What to do when my daughter hits me

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LANELLY7, Mar 17, 2012.


    LANELLY7 New Member

    This is my second post here. My 9 year old daughter (ODD, Anxiety), has been getting worse and seems to hit me almost everyday now. I posted a bit about her hitting in my first post, but it's starting to get harder for me to handle. I guess this is what it feels like to be a battered woman. My husband tells me not to take it personally, and I don't, but it's really doing a job on me. Today, in between her outbursts she came to cuddle with me and eventhough I faked it, I was so on edge and thought I was going to have a heart attack with her next to me (I swear I was having shooting pains in my arm). I'm anxious, sad, stressed and angry that my daughter is getting away with this. This evening I even felt nauseous after - my head wanted a glass of wine, but I ended up having a glass of Coke - my body was craving it.

    I have tried ignoring her, blocking her, grabbing her, leaving the room (I used to be able to get away fast enough to lock myself in another room - now she's on to me). Today I even herded her into the backyard and locked her out there in the rain for a bit (she had a shed to sit in). She begged to be let in, promised not to hit me, and of course hit me harder and tried to tackle me once I let her in. I even called the police once and it didn't do anything. It scared her that day, but the hitting didn't stop. Now she just uses it against me when she hits me and says, "why don't you call the police like you did before? I'm a bad kid so call the police!" We just started medications for the anxiety today, but who knows if, when and how much that will help.

    An ideas would be so appreciated. I know this is not going away anytime soon. But I pysically/mentally can't take it much longer.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    So much depends on the background...
    Can you do up a signature? It's on your profile, and will remind us a bit about our situation... such as whether adopted, any diagnoses, etc...

    LANELLY7 New Member

    Just tried to set it up... not sure if I did it. In short, I have two daughters (both biologically mine). My 6 year old is just lovely, no issues. My 9 year old was recently diagnosed with ODD and anxiety. My husband has no history of mental health, I have mild anxiety.
  4. llamafarm

    llamafarm Member

    I am so sorry. We are going through the same thing at our house. My difficult child is 11. I called the police on him (with the help of school) for the first time on Thursday. I had a very good experience. There are so many of us on this site that are going through the same thing. I am certain many more will be in touch tomorrow. Being hit feels terrible. Taking it personally is not the issue. The fact that we are being abused is what is really terrible and it is what we are dealing with. I am not a victim, but when it comes to my son hitting me, I guess I am. It is good that you called the police once before. You will hear it from many people to follow, you have to keep yourself safe. If you have to press charges, so be it. If you can't find a safe place, or be safe in your own home you need to find help. Some have recommended to me a domestic violence center. It sounds drastic, but you are being abused.

    We are here for you, though we may be miles away. I am thinking of you tonight. Hope your day goes better tomorrow. It is not easy, I know. Make some calls tomorrow, tell someone what is happening. Ask for help. Help is out there.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, your sig shows up... thanks!

    ODD is a strange diagnosis. It does describe behaviors very well... and many of us on this board can relate on some level, although mine did not get to the level of personal violence ("just" damage to stuff). But having described the behaviors... the diagnosis goes no further. There are no interventions, accommodations, or medications that are known to work with ODD.

    For most of us? ODD is anything from useless, to a "place holder" diagnosis - a sign that something is definitely wrong, but we don't know what that is yet.

    And until you know what is driving the behavior... it is difficult to modify the situation.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Have you noticed it is increasing since the Prozac??????????? SSRI's can do this to some of our difficult child's. (or certain of them depending on the kiddo) My son's impulsive hitting went way down off the paxil he was on....he now still hits but it is when he is extreme anxiety and especially when it is fear based. NOT nearly as frequent anymore. There are many kids here who stopped the medications and if they were aggressive before of course it does not go away but it at least goes way down.

    My frustration is that all they know is how it feels and no matter if the medications caused the increase, it starts a habit so can be a little hard to break (other kids just stopped, but like for TeDo's son, he was not aggressive much to begin with so off of it, he just didn't do it).

    Something to think about.
  7. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I feel very sad for you.....and actually for your daughter! We went through such a rough time few months ago! At the end we lessen his medications...his medications for anxiety was causing more aggitation and explosive behaviour....instead of decreasing it!
    I do think it is very important that you and your husband form a team and that your daughter needs to know that aggressive behaviour will NOT be tollerated at all! Stop being afraid of her.....I know this sounds difficult....I was there....she must know, you are the parent and she is the child and that she will not be allowed to manipulate you with her aggression!
    How does she hit you? Is she just slapping you on the arms, kicking, or punching in the face? If needed learn how to defend yourself...grab her hand, and let her understand, NO, STOP! You will not tolerate such behaviour!
    You need to set up rules and consequences.....she MUST get consequences for her behaviour even if she cant help it....Take away playstation for a day, subtract
    pocketmoney, grounding her? Whatever works! Your husband also needs to let her know that he will not allow her to treat her mom like this! Even if he needs to hold her hands!
    Also...please try and figure out why she gets so angry? Is it just when you oppose her or is it when she is maybe tired, or overwhelmed? Does she has any auditory prosessing issues? My son has auditory and sensory prosessing problems....these 2 aspects together can cause alot of frustration within the child and as it is treated in therapy her ability to use words instead of action could improve?
    The book written by Dr Green on how to handle the explosive child was very helpfull....what worked for us....when my son becomes irritated and angry we back down, avoid eye contact, stop talking, speek in lower tone, monotone with him....just diverting the comments....it defuses him....we disengage for a few minutes....telling him that its not possible to have conversation with him when he screams at us.....we are now trying to help him to take time out by himself when he starts feeling angry and overwhelmed.....
    Hope some of the stuff helps....Gentle hugs coming your way....
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    ROFLMAO, I think Lovelyboy's son has AS (Asperger's syndrome) Tee hee... I pm'd her she may change it, LOL
  9. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Thanx Buddy! :)
    I've corrected it!
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    If you feel it would be safer for you and your family to have the police transport her to a behavioral hospital until she's been stabilized, there is no shame in doing so. You might want to double-check your insurance and see if she needs a referral or they'll cover it as an emergency. You wouldn't be the first parent here who's had to do it. *hugs*
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree about checking the medications if she is worse since the Prozac. These medications don't always do what the doctors promise. Three of us in our family tried Prozac, mostly for anxiety. None of of us got any relief. It made me depressed and exhausted so that I fell asleep at work. My teen daughter ended up so agitated she pulled a knife on herself (only time she ever did that). My son was only seven and he spent an entire day jumping off his desk at school (he was always very obedient at school before that) and talked about little men that really weren't there. WE discontinued it for all of us.

    medications are a two-edged sword. I've taken many since age 23 to now (58 1/2). More of them hurt me than helped, and it took over ten years for me to find a combo that actually made a big difference for the better WITHOUT causing horrible side effects. I always tell parents to look at the medications first, second, third, fourth and then look elsewhere because medication is often the culprit. It is often the WORST culprit.

    Good luck!
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This isn't a new behavior. YOU NEED HELP, duh, right? Go call the Domestic Violence hotline and ask how to make an appointment for help. Go in and tell them what you have told us, and tell them you need help. It does not MATTER that she is so young and you are the mom. It is STILL domestic violence and still unacceptable. They may or may not have programs or experience iwth parents being hit by kids, but they CAN use what they know to help you. I know they can, because I was the first parent to go to our DV center to get help when my son was beating me. I just couldn't handle it anymore and the cops would talk to him but did NOT want to press assault charges even though I am disabled and he is super strong and was bigger than I was.

    Push them until they help you. Also tell your husband to pull his head out of whatever sand it is buried in. How do you NOT take being assaulted personally? Why isn't HE stepping in to make it stop? I had a HUGE problem with my husband because he didn't step in when my son got violent. My husband would get the other kids out and then stay back partly because he was super gifted at escalating things with Wiz and more because he was afraid he would lose his temper and truly beat difficult child black and blue and bloody. My husband is the most gentle person and couldn't live with that so he just refused to deal with it, which left me alone with an abusive child. We almost broke up our marriage over this, esp because husband was not super supportive when I insisted the cops remove difficult child when he was 14 and I refused to EVER let him return to our home. He ended up with my parents when the cops refused to process ANY paperwork after over a month and 2 orders from a judge to get it to them. They were friends of my dad and didn't want to "do that" to the family. So my dad got to take Wiz full time because I could NOT allow it anymore and I knew that my younger kids were next. Most of the time my son hurt me because he couldn't get through me to his little sister.

    But the DV center was a HUGE help to me. Took some pushing, but htey were great. Now they have had a lot more parents come forward because I was NOT alone, I was just the first to speak up.

    PLEASE get help, and if your body says taht it is scared of her, DON"T sit and cuddle. You NEED to tell her, I can't cuddle you because you hurt me. I won't cuddle you until the violence stops. I love you, but I will NOT allow you to hit me and still be cuddled. This is NOT going to happen. You are telling her that it is NORMAL to hurt someone you love and then have them cuddle you and be loving and sweet to you. Keep calling the police when she is violent. THis is NOT to hurt her no matter what she says. Sooner or later enough calls will have them doing something. Insist on pressing assault charges. If you don't get this to stop she WILL hurt her sister and anyone else who she gets mad at or irritated by and then others will be calling the cops on ehr. You NEED to do whatever is needed to stop this before she gets much older because she is going to seriously hurt someone. Probably you but possibly anyone she encoutners.

    Make it a BIG DEAL when she hits you. STOP everything she likes for the day. DON"T cuddle her or be loving - would you sit and cuddle with a stranger who hit you? Why is the standard lower for your child? We shoudl expect MORE from our loved ones than from strangers. Tell your husband to either step in and help make it stop or to get out of the way because this is HUGE.

    There is a quote from a profiler who was commenting on a child who hit her paretns and then eventually killed htem that I am trying to remember. IF I find it, I will post it. But this is a HUGE BIG DEAl and NOT the minor thing your husband is trying to tell you it is. It also isn't anxiety. Sorry, it just isn't. And if ou just started medications then it CANNOT be the medications.

    LISTEN to your body. Cuddling her after she hurts you is not good for either of you. It reinforces the idea that she can do what she wants to you and then you still have to be sweet and loving. this is irrational and irresponsible of you. It teaches her HORRIBLE things about hurting those you love. It also puts a TON of toxic stress hormones into your body. PLEASE don't go for wine, go for therapy and distance from her. Don't force your body to do things it knows is wrong, like cuddling your abuser. Just don't do it, and those who say you are wrong can go cuddle her after she beats them!
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First off, I'm sending gentle hugs your way. I dealt with this for years and I know how difficult it is. What the others have said is true. The violence cannot be tolerated. Because of violence, my difficult child has been hospitalized several times. There have been times I should have called the police and didn't. Please take care of yourself.

    Please don't feel bad about not wanting to cuddle with her. I always found it difficult when my difficult child was like that. I would tell him that even though I loved him I couldn't cuddle with him because of the fact that he had hurt me and I wasn't ready to cuddle with him.

    One of the best things I ever did was start seeing a therapist; she really helped me to realize that my feelings were normal in response to what was happening.
  14. LANELLY7

    LANELLY7 New Member

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

    The main reason I think she hits is because she's realized its the one thing she can do that we can't ignore. Over the years she's always gone for negative attention, but lately she's figuring out that she has to go bigger to get our attention. It seems to be one of those things where she wants to feel in control, because she doesn't feel in control of other things in her life. I think having power and control make her feel good about herself. And now, unfortunatley, it seems to becoming a habit.

    The type of hitting? Mainly slapping, pushing, poking.

    Re: the medication, she just started yesterday, so I know that's not the cause.

    Re: my husband, I know he wants to do something, but he doesn't know what to do. If he comes to help me, she escalates. If he grabs her to remove her (which he often does because we don't have a choice), she fights him so much and I think he's worried that she's going to give someone false information about what happened (she's always yelling that we torture her/hit her, etc.) and we're going to have child services at our door (she's already exaggerated to her therapist). I think my husband is frustrated that I "let" her hit me. The only way I could truly defend myself is to hurt her, which I don't want to do. He thinks I'm physically strong enough to get her to stop easily enough, but she's not so small anymore. I could take her, but I don't want to hurt her. I think a lot of his "don't take it personally" comment is out of frustration for our whole situation - he doesn't like when I'm upset over everything and doesn't understand what it's like to be in my situation (although he does feel bad). He's actually super supportive. Like me, he's just trying to figure this whole thing out.

    We've been completely trying to change our parenting. We used to be the consistent rule enforcers, but recently realized it just makes things worse when we give her a consequence (if she even honors our consequence). Once she's given a consequence she just says well, I may as well keep misbehaving since I already lost something. For the last few years she probably had something taken away from her almost every day (not that it ever did any good - even not taking her to her favorite activity didn't do the trick). One of the books I read said that if she is constantly in trouble, it creates low self-esteem and no motivation to behave. So, we've tried to do it differently. I guess that's why we've shyed away from punishing her hitting - it will just fire her up more and she won't have any motivation to stop . But, yes, I completely agree, hitting is not OK and we need to find a way to get it under control. My husband and I have to find a happy medium in all this - completely walking on eggshells is not workin - we need to get some of our old selves back...

    And to those of you who commented that it's OK for me not to feel comfortable cuddling with her - thank you for that. I was feeling guilty about that.

    We have a meeting with a new therapist this week and I'm going to bring some of this up. Also, I did look into getting therapy for myself, but I have to make another call, and well, just another thing to do. I'll get on it this week.

    Thank you all!
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I went back and read your first post, and a little of what is in between.
    She's been a tough cookie since the beginning... and she's been with you since before she was born.
    That probably rules out some things... like abuse, etc.

    What about... quality of sleep?
    It is a hidden problem that often gets missed, and can have multiple inter-related layers of cause and effect...
    One guarantee is that sleep problems WILL make any other existing problems worse... and can cause major problems even if there is no other cause.
    But we're talking quality here, not quantity.

    Just an off-the-wall what-if...
  16. LANELLY7

    LANELLY7 New Member

    Interesting re:sleep. She's always been a big sleeper (like me). I finally had to cut off her naps when she started first grade. Re: quality of sleep, she sleeps through the night - falls asleep on her back, wakes up in the same position or on her side. Doesn't even get up to use the bathroom.

    I do notice she is worse when she doesn't get enough sleep, but again, she can be difficult even when she's well-rested. (When she was little, I was very much focused on making sure she had her sleep/naps.)

    She seems more agitated when she has too many pressures on her. i.e. she's much more manageable during the summer when there aren't many demands placed on her - however, the school year is tough. Not sure what the deal was when she was younger and didn't have any big people stresses...

    Thanks for throwing it out there - we'll take any ideas - we really want to figure this out...
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That's quantity, not quality. Sleeping that soundly at this age? Our difficult child was like that. And the cause was... mental and emotional exhaustion. Wasn't quite as early a problem as yours... noticed sleep issues more like age 3, about the same time as motor skills issues.
    Sleep is a tricky thing... sleep problem can be a cause, or an effect, of other problems!

    Has she ever had a comprehensive evaluation? Plus Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluations?
    Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation would consider things like APDs... if she hasn't had comprehensive Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation, or if it was several years back, it would be good to do this... some things that they can test for now, they didn't use to test for (we got caught on that). If they aren't testing for auditory figure ground, then they aren't using a comprehensive test.

    Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation would look at sensory integration/processing issues, plus motor skills. Both sides are important. Even subtle impairments can have a huge effect. Occupational Therapist (OT) also has therapies that help, as well as other interventions and accommodations to recommend.

    Both of these are worth doing before you get a comprehensive evaluation done. The comprehensive... looks at everything else. There are "some" who include a review of sensory, motor or auditory issues, but they can't test to the level of Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Occupational Therapist (OT) unless those are on the evaluating team. Otherwise... the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Occupational Therapist (OT) reports are taken into account by whoever does the comprehensive evaluation.

    And before you get to the comprehensive evaluation... start up a parent report. It's not called exactly that.. and it's found over on a post in "site help and resources"... or, just look for a post by susiestar, because the link is in her signature (it's how I get there...) This will help you pull together all the facts, figures, trends, etc. so that you have it all organized. Makes it much easier to answer questions and/or to push back on recommendations that you know do not make sense.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The sleep thing makes me really suspect some other problems, like sensory or auditory (Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)) problems. I would work hard to get a PRIVATE Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory issues and a complet Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation. Yes, school CAN do Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluations, but they ONLY look for how it causes school problems. Private evaluations look for how it causes problems in her entire life. It may seem strange that a tag or a seam in yoru sock could be such a big deal as to overwhelm you, but it really can be that bad. I have significant sensory issues, now made far worse by nerve problems (not nervous, the actual nerves are all messed up and no one can figure out how to help - totally annoying). If I have a shirt that itches, I literally CANNOT focus on ANYTHING. I never could. Thank God that my mother had to wear itchy clothes as a kid and swore that her kids would NEVER have to wear things that itched. She held to that and even made all of my clothes until I was about 11, even my school uniforms. She even made me a promise when I was 10 that my wedding dress would be as comfy as my jeans. It was - and I was pregnant and cranky as all get out! It was exactly what I wanted (NOT white, lol, pink and green with tulips all over) and the skirt came off and there were shorts to wear at the reception. I probably would not have worn a dress if she hadn't made that outfit.

    It is entirely possible that just attending school could stress your daughter enough that she is fried when she gets home. Until 3rd gr my youngest missed at LEAST 1/4 of the school year with absences written off by his 504 plan because he would get so overwhelmed with sensory things that he would just sit and shake and shake and shake from the stress and overload. If I sent him to school like that he just shut down, would go where he was told but couldn't talk or function really. Then t would take 4-5 days of no school to get him back to normal. We also kept certain foods out of his diet - tomato, dairy, orange, pineapple, and artif sweeteners until he was 5 and then we only added small amts of dairy and tomato. mostly pizza for tomato and cheese for dairy. He doesn't like milk unless it is cooked because it makes hm feel yucky. We listened to that even before we learned about his food allerges and never pushed it. He LIKES soy milk and we keep that for him. It makes a big difference even though the tomato and dairy were not really "allergies" or even sensitivities that the allergy doctor could find. WE saw it changed his skin and what he could cope with, so we did what seemed right for him.

    How much protein does she eat? Some kids just need more than others. I keep those protein bars around, the balance and zone brands have 40% carb, 30% protein and 30% fat and are the best balanced for healthy diets, and giving them instead of candy, esp when we have an afterschool activity, makes a HUGE difference. We also keep jerky, lean meats, cheese sticks, etc... on hand and encourage the kids to eat those before they go to snack foods. If we go ANYWHERE after school the kids get a protein bar or protein snack. If we have to go to Walmart and I don't remember a snack, we get popcorn chicken from the deli. It makes a HUGE difference to my kids.

    Changing parenting is important. Have you read The Explosive Child by ROss Greene and What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Doug Riley? They are CRUCIAL. The hitting has to be Basket A, or the top priority. You only work on 1-2 basket A things (non-negotiable), then the rest are basket B (medication priority) or basket C (low priority or ignore it at least for now level). The Explosive Child explains this very well. It IS different parenting from teh normal, but our kids don't think the way easy child's do so this works for them.

    It is just as important for you to not cuddle difficult child after she hits you as it is for her to nto have to hug anyone she doesn't want to. Making a child hug someone when they don't want to teaches them that their instincts are not important and they don't ahve the right to say taht someone can't touch them. Making you cuddle her after she hurts you teaches her that she can hurt others and they have no right to say that she can't touch them any way she wants whenever seh wants. Basically it is a way to teach her taht she can hurt people and they still have to accept her hugs even if they are still in pain. Neither one is a good or safe message for her to learn. It may seem harsh to put it this way, but it can help you make her watn to learn to stop hitting. It won't owrk that way at first, but seh still has to learn the lessons.

    A parent report is an excellent thing, in my opinion the most powerful tool in the Warrior Mom arsenal second to your instincts. That is why it is in my sig, that and I keep forgetting where to find it when I want to tell people about it.

    I am glad your husband is supportive and I understand the catch-22. I am glad I was wrong and he is supportive.

    PLEASE get an appointment with the domestic violence center to get their help to teach her to stop being abusive and to help YOU with the feelings that being chronically abused creates - because no matter how much you love you daughter, she is still abusing you and you still need to deal with that.
  19. LANELLY7

    LANELLY7 New Member

    Hi Susiestar - thanks so much for your wonderful reply/feedback. I have taken notes on all your suggestions and have already reached out to her doctor to see if we can start looking into these items. I have read the Explosive Child and have almost finished Riley's book. Great books, just wish they both gave a little bit more info about what to do when you're actually in the middle of an episode.

    Already copied the parent report and started filling it out.

    Re: hubby - yes, I felt bad a gave the wrong impression. He's a super involved dad, very loving, caring and supportive. But, he is a guy (the youngest of 3 boys) and doesn't always get all the tears, emotions and so on (although he tries). He also is very upset with the current issue and is probably feeling a bit helpless because he doesn't know how to fix it.

    Re; daughter - yes, I do need to get some help for myself and will. It's just so hard because I don't feel her intentions are to hurt me, but rather get my attention, feel powerful. But, I do understand that the effects on me are the same, nonetheless.

    by the way- She had a really good morning and night last night and it's totally messing with my head. All morning I’ve been trying to recall all the bad so I can remind myself things aren’t good (which sucks because we had a good morning and I don’t want to think of bad). But it’s so confusing when she behaves – I feel like maybe we’re really fine – but I know deep down we’re not. This is all so surreal. She said she was trying to have "a calm day" – and was being successful – so why can’t she do this everyday??

    Thanks again to everyone!
  20. LANELLY7

    LANELLY7 New Member

    InsaneCDn - no we haven't yet gotten Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluations but I e-mailed my doctor yesterday about it. And, found Susiestar's parent report link and am already on it. Thanks for all the great suggestions!