My girlfriend’s ten-year-old daughter has ADHD. For the past six months or so - since long before I came on the scene - Girlfriend has been having issues with Daughter going to bed and sleep. No matter how tired she might be, Daughter forces herself to stay awake as late as she can. It doesn’t happen every night, but just from my observations I’d say it’s more than half the time. There have been times, one of which I partially witnessed, that this has gone on as late as 3:00 in the morning.
Daughter kept turning on her light and reading or whatever, so Girlfriend took the light bulbs out of her room. Daughter kept coming out of her room, knowing full well she’d get in trouble, so Girlfriend swapped out the doorknobs with the bathroom, putting the lock on the outside of Daughter’s bedroom door. It’s the kind of pointless lock, though, that can be opened from the other side with a coin or something similar, as we found out last night. Several times.
Every time Girlfriend catches Daughter in the act, whether it’s the light shining under the door, or sneaking out of her room, or whatever, she has to yell at Daughter to knock it off, but it does no good. Threatening and punishing Daughter by grounding her or taking things away does no good. Daughter simply doesn’t care. She doesn’t think beyond the moment, so she doesn’t make the connection that her behavior causes her to lose things she likes. Girlfriend says Daughter does this for the attention, not caring if the attention she gets is good or bad. Girlfriend also realizes she’s reinforcing this behavior, and feels she went wrong somewhere. But she doesn’t know what else to do. She’s at her wits’ end.
Has anyone here been in a situation like this, and might be able to give some advice?