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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My granddaughter is showing signs of what I believe might be

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My granddaughter is showing signs of what I believe might be mental problems, her parents are at their wits end. She is 12 years old and has had bad behaviour problems since the age of 6 which have been put down basically to attention seeking, due to the fact she is number 3 of 7. This year things have decidedly got worse. We are talking compulsive lying, putting bleach in her younger sisters milk and the fish tank, being aggressive and bullying to her siblings and her parents (the language beggers belief). If she is unable to get her own way she trashes the house and kicks out at everyone and everything. We have now progressed to a story of being raped down the park, yes the police are involved, but she keeps changing her story and they have lost patience with her. The latest escapades according to her, are that she leaves the house late at night and has sex with people in cars (we know this to be untrue)....the problem is, she actually believes her stories. She has confided in one of her aunties about meeting guys through a web site and being taken to a flat, she was so convincing, describing the flat etc etc that her auntie took her to the police station. It turned out that the flat was boarded up and had been for years.....her auntie is also of the opinion that the child is CONVINCED that what she is saying is true???? The doctor doesn't seem at all interested when her parents have taken her to him and in his opinion she will grow out of it, but we are worried. Can you point me in the right direction please I am desperate.
I think your granddaugther needs to see a child psychiatrist. She needs a good evaluation. How is she dong at school? I think your granddaughter may have schizophrenia. It is hard to diagnose in children. A child psychologist may also help. Can you tell me a bit more about any family history of mental health in the family>>?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No history of mental health in the family, although her mother did have the ability to believe stories she made up, albeit tame ones, like when she was young her hair was so long she could sit on it.....ofcourse she couldn't but she truly believed this to be fact....

The granddaughter refuses to go to school, which I identify as being because she has learning difficulties, undetected by the school as she attends so infrequently, the school is now addressing this and are offering her help.

The most worrying part of all this is that she acts up in front of her other grandmother, but has never acted up in front of me, this says to me!!!!! Why?

Why are the bizarre stories she tells involve sex?

Why is there absolutely no reasoning with the child?

Thanks for any assistance you can offer me.

You must have a calming affect on her, you are the reality check. I am not sure why she makes the stories that involve sex. Maybe she is afraid that something will happen to her or has seen stories on the TV. Early symptoms of Schizophrenia can be different among age groups. With children the early symptoms of schizophrenia include: odd, eccentric behavior, bizarre and random thoughts/ideas, hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not possible), confusion between real and fake thoughts, moodiness, state of paranoia, withdrawn and difficulty relating to others, and/or decline in personal hygiene. Psychosis in children can be a very difficult illness to diagnose especially for children under the age of 12. Children have a difficult time expressing their feelings and thoughts without any illnesses, so trying to diagnose a child with a mental disorder is even more difficult. Although it is difficult, it is important and possible with the help of family members and doctors. Once a diagnosis is made, treatments can be talked about and arranged for long term help.

Other symptoms of the disorder include problems paying attention, impaired memory and reasoning, speech impairments, inappropriate or flattened expression of emotion, poor social skills, and depressed mood. Such children may laugh at a sad event, make poor eye contact, and show little body language or facial expression.

Beacause problems with reasoning is one of the symptoms it is hard to reason with a child that has schizophrenia. I believe the school has the ability to test her and help her parents with her behavior by providing mental health services. If she does not act up in front of you, maybe you offer some stability for her so keep doing what you are doing.

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