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timberdrake
timberdrake asks:
Q:

Very messed up stepdaughter, she was abused and neglected most her life by her mother and then the moms sister.

We were awarded sole custody of my stepdaughter 2 yrs ago. She has very violent outbursts and even has her classmates fearing her. She has been receiving counseling and psychiatric help this whole time. From what we have figured out and assume, she was severely neglected and abused by all adults but her father. He is her only parent since the mom signed off all rights. She still tries to be a fixture in her life but only when its convenient for her. I used to look at her like a sister but have severed this relationship as more and more comes out of our daughter. We have told her to never contact us again. It is not good for our daughter. We do not feel that the services she is receiving is her.  When the aunt brought her and all her belonging to us, we were appalled. She only had one bag of clothes and one of toys. All the clothes were rags and the toys were all broken. When ever we buy her something, even if it is a necessity, she has tantrums and acts like a spoiled brat. I have never felt that it was right to buy something for one child and not for the other children, so I always try to get each of them something even if it is small. Someone has her think that she is evil and not worthy of anything. When she acts up, we put her in a time out and wait for her to calm down so we can talk about her behavior. She knows it is wrong but either does not want to or can not control her self. Lately she has started slamming her head on the wall. We have tried to talk sense in to her
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Sep 25, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like you are dealing with a very serious and volatile situation with your stepdaughter. Unfortunately, the effects of abuse/neglect as a child often follow someone well into adulthood. Untreated, it can be very dangerous for that person. However, with the appropriate treatment and support, it is possible for someone to live a "normal" life. Counselors and psychiatrists are often a large part of the recovery for someone with a history of abuse. It sounds like your step-daughter has already been involved with professionals and it's great that you are looking at all options now that she is living with you.

Because of the behaviors you mentioned, she may need more intensive treatment than she is receiving. You didn't mention how old your step-daughter is, so it's difficult to make suggestions as to what type of treatment you may want to consider. However, I would start by consulting the professionals you are already working with. Explain to your daughter's counselor and psychiatrist that you feel like she needs a higher level of care. Ask their opinion about that and also ask for referrals. Additional options may be in-home therapy or inpatient psychiatric treatment. If you are looking for national referrals you may call our hotline and we can look in our national database.

In the meantime, follow the advice the professionals that are currently working with her. You can't change what has been done to her already, but you can help to shape her future for the better.  Realize that it took her many years to learn her current behaviors, so her recovery process may take the same.  

Take Care,
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (5)

timberdrake
timberdrake writes:
She does not believe that she is worthy of living. What do we do? We try to make sure that she knows that we love her and that the behavior is not acceptable. She says she understands and will try to  talk to us before she gets to that level of actions, but she never does.  She blows up at just a look and not a certain look or a disapproving glance, but ANY look or word. We can not pinpoint what sets her off because it is so many things and nothing specific.  Her mother's side is very messed up mentally. Schizophrenia and bipolar are common is almost everyone on that side. The psychiatrist will not diagnose her as having anything specific wrong with her and will only give her ablify. She is her own worst enemy. We believe that for her to heal, she needs to see a light at the end of the tunnel. She can not get better if she does not know what causes her behaviors. Any suggestions???
> 60 days ago

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ashita21
ashita21 , Student writes:
It is truly unfortunate and sad when a child goes through these things. Of what you have written here, I can see that you are doing your very best to get through to her and help her. Self-mutilating behaviour can be very dangerous. It is important that you seek professional help of it is getting too far out of hand.
You know, it could help if you were able to find out her likes and dislikes and gain her trust through her likes. If you can gain her trust, talking to her about her tantrums and other such behaviours can become much easier. I hope this helps you.
> 60 days ago

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Windy1
Windy1 , Child Professional, Parent writes:
It should be noted that children with developmental difficulties may not always understand verbal instructions. Children with developmental challenges can sometimes even repeat back the instructions but still have difficulties turning those instructions into actions. If you experience this, try making a visual chart of what you would like to have happen. Cut pictures out of magazines or draw a chart with stick figures and go over it with the child. The child may understand better if he/she can see the pictures in addition to the verbal instructions.

Take steps to prevent injury. Some children can become quite animated during a tantrum. If this occurs, remove dangerous objects from the childâs path or steer the child away from danger. Try to avoid restraining a child during a tantrum, but sometimes this is necessary and comforting. Be gentle (do not use excessive force), but hold him or her firmly. Speak reassuringly to the child, especially if the tantrum is the result of disappointment, frustration, or unfamiliar surroundings.

Check this out: http://www.ehow.com/how_5377001_deal-out-control-child.html

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timberdrake
timberdrake writes:
I wish it would help. I though we had made break through s and then the next day everything is still the same.
> 60 days ago

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lawanz
lawanz writes:
Have faith and Pray. Get her involved in activities, dont make her think she has a problem. Treat her normal and acknowledge the situations every time something happens. Sometimes kids be diagnosed with different problems and placed on medications and they really start to believe that it is an excuse for their behavior. I think from what was said, you're doing a good job she just might Love the positive attention! Give her time the break through is coming! Good Luck
> 60 days ago

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