My best friend has adopted a girl from China. Her daughter is 10 years old now and the child has no respect! She has ADHD, high functioning autism, and many other diagnoses. She is out of control and has no respect for her mother. Her mother wants to change things but when this kid doesn’t get her way, she becomes violent. She kicks the door so hard it looks like it is going to break. She throws things at her mother. She curses her mother out etc.
She has no respect for her mother. When the mom tries to discipline her, the child kicks and screams and scratches. She is almost stronger than her mother. What is going to happen when she is stronger that her mom and beats her up? How can she control her child so that she can discipline her?
It must be very hard for you to sit by and watch this happening to your close friend and her daughter. Your friend has done something very noble and to have it turn out like this must be incredibly hard to cope with. I don’t know what kind of professional help your friend has already accessed but I speculate that she must be under someone’s care, given that she has been diagnosed with autism etc. I would strongly suggest that she go back to that person, whoever it is, to access any other services she can. Unfortunately in your particular case, I cannot offer specific recommendations as I have no real idea of exactly what issues she is dealing with. There could be many other factors at play that I’m not aware of, such as her other diagnoses so I’m going to suggest you rule out those first before attempting other behaviour modification. However having said that, this situation needs intervention. As you point out, this mom will soon be physically intimidated by her daughter which is a frightening prospect for anyone and certainly does the child herself, no favours.
Consistency is vitally important
Aside from help she receives, it’s vitally important that this mom act consistently in her relationship with her daughter. ‘No’ must mean ‘no’ and the any limits put in place must remain steady in spite of the battering that putting in those limits might generate. This is somewhere that you can be really helpful and a good support. Whenever you change behaviour, it will certainly get worse before it gets better and whatever plan is put in to action, the child will need to know where she stands. Changing this behaviour will be tough and consistency is key. The mum involved could certainly feel tired and overwhelmed and having a good friend like you could be vital to whether or not she succeeds. You didn’t mention whether or not she had a partner but if she does, it’s also extremely important that he buy in to the solution and the work required as well.
If you and your friend live in Calgary, there is an amazing program through the Calgary Family Therapy Centre at the Holy Cross Hospital. There is apparently a waiting list but even so, that may be one of her best options.
Best of luck,