My 6 year old stepdaughter

Emily - posted on 10/01/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )




Okay, so my husband and I have had full custody of my stepdaughter for nearly three years and she's a really great kiddo and I love her and love being a mommy. But from the time we first got her she started this thing with puking...normally it's if she doesn't want to eat something but tonight she literally made herself puke 4 times to try and pretend to be sick. I've told her about the bad things that can happen to her (health wise- in terms she unserstood) if she keeps it up, I've punished her, talked to her, etc and nothing. I'm at a total loss because obviously punishment isn't working and I've also tried therapy for her because her biological mother was abusive to her before we got her and we had no idea. She's come very far in dealing with her emotions, but this one is a constant battle. She has a problem with lying as well...and when she sees me get upset about her lies or puking, she shows no remorse at all. She has a rad bit of ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and I'm not sure if this has something to do with that or not. I just need some advice, my husband and I are at our wit's end with her bad behavior. Help me!


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Sarah - posted on 10/02/2015




Have you discussed this with her doctor? I think she'd benefit from a behavioral therapist. Someone who can help her channel her feelings and frustration in a different manner. Lying is not unusual at this age, just keep confronting the lies. You could try, in the short term, an external motivation plan. For each meal she eats without throwing up or whatever, she earns a token. Poker chips are cheap and work well. Have her keep her earnings out where she can see them and show them off. For every ten she earns (or five at her age in the beginning) she can get a reward. Keep the reward simple and family centered. You watch a movie with popcorn and camp out on the floor, she gets to pick the dinner menu, an extra hour of TV or gaming, manicure, you know what she likes. This only works to modify behavior short term, as kids wise up and start upping the ante, but it may help you patch a period of good behavior together while she gets therapy.

Ev - posted on 10/02/2015




So, from what you say she has not had a good time of it with mom until she came into your care and that of your husband when she was around three or so. You had her in therapy to help her with issues. Was the ODD diagnosed at this point with a therapist? Or is it something you think she has? Is she still in therapy? If not, that is where you err. She needs the therapy for more than a few years. Abuse to a very young child leaves a lot of imprints on them that they carry all through life. In getting the needed therapy, it helps them to learn to deal with any and all issues that stem from abuse. I would say that you need to get her back into that therapy and work with that therapist and his/her suggestions to get this child where she needs to be. You also need to get her teachers and school involved and set up some sort of plan to deal with her behaviors. And all of this needs to be consistent so she can keep on track. I do not think punishing her is going to help with the issues but working on what needs to be in place to help her will. Learn how to make her accountable for her behavior through the therapy and encourage her to come to you when she has an issue. The lying might be part of the ODD but do not take my word for it as I am no expert on that. I just know that if you have to put a child in therapy to get help for anything you do need to continue it for a long time to get the desired results and so she can have a good chance in life.

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