son pulled knife on me

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pigless in VA, May 23, 2012.

  1. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Good morning, everyone. My heart is truly heavy this morning. This isn't a "call a friend" sort of problem, and so I find myself back with those who I know understand and can offer advice. It will take awhile for me to catch everyone up completely but some of you will remember that my son has struggled with severe anger issues since he was 3.

    Last night, he went to the kitchen and drew a carving knife on me. He has threatened me with other smaller knives in the past, but my patience is gone. He hurt my daughter earlier in the day. I caught him sitting on her neck and back and holding her face so she couldn't breathe. He is threatening to kill my partner and my daughter.

    I decided that what we are doing is obviously not working. He has been seeing a therapist for at least the past 5 years, maybe longer. Diagnosis is ADHD at present. My personal opinion is that he is angry at the world and has been for years. He refuses ADHD medications and typcially functions fairly well without them.

    I will call and request an appointment with the therapist to discuss his past anger issues and strategies for changing this unacceptable behavior. therapist is currently excusing his behaviors due to his father becoming psychotic and then committing suicide. I do not see insanity in my son at present. He has too much control over his actions for that. What I do see is a continuing bid for negative attention. The pattern is 3 weeks of good behavior and then a day or two of nasty angry stuff.

    I decided last night that I'm not waiting for him to use that knife on someone. It's time to send him away for awhile - camp this summer and possibly an alternative school.

    Thanks for being a group who understands.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member


    Is there anyway you could take him to an ER for a psyche evaluation? I don't know that camp may be the answer especially once the honeymoon period is over. The level of violence against T is chilling. Also, you need to come up with a safety plan (locks on the inside of bedroom doors, what to do when he grabs a weapon, etc).
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I 2nd TM's opinion. Drastic behavior calls for extreme intervention, in my humble opinion.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    I agree with the above. Your precious son seems to be dealing with a lot more than ADHD and "anger issues" He needs a lot more help than he's been getting especially given the family history. He needs a full psychiatric evaluation before he does some permanent damage to you or your family.
    Are you sure therapist is excusing? maybe therapist is trying to alert you to similar problems in your son (bipolar does have a genetic element)
    I'm sure I have no clue how you describe/define insanity, but sitting on your sister's face and pulling a knife on your mother are not the actions of a 'sane' child. Psychosis does not necessarily look impulsive, in the moment it can look and be quite calculated. in my opinion it's also very rational within that person's mind. To the rest of us, however, the behavior is illogical or "insane"
  5. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I agree with what everyone else has said. Immediate action is needed! You and your daughter have a right to feel safe in your own home. Your son needs help.

    Thinking of you today... SFR
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I'm another one who agrees with the others. Pulling a knife and making threats would be a reason for a call to the police, in my humble opinion. Maybe they could have transported him to a hospital for evaulation. I would definately let his psychiatrist know that this happened. There is more going on with your son than ADHD and maybe it's time for another evaluation.
  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Pigless - hugs. Another vote for immediate 911 call and request for transport to hospital for mentally ill child.

    In the meantime, you need to lock up all your sharps. I used a tool box with a padlock - key around my neck 24/7.

    While I always felt confident I could disarm my difficult child when he did this, there is always the danger that someone will accidentally get hurt. You need backup. And difficult child needs to get a very clear and swift message that this behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

    Again, hugs.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, I'm so sorry this is where things have risen to. I have called 911 for lesser offenses--we go straight to a mental health evaluation, my son will throw rocks from outside at me and the house and scream and yell. Check around so you know which hospital you feel is best (if you have choices) and plan for a placement in case you will need it (personally I think you do, but of course that is your call and I will support your plan). Any serious aggressive behavior means far more than weekly talk sessions are needed. They need intensive support. medications are not a choice if he is that impulsive, it is a safety issue and if he refuses then he needs to be somewhere where they can insist. My sister has her son go to the nurses office first thing in the morning and the nurse gives them to him, he doesn't play games there, he was throwing them out at home--some kids would still refuse, but just tossing it out there in case he does better in school than home. That you notice a pattern in his moods/behavior could be significant (the timing of his moods....people who know bipolar may have more insight into this). Bipolar looks so different in children. And it is different from person to person anyway.

    Please call today and let them know he is in crisis, your son is being violent, dont sugar coat it...let them know he could have killed your daughter and he pulled a knife on you. do this before it i s out of your hands because someone is hurt. If your daughter is hurt and you have not protected her it could be on you, even though we know it is his illness, it just depends where you live. You may have to show that you have done everything in your power to avoid it. If your daughter reports this at school by the way, you may hear from CPS soon. I am not saying this to scare you but to prepare you so you are not blindsided.

    While doing that, please collect all sharps...scissors, razors, knives (even butter knives... a child with autism was killed because he came at a police officer with a butter knife when they were in his house to deescalate a situation, they knew he was autistic but shot him anyway). I have all of mine (and once in a while I get caught forgetting, but in general)....they are all locked up. Yes, it is a hassle. I do buy plastic silverware in case he wants to spread peanut butter himself, etc.

    I also have all sporting equipment put away, no bats, tennis rackets, etc. sitting around where he could impulsively grab it.

    Again, just MHO, but I'd also not risk his going to camp. Even if he mostly only does this at home, that is a long time away and for now he could b e using home as his release. If he is gone for an extended time, he may still blow there. If he hurts someone, you will feel terrible. (you never know if a counselor is going to rub him wrong or if another kid is going to irritate him, etc. Lots goes on at camps and they can be wonderful but kids are not always supervised well, what you are dealing with is far too serious). (A camp for kids with emotional-behavioral issues may be different though???)

    My heart goes out to you. I have finally had a few weeks of reduced aggression but not eliminated. This week got a fingernail dig and pinch....Last week a kicking session when his schedule got mixed up. Still getting shoved into especially when he is excited. We have Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) people and school people working on this hours and hours every day. It is intensive yet still goes on.

    Your son must be feeling awful inside. No matter what the cause, for his own sake (not wanting him in juvie or prison for years) this needs action today.

    I wish I had easier answers. I honestly know how hard it is to have to say out loud to strangers that your child is beating the bejeebers out of you and you are afraid he could really do harm. Your daughter needs to feel safe too, I know you realize that.

    Can you give her a buzzer or some kind of key chain alarm that she can push if she is scared? Maybe do not let her out of your sight for now -- would be better if you could keep him in your sight but he may not cooperate. does she have a locked room (that you can open in case he locks himself in there with her)...???

    HUGS, Wish there was a magic answer.
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Speaking as one who's son has threatened her with a knife, you should have called 911 immediately when you saw him assaulting his sister. You mention a pattern.
    That sounds like bipolar to me. He really needs a VERY thorough evaluation. They said my son had a "psychotic episode" that caused this behavior. His was caused by a particular medication so it went away when we stopped the medication. Psychosis is NOT a part of ADHD. I agree that the therapist is giving you fair warning. If they aren't, not to mention there's been no progress in the 5 years he's seen them, you REALLY need a new therapist. After 5 years, there should be some sort of progress. Also, a therapist should NEVER make excuses for this type of behavior. That would be unethical. With this level of violence (it will get worse over time), the therapist should have been the first one to tell you to take him to the ER for a psychiatric admit.

    {{{{HUGS}}}} to you easy child and you. Have you taken easy child to therapy for survivors of violence? If not, you're doing her a disservice too. SHE is going to need a LOT of help dealing with this to not develop issues of her own.
  10. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I agree with all the others - get him in for an immediate evaluation and call 911 for transport if you have to. It's scary the level of violence and the fact that he could have killed his sister. ((hugs))
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I don't know what's wrong with him, but his behavior is far beyond ADHD. I don't remember anything about his background, but his genetic background is something you need to keep an eye on. Bipolar is very hereditary and his "anger issues" are life threatening to others in your house. I am not sure he is safe at home...either for himself or you and his sister. His sister has got to feel quite traumatized too.

    I think he belongs in the psychiatric hospital for an evaluation and to find out where to go from here. He could hurt another child at camp. With his erratic behavior, he probably wouldn't last there and in my opinion it's unfair to send him around other kids. He probably won't be able to handle it well.

    A stay in the psychiatric hospital can start him getting the right kind of help. in my opinion stimulants would only make him more violent. If he has any hint of bipolar in him, stimulants are not safe for him.

    If you keep him home, you are going to have to make sure he is never alone with his sister (and never in a position to be alone with her). Have her lock her door at night. Put an alarm on his door to alert you when he leaves his room. Hide all your knives and sharp objects and replace them with plastic.

    I hesitate to bring this up because it is a scary stat, but I think you should at least know what I heard. I don't know if it's true or not. I was listening to NPR doing a show on suicide and the professional on the air, who could be right or wrong, said that if a parent commits suicide, the child is something like 10X more likely to also do it.

    Take him to a hospital. Tell them what he did. He is a t hreat to others so they should take him as a patient. If you don't want to do that, take extreme safety measures and take him to a psychiatrist (the guy with the MD). Forget the therapist. They don't have the same training to diagnose and help him.

    Gentle hugs. You will get through this. Most of us here have lived through some very tough times so we understand. You have a lot of company with parents who have seen violent children and have survived.
  12. Pigless - Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such difficulty with your son. I am new here so we have not met before.

    I definitely agree with you that your son needs to go away for a while. Is it possible to get him admitted to a psychiatric hospital? I don't think summer camp is the answer - I think, from the sounds of things that he needs more than that. Maybe an Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? I don't know anything about them but you and your easy child need to be kept safe and you are definitely not safe with him in the home.

    I'm so sorry for what your family is going through right now.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Dear Pigless,
    I totally agree with-the others. I would not wait. Sitting on his sister like that is extremely dangerous. And one more ounce of anger and he would have used the knife instead of just threatening you.
    He does not have a thorough diagnosis and you need one. He really needs medications ... not just ADHD medications. There is something much worse going on. I would even suggest something genetic, since his dad killed himself. Depression can manifest as anger. I know you don't see mental illness here, but this is a child, and their illnesses, both physical and mental, do not look at all like adult illnesses.
    I am so glad you posted here. You are right; people with-regular kids just don't get it.
    Many, many hugs.
    Please keep us posted.
    And keep your family safe. (I'd start by locking up the knives and scissors.)
  14. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the wisdom, everyone. It may indeed be time for a new therapist, but we've been working for him with years which predates my late husband's suicide. I think his intimate knowledge of our family is pretty valuable. Enough that I'm willing to sit down with him and talk about a plan. Yes, sharps are locked up. No psychiatrist . . . yet.

    Yes, I am aware of the genetic component to bipolar and the increased rate of suicide for both bipolar and children whose parents have committed suicide. I am alarmed by my son's behavior and have considered taking him to the ER numerous times. Sadly, my late husband was not helped by numerous stays in mental hospitals and many, many medications. After witnessing him become psychotic, calling the police numerous times with no results (I was viewed as a bitter spouse), and 2 hospital stays with no medication changes, I guess I lost faith in the system. Or more precisely, the system failed to help us. I also recognize my own terror in confronting my son's anger; his father's insanity is always in the back of my mind. I've been reluctant to involve the authorities thinking that I am being too high-strung. Thanks for at least letting me know that others see this behavior as unacceptable.
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hon, take my word on this. The psychiatric system changes fast. It could be much better for your son.

    You can always get a second opinion on what is wrong with him as well. You can relay the history or have current psychiatrist share it. It doesn't seem like this particular psychiatrist knows what to do, even if he does know the family history. Maybe a neuropsychologist could test him and evaluate him...he can give the results to your psychiatrist. psychiatrists don't do that sort of testing.

    Your son's behavior in my opinion is more a mental health than a legal issue. If he threatens you again try to get him to a hospital. You may have to get the police to do it, but he needs to go. The hospital is not a cure. They just stabilize (I have been in hospitals three times).

    Mental illness tends to get worse if it's not treated. A combination of good medication AND good therapy in my opinion is mandatory. I don't think one works without the other because anyone with a compromised ability to control mood and anger needs to learn new ways as well as take medications to help that control.

    I have a serious mood disorder myself. You son sounds more like he has that than simple ADHD.

    Please keep us posted. We care.
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I can imagine your experiences have caused huge trauma memories and feelings for you! I am so so sorry. A huge difference here is that you get to call the shots. Your son can't refuse treatment etc. You are NOT a crazy mom and if they think so then you are at t he wrong place. Child psychiatry and treatment centers can be very comforting (depends on the site of course) but the option to NOT treat this and then when he is older to refuse help is just too scary because it can all be taken out of your hands. He can just end up incarcerated for long periods of time.

    I am most concerned that your daughter has been traumatized and I am sure you are super concerned about that part too. But anyone she tells is likely a mandated reporter and that can actually end up helping you in some places. IF it means they get your son services. But it could also mean they remove her from the home.

    I hope you can find more support and not just for him but for you because you have been through more than anyone could deal with and not have someone help sort through all of the issues. psychiatrist may be too close, in that he wants to reassure you knowing what you have been through. This has all just crossed a line where waiting is not really an option. A switch in a medication alone will not be a magic bullet. You might be able to p revent your son going to the level of psychosis if he can get appropriate medication.

    Every case is different. Your son is not his father even if he has the same diagnosis of bipolar. Bipolar can be very well treated in many people and your son can have the support from you that maybe your ex did not get from his parents.

    Wishing you the very very best, it is so hard to face that your beloved child needs such intensive care and is really truly in trouble.
  17. keista

    keista New Member

    I'm so sorry your husband did not get the help he needed. Please don't let that stop you from getting the needed help for your son. You mentioned no medication changes were ever made for him. As a mom, you get much more say in medications and changes than as a wife. My kids don't take anything I don't approve of and they stop taking as soon as I decide it's not the right medication.

    My point is, that you must try. You must try everything you can. When you call 911, don't ask for police, ask for an ambulance and police. First tell them you have a situation with a mentally unstable child. Then tell them what the situation is. He needs medical attention NOT disciplinary control.

    by the way are you working with a psychiatrist (psychiatrist-MD) or a therapist (therapist who in some states doesn't even need to have a degree in anything) or both? Knowing the family history is definitely valuable but if the professional is not being effective, it's time for a change.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Hey to the one with no pigs! I have missed you like crazy. Sorry things are so bad. I lost your number and I am sure you dont have mine because I changed carriers.

    I cannot believe the kids are so big now. Wow. And you have someone new in your life? Okay, now I have covered everything but what you came here for..sigh.

    I do think you need to see about getting another round of testing on your son. Something more is going on. Have you considered the Phospital over there off Midlothian near Chesterfield County? Im trying to be Near our old stomping grounds. Begins with a T.

    Others have given you spot on ideas about locking everything up. What kind of camp are you talking about for summer? I hope it isnt a regular camp because I dont think that will work. As far as him refusing medications, I do think you need to get him seen and then go from there. I know he is incredibly smart but this may be something else that he needs a different type of medication to help with and he is going to have to take those medications. He wont have the choice. You need to get the jump on this now.

    So sorry. PM me and I will give you my number so we can talk.
  19. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Crimey, Janet! You have 2 more grandchildren!

    Yes, I will attempt to ferret out the hospital in Midlothian. Yes, I will ask the therapist about another round of testing. Son was doing pretty well for so long I guess I had that ridiculous hope that he would somehow escape the family "curse" my mother in law keeps talking about. Thank you for those who are telling me that ADHD doesn't seem quite right. I've never thought it fit my son and certainly not husband. husband thought he had ADHD, convinced the psychiatrist that he needed concerta and then went manic and stayed there for months. The moronic psychiatrist did not do any medication changes including keeping the concerta and the cymbalta in place through 2 different hospitalizations. Plus, husband was also on ambien and librium because, shockingly, he was too revved up to sleep. You know, when the dude shows up in your office thinking he is Michael Jackson, perhaps he isn't on the right medication.

    You guys have always been the best at figuring out what's up. Moms know.
  20. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey Pigless,
    You have received lots of good advice. I just want to say welcome back!!!:)