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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My 13 yr daughter is lying about older boys and cutting if punished - what can I do?

    My daughter has been in therapy of some kind since kindergarten. She has ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I have had a lot of issues since she was about 11 with her lying, cutting, manipulating us (making us feel sorry for her). She pretends to be sick when it's time to do chores, and she tells me one thing and her real dad another, having us fight a lot. We have since tried to come together, however the issues have NOT stopped, or even slowed down.
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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    It sounds like your daughter is perhaps dealing with a lot of anxiety and possibly a range of other feelings she is finding hard to manage, and is doing this in ways you find difficult. It also sounds like she has had a lot of therapy. I wonder if you have been offered help as a family? It would be important for you as a parent to be equipped with strategies to help your daughter, to understand and know how to respond to her when she is using avoiding strategies (such as lying), or unhelpful distress management strategies (such as cutting). Family counselling may also assist you and your daughter's father to gain an understanding about the purpose of some of your daughter's behaviour, which may be partly about her need to bring you two closer to each other, and therefore to her. Understanding what may be behind some of her behaviour is essential, in order to then know how to respond to her underlying needs, which will then help her to better manage her feelings and behaviour. All the best.

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