1. Children of divorced parents like the one above are troubled individuals, their morals are all messed up, she doesn’t care that she’s hurting people. The way she probably see’s it, is that she’s been hurt by her parents splitting up and she’s still hurting, so she’s going to make sure everyone else around her hurts too.
2. Everything that she’s doing, she’s doing it to get attention. Problem is, its the wrong sort of attention. She’s gotten in to the mind set of a toddler who screams to get attention and does get attention. If you can, you should ignore when she deliberately does something wrong, she’s only doing it to get attention.
3. They know what they are doing. It’s like a game to them. They do this to get attention. Going back to what I earlier said. When she does something good, acknowledge it, reward her. Nearly putting you and her step dad in jail, cutting herself, making out she’s not being fed..she knows what she’s doing, like you said, she’s smart.
4. Understand that they cannot play this card forever. Its all a game she’s playing. She’s only going to be able to play this game for so long before she’s too old to get away with it. She’s only 12 now and she’s using that as her main advantage, she’s know she’s untouchable. She’s pretending she’s a poor innocent girl. She’s not going to be able to play that card forever though.
Until then, like I said ignore her, continue sending her to his/her counselor.
5. Troubled children recognizes and need strong authority too as much as they need love and understanding in their lives no matter how they ignore and fight it. Next time she gets the police involved in her lies, tell her she can get done for wasting police time. Maybe time in prison would sort her out! Get tough with her. We call that tough love. If she insists on playing these games, she has to suffer the consequences. I’d say scare her by getting the law involved. That’s what law is there for.
6. Make the child understand that his/her parents splitting up is NO EXCUSE for what she’s doing. She’s in pain.
She just wants her parents back together and will do anything to try and make it happen, without being able to see the consequences of her actions. Somebody needs to go to the root of the problem and deal with it, I would find a different counselor who has more experience in this field. You have to sit her down and make sure she knows that’s she’s not the adult, you and your husband are. You need to nit break and tell her the consequences. Sometimes you need to be very strong to kids like this because they can’t see the reality of their actions. She needs to understand that if she keeps doing this then nobody will like her.
7. A therapist may be able to help. Only after you have exhausted yourself. If she’s unable to deal with bigger changes, rejection (even if it’s a rather little one) and these problems she probably needs professional help, which could help improving her situation and the way she copes with it.