New here...with lots of questions!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by homesteadma, May 4, 2013.

  1. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    Thank you, for letting me join here, as I feel desperate for help! We have adopted my husband's great niece. She is 4 1/2 now, and has been living with us since she was 8 months old. She was severely abused by 4 months, & removed from bio parents. We were told by dcs that she wouldn't remember the abuse, or need counseling for it because she was so young. Now I really wonder?
    She was neglected, locked in a dark room alone for hours, left in same dirty diaper for 2 days, had fractured arm, thigh, hand, 3 fractured ribs, and had dark bruising all over her bottom. This all occurred by 4 months of age, she was then placed in a foster home. Foster mom said she never slept all night while she had her, and cried a lot.
    At 8 months old, she came to live with us. She couldn't roll over, or sit up. By 9 1/2 months she was walking!
    She is very bright, catches on quickly, and gets bored quickly. She has NEVER slept all night, on a reliable basis. She wakes in the middle of the night, says she has bad dreams, we pet her, she'll eventually go back to sleep. Sometimes though, it takes hours. I don't know what is wrong, but I know her behavior is not normal. I've raised 6 children, and never had issues like this before. Its not only the sleep, but other behavior as well. She hasn't taken a nap since just before her 2nd birthday, she tells us she doesn't like to go sleep because of the bad dreams. If we don't keep her occupied doing something constructive every second of the day, then she becomes very destructive. Her preschool teachers told me just last week that she has the energy of 5 of the kids there, combined. (I totally agree with that assessment) She seems unable to let herself calm down enough, to go to sleep. We are giving her melatonin or she'd never go to sleep before midnight. Her pediatrician has been of no help at all, other than to shove a list at me that has mostly psychiatrists who treat drug dependence in adults?? I feel she needs to be evaluated, I'm not even sure for what? She concentrates well, when she's occupied with something. But she's "all over the place" getting into everything ALL the time, otherwise. Her 2 yr old brother listens to us and is better behaved than she is. He has been with us since 2 days and didn't suffer the abuse she did. She goes "into the zone" when she gets tired, especially afternoon until 8pm, and nearly drives the entire family crazy with her behavior. I also have 14 & 15 yr old bio children. Even though there are 4 children in our house, SHE gets/demands 90% of the attention. My other children are really resenting her. We can't go anywhere and take her with us, because of her behavior. She screams at the top of her lungs anytime she doesn't get what she wants, which is a lot, since I try not to give into that kind of behavior. My husband just wants some peace & quiet back in our home. I don't think she just has discipline issues, it's more than that. I can discipline her 15 times, consistently in the same day, for the same thing. She'll go for it the 16th time, if I don't keep her occupied with something else. She is also very sweet and loving and compassionate. But when evening comes, and I tell her to leave so and so alone, don't throw all the clothes out of your dresser drawers, (one of her fave tricks) she acts like nobody is home, refuses to make eye contact with me, forges ahead into whatever I'm telling her NOT to do, etc. HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I don't normally post in this forum, but saw your post and wanted to share a link. Others will be along shortly.
  3. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    Thank you!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Glad you found us, sorry you had to. You have your hands full. (sorry this gets to be a run-on paragraph... I can't get <return> to register on the forum...) You DO have your hands full. I'm not a parent-specialist in those particular kinds of situations, but I have experienced the effects of sleep issues on a child (my difficult child) and... that alone is going to be a major problem. The fact that these seem to be related to night-mares and other mental imagery mean that she does have things to deal with... but I don't know where to tell you to go looking for help on that. It may also be useful to get a comprehensive evaluation, to determine if other factors are at play - developmental, for example, or neuro-logical or whatever.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Whoever told you that your child wouldn't need help f or abuse is a moron...a total idiot. Your child DOES need help, even if he can't remember, it is in his subconscious and his behavior is affected by it plus he could do similar things to other children. It's there, whether he rememers it or not. I have two kids who were sexually abused and we did the whole works as far as treatment. In foster care, I've seen six month olds that were already shut down and grew into very angry children. IF alcohol was involved while chld was a developing fetus, she could have fetal alchol spectrum problems. If so, at th e worst, these kids don't remember, from day to day, what they are supposed to do to behave and are extremely hyperactive.

    Your child may have some form of attachment disorder. You are going to need tons of help for him/her. On top of that, there may be other things, especially if Mom drank or took drugs during pregnancy. You do need a neuropsychologist evaluation and serious therapy for this child. It was very kind of you to take the child in, but this child is going to be difficult and the sooner you get help, the better.Does she have a conscience? Does she hurt your other kids?

    Depending on how old your other children are, you need to try to explain to them that this child is not a "bad" girl. She needs help, and they could be a part of t hat help. You may have to get a sitter if you want to go out until your child is more manageable. I have a son on the autism spectrum and we needed to do that for him. If you have no sitter, maybe Dad can take them out and you stay home. It's not fun, but you haven't had a chance to get this child the help she needs yet. It can get better.

    On another note, many kids don't nap after two. I have raised my fair share too and my most normal kids did not need naps after two. Not all kids do. If I put especially one kid down for a nap at age two he wasn't tired until midnight. He functioned fine without a nap.

    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  6. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    How do I find a Dr. to do a neuropsychologist evaluation on her? I live in VERY rural area, and assume I'll be having to travel some for this. I don't know where to start looking, does it need to be a "pediatric" neuropsychiatrist?
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nearest children's hospital or university hospitals. I'm in a small area...had to travel, but not too bad.

    It can be any neuropsychologist who does children.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I totally agree with mwm. How stupid to say that. It's like they never studied child development.

    Why do they think babies are to be feed, cuddled, responded to, etc?

    It is the first three years of life that are most critical for developing our ability to trust, to engage with others, to form attachments/to bond. It doesn't matter of we remember, our brain wiring is developed during that time.

    Baby cries, mommy checks....hungry? Wet? Pain?...mommy (or other primary caregiver) gives what's needed....and so on and so on. That is how we learn to trust. That is how we bond.

    This site has great articles on attachment and the bonding was started by parents who adopted from China but it now it's for any adoption situation that could result in attachment challenges...

    Click the tabs on the left for the, symptoms, bonding cycle and ideas for therapy.

    Regardless of other possible problems, like fetal alcohol or neuro damage, our.....with that severe of an abuse history? I'd be proactive in working on further bonding.
    This does not mean you are doing anything wrong, by the way! It takes specialized techniques....therapists who are not specially trained in that area can do more harm than good.

    never allow that type of therapy to separate you from your child. (no play therapy with the child/therapist for example). Attachment therapy focuses on parent-child activities and they can't learn to bond to a therapist in this kind of case. That makes things worse.

    Other than that, I'd also be highly suspicious of neurological damage. (drugs, alcohol...high risk)...
    The neuropsychologist will help sort through the neurological and mental health issues.

    If you really can't find a neuropsychologist, you can try to find a developmental pediatrician who has a comprehensive evaluation team. (not talking a one hour Dr appointment...but like the neuropsychologist evaluation....a six hour or so kind of thing)

    If she was exposed to drugs and alcohol, she may also have subtle motor problems and/or sensory integration disorder. An occupationa therapy evaluation can let you know how things are and can offer really good ideas for self regulation, neurological integration, etc. it's usually easier to get into an Occupational Therapist (OT) so bringing this report to the neuropsychologist can be helpful too.

    While you are working on getting some answers, there are some things you can do that will help any diagnosis ....

    Things that have helped us have included, therapeutic horse back riding (or just ride and groom if you can't find a therapy program....builds attention, following directions, anxiety control, etc), keep routines and schedules add much as possible, get respite if you can, and use short simple directions, given step by step. Often what looks like defiance is a memory or language our processing problem.

    Also...laugh! Keep your sense of humor as much as possible.

    Not only for your mental health, but because these kiddos, get lots of daily corrections, crabby voices, upset facial expressions....etc.

    Their self concept is shaped by that.

    Anyway, so glad you found us. Sounds like you have much to investigate, it is quite worth it!

    Bless your heart for taking her in!
  9. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    I went to the site and WOW. I read a description written by a mother who had adopted her child from China, and just wow! It was as though I had written it! Our children share the very same behaviors, including the sleep issues. Her child was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)/PTSD...
    There is a WEALTH of info on that site, thank you SO much for sharing it with me! At least now I have a place to start...and can begin to get her the help she/we need so much!
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If you're dealing with attachment disorders... you'll want to find someone to work with who has extensive experience with these kids. MOST tdocs and psychiatrists - including neuropsychs - don't have that experience. And the advice and approaches that may work with other kids... definitely don't work with anything on the attachment disorders spectrum of things...

    It does help, though, when WE start understanding what we are dealing with....
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    So glad you have a place to start. They also have a closed parenting group with help like this group, through Yahoo groups.
  12. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Welcome Homesteadma!

    I wanted to ask the folks on this thread a question about attachment disorders (hope you don't mind!)

    Can a child have attachment issues even if they were well taken care of and needs were met during the first 3 years? Iow, can some children just be predisposed to difficulty bonding with their caregivers? Thanks!
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Jules... I'm not so sure about "predisposed to difficulty bonding"...
    What I can tell you is that it is possible for a fairly normally-attached kid to become messed up in attachment later - we had that happen. In that case it doesn't qualify as anything on the attachment disorder spectrum, because that requires the problem to originate in the first three years... but the things that work for attachment disorders, work if the child becomes dis-attached.
  14. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks IC. I just found something about this online:

    It also can occur as a result of severe illness in the parent or the child, parental unavailability, or emotional trauma. Some children have inborn disabilities or temperaments that make it difficult for them to form a secure attachment, no matter how hard the parent tries. In any case, there generally are several factors involved. The major causes are:

    • physical neglect • emotional neglect • abuse • separation from primary caregiver • changes in primary caregiver • frequent moves or placements • traumatic experiences • maternal depression • maternal addiction to drugs or alcohol • undiagnosed, painful illness such as colic, ear infections, etc. • lack of attunement or harmony between mother and child • young or inexperienced mother with poor parenting skills.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good post, Jules. There are also some kids who have temperments t hat make it harder for a mother to bond with the child, such as the child not liking to be held or seemingly rejecting Mom, as in autism or other neurological differences. There are parents as well who are not prone to bonding with their children and that can cause attachment problems. Any child who lies in a crib and isn't nurtured or loved or cuddled in those early years will learn not to trust anyone to take care of it's needs. Then if a loving caregiver suddenly appears in his/her life, this child has already wired himself/herself not to trust anyone. It can happen at a very young age and is very hard to treat and the child is very difficult to raise because he lacks trust. Wost case scenario is that the child cares nothing for anyone else...he has learned not to and it is hard to change that. Often, these are extremely angry kids and some have no consciences as well. There is a big penalty for the child to pay if he is not loved by a consistent caregiver in his early months and/or years.

    This used to be called "failure to thrive."
  16. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    The best I could do around here is a group called "Personal Growth & Learning" who have a psychiatrist, psychologists, and a host of other people with lots of letters after their names. Had 1 hr appointment with psychiatrist who asked me many, many, questions about daughter's history, behavior, development at different ages, etc. While this was going on, daughter was bouncing up and down like a pogo stick, refused to stop trying to get into the Dr's bookcase stacked with stuff, even though I tried distracting her repeatedly with crayons, books, playdough, etc., in other words, being her normal self. The Dr. said she wanted her to be seen by a woman there who works with children who have been through trauma, foster placements, and those kind of situations. The first appointment. with her is in mid June. I asked the psychiatrist if she could tell me anything, as to her opinion of what's going on. She said that I was redirecting her well, that I was doing a good job of that. She wanted to wait and see what the other counselor she's going to see says after she's had a chance to see her some. She recommended a book to me, "Have a New Kid by Friday" which I immediately downloaded and husband and I read it, and are implimenting a lot of the strategies from it. Basically it's B (what the child wants) doesn't happen, until A (what you want) has been achieved. I have gained a bit more cooperation from her by using this. But the screaming fits, omg, are awful. She's now already trying to "play" me, by ignoring me initially, then when she sees I'm not going to give, she finally submits with a smile and says, "See mommy, I obeyed, so I can have ...?" and when I tell her NO, she can't have .... because she didn't do .... WHEN I said for her to, she has a screaming melt down again. I'm not sure that makes sense, if you haven't read the book. Here's an example, I tell her I'm going to the store (making sure I have her attention) to go get her shoes and put them on, if she wants to go with me. I tell her 1 time only, then walk away. She ignores me. Just a few minutes later I say, I'm leaving for the store. She comes running and screaming that she wants to go. I tell her no, she can't come, she doesn't have shoes on, and I leave. She of course starts screaming and running through the house trying to find her shoes, yelling wait, I'm getting my shoes, and I just continue out the door and leave, without reacting to her pitiful plea. Of course, husband is there with her, but the point is, she didn't get to do B, (go with me to the store) because A, (getting shoes on) wasn't achieved. Next time I told her to get those shoes on, she did it. But poor husband had his ears stopped up for 30 minutes after I left because of her screaming and wailing. lol. Any thoughts on this???
  17. homesteadma

    homesteadma New Member

    The person my daughter will be seeing has medications LPC after her name...anybody know what that means?