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Parenting Children (6-12) Community
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12 year old with severe behavior problems

I need advice on what to do about my almost 12 year old stepdaughter's behavior.

Her history: she will be 12 in january, she lives with my husband, me , her brother, sister, and half brother.she hasn't seen or heard from her biological mother in three years, sexual abuse/neglect/abandonment by biological mother (we just found out about the sexual abuse of her and her 10yr old sister which is being investigated but the 10yr old is doing fine), diagnosed with ADHD at age 5 and has tried concerta and strattera, had meningitis at age 1, drug abuse by biological mother during pregnancy and after.

Her symptoms/behaviors: uncontrollable stealing & lying (anything and everything), delusions, depression, suicidal thoughts, threatening to run away b/c she says she feels like we don't love her , poor hygiene, inability to concentrate, lack of interest in activities,hysterical crying over the littlest thing and 5 minutes later seems totally indifferent, anxiety, grades are failing in school even though she is in special education for all her classes, says she feels like everyone hates her, irritability, at times seems unfeeling emotionally, lack of self worth.


she had to go to juvenile services over stealing money and they recommended counselling, she has been seeing a counselor once a week for two hours and a therapist once a week for two hours, for 8 months and the therapist suggested the "love & logic" approach  but so far therapy hasn't made a dent. To quote the therapist " We are too busy putting out the little fires to address the real issues and i think she is beyond what you or I can do for her."  and he suggested trying inpatient treatment(which we are currently looking into).

i;ve been researching all the different disorders but can't find any one disorder that these symptoms point to.

So my questions are: What disorder(s) has(have) these symptoms? Is inpatient treatment a good idea? How do we go about getting her inpatient treatment? Would we need a doctor's referral?


ANY advice, suggestions, or answers are immensely appreciated. Thank you in Advance.
4 Responses
535822 tn?1443980380
I agree with the 'love and logic' approach the symptoms suggest a lack of it in her life,
Avatar universal
the 'love & logic" program isn't working.
13167 tn?1327197724
Has your therapist suggested that she might have "reactive attachment disorder"?  It sounds like that's what he's hinting at by saying you're too busy putting out the little fires to address the real issues.

WIth her horrible childhood history,  it's likely she suffers from RAD.  Here is a good website that might help you understand the disorder:

http://www.radkid.org/signs_and_symptoms.html
358699 tn?1297650042
Most of the behavior sounds like Major Depressive Disorder and Post traumatic Stress Disorder.  Whether she recalls the sexual abuse she definitely is acting out because of it. She lost trust in someone she cared about.  She is definitely seeking attention but doesn't know who she can trust. She is feeling that no one protected her, so she is feeling isolated from the world.  Its a difficult situation.  Medication such as Prozac which is the only FDA approved drug for children is a good start. It may help her calm down. Continue working with her on her feelings and letting her express those and guide her into positive emotions.  Its not something that can be achieved overnight. Involving her with things she can control helps her feel back in control. I sure she is scared but at that age, they don't know how to express it or fear they will seem weak to their peers. In patient to me just isolates her more. she needs consistent love and devotion. In time, she will come around.  I too have an adolescent (13) who had similar problems since about 9 or 10. Then recently I found out she might have been molested by her grandfather who is now in prison for a similar offense. Its a day to day thing. The meds improve her mood alot. It makes it easier on both of us. I also involve and encourage her into something she likes.  May god bless you on this difficult journey
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13167 tn?1327197724
Austin, TX
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