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Follow up to 7 year old girl...

Thanks for the advice, we will be making calls today to pursue your recommendation.

To answer your questions:

"Did her behavior/reactions pre-date the re-introduction of her father into the situation?"

- Definitely, but not nearly to the extreme that I detailed in my former post. By the way, this is the common routine for her father.  He's in their lives for 6-12 months then absent due to a "binge" for 3-10 months.

"Has she behaved this way in a pretty consistent fashion over the years you have known her?"

- No, it's been a gradual increase over the past 2 years.

"Is there a family history of mood or anxiety disorders?"

Not that I have seen or am aware of.  Her mother is VERY down to earth and relatively laid back, she (mom) also has a happy dispositon and we get along great!  So I don't think that our relationship is contributing to the behavior.  We try to be there for her and explain things to her as best we can.  She clings to both of us, not just mom.

As a side note, Kristen (7 year old) has suggested in the past that all three of us (Mom, Dad, Myself) could live together, or Dad could live next door.  This idea has been delt with by stating that there is no way that such a situation will EVER occur or is even a possibility.  Additionally, we're convinced that he (father) IS allowing the idea that he and mom might get back together someday!?

Our follow up question is then, what are the typical forms or methods of treatment used to deal with the anxiety conditions you referenced in your response?  Secondly, is there any recommendation you could provide in how to handel the "father factor"?

Thanks again,
TVB

PS:  We are in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. Do you have any references you could provide in this region of the state?
1 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Tom,

Relative to the issue of the biological father, all you can do is portray the reality of the situation. The fact that he is not consistent, predictable and responsible in his contact with the children is certainly a complication. If the children know that he has a substance abuse problem, it might help to read them one of the children's books (e.g., I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much, by Judith Vigna) now available that tackle the issue of parental substance abuse.

Your stepdaughter may well display an anxiety disorder complicated or exacerbated by the situation with her father. Outpatient therapy, and sometimes medication, are employed to help youngsters who display such conditions.

You might check with her pediatrician about a referral to a child mental health professional, or inquire of the local mental health association about resources in your area.
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