive behaviours are also a problem - noises, tapping of pencils, fidgetting in the same way, kicking the back of a chair, rocking on a chair, lining up toys, talking non-stop about their favourite topic as if everyone else shares the same passion; plus an important thing which they can grow out of - the child often believes that what she is thinking or feeling is an open book to everyone else. They can get loudly resentful at your failure to immediately meet their needs because you have read their minds.
    Inability to see other points of view; inability to see ANYTHING from a different viewpoint - look up Theory of Mind.Go for the Wikipedia reference.

    See if that helps.

    At base level - you need to start over, pretty much. The starting point is where the child is, because she is so incredibly egocentric. It is all she knows how to be and she will not learn the way other kids learn. The social sense is flawed. But it can be overcome. However, she will need to be taught these things that other people learn automatically. Look up "Sixth Sense". The following article has other useful information.

    The diagnoses vary a little from place to place but basically we were told that in autism there is a history of language delay (even if the child has since caught up and now talks fluently with a superior vocabulary) and in Asperger's there is no language delay. It is possible to be high-functioning in any of the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) categories and to have it in mild form, moderate or severe.

    Some authors for you to look up - Temple Grandin. Tony Attwood. And a young man with autism called James Williams. If you Google the name between double quote marks, then outside the quote marks include the word "autism", you should get the right hits.

    Welcome. Stay in touch. Keep an open mind, but help is here.

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I read this post the day you wrote it, and wasn't quite sure how to respond. Some things came to mind such as wondering why other parents would gush about your child. in my opinion very very few parents today gush over other people's kids. Compliments seem to be fairly low key if they are said at all. It isn't a sign that there is a problem, more a sign that everything is normal.

    Some communities/schools/areas just are not open and welcoming. I moved into a rural development and not a single ONE of my neighbors came by to say hi. They wave IF they look up and see you or your car pass, but it is a big IF. When others moved in I took cookies over and introduced my family - and it was NOT well received. One family let their kids feed the choc chip cookies (homemade) to their dogs!! They did come over and try to get me to pay the vet bill for "poisoning" their dogs, which is how I found out. We don't have real problems with the neighbors, but we don't have a neighborhood either. I think many areas are like that.

    Your daughter does not seem to be connecting with others. The problems you mention indicate, to me, that there may be a problem. You have those mommy instincts for a reason. When they tell you there is a problem, there usually is one.

    I would follow Marg's suggestions, and also ask your pediatrician for a referral to a neuropsychologist. The neuropsychologist should do a complete battery of tests to identify any problems, including learning disabilities (MANY students with good grades have learning disabilities - it is NOT a sign that she is dumb, etc...).

    I would NOT NOT NOT ask about an ODD diagnosis. ODD is a common diagnosis and it is almost entirely useless. It says your child has a problem. Gives NO clue as to what the problem is, how to treat it, or why it is there (if a why can be found). It means the docs know she is a problem child who will not do what she is supposed to but that is all they know. MANY MANY MANY of us have had our child's "ODD" diagnosis go away completely when they are treated for other problems, such as Aspergers, bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, etc...

    They may also push an ADHD diagnosis. Most of the difficult children on this board have had that diagnosis at one time or another. Sometimes it is because they are truly adhd, sometimes it is because they have asperger's or another Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (autism spectrum disorder) and adhd is a symptom of that (it is given as a separate diagnosis so the ins co's will pay for more treatment), and for some difficult children with bipolar it is because they are in a manic phase. When they are not manic the adhd goes away. Adhd IS a real disease, with a real diagnosis and real treatment. It just isn't usually the whole answer. Encourage the docs to look beyond it even while you treat it.

    Her behavior shows some sensory problems may be there. The brain doesn't always process input from the senses the way it should. This is called sensory integration disorder, or Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). It is a hopeful diagnosis, as there are many ways to help it. in my opinion most kids, esp those on the autism spectrum, have some degree of this. Treatment involves providing the right kinds of sensory stimulation, called a sensory diet, and also a therapy called brushing. It must be taught by a qualified Occupational Therapist (OT), but is done at home or school by a parent or teacher. Brushing is an amazing therapy, in my opinion. It involved the use of a very gentle brush that is moved over the body in a certain pattern (over or under clothes), followed by a series of gentle joint compressions. Once you get the hang of it the entire routing can be done in about 3 minutes if you take your time. It is amazing because it actually works to change how the brain processes sensory input. Surprisingly, if you watch the sensations your child seeks and avoids you can work out many of the sensory areas that are problems. I was totally shocked by the Occupational Therapist (OT) because almost every single activity/toy she suggested to help my youngest son was one we had or had something similar to. He sought out the kinds of things that he needed. Many, but not all, children do this instinctively.

    You can learn more about Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) by reading "The Out Of Sync Child" by Carol Kranowitz. You can get an AWESOME list of sensory activities, with ways to make them very affordable, in the book "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by Carol Kranowitz. It is a great book and has ideas that work in many groups. I have gotten many party activity ideas from the Has Fun book and used them with great results in my kids' classes and at home.

    "The Explosive Child" is a must read. Marg explained a lot of it. I also strongly recommend Parenting with Love and Logic by Fay and Cline, along with any other books by them that seem to fit your family. You can learn more about their books at Love and Logic stresses using natural and logical consequences while strengthening the loving bond between parent and child. It is a wonderful resource, in my opinion.

    I hope some of this helps. I DO think you need to ask your daughter what she does with her friends at lunch, etc... In some areas there are very few "playdates" the way many of us think about them. I have quite a few friends who have children who cannot have playdates because they are in so many classes - martial arts, tap, ballet, church, a foreign language, learning to play an instrument, etc.... Around here it is a sign of status. My niece is in 1st grade this year and she cannot do playdates because many of her classmates are so scheduled that it is impossible. For many of those kids the lessons happen after they are picked up from daycare, and it has been this way since kdg or before for them. So the lack of playdates may not be all due to your daughter, though I certainly do see signs that she should be evaluated.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something I also meant to mention - playdates work both ways. difficult child 3's best friend for years (they're drifting apart a bit now) often has friends over to play. Less often, he goes to other kids' houses. But we often would drop in and there could be half a dozen kids there, all getting into the computer games or running around playing ball outside. The more the merrier.

    Another friend of ours would keep a sort of "open house" each afternoon, there were always neighbourhood kids dropping in. She kept her popcorn machine running constantly, and baked cookies for all the kids. She had two kids, one with serious health problems who needed constant supervision and close watching. The neighbourhood kids would help look after her too, they all had her problems explained to them. The constant popcorn and food was also for this little girl, who would often get too tired to eat enough calories. This way the neighbourhood kids were also eating, so it didn't seem like this little girl was being singled out. She enjoyed being one of the crowd.

    So if you want your daughter to have social interaction, you can take the initiative and organise it. But watch her and see how she interacts. it will be valuable information. When kids are young or not coping too well, keep the interactions short and frequent. It doesn't matter if nobody reciprocates - frankly, if you have concerns, keeping her close to home is perhaps best for now.