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5yr old granddaughter with behaviour problems

My son and his girlfriend have just had a new baby boy (1 week ago) his girlfriend already had a 5yr old daughter who was fostered until she was able to look after her 18 months ago. the childs paternal grandparents had custody and were drug users, fought a lot and had younger children.  Biological mum had to fight in court to get custody and she has lived with my son and gf now for 19 months. They are a very stable couple and my son has helped his gf to turn her life around. She is a wonderful mother to both her children, beleive me, I was devastated when I first found out my son had fallen for the person given her previous lifetstyle.  I was so wrong...she is wonderful, they do not swear or smack her and are consistent in their approach to her bad behaviour.  They do not drink or use drugs and he works hard to provide for them. I am a mental health professional and so have some insight into some adult behaviours but have never worked with children.  My step grandaughter no longer has contact with her paternal father ( didnt anyway) or with the grandparents, they maniplated her tiny mind every time she had overnight contact with sons gf.  This tiny 5 yr old is a living nightmare, she is disruptive, rude, swears, bites, kicks, makes threats to harm baby (behaviour was prior to pregnancy) this behaviour continues in school and headteacher is at end of tether. She met with child specialist today and has been asked to complete questionnaire and will see her in 3 months. She is at risk of social isolation and educational deprivation. She often says she wants to die, she is aggressive towards other children, she thinks nothing of throwing bricks at other children, teachers are regularly restraining her and threatening to exclude her from school, she says things like "I cant strangle him can I" referring to her new baby brother, when she was pregnant, she would hit and kick her stomach and say she was going to hurt the baby when he came out. She tells lies but can also be loving and quite good at times. Her attention span is quite good and she can watch cartoons without moving away, sometimes for lengthy times.  She is unable to play normally with other children as she upsets them very quickly. Some of her statements when she has been banished to her room include "you dont love me anymore mummy do you?, I want to die, I am going to cut myself, mummy I love you and I will think about my behaviour"  such a mix of comments.  I wonder if she is being manipulative as kids can be.  The specialist today has ruled out ADHD and stated that he wanted to complete more assessments over the next 3 months along with the school but he does not want to worry her at the moment, he asked a lot of questions about mental health in the family??  Is it possible that she may have a personality disorder?  It is hard to watch her suffer along with my son and her mummy.
8 Responses
13167 tn?1327197724
It's hard to tell how much of this is nurture and how much nature.  

Do you have any information about the father,  whether he had mental health issues?

Are you familiar with reactive attachment disorder?  You might want to google it if you aren't familiar with the symptoms - it's children who don't feel connected with humans because they had a substantial part of their early childhood disconnected with anyone through neglect.

Best wishes.
13167 tn?1327197724
Here's a good website,  with a checklist of symptoms and a lot of other helpful pages:

Avatar universal
Thank you Rock Rose,

Her father does not have mental health problems but is a drug user, of which I am not sure. Little one has not seen him for 2 years now but I am definately going to check out the web site as I also have wondered about seperation anxieties and feel this may be similar.

Once again thank you.
Avatar universal
This makes me sad, but at the same time I understand why she is acting this way.  For one thing it sounds like she has lead a very hard life.  She is probably scared of being left behind by her parents, because of the new baby.
Avatar universal
thanks Teddybear

I understand that her behaviour will change due to the new family addition. Mummy continues to spend 1-1 time with her vey regularly as does my son.  Unfortunately, her behaviour was very much the same before mum was pregnant, I do realise that this may be due to multi-dysfuntional family life prior to living back with mum, what can we do to help her......

Avatar universal
Make sure she knows she is loved.  It might be wise to put her in therapy of some kind.
Avatar universal
Well its easy to say "I know what I would do" but you can't considering we don't have all the info online and I'm sure under the circumstance your heart aches.  Well alot of love and patience I say and with people in her life who love her and are consistently there for her she might just pull through all of this. (Considering the cards she's been dealt).  You know the great this about kids often times when they witness alot of this and go through this type of thing themselves they figure out later what they want and what they definately do not want in their own lives.  Have faith that she will be gently guided out of this situation by the hands of angels.  Oh, and sounds like shes trying to work through her own pain by the comments she makes to others.  Some of which needs to be not too seriously read into.
Avatar universal
Thank you both for your comments, hopefully her specialist will refer her for counselling after the 3 month assessment.  She is a very much loved little girl and my family have accepted her totally into their hearts which is why we are trying to find some help for her. She is obviously struggling and when we visit their home, we never just go straight to our darling new baby, we look for her to give lots of hugs and kisses first.  I just hope things work out for them all.

Once again thank you.
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