A Delight in Cruelty

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello All--

    I found this forum a short while ago and I have found "myself" in many of the postings here. It seems like so many of us are going through similar difficulties. Anger, self-control issues, oppositional behaviors, violence, outburts, tantrums...my family and I have been going through it all.

    However, I have not seen anyone posting about an issue that's really been concerning me lately....my difficult child seems to have an wonderful time just being cruel. Both to humans and animals. She absolutely delights in it! Her face lights up...she laughs...she has a wonderful time. And of course when I put a stop to it--I become the "enemy" that spoiled all the fun.

    Is anyone else experiencing this?

    Has anyone found a good way to convince their difficult child that this is NOT the way to have fun?

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated...


  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Daisy, welcome.
    Nice to meet you.
    Luckily, I haven't had that, except when my son was a toddler, and most toddlers go through that stage until they realize that 1) It hurts someone else, and 2) the other person /animal will either go away, leaving the toddler with-o a playmate/victim, or will strike back.

    How long has she been doing this? Is it something new? I would take her to a therapist ASAP and work on behaviors. Perhaps some kind of role playing where the therapist can see you two switch places, so s/he can observe your daughter's reaction.
    You've been to therapy b4, right? What did they say?

    I have to look up Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) in your profile ... I'm getting rusty at this ...
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I give up. I found Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder (COBP) ...
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome.

    My son has a friend who is the same way. He is 7 yo and has been diagnosis with ODD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). He is a very sneaky little boy. He also loves to hurt people and animals. Afterward he puts a sly little smirk on his face and actually gets a "high" from it. He has told me that when he grows up he would like to shoot people with guns and watch them die. I asked him why and he replied, "cause it's fun". I was taken back. He has a little sister around 2 who he beats on. Poor thing. He'll walk by her and shove her to the ground for no apparent reason. He hits her on the head and then chuckles. He has hit his friends for no reason. Once he and a friend were in the back seat of his mother's car and he just whacked his friend with the metal part of the seatbelf for no reason. He does malicious (sp?) things and enjoys it. If you talk to him, he is the sweetest little boy, has this little voice, he is very endearing. He is very deliberate, does things purposely to either hurt someone or get into trouble. I babysat for him once. Him and my son were sitting on my bed eating ice cream bars and watching a movie. My son dropped his ice cream by accident and felt horrible about it. Then this kid looked me dead in my eyes, held out his hand and just dropped his ice cream and then smirked at me. I asked him why he did that, he replied, I don't know as he chuckled. Later that day he asked me if he could put my sister's cat in the microwave!!!!

    You are not alone!!! This little boy is in therapy and on medications, however his mother and grandmother are only making him worse. They curse at him and call him names all day long. He in turn calls himself an idiot and says he is stupid. He curses in school and at all of his friends. I truly believe if he had decent parents who actually tried to help him it wouldn't be this bad. I think they are only adding to his problems. I think maybe he does this to get attention. They don't play with him or spend quality time with him. The only attention he gets is negative.

    I don't have any advice, I just thought I would share that with you.

    Hang in there and God bless. :)
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)=Central Auditory Processing Disorder

    My dsuhter is deaf in one ear and exhibits some of that which can lead to frusration and anger in her.
    Her cruel actions currently center around stealing my credit cards and cell phone and then she denies this and smirks, it is like a contol thing. She did this Monday. She can also be verbally abusive. I have had a 5 day break from her so I am felling pretty relaxed but is hard for me. I am a gentle, compassionate and empathetic person. I have learned to detatch more and not take it personally or tey to "fix" it. It is part of her instability and I do hope with time she will own her own anger and frusration more and express it in a healhier fashion. She is very gentle and great with animals. She takes the most out on me. Compassioon
  6. Jena

    Jena New Member

    My difficult child went thru a brief phase of this much younger than she is now, about 6 or 7. She would kick our new puppy she threw him down the stairs once as well, would kick him etc.

    Yet it stopped as strangely as it started for the most part. I would still catch her doing it on occassion yet i'd react and she'd stop. I wish I could offer you some help in this area. I know I Had boys that were friends going back years ago that would literally torture animals anything worms, cats and thought it was great fun.

    Just sending you support that you are having such a rough time and others i'm sure with more info will follow.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Terry--

    No the cruelty isn't new--it's been part of her M.O. forever.

    The Celexa she is taking is new--and while it seems to be helping her in many areas--the cruelty/abusive behaviors are still very evident. Right now, we are exploring our options for another psychiatrist because I am not sure that the diagnosis of Depression/Anxiety is really correct--I suspect that there is more to it than that. She has a diagnosis of ADD, though she does not exhibit any ADD behaviors. The Dr explained that ADD was diagnosed because of the hearing difficulties and the aggressive behaviors. We tried Ritalin for a while--but she did not do well on it.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Bran, OMG, that poor child. He has no chance. My heart is breaking.

    Thank you, Compassion!

    Does your daughter have Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Compassion? Interesting that she's got some but not all of the behaviors of Daisy's difficult child. I don't see stealing credit cards being cruel as much as being selfish. I was thinking, reading Daisy's note, that it was more like torturing an animal. Did I get that right?
    Can you explain further, Daisy?

    Jennifer, my son has kicked the dog, but I think it's more because "he can." At some point, kids realize they are bigger and smarter than many animals and they realize how much control they wield. Once we parents react in a negative way and consistently teach the kids not to take out their frustration on animals, as well as not to tease them or cause them pain just for laughs, they usually stop.
    (And, by reacting in a negative way, I mean an immediate, verbal reaction that can indicate anger and even shame, and then removing the animal. Removal to another room, a safe place, is important. Each time the child hurts the animal, the animal gets taken away. Just like you'd put a toy in Time Out. The toy goes away. When my son was little, I stopped the OMG! What are you doing????? part of it because he already got that part, and just sent the dog away and put my son in Time Out. He lost interest once the animal was out of the room. Never once did he chase after it to continue the behavior.)

    Again, am I missing something, Daisy? Is your daughter kicking animals out of frustration, sort of like a pecking order? Or is she seeking it out for the adrenaline rush, being blatantly cruel, like hanging a cat from a tree with-a noose? (Sorry to be gross, but I knew a boy who did that. We all stayed away from him.)
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, we must have been typing at the same time! :)

    It's good that you're still working on a diagnosis. These things can be very complicated!
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oops, just realized I had typed son instead of daughter, Daisy. I went bac k and fixed it.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I agree with your plan - seeking another psychiatrist seems a good route at this point. A prolonged history of deliberate cruelty to animals and humans should be a big, fat red flag to a psychiatrist!

    The fact that she didn't do well on stimulants is another red flag.

    A piece of advice - make sure you have a parent report prepared when you see the new doctor. If you need some help with this, try the search feature here on our site. I believe there is an archived post which takes you step by step. Her behavior and medication reaction history are very important pieces that you don't want to leave out with a new doctor.

    Have you read The Explosive Child yet?

  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Bran--

    Thanks so much for sharing! This sounds just like what I am seeing. This child has no "misunderstanding" that their actions are hurtful--she seems to enjoy the fact that it IS hurtful.

    The other day I caught difficult child spooking a couple of horses. The horses were absolutely terrified! Running, kicking, tossing their heads, rolling their eyes--and she was running after them screaming and laughing like she was having the time of her life!

    And when I dragged her away from there she sure was irritated with me.

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Compassion--

    I am a very compassionate and gentle soul myself. I love animals...and way back when I thought that having pets would be good for difficult child. Instead, I have to watch her like a hawk when she is with our two dogs...and if we visit someone with animals--Look Out! She has a good time catching them and putting them into choke-holds and such.

    But she is mean to kids, too. She is big on pinching and tripping, teasing, bullying and just being generally cruel. It doesn't matter if the child is a brother or cousin...or just someone from the neighborhood.

    I don't know whether this is a way of "venting frustration" for her...or if it is a sign of something else.
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks Sharon!

    I will take your advice. I do not currently have what I would characterize as a "Parent Report"--just a big fat folder of tests and records from school, therapists and previous psychiatrists. The trouble is that the docs don't always let you say your piece--it does sound like a formal written report is the way to go.

    I have not read "The Explosive Child"--but as everyone seems to be recoomending it...I will go and look for a copy.

    Thank you.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi and welcome!! My thoughts are pretty consistnt with the others- if the psychiatrist (psychiatrist) on board won't really listen to you, then I suggest finding another. This isn't your fault, so don't blame yourself, and please don't despise your child over it. But, something isn't quite right so I would urge you to seek out more help. Neuropsychological testing might reveal great things. In the meantime, don't hesitate to visit your local crisis center, and psychiatric hospital. It might help you more than you know in the future.
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks KLMNO--

    Your post really touches a few sore spots. I DO blame myself...and many times I DO despise my child. {I almost deleted that sentence...it is painful to admit that a mother could actually resent one of her children...but sometimes I do...} The current psychiatrist, Dr W____, feels that difficult child is merely depressed (quite common in 13-yr-old girls--she says) and that if I wasn't so hard on her...she wouldn't feel the need to lash out at others. She explained that difficult child is only re-enacting the violence that she has experienced from her parents and that we should lay-off the harsh punishments and spanking and just start spending more quality time with her and everything will work out just fine.

    I can't even begin to tell you what is wrong with that assessment! We have never laid a finger on her!

    difficult child was admitted to the psychiatric hospital about six weeks ago after announcing on the school bus that she hated her family so much that she was either going to kill us or herself--she just couldn't decide which. She made such a scene that the bus driver felt compelled to report it {Thank you, God, for that bus driver!!}.

    However, once admitted, difficult child told psychiatrist that she had just had a bad day because she received a "C" on an English test and was only joking about suicide (never mentioned that she was considering killing the whole family). Dr. J____ (at the psychiatric hospital) felt there was nothing wrong beyond Depression and felt that having difficult child follow up with Dr W____ would be sufficient to keep her Depression under control.

    Neuro testing was not even considered--and I begged Dr. J____ for more analysis and tried to relay some of our experiences at home....but clearly, it came down to difficult child's version of life vs mine and I was pronounced a bad, unfeeling Mom who does not spend any time with the children.


    I'm sorry for venting....

    I am definitely going to put together a "Parent Report". Maybe they will take me a little more seriously...?

    In the meantime, her father and I remain on guard against violence in our home.
  17. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer


    As the battle-weary mom of two difficult child's with nine in-patient hospitalizations between them, I feel like I may have some observations to share with you:

    My ex and I have learned the hard way that not all therapists and psychiatrists know what they are doing. We have had our share of jaw-droppingly stupid advice from professionals who told us that their way was the only way. Over time you look back and see where you made mistakes.

    I think your daughter is being grossly underserved right now. I don't know anything about neuropsychiatry, but I think it's a very wise thing to have a neurologist run some basic tests on her to see if anything shows up. It may not show anything abnormal, but you'll at least rule certain things out.

    The cruelty to animals really worries me, especially at her age. I would not accept the blanket description that most teen girls are depressed and that if only their parents would treat them better they would be fine. B.S. My teens are in trouble now with the law because we gave them too much slack due to their emotional disorders.

    Past hospitalizations did little to help my kids because they are of such short duration, a week or maybe two at the most, that the professionals don't get a chance to really get to know how the kid is off their medications. All the hospitals did was pile on more cocktails of medications that didn't help. In the olden days, a psychiatric patient got to stay long enough to make real progress, but now, as you're finding out, you are expected to take her home and find follow up care that will help. The lack of consistent mental health care just prolongs our children's difficulties and makes for very frustrated parents.

    Forget that Doctor W. You need to rule out neurological issues and pinpoint what is bothering her. Is she willing to talk to a therapist or does she balk at going?
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Hi and welcome :)

    I also agree that the type of aggression your seeing in your daughter should be a huge red flag to any psychiatrist and or therapist. That it doesn't seem to be would worry me greatly. I think it's a good idea to get a 2nd opinion.

    Bran.....OMG! My heart aches for that little boy.
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm glad you are going to look for a new psychiatrist. At one time we had a psychiatrist who wouldn't listen and we finally switched. I'm so glad we did. difficult child's current psychiatrist is so much better and it has made a big difference.
  20. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Daisy,

    I had trouble getting anyone to take me seriously about Kanga. I followed the advice I was given here and wrote a parent report. I made sure the front page, first paragraph was "Top Concern -- Violence against Others" and summarized some of her more horrific acts. Your therapist doesn't seem to get it. If you have the ability to change tdocs, call around and tell them you are looking for a therapist that works with children who are cruel to animals, violent, and have made homicidal/suicidal threats. That puts the big problem right out front and they will start with that mindset (as opposed to assuming that because she is a teenage girl she is depressed).

    Welcome to our little corner of the Internet,