My daughter hits me, throws things at me, and breaks my stuff

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dad trying hard, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Dad trying hard

    Dad trying hard New Member

    Hi All,

    I'm just wondering what to do next and am at the end of my tether. I have an 11 yr old daughter who suffers with ADHD and anxiety disorder who hits me. She's on medications for it and depression.

    It really can be over anything, usually when I do or don't do something that upsets her like taking away her computer if she has been on it too long. It'll start with pushing then the next thing I know she has a baseball bat and is beating the **** out of me. She hits me and swears at me until I get to the point where I lose my temper and have hit her back in the past.. She'll also throw things at me and try to break my stuff. Just anything that she thinks will get to me. For instance, a few weeks ago she was standing on my work macbook which was several thousand dollars.

    I need to figure out how to stop her from escalating to the point where she is hitting me. Do I leave the house? no amount of talking will work so I have given up on that a long time ago. It's terrible, her poor little sister go's and hides in her closet while it is going on. I'm at the point where I am going to call the police next time - it's that bad. She's quite big now and it's really starting to hurt. Of course, I am the worst person in the world and Mom just has to know if I hit her back. But what if I do call the police, are they going to take her away - what if the neighbors see? To be honest, I don't care any more, this has got to stop.

    Sometimes, I feeI that I really don't want to be around her any more, it makes me feel terrible and like a bad dad, but she just abuses me all of the time.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Something beyond adhd and anxiety is obviously going on. What is her history? Did she have early chaos or many caregivers? Has she seen a neuropsychologist? A pediatrician or talk therapist are poor diagnoticians. A child is not abusive. She is different in some way. As a father you need to keep on looking for better help for her until it really is too late. If she is a danger to your other daughter you may need to consider residential treatment. Punishment probably wont stop her. Its possibly out of her control. At least now.

    Do not hit her back. It doesnt help and can throw oil on the fire.

    Is she your biological child.

    Until she is correctly diagnosed and stabilized I feel it is best to remove her or yourself when this happens. Therapy would help you more than I can. Maybe you need counseling with your wife to know how to respond as you continue to look for good professional help for your child.

    Dont worry about what your neighbors see.

    Good luck to all.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  3. Dad trying hard

    Dad trying hard New Member

    Thanks so much for writing back - it is nice to feel that there are real people out there who actually care. So she's the oldest of the two, and yes, we had moved her around at childcare a bit when she was younger and she tends to bring that up when she's mad, but there was nothing else that we could do - we had to work.

    No - she hasn't seen a neuropsychologist - we have taken her to a talk therapist and a psychiatrist but that didn't help - she behaves like a little angel in front of other people so it is a complete fascade.. To be honest I hadn't even thought about taking her to a neuropsychologist - this is the first place where it has been bought up. I'll suggest it to my wife and see where we go from there.

    There are a whole bunch of problems, this being the worst. We have the most terrible time getting her to bed as well. Never cleaning up after herself.

    I'm going to go look what a neuropsychologist does.

    thanks again

    - Yes she is my biological child.

  4. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    I went through this with my son when he was 8. He would become very violent with me and other two children. I did get a behavior counselor, counseling. She would come to the home and watch and teach when he had an episode. Usually every time it was become he was told no about something. I had to sit on him for an hour or so when he would act out until he calmed down( 0ne of the recommendations). All recommended behavior modifications and techniques failed. I had to sacrifice this child for the safety of the other two. Lot of things happened to cause us to derive at the decision (upon recommendation from doctors and counselors) that he needed a group home where he could be monitored 24/7. We placed him in boys home for emotionally, physically impaired boys at 12 and he lived there until age 18. We would bring him home once a week and weekends and Holidays. He did very well and was higher functioning then others there and had a lot of freedom others did not. He could have lived then in a home where adults would occasionally monitor but he left and wanted to be free. Fast forward at age 35 and 17 years on street life is chaos.

    We did have our son diagnosed at early age by professional testing and was being treated by Neurologist and on medication.

    For you I worry about your safety. If not you, someone else could get hurt. If she picks up a bat or hits you next time, call 911. She knows you are afraid and will feed on that. You have to nip this in the bud now. She needs help be it counseling, residential treatment before it escalates to the point of no return. Our other two children suffered from the constant outbursts from our son; their safety became the decision to place him in a home. It was a heart breaking decision.
  5. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Yep, I've got a grandson, ADHD with Anxiety Disorder, that will really let fly when he loses his temper. He flies at his mother and grandfather kicking and hitting and saying pretty terrible stuff at the top of his lungs. And as fast as he blows up, it's over. I don't seem to get it to that degree because I go all Zen and still and speak super softly, which actually makes my stomach hurt from holding in my anger. I'm trying to model anger management. And then we talk after his blow-up and we've all calmed down.

    I usually know what will set him off, so I front-load my requests. "In 20 minutes, iPad time is over" and I set the timer on the stove. If he starts whining about more time, I say "take the time you feel you must have now, but understand that you will be giving up your tablet time tomorrow." After a few challenges to see if I would stick to my guns, he usually complies the first time. And there are days at time when he's confrontational about everything: taking a shower, brushing his teeth, doing minimal homework, pretty much anything. Structure and predictability will help lower the anxiety, reading books (Explosive Child, What Your Angry Child is Trying to Tell You, and the connecting with the people here), things are better. Maturation, consistency, absolute conviction and calmness, picking your battles, and hiding the baseball bat. Yes, my car and myself got bashed with a bat once. Lordy. Also, we took him off the stimulants and he went on Intuniv. We decided that lowering the anxiety was better for him in the long run then improving focus. That may change, but we did see improvement after the medication change. That was just our experience, and guided by a child psychiatrist. Your mileage may (and probably will) vary. It's so hard. I have found that when I focus on anxiety lowering first, and try to anticipate what will cause problems and come up with a plan, it has reduced problems over time. Now, when puberty hits....I have no flipping idea.
  6. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    How old is she?
  7. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Hi A Dad, if you were asking me about age of my grandson, he's 9 and a half. Problems started at pre-school. Sometimes, a person's signature line will give you a summary snapshot of things.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Was your daughter always like this? Or did it have a starting point?

    Some challenges are genetic.

    Some are developmental - especially before birth and the first few years.

    And some are triggered, such as abuse by a caregiver (such as in daycare), especially if it was sexual abuse. These kids can be way to young to understand what is happening or to have the language to talk about it. But it happens - and the earlier it happens, the worse the impact, it seems. Don't try to solve this yourself - you will confuse the child and possibly contaminate the story. Leave it to the professionals.

    And some... are a combination of any of the above.

    She definitely needs a comprehensive evaluation - the kind that takes 6-10 hours over multiple days, with feedback from teachers and parents too. You need to know what you are dealing with.
  9. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Member

    Can you somehow videotape the behaviors? Keep a diary? So that she cannot con the doctors?
    Also, can you hide things like baseball bats, etc? Sounds very dangerous. Omg, when my son was 13 and changed suddenly (and he was a different case than your daughter) I hid sharp knives, and all our woodworking tools. Those were awful times. I hope you get her help, and quickly. I wish I could have figured out a way to get my son help faster. I tried. Well, he is getting care now. Anyway, all too soon, she will be 18 and you won't have the power you do now.
  10. Dad trying hard

    Dad trying hard New Member

    Even though the daycare wasn't the best in the world - there was never any evidence of any kind of abuse - ever. The hitting really started when she was about 9 - she's 11 now. My brother has the same problem with his daughter and they live in England so there has to be something genetic coming from my side of the family. He's as worn out and lost as I am. I would never swear at or hit my parents though.

    I don't have anywhere to hide the bats and tennis rackets I'm afraid so I might just get rid of them all together. I have just now started to keep a diary - and I think next time when she does it i will record it with my cell phone. Look well if she get's that and throws it against the wall though.

    It just puzzles me as she plays like an angel with her little sister right now, and then over the slightest thing - she can totally change into this monster. Which brings me to the next challenge - bath time.

    Well thanks again for all of your responses. I will keep checking this as often as I can. It's turning into a bit of an advice oasis.

    Lasted edited by : Jan 10, 2016
  11. Coping11

    Coping11 New Member

    We took our daughter to a neuropsychologist when she was younger, and it was very helpful. Neuropsychologists can often untangle the various symptoms and figure out the root cause for the various disruptive behaviors, whether psychiatric, emotional, or neurological. It's a good starting point for further treatment. Good luck!
  12. Dad trying hard

    Dad trying hard New Member

    So we increased the medicine for ADHD which has helped somewhat. I had a huge argument with her yesterday and even through she threw something, there was no hitting involved. That was all caused because she didn't want to go to school. I'm off to research how we can fix that now.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is a "stupid suggestion" comment - because sometimes the "stupid" answers are the right ones.

    Ever consider home-schooling or on-line school? She may be trying to tell you something, and doesn't know how to explain it. She may "hate" school for very valid reasons.

    For many of our kids with challenges, school is literally toxic. Been there done that three times over. It isn't just the other kids and the bullying and the exclusion. It's the teachers, and their total lack of compassion and understanding and care for a kid with very real challenges who "appears" to have an attitude problem. Teachers can be bigger bullies than the kids are. (For the record, we have had the full spectrum of teachers - from stellar, to scum. There weren't enough good ones to reverse damage by the bad ones.)
  14. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Piggybacking on the school issue. If she hates school, there is probably a reason, and it may take some digging to find out what it is. Wouldn't it be nice if the kids could tell us "Gee, I can't focus on the work because I'm too distracted, so I feel stupid and the other kids know it." Or "I have no friends and no matter what I do, they just get meaner and meaner" or "My teacher always seems mad and me no matter how hard I'm trying. I'm tired of being told to get my work done when I literally can't do it."

    Last year was dreadful because the teacher was burned out on my grandson. I totally get it. This year, his teacher is amazing. She even has her parents, both retired school teachers, working in the classroom with her. She's proactive about techniques to meet where he's at, then increasing his work time bit by bit. She's accepting and non-judgmental. She has made such a difference. He still has social issues, does and says weird things that draws negative attention to himself, but she's so kind and patient. There's also a classroom aide that is great, too. He's still not producing the work he's supposed to, but he knows the material, just isn't into the busy work to show it and he doesn't seem to need the practice. For now anyway. I'm scared to death for middle school, not gonna lie.

    As for the home stuff, yeah, it's up and down, slow progress with structure, firmness, staying calm in the face of screaming, threats, and foul language. It's so tiring.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It is never the right thing for her to hit you or to otherwise abuse you. You are never doing the right thing for her to permit this. Anything and everything that can contain her behavior short of abuse to her, needs to be implemented.

    Helping her to contain herself, benefits her. She cannot be allowed to continue acting out. There are medications that will help which can be prescribed by a child psychiatrist, or if need be, by your pediatrician.

    You need help well beyond what you can provide. First, is trying to figure out what in the world is going on. A neuropsychologist makes sense, as others suggest. And a child psychiatrist. Your pediatrician can refer you.

    Many of us have gone with good results either to Children's hospitals in large metro areas or to University teaching hospitals.
    What Insane describes was our experience too. My son was bullied and segregated. At one point he was put in the corner with his face to the wall, isolated.

    Depending upon what is found the school district has responsibility in this up to and including assistance with residential placement, I think.

    I hope you keep posting. You will find answers here. Support and understanding.

    Welcome. I am glad you are here.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I would consult also a Pediatric Neurologist. Your daughter may not understand what is happening to her. It may come on her like a seizure. She may misinterpret what is happening as a provocation from outside rather than something inside of her. Or she may be so afraid or confused she acts out to recoup, or to create chaos outside of her so that she feels less distress inside.

    The thing is, you see behaviors which may have little to do with intent on her part. Or they might. Her behavior may not be in any way related to what is causing the behavior.

    So I would start with the pediatrician and get referrals to a neuropsychologist, psychiatrist and neurologist, preferably that work with children.

    I would get her tested at school by the school psychologist, too.

    Do you speak to her about what is happening to her? Not just that she needs to curb it, to stop it. But ask her how she feels, what she feels?

    You need help and support too. Are there NAMI groups where you live?

    Post as much as you can. It helps.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  17. Dad trying hard

    Dad trying hard New Member

    Thanks so much for the replies - it helps so much. Home school it out of the question for us right now- Mom and I both have full time jobs and are struggling to make ends meet as it is; let alone one of us having to stay home. It's a lovely idea though, wouldn't that be fantastic.

    I just asked her why she didn't want to go to school and how she feels about it. Answer was in a calm, collected, informative voice "Mainly because I don't like going to school"

    She is seeing a child psychiatrist, but is the perfect little angel whenever she talks to him. So he can't tell what is going on other than what we tell him. I'm going to catch her on my cell phone next time and do a full write up on what caused it. My wife told me that the last school blow up was because I had fed her donuts and starbucks banana nut bread. I can see that it contributed, but really, honestly, I was fine with her and only started to get mad because she was taking as long as she could to get ready. Then locked herself in my bedroom.

    I'm looking up NAMI groups now and have just joined - thanks for that. Maybe they can help .

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Something is definitely going on with school. Anxiety? I had school anxiety. I could barely function in school and had constant panic attacks. Or she could be getting bullied. Happens often to kids with poor social skills or who are different. Or teachers could pick on her.

    Her outbursts are not anxiety. Anxiety doesn't cause violence. If your psychiatrist doesn't believe what you tell him or her, I'd get a second opinion. Something is not right.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    How does she behave with your wife? Are you her main target?

    What are your wife's thoughts about your interaction with your daughter? Who does she hold responsible?
    You are the adult and you will be held responsible if behaviors cross the line. If your daughter is so provocative that you are losing your temper, I think you have to protect yourself by limiting your interactions with her. Perhaps your wife can take over, if she is more able to interact with her without the situation exploding.
    It sounds a little bit, like you may be the scapegoat here.

    Or it could be a family issues that your daughter is responding to.

    Instead of looking at the situation as a problem with your daughter solely, it might be helpful to think of it as a family dynamic. Even though she may be provoking the problems it is easy for one person to be held responsible. One person is never responsible for all, either provoking or solving it. There are family systems therapists that will help you understand and to work on family dynamics.

    There are also behavior therapists that will work on implementing behavioral modification plans, teaching parents how to get control over problem behaviors, or work with the child to get control over her own behavior.

  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the apparent "trigger" isn't actually the major problem - it just happens to be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back - just one too many minor triggers adding up until things explode.

    We had to majorly simplify our life. Absolutely rigid routine. Remove the unknowns and uncertainties at home (you can't do that for school). Remove activities, change eating patterns, solid bedtime routines. When we did all of that and had been doing it for a while, it got to the place where the "triggers" always happened right after school. Because everything about school was a trigger, and it added up real fast. They kids held themselves together at school, and exploded at home.

    If the problems seemed to start about age 9 - that would be grade 4. And that is the year that the focus of school changes majorly - from learning basic skills, to having to use those skills in "automatic" mode. They have to listen and take notes at the same time, read and understand and interpret what they read, use arithmetic to learn higher level math concepts, and so on. It's a major change - and if the student has NOT developed strong skills in the first three grades, they really go off the rails in grade 4.