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Teen Daughter. Extreme Attention Seeking. Please Help!

My foster daughter is 15, and she goes to some pretty bad extremes when seeking attention. The state is very close to sending her to a residential facility bc of it. The odd part is, she doesnt want to leave our home, in fact, we are getting ready to sign adoption papers next month.

So my main question is, how can I get her to realize that she doesn't NEED to be the center of everyones attention? Some of her methods of trying to get attn were; Cutting, bisexuality, promiscuity, lying, cheating, making up "experiences" she had....there are more as well, but this gives you a good idea. I really am kinda of at my witts ends. When she is confronted about this, she will say that she knows it is bad, and she wants to change.....etccccc....but the next day she is doing the same thing. We have tried positive reinforcement, consequences, punishment...just about everything. I want to be sure I give her the attention she needs, without reinforcing the attention seeking behavior. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Asked by FosterMom1988 at 3:44 PM on Jul. 10, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 3 (22 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • Have you tried counseling?

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 3:45 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • She's saying that she knows it is bad to get you off her back, especially if she goes right back to the behavior.

    Have you tried counseling?

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:46 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • Yes, she is in counseling now. But, she has not been in it long.

    Comment by FosterMom1988 (original poster) at 3:47 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • I was just watching a show about an amazing camp called Anazai,,,the counseling will probably help her, and she probably had a rough life starting out,, some of the thing you describe are more of a release of pain than seeking attention. Hugs to you momma and to her.

    Answer by kimigogo at 3:50 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • she hasnt been it long. it will take some time. good luck

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 3:51 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • I have to say that cutting ins't necessarily an attention seeking behavior, its a coping mechanism. And I wouldn't put bisexuality under the attention seeking either.

    I do think that counseling will help but it will take time. If she is really out of control you can try something like Dilectical behavioral therapy, its a more intense weekly class and weekly individual session therapy that usually averages at least 6 months. I had many problems when I was younger to the point that they wanted me to live in a group home(and I was over 18), I was finally able to get into a DBT program and have been stable since. It helps to teach/relearn coping mechanisms, thinking processes and to teach impulse control.

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 4:00 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • I'd suggest counseling as well, and it definitely takes some time. All of the things you mentioned above I've dealt with, and the impulse control is definitely an issue I've had most of my life. I went through a very difficult time about 3 years ago, and while I knew what I was doing was wrong, I also didn't know how to stop myself. What looked to be attention seeking in my case (which it was in a sense) turned out to be Bipolar I.
    Also the cutting is not necessarily attention seeking as someone else mentioned, it is a coping mechanism, that I know all too well.
    I'd suggest the continued counseling, and reassurance. Let her know you care about her and want to help her get well. She may not even realize that what she is doing is beyond her control. It took me two years to figure it out and by then I'd nearly lost everything. I'm so much better now with the right meds and therapy.

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 4:08 PM on Jul. 11, 2011

  • I would just say slow down kid.
    Cant you see that the world is not like that.
    I mean really.
    That scares me.
    But they are growing up quicker and quicker every day.

    Answer by newathis918 at 1:30 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • She needs serious therapy. Family counseling would also be helpful

    Answer by rkoloms at 2:34 PM on Jul. 13, 2011

  • It's a hard age, they are very attention-seeking at that time. She could benefit from some counseling. Help her to learn to calm herself - try to come up with a step-by-step plan to accomplish one day at a time. Teach her that she doesn't need to be over-the-top in order to have confidence in herself! She needs to love herself more!

    Answer by isismoon3 at 10:12 AM on Jul. 14, 2011

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