I need advice on how to cope with the anger - FamilyEducation
I need advice on how to cope with the anger
11/06/2008 at 10:13 AM

My 10 year old daughter is the oldest  of my 4 children  She has always been moody-- In the last 3 years she has become more aggressive and so angry that she scares me.  

She doesn’t ever want to take no for an answer and, will try to pull me into a control battle when she is being disciplined. Sometimes it works and it has become TOTALLY out of control.  There is no way to speak to her when she is in this "zone". 

 She has complete tantrums about whatever is her problem at that moment  wither it be what she is going to wear to school, her chores, her attitude with others, homework, her sisters--- Basically she can't accept that 'no' means 'no', constantly answers back when I say something she doesn't want to hear, she demands your 100% attention or things spiral out of control, and she gets so angry that she cannot calm down. 

We are temporally staying at my parent’s home and have been here for 3 months, and the tantrums are not happening daily but are getting worse when they do happen.  She responds well to my mother and is very close to her; they sleep in the same bed and do almost everything together.  My mother will talk her out of her tantrums most of the time; I however approach it differently, and am far more strict and intolerant.  She will show complete and utter disrespect for me, screaming crying basically freaking out, and now it’s turning violent.  She's very argumentative with me, my husband and her 3 younger sisters and sometimes with her grandparents; she just generally just lacks respect with her family.

This morning she became 'out of control' because I asked her not to shout at me, she immediately began arguing and called me a ‘stupid idiot’. I ordered her to get dressed for school but she responded by saying 'no'...'what are you going to do about it?' and so on.  So I calmly moved her into her room which she automatically responded by hitting, kicking and pushing me.  I maintained my position and told her to stay in her room all the time trying to remain calm and consistent. But when My husband came in saw her slap me across my face and spanked her…which just caused her to freak out and scream more, she was holding to me desperate for me to stay in the room, moments earlier telling me she hated me.  All of the drama began about getting dressed.  She wants everyone to do everything for her, but ONLYon her terms.

 I have tried to take a step back since coming to my parents to home because the only person she seems to respond to without constant anger and outbursts is my mother.  But that has seemed to backfire and is just another mistake.  You see When, my parents aren’t around to give her all the attention she demands peacefully, she will do ANYTHING  she can to become the center with drama and anger and tears.  It is a Rollercoaster, I have been on medications for Bi polar depression anxiety etc most of my adult life, and have some simplify for the waves, but the doctors all say she is fine,  I think because she isn’t honest when I have taken her to the GP to get her evaluated to see a therapist.  She acts like this at home only and acts mortified to have any know about the episodes, and will always say it wasn’t her fault.

  I called this morning and made an appointment with a therapist, but appointment is a month away.  Every second of my time with this  is filled with her  screaming, and total lack of control.  The school is Not having any problems with her.   It is just aimed at her family,  What can I do???!!??

I read your post, it sounds like you are doing the right things: remaining calm (mostly) insisting on appropriate behavior, picking your battles.
Is there any way that you can have some time to build your relationship? Make a date with her and do something fun, not too intense. Maybe a mall or movie date with her best friend and the best friend's mom, bowling, climbing trees, something SHE would like to do, even if it is with you. Or you and YOUR mom plan something fun, and invite her along, just us "ladies"?

Your daughter is, and never has been "out of control" in her actions. She is very much in control of herself, and the household. Through her tantrums she has learned to get the attention she wants, and has learned to frustrate your efforts to control her. You and your husband need to work together in overcoming this behavior. Many on here are against spanking, but I am not. When talking fails, I would have no qualms about letting this little girl know that every time she talks back, raises her voice, or even looks as if she is going to strike me, that she will be dealt with in a way she will not like. It's obvious she is very much in control of herself since she does not react this way to her grandparents. Maybe this is her way of wanting to get attention any way she can. If possible, maybe you and she could spend some free time alone outside of the home, away from familiar people and surroundings. In one on one situations kids are usually easier to deal with.

I was the same way at home when I hit puberty. I was pleasant and agreeable around everyone else but at home I knew I could let my guard down and let my true colours show. I was also very moody but at the same time very sensitive. If I felt blamed for anything I would go into a rage because I felt like no one truly understood what I was going through. All the temper tantrums and screaming were my way of saying "there's something wrong, I'm in pain and I don't understand how to ask for help." Granted there were a number of contributing factors like childhood sexual abuse and a mother who was in denial of her own mental illness. I believe now that when I reached puberty that's when the onset of bipolar occured. I believe your suspicions are correct in thinking that your daughter has inherited a chemical imbalance. The sooner she gets help the better. She needs to see your compassion for her. She is your baby girl. Sit down with her and show her baby pictures of herself and tell her how much you love her. Ease her into your concern for her mental health. Pray, if you do, so that you may know the words that will be of comfort to her. Only you as her mother will know the best course you should take with her. My comments are only suggestions. One thing I have learned in advocating for my son is that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Call your doctor back and tell them that if you don't get some help asap that you are going to lose it. Tell them you will call children's aid, that you are going to end up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown. Exaggerate, do whatever it takes to get your family the help it needs. Don't feel guilty. We live in a society where the system is set up to fail those who play by the rules. It worked for me. It took two and a half years of fighting but I finally got forty six thousand dollars in funding for my son's therapy when the government was saying that they simply didn't have any more money to give. Never, never, never give up.

I would like to repond to your comment about the daughter being in control of her actions. People with mental illness are often manipulative and abusive but that doesn't mean the same thing as being in control of their actions. As I posted, one on one time is very important but if the child is suffering from a chemical imbalance all the spankings in the world are not going to change her behaviour. It will in fact worsen her state because she will feel even more justified that she is alone in her suffering.

Imagine that, someone whose screen name announces their own mental illness suggests that mental illness must be the blame here. Try guidance, and consistency before resorting to drugging your child. I question why someone would announce themselves as being mentally ill, and then tell about being sexually abused in a public forum. I think someone is still crying out for attention. Do not medicate your children simply because you have not found a solution to their behavior. If she is able to control it when she wants to then she is doing this at will. Careful of the snake oil salesman.

bipolar mom just lets us know up-front about her experiences that may bias her. That's just being fair. It's not the same as using those experiences to make excuses for herself, which I agree is inappropriate in any forum.

Wow, it seems I hit a nerve for someone. We can only share our opinions based on our own experiences. It's what shapes our perceptions of the world around us. I share with this forum that I have been sexually abused and that I am bipolar because it is the truth. There is no shame in either of these statements. I think anyone who has healed enough to be able to share with the public what has happened to them all the power to them. If someone can relate to my experience and it can help them all the better. As a society we should be supporting one another. Not trying to tear each other down. Incidentally the fact that I am bipolar is relevant since the author wrote about her own bipolar diagnoses and her concerns for her daughter's mental health. In the future I will not dignify singledad's remarks with a response. He sounds typically ignorant.

momx4girls, I have compassion for you. You have a difficult and sensitive issue with which you are trying to cope. This is a limited forum in which to express oneself adequately. Drugs are not always the answer but as you may know from first hand experience they can help. Personally I believe in an eastern approach to health and healing. Unfortunately insurance rarely covers anything but mainstream western medicine. Therefore do what is best for yourself and your daughter whatever that may be. In the end you are the one who will live with the choice you make. Good Luck :)

Hit a nerve? Maybe. Call me silly, but I don't believe that ineffective parenting should be partnered with pharmaceuticals as a way of achieving "successful" results. How about you?

SnglDad is just trying to get us to see the big picture. Don't take it personally, anyone. Bipolarmom has a valuable perspective to add to the discussion. My son is ADHD and we chose not to medicate him. He learned to use the positive aspects of his condition to his advantage and now has a Masters degree in Business and Finance and a great job. His professors and employers respect and admire him. He did not fare so well in elementary school but is appreciative that he was not drugged as many of his classmates were. My daughter has very severe Social Anxiety Disorder. We did not to medicate her either, Home Schooling her with a small group and allowing her to grow up unmedicated which was her choice. At 18, she decided to go on Paxil, which allows her to function and be comfortable most of the time. There is no one solution to these very difficlt issues. Therapy can be helpful for the child and the family. But, spanking a child who has serious issues as reported by her mother on here, is NOT part of the solution. It will cause more serious issues and the child will become even more out of control. All 3 of my ex-stepdaughters were bipolar (which manifested at puberty), spanked and severely punished by their mother and stepfather frequently, became much worse and are STILL a mess at 31,29 and 27. So, sorry SnglDad, that is BAD advice. And, FYI, I have professional credentials and many years of parenting experiance with this and similar issues.

Did I miss a diagnosis? You are speaking from the perspective of the child being diagnosed with something. do not recall reading that the child was diagnosed with any mental issues. I stick with my advice.

Issue was the word used.

Ironically, despite all the assumptions that I am advocating pharmaceucaticals I have in fact recovered my son from severe autism using all natural means. Diet and nutrition are huge factors when treating any mental illness diagnosed or otherwise. Even children who present with severe behaviour problems will benefit from elliminating sugar, white flour, food additives, food colourings, eating a whole foods diet. The rule is if you can't pick it, pluck it, grow it, or shoot it don't eat it because it's not real food. I spent two years in the kitchen cooking five hours a day so that I could provide nutritious meals for my son that would allow his gut to heal and rid his body of a massive overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria. An overgrowth of yeast in women can mimic bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety etc. Anything happening in the gut will have a direct affect neurologically. A simple round of antibiotics can cause a yeast overgrowth no matter the age or gender. Those who are predisposed to mental illness through a parent are more susceptable to yeast overgrowth "candida". Other natural means of coping with anger and rage are massage, chiropractic, reflexology, homeopathics ie. a great one is called rescue remedy I think everyone should have this as part of thier first aid kit, accupuncture or accupressure (no needles) ie. check out N.A.E.T. stands for Nambudripad's Allergy Ellimination Technique useful for balancing and releasing blocked emotions as well as elliminating allergies permanently, Reiki, Body Talk, Chranial Sachral Massage. All of these methods of treatment are completely pharmeceuticals free but may be administered in conjunction without any adverse side effects. Supplements such as essential fatty acids can help to stabilize one's mood. Call your local health food store or several and see if they suggest anything in common. There is always a natural alternative. Now in saying this I hope to put to rest that I am ignorant of the natural realm of treatment. There is however the reality that one may not be blessed with the financial means to resource these alternatives to western medicine. Finally I will add that 20 years ago, maybe not even that long ago it was considered by "specialists" that autism was caused by bad parenting. They called it the "refrigerator mom syndrome". This of course is ignorant and archaic. Don't ever let anyone try to make you feel like you are to blame because you are a bad parent. If you were a bad parent you woudn't care so much which you clearly do. If you would like any details on the above listed treatments just let me know. I am proud of my son and my efforts to help him but I couldn't have done it alone.

There is no one solution to these very difficlt issues. Therapy can be helpful for the child and the family. But, spanking a child who has serious issues as reported by her mother on here, is NOT part of the solution. It will cause more serious issues and the child will become even more out of control. All 3 of my ex-stepdaughters were bipolar (which manifested at puberty), spanked and severely punished by their mother and stepfather frequently, became much worse and are STILL a mess at 31,29 and 27. So, sorry SnglDad, that is BAD advice. Yes "issues" was the word used, which you then related to your three stepdaughters who were all bipolar. You opposed corporal punishment in children with bipolar. In your post Issues = Bipolar. Or would you care to spin it again?

"All 3 of my ex-stepdaughters were bipolar (which manifested at puberty), spanked and severely punished by their mother and stepfather frequently, became much worse and are STILL a mess at 31,29 and 27. So, sorry SnglDad, that is BAD advice." SnglDad did not advocate what you report. It's like the difference between wine with dinner and alcoholism.
as tired as you get of the mental illness/bad parenting aspersion, I get tired of the "any corporal punishment"/abuse aspersion. But, if she has been seen by professionals and they do not diagnose a mental illness, then you do just have to improve your parenting skills. The natural healing approaches that others have advocated are certainly worth a try. This has been getting worse for three years?
My daughter attempted suicide at age 11 (how's that for self-revelation SnglDad?). She was medicated with wellbutrin, but it just changed her straight-forward depression to a bipolar situation which went away when I discontinued the medication (after seeking advice from a pharmacist, who said that there were NO STUDIES on wellbutrin in pediatric cases at that time--scary, huh). We found a therapist who helped, though it took him a while to figure out what exactly we needed. Once he did, we had two, count them TWO therapy sessions and we were done. Really! Hang on. Hang in there. And when SnglDad is around, hang tough! He has some good insights. He's probably right as often as most of us, and he doesn't pussyfoot around. (I wonder if that will be (filtered word)foot around?)

I oppose spanking for any child under any circumstances. I have said this in many posts since coming on this site. You have strayed from the subject and the serious problem that started this post. This woman, her child, and her family are in pain because of whatever it is that is going on with her child. I merely gave my opinion that suggesting corporal punishment is bad advice. We all have the right to our own opinion. Let's get back to trying to help this family in this very difficult situation.

That gail person opposes making step families for any child at any time. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

sorry, my connection went all wonky, And the suggestion to be wary of medicating is both useful and caring. This thread is all out of order!
I wonder if the three generations under one roof is really a good idea here. Especially a teenager sharing a bed with Grandma, with or without Grandpa also in the picture. And the way you have to second-guess yourself, and Grandma probably unwittingly undermining the parental role.

I agree with 2xstepmom. This family is in pain. They are looking for help, not critisizm or squabbling. Does anyone else have any useful and caring suggestions?

This has gotten petty and rediculous. How about everyone tuck there egos away. There are a lot of people out there in a lot of pain. We may do well to remember this before we start reacting to what people have posted instead of thoughtfully responding. I suggest acitez and singledad go back to my first posting wherein there was absolutely no suggestion to take pharmaceuticals. It was actually singledad who first mentioned pharmaceuticals in his mistaken view that I was a narrow minded drug pusher.

Please, please, PLEASE look up the Love and Logic method of natural consequince descipline. It saved our family unit, literally. We started out with the 1-2-3 Magic method which workes well with younger children but Love and Logic (Jim Fey) will do wonders for you and your girl if you are consistant with it. Good Luck.

Yes You are right, She is in control of the home because these outbursts or episodes or whatever they are take a toll on all of us. On occasion she will start to act out with my mother (never like she loses it with me or her dad) I am not againist spanking, by any means, but with this child it does not work, even as a smaller child it didnt. I do try to have special times just us...even then if its not what/when/how she wants it it will go horriably wrong. I do know I have spoiled her rotten and that she has a sense of entitlement like I have never seen before, even with that being said I worry its a deeper issue but again she does not act out in school, but I have seen her act very nasty with friends in our home. She seems to take pleasure in the disruption and torment shes causes. I have ordered The Total Transformation program from Dr. James Lehman after some research of the web, I am unsure if it will help, but I am willing to try Most anything at this point...

I know so much of what you saying to be true. I sometimes feel I put my own issues or feelings onto her and why things are the way they are....that makes me distrust my gut feelings. Thank you for all your advice and suggestions, now I have allot to think about :-)

When your daughter went to therapy, were you in the room w/ her, or was it a private therapy session? Also, how long did she go for therapy? I think this is significant in diagnosing a problem if there is one. Don't just let a dr tell you your daughter is fine if you feel in your gut she's not. Get several opinions, and give the drs the chance to really get to know your daughter. W/ your history, it's important to find out if there's a problem and what you can do to help your daughter. On the other hand, don't disregard SnglDad's advice b/c there is much truth to what he is saying as well. You need to be in control of the situation. You're the parent. I too am not 100% against spanking, and sometimes it's the only thing that works w/ my children. Use your judgement, but don't let your daughter run your life. Sometimes you have to back off and let children face the consequences of their actions. That's how they learn, even if it's the hard way. Keep us posted on how things go for you and your family. In the meantime, however, try to remain strong. You have a responsibility to your whole family and yourself, not only this one child. Good luck.

momx4girls, It can seem so out of control when our kids do not respond to our efforts to discipline and hold them accountable. While it is difficult to tease out exactly what is going on with your daughter, it MAY be that she is just a barometer of the stress that is experienced after moving in with your mom. While it might be easiest to step aside and let your mom deal with some of the tantrums, I also think it is important for your daughter to know that you CAN handle her, that you CAN deal with her and that you CAN assist her in gaining control and displaying appropriate behavior. If therapy is not an option...I would highly suggest two books..."Parenting with Love and Logic" and "Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach". Reading these books and implementing the ideas can TRANSFORM your relationship with your daughter. It is important that you begin to tell yourself silently in your head, "I can handle this...I can help her...I know JUST what to do." Never, ever let her see you sweat...and keep your own emotion out of it...even if that means unloading later with your hubby or mom about the stress you are feeling. CALM is the main thing...stick with it, it will be worth it. Those two books can show you how. All of the therapy in the world cannot replace a loving/nurturing relationship with a parent. You CAN do this! Good Luck! Wendy...mom of 3 www.kidlutions.com

I SERIOUSLY THINK SHES GOT SCHOOL ISSUES,IS COMING HOME WITH THEM,TAKING THEM OUT ON YOU.She needs the assurance that you'll sit and listen to her every word,hopefully understand where shes coming from.My youngest in only in 2nd grade,has had a bully pick on her basicly everyday.Weve even had to go to court,deal with it that way.We thought it was just her own doing till i was coming to school to pick her up,the boy bully through her to the ground,started pounding on her for no reason,it was awful..She started just the way i read in your story,now that i know more about her problem it seems to be getting better but the boy is on her case again because she wont fight back..

"she demands your 100% attention or things spiral out of control, and she gets so angry that she cannot calm down" Don't give it to her. If she is acting in a way that is disrespectful, remove yourself from the room, do not respond to her. If she tries to hurt you, she needs to be put in a place where she cannot her you or herself. Turn the locks around on her door and lock her in her room. Leave her there until she calms down. If she destroys her room, or damages your property (that you paid for) she must pay for it. Natural consequence for destroying others property is pay for it. Sell her belongings. Make her do chores to pay for it, make her earn allowance and return it to you. Sell her radio, cd player, ipod ect...to pay for the damage. You have to protect YOU first. DO NOT allow her to hurt you. She needs to be put in a place where she cant verbally or physically abuse you. IGNORE the behavior and remove the source of the problem.