Someone please help me!!
I’m at a complete loss with my daughter. She lies, is sneaky, explosive tantrums, defiant, violent. She’s a good kid at school and plays ice hockey for an energy outlet. She gets fantastic grades and always does her homework. She enjoys reading but only on her terms. She has no friends, or at least none that reach beyond school and hockey practice. I’ve tried everything. Absolutely everything. Or at least it feels that way.
A little back story:
She’s 8. Her bio dad and I split when she was 5 months old. Our relationship was moving from manipulative and controlling to physically abusive so I snuck out while he was at work one day and never looked back. We live across the country from him. They FaceTime twice a week and have an additional phone call. My husband has been around since my daughter was 18 months old. He loves her possibly more than even I do, and she definitely likes him better than she likes me. We have moved around kind of a lot and I know that’s been a bit hard on her. We follow my husband’s job (not military) but we should be where we are for quite a while. I’m rambling. Anyway.
I don’t know what to do anymore about her behavior. She’s been in therapy previously and honestly I don’t feel like it did a thing. We’ve tried extra privileges, taking away privileges, extra/taking away toys, early bed time or letting her stay up late. Immediate consequences/rewards and delayed consequences/rewards, even spanking. She has chores, that she does without much fight though not exactly willingly, but if we ask her to do anything that’s “not her job” it’s an explosive tantrum. She does not take blame for anything she does or says. Everything is someone else’s fault. She sneaks food, candy, iPad, toys, etc. into her room constantly and when we catch her, she screams at us that it’s our fault. She’s currently grounded from all electronics for two weeks for the way she acted when I forgot the iPad for her to play with on the way to hockey practice. She will blatantly ignore a chore and then scream and cry and tantrum when we discipline her.
I don’t know what to do. Nothing changes her behavior and I’m at my breaking point. My husband and I want to talk about having more kids but I can’t bring more kids into this toxic environment. I know it’s not all her fault. I’m the adult. And I will admit I lose my cool. Often. I’m working on that. But I’m unsure about next steps for her. I’m currently working on finding her a new therapist, but considering a psychiatrist bs a psychologist this time. I’m also working on having a sleep study done on her. If I can fix these issues without medicating her that’s what I want to do.
Chore charts and sticker systems don’t work. She is money motivated but it’s a slippery slope with her. My husband will offer her a small amount of money, say 25¢-$1, to do a small task and she will say “I’ll do it for $10”, even if it’s only taking the trash out to the hallway where the apartment complex trash valet (lol yes that’s a real thing apparently) picks it up. The other day she was screaming at us that she’s not doing anymore chores until she gets the allowance we promised her, but we never did.
She also claims she can’t remember any of the rules of the house when she breaks them and gets in trouble. She “can’t remember” that she’s not allowed food or candy in her room. She “can’t remember” that she’s not allowed to eat candy I didn’t give her. Every time the excuse is “I didn’t know” or “I forgot”.
I know this was so long. I’m so desperate. Please help. And please be kind. I know we aren’t handling her correctly but I don’t know what that is. I’ve never met a kid like her.