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Her issues are beyond the standards for her age of 14. She is in group therapy with other kids with the same issues at school. She has it for the most part under control at school. Private therapy didn’t work, we went once a week for six months and she didn’t speak one word, but waited until the end when the therapist let her choose up to five pieces of candy as a reward for doing nothing. She is that stubborn that she would sit there for an hour just to get candy. She has now bonded with me (my sibling daughters are adopted from one of the worst multi abuse cases the county has ever seen), trusts me and lets me be her therapist. Thankfully I took tons of classes learning how to understand, work with and help my daughters. We use the extreme reward and mild to moderate punishment system (no spanking or hands on punishment). My daughter can go from extremely happy to totally deep seated anger in the flash of an eye, you can actually see it when it happens. That’s when I ask her if she wants to talk before it gets out of hand and usually she does. We use hand signals as reminders, but it still happens if I’m not right there to catch it. We don’t know what to do and since it is me (mom) she has closely bonded to and trusts, I feel it is my responsibility to help her learn how to come to terms with her anger and attitude problem. If anyone has any ideas or information could you please help? I’m open to any advice except physical punishment. I’m seriously considering taking her to the doc to see if there is a medication to help her calm down while she learns to control her problems, which she is very aware of.


Posted by seanac, 10th March 2014


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  • Foster/adoptive children do often have attachment issues and struggles with emotion regulation. From what you share I understand she has already some professional help. I would request more help when things are not improving. This could be with OT specialised in emotion regulation or sensory gym, psychologist focusing on mindfulness, etc
    My 10yr old has a reactive attachment disorder and sees psychologist pediatrician psychiatrist and I’ve now NDIS funding so will seek OT specialised in emotion regulation as well out for her. We also have funding for support worker 15 hours a week.


  • I agree with no physical punishment, I don’t think that’s necessary for any kids. If you’ve been doing what you’re doing for an extended period of time and things are still not where you want them to be. I would be considering a visit to your GP. They are always a good source of information


  • Just hoping all is going well with you and your daughter.


  • Wow, it seams as if you are doing an extraordinary job in a difficult circumstance. Would you look in to biomed? They test for mineral/vitamin/hormone imbalances and treat with supplements to balance the brain chemistry.


  • I would speak to a doctor and tell him about your daughter’s sudden and unprovoked mood swings. She may have to undergo some tests to see if there is something else going on physically.


  • Your daughter obviously has other issues, but I have to say I can see a lot of me in her behaviour. It was just teenage bitchface stuff,mi grew out of it, but caused a lot of grief for mum and dad in the mean time


  • I agree with a lot of other comments, try a new therapist. It can take a few goes to find one the kid can gel with and feels comfortable opening up to. If one-on-one does seem to be working you could also look into family therapy sessions, so that there’s less pressure on her but she is still participating.
    I also really recommend trying to find a hobby (sport, craft, instrument, etc) that she is interested in – help her to channel her feelings into something positive. The same goes for volunteering her time for a cause she’s interested in, such as at an animal shelter.


  • You have the two things most important to a teen, the money and control of transport. Use the power!


  • It is quite common for teenage girls to lash out as they come to terms with the changes they endure from growing from a girl to a woman.
    Patience is key. Be supportive & understanding but firm. There must be boundaries.
    Because of previous problems I would say this girl really does need counselling from a qualified counsellor, but you can’t force her to, she will just clam up again.
    It’s going to be a long road & its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
    Medication is an option, but it could just make her worse. Most medications have side effects that may or may not affect your daughter. There’s also no guarantee that she will take the medication.
    Sit her down & explain that things are getting to far out of hand & you’re considering taking her to a doctor to see about medication. That alone may be enough to scare her straight. Explain that you love her & only want what’s best for her. Meet her halfway. She’s going to want independence but needs to understand she is still a child & needs rules & structure.
    I hope for a good outcome.
    Best of luck.


  • all children go through these stages :(


  • My daughter had same issues at 15. Counselling wasn’t working. We considered medication. Then one of her friends spoke up and we found out our daughter had been raped. Finally, an answer, a reason, for her behaviour! Good news on one hand, devastating on the other. She eventually realised she needed to talk to someone and organised her own counselling. Nothing we did worked because she wasn’t ready. She’s now studying nursing, has a boyfriend in the Navy and is loving life. Maybe your daughter can’t be helped until she decides she can be, worked for ours


  • Unfortunately all teenage girls seem to have attitude problems, however yours are a little more complex, usually we say that they grow out of them and we just try and deal with the day to day issues as best we can, but as you have obviously been proactive taking courses and trying to deal with the issues and the private therapy has not worked I would be looking at taking her to a Psychiatrist and maybe some form of medication, it may be that she has some chemical imbalance and maybe simple depression that is causing her to not be able to respond, I have 2 sons who caused and still do cause heaps of grief and we went through thousands of dollars of therapy, and huge amounts of stress, once they actually got to a specialist who prescribed a small anti depressant they actually became more animated, they started to communicate and then we got somewhere, It cant hurt if you have tried everything else sometimes medication can help the process. And we need to remember that the brain is an organ no different to a heart, kidney, liver etc, and it needs to be able to function, and sometimes it needs medication for a time to allow this to happen. good luck


  • Try and find a therapist that works with the family to help you all cope. Also maybe a check up her the Family Gp to make sure all her hormones are in order


  • I would suggest seeing a GP but also searching for a therapist she is comfortable with to talk to.


  • i would see what your doctor thinks, he/she may have seen this before


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