New Member
I'm new here and I have been struggling with my 5 year old since she was 1.5 yrs old. It started with tantrums so bad I dreaded grocery shopping days. It has now escalated to defiance so bad she looks at you and does exactly what you tell her not to right after you say it, even right after negative reinforcement or punishment.

I've tried everything. Positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, redirection etc. Nothing works.

I started her in therapy last year after we had two incidents with animals. One where she was fighting with her older sister and looked at her and said "this is what you get" and stomped on our elderly cats back. The other where my friend was watching her, had her sitting at the table eating, the dog jumped up to her lap, she stabbed the dog with her fork (Not hard enough to pierce the skin, she was 4). When asked why she does these things she responds with "I don't know."

She doesnt seem to feel remorse. When you explain how she could have, for example, killed the animal or what damage could have been caused she seriously doesn't care.

The scariest part is that she exhibits a lot of traits of her biological father, who isn't around enough to influence behavior. It must be genetic. I've been told that it would very rare if her father is of the antisocial category for it to be passed on to her, but they are too alike to deny.

She has a fascination with knives. Whenever anyone uses one in the kitchen she says weird things like "Don't cut me," "stay away from me with that," or she'll talk about cutting people and blood. In fact, at random she'll bring up knives and blood.

We are a very loving family. No violence. I constantly stress using words not your hands (or feet) to my kids. I talk to her about things. She knows she made the wrong choice and she knows what she could have done differently and still chooses to hit, or defy. I know the impulsive hitting can be apart of ADHD, which we are scheduled to get the results on January 10th. But the waitlist for the child psychologist to evaluate for conduct disorder is so long, her appointment is the end of May.

I've tried oils and homeopathic regimens. I know she knows how to be a good girl. She's smart, but she just chooses the bad behavior most of the time. I'm at a loss. I just want to help her and I don't know how.

I'm honestly scared for her. I'm afraid she'll end up in a psychiatric ward.


Well-Known Member
You are in a difficult and touchy situation and I feel for you. Please don't take my words as criticism of you...this is out of your hands. You are not the cause.

I have had a very, for lack of a better word, dangerous child. My advice to you is meant with the best for both of you; for ALL of you. Take it or leave it.

First off, please protect her from herself and don't own any pets. I would also not leave her alone with her siblings. I have heard of kids that young acting like this, and saw it once, but in my own experience all of them had been older adopted kids from abuse situations and they all had reactive attachment disorder, which is a form of child psychopathy. On top of cruelty to animals, liking fire, and inappropriate potty habits are also red flags. Often sexual acting out too.

I have no degree, but I did do foster care and adopted a very dangerous child who was 11. He had to leave at 13 and had killed two dogs and molested our two babies. We had to recover and did but he never came back. This does not mean your daughter will escalate to that, but keep a strong guard up and watch her all the time.

Because of my experience, my first thought in situations like this are to get good evaluations and help, but first off protect any possible victims while you wait to see what is wrong with the person acting out. It is our duty. If she plays outside with other kids, you have to go out too to watch. Or keep her in.

My boy was once strangling a neighbor cat, but my daughter caught him so he let go. Still, my younger kids never once told us how he scared them and what he did until he left. He threatened to burn us all if they told and said he was the Devil. We don't even believe in a Devil, nor talked about one to the littles, but he made them believe there was a Devil and that it was him.

I do believe DNA is a big factor in our children's makeup. She is young. Maybe it can be undone. Until then no pets and don't leave her alone ever with younger kids or vulnerable kids. It is so sad you are in this situation and it's not your fault, but you do have a responsibility to keep other kids and animals safe from her.

I hope you can get a thorough, accurate evaluation soon. Did she have chaos and many different major caregivers when she was an infant? Foster Care? A time when you couldn't care for her? Anything odd about her birth? Can you keep this biological father from her all the time?

Have younger kids locked in their rooms at night. Dangerous kids tend to do their wost at night, while we sleep. Make sure she can't access younger kids at night ever.

Love and hugs. And empathy.
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New Member
She was such a good baby. Before her 2nd birthday her dad and I separated. It wasn't until then that I discovered how sick he was. He murdered his bearded dragon with scissors and told me it was my fault he had to put it out of its misery. Other than that, he always appeared to love animals. He was manipulative, a compulsive liar, and incredibly abusive emotionally and mentally. It wasn't until then that I found out he lied about having a career in the medical field when we met. I mean, he even pulled over when accidents happened to help people saying it was his duty as a medical professional. But he was never a medical professional. That's just some of the crazy.

I used the PTSD he was claiming (from his imaginary medical career and very short military career - He was kicked out after a few months overseas) to get a restraining order and supervised visitation in the beginning. But now he has unsupervised visits. I'd like to believe he wouldn't hurt her and he sees her 1-2 times per month (if that). I can't prove he's a psychopath, I just know.

But they appear so loving and genuine, and then it switches in an instant. I've learned to decipher when remorse is real or not. They both will cry, apologize etc. But the emotion isn't real. Remorse is just missing.

We currently have no pets. The cat is at my mom's. She appears loving to my baby niece and to animals most of the time. It was just those 2 incidences.


Well-Known Member
My boy acted like he loved our pets and we did not know he was so disturbed because he was such a good actor. We are talking about an 11 year old boy! We did not think he was the one who strangled our first dog...maybe a neighbor.

Then I got a sweet little puppy and he put her leash on and flung her off the top of a bunk bed, strangling the poor puppy. Thru tears for this puppy (mine and HIS too) you would have thought a stranger had come in through a window and done it, but it had to be him. My other kids were at school and it was just him and me at home. Sobbing I called the cops, not knowing what else to do. The cop pulled me aside and said, "Your boy did it."I didn't want to believe it even then but he said, "It had to be him."


After that, the good boy act came apart and my little girl told me he was touching her and we called CPS and told them to take him. We were done. He was too sick to live in a family. CPS was great. Gave the family tons of great therapy

Also the County tried him in cout as an adult for sexual assault of a child. He was only 13, but the law is if the abused child is six years younger than the abuser, it is a felony. Still, he had abused three younger kids but was only tried for one and the charges didn't address that he had been doing it for three years. Still, he was locked up in a residential home for young sexual predators and at 13 was on the sexual predators list. And, yes, he did it all that time and me and husband had no clue. Yes, I feel guilty. And stupid. Fortunately the kids he abused are all adults now doing well.

You can not know how many times your daughter has hurt an animal. That was all you know about. There are animals all over the place. Neighbors yards, on the way to school etc. She could be hurting nimals where you can't know or see.

We suspect this boy also killed our daughter's cat. One day the cat disappeared. Made no sense.

You just really can't know what your daughter does. Even as kids, kids with no consciences act good to adults, but are sneaky and do crazy stuff in secret.

Your ex sounds like a classic nutjob psychopath. Gave me shudders reading about him. I think you are right about him.

Ask your daughter if her dad touches her. Ask in a more delicate way. She may not tell you even if he does, but you have to try. Keep asking. Psychopaths don't even love their kids.

I am so sorry for all of this. Let us know what happens.
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Roll With It
Your daughter has unsupervised visits with a very disturbed person. Someone who abused you in very serious ways. It is WAY too early to label her a psychopath. You are FAR from that. You are NOT too early to think she has been SERIOUSLY abused by her father. She may have been sexually abused by him or she may have been forced to watch as he cut up animals and threatened her with knives. Where else would she suddenly get the idea to tell you not to cut her if you have never done that or even brought it up.

My first thought was to seriously limit what she watches on television. I had a son who was preoccupied with weapons. He liked the little action figures of Batman and other things but only because they came with toy weapons. Those were mostly what he played with. We had to limit his tv to only videos. At times we even had to make sure there were no Disney videos because those can have serious violence in them, yes, Disney cartoons. Think about the wolves attacking in Beauty and the Beast or the Hyenas in Lion King screaming "we'll Kill You!". My son loved scenes like those, and would watch only those scenes if we let him. We often had times we had to put those videos away completely for all of our kids. You may have to do this for her.

I think she needs a complete evaluation for abuse sooner rather than later. You do NOT NOT NOT want to ask her about it yourself. Call the police or Children's Protective Services (CPS or DHS depending on where you live) and ask them to set up an interview with someone trained to interview her. You may want to wait until after her next visitation with Dad, or you may not. If you cry abuse too often, they will stop believing you. Make sure you document all violent behavior and any time she says anything like "don't cut me". Wait until she is out of sight, of course. You don't want her to know about any of this.

She may grow up and be a psychopath. It is WAY to early to know that. There are very good reasons that children are not diagnosed with this at early ages. She may have those tendencies even now. I won't say she doesn't. I will say that it is very difficult to identify this in a child because much of a child's behavior, in the normal range, would be considered psychopathic if an adult did it. This is part of normal development. I am NOT NOT NOT saying your daughter is developing normally. I don't know if she is. I do think something is wrong. I think something is seriously wrong.

Unless and until you can rule out abuse, and you cannot if she has unsupervised visits with a very dangerous man, you cannot even begin to rule in psychopathy or sociopathy. And she is so young that I don't think a psychologist or psychiatrist is even going to consider it. They will work with what they can, and at a later age they will maybe consider it. That is just what I think they will do.

You have to keep the pets out of the house. You also have to keep the other children safe by always keeping her in your eyesight. That is harder than it sounds. You also have to make sure there are never ever any knives or scissors or needles or razors or anything sharp that are not locked up. She will probably start hiding them and playing with them sooner rather than later. You really don't want that.

I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. It is a dangerous situation no matter how it started or what the underlying reason is. If it is abuse, MAYBE you can help her stop it. MAYBE. MAYBE.


New Member
I've never seen her father abuse her. That would be a whole other story. His attacks have always been on me. He might use child custody to try to manipulate me, and threaten to tell her what a bad mom he thinks I am (because he doesn't get his way) but other than that I've never seen him hurt her and she's never spoken of any abuse. I don't let his threats and manipulation work anymore. That's why he doesn't try to see our daughter more often, like he could.

No signs of sexual abuse. Sharp objects are put away. And they do diagnose conduct disorder at the age of 5, which is why we are getting her evaluated in May.

I've read it isn't hopeless especially if you get treatment earlier. In fact, me seeking help for her now is the best thing I can do. I'm her mother, I won't give up.

I posted here for support, and hopefully to meet other parents who may have already been going through this and might have positive guidance. Such as literature to read on how to help a child with conduct disorder. I want to know what I can do as her mother to help her learn how to control these thoughts and behaviors, and I don't want to wait 6 more months to find out.


Well-Known Member
Just because you don't or haven't seen him abuse her doesn't mean he hasnt. Please....ask her. Let her know it is all right to tell you. Nothing is worse than finding out after you could have stopped the duration. Most abused kids don't tell...they are afraid. Sexally abused kids have no outward signs. Many DO act out in anger though. This could all be one issue not two.

You want to know even the worst so you can understand her to help her change and go to court to remove the threat, if needed. I never saw the boy act sexual at all to anyone but he was doing it. When I asked my littles, at first they denied it. HE admitted it or I may never have known and would not have gotten them help for the abuse.

A six month wait is hard. I had to wait a year for my autistic son. It was hard but the fantastic result was better than a less skilled professional. He is 24 now and on his own, kind, working doing great. He got lots of help along the way.

None of us are anything but other parents sharing what we know. This behavior you sadly see is out of your field of knowledge. A good psychiatrist needs to diagnose her and he will refer her to a psychologist who will help, but also definitely explore possible abuse of all kinds by father. And find out the extent of what she has done too. Nobody can help her at all with limited knowledge.

I am sorry. I know you want us to tell you that you can do something and she will change. None of us can tell you that with honesty. We and even you don't know the whole story. You need a very good psychiatrist familiar with kids like Daughter. You can't fix a car without knowing what the problem is. People are the same. I don't mean to say your daughter is as unimportant as a car....just that you need an understanding of the cause to fix anything a person included.

Also you need to protect your other kids from her. And maybe start looking for a lawyer so that Dad goes back to supervised visits. There is no one book, no medication with magic, or an easy fix. And we all had to deal with things on some levels.

Your daughter needs a lot of help, all your kids do, and it won't just go away. You sound like a good mother, modeling good behavior. That is what you can do for her these six months. Maybe get her distracted and into an activity like soccer or ballet. Or take her to the humane society and walk dogs with her kindness toward animals. Take her to library story time. But stay with her so you can be there if she acts out on another child. You can get very busy for six months. Busy helps time pass.

She is young. Get intensive help now and her prognosis will have more hope. This father is bad news. I hope you can gather your mother strength to help fight all these demons, Dad included. It is not easy but it is worth the battle. My son is an example. We adopted him and he was born with crack in his system and he also had syphilis and needed open heart surgery at five months that. He had to detox from the crack! We were told he would be dependent on us forever. We got very proactive and fought for so much help. Today you would never guess he is autistic. He is friendly, bright, helpful...its unreal. Early and lots of help is vital!

We are a support group. Lots of our support is sharing and suggesting what to do. You don't have to do any of it. But we share in good faith.

Love and hugs.
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New Member
I like your idea about humane society. I'll look into that.

She has a lot of interaction with children. She is in kindergarten. No complaints from her teacher other than lack of focus (ADHD symptoms).

As far as her father goes, I'm in a daddy state. I have done all I can to protect her. It takes a lot of factual proof to take rights away. In the eyes of the law, he's done what he needs to to have his rights back. All I can do is pray and talk to her about how her visits went (and I do, every time). We also have a childrens book we've read together on sexual abuse to help her identify should anything like that ever happen.


Well-Known Member
My son is in a daddy state too. Great if you are a loving father. Not so good if your ex is not. I get it.

My son was good in school too. Apparently he just terrorized the kids and pets once he got home.

Hang in there.


Roll With It
I didn't mean to upset you or make you feel attacked. I am SO VERY SORRY if I did that!!!

I actually thought your daughter was a little younger than she is, more of a toddler. I still think sexual abuse could be a factor. The fact that her father didn't act that way with you and she doesn't say anything to you really doesn't mean anything. It could still be happening and he could be threatening her with something truly awful if she says anything. Or he could have done something violent or awful in front of her and told her that little girls who talk have this happen to them. Or that it happens to their mommies. You never know what he might have threatened.

This is something the psychologists can check out. I would think it is something they would want to rule out when they look for conduct disorder. I honestly didn't know it was now being diagnosed that early. As much as children grow and change, and their diagnoses can change, it kind of surprises me. A little bit. But what do I know? I am not trained in this.

I am truly sorry if I made you feel unwelcome or unsupported. I hope you feel more welcome soon. It is entirely possible that your daughter is a psychopath, a child born with a serious personality disorder that will cause major problems as you raise her and throughout her life. But as with anything, it is probably a spectrum, and maybe it can be channeled into another direction. It sounds like you know a lot more than I do.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
I've never seen her father abuse her. That would be a whole other story. His attacks have always been on me. He might use child custody to try to manipulate me, and threaten to tell her what a bad mom he thinks I am (because he doesn't get his way) but other than that I've never seen him hurt her and she's never spoken of any abuse. I don't let his threats and manipulation work anymore. That's why he doesn't try to see our daughter more often, like he could.

No signs of sexual abuse. Sharp objects are put away. And they do diagnose conduct disorder at the age of 5, which is why we are getting her evaluated in May.

I've read it isn't hopeless especially if you get treatment earlier. In fact, me seeking help for her now is the best thing I can do. I'm her mother, I won't give up.

I posted here for support, and hopefully to meet other parents who may have already been going through this and might have positive guidance. Such as literature to read on how to help a child with conduct disorder. I want to know what I can do as her mother to help her learn how to control these thoughts and behaviors, and I don't want to wait 6 more months to find out.
This is not an easy thing to be faced with and my heart does go out to you. ODD and CD are sort of pre diagnostic catch basins. They are good identifiers to enable you to obtain helps for your little girl.

Many of us here have issues with our children and none of us give up on them and we all love them.

No one would deny that you love your daughter. Prowl here share their expeicnce and advise with the best of intentions. Take what you need and leave the rest.

I wish you all the best I your ability to obtaining assistance for your child. Many people here have been where you are and can provide guidance and support.


Active Member
I think there are people here who have really seen it all--and it's some really terrible stuff. A lot of the advice or comments you are getting are based on some very bad experiences people have had. Experiences that made them wish they'd trusted their instincts and done something earlier or wish that someone had warned them about. So, you hear alot of advice based on their own pain. And the advice won't necessarily apply to your situation. That can make you feel unheard, dismissed and frustrated. I will say, though, that I belong to a couple of other online support organizations and--because no two children really look alike or have the same diagnosis, symptoms or presentation--most of the advice I've gotten has been really only somewhat helpful. What I'm trying to say is, all of our children have unique issues that need unique solutions. And the people on these online support sites are about solutions, for sure. But they may not be solutions for your kid.

The other thing I want to say is how frightened you sound. And devastated. What is happening with your daughter is not your fault. She is very young but you have been aware of her issues now for a while. That is really good because it means that you are going to help her. Find doctors that you can talk to and collaborate with. It's exhausting and I'm sorry that you are heading down this path. But she is lucky to have you in her corner. xo


New Member
Hello, first I want you to know that I will be praying for you and your family. My heart breaks for you all. My son has been very abusive to our animals and we did have to give our kitten to my mom because I caught him beating it with his fist. He was angry because he thought the kitten was getting more attention than he was. We do still have 2 dogs and constantly have to watch him around them.

I know right now you feel overwhelmed because I do on most days. However you can not blame yourself for her behavior. The best advice I can offer is to make sure you have time for you. I know this sounds selfish but if you don't you will get consumed by the guilt and the pure anger of the situation. It is very hard to find good help for children so young, because no one wants to believe a child that young can be so disruptive and angry.

The best thing for you to do is to show your daughter how much you love her. Have family and friends around you that also give you unconditional love and support. Some days you will feel loved by your daughter and some days you want. Try to pull stock out of the good days and use it on the bad days. Much easier said than done, I know.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Wondering if my teenage son is psychopathic is terrifying, I can't imagine what it's like with a 5 year old. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this.
The good news is, as you said, the earlier you start therapy for this, the better chances there are of her behavior NOT developing into psychopathy.

Since you are open to the alternative/natural paths, I would recommend acupuncture. I've heard amazing things about it, but you have to find someone who is very experienced in Chinese medicine to know how to treat this kind of illness.

I hope you can get her evaluated sooner. Fingers crossed for that. We're here for you.