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Teenage problems

Taylor1 April 22, 2021 11:39

I thought I would try this forum to start with. We have an adopted daughter soon to be 14. She has had issues since we have had her and really steered away early on from social service intervention as we have seen the issues this has caused other adopters! Currently she is 1. Self Harming which she tells me is an indication! nothing too terrible and I am afraid something I seem other teens going through. (her school is aware).

Behavioural issues - she can't sit at a table without disgusting table habits, which disrupts practically every family meal. Its as though she doesn't want to be there! and thinks of every excuse not to be. Not coming to the table until were half way through a meal, having a shower just before dinner and sometimes not being able to show eye contact, being rude!!!

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!


*MidlandsRach*

Donatella April 22, 2021 18:59

Hi. I’ve three teenagers, one of whom has left now for uni ... so I get your frustration!

I can’t advise regarding the self harming as we’ve not experienced that but I’m sure others can help.

Family meal times though ... are rarely how they’re portrayed in my experience. When my eldest lived at home he rarely ate with us, preferring to eat alone, eat in his room at times that suited him. Not ideal and not what I envisaged but in NVR terms it just wasn’t worth battling with him over it. When he’s home now he eats with us - and drinks all my alcohol! - but I’m fairly chilled about it now.

We try to eat together 3/4 nights a week but on other nights my children eat earlier and we eat later. It just works better this way.

Ultimately you cannot win food battles so just do whatever you need to ... take the pressure off all of you and if eating separately works, do it.

Bluemetro April 22, 2021 19:50

I agree with Donatella re mealtimes. My parents would not have approved of the leniency we have with mealtimes but have had to learn to choose my battles. That's where this board is helpful because others understand why we might be more flexible. My 13 year old finds mealtimes a nuisance. He gets a warning when dinner is nearly ready and then told when it is ready. He eventually comes, doesn't mind if it is cooling down. In fact some days he returns to Xbox and comes back 10 minutes later to finish. We always check before we wash up. It is only the main meal that is always eaten at the table.

Regarding the eye contact I am not sure if that is new, but my son has ASD and doesn't make eye contact. In fact I don't find eye contact easy myself. He also picks inconvenient times to do things, but that is because he finds organisation difficult.

onlineteamAUK April 23, 2021 10:12

Hi Taylor!,

Please, if you would like, contact our Helpline team and one of our skilled advisors will be happy to discuss your situation and answer your questions in more detail

You can call them on 0300 666 0006 available Mon - Fri: 10.00 – 14.30 (excluding Bank Holidays) or email them at [email protected]


Best wishes,
Andrew
Online Team AUK

chestnuttree April 23, 2021 10:44

Hi Taylor,

Why do you think does she find mealtimes difficult? Does she not want to be there or is she so disregulated or tired that she cannot do it? One of my daughters can be difficult at mealtimes, because she keeps it together all day and is exhausted and just doesn't have the energy for controlling herself. She wants to be there though. Our deal is that we try to ignore behaviours and she tries to make an effort. If something really bothers me, I try not say anything, but might sign it or gently poke an elbow. Most of the time that works for us. However, if your daughter genuinely does not want to be there, it might be better to give her that choice.

Self-harm: There is quite a lot of information out there. In some schools it seems like an epidemic. Have you spoken to your GP about it? Children who self-harm are at a higher risk for suicide, so it needs to be taken very seriously.

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/self-harm/

https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/schools-in-mind/expert-advice-and-guidance/self-harm-in-schools/

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/child-in-mind-why-do-some-people-self-harm/id1122056877?i=1000377779855

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/self-harm/

Edited 23/04/21
windfalls April 25, 2021 15:28

Hi Taylor,

You say she has had issues since she came to you - have you ever had her assessed for anything? Poor eye contact and self harming are features of ASD. Also children with ASD can have sensory issues and this can be the cause of her eating habits. My ad is ASD, amongst other things and she eats most of her dinner with her fingers. She also can't manage sitting at the dinner table and so I don't force her- she eats in front of the TV. To be honest I don't care where she eats or how she eats just as long as she does eat! Also ASD children have very high anxiety levels which could be the reason that she finds getting herself to the dinner table difficult. Also high anxiety is the cause of self harming. My ad picks at her skin and it gets worse when her anxiety levels are high.

So if I were you I would look up the features of ASD and also PDA and see if they fit your daughter.

Best wishes xx

windfalls April 26, 2021 15:51

Have a look at " a guide to mental health issues in girls and young women on the autism spectrum" by Dr Judy Eaton. It has a very good chapter on self harming and the reasons for it and how to deal with it.

Best wishes xx

Taylor1 April 27, 2021 11:16

Hi, just got around to logging in. Thank you for all your advise our AD certainly has high anxiety levels but she is very very clever. We have just got over a highly stressful evening of shouting and screaming because my husband took her phone away due to rudeness. I think we need more boundaries. The table ideas are very helpful. We have a teenage son soon to be 17 and he wouldn't want to eat with her separately and I don't like the idea of her eating alone as she feels there is an us and her situation going on at the best of times!. Our AS has no issues what so ever and unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you see the situation this makes our AD behaviour worse! as she thinks there is favouritisms he is just a lot easier and always has been!


*MidlandsRach*

Donatella April 27, 2021 11:28

A question? What’s the logical connection between rudeness and removal of her phone? It’s not a logical consequence and if she is struggling with cause and effect - which it appears she is - then that will make no sense to her. She can still be intelligent and anxious - the one doesn’t negate the other.

What is she anxious about? How do you manage that anxiety at, say, 1 on her anxiety scale rather than try to deal with the meltdown at 5 on her scale?

I’m not convinced more boundaries are going to be helpful if I’m honest - have you come across NVR? One of the main strategies is all about picking your battles - big, medium and small basket issues. Boundaries have their place but teenagers will push against those boundaries so sometimes it’s helpful for the adults to flex, to accept that they cannot be static. And to negotiate those boundaries with your child rather than just impose them.

She seems to have a lot going on at the moment. What support do you have in place? What therapeutic support has she/you as a family had? If you’re in England you can apply via your post adoption sw for funding for therapy from the ASF.

Ultimately all behaviour is communication. It’s not easy to pick apart but it’s what’s underlying her behaviour that needs addressing

Plus if there’s any possibility that she is ASD/PDA then those demands you make of her will simply ramp up her anxiety

Edited 27/04/21
Taylor1 April 27, 2021 11:41

Hi Dontella

Totally appreciate what your saying but it is very difficult to communicate with her when all she does is shout and scream. I do believe she needs to feel safe and putting in some extra boundaries may assist. I.e. making sure we have her phone earlier in the evening, trying to get her to write in a diary. We have tried different support but they don't seem to suit her and she doesn't seem to be at the level where CHAMS are going to be called, so I am told!!!. To be honest don't know a lot about NVR even though we do try and chose our battles, She pushes against all boundaries which we have been very flexible on, as far as she is concerned its everyone else's problem but not hers its trying to get her to take responsibility for her own actions/behaviour! She/we definitely need support on the underlying issue!!


*MidlandsRach*

Donatella April 27, 2021 11:56

You can’t communicate with her when she’s screaming and shouting - you’re right - and that’s where, we’ve found, an anxiety scale is helpful because using it means it doesn’t get to that point. What are the triggers? There will be triggers for behaviour, there always are. That’s not to say it’s about something that happened 5 minutes ago - it can be a build up of stuff and could have happened an hour, two hours, 5 hours ago. Could be school. Could be she holds it just about together in school and explodes when she gets home.

I’m not saying no boundaries - just that they need to be appropriate - emotional age appropriate rather than just chronological age. Yes, phone etc usage needs to be boundaried and monitored - I do for my youngest two - but it’s something we discuss and agree on. I do remove their devices - if the ‘crime’ is related to phone usage - then it’ll be a logical/natural consequence - I wouldn’t remove it for something unrelated.

No two children are the same. Two of mine are autistic and they’re both totally different so the way I parent one doesn’t work with the other. And as they’ve got older we have to change the way we parent. What one copes with, the other doesn’t. And vice versa. Your two are different so what works with your son won’t necessarily work with your daughter - and vice versa.

You say she’s very anxious. About what? What are her anxieties related to? Is she demand avoidant? Do requests to do things make her anxious? Anxiety often looks like anger?

Taylor1 April 27, 2021 12:25

A good question which we are trying to get the bottom of. I don't think she is Demand Avoidant. She had a trigger at school a teacher as she puts it "got in her face" and our ad told her "f" off due to what sounds like a misunderstanding, but again she doesnt like to conform to boundaries even at school! The school are trying to work through her bahavourial issues and other childrens as well! but its difficult for them as well! We let her go to a friends after school and agreed to collect at 6.20 we had to go and walk our dogs directly after work coming back my partner drove directly to get her from the place we agreed to collect her to find she wasn't there, (nothing unusual), where I would have phoned her and asked her where she was! he left it for 20 minutes trying to be relaxed about it. He called her to find out where she was to be told that she wanted collecting from this girls house! He then met on her on the road to the girls house. She got in the car and he pointed out that she was late, and she spent the journey home screaming and shouting at him. He told her to get out the car and walk home (because she was getting abusive). He went back to collect her she shouted and screamed in the car and went directly to her room where she banged doors shouted and screamed (and at this point my partner was trying to explain his actions) wrong we know but sometimes you caught up in the situation. I let her calm down then went to her room to discuss, she had then cut herself as she got herself in such a state!!!! (from a sharpner she got from school). Partner doesn't understand at all, which i can appreciate because to be honest I don't. I feel she needs the right boundaries/strategies in place so any advise would be greatly appreciated. Just ordered a book on NVR!


*MidlandsRach*

chestnuttree April 27, 2021 21:03

PMed you

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