Question from a Parent
My daughter who is now 4 came to live with me when she was 3 weeks old as my foster daughter. Our adoption finalized when she was 2 1/2.
Her biological mom is bi-polar and schizophrenic - she has also abused alcohol and drugs.
she was hospitalized the last 8 months of her pregnancy. So during the first month it is possible she took drugs and drank.
My daughter's biological father has cognitive delays and might be schizophrenic as well - he also abuses alcohol.
I know that schizophrenia has not been proven to be hereditary - yet I know she has about a 50% chance of getting it in her late teens early twenties.
My daughter has been healthy and on target for everything - she's pretty smart and learns quickly.
She has always had a temper and will give you the complete evil eye. When you are talking to her she can completely tune you out and do what she wants anyway.
She would sleep with a bear - since she was little - she finally at one point became attached to it and would freak if she didn't have it to go to sleep - finally I completely took the bear away and would let her sleep with an animal but not the consistent same one in hopes to break the habit - which it did - it helped and a few months down the road I gave her bear back.
for quite awhile she had to have the same bedtime routine in the same order or life was not okay - so then I started changing that up.
I wanted her to have consistency yes - but I didn't want her to become obsessive about things and not be able to deal with change.
As she has gotten older some of the habits she has surpassed - often with forced help...... but some she has over come - only to change to another habit - that I later recognize.
She has always liked "little tiny things or toys" like very small stuffed animals or plastic toys. Ahh yes for awhile she had to go to sleep every night with a dime in her hand. Finally after being woke up in the middle of the night to blood curdling screams a few times - to which I would panic and run in there - only to find that she had dropped her dime and couldn't find it. Then I broke that habit and wouldn't let her sleep with dimes any more.
So back to the tiny things - we have had this problem off and on - where she will put tiny things in her pocket or she has to carry them in her hand. She will not set them down when she is pick up other toys to clean up - in fear that someone might put it away or pick it up ( I think). The other problem we have had off and on (and now it is on again - which is why I am writing) is that she will put other peoples little things in her pockets and "steal" them. She will do it with my things - with her brother's things - she has done it at my friends house with her friend's toys.
I found out this morning she did it again. I have explained to her that is stealing. When she does not ask if she can borrow something it is stealing - she knows this - well she at least knows she should not be doing it. She sneaks things intentionally - once in awhile she will sneak food as well. But she is diffidently a very sneaky child. She might even sneak out of bed and lay on the floor in the hall (in the past this was an issue). When I tell her to leave her toys at home - not to bring them - she might sneak them with her anyway. I have now told her that I cannot trust her so for now she may not put things in her pockets and I will have to check her pockets every time we leave home - school or a friends house (which will be hard for me to get in the habit) and I shouldn't have to do this to my 4 year old - but it is a consistent on going problem and I don’t want it to become a bigger issue down the road. I want to break this habit now.
So my bigger question yet - in your opinion - do you think this stuff is normal childhood issues, or do you think this is a possible pre-determining factor to mental health issues - or possibly affects of drugs or alcohol that first month of pregnancy - or some kind of attachment issue (which she is deff attached to our family and friends and that doesn't seem to be an issue - maybe over attachment to things might be an issue). Should I get her into counseling or am I over-reacting?
Any input you could give would be greatly appreciated