My daughter is 7 years old and she has a few very extreme behaviors. She destroys just about everything she owns as well as going after my things. She is hoarding, not only toys and such but garbage she takes from the garbage can and wrappers from food she eats. She is also stealing and hoarding food from my cupboards.

She has an obsession with food. She will ask me what we are eating for lunch and dinner as I am giving her breakfast. She talks about and asks for food constantly. One night she asked me if she could go to bed early so she could get breakfast sooner. If it were up to her she would always have food in her hands. She has on a few occasions ate frozen pizza and waffles while they were still frozen.

I had to invest in an industrial lock for my pantry because she broke the cheap one and I had to buy and chain and combination lock to wrap around my fridge. If a lock has a key she always finds it.

She is very intelligent but refuses to participate in school.

She has been in therapy for almost 3 years now and I have seen no long term change. Things seem to get better and then get worse than they were when we started.

I have tried taking everything she owns away and told her she had to earn it back by showing me she could take care of things. Her response was to threaten me. Her exact words were "Fine, if I can't have my stuff I'll just break all of your stuff."

There has never been a lack of discipline in my house but she does have a lot of freedoms. If I take them away she sneaks out her bedroom window. She has done thousands of dollars in damages to my house and I rent, I can't move because I can't afford to repair the place.

She is acting like a rebellious 16 year old and she is only 7. I am at the end of my rope, I have tried every form of discipline I have been able to find. I have demanded for a higher level of care in therapy 4 different times and nothing is getting better. I am desperate for some help.

  • When you say you have demanded a higher level of care in therapy, does this mean she is under the care of a professional psychotherapist of some kind? If so, is it care being provided by the state or other agency?
    – MJ6
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 0:09
  • 1
    She has been under the care of a psychologist for about 3 years but since she has state funded insurance I have to prove the need for care. She is now a level 4 (the highest you can get) This is the 4th therapist she has had. She has been in his care for about 2 months now. It took me 3 months in the beginning to get someone to pay attention to me. Everyone told me it was normal behavior and that I was over reacting. Now 3 years later I feel just as overwhelmed as I did when we started therapy.
    – Stephanie
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 2:44
  • 2
    I will see if I can find any additional information for care in your state that might help you. Be sure to keep a journal of all behaviors, including photos of damage, to share with her doctor. You might even try to obtain video of some of her behaviors to assist doctors in understanding how extreme it is. Keep breathing!
    – MJ6
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


As your daughter has only been with her new psychologist a short time, and she has been officially recognized as having a serious (level 4) condition, you might give the new relationship a chance to work.

An additional resource in your area is the University of Michigan's Mott Hospital. It is a teaching and research hospital with a pediatric behavioral and mental health department. It is in Ann Arbor, about 65 miles south of your city. Click on this link to see information about how to call for an appointment. They may be able to help you figure out whether your insurance will work there and whether moving your daughter to their care is advisable. They also have fairly thorough evaluation services that might assist her current doctor with her treatment.

I hope this is helpful. Best wishes.

  • That does help, thank you! The only concern I have about going through the hospital in Ann Arbor is the amount of gas that would require. My family is having some financial problems right now. I used to live in Ann Arbor back in 2005-2006, that's actually where I got my prenatal care. They are a great hospital I can't believe I didn't think to contact them! Thank you!
    – Stephanie
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 6:09
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    The Salvation Army PeopleCare program may be able to help with transportation. They are located in Flint. If they can't help, they may be able to point you to someone who can.
    – MJ6
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 23:48

This sounds a bit extreme, but I can identify not because I have kids of my own, but because I shared some of your daughter's behaviours when I was a child, and my mother is a therapist: so I can share the way she helped me through them (from what little I can remember!) Her attitude is that both aggression and threats, and also hoarding are to do with trying to create personal boundaries. I think your daughter is trying to tell you to respect her sensitivity and boundaries, and punishing her is not going to make it better. It may even make it worse. Of course, if she is already in therapy, I am sure it will make improvements in the long run: but I believe you could help by investigating how you can reinforce your daughter's personal boundaries. These could include something as simple as letting her have a 'do not disturb' sign for her door and respecting it. Perhaps you could discuss ways you can reinforce her personal space with her therapist.

  • brilliant answer, welcome to the site :)
    – user21179
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 0:41

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