Odd Behavior in 13 Year old Girl
07/28/2010 at 13:46 PM

My daughter is usually a sweet caring kid, does well in school, relates well to adults, and has no apparent social issues at school. Her 7th grade year was difficult, as she was overloaded with homework, and due to bad study/work habits and an unwillingness to take advice or learn from mistakes, she rarely had any free time to do anything else. She also started complaining non-stop about nearly everything, from school/teachers, to bad umpiring in her little league game, to the need to put the trash out each week. She also shut herself off from friends and got way too into video games, but I understand that many of her friends did the same thing. After the school year, she told us that the experience “changed her”, and that she was always stressed out. She is an extreme tomboy and has always dressed like a boy, to the point where even we think she would look odd in a dress. She tries to hide her development with hunched posture and baggy clothes, but never makes statements about wishing to be a boy, etc.

Leading up to her 13th birthday, she began washing her hands frequently, to the point that they were chapped and raw. We took her to a dermatologist and bought her lotions, which she never uses. My wife has some OCD in her family, so we're thinking that that may be in play here (there's also a little germophobia that has cropped up recently), but there are other weird behaviors. She's also taken to holding her arms and hands like a T-Rex, barely using her hands to grip anything. She refuses to wear deodorant, physically fights attempts to wake her up in the AM, spills food on herself and denies that it is sitting on her clothes, constantly pulls food out of her mouth she misidentifies as “fat”, defends the hand-washing and swears that lotions make the skin worse, only picks up spilled food with her toes, sees simple tasks like moving something out of the way to get behind it as "literally impossible", and, recently, this formerly shy kid has taken to showering with the door wide open and walking around naked. All this stuff is on top of some typical "parents are always wrong" teen oppositional behavior. She does go up and down, and we sometimes see her pleasant side peeking through, but the smallest request or attempt to reason with her sets her off on a complaint tirade or a foggy stare into space.

She has always had an uncanny ability to deny reality and the laws of science and nature, as it suits her needs. If she does have OCD, we see the compulsive behaviors, but we don't know what she could be obsessing about. Either she has real gender identity issues or has developed an irrational hatred of school and responsibility. I don't know about where the other illogical and irrational behavior is coming from, though. Has anyone experienced anything like this?