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Is my 6 year old daughter faking illnesses?

When she is punished or in time out, or it's time for bed, she almost always has something wrong with her. Whether it be an "ear ache", "stomach ache", scratch on her finger or an itch somewhere, etc. We adopted her and her brother almost a year ago and they have been living with us almost 2 years. We recently moved to another state but they have settled in with school, house, etc. She always needs to be first with everything or the "center of attention." Is this an attention thing? I have a hard time ignoring when she says something hurts in case it actually does but then again I don't want to medicate for something that's not there. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions please?

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Asked by handjmom2009 at 10:52 PM on Sep. 7, 2009 in Kids' Health

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Answers (11)
  • Next time she says she's sick, treat her like she is. Put her in her jammies, put her in bed, and don't let her do anything at all. No TV, no games, no friends. Keep her brother away for a while too "because you don't want him to get sick." Give him something special for lunch but her chicken broth "because she's sick." If she really is sick, you'll be doing all the right things. If she isn't, she'll get over that pretend sickness right quick.
    Good luck.

    Answer by jennifercalling at 10:59 PM on Sep. 7, 2009

  • In some ways I agree with the first poster. However, We adopted our grandkids last yr. He is 5 she is 6. They have lived with us over 4 years. She has abandonment issues. She knows we love her etc. It is a very common problem for children who do not live with their biological parents. We were advised to make sure she had plenty of one on one time BUT saying she is ill when she is not is not going to be okay. I check the place she says hurts, itches or whatever. Check for temp, basically ruling out any other evidence. Then we do basically as the first poster said. She gets treated as if she is ill. We also read the story about the little boy who cried wolf. We talked about it a lot. We also talk a lot about telling the truth and consequences for the choices we make. My granddaughter is doing much better now. It is a lot of work. Don't rule out the thought that she may need someone to talk to. Cont

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 11:17 PM on Sep. 7, 2009

  • Someone, not you, to help her sort out how she is feeling. We learned my GD was very angry inside, also she believed it was her fault. It is definitely an ongoing process. Good Luck.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 11:18 PM on Sep. 7, 2009

  • Look into attachment problems and do what first pp did.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 12:59 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Ask her if she wants to go to the doctor for a shot to take care of her "illness"

    Answer by rkoloms at 10:49 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Honestly, in adopting older children, I would highly suggest you discuss this with their therapist, and if they don't have one, you may need to get them one. This will not be the last issue you have to deal with. It would help to have someone to give you advice based on your children's needs when these issues arise.

    Answer by Petie at 11:06 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • yes she is faking it, and yes she needs the attention when my kids are "sick" like that i check it out, kiss whatever spot "hurts", and continue with the punishment or bedtime stuff

    Answer by bi-polarmommy at 12:24 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Sounds like mine. Except instead of being sick she always has to go to the bathroom. We sit, I have to go potty. Bed, but I have to go potty. Anytime she doesn't want to do something, she has to go. Sometimes I'll stop and take her and sometiems I know she's just saying it so I make her finish the task at hand and then suddenly she doesn't have to go anymore.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:21 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Thanks all. A lot of what you are saying is what we do. I've even tried to tell her that if I put medicine where she hurts - ear, throat, etc., and it's not really hurting, the next time it really hurts the medicine won't help. My husband thinks she won't understand that though but each time I just explain it again. :-) The kids were in therapy for a while during the fostering process and the therapist said they were adjusting well and didn't need to continue in therapy. We tell her we love her as much as we love her brother and we give them both what we think is the same amount of attention. We don't get to separate them much though and let them do things independently as much as we like. I will try other things that you guys suggested and let you know if it gets better or continues. By the way, she did say that her ear was good this morning. :-)

    Answer by handjsmom09 at 5:24 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • It could be anxiety. It is a very real issue and should be treated as though she is sick.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:38 AM on Sep. 9, 2009

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