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My Daughter Beats On Me Every Day And I've Tried Everything

by Juniper

My daughter was an unhappy infant. The doctor told me to take her to the emergency room after more than one continuous hour of screaming. I had to take her several times.

By the time she was 3, I had already sought professional help for her and she was labeled with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I was covered in bruises and bite marks. At five they added ADHD and bipolar disorder. I was reluctant to medicate her at all, but had a small army of caregivers: psychiatrists, psychologists, a behavior coach that came into our home, anger management for her, parenting classes for me, various behavior therapies, a group therapy for her, family therapy respite care, etc.

From time to time, she showed clear periods where she talked a lot, became grandiose, thought she had super powers, slept little, and stimulated her genitals a lot. These periods always had visual and aural hallucinations. She hallucinated during school in the first grade, and I agreed to place her on a mood stabilizer. I had her tested extensively through an early intervention program and significant developmental delays were present.

Along the way she developed a vocal tic as well. She has always been prone to rages. Any time she doesn't get her way or is told no, she bites, kicks, punches, gouges, pulls out handfuls of hair, etc. She is cruel to animals and destroys property. She steals money from me if she can and tells lies. She is now 9. In the past month and a half she has been partially hospitalized multiple times and fully hospitalized once for DTO.

During the inpatient stint they did extensive testing on her and added PDD Nos. This was sort of the missing link for me, and it reflected the long noticed developmental delays and certain things like very little tolerance for distress. She is bothered by tags, fabrics, shoes, lights, loud noises, etc. She is just sensitive to a lot of things and is easily overwhelmed.

She has social problems with her peers because she often does socially unacceptable things like refusing to eat with utensils, spitting in people's faces or on the carpet, putting her rear near someone's face and farting on purpose, refusing to share, anger at losing a game/very poor loser. She often touches her genitals in front of people and will ditch her underwear and show her genitals in public. She often has problems expressing what she feels. Often, she will ask me to come over to where she wants me to and she will act out something that she can't find the words for.

She was combative with dentists and finally had to be completely sedated to have a cavity filled. She has been asked to leave dance classes and a soccer team due to inappropriate behavior. Her Girl Scout leader tried to block her from advancing from Brownie to Junior because she said she was too immature to fit into the troop and get along with the other girls.

A few weeks ago, she literally thought that she was half cat and I caught her urinating in the cat box. She began punching and kicking me, insisting that she was supposed to pee in the cat box because she was half cat. I kept catching her peeing in the cat box (much to the cat's dismay). Her doctor finally put her on lithium. She is medicated with ritalin for ADHD as well.

I recently petitioned and got a single case agreement for her to attend child modified DBT, as I think it is the best type of therapy there is. Last year I pulled her out of school because she was having so many problems and homeschooled her. Immediately, I saw things that made me suspect learning diabilities. This fall, I put her back in public school, holding her back a year and have asked the school district for "special education and related services." Still working on that.

She comes home from school every day and explodes for about an hour and a half. It's like she is unable to process what happens all day long and then when she gets home, she has a hard time explaining to me what has happened. She is upset over the slightest little thing. I purchased the Total Transformation Program and did not see results. Perhaps because of her developmental delays?

Anyway, still every time a I tell her to do things like basic hygiene or homework or no or something that is not her exact way, she flies into a rage. I have a physical disability that makes it difficult to use standard holds on her. Currently her therapist has me remove myself from the situation and lock myself in a time out until she calms down. While I am in the time out, she repeatedly slams the door violently with her body sometimes hurting herself. She sticks brooms and other long objects under the door and tries to poke me. She trashes the house and destroys property. Do you have any ideas?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Juniper, and thanks for telling your story here. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. Your challenges are tremendous, and as you know there are no quick and easy answers.

In light of the fact that you have consulted with countless professionals for years, I am not going to offer any suggestions to you, except one. It may be the only suggestion that has not been made to you at this point.

Pray. And as you pray for your daughter and yourself, picture the two of you doing well in your mind. As if you were running a happy movie in your own head, picture your daughter smiling, cooperating, and getting along well with you and others. Picture yourself relaxed and happy and being very successful in parenting your daughter.

I know this is easier said than done. If you can do it, however, I think it could really help.

If this is not helpful to you, then disregard it.

I wish you all the best in your continued effort to help your daughter and yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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