Am I overreacting?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by alldone, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. alldone

    alldone New Member

    So, difficult child is 10. She's been in and out of therapy for 3 years. We have seen major improvement, but lately both her anxiety and anger (and aggression-verbal, mostly) have been on the rise. She's been back in therapy for a couple of months, with a new therapist (whom difficult child likes, which is why she's cooperating with therapy).

    Here's what happened today that I find very disturbing. difficult child was outside with her younger brother (8) and sister (6), and the dog (on a leash). They play in the yard where I can keep an eye on them, and an ear out. Things have been better for a couple of weeks, so difficult child has had more freedom with regard to playing with her siblings. After a few minutes, the younger kids came inside crying because difficult child had threatened 1) to make them step in dog poop and 2) to "let the dog go, and he'll get hit by a car. See there's a car now." difficult child did admit to making the threat. She was threatening to do these things because they wouldn't do what she wanted them to do. (The consequences were/are: difficult child had to come in right away, and was not allowed to continue playing outside. Because I found the threat so disturbing: She is not allowed to take the dog out to play. She is not allowed to play with her siblings unsupervised, which will also reduce the amount of time she can play outside because I'll have to be outside too. I may add a more severe consequence, because I feel like I am just at my wits' end and just want to get through to her. I don't really think that a severe consequence will change her behavior though.)

    Now, I find the threat about the dog to be very disturbing for two reasons (even though in all likelihood the dog would have been fine). 1) This was a very scary threat to the younger kids, which is why difficult child said it. They didn't know that the dog wouldn't get killed-and really, he could have run into the road and been hit even if it isn't likely. The younger kids deserve to not be terrorized this way. 2) difficult child is very impulsive when angry, and I'm not so sure that she wouldn't let the dog go if she were angry enough. I have seen her destroy objects that are important to her when she's angry. I plan to call her therapist before difficult child's next therapy session, because I don't think this therapist really gets the severity of difficult child's issues and their impact on our family and I think she should know about this.

    But now that I have calmed down, I do wonder if I am overreacting at all? Is the therapist going to think I'm being overly dramatic? Just want to know what others think. Would this kind of threat disturb you? I feel like I have no perspective, because this is my normal. Though I know without question that my other kids would never make that kind of threat.:anxious:

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you handled it well. The amount of disturbance it would cause me would depend on whether or not this was just a threat and a means to bully the younger kids, which you realize is still an issue and needs consequences and protection for the younger ones; or if you think she really would follow thru which in my mind is verging on animal cruelty and the threat of traumatizing the younger ones and to me, that is more of a mental health issue. I think this question is what I'd be discussing first with therapist(the therapist).
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, there.

    No, I don't think you are overreacting at all and you did the right thing. in my opinion she should not be allowed to be in charge of the dog if she may impulsively let go of the leash. That's not fair to the dog or to your children. Is she ever cruel to the dog? To her siblings?

    We sort of need a little more info to help our best.

    Does she have a diagnosis? Any medications?

    Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of her genetic family tree?

    Was her early development on time? Does she understand how to socialize with our children?

    Has she ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist or a Psychiatrist (this is the Big Guy with the MD?)

    Glad you found us, but sorry you have to be here.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I don't think you're overreacting either. I think your approach fits in well with natural consequences, which seem to be effective at getting through to some of our challenging children.

    The way I see it is this:

    Your difficult child made a threat to harm your dog by letting it run into traffic.

    A) She means it, in which case you need to protect your dog from risk and your other children from bullying.
    b) She didn't mean it, but only said it to scare her siblings, in which case you need to protect your other children from bullying, and to teach your difficult child that making threats of harm to others is serious business whether she means it or not.

    Either way, she learns that the natural consequence of making threats is not a good one.

    Welcome to our little corner. It's a very supportive group you've found.

  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I don't think you're overreacting at all. The threats and verbal spewage my difficult child directed towards his younger sibs has turned out to be far more harmful to them than anything he ever actually did (and he was very physically violent as well). We are still dealing with- residual fallout from his verbal junk, and he's been out of our home for all but 3 months of the last 10+ years. My daughter was 2 when he left, but her recall is unfortunately crystal clear in terms of his threats.

    It's psychological terrorism, and the therapist darn well needs to take it very seriously.

    Honestly, I was so worried about the physical violence with- my kid that I let the verbal violence slide, relatively speaking. I did try to keep him supervised around the sibs but obviously I missed a couple of biggies. *Huge* mistake, both in what he said to sibs and also what they heard him say to me.

    If a parent taunted a child, threatened to kill the family dog or destroy a precious belonging or any of the other wonderful things our difficult children can come up with, that would be classified as abuse. There is no difference if the threats come from a sibling, and in my humble opinion any therapist who works with kids should get that.

    Phew - who knew I felt so strongly about that, LOL. Guess it really struck a nerve.

    I think you handled it well and the consequences are appropriate.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I don't think you overreacted, either.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I agree that you handled it well and if the therapist doesn't think so maybe you need a new therapist. Just a thought.

    The psychological terrorism is FAR worse than the physical violence. Wiz would sit in his room next to the wall he shared with Jess's room and say vicious, nasty, awful, graphically violent stuff to her, stuff he was saying was going to happen to her as she slept. The terror from that combined wtih his middle of the night physical attacks worked to completely traumatize her. It has taken YEARS to deal with it all.

    in my opinion you had to respond to the threats and did a good job!
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Another chiming in to agree that you didn't overreact, in my opinion. As most of the others have said psychological abuse (the threats and bullying) can be so much worse than the physical stuff. The younger ones need to be protected and you did right because you just don't know if she would follow through.

    You did good.

  9. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I'm another one who thinks you are not overreacting. My older dtr was emotionally and verbally abusive to her younger sister (also sometimes physically abusive) and the younger dtr has been in therapy for 6 yrs to deal with the fallout--she began dissociating to cope with the abuse.
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you are absolutely right to be concerned. AND your determination to not let her alone with the dog or the siblings is spot on.

    I would not be surprised if the therapist does not take this as seriously as you do. Many tdocs have brushed our similar concerns aside for years with a "sibling rivalry" explanation.

    This, however, is NOT normal sibling rivalry.

    I hope you can get the therapist to see how dangerous this child can be to the family and pets and I hope you get the right sort of help--soon!
  11. alldone

    alldone New Member

    Thank you all so much! I really appreciate the time you took to answer, and knowing that you all would take this as seriously as I do will help me be assertive with the therapist.

    I don't think she at all intended to actually hurt the dog. I think her actually letting the dog go was a realistic possibility given how impulsive she can be when angry. But I think her actual intent was to scare her brother and sister. And they were very, very scared. It was cruel. I am worried about the psychological well-being of my younger kids, I think her behavior toward them is damaging. They came to me today saying they're scared of her. It is just not good for them to be scared in their own home.

    I'm doing my best, but you know sometimes it really feels like my best is just not good enough. And so help me, if one more doctor suggests that she doesn't get enough "quality time" with me or her father I'm going to explode.

    Has anyone ever pursued a neuropsychologist. evaluation. without a referral or insurance? Is it extremely expensive?
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Not that I'm aware of because it is expensive- typically well over $1000 for a thorough one. As far as your comment about people suggesting she get more quality time from you- many, if not all, of us here have had experiences where we (the parents) get blamed. It's painful and counter-productive but typical. You have found a good place for understanding and experienced wisdom. My opinion might not always be the most popular but based on what you are describing, I'm not so sure a neuropsychologist evaluation will help that much. Usually thay are the first thing recommended but I'm not so convinced anymore that they are so helpful if cognitive abilities or things like asberger's are not in question. When it comes to mood disorders, anxiety, and defiance (like my son exhibits) they haven't been so helpful.
  13. alldone

    alldone New Member

    Thank you, klmno. The big reason we've held off on a neuropsychologist evaluation is that I'd heard it was so expensive and difficult child doesn't seem to have difficulties in any areas other than with her mood. It's anxiety, irritability, and a very, very short fuse. She just doesn't seem able to sort of regulate her emotions, if that makes sense. Well, she can hold it together at school-then we suffer when she gets home. I'm just so discouraged right now that I'm trying to figure out what else we can do.

    I loved her last therapist, but we can't afford her anymore (doesn't take our new insurance, can't pay out of pocket even with her sliding scale) and difficult child refused to see her anymore (didn't like her). I feel like my husband and I have done a lot of work trying to modify our parenting, but while doing so has helped some I don't think that continuing to look at our parenting with a microscope is going to help. I feel like now it's time to have daughter work on her issues with the therapist, which she's doing, but I question how seriously the therapist is taking us. So I don't know how good a fit this one is. Which stinks. Our options are limited with this new insurance, and waiting lists in our area are long. I'm tired just thinking about finding a new therapist. Also, it's only been a couple of months. Rome wasn't built in a day, I guess.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It's my personal opinion only that tdocs that are good and can actually work with kids like ours are rare and almost impossible to find- at least where I am- Lord knows I went thru many trying to find one for my son and they all did no more than any person off the street could have done- which was either to lecture my son, do nothing but chat with him, or blame me.