Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Advice/recommendations for a family therapist to help with children's difficult behaviours

Community Member


I have just joined with the hope of getting some advice or recommendations.

This quest to find help has lasted us 3 years, GPs, a Child Psychologist, Parenting Courses and a Family counsellor and I keep getting told the same thing...."you're doing fine, you're not our 'typical' clients, this will pass, your daughter is lovely - it must be the family dynamics, sorry we can't help"

We are not fine. There is no mental health diagnosis, substance abuse, physical abuse, she's doing well at school, we are still married, as one professional said "you are what we aim other clients and their families to strive to"

We have many children, but our issue is find effective parenting strategies for our 10 year old daughter. The hardest thing is outside the home she is a bright, happy, courteous girl who I am so proud of. But she strives for perfection and is concerned about how others perceive her. She is a people pleaser.

In the home she is negative, enraged, defiant, sometimes hits her siblings and us. She has no respect for myself or my husband, doesn't care how we perceive her. She screams, hits, avoids daily chores, blames everyone else for her behaviour. She is anxious about being late for school (we are NEVER late).

She tells us she sees "dead people". We've read books together, we have crystals, we have apps to divert anxiety.

Basically everyone says she's a great child. And she is. Her behaviour isn't great though. All the learned techniques go out the window, we fight, yell, say things we don't mean. Cry. Lots of crying.

I'm hoping someone can recommend a Family therapist who will help ALL OF US. Not just see her. I am holding on to hope by just a thread. I am spent.

Busybee xx

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Busybee and welcome to the forums.

First off it is one of the limits of the forums that we cannot offer recommendations for therapists. Advice and support and encouragement however is what we can do.

In terms of a therapist it would be worth contacting your GP and finding what is available in your area and asking around. The school psychologist may also have some contacts that can help. Or if there is a women's health care clinic to visit these often have information for the whole family not just for women.

My point is sometimes it means visiting places and asking. I tried the internet to find help and it was useless. A lot of the available supports don't have much of an online presence.

Your situation does sound so exhausting. I get it. My four year old is an angel out and in front of others (even his Dad) but when it is just me my goodness he acts out. His Dad saw this for the first time yesterday and asked me what I did to set him off and was shocked when I said this is what is normal you're just at work and don't see it.

So what helps? Asking for support at home from trusted friends and family. You mentioned your daughter is one of quite a few kids. Do you think she might be acting out for your attention? To my son any attention is a reward even me yelling. So I have found what has helped more is for asking more people to be involved so that when I do spend time with him I'm not always exhausted and screeching. When I am calm I am able to manage his drama better. You can only take so much.

Is it possible to give each child a day which is their special day? For example on that day they get to stay up for an extra 15-20 minutes and do an activity they like with Mum or Dad or both, choose what is for dinner and have a chore free night.

With my son being feral I find my daughter is starting to copy him because she's worked out being aggressive and argumentative or destroying things gets attention. If you've got a few kids I would want to stop them learning this behaviour for your own sanity.

By the way... It's ok if my advice doesn't help or work for you. I just wanted you to know you're not alone and that there is no judgement here (least of all from me... Self confessed worst mum of the year).

And it is ok to be thoroughly over it. Everyone said to me he just wants your attention and time but they don't tell you what to do when you're so exhausted that you have nothing left to give. It sounds like time to care for yourself.


Community Member

Thanks Nat.

Your advice is great. I have 5 children and take he younger ones are definitely starting to mimic her behaviour.

It is possible it is an attention thing. I’m a shift worker though. Something I can’t change in my profession. And I mainly work afternoon shifts so means less time at home in the evenings. I like your idea about spending more time with them individually. I will try to do this more often.

You’re right about time to look after me. Even just venting to someone professional might help. I’ll take your advice and see my GP.

Thanks for your advice. Much appreciated!