What do we do?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by eekysign, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    My little sister has been having behavioral issues for as long as I can remember---rage, anger, hatred toward the family, but with periods of total sweetness in between. She's very, very smart, and has always been bored in school. Between trying to get the education right and her behavioral problems (which are better at school than at home, but not much--but at least she's never been physically violent there), she's changed schools a billion times.

    She's really immature for her age, and is not interested in boys, drugs, etc. She's just an angry little kid and can't control her behavior, everyone's unfair, everyone's mean, etc, etc. Her Dad (my stepdad) died two years ago of cancer, but she's always been like this---no noticeable difference in behavior. It's just Mom and I now---and I don't live at home. We're a good family, loving, eat dinner every night together type-of-thing. No abuse, no yelling, etc.

    Today she's getting sent home from a very good boarding school (she's 14)--we had hoped that good academics and a "break" from home might be what she needed to be happy. She had a suspension last week, and so this is the end of it, for her. She comes home on a plane today. I'm SO worried.....she's so violent/hateful toward my mom, and Mom is absolutely at the end of her rope---she doesn't have anything left to fight her off with. Sis's gonna be a basketcase when she gets here, and it's not like there's any therapist to toss her to the minute she walks off the plane. I don't know if Mom can handle her at full-blown tantrum level right now. Mom just got home last night from a 5 hour trip to handle the suspension thing, and is absolutely exhausted.

    Sis has ruined every major holiday our family has had since she was about 3 or 4. Mother's Day, she told Mom she hated her, and ruined the incredible surprise present SHE had bought for her. Thanksgiving, she refused to go with us, so we all stayed home and ate reheated chili. If I visit home for more than 24 hours, she starts telling me she hates me. There have been times we've had to physical restrain her from hurting us. What do we do here? Our hometown is kinda rural, which is why she hasn't been in counseling before now, there's really no one that does kids counseling here. I'm SO worried about it. She's gonna throw away her life if she doesn't get it together this year or so (colleges might like her perfect grades, but not the 80 suspensions/expulsions she's sure to get). Advice and ideas would be soooo appreciated.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! What a sweet big sister and daughter you are to be so concerned.

    Has she had counseling for the death of her father?
    Has she ever been evaluated for any mental health issues? What about at boarding school? Did she have counseling there? Any evaluations?

    Ever tried any medications for ADHD or depression?
  3. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Hospice did therapy with her after he died, but nothing extensive. I do know that she has been seen a few times, Mom and stepdad tried her on Paxil somewhere between the ages of 9-11, maybe. They then stopped it "to see" on the Dr's recommendation/because of the new info about side effects (she wasn't having any). She never went back on anything.

    I'm not sure what diagnosis they used. Mom and stepdad handled everything, and now Mom doesn't like to "burden" me with the details, since she's still the parent. I'm 27, by the way. Boarding school was going to start her on therapy, but she didn't last---she went back to school post-suspension yesterday, and she's booted out today. I know she has anxiety issues, she worries about anything and everything, constantly. Spiders, murderers, terrorists, etc, etc. She has trouble sleeping sometimes, and digestive upset, too.

    I should mention that her two older half-brothers are pretty messed up---one is a bipolar schizophrenic and lives in a group home, and the other is a drug addict and repeat convict (and I'm sure "undiagnosed something", etc). They bounced in and out between our home and their mother's home before Sis was born--she's never had any contact with them. I think one of my biggest fears for her is ending up like them.

    She was a scary little kid. Even when she was good, she was never the "sweet little girl" your friends' kids are. She'd temper tantrum so badly we'd have to restrain her, she'd hit, kick, bite, spit anyone who came near. There were never any triggers. As she got older, she was more dangerous 'cause she was bigger. Recently, she's less physically violent, but much more defiant, angry, switches on the rage at the drop of a hat. When she gets in trouble, it's never her fault. If you talk her down out of her rages, she'll start crying and admit fault, but the next time she goes into a fit, you can remind her all you want of that, and she'll say she was lying to get you off her back.
  4. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    Wow I have to say I wish you were my daughter!

    Your poor mum needs to get help as this will escalate as she gets older.
    My brother was a bit like this and put my parents through years of hell.
    I think it shortened my mums life considerably as she was so stressed.
    He was academically brilliant and no medical issue was found but he was a nightmare at home
    It seemed the more he got away with the worse he was

    It had a considerable effect on me also as I was the only other child there

    He would have started like this at around 14

    The dads death probably is causing some underlying problem too as its hardly going to have no effect on her at all

    Tell your mum to get someone on board she needs to deal with this with other help. Otherwise your mum will suffer so much and its just not fair.

    You are just a smashing girl I am sure she is soooo proud of you.

    Hope it gets better
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Big Sis.
    Has your mother ever taken your sister in for a neuropsychologist evaluation? You'll probably have to ask her. This is a very intensive evaluation. Obviously you realize something is not right with your sister and likely this behavior is not her fault. Mom needs to find out why Sis is so far behind emotionally and so out of control behaviorally, but she has to get her evaluated before she can help her. I hope she will read this and start to post herself. And I hope you try to hold it in your heart that your sister is NOT bad--she is probably suffering a lot from some disorder that hasn't been treated. There is still a lot of time for her to get help. She could have schizophrenia or bipolar too. Unfortunately, they are hereditary. Is there a university hospital anywhere near, even two hours away? I think your Sis is way beyond being able to get help from a therapist.
  6. ineedhelpplease

    ineedhelpplease New Member

    Hey! I wanted to stop in and tell you that your sister sounds very much like my niece was before the medications. Identical actually. Your mom needs to take her right away to a childrens hospital. What you don't know about that is running around in her head would terrify you. She could be dreaming and thinking of killing you and or your mother. My niece was. She now hads medications and she is totally sweet. She will be on medications for the rest of her life, but it is worth it. She is on a cocktail of medications. She doesn't have BiPolar (BP), but those medications are the only thing strong enough to control her. I hope this helps!
  7. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    I was hoping from my posts that it was clear that I absolutely do not think my sis is a "bad kid". We went through enough with my older stepbrothers for me to fully understand mental illness's ramifications! :) I've known that sis wasn't "quite right" since she was a little kid. Mom's done heavy work with her from the very beginning, to get her to "use her words", and as a result, if she's not totally freaking out, she's usually very honest about what she's feeling/thinking.

    There's a major city about 1.5 hours from us, and I'm sure if she hasn't had a neuropsychologist appointment, she'll get one. Right now, Mom's just trying to get her in to see SOMEone local to start the process. But the holiday, y'know.

    She's back home now. I can't get Mom to say much about it (she sounds exhausted, and isn't wanting to talk about it at the moment), but Sis does want to go back to school, and is half-angry at school for making her leave and half-contrite about freaking out up there. Currently, she's saying she'll agree to go to therapy, etc. So there's that least. But her moods swing from minute to minute, so god knows how she'll feel in a day or two. Two weeks ago, she was demanding we pull her outta that school and bring her home, now she gets kicked out and wants to go back. difficult children! *eye roll*
  8. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Hi. I think it is important that you get some help. Even a regular doctor could try to help. There may be medication that really helps her get it together. It's a difficult thing to deal with and I don't want to deal with it either so I can understand your mom's frustration. There are days, I feel I don't have the energy for it all either. Talk to your mom. I have an older daughter and I bounce a lot of ideas off of her. It is a big relief just to talk about the issues to someone.

    Good luck. You sound like a great daughter.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Your mom needs to get the ball rolling on getting her an IEP and enrolled in the local school. There is likely a tds in your area if you are that close to a major city.
  10. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Being an advocate for others is one of the kindest gestures of caring that one person can offer another.
    On line you can contact the listings and make contact about what the facilities do offer in that city far away. 1.5 hours is a long way.
    You can also call or e-mail contact the Special Education administration yourself and get info. SEARCH is another resource.
    When you do contribute to your families access and understanding it gives some relief to the worry and exhaustion that parents do feel.
    There are links listed on this site and you may find evaluation materials that your Mom could use to foster a more immediate response to your sisters condition. It is always better to get help asap and not wait for an extreme situation.
    Many caring people are out there and getting their attention is mostly about
    giving them the oppertunity. Chances are you can get a better understanding by talking to people on the phone and over the internet which will go along way to lining up the available care and resources that are available .
    Anne Sheffield (Harmony Books) How You can Survive When they're depressed.
    Is an example of a daughter who went on to devote her life to the familys of
    depressive illnesses.
    I hope you find much inspiration to go forward with helping your family and you to have a great life with lots of happy times and growing awareness.
    And this site is wonderful for recieving lots of ideas and encouragement.
    I will be watching for what you do next.
    Right on SISTER, right on.
  11. eekysign

    eekysign New Member


    It'd be interesting to see how an IEP would work for her. She's not physically violent at school--her only issues are disrespect toward the teachers, and verbal altercations with the other students. She behaves in class, she gets straight-A's, she participates, etc.

    But give her mixed signals (one teacher says her jacket's OK to wear indoors, one tells her it's not), or if she thinks a teacher "doesn't like her", it's all over for the good behavior. Her back goes up, she gets defensive about every little thing that happens, then angry fit ensues. A lot of her school issues boil down to the standard "control and anxiety" kind of fun. Otherwise, she's the perfect student. She hates it when other kids don't follow the rules so she can't learn. Ha.

    I have a background in educational legal issues, and my stepmom is a SpEd teacher....I don't have a lot of faith left in IEPs. :tongue:
  12. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    What I read is a child who have been allowed to decide too much too soon. It is not your mothers fault. She had a lot to deal with, but done is done.

    Being a parent myself and having to deal with illness among us adults I know how easy to let things slip. We had to involve a family coach from the cityhall so an outsider could help us to point out where he could set up boundaries for our children and what to allow.

    I have to ask if other family members could be of help here, because if your mom is under a heavy burden she maybe should let others take over for a while. A boarding school is not the answer. Not even those who are lockdowns. Because while she seems rude you have to understand that it is a shell she is using to protect herself. She is hurting inside and both you and your mother are too close to you so you can expect her to open herself for you. It needs an older member of your family or a professional who is ready to sit down with her a listen.

    While she according to your own words are bright, education should not be your first priority here. She has a heavy backbag with emontional stuff she needs to load off at someone before she can continue in any environment. She is at a point in her life where she just have to unload before she can continue doing anything.

    Please remain here on the boards and ignore angry pm's. It is good to see that your sister has someone beside your mom who cares for her. I give you my full support.
  13. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Thanks for this reply---you're actually pretty dead-on about the situation. Unfortunately, we're lacking in family, which is why it's always been just Mom and me. Mom's side (which is only one brother and his wife) is many states away, and my stepdad's side has never understood the difficult child thing, no matter how much they've seen the irrational raging over nothing. They just think she's a spoiled brat, and all she needs is a good stern talking-to. *rolls eyes* Oh, whyever didn't we think of trying that??! :) Sigh!

    They're nice people, but they have their own MASSIVE problems (adults AND kids), mental illness, drug use, DUIs, jail time, alcoholism, etc, so there really isn't much help from that sector. Honestly, the genetics passing through that family should be studied---even when the environment changes, they all turn out the same! How my stepdad ended up the most normal (although fairly introverted) person in the world, I will never understand.

    So yes, you are absolutely right in many ways. She is out of the school now (and they kindly left it with the right to go back "when she gets her act together"), and is currently in intensive therapy several times a week in our hometown. She seems to be connecting with the psychiatric well, and has been very "even" over the last week and a half. No one's getting any hopes up yet, but she's GOING and TALKING, which is a new thing all by itself. I will just have to keep my fingers crossed for luck.
  14. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Many many states sounds good, if her problems was with the community. However I feel that it is placed deeper. It has only something to do with herself. Don't be fooled about her not reacting to the death of your stepdad. The most difficult cases are with those children who don't react. She reacts - inside.

    It is good that she is TALKING. Keep us updated.

    I will cross my fingers and wish the best for your all.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Eeky, you have good insight about the heredity issues trumping environment. It's interesting that you observe that with your extended family, as I have seen that over and over again in families I am connected with. Our difficult child just cannot overcome some of the genes she has been born with no matter how far different her life is with us. She still reverts back to behaviors inherent in her birthfamily that are so foreign to our family that it can only be explained in the fact that nature trumps nurture all the time.

    You are in for a rough time, as you know already. All is not lost and your sister can be helped, but be realistic about how much she can change. Hopefully she will make a connection with this therapist and she can begin dealing with some of the issues that are causing her to be so angry.