Where do I go next?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by katkick, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. katkick

    katkick New Member

    I'm not sure if I'm in the right place or not, but when I read the first line on the home page about "not having a great parenting day" I could certainly relate.
    I have 2 daughters - ages 12 and 9. My challenges are with my 9 year old. She baffles me some days, today being one of them. She has always had tantrum issues, not to the point that that I was overly concerned but she is 9 years old now, shouldn't they be over? She is always putting herself down, comparing herself to her sister (that in her mind never does anything wrong and the one we love the most). She yells, screams, kicks, pulls her own hair - anything to show that she isn't happy about whatever is going on. This morning she woke up, saying she had a stomach ache( this is pretty typical on Mondays) I basically just acknowleged it and went on to make breakfast, lunches and get everyone out the door. She had a total melt down. Something similar happened yesterday morning. I take things away from her, I make her sit out of events until she has had her "time out" due to the actions. It is harder and harder to know how I should react. If I laugh she gets angrier, if I cry she does the same, if I ignor it same thing. The thing is I never know what is going to trigger it. We might go weeks with nothing and then bam - two days in a row. I have not ever had her tested for anything, I don't want medications - I just need some advice because I really feel that I'm losing it!
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome! Certainly sounds like you have found the right place.

    First things first. Have you discussed this behavior with the pediatrician? Tantrums at age 9 are certainly NOT normal. You need to get her evaluated. Most here swear by a neuropsychologist. Short of that you can seek out a behavior psychologist who does evaluations (not all of them do). Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluations are also recommended. You just never can tell what may be causing a child to "go off the deep end"

    You don't need to even think medication until you know what you're dealing with. It may or may not be part of your future.
  3. katkick

    katkick New Member

    Can you help me understand wht neuropsychologist is? Occupational Therapist (OT)? Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)? So sorry but I am not familiar with those terms. So, I start with the pediatrician?
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Most "strange" terms on this site have a dotted underline, and if you mouse over it, it will pop up with the definition.'

    neuropsychologist is a neuropsychologist. They do very extensive evaluations lasting about 8-10 hours, usually over 2 days.

    Occupational Therapist (OT) is Occupational Therapy
    Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Speech and Language Pathology
    difficult child is short for gift from God which is a 'tongue in cheek' term for out difficult kids.

    Pediatrician is the best place to start especially if you need referrals.
  5. katkick

    katkick New Member

    Thanks - I appreciate your patienc. I will make the appointment today
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Kathy, welcome.
    I am glad you made an appointment with-the pediatrician. I agree, tantrums are not normal for her age.
    She may have anxiety issues, or something more. All you can do is start to search, which you are doing. Ask the pedicatrician for a referral.

    When your daughter is calm, sit her down and talk to her in a calm voice. Tell her that you are concerned about her tantrums and lack of self esteem and while you want to help, you have to lay groundrules, so she knows what to expect. Tell her to use words when she is angry. Pulling her own hair will take away half of her allowance for a week (or whatever she will miss the most.) Just something to see if she can control it. Once she starts to pull her hair, calmly warn her of the consequences to see if she ramps up or stops. It's really an experiment. Although my son has anxiety issues, we have had luck by disciplining him when he has meltdowns, especially when he gets physical. We have told him that it is normal and healthy to get mad. It is not normal or polite to scream that you hate someone, so you have to say, "I'm mad at you!" We also take away privileges and games when he is physical (although he has been much better in the past few mo's.)

    Just some ideas.

    Best of luck!
  7. Hi Kathy,
    I'm new here as well. Welcome, you will find so many supportive people here!

    I think the paediatrician is a great place to start. Someone also recommended the book The Explosive Child to me- it is a great reference.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome to the board :)

    in my opinion pediatricians tend to downplay childhood problems, but maybe you have one who is more attuned. I would take her to a neuropsychologist, whether he suggests it or not. She IS too old to still have tantrums...that is a red flag for many things and she should be evaluated.

    Can you give us a back history on your child, sort of from infancy on? Was she a difficult baby? Did she like being held? Did she make good eye contact? Did she reach her milestones on time? How does she interact with her same age peers? Any psychiatric problems on either side of her genetic background? Does she live with Dad and Mom? How does she do academically?

    The more you tell us, the easier it is to try to give support and help.
  9. katkick

    katkick New Member

    I do many of the things that you are suggesting. She gets very uptight and starts to get angry when she is about to have a big day -like a big test, a presentation at school. She can stop and she does. I do take things away but I need this to stop. It is causing a lot of issues with our family, we all try to make it better for her and in return we get a meltdown like what you mentioned before. Thanks for your comments
  10. katkick

    katkick New Member

    The pediatrician is suppose to be calling me back. I tried to locate a neuropsychologist through our insuranc - I don't see that type of practice, should I be looking for something else?

    She has ALWAYS ben a bit of a difficult child - even when I was pregnant. She has had a lot of separation issues, until 2nd grade - leaving her at school was very difficult. For many kids the teachers would say they stopped crying when the parents left - not her, she kept right on going for hours. She does like for me to hold her, even now. When she isn't having a bad day I couldn't ask for a better child. We changed schools with her this school year. SHe has had a hard time really connecting at the new school. Some days she just reads at recess, vs. playing. Her teacher told her tha she can only read for 10 minutes and then she needs to interact with the other kids. She is always comparing herself to others and doesn't think she is good enough. She has all As with the exception of a B in math. She is very smart but gets very uptight about doing anything at school. She does have good eye contact, we have taught both of our girls how important this is when you are speaking to someone.

    She lives with her Dad, sister and me. My husband and I both have jobs that require us to travel. When i am out of town she and her Dad have a lot of issues - basic things just getting things completed, doing what she is asked - if she decides that she doesn't want to do something it results in a meltdown.

    I was helping her with a homework project and test yesterday morning. She didn't want to study so she started acting up and being disrespectful. As a result I told her that if she continued she would not be able to play with the neighbors during an outing for 15 minutes after we all arrived. She continued, so she got 30 minutes taken away - then she calmed down and the rest of the day was great. When we got to the event, she didn't challenge me with her "time out" she asked when it would start and when it would be over. After 30 minutes I let her join in with the others. Everything was fine, she understood why she was sitting out and assured me that she would be better - this morning we started all over again.

    There are weeks when we have no issues and then there are days that come out of no where. She is a sweet girl that I love more than anythng in the world, I'm just at a loss on how I can help her get over this and move on to fun days.
  11. katkick

    katkick New Member

    I'm not sure that I answered all of your questions.
    Milestones - she had a difficult time speaking - she was very late starting and then had issues with pronouncing specific letters. I had her evaluated, they told me that I was overreacting she doesn't have any isses with this now, sometimes she still has to correct her R sound, but she does it and moves on.
    The other things have all been on track.
    She loves to be with her sister, who is 12. We have a neighbor that is 11 and 7 - the four of them play together a lot - she is struggling connecting with girls at her new school. Her friends from her old school play softball with her, they all get along great. The issues seem to be more related to her Dad and me than anyone else.

    Her sister has a life threatening allergy to peanuts - we are very dilligent about her surroundings and keeping her safe. As a result of that attention SK seems to think we don't love her as much. She is always trying to come up with something that is wrong or makes her feel bad. Honestly, even with the amount of time that we spend on the fist one, this one gets a ton more attention - there are times that I think that is what she is trying to do, just get more attention.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you ever taken her to a therapist? Has she had any help at all outside of the family?

    Unfortunately, it seems as if she is a child who does not stop behaviors due to discipline. She does understand why she was disciplined, but either will not or CAN NOT (I think it's usually can not) stop her behaviors.

    There are many different reasons for this. Neuropsychs are good diagnosticians and they are usually found in university or children's hospitals. You can ask for the name of one from your pediatrician. I'm surprised she hasn't been evaluated already, but she's still young. in my opinion it's important to have a total evaluation, as well as see a therapist, to see why she ticks the way she does. Our "differently wired" children often need "outside-the-box" type of parenting and extra help.
  13. katkick

    katkick New Member

    We took her to a "counselor" when she was in 1st grade - she had a teacher that couldn't deal with her tears in the morning. We did about 6 visits with her and then she told us that SK was fine, she did provide her with some coping suggestions - things that would help her get through the day at school when she missed us. We got through 1st grade, had an awesome teacher in 2nd, 3rd and now 4th grade - so those things are over.

    The issues now are relate more toward her not getting what she wants at the immideate time she wants it. I guess I have just thought we could handle it, but I'm beginning to think that I can't - we need something to help us help her. I have so many fears of what she might become if this continues. I just want her to be happy, to laught and play like a child should.

    She is VERY remorseful after she has a meltdown. Shen she calmed down this morning she came up, gave me a big hug and said she was so sorry. It is as if there is a different child inside her that I don't even know.
  14. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    I'm another one in favor of comprehensive evaluations - seems like in the US, neuropsychs are a good option for this, but there are others, including child developmental or behavioural clinics at teaching hospitals, where they take a "team" approach.

    But... comprehensive evaluators do not have ALL the specialized skills for testing some of the things that may be going on. While you're trying to get a comprehensive evaluation, maybe you could consider getting these evaluations done first. The reports from these will provide their own recommendations (therapies, interventions, accommodations), and will also be very useful to whoever does the comprehensive evaluation.

    1) Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation - sensory and motor skills issues. Either one can be huge, motor skills can be subtle. Can be both.

    2) Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation for Auditory Processing Disorders (Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)) - this isn't just about language, it's about processing "sound". One variation is where people have problems with auditory figure ground... can't filter out background noise or "home in on" the important sounds. Auditory problems - including plain old-fashioned hearing problems - can, by themselves, cause all sorts of behaviour problems. But... all of these (from hearing through to the APDs) can and frequently do co-exist with other diagnoses. It is well worth ruling out.

    None of these conditions is treated with medications. It's therapies, accommodations, interventions.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, she sounds like she has a good soul.

    Please do take her for help. Even if you can handle her, things usually get harder as they get older, and it's harder for HER to handle herself as well...then peer pressure comes into play and drugs and sex can seem attractive to an insecure child who has never had any help. The counselor may not have been a good fit for her. I would take her for the evaluation. She kind of reminds me of an Asperger's child...I don't know if she is or not. I would not wait until the situation gets worse though. This is a good age to get her some help. in my opinion it's always good to start way before the teenage years. For us, and many here, neuropsychs worked the best. I hope you can find one.

    Good luck :)
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Could be overload?
    It isn't the "trigger" that is the problem.
    It's that she's barely holding things together.
    And then... X happens, and it's the proverbial straw.

    In this regard, typically overload comes from any one of or combination of three things (just my own experience, here)...
    1) sensory problems
    2) auditory processing problems (or any auditory)
    3) sleep problems

    Sleep problems does not mean lack of sleep - they may be getting 10 hours or more, and never getting into that deep rem-cycle sleep that they need so much. Not getting enough quality sleep is HUGE.
  17. katkick

    katkick New Member

    how would i determine if she is getting quality sleep or not - she does get 9 to 10 hours. Overload is an interesting word. Our issues are either ini the AM - getting out the door or just before bed - I get the afternoon issues but morning? perhaps it is not good sleep
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sleep or sensory can cause morning problems.
    So can Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)... as in, our difficult child was so beyond coping ALL THE TIME, that 12 hours of sleep didn't even begin to make a dent in his fatigue level. So... it was rough at home, 24/7... he TRIED at school to hold things together, but as each year went by, this got harder and harder.

    How can you tell a sleep quality issue? I don't know, in general. For us? dark circles under the eyes, very restless sleeper (crashing off the bed or into the wall, sending everything on his night-table flying most nights, sheets that don't stay tucked in), and actually being able to fall asleep in the right circumstances in the middle of the day.

    But... it's a complex question.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Personally, I would do the neuropsychologist first and then the other stuff. Find out the primary diagnosis first. You can go to a lot of different professionals with different specialialties...neuropsychs are good at catching sensory problems (ours did). Sensory problems are usually associated with other disorders.

    You can always take her for a sleep study later, if you feel it is a possible reason for the behavior. If you get too bogged down with different specialists, you can go nuts. My son has seen almost every type of specialist there is and I know how tiring it gets. In the end, the symptoms that he had of other things (sensory issues, ADHD, learning issues) were all tied up with his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and treating that really helped the rest.

    Anyhow, hope things improve :)
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends on where you end up.
    If we could ONLY have gotten the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and auditory testing done first... I would NEVER have come within a million miles of this board. Wouldn't have needed 10 years of battling down doors and trying to find answers. Wouldn't be still dealing with the fallout. IF. (we tried. the testing we needed wasn't available when we needed it, OR on the next several rounds... this is not a blame game)

    What I've seen of other's experiences, along with my own? If the child DOES have a "killer" diagnosis - a single really big elephant in the room - then starting with a comprensive evaluation may make sense. But... if there is no "killer" diagnosis... even our two comprehensive evaluators told us that, if we hadn't done the Occupational Therapist (OT) testing first, the report would have had more questions than answers...

    And of course... until you get to the end of the process, you have no idea which one you're dealing with.
    Which means? You have no option but to go with your Mommy Gut. Because there is no formal defined "best" process for most of what we deal with, in terms of getting dxes. (treatment based on diagnosis is a different story, and even then... )