Whta a day

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by FTN, Mar 10, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. FTN

    FTN New Member

    This all happened Friday morning.

    SO and easy child #2 have the flu right now. difficult child woke up us up around 8 knocking on the door asking if she could come in. SO tried to tell her she'd be right there but her raspy voice wasn't that loud. difficult child said "Fine then! Be that way!" Then started punching things in the hallway.

    About half an hour later we heard easy child yell leave me alone. Then we heard a very loud slap. We rushed to the living room seeing difficult child on the floor crying and easy child crying on the couch. difficult child tried taking over the tv from easy child even though she has one in her room while easy child doesn't. difficult child decided to dump a bag of catnip over easy child's head then began to scratch and hit her. Thats why she yelled leave me alone. It wasn't enough to deter difficult child who started the violence again so easy child slapped her.

    We told them to go to their rooms and we'd bring them breakfast. The egg shells had barely been broken when difficult child marched out to the living room, curtly said sorry and turned the TV on. When we told her to go back to her room she threw the remote across the room and started screaming she hates the Smiths (not actual last name of SO and PCs).

    Incensed, I went to her room. I asked her why she hates the Smiths. It went something like this:

    difficult child: Because they hurt me!
    Me: How do they hurt you?
    difficult child: You're making me more angry!
    Me: How am I making you angry? What did they possibly do to hurt you?
    difficult child (Attempting to stare me down): They say things about my dad!
    Me: Well what did they say?
    difficult child: I hate the Smiths!
    Me: What? You think I'm scared of you now little girl? Keep on trying to stare me. I'll just laugh some more.
    difficult child: easy child said I act different before and after I get back from my dad's!
    Me: Well why does that make you mad? And do you think you behave differently then?
    difficult child: I don't know it just does! You're making me mad!
    Me: Everything makes you mad. You're behavior reminds me of a two or three year old. If you don't learn to get a hold of your rage, you're going to end up in prison someday just like you dad.
    Me: So do you hate your mother? Your sisters? What about your uncle or grandparents?
    difficult child: I hate them all!
    Me: Why?
    difficult child: ..silence..
    Me: Well are you gonna tell me? I think you just like being angry.
    difficult child: ..more silence..
    Me: Well?
    difficult child: Yes! I hate my uncle and grandpa cuz they say things about my dad!
    Me: What'd they say?
    difficult child: They asked me if I'm afraid of him.
    Me: Do you understand why they would ask you that?
    difficult child: I don't care! I hate them!
    Me: You hate them because they care about you? Your uncle and grandpa ask you those questions because your father used to beat your mother and sisters. Even if you're not scared of him, there are three others in this house who are. And if Zoe (the dog they had to give away) was still here, there'd be four scared of him.
    difficult child: Zoe wouldn't be scared of my dad! He used to play with her!
    Me: No, your father used to beat the dog repeatedly. Why do you think your mother had to give her away?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    No offense, but you and SO still haven't gotten her help. And in my opinion some of what you said was very cruel. in my opinion you never tell any child for any reason "You'll end up in jail just like your dad." And you don't bait a child who is obviously disturbed as in, "You think you can scare me, little girl?" I agree it's a mess. Sounds like all of you need psychological help YESTERDAY. You're trying to do this yourself and in my opinion, you have not a clue how to do it. Telling her how awful her father is, won't make her think he's awful. Abused kids routinely love and stick up for their abusers. SHE NEEDS PROFESSIONAL HELP. in my opinion, this child is suffering from the after-affects of abuse and you and her mother just don't get it. Do you have anything against professional help?
    I better shut up now.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    How long have you been a member of this family? You are stepping in to a position of parenthood in a family where you are only a few years older than the children themselves.

    What she is saying is that you are making her mad. On it's face, it's an accurate statement. You make her mad. While it's easy to say that she misbehaves when she comes home from her father's because something happened at her fathers, it's just as easy to say that she misbehaves when she comes home from her father's because you make her mad. Maybe if you were listening to her instead of debating her and trying to be right, you might not make her mad.

    These are inappropriate things to say to a child. It's ten times worse to try to engage her in these discussions in a screaming match when she's raging. She's 9 years old. These would be horrible things to say to an adult.

    If your are angry, you need to walk away. You need some guidance on how to appropriately deal with this child. She needs some therapy on how to appropriately deal with her emotions.

    She told you that he father never hurt her. Is she lying? If she is, why is she lying? If she isn't, what happened to her sisters years ago has nothing to do with her. She wasn't there and it's not a part of her reality. She's a child and you can't make her feel empathy or sympathy for someone else, especially when those people use a picture of her father, whom she loves, for target practice, and post the bullet riddled remains on their bedroom doors. Why not ask those girls to respect her feelings? If a family is going to stay together, there's no sides of right and wrong, just respect if you disagree.

    She says you make her mad. She's old enough to know how she feels and who makes her feel that way. If this is a problem in your family, you need help to make it right. If you just want her to accept that she's wrong and change her ways, you really don't know a thing about being a parent at all.

    Whatever it is, if you keep telling her she's wrong and doesn't know what she's talking about, you can count on it that she will be living in his house before long. I'm not sure why you are so he-- bent on achieving that.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was so angry when I read that, I was shaking. Poor kid. This goes beyond overstepping boundaries. That is being cruel. And nobody NOBODY is willing to help this poor child who has been sexually abused. My mommy instincts are kicking in. I wish I could take this child for help and tell her that I believe her when she says something. Grrrrrrrrrrr.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'd like to point out that there has never been any suggestion by anyone, including FTN, that difficult child was molested or abused by her father. The older girls made an accusation about 6 months ago, that difficult child's dad, their step-dad, molested them somewhere in the range of 6+ years ago. It was investigated and not pursued for lack of evidence.

    No one in this family has been to therapy for any of their issues. FTN tells us that it is because SO finds it frustrating to deal with the insurance company to make arrangements.
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Ditto. Trying to intimidate a 9 year old by saying those things? Really? That's only going to make her go from mad to enraged and if you did succeed with those words it would be because of fear.

    I don't understand why your SO will not get this child help? She needs to get her head out of the sand and get herself and her child the help they need. To allow this to continue is abuse.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I see, Witz. Then there's no proof that he sexually abused anyone. I agree with you that it's beyond inappropriate to have pictures of her father with bulletholes in them. in my opinion such a volatile family shouldn't have guns at all, but that's JMO.
    I think FTN doesn't "get" children and SO is a weak mother who uses "I can't deal with insurance" as an excuse not to get her child help. With this SO fighting bio. dad and seeming not to like nine year old and not getting help...I don't really know if anyone can give advice because it doesn't seem as if it will be taken. And, of course, without this family getting psychological help for all, nothing will change. Really sad.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Me: Everything makes you mad. You're behavior reminds me of a two or three year old. If you don't learn to get a hold of your rage, you're going to end up in prison someday just like you dad.

    My take on it, in my humble opinion, is that the child is fighting to keep from internalizing this message. If she does internalize it, that WILL be her fate unless she gets therapy for that too, on top of what she already needs therapy for.

    The best thing you could do for every person involved is to go to therpay with or without your SO. The child's mother sounds a lot like mine. Nevertheless, I had a step-father that was not like that. I don't know how he put up with her denial and selfishness, but I do know that through his wisdom, love, common sense, acceptance of me, emotional support, and efforts to do his part for all of us to have as normal of a family as possible, I found it within myself to go to therapy when I was in my early 20's. This is because my mother was never supportive of it while I lived at home. I hope you can stop and think about what kind of influence you want to be in this child's life and take appropriate steps to find out how best to accomplish that. You could end up being the best person to ever enter her life if you did this.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    FTN, I do agree that your comments were inappropriate and could do harm if repeated constantly. This little one needs lots of love and help. Somehow, SO needs to step up and parent her daughter.

    You should not be the parent. You should not give consequences. Your role really should be to back up your SO. The fact is you're awfully young to be trying to parent any of these kids (maturity doesn't count at this stage -- the kids are going to look at your age -- and your comments to the little one definitely showed a lack of maturity). I know it is hard to not step up since SO doesn't seem to be up to it, but the reality is you don't have the skills nor the experience to even try. Factor that in with the reality that you're not the step-father, you're simply the live-in boy friend. Heck, we tell stepparents to stay out of giving consequences but simply back up the biological parent. Doing much more is truly a lose-lose situation most of the time.

    The older girls have a reason to hate this man. The little one doesn't. Sadly, even if she has been molested she doesn't at this stage. It takes a knowledge and maturity that a nine year old does not have to see that sexual advances by an adult, let alone a parent, are not acts of love. For now, she loves her father and this has to be accepted by everyone in the household. Her feelings need to be respected, which obviously is not happening. The other two girls are teens, one technically an adult. Your SO is close enough to 40. All three of them need to swallow their pain and their fear and subject the 9 YO to it. This is HER father, the man she loves and who she firmly believes loves her. No one -- not her mother, not her sisters and certainly not you -- has the right to take that love away. You can protect her, you can advise her to be careful of anyone (even mommy and daddy) who touches her inappropriately, you can be there for her when she asks for help, but she has a right to choose whom to love, she has a right to be angry at the Smiths (all of them!), she has a right to expect some respect for her feelings in her home, too.

    She needs an outside party to talk to and to help through all of this pain and turmoil. Your SO needs some counseling on how to help all the girls through this entire mess. The other girls need counseling to sort through their emotions (pictures with holes are not a way getting help but rather a cry for help). You need help to learn how to cope with all of this mess you've walked into.

    I admire your willingness to try to help. To accept this woman, her problems, her children and their problems at only 25 is beyond admirable and downright courageous. However, you need to get it as right as you can. You've walked into a horrid mess -- a woman who has been previously abused and in more than one past relationship, children who probably have been sexually abused, a little girl who is caught in the middle of all it. It requires more skills than you presently have. Please help this family get help, including you.
  10. feelinalone

    feelinalone New Member

    Wow, seems like a lot of emotions are flying around this thread....do I dare add to it?!
    Well, ok, I'll be brave and throw in my 2 cents!

    So personally I feel the choice to seek or not seek "professional or psychological help" is up to the family and has to be respected whether one agrees with the decision or not.

    We've all said things to our children that we wish, in hindsight, that we hadn't said.

    A battered woman who has left her abuser isn't "weak". No one knows her true intention/reason for not putting her daughters in therapy but her, and it's still her decision to make whether one agrees with that or not.

    I've personally used "dad being in jail" as a way to explain to my difficult child the possible consequences of his actions when he gets older. If said in an appropriate manner, not to make a child feel that by virtue of being the child of an incarcerated individual that they will end up in jail, but rather to say "here's a real life example of what happens when you break the law" and "how does it make you feel that this person is in prison" and "is that where you want to go"--- then this CAN be educational and at the same time get a child talking about how they feel about their parent being in prison, which can be hard to do in other contexts.

    We catch more flies with honey--this goes for all.

    FTN, you're trying to help, I can see that. I'd suggest for you to try to have these conversations with difficult child when neither of you are upset. (yes easier said than done, but give it a concerted effort) Try not to use statements that make assumptions of how she feels or the intentions of her actions. For instance, rather than say "everything makes you mad" try to say "I notice you seem to be upset often and I'd like to help if I can. If you would be willing to talk with me about what makes you feel upset, I am willing to listen." If she doesn't want to talk right then, you could suggest you plan a time to talk at a later time/date. Or if she is completely unwilling, you can let her know YOU are still willing if she changes her mind. She's much more likely to talk to you if you let it be on her terms and show her that her feelings are respected. A lot of it has to do with communication. She sounded like she had some things that she really would've liked to talk about but it seemed both of you were too upset to discuss those things in the moment.

    I see in your signature that you're going back to college soon. You can take some classes as electives that can help you navigate the communication piece. I would suggest "interpersonal communication" specifically, though I'm not sure what will be available to you wherever you go or whether it'll be called the same thing. It may be under "speech". You can learn communication skills without having to go to therapy, and if you can teach what you learn to difficult child, all the better. Give it a shot, can't hurt to try and you can earn college credits at the same time!
  11. Loving Abbey 2

    Loving Abbey 2 Not really a Newbie

    All of the below is basic child psychology and the sociology of family violence:

    Children, each and everyone one of them, should be the most important thing in the adults life. Every experience a child has will impact the rest of thier life. Feelings are not right or wrong. Children need love and compassion, period. How a child feels, what they need, what they think need to be the focus if a kid has any chance of making it into adulthood with any sense of security, self-esteem and worth.

    The first step is recognizing that difficult child probably hates herself and the interaction you noted below just adds to that hate, and now she probably feels like you and the rest of her family hate her too. Additionally, you all hate the man who helped to create her--that means you all hate part of who she is (a part she has no choice about).

    You and SO need to put the children's need first and get those needs met no matter how difficult it is. Not getting the entire family treatment WILL result in someone in jail, in the hospital, in a group home, etc. You are not going to show her whose boss, put down your ego and ask for help.

    There is no excuse for not putting children first, there is no excuse for not doing everything humanly possible for to help.

    I agree that the below conversation is bordering on emotional/verbal abuse--and I work with DSS. I see the effect of this type of enviroment on children and adolescents everyday. This stuff is mess up a child for the rest of thier lives!!!!!! Everything you say and do matters, for a child, it matters forever. GET HELP NOW
  12. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Lots of emotions flying around this thread.

    Let's remember, first and foremost, that this is a soft place to land.

    That having been said, FTN, you are a tough person to help, because you rarely reply to responses given to your posts. I'm never sure if you even read what people are saying, or if you are just blowing off steam. If you are, that is fine. But it is very frustrating to the warrior parents on the board who go out of their way to help and do not get feedback.

    I've said it before, and I will say it again, I believe that you are a very good man for sticking with this family through the crisis that they are going through. But I would take to heart what had been said here. I think that you took your anger at the father out on the difficult child simply because she protects him. That is not fair to her. This can and will do damage to her if she continues to hear "your father is this and that" and "we don't want you to be like your father". No matter what, she will ALWAYS be 1/2 her father. This is very complicated,
    far too difficult probably for you and SO to sort out on your own. That is why the heavy suggestions of therapy. This poor kid is caught in the middle. She needs help.

    Please see what you can do to see that she gets it.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    BBK, I have to say that this is a soft place to land, and that what I have said to FTN is in fact very soft compared to how I feel about what he has represented about this family. Honestly, "A soft place to land" only goes so far in these situations.
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I would point out that my initial reaction to this series of posts was that I was totally appalled by FTNs descriptions of the situation.

    Due to my own issues and a tendency to be blunt to the point of abrasiveness, I have not contributed on this thread.

    I will say that not getting this child into intensive treatment constitutes neglect. Saying the things FNT has said, interacting the way in which s/he is interacting constitutes outright abuse.

    That's my take on it: my in my humble opinion on the issue.

    I'm going to shut off now I start foaming at the mouth or somet hing
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    BBK, thank you for the reminder that this site is a soft place to land.

    I think emotions are running high on this thread. I'm going to lock the thread so we can all take a breather from this topic.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.