Spd kid who EXPLODES! Can't tolerate it anymore. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-07-2011, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so mad and sad right now.

What do you do when your 8 year old DD throws a bowl of cheerios all over the kitchen floor (that you just happened to sweep) because she decided it wasn't the way she wanted it?

 

We were watching a family movie that DD has been waiting to see for a long time. Everything was great and it was a very nice evening. I came into the kitchen to make a bowl of cheerios and almonds because I knew they didn't eat much for dinner. It was very late and this is usually a privilege to be able to stay up even later to have a snack.

DD saw hers and said " I don't want it mixed with almonds" I said "this is how you always eat it and it was the end of the box". She preceded to stick her hand in the bowl and dump the cereal scattering it all over the table while saying "I don't want it mixed with almonds". Right away I removed the bowl to prevent even more of a mess. I put it onto the counter and told her that this was what I was offering, it's late ....if you don't want it, go brush your teeth for bed.

She started screaming and trying to dump out more cheerios. DH tried to get the bowl and she took it and dumped it sending them all over the entire kitchen. He told her to clean it up (which of course I know is pointless when she is in this frame of mind). She carried on and screamed and called names and so on. He tried to make her clean up and she tried to hit my feet with the broom. I couldn't take it anymore and picked her up and had to drag her into her room to get her away from me. I feel sick from this and I'm so sick of it.

 

She has mild SPD and is extremely explosive. I focus a lot of time on her and know she has a hard time, but this is just unacceptable.

She holds her self together in school and is one of the model students of the school academically and behaviorally.

At home when all is going her way she is wonderful, but God forbid she decides something is not the way it should be.....

Look out!

DH thinks she is spoiled. I think she has a self control problem.

What to you do in a situation like this?????

She is 8 YEARS OLD!

She can be so nasty its unbelievable. She is treated so well.

Of course if I could go back, I wouldn't have mixed the nuts and cheerios (which she is always very happy to have- so I don't know why she flipped) They were already mixed and she already started wigging out, so I was not going to allow that. I am so tired of trying to predict what will cause an explosion because it probably is spoiling her.

This is so hard.

 

 

 

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#2 of 22 Old 05-07-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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I am so sorry. 

I have no helpful advice but want you to know you are not alone.  My daughter's emotional outbursts are affecting my daughter and our family horribly (she has not been diagnosed with SPD; we're not sure what is going on.).  It was so much easier prior to this year (she is six and is now in school full-time - 1st grade).  Prior to this year, we were able to 'work around' her and I believe the stress at school makes the outbursts even more extreme.  I cannot even anticipate many of the melt-downs...she cannot find underwear, shoes, clothing that feel 'right' (even if it is the same item that felt right the day prior). It can be anything...I cut the apple the wrong way, gave her the wrong glass, or tried to help her in any way.  It is my fault when she trips, drops something or has a bad day.  I'm sorry to go on and on...I understand your frustration.  I especially hate the way her behavior affects her brother.  Even though he is often late for school because of her meltdowns or he misses an activity because of her, he still spends much of his time trying to fix the situation and help her. 

 

My sister is going through something similar with my niece - age 7.  Sometimes it makes me feel better to call her and vent.  Most parents do not understand this behavior.  I do not think she is spoiled - at times my daughter asks me to find a doctor who can help her be different/better – it breaks my heart.

 

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#3 of 22 Old 05-07-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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What, in the scenario you described, involved SPD?  My son has SPD and I read what you describe as being kid/temperament stuff, not SPD.

 

Some great books:

Smart but Scattered (regarding executive function, which includes emotional control and impulse control)

Getting to Calm

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach

The Explosive Child

 

Learning about executive function, as well as the slow maturation of the prefrontal cortex, helped me understand my children better. 

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/index.html

 

In that situation, I would not have engaged with her once she'd blown up (rigid thinking, arguing, fighting).  When the bowl was tossed, I'd have said "unh uh, no way, that needs to be cleaned up" or "ok, something's bothering you, but throwing that was not ok.  please clean it up now." If she continued to escalate,  I would have just gone flat and waited her out - anything else is fanning the flames and she's not rational at that point. Or she might be a kid who can't get back into a self-regulated state on her own, so I'd help her (ie heavy work, back rubs whatever). When she'd calmed, I would have hugged her, told her that her reaction was out of scale to the event, and asked her to clean it up.  After cleaning it up, depending on the hour, I'd go back to the schedule or send her to bed.  I would also have asked her to "make it right" with whoever was affected.  This isn't trite apology, but actually communicating with others.

 

She is not choosing to behave this way - she just hasn't developed the self-regulation skills yet.  You can help her by coaching, but it's a long effort.


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#4 of 22 Old 05-09-2011, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

What, in the scenario you described, involved SPD?  My son has SPD and I read what you describe as being kid/temperament stuff, not SPD.

 

I don't think this had anything to do with SPD. I just threw it in there because sometimes her senses are overwhelmed and she is reactive.

 I think she definitely has an impulse control problem- but she can control it in school, so that is why I am at wits end with this. The fact that she is capable of it every day for 6 hours shows me that she CAN do it.

 

Some great books:

Smart but Scattered (regarding executive function, which includes emotional control and impulse control)

Getting to Calm

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach

The Explosive Child

 

I've read all of these except "Getting to Calm", I'll check it out.

 

Learning about executive function, as well as the slow maturation of the prefrontal cortex, helped me understand my children better. 

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/index.html

 

In that situation, I would not have engaged with her once she'd blown up (rigid thinking, arguing, fighting).  When the bowl was tossed, I'd have said "unh uh, no way, that needs to be cleaned up" or "ok, something's bothering you, but throwing that was not ok.  please clean it up now." If she continued to escalate,  I would have just gone flat and waited her out - anything else is fanning the flames and she's not rational at that point. Or she might be a kid who can't get back into a self-regulated state on her own, so I'd help her (ie heavy work, back rubs whatever). When she'd calmed, I would have hugged her, told her that her reaction was out of scale to the event, and asked her to clean it up.  After cleaning it up, depending on the hour, I'd go back to the schedule or send her to bed.  I would also have asked her to "make it right" with whoever was affected.  This isn't trite apology, but actually communicating with others.

 

99% of the time this is the way I handle it. It's not helping her though.

I don't think this is how she wants to be either, but she just lashes out almost EVERY time something doesn't go her way. Nothing is working and in some ways she is getting worse. She is armed with new horrible things to say the older she gets and the screaming and name calling is just vile to listen to.

This is what I have to hear ........."I hate you...wish you were dead...stupid idiot.. wish someone would kill you....

There are  more but this is her trusty old ammo when she copes with disappointment.

This is insane to me because she has never heard me or DH speak like this. She doesn't watch inappropriate tv. This is all her anger when she doesn't get what she wants. I tell her to go into her room until she is done yelling and that those words are hurtful and not ever okay.

She always comes out and apologizes but I'm getting sick of it. It's like she NEEDS to "pay people back" or she just can't make the turn around.

 

 

 

 

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#5 of 22 Old 05-09-2011, 05:25 AM
 
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Have you tried to keep a notebook of some sort to find out when the explosions happen?  You might be able to lessen the explosions through controlling the environment.  It will not get to the root of the issue, but less explosions can only be good for your family.  Hang in there.

 

If you doing things the "wrong way" is a common trigger I would have her do more for herself.  

 

Hang in there,

 

Kathy

 

 

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#6 of 22 Old 05-09-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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Was ADHD part of her evaluation by the pediatric neurologist? I mention it because Ds' behavior was a lot like your dd's before he was diagnosed at 6.5 with ADHD by the psychiatrist--though a big difference is that he couldn't function in school. He started cognitive behavioral therapy and medication at the same time, though he didn't make much progress in therapy until his second medication. ADHD can present differently in girls and girls often seem to function well in school until late elementary/Jr. High when they just hit a wall.

 

Though we first took ds to a psychiatrist we later took him to a behavior clinic at a children's hospital; he was evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, a speech/language pathologist, a psychologist and a social worker. I wonder how comprehensive the neuro's evaluation was if she was referring you to a separate psychiatrist.

 

Also, lack of quality sleep can cause symptoms of a few disorders. You could have her do a sleep study to rule that out.

 

1.      Mild to moderate pragmatic language disorder.

2.      Social developmental delay; in part due to ADHD.

3.      ADHD combined.

4.      Disruptive behavior.

5.      Anxiety (performance and social anxiety)

6.      Chronic motor/vocal tics

7.      Possible CAPD.

8.      Hyperacusis/sensory concerns.

 

Regarding Asperger’s, Ds' Dr. said that he appears to meet the criteria but that he was a little young for diagnosis and that the ADHD complicates the picture (she went into a lot more detail than that; apparently the diagnostic team spent a lot of time debating this point). We will reevaluate in a year – added maturity and addressing some of his other issues may give us a clearer picture. The appointment took about 3 hrs.


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#7 of 22 Old 05-17-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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OP-I know I'm a little late in the game responding but I have similar issues with dd. I often find myself in a similar situation to the one you describe with the cheerios and almonds. In our house, we would cut the irrational behavior off at the pass and calm dd down before things got out of hand and had her pick the almonds out if she didn't want to eat them. Usually I'd say something like "Oh maaaan! I'm sorry. I thought you'd want almonds like usual. Well, we can pick the almonds out if you'd like." I might also offer to help remove the almonds from the bowl. I'm guessing you're not talking about almond meal so she should be able to single out the nuts from the cheerios. I might then turn this into a game of counting or making patterns, or "can you toss the almonds into this bowl?" and give her an extra bowl to separate into to make the whole situation a little more fun.

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#8 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Have you tried to keep a notebook of some sort to find out when the explosions happen?  You might be able to lessen the explosions through controlling the environment.  It will not get to the root of the issue, but less explosions can only be good for your family.  Hang in there.

 

If you doing things the "wrong way" is a common trigger I would have her do more for herself.  

 

Hang in there,

 

Kathy

 

 



I didn't read this reply yet- sorry it took so long.

Yes, I have kept a notebook and the explosions are mostly predictable with a few curve balls thrown in. Some I can avoid completely while others are unavoidable.

Sometimes she is even keeled for a few days and then other days she has a very hard time.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel though. She does not want to act like this. She knows it doesn't do any good and is trying to control herself. We just take it day by day.

 

Doing things the wrong way is not a huge trigger, but sometimes it winds up being one when she has already been triggered by thoughts that make her angry. She just needs something to flip about.

 

 

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#9 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 05:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Was ADHD part of her evaluation by the pediatric neurologist? I mention it because Ds' behavior was a lot like your dd's before he was diagnosed at 6.5 with ADHD by the psychiatrist--though a big difference is that he couldn't function in school. He started cognitive behavioral therapy and medication at the same time, though he didn't make much progress in therapy until his second medication. ADHD can present differently in girls and girls often seem to function well in school until late elementary/Jr. High when they just hit a wall.

 

Though we first took ds to a psychiatrist we later took him to a behavior clinic at a children's hospital; he was evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, a speech/language pathologist, a psychologist and a social worker. I wonder how comprehensive the neuro's evaluation was if she was referring you to a separate psychiatrist.

 

Also, lack of quality sleep can cause symptoms of a few disorders. You could have her do a sleep study to rule that out.

 

1.      Mild to moderate pragmatic language disorder.

2.      Social developmental delay; in part due to ADHD.

3.      ADHD combined.

4.      Disruptive behavior.

5.      Anxiety (performance and social anxiety)

6.      Chronic motor/vocal tics

7.      Possible CAPD.

8.      Hyperacusis/sensory concerns.

 

Regarding Asperger’s, Ds' Dr. said that he appears to meet the criteria but that he was a little young for diagnosis and that the ADHD complicates the picture (she went into a lot more detail than that; apparently the diagnostic team spent a lot of time debating this point). We will reevaluate in a year – added maturity and addressing some of his other issues may give us a clearer picture. The appointment took about 3 hrs.

Emmeline, sorry for taking so long to respond. I didn't know there were more responses.

As far as ADHD goes. The neurologist, school psychologist, and OT said she doesn't fall into that category at all.

If anything she is focused to a fault. She is very rule oriented at school. Her teacher said she can see by her face that it upsets her when the other students don't follow the rules.

I do know for sure that she has some pretty heavy anxiety/ social anxiety. I also think socially she takes longer to "get it", but she does okay with her friends and all her classmates like her.

She does have a hard time falling asleep at night. I think it's getting worse. She used to get about 10 hrs but is averaging about 9 now and she has to be woken up for school sometimes. She can stay asleep, but just can't fall asleep. She reads in her bed for about 2 hours every night.

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#10 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP-I know I'm a little late in the game responding but I have similar issues with dd. I often find myself in a similar situation to the one you describe with the cheerios and almonds. In our house, we would cut the irrational behavior off at the pass and calm dd down before things got out of hand and had her pick the almonds out if she didn't want to eat them. Usually I'd say something like "Oh maaaan! I'm sorry. I thought you'd want almonds like usual. Well, we can pick the almonds out if you'd like." I might also offer to help remove the almonds from the bowl. I'm guessing you're not talking about almond meal so she should be able to single out the nuts from the cheerios. I might then turn this into a game of counting or making patterns, or "can you toss the almonds into this bowl?" and give her an extra bowl to separate into to make the whole situation a little more fun.


Thanks for reading and replying.

Sometimes this approach does work, but this particular night, she was tired and completely haywire. As far as making a game of it, she is 8 and would just become more aggressive if I tried to distract her. I also don't think distracting at this point is the thing to do. We have have to come to terms with this. She is capable of acting like an 8 yr old at school (where she would be mortified if they knew how she can be at home). I can't treat her like a toddler at home. It won't do her any good.

If she had this problem in school all day too, I absolutely would treat her like a 3 yr old because I'd know she just isnt capable. She is capable though, it's just that she is just so comfortable at home she hasn't learned that just because she won't be embarassed here, doesn't mean she can act  on these angry feelings.

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#11 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 05:35 AM
 
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OP, I am so sorry that you had to experience this!

I don't really have any concrete  advice for you, just my sympathies.

As a mother of a child with SPD, now 13, I can say there is a fine line between understanding the behaviour cause by the SPD and excusing bad behaviour because of it.

I don't know if that makes any sense or not? It is something I am dealing with myself.

 

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#12 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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Thanks for reading and replying.

Sometimes this approach does work, but this particular night, she was tired and completely haywire. As far as making a game of it, she is 8 and would just become more aggressive if I tried to distract her. I also don't think distracting at this point is the thing to do. We have have to come to terms with this. She is capable of acting like an 8 yr old at school (where she would be mortified if they knew how she can be at home). I can't treat her like a toddler at home. It won't do her any good.

If she had this problem in school all day too, I absolutely would treat her like a 3 yr old because I'd know she just isnt capable. She is capable though, it's just that she is just so comfortable at home she hasn't learned that just because she won't be embarassed here, doesn't mean she can act  on these angry feelings.



My ds is 7 and very similar to your dd. AFAIK he does not have SPD. I feel like nobody understands- people assume if we just parented differently, we wouldn't have these problems. My ds also becomes more aggressive if we try to distract him or make a game out of the situation. It sucks big time. When he is in normal mode, he has no problem picking up his messes or picking through his spaghetti sauce to remove unwanted chunks. When he is out of sorts, there is no reasoning with him. It is CRAZY. :(


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#13 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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OP, You've probably already tried this but...

I'm finding once the explosion starts it can be best if I do not try to stop my daughter's behavior or help her in any way - it sometimes makes it worse if I try to help.   Although it isn't always practical or possible to walk away.

 

For example, this morning my daughter was upset because the shirts that 'feel right' to her were not clean (something I normally make sure is done to avoid a blow-up but I fell asleep without washing them).  When she became upset, I gave my daughter a few suggestions and then I left the room and called my sister who understands because she deals with similar behavior from her daughter.  My sister kept me calm and focused on other tasks needed to be done before we could leave for school.  Eventually my daughter calmed down, tried on many uniform options, and found something that would work.  We were still late for school but probably w/h been even later, and I w/h been more stressed, had I tried to calm her or help.

 

Earlier in the week she was upset about her homework.  Instead of trying to help her, I walked outside and cut the grass.  When I came back in she had calmed down, found a solution to the issue that was upsetting her, and had completed the homework.  Instead of beating herself up as she normally does after a melt-down, she was proud of herself for working it out and completing her work.

 

In the case of the cereal, would it have worked if you walked out of the room and asked her to clean it up when she is calmer? 

 

I know this doesn't eliminate the explosion, but I am hoping in time it will shorten them and eventually help my daughter go directly to the solution and bypass the explosion.

I also started supplementing with magnesium.  I've read, on MDC and other places, that a magnesium deficiency can intensify this type of behavior.

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#14 of 22 Old 05-21-2011, 12:11 AM
 
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I don't have a kid like this, this thread caught my eye because, well, I was that child. I just want to caution against saying "She controls herself at school, so she can control herself at home". part of the reason the outbursts can be so bad at home is because controlling them when at school or around other people can be exhausting. it's something that's hard to keep up 24/7. and telling her that she can't express her feelings at home probably makes it even more stressful. working on ways of dealing better or expressing herself in a way that isn't hurtful to you, would probably be helpful. and I would guess that at least 9 times out of 10 what she's blowing up about isn't really what's bugging her, so trying to get to the root of her bad mood before it boils over might help. 


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#15 of 22 Old 05-25-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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I don't have any advice, but just wanted to get ideas for my 6yo who is like this to a T. I was hoping it would get better as time goes on, but maybe I should brace myself...he's only in half day kindy right now.

                                       DS 7 ~ DS 3

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#16 of 22 Old 05-26-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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My son was that way.  He's a sensory seeker and he would have colossal  meltdowns over the smallest things.  His teacher noticed that these melts weren't consistent.  They didn't happen all the time.  She thought maybe it was food related.  We removed artificial food dyes from his diets and viola! no more crazy meltdowns.  Now, don't get me wrong, we have a sensory seeker with articulation disorder - the boy gets frustrated, he gets angry but he is no longer out of control.  His behavior is, for lack of a better word, normal.  No more explosions - just normal 6 year old stuff.


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#17 of 22 Old 05-26-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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First of all, I'm sorry you are struggling with this mama. I know it can be tough!

With my kiddo I learned to never assume anything. If I guess wrong or assume and he changed his mind the "wrong" most likely would trigger a blow up. Its not that he's being defiant, but rather he already had something processed in his head the way he wants it and me just assuming he wanted it a certain way screwed up that whole thought process for him. He's better now that he's older but it still throws his mood off for the day. Now I simply take the extra few seconds to say "Hey, how about some cereal, do you want anything in it?" Or "What would you like, I have XYZ or ABC?" Keep it simple, offer choices you can deliver and never assume. Part of parenting a special needs kiddo is learning the fine balance between flexibility and still having some control on things so they don't rule the roost. lol

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#18 of 22 Old 06-01-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for taking so long to get back. We've had such great weather lately that I've been out in the garden.

I thought of something else. I can't believe I didn't mention this in my initial response.

Not sure if someone else has suggested this but have you tried eliminating some foods known to cause this kind of behavior? DD is gluten free and for good reason. Any time, and I mean any time, I allow dd even the slightest bit of gluten I pay for it within 6 or 8 hours. And, if she has gluten with her dinner, dd always wakes up in the foulest mood.

 

 

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#19 of 22 Old 06-01-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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I agree with the others that you need to look for another cause, such as a food sensitivity. What you describe doesn't sound like sensory melt downs to me.

 

The other thing is that I suggest you re-think what is a treat and re-evalute your routines. Getting over tired isn't a treat for my DD, no matter what *fun* thing is involved. And skipping meals isn't a good idea for many kids.  The situation you describe is one that many kids wouldn't do well with. How extreme your DD's reaction is does sound over the top, but it doesn't sound like a good set up.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 22 Old 06-11-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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She is old enough to know that actions have consequences. Have her clean up her mess as well as some extra duties. I've handed my almost 8yo DS a spray bottle with very diluted glass cleaner and have him clean all the windows. It ended up being fun, he learned his lesson, and we bonded. 

 

 

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#21 of 22 Old 06-11-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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Has your dd been evaluated for Autism or Asperger's? I suggest this because a lot of her behavior and issues indicate she may fall at the high functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. Getting her a diagnosis may help her and you get the therapies needed to improve her coping skills. A therapeutic approach that may help her is behavioral therapy or CBT. It's not often covered without an Autism diagnosis.

 

 


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#22 of 22 Old 06-11-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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At the risk of sounding like a newbie with a hammer (who may be seeing nails everywhere) I'm going to second the above. 

 

I've just figured out my daughter has Asperger's. Many of the behaviours you describe are similar to hers: the vile hatred that can come out of her, for example, the rigidity, etc. AND it's normal for some Aspie girls to be "good as gold" at school but then be difficult at home. When you read about AS you may think it doesn't apply to your child, but make sure you read about Girls, specifically. They tend to express their issues differently from boys. Dr. Tony Attwood has an article about it somwhere (here's a YouTube video by him on the subject) and he writes about it a lot in his book "Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome". 

 

 


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