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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10566
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My daughter has an 8 year old friend at school. The girl has

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My daughter has an 8 year old friend at school. The girl has ADHD and is a little hard to get along with. She seems to deliberately annoy the other little girls when she plays with them (not sharing toys, grabbing things that aren't hers, saying mean things, using bad word and not stopping when they ask her to, etc.) so they often end up in tears. When she has been confronted by the girl's parents (or the girls themselves) she has responded by saying some disturbing things such as "I'm going to kill myself now" & "please get me a stick so that I can gouge my eyes out, if you don't get me a stick I'll use my fingers". I feel that perhaps I should notify someone about this. I do not get along all that well with the child's mother & don't really feel comfortable calling her about this. I'd like to maybe notify my daughter's school, but, don't know who to call or what to say. Should I act on this and how?

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Customer:

Hello. Okay, what do you think?

Dr. Z :

This is definitely concerning behavior and I would definitely notify the school administrators or the girl's teachers.

Customer:

Would you talk to the girl's parents first?

Dr. Z :

There are many reasons for this type of behavior, but it is not related to ADHD that much is certain. It can he attention seeking behavior associated with a disorder called Oppostional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Or it can also be a result from abuse (emotional, physical, and/or verbal) at home. This is why I would not notify the parents directly and instead the school and let them handle it appropriately. The school is trained in these matters and they will make sure that the child' welfare and best interests are taken into account.

Dr. Z :

Here is a link on ODD for you as well that contains more information on this disorder

Customer:

Is there any particular school administrator that I should notify or just the principle or school director?

Dr. Z :

You can ask to speak to the principal and then the principal will speak directly with the teacher of this girl and then they can bring in the parents for a conference. No one is usually in trouble here, unless there is evidence of abuse abuse obviously, they just want to make sure that the child's welfare is taken into account and that she gets the treatment that she needs. These symptoms are very serious and she is impulsive, so she may act on them too, even in an attention seeking manner can be devastating.

Dr. Z :

If abuse is considered, then the principal is best to handle calling Child Protective Services as well.

Customer:

Can I remain anonymous?

Dr. Z :

Yes, and this is another reason why I think going to the school administration is best. The principal nor the teacher will name you to the girl's parents, they will just say that the girl's behavior and verbalizations has given cause of concern to them. But obviously remind the school that you wish to remain anonymous too, but I see no reason why your name or your daughter's name has to be mentioned for this issue at all.

Customer:

Last question, you say that the girl may act on her threats. Do you consider this a serious possibility, even if she is only 8 years old?

Dr. Z :

In my experience, she is most likely seeking attention, but it is better to err on the side of caution. Now even if she wanted to superficially hurt herself as way to seek attention to prove that she is serious, she may make a mistake and harm herself in a greater way then she intended to. Also she has shown impulsive behavior in the past and this can lead to unpredictability which is concerning given her threats to harm herself. So yes it is possible that even given her age she can try to hurt herself.

Customer:

Okay. Thank you for your advice. I will try to get a hold of someone at the school to discuss this.

Dr. Z :

I think that would be best for this girl and her wellbeing. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer:

No, I don't think so. Again thank you.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. I hope everything works out for the best and that this girl gets the treatment that she needs. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

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