Odd Behavior in 13 Year old Girl - FamilyEducation
Odd Behavior in 13 Year old Girl
07/28/2010 at 16:46 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?

No. I would make an appointment with a psychiatrist right away. This constellation of behaviors is not in the spectrum of normal.

An immediate appointment with a mental health professional is in order. The behaviors you describe are not typical and your daughter needs to be evaluated. Best to get this done so some progress may be made before the next school year begins.

I found my son gave up on hobbies he enjoyed as soon as they became more complicated because he has a learning dissorder and he just couldn't cope with having to take in so much more information this was really stressing him out and making him quite anxiouse perhaps your daughter may have an underlying factor which caused her to find it so hard to do her work and has caused a lot of anxiety which can cause OCD i know when im stressed i over clean and being a teenager is a very stressful time without extra pressures maybe you should discuss your worries with her and speak to your doctor who if needed will point you in the right direction.

Has your daughter seen a dr yet? If so, have you discussed any options/treatments for her? It seems like there's a lot at play here, so give the dr time to sort through everything and discuss w/ your daughter what is going on. As far as you're concerned, keep the lines of communication open, and hopefully in time your daughter will open up to you.