Avatar universal

12 yr old girls behavior gets worse when in trouble

My 12 yr old has just been diagnosed with conduct disorder.  She's broken our dogs leg jumping on it in anger.  She lies and acts out all the time.  We are waiting on a counselor to be arranged for to come do home visits.   I just can't figure out though why when she gets in trouble she gets worse.   If we have a fight and go to the store that's when she'll steal.  Today she was confined to her room because of bad behavior yesterday and as soon as she was alone in the upstairs she went for my locked closet that I had forgotten to lock.  I have a small remote camera on her but she thought the handheld reciever was upstairs too but it was with me.   It's like it infuriates her that she's in trouble and makes more.  When she was caught on camera today she started screaming and saying she wasn't in the closet even though it was on camera and she knows it.  Had an absolute melt down how she wasn't lying and she wasn't in my closet.  It's insane.  I don't know if I can manage until they find a counselor.
12 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
   Wow, thats very hard to deal with.  What is she like in school?  How are her grades?  Do the teachers complain about her?
1169162 tn?1331232353
So sorry that you are struggling with this.  Conduct disorder is very challenging.  

It is hard to say with any certainty from a distance, but my guess is that your daughter has trouble regulating her emotions, especially strong emotions, and when she is upset (e.g. after being punished) - she is easily enraged and then cannot calm herself down.  This is a difficult negative cycle, and she needs to learn more effective coping strategies.  It can also be hard to effectively discipline children with conduct disorder because they do not as easily feel remorse and have great trouble learning from cause and effect.  She needs very skilled therapeutic help.

How is she getting the counselor? What sort of a program is it?  Is the counselor well trained.  Has she been evaluated by a strong team?

I really suggest getting the school board involved, as children with conduct disorder can often really be helped in therapeutic day schools - and the school board often funds these schools.  

I will also caution you that any effective treatment for your daughter has to include parent training - you will need help in learning how to respond to and manage her challenging behaviors at home.  

hang in there.
Avatar universal
She's been homeschooled for much of her school years.  In kindergarten she was horrible to the teacher, disrespectful and defiant.  The school asked permission to put her in a special class that met a couple of times a week to teach respect so they recognized it early.   She did terrible academically.  I pulled her out to homeschool her in 1st grade and she went from not knowing sight words to reading at 3 grade level between Oct and when I put her back in 1st grade in April.  The school did an extended evaluation then and she was at 2 and 3 grade levels on everything from that 6 months homeschooling but I messed up by doing it because then she wasn't eligible for anything.  Since then she has gone in for the 1st month each year and then I pull her to homeschool her again because her behavior gets so much worse at home when she's going to school.  And she fights me the entire time on school work.  This year...7th grade I have refused to do it again.   Sink or swim.  She's trying to do the work but struggling.  She wants the kids and teachers to like her so her bad behavior is confined to home or with me as in stealing at the stores etc.   I don't know if she'll get bad with them like she did before when the new wears off.  
Avatar universal
Your right about it enraging her when she gets in trouble with me but it still doesn't make sense to me.   I was always afraid when I got in trouble, not enraged unless I didn't think I deserved it or was unjustly accused but with her she gets caught red handed and it does just that ... enrages her.  

I've had her to the childrens hospital here, a psychologist recommended by a team that did intensive in home therapy with us.  I did the in home intensive therapy for a few years but nothing helps.  I've taken her to the family physician, to the police over the dogs leg being broken, to the probation dept. to the mental health facilities here for evaluation and now again we are starting with the intensive in home therapy.   It seems to me that traditional talk therapy is a waste of time.  Behavior modification doesn't work because she either forgets or pretends to.  I am at a loss.  Medications have been tried but without much effect.

Next stop is residential treatment.   I am her grandmother and have had sole custody since she was 2 1/2 and she's had these rage issues all along but of course getting closer to teen years is exacerbating everything.  I am exhausted and feeling too old to keep this up much less deal with it if it gets any worse as full blown teen years arrive.
189897 tn?1441126518
   Has anyone mentioned ADHD?  It can lead to behaviors like this and conduct disorder is a typical co-existing disorder.
   Check out this web site for more information and symptoms.
  I am also the CL on the adhd site here - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175  and have seen situations like this.
Avatar universal
She has been diagnosed as add.  After the diagnosis of conduct disorder I did pick up on the connection in literature between adhd and conduct disorder and took her back to the family physician to try a low dose of amitryptaline (sp?) to help with rage as it's very effective with some with add or adhd.  I too am add and my mother was and the older tricyclical antidepressants have been amazing in my family for add symptoms so she now on that but we just started that a couple of weeks ago.  She says it does help with her anger.  
535822 tn?1443976780
May I ask what was in the closet it had to be locked ?
Avatar universal
Food... she can't have treats in the cabinets or eats them all in a day sneaking them into her pants or clothes after I say enough or before meals etc.  She was opening boxes of things like unopened puddings, tasting them and throwing them out because of course they don't taste good as a mix.   Her nintendo and computer because she can't have them in her room or sneaks them into bed etc or lies about chores or homework to get them.  Money, my purse, medicines.   She once told me she had taken some of the dogs medicine to kill herself (months after she did it if she did do it) and now in junior high who knows what she'll come up with with meds.  Basically anything she can't leave alone that she isn't suppose to have whenever she wants it.  Second day of school she was into my purse for my makeup and she's taken money from me before.  A friend came by and dropped a $100 bill and I found her with that.   My wedding rings gone and I've caught her with a ring my grandmother gave me when I was eight.  Explaining things to her just eggs her on to get it....whatever it may be.  We have a small camera and wireless reciever but she's clever about being off camera or hearing me in the bathroom or else where I can't moniter her. Crazy.  And exhausting.
13167 tn?1327194124
She meets all the criteria for an attachment disorder,  Ginger.  Have therapists talked to you about that?

Your posts were a puzzle until you said you were grandma,  and you got her at 2 1/2 years.  Children who don't get consistent,  loving and caring bonding in their first two years of life are the ones at risk for this - and her behaviors are right in line with the symptoms of the disorder.

Caregivers for children with attachment disorder have a very,  very rough time of it because although these children have average (or above average) intellect,  they aren't bonded to their caregivers and do only the behaviors that will get them what they want,  without real regard to the caregiver's opinion of them.  

For example,  you could probably get her to sit still and quiet for a piece of chocolate cake reward,  but if you said "I'm really feeling sick today would you mind fixing a can of soup and toast for your sister" you wouldn't get cooperation.  

Attachment disorder (sometimes called reactive attachment disorder,  or detachment disorder):

Avatar universal
rad was the first dx she got along with fae.   They ruled it out this time in favor of conduct disorder, I am assuming because when asked if she wanted to stay living with me she did.  She was asked this a few times in that evaluation and each time she said she didn't want to live anywhere but with me.

I personally think your right and your examples were spot on about her behavior.   I think she wants to be with me because she views me as the lesser of all evils.  She knows her mother won't take care of her and her brother is violent.  The residential treatment doesn't sound much better to her.  I don't think it's because she is attached and loves me as much as she can manipulate me and there isn't a better option for her in her opinion.

When I think we are being close and having a good time I always find out later she was using the opportunity to get away with something which in turn always hurts my feelings and makes me fearful of happy times because we don't view them the same at all.  When she wants lots of hugs I get apprehensive about what she's up to.   Sad but true.    The problem is finding anyone to help and especially now that it's been set aside in favor of the conduct disorder dx.  

When she came to live with me at 2 1/2 she was completely dressing her self, never wore a diaper, even at night and has never wet the bed ever.  Not once.  She was independent and self sufficient.   Guess she had to be.  Tragic.  Her mother said she wouldn't go to bed for her unless she could see food on the bedside table....wonder why?  It was a huge cause for celebration when she asked if there was milk for cereal in the morning and the answer here was always yes.   It was met with a huge YEA!  We got milk!  Makes me want to cry every time I think about it to this day.
13167 tn?1327194124
Ginger,  it seems like treating her as if she has RAD might be the way to go - although honestly I don't know what those treatments are.  The link I posted has some books you could read as resources.

We have family friends who have an adopted boy with RAD - and reading through your last post sounds just like their journey.  Just when you think you've seen a real sign of attachment,  it turns out not to be.  He was in residential treatment for behavioral problems in middle school,  and he kept crying and saying he wanted to go back to his family.  (Which was seen as a terrific sign).  They could never get him to express anything specific though - the bed was bigger and softer,  the food was better,  his older sister was willing to drive him places he wanted to go,  he had the freedom to watch tv,  etc.    

I wish you all the best,  and hope there are resources to help you and your grandddaughter -
189897 tn?1441126518
    Unfortunately, the Amitriptyline will probably not help very much with her concentration issues at school (from what I have read).  Thus, unless she gets some real help she will sink at school and its not her fault.  All the intelligence in the world won't help if you can't concentrated due to ADD.
    She needs to be on a 504 plan (and could possibly even qualify for an IEP based on her other problems).     I highly suggest you buy the book, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley.  It has great ideas for a 504 plan.   But more importantly, it gives ways to work with Kids with AD/HD in terms of discipline, and also gives you enough info about AD/HD that you can understand why the child is having some of the problems that they are having.   And it is kind of common for kids who are struggling with AD/HD to really try and hold it together at school and then just come unglued when they get home.   That's one reason why some form of exercise after school can really help.
   One of the reasons, I suggested AD/HD which you confirmed afterwards was that kids with ADHD are very impulsive.  They take things without thinking, etc.  And, of course, conduct disorder is a common side effect.
   I would talk to your doctor about using the  Amitriptyline at night and trying a ADHD medication during the day.   If you do find a good counselor, make sure that they also help you.  You do discipline kids with ADHD very differently then kids without it.
    Hope this helps.
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