My Baby Girl Is Broken and I Can’t Fix Her Alone

learning disabilities, parenting, discipline

A while back I made a bold stand and explained that my baby girl was different. She’s a societal square peg being shoved into a round hole. I stand by that. She doesn’t fit any mold and I celebrate her uniqueness and I support her no matter what. She’s my baby. That’s my job. I love her unconditionally, and I always will. But lately, she’s been trying that unconditional love theory. She’s been trying it for 6 years in fact and I’m beginning to think that I can’t tackle these issues alone.

She’s a bright girl. She was in the GT (gifted and talented) program at school until earlier this year when I pulled her and moved her to a different school. She’s no dummy. At. All. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and she amazes me every day. But she’s broken and I’m afraid I can’t fix her alone.

I have to be honest with you because honesty is important to me. At times, she’s just bad. She doesn’t mean to be. I know she doesn’t. But she pitches fits (like frightening fits), she talks back, she’s always right, she’s mean to her brother and I (think bully here), and she steals. The stealing is what has me concerned about her broken state because now she’s endangering herself and it scares me. She’s been stealing from our house ever since she learned this “trade” from her half sister 2 years ago when she lived with us. She steals little trinkets, unimportant stuff, but she also steals food.

She’s not hungry. She gets breakfast at home before school, sometimes she eats a second breakfast at school, then a snack and lunch I pack for her at school, a snack when she gets home, then dinner. She’s not hungry, yet she steals food. I buy snack cakes and fruit snacks weekly to put in their lunches. One sweet snack per day. That’s what they get. But the other night, my baby girl ate a whole pack of oatmeal creme pies while we slept, at 2:00 am I would guess. She’s eaten B’s Atkins Bars. She’s downed whole boxes of fruit snacks. I’m worried what she will steal and eat next.

When you ask her what, WHY, she just looks at you and rolls her eyes, and says nothing. She knows it’s wrong, but she continues to do it. What’s next? What will she steal that will hurt her? A mother’s worst fear. And so I’ve moved on to the next phase. I don’t want to, will not, shove her in that round hole, but I will protect her no matter what.

We went to the counselor at school, that was a bust. I talked to a counselor that was recommended by the school. That didn’t go well in my head. They recommended the “m” word until we can break through. Medication. I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t want to medicate her, but I don’t want her to hurt herself sometime while I’m in the bathroom trying to pee, while I’m outside with the dog, while I try to sleep my 4 hours per night. I want her safe. So I’m considering the “m” word and although B doesn’t want it, he said he won’t fight. That’s his baby girl, he wants her safe, he acknowledges the problems.

I ran this by my closest friends the other day and one of them said something that hit home. “She’s sick and you’re taking her to the doctor to get better. Don’t worry about what type of sick or type of doctor.” And she was right. My baby is broken and she needs to get well.

I’m not talking about any kind of spectrum here. She’s not on any spectrum. She’s brilliant when she puts her mind to it, but she’s sick and she needs to get well. Wish us well. Pray for us if that’s what you do. Know that I know that medication is NOT the answer to everything. Know that I KNOW that my square peg should be allowed to be different. But know that I KNOW that my square peg has hit a road block and she’s endangering herself. KNOW that my only intention is trying to figure out how to fix my baby so that she can be the healthy square peg she was meant to be. And know that I KNOW she, we, will get through this phase and I still think (KNOW) she will make a difference in this world.

She’s amazing, she’s beautiful, she’s different, and right now…she’s broken. We’ll fix this. I know we’ll fix this.

About Christy

Christy Gossett, managing editor of SoFabFood and creator of the healthy living blog, Insanity Is Not An Option, is a WAHM of 6 kids ranging in age from 27 to 8. She enjoys sharing her heart-healthy, low sodium recipes to help others with dietary restrictions enjoy a flavorful life while maintaining a healthy diet.

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  1. Such a tough place to be! I pray that you find the help you need for your sweet girl. She’s blessed to have a mama who loves her so much!
    Mimi recently posted…A Skill I Wish I HadMy Profile

    • Thanks for your support, Mimi. She’s my challenge in life for sure, but I don’t know what I’d do without her, or what I did before her for that matter!

  2. I don’t have any words of wisdom but I’m praying and virtual hugging you every chance I get.
    JanetGoingCrazy recently posted…Ad: Game Day Hacks – Deli Wings and Three Dipping Sauce Recipes!My Profile

  3. Praying that she is just frustrated by being so smart. I have always been a high-functioning square peg. There is hope and help and loads of friends to lean on!! XOXOX
    Rebecca E Parsons recently posted…GRATITUDE ~ Theme for 2015, What’s Yours?My Profile

  4. sending you prayers that you will be able to get her some help. She is a precious gift and I can see the love you have for your sweet baby girl. As much as I hate medicine too it is sometimes a necessary evil. I will be praying that you can get some answers soon!
    April Ockerman recently posted…Hyatt Market Street, The Woodlands Celebrates 5th AnniversaryMy Profile

  5. Oh Christy! How I feel you! I could have written this myself about my oldest son. He’s brilliant….genius (but wouldn’t do the extra work that GT wanted him to do to get into the program…go figure) but he has the quirks. He’s a little more severe than your daughter but I do know how you feel. It’s hard when you’re just starting out to figure out what is going on and how to help. *hugs* We’ve been working on it for 7 years and barely gotten anywhere…it sucks. It’s nice to see that you’re open to things to help her, even if it is the “m” word lol
    Jackie Staples recently posted…Goals – Day 1My Profile

    • It’s actually comforting to hear that so many people understand. I’ve felt very alone for the past 6 years. I’ve “hidden” so much to protect her. I appreciate the stories you are all sharing. I just don’t feel so alone anymore. Thank you!

  6. Christy, I know you will do the right thing for your baby ❤️. You provide unconditional love and that’s the foundation she needs. Whatever you decide, I know it will be right… And I’m sure she will thank you in the long run. What a tough situation regardless! Thinking of you!!

  7. Praying for your family. Never forget, Mamma knows best!
    MIchele Brosius recently posted…WEIGHT WATCHERS 1 POINT SNACKSMy Profile

  8. I have one just like that. All you can do is love them and fight like hell for them. She’ll thank you one day for hanging in there. Mine did.
    Melissa Lawler recently posted…Creamy Hot Chocolate on a StickMy Profile

  9. Not knowing the whole story here, but just what you’ve said, I’m concerned for her self esteem and body image. Hiding eating food is a serious problem and she needs help, but I know you know that. It’s not about medication – that won’t change what’s going on, she needs something bigger than that.

    Much love to you. Be brave, she needs that right now.
    Kerri (TheMaven) recently posted…You don’t need the new year to make a resolution!My Profile

  10. I think some of the brightest children are the most challenging for parents… they are a gift, I agree, but sometimes they are also hardest to handle. I pray you can get through to her, or something changes. Big hugs. She is lucky to have you in her corner.

    • …and some of this is scarily close to my oldest. Some nights my husband and I have been so scared, not knowing how to help him. He is the sweetest, most outgoing child. Very sharp, very clever. But the sneaking, violent tantrums, picking at himself and lack of impulse control can be too much. I won’t medicate him. I agree with other comments that doesn’t fix the true issue. Currently I am trying to engage him more creatively, more praise, more responsibility. It is so tough though and some days I wish there were instructions to follow. I agree that it is nice to hear other people share their own issues. I don’t feel as alone.
      Andrea Kruse recently posted…Making Time for Family – Easy Breakfast IdeasMy Profile

  11. You’re a great mommy and I know you will make the right choice. HUGS!

  12. Sending you lots of love and wishing you the best on this tough journey. Your friend is right … if she is sick she needs to go to the doctor and if medication is what she needs to help her get healthy again then that is what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty, know in your heart that you are doing what is best for her and that is all that matters!

  13. Honestly, it sounds a lot like my son. He’s 17 now and it’s always been a struggle. We tried medication. it didn’t work. We tried counselors and 504 plans and they didn’t do much either. I’m not sure what will work or if anything will. Some days I want to give up and I am so tired of having *that child*. I wish I had an answer but I don’t. I will keep you both in my prayers.
    Ellen Christian recently posted…How to Prepare for Cold and Flu SeasonMy Profile

    • “That child”, I hear that so often. Maybe it’s “that teacher” that needs the meds? Thanks for your support, Ellen, and thanks for sharing your story.

  14. parenting is tough tough work, who knew it would be this hard at times right? I wish you luck on this next part of your journey, may love and patience be on your side.
    Jennifer recently posted…The Great Canadian #Giveaway LinkyMy Profile

  15. I have some hope for you. I too was a smart child who got into tons of trouble at school in first grade. I got notes home constantly. My teacher would be so mad when she wrote the notes on the chalkboard and made me copy them to give my mom. I copied them and threw them out. I knew better. Sometimes kids are just too smart too young and they don’t get that rules matter. However, I caught up to my brain and quickly learned how to “behave properly”. If fact, I was such a breeze in middle school and high school. My sister was the opposite- an angel in first and hard to handle in high school. So, just maybe, your little girl isn’t broken. Maybe she is just exploring. Maybe she will find her boundries and be a breeze for you too. She looks so happy and pretty. I can’t imagine she is broken. The used to make my mom furious by sneaking all the icing off the lemon pound cake or eating her special chocolates. I just wanted them and didn’t see it as wrong. She’ll come around. I can’t say that anything set me right. I just got smart enough to realize it wasn’t fair to others to behave just the way I wanted to. In the mean time, good luck!
    Scarlet recently posted…NEW V8 Protein Bars and ShakesMy Profile

    • I love to here the “success stories” for lack of a better phrase. Thanks so much for letting me know how your story turned out. Gives me more new hope!

  16. Laura Patten says:

    Afternoon Christy,
    First and foremost let me say: GO MOM! You sound like an amazing mother with a heart of gold, and while many would say…well duh…that’s how a mother should be, it’s harder to come by than you think, especially with a ‘special, difficult, interesting’ child. I feel comfortable labeling this in that way because this sounds 100% how I was as a child , to a T. My mother would be the first to say that it would have been easier to throw her hands in the air and say ‘whatever! She will do what she wants to do and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Let me preface this by saying that I was a VERY intelligent child, straight A’s all through highschool, lead in every musical and play, 4 sport varsity athlete, national honors society, every group every honor, every everything; from kindergarten through 12th year. However, there were ‘those days’ that I was unruly, didn’t want to listen or what have you. I never had an ‘serious’ discipline issues, but I was always in a little scrap for being too talkative or mouthy. I never fit in with kids, anywhere or at any age. I always related to adults and were ‘friends’ with them. I was a pretty little girl and since I was so good at so many things, you would think I had friends lining up around the cafeteria, but that was never the case…much into my mid twenties. Skipping ahead a bit, my junior year in high school I had a mini-meltdown. I was getting straight A’s , 4 sports etc etc….and I just couldn’t handle it all anymore. Even with my mother being a nurse, it turns out I had A.D.D. and had just been ‘living with it’ diagnosed for years because I was so very good at everything… I got on medication (not that I think that is for everyone, but I found it a good aid for the time) that I took from the time I was 17 until this year (I am 26 now) and it got me through the rough parts and helped me learn how to control my out bursts, my anxiety, everything. And now I am off the meds completely after a year of ‘downsizing’ and am a perfectly healthy, happy, friend-having, functioning adult, contributing to society! If it wasn’t for MY mother, constantly helping me, correcting nicely, and patiently waiting for me to fit in with everyone else…I couldn’t tell you the scary myriad of ways I could have ended up.

    I hope that you don’t think me presumptuous to assume your daughter has A.D.D. or anything like that; that’s not what I am saying. But I am telling you this (VERY) shortened version to tell you that A.) Kids can have A.D.D. or other issues while still being very intelligent (A.D.D. doesn’t mean a child is stupid or incapable) and B.) To show you that my mother was like you, on my side, constantly helping and teaching me…I was HER Challenge in life, as she also called me.

    Good luck with you and your daughter, and if you would like to hear more or anything, send me an email
    pattenl1988@gmail.com

    Be Well.

    • Tears. Good tears, but tears. I love to hear what the grown-up version of my Bug might turn out like. I really appreciate your kind words and your candor. It’s so hard to be the “different” kid, but you got through it shiningly and so will she. Thank you SO much for this!

  17. Before retiring I was a teacher of academically gifted children in grades 3 thru 12. These children have problems that few of us can begin to understand. I stayed frustrated because people thought they had no problems because they are so smart. However, generally the problems were in the classroom and not so much at home. I’m so glad you ignored the school counselor. They aren’t very good at difficult situations. I’m proud of you for seeking help for her. You will need to try many things before you find the solution. But don’t give uo. I know you won’t. One thought to consider is having her curriculum modified (up) to challenge her all day every day in the classroom. I’ve seen great changes when that happens. The gifted and talented program is usually a pull out of the classroom for a short time each week. It sounds as if her needs aren’t being met. Remember that phrase and use it with the school. Expect resistance to this approach, but pitching a fit is wirth it if it works. If you ever need to talk I’ll be happy to help. I’ve been there and seen it all.

    • Thanks for your words of encouragement. You know what? I told her teacher that she might be bored, and she actually said, “no, I’m not seeing that, she’s just not getting her work done.”. Well, maybe that work bores her so she doesn’t bother. I’m not giving up and I appreciate your offer of help!

  18. What a lucky girl to have a mother who’s so loving and looking to get the help she needs!
    My daughter, now 21, was so very challenging when she growing up — super smart, creative, energetic, huge temper tantrums (into teens), harshness which bordered on bullying — no one could hurt me more or make me more angry.

    At 15, she told us that she had been binging and purging and was scared. We found an amazing therapist who works with adolescents (with and without eating disorders). After a couple of years, with eating disorder under control, therapist told us she suspected that H had ADD — a number of seemingly disparate behaviors and clues seemed to fit. We were stunned since H did really well in school despite being very scattered and having to work much, much harder and longer than her friends.

    Neuropsych testing confirmed really significant ADD processing deficiencies (so THAT’s why it took her forever to read assignments and why she would sing at full voice and didn’t know her left from right w/o looking at her hands), lack of impulse control (no surprise but we didn’t know it was part of ADD). The diagnosis was a revelation and a relief — for all of us. Medication made a HUGE difference in her ability to function without struggling all the time (which she had learned to hide quite well). She was and is still energetic, creative, smart, loving — but she doesn’t have to struggle as much.

    Don’t give up in looking for help for your sweet girl. You’re her #1 fan and will always love her and fight for her — she needs to know that. May you find strength and comfort from those around you.

  19. Hi, I just Stumbled here on accident but I want to say “hello!” and that my heart goes out to you and your family. I have a near and dear friend who had a four year old that’s a little like your six year old, and she struggles with stuff like this daily. My heart breaks when she is just so clueless about what to do. I hope you do find a solution! Cheers and cupcake my friend.
    Kathrine Sterrett recently posted…The NNM Family is Growing!My Profile

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