I think DD may be suffering from bipolar or is depressed

(96 Posts)
womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 14:11:07

DD is 15, she used to be a very smiley chatty girl, she still is in some aspects and is pretty popular amongst her peers, with multiple groups of friends.
However recently she has become very withdrawn and introverted, she also has violent mood swings, she'll go from happy to teary to throwing things across the room and screaming. She's having problems with her older brother (16) who bullies her, now my DS is a lot bigger than her and she gets thrown around quite a lot. He also verbally abuses her too. I've told him not to but obviously being a teenage boy he won't listen to me or my DH.
I've noticed she's been wearing long sleeves recently and I have reason to believe she's self harming, however I am unsure how to approach her on that matter.
She's recently been in trouble with school for smoking on site and I know she's smoked cannabis before, but I am unsure whether she has done it more times since then.
I can't talk to her about it because she won't say anything or she'll scream at me. I want the best for her I really do but I have no idea where to start.
Can anybody who has gone through this before please give me a hand? I just need her to open up.

mumeeee Wed 24-Jul-13 14:26:32

She might be depressed but she is probably very upset about the. bullying from her older brother. Being constantly bullied and verbally abused will strip someone of all their confidence and self esteem. You need to come down hard on your DS and get some help.

Viking1 Wed 24-Jul-13 14:27:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 14:36:05

I do not condone this abuse at all, sorry if I made it unclear, we have screamed and shouted at him, however my son is about a foot taller than me and I cannot discipline him alone as he just walks off (I am unable to restrain him or keep him in a room to speak with him)

But I do not want to kick my son out as I am uncomfortable with him being homeless as recently a homeless man was kicked almost death around my area.

Viking1 Wed 24-Jul-13 14:44:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeySoulSister Wed 24-Jul-13 14:50:52

if he does it again,call the police....its assault

he will stop soon enough

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 14:57:59

He's going to Cornwall next week with a group of mates, if he does it before then I won't let him go away.

I've told him so many times I'll call the police, but I can never muster up the strength to do it, even though he treats my DD like s* he's still my son.

I will have a chat with my DD later when gets back from her friends.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 14:59:12

To see what she wants done (that is if she'll speak to me).

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:03:09

There is probably some middle ground between being able to physically restrain your son and being a passive bystander while he bullies your younger child into depression and self-harming.

Like Viking I find myself half wondering if this thread is for real. You are worried about your son being homeless but are able to accept the risk that your dd will be seriously hurt or driven to suicide by her older brother. Why do present risks to her matter less than possibly future risks to him?

This is what I think you should do:

1. Tell your ds that from now on you will not accept any violence in the house and that the next time he hurts his sister or anyone else in the house you will ring the police. And be prepared to follow through with this threat.

You are not doing him any favours by letting him think he can get away with physically bullying weaker people around him: if you ever want him to be able to have a happy family life he needs to learn now that this is a no-go zone.

Screaming and shouting at him is never going to work: you need to be very calm and firm and just spell it out clearly that you will not accept this and that you will do whatever it takes to put a stop to it.

2. Ask your GP to refer you to CAHMS for family therapy. A family where the adults accept that "obviously" a teenage boy will not listen to them is a family that needs support. This is not happy or normal, and it is not safe. Not for any of you. You need professional help.

3. Talk to your dd. Really, talk to her. Take the risk that she will scream at you or refuse to listen. That doesn't matter, just keep reiterating that you want to help her, and that if she can't take help from you, then there are other people around who will help. Reassure her that you will do everything you can to stop the violence in the home. Make sure she knows she can access the counsellor at school, make sure she has the numbers to Childline and the Samaritans.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:03:48


HmmmmNeedToDecide Wed 24-Jul-13 15:06:02

I had this from my brother. My mum said the same as you.

I still resent her now I'm in my mid twenties and haven't lived with her for 10 years. I moved out as soon as I'd finished my GCSEs.

He's 16 and a child, you can do something you are choosing not to, and he knows he can get away with it.

It's awful having the person that's meant to love you the most in the world step back and not do anything. It's soul destroying to be called names/sworn at/hit/shoved/kicked every day by a family member.

If it was a stranger in the street doing this to your DD what would you do?

She needs you to defend her.

Take away his phone, computer, pocket money, don't let him go away, and call the police.

He's a child living in your house, you need to hold him accountable. What are you teaching him about how to treat women?

HeySoulSister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:06:33

op....you are failing your dd....hope she picks the phone up herself and calls the police on her brother if you cant. wont be great for any future relationship they could have,but what choice does she have here?

HmmmmNeedToDecide Wed 24-Jul-13 15:06:35

Do not chat with her and ask her 'what she wants done'

Do something! You are the parent!

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:10:50

This thread is 100% real, of course I'm worried about my daughter! She has a bolt on her door to keep her brother out, I hardly leave the house any more because I know that he will go out of his way to hurt her. I'm a teacher so I have the same holiday as them.

I've tried every method with my son, being calm and firm doesn't work, he just disregards everything I say. And my DH is never home to discipline (he works 7am-9pm most days)

I have thought about family therapy for a while but I refused to accept it had gotten that bad.

I am unsure whether their school has a counsellor (and if they do it's never mentioned to parents)

HeySoulSister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:13:45

would they cooperate with family therapy even? I know my girls wouldn't!

does he not feel any shame or remorse? ever? I would film him doing it (somehow....wouldn't be able to just sit and watch it evolve myself tho)

might shock him a bit?

HeySoulSister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:14:07

does he do this in front of his mates?

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:14:46

Call the police FFS.

If it were her boyfriend she was being 'thrown around' and verbally abused by what would you do?

You are failing her. You are allowing your son to abuse her by never following through on any action against him.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:15:56

'I hardly leave the house any more because I know that he will go out of his way to hurt her'

And you start a thread about her problems????

VivaLeBeaver Wed 24-Jul-13 15:16:22

You're a teacher? Surely you've had some safeguarding training?

The message that you're giving your dd is that you care more about ds than you do about her - I'm not surprised she's depressed.

If you threaten your ds with stuff you don't carry out I'm not surprised he ignores you. He knows he can do what he wants and get away with it.

Don't you think that reporting him to the police might stop it, they're unlikely to prosecute but will give him one hell of a talking to and let him know if he does it again then they will prosecute. He will then know you're serious about calling them.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:16:30

I feel like a failure, my son intimidates me, he's 6'3 and a stocky rugby player, I can't do anything, he only listens to my husband.

I want what is best for all of my family and I don't want my daughter to resent me for not doing anything because I'm unsure on what to do.

When my DD and DS return home from their various outings today I am going to sit them down and have a stern chat (DH gets home early today so he can act as a mediator).

VivaLeBeaver Wed 24-Jul-13 15:17:45

And he needs to learn he can't do this.

How long before his temper boils over and he attacks a girlfriend, a stranger in the street, his future kids. You're not doing him any favours.

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:18:10

Your punishment for your son if he physically assaults your daughter is that he isn't going to be allowed to go on holiday?

Seriously, how do you think this is coming across?

I was about to post, but Twirlyhot has said exactly what I was planning to.

As a teacher, I'd hope you'd know about safeguarding, because it doesn't sound like it, from your post.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:19:04

It sounds as though you have totally lost control of the situation. I am by no means a strict parent but if this was happening in my home I am damned sure I would not tolerate it.

Your daughter is learning that she can expect to be assaulted in her own home by a member of her family. How is that a healthy way for her to handle future relationships?

Your son is learning that he can physically and verbally assault a young woman and no one will do anything to stop him. What sort of relationships do you think he is likely to form as an adult?

What you do now will directly relate to both of your children's expectations of what is a normal relationship. It is up to you and your husband to put a stop to this now.

The fact that your husband doesn't get home until 9pm is not relevant. He is the father of these children and needs to set out the boundaries, together with yourself.

I think you have no choice but to contact the police and tell them that a crime has taken place. Whether you do this now, on the basis of what has happened in the past, or tell your son that if he touches his sister again is up to you, but you can not simply tolerate criminal behaviour in your home.

ShadeofViolet Wed 24-Jul-13 15:20:03

Call the police?

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:20:30

And your husband's role is not that of a mediator ffs.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:23:32


From what you've said your daughter doesn't need 'mediation'! She's being verbally and physically attacked in her own home by someone who 'will go out of his way to hurt her.' And you think she has problems!!

Her problem is that she has to lock herself in her room to be safe.

Please get your head out of the sand. You have enabled your son's behaviour. Leave your daughter alone. You need to sit down with your son and tell him that if he lays one finger on your daughter again you will call the police, you will press charges and he won't be coming home again. And you need to actually mean it.

How have you let it get this far?

LittleBearPad Wed 24-Jul-13 15:24:51

Your daughter has a lock on her bedroom door because her brother attacks her!!! Do you think this is normal?

Your son sounds like a thug. How long before he's charged with assault for hitting someone else who does call the police?

Also don't ask your daughter what she wants to happen. Your the mother - you decide and be the parent here!

Floggingmolly Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:17

She's being (very badly) bullied by a member of her own family, in the supposed sanctuary of her own home, and you suspect her lack of jolly good humour points to bipolar disorder??
God almighty hmm

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:48

Exactly. You should be protecting your daughter as your first priority.

nenevomito Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:57

You're DD doesn't have depression or bipolar. She's being horribly abused in her own home and knows that her own home isn't safe.

You need to tell your son that the next time he assaults his sister, or you, that you will call the police. He needs to learn that he can't behave how he is doing and your daughter needs to know that you will protect her.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:08

Having to lock yourself in your room to avoid being assaulted tends to make people 'introverted' hmm

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:11

I know I have to deal with my son and I am thankful for your suggestions and I will tell him that next time he does it I will call the police and all privileges will be revoked and I will mean it.

Now that it being dealt with I would really appreciate some help with daughter, how do I talk to her about how she is feeling? I've always told my children they can tell me anything, but obviously she isn't telling me anything.
Should I take her somewhere away from home and talk to her there? Talk to her in her room?

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:37

"Stern chats" with a "mediator" are for when basically normal people have had a blazing row.

This is horrific.

ShadeofViolet Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:07

She probably doesnt feel like she can talk to you because you are offering her no protection from her brother, your son.

If you dont do something, you relationship will be broken beyond repair, if it isn't already.

The problem is not her, its your DS (and you).

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:11

x-post. Maybe the first thing you can tell her is that you WILL be calling the police on your son if he does it again, and reiterate that from now on you WILL keep her safe.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:52

Maybe tell her you're going to deal with the situation so she's safe in her home again. That she is important to you and you are sorry you have failed her, because that's where the anger will be coming from, and she's right. That you will listen to her and protect her from now on.

RippingYarns Wed 24-Jul-13 15:30:00

you cannot treat both your DD and DS the same in this 'chat', your DS needs to understand that assaulting people is against the law, your DD needs protecting from him, not to be sat round a fricking table so you can thrash out their 'difficulties'

i cannot believe you're a teacher, OP


cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:30:49

"I have thought about family therapy for a while but I refused to accept it had gotten that bad."

This is a bit of a jaw-dropping statement. Your dd is in fear of her life and self-harming; how much worse would things have to get? And would you have accepted a similar level of risk to your son without doing something? You yourself are saying you could not make him homeless because other people might hurt him. But your dd has to have a lock on the door in her own home to be safe. Is there a reason why he is the golden child and she is not?

Family therapy may not be the right format. But you need somewhere where you and your dh can go and talk about your parenting and your family setup.

"I am unsure whether their school has a counsellor (and if they do it's never mentioned to parents)"

But your dd is acting out to the extent where you suspect bipolar, a very serious MH disorder!!! So why have you not been moving heaven and earth to find out what resources there are to help her? How difficult is it to pick up the phone and say to the school receptionist "excuse me, do you have a school counsellor?"

I agree with the other posters though: before you start looking into counselling etc, your first action must be to ensure your dd's safety in the home. Not by wet threats of no holiday, but by telling your son that violence is unacceptable and that if you will do whatever it takes to keep his sister safe.

Floggingmolly Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:18

What do you want her to tell you? You are already aware of the problem and seem helpless or unwilling to address it; why do you think your daughter talking about how it makes her feel will have any impact on the situation at all? confused
Why don't you stop her abuse, then she might trust you enough to talk to you?

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:32

There's no way in hell to tell if she has any problems that need help when she's been treated this way at home. She needs a good 6 months free of verbal and physical abuse.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:48

*Now that it being dealt with I would really appreciate some help with daughter, how do I talk to her about how she is feeling? I've always told my children they can tell me anything, but obviously she isn't telling me anything.
Should I take her somewhere away from home and talk to her there? Talk to her in her room?*

Is it actually being dealt with, though? Where is the evidence of that?

I think you should take your dd out for dinner, either just the two of you or with your husband, tonight, and tell her that you are very sorry for having failed to recognise the seriousness of the situation, acknowledge that she has been the victim of crimes in her own home, and that you have made the irrevocable decision that if her brother assaults her one more time, you will phone the police and fully support any charges they bring against her brother (they won't charge him, they'll just caution him but she needs to know you are taking this seriously.

You and your husband, in the absence of your daughter, need to tell your son that he has committed criminal acts against your daughter and that if he lays a finger on her again you will phone the police and his feet won't touch the floor on his way to the police station.

You absolutely must follow this through and give him absolutely zero tolerance from now on.

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:24

Agree with Twirly, I'm not sure there's anything to be gained at this stage from a discussion that begins "I've noticed you are behaving in xyz ways, do you think you might be bipolar/depressed?" or similar. It's not going to be news to her that she feels like shit - the (probably) main cause is right there in her life. This doesn't sound like the kind of teen depression where there isn't an obvious cause and so it's a bit of a relief to have a diagnosis, or a discussion about one. The biggest single thing she lacks at the moment is a safe home environment.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:29

And as for not letting him go to Cornwall next week as punishment, the poor girl is probably counting the hours until he goes away and leaves her in peace!

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:49

Cross-posted again. Doesn't matter where that conversation takes place, all that matters is that it contains the following:

DD I am very sorry. I have not been protecting you and I am sure you are angry with me for this. You have a right to be. But I love you and I will put a stop to your brother's violence. Next time he hurts you I will ring the police.

Then let her see that you follow through.

And then talk to her again. Say that you understand she must be feeling very unhappy after all the things she has been through, that you want to help her, that you are always willing to talk, but if she feels she can't talk to you, how about the school counsellor/Childline/Samaritans etc? Tell her that you want her to be ok and that this is the most important thing to you.

HmmmmNeedToDecide Wed 24-Jul-13 15:36:17

Do not involve your daughter in tonight's conversation, she has not done anything wrong.

Tell your son what PP said - it's wrong and you will call the police and kick him out.

Why are you more worried about him than her?

Seriously I've lived this life, you have no idea what it does to your self esteem and self respect and relationships with others.

When I had my DS, my brother started on him when he was about 4, as he was jealous of the attention my mum gave him hmm he was 23!

I told him calmy and firmly that if he ever did that to my son again I would call the police, I pointed out if it was a stranger doing it they would end up in prison, he got the message and my son saw me defending him (my brother is 6ft 7 and 16 stone, I am 5ft 2 and 8stone if that puts it in perspective)

YY to filming him and showing him.

Does he treat others like this outside the house? I doubt it! He's fully aware and in control of his actions.

He chooses to treat his sister like this. And you let him, stop making excuses and be a mother. Unless you want your daughter to grow up and get into relationships where she has seven kinds of shit kicked out of her and called names, why wouldn't she? You let her grow up thinking that it was normal and acceptable for her to be treated like this angry

Think of the bigger picture and out your daughter first, for once.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:36:30

mumblechum put it much better than me. That is what you need to do. You need to commit yourself to this so that you cannot go back.

Inclusionist Wed 24-Jul-13 15:37:26

I agree with others but I also think you should self-refer both children to CAMHS.

Neither of them are behaving normally. Has anything happened to them?

antimatter Wed 24-Jul-13 15:37:31

I think you should call police, find out what it may happen if you report him and tell your son what awaits him.

You need to prepare him and yourself for the steps you have to take then.

Also other members of your family must know.

Do not sacrifice your dd for your son!!!

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:41:11


It is being dealt with as of now, when kids and husband return home we will speak to each of them respectively, and tell them what is going to happen, and I will not allow him to continue his disgusting abuse towards my daughter and also his attitude towards me.

And about Cornwall, I was thinking to let him go so DD can have some peace and quiet.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:42:51

You need to approach your son properly.

He is seeking out his sister to verbally and physically abuse.

He does not listen to you, his mother, at all.

You and your DH need to agree in private and approach him together. He needs to understand that what he is doing to his sister is assault. It's domestic violence. If he'd been doing that to anyone else he'd have had a court date by now.

You need clear parameters of acceptable behaviour laid out for him with specific consequences that you follow through on. His behaviour to you and your daughter needs to change completely.

Given that you've ignored it for this long and he's due to go so soon I would let him go away, have the discussions with your DH and both of you talk to your daughter whilst your son is away. Then, I would arrange that when he comes back your DD is staying elsewhere for a couple of days and you and your DH should sit him down and lay it all out.

HmmmmNeedToDecide Wed 24-Jul-13 15:43:17

mumblechum1 and cory have it spot on, your daughter needs to hear this.

This is making me irate OP I have spent 8 years in and out of therapy, on and off anti depressants and in 3 abusive relationships and I have only just realised I am not the problem and I do not/did not deserve to be treated like that.

I've accepted that mine and my mothers relationship with always be strained, it's irreparable. sad

PM me if you want. This is awful just awful.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:48:36

Once you've sorted the problem properly and things really change, your daughter might start (in a few months) to exhibit some challenging behaviour as she deals with the anger about what happened. That would be the time to go for family therapy.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:49:44

I have not ignored this behaviour from my son, I have taken away pocket money, phone, computer, xbox so many times thinking it would make a difference.

(sorry for the late post, bloody telemarketers!)

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:51:57

There are some lines that can't be crossed. When it's violence against a smaller sibling their safety has to come first. I would loathe to have to call the police on my child, but as you said, nothing else has worked.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:52:35

It was this sentence "I've told him not to but obviously being a teenage boy he won't listen to me or my DH" that made it look as if you were accepting that his behaviour is normal and nothing can be done about it.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:52:55

I know you've not 'ignored' it literally, but he has stayed in the house behaving in the same way, yes?

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:54:12

And you haven't deprived him of that much if he has a trip to Cornwall planned.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:59:20

The Cornwall trip is an annual thing, one of his friends has a house down there. It's been planned since last year, well before the abuse of DD began, since then I'd completely forgotten until it was brought up last month saying that he needed new clothes to go (to which I didn't buy, apart from a pack of boxers and socks)

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:59:21

Ds and I had this conversation when he was around 11 and very unhappy about things.

-What would you do if I hit you?

-Well, I would have to stop it somehow, I am your mum and it is my responsibility to make sure there is no violence in this house. But you are getting to an age where I probably couldn't restrain you without either you or me getting hurt. So I wouldn't really have a choice: I would have to ring the police. It would be about protecting you as much as me: making sure you didn't end up in a situation where you killed or hurt anyone badly. I am responsible for both of us.

Ds looked a little shocked, but seemed to understand where I was coming from.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 16:00:35

And has he hit her/verbally abused her in the last month?

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 16:05:42

Thank you cory, I hadn't thought of coming from that angle, I will be sure to mention that in the conversation.

Twirly Yes he has, I told him that his chances going to Cornwall were slim if he kept the behaviour up, but I think it might be best for my DD if does go, she can have a week in peace and I can plan some activities for us like a spa day or something, just to help her relax.

LittleBearPad Wed 24-Jul-13 16:11:21

When did the abuse begin if as you say it was in the last year? Did anything specific trigger it?

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 16:19:17

I have no idea what happened. They never really got on, but I just figured that was because they're so close in age and well, siblings argue. But it just got worse gradually, and I didn't notice until I saw him hit her then released that I need to do something, but what? So privileges started being revoked etc. but nothing changed, he still continued.

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:26:50

Your poor DD.

Rather than talk to her you need to show her that you are protecting her. She should feel safe in her own home! Did she put the lock on her door herself?

Your son has already one too far. You asked him to stop this many imes and he hasn't stopped yet. He should be stopped from lingo Cornwall and have other privileges taken away. Otherwise he will to Cornwall annoys your daughter will get some space, but she will still know that it will start again when he returns.

You have to all the police. Maybe you could call the non emergency number and ask their advice. They may be ale to come and have words with him, without pressing charges. If he hurts our daughter badly, she could end up in hospital and then social services will probably be involved as will the police.

Yes he is a teenager, but so is your daughter and she is at a vulnerable age and has hormones raging as well. She probably has alot of 'stuff' going on but she should at least be able to feel safe in her own home.

She needs to see that you are and will protect her. Maybe then she will feel able to talk to you. Talking to her at the moment isn't going to solve her problems.

Good luck.

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:28:31

By the way, I was watching that program last night about Frank Bruno, and bi-polar is something that can be triggered as a result of a traumatic event.

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:29:33

*going to

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:31:40

Sorry for my awful typing.

Otherwise he will go to Cornwall and your DD will get some space...

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 16:36:18


She asked about the lock (more of a bolt) because it would give her peace of mind, obviously wanting to do anything to make her feel better I got it and got DH to put it on the inside of her door.

I'm going to let him go to Cornwall, because if I don't let him go he'll just be even more violent. DD and I both need a break from him.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 16:43:38

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 16:05:42
"Thank you cory, I hadn't thought of coming from that angle, I will be sure to mention that in the conversation."

Actually, I wouldn't stress that too much in the particular conversation you will have to have- your situation is different in that he is not hurting you but his sister. I could afford to hint that to me he is (in a sense) more important than myself: you must never, ever let either him or anyone else think he is more important than his sister. So just tread lightly there imo.

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 16:57:39

Thanks for all the advice.

This has really been a reality check to be honest. DH is coming home at about 6 with DD and then I've told DS to be home by 7 but he'll probably break curfew to irk me.

So I'll have a chat with DD about what's going to happen when DS gets home and tell her everything we're going to say to him.

I'll post tomorrow what happens.

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:57:59

Poor kid.

Even behind a locked door, she probably still feels really terrified. She must worry that he could break the door down if he's a 6'3 rugby player.

You mentioned that she might be self harming, do you worry that she could do herself some serious harm behind that locked door.

I really hope you find a solution soon.

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 17:00:27

Good luck, OP.

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 17:09:08

Good Luck OP. I hope you can reason with him. Hugs to you and your DD. xxx

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 17:18:45

Good luck!

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 17:34:20

Good luck.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 17:40:45

Glad you're taking it seriously OP, and I hope the situation improves very soon.

SirBoobAlot Wed 24-Jul-13 17:47:46

Of course she's depressed; she's being abused, and you're just dismissing it as ''what teenage boys do'' when your son doesn't listen.

To be blunt, my immediate thought when you said she wanted a bolt on her door was that something more sinister was going on as well as the verbal and physical abuse she's suffering from him.

Please don't continue to think that just removing his xbox is sufficient punishment for this. I can't believe you're a teacher of all things, who must have done safe guarding training, and have allowed this to continue to happen.

Your poor DD.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 19:27:49

"To be blunt, my immediate thought when you said she wanted a bolt on her door was that something more sinister was going on as well as the verbal and physical abuse she's suffering from him. "

I have to admit I was wondering about that as well.

summer111 Wed 24-Jul-13 19:43:35

Have your daughter referred to CAMHS. She needs to be able to speak to a psychologist whom she can trust and who will support her in managing her feelings. She also needs to learn how to deal with negative emotions ie by not resorting to cutting as her default coping strategy. I am suggesting this as a mental health clinician and am not in any way minimising the effects which the violence forced upon her has had. However life can be tough and your daughter needs to learn strategies to deal with difficult situations in the future. With all due respect to school counsellors, they do not have the skills to deal with complex problems such as your daughter's.
You also need to seek some therapy for your son, possibly some form of anger management.

summer111 Wed 24-Jul-13 19:53:07

To add, your daughter has not felt able to confide in either you or your husband and has not been able to rely on you to keep her safe. It will take a long time and not a few chats, to build up any close relationship with her again and for her to recover. Be very open to engaging in family therapy.
If your son doesn't make changes in his behaviour, he needs to be accommodated elsewhere as there is definitely a safeguarding risk both for you and your daughter.

SirBoobAlot Wed 24-Jul-13 19:55:15

I disagree about telling her to stop cutting right now. If that is her current coping strategy, it shouldn't be made to be something bad until the terrible situation she has been forced into has been resolved.

Suggesting safer alternatives, like ice or elastic bands, is worth doing further down the line, but right now she needs support with the way she is coping, not to be told that the way she is doing so is wrong.

DoctorAnge Wed 24-Jul-13 20:26:11

The poor girl " thrown around" by her brother shock sad
I really hope things improve OP.

Viking1 Wed 24-Jul-13 21:03:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sheshelob Wed 24-Jul-13 21:24:52

I agree with SirBoob and Cory. This feels like something more sinister.

Your denial makes me feel desperately sad for your daughter. Protect her! Protect her. Who cares if he is bigger than you. You are the parent.

Fuck. I feel like crying. This is the worst thing I've ever read on here.

Helpyourself Wed 24-Jul-13 22:23:36

I hope it went well tonight OP.

summer111 Wed 24-Jul-13 22:46:53

Sirboobalot, I am not sure if your last post was in response to mine; if so, I think you have misinterpreted what I have said.
I didn't suggest that cutting is bad - however I do feel that the OP's daughter needs protected space to speak to a professional about what has been happening to her and to understand how this has impacted upon her self esteem leading her to self harm (if that is in fact what she is doing). Resolving the domestic situation will take time and giving the child space to discuss her feelings and how best cope with them is positive. A mental health professional will explain why cutting helps in the short term in relieving her symptoms and this is necessary but so too is offering alternatives, as she will be feeling rubbish about herself if she is self harming.

cory Thu 25-Jul-13 09:06:54

Viking's last post is very harshly worded, but even if you know that this is not the truth, it may well be how it comes across to your dd. You need to recognise that and spend a lot of time building up her confidence in your love for you. Be prepared to be rebuffed and rejected again and again. Have endless patience.

Let her know that there is nothing in the world more important to you than her. Not (just) because you say so, but because you show it, because you let nothing in the world stand between her and safety.

Eyesunderarock Thu 25-Jul-13 09:13:46

'I've told him not to but obviously being a teenage boy he won't listen to me or my DH.'

Then that is the problem you should be working on.
My DS is a foot taller than me too, three times as strong even when he's not in meltdown. So I've had to work on strategies, and the relationship and discipline in other ways than yelling and screaming, which are completely ineffective. What sanctions are you using to prevent the abuse?
She won't open up to either of her parents if you are condoning her mistreatment. Does school/GP have a counselling service she could access?
Viking's post was harsh, and I agree with it.
You are both failing your daughter and allowing your son to be abusive.

Eyesunderarock Thu 25-Jul-13 09:16:24

You think she's bipolar? hmm
She's trapped and without any sort of backup or support, and looking at years ahead of her unchanging. What is she suppose to do to escape?
How can she?

flow4 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:46:51

OP, I may have more sympathy for you than other posters, because I have also lived with a violent 16/17 yo DS, and had a younger sibling to protect as well as myself. I understand how the situation can worsen over months or even years in an odd, insidious, twisted way, so that you sort of slip into believing that appalling, abnormal, abusive, messed-up behaviour isn't really that bad. But it is. Really, your family situation is utterly awful.

As other posters have said, you talk as if your daughter is a problem, when in fact she has a problem. She is being badly abused in her own home, and her parents are failing to protect her. Of course she is disturbed.

You understand now that you must act, but I'm not sure that you are yet clear and confident about exactly what you must do. So I am offering you my benefit-of-hindsight advice here. You can get this situation back under control...

Here are the things you must do. Keep these in your head. They are all essential. If you fail at one, you will fail altogether.

1. Stop the violence. Protect your daughter.
2. Support your daughter to deal with the abuse she has been experiencing.
3. Support your son to learn to control himself.
4. Get support for yourself. This is hard and you need strength and help to make it happen.

1. Stop the violence. Protect your daughter.
Other people have said most of what needs saying. You must draw the line and tell your DC that there will be no more violence and you must call the police if there is. It took me months to reach this point, when my own DS was being violent towards me, so I understand how hard it is, and I understand that you don't want to do it, but (a) you have no other option and (b) it will work. I called 999 three times, and had my son arrested and charged on the 3rd. He has not been violent since. I know several other parents in this situation, and they have all found the same thing.
If by any chance your DS continues to be violent - and I really, really doubt it - then you will have to throw him out... Because although that will be awful for him (and you), it will be less awful than continuing to live with his violence.

2. Support your daughter to deal with the abuse she has been experiencing.
The first step is to act to stop the violence. You have absolutely no chance at all of supporting your DD in any other way if you do not do that, because until you do, for her you are part of the problem not part of the solution. Once she has seen you will protect her, after you have called 999, she may begin to accept other support from you, but it will take time - months or maybe years. Meanwhile you need to make sure she has support from someone else. Your first point of contact is your GP. Ask for a referral to counselling and CAMHS. Make absolutely certain she knows (and you may need help to understand this yourself) that you want to help her get support because she has had awful experiences, not because there is something 'wrong' with her. Family therapy may be useful too, but your DD needs support that is hers: at the moment you may have to accept that she has little reason to want to 'fix' the family and may prefer to leave it. cory's words - the apology and the promise - are the starting point for rebuilding your relationship with her. My younger son (who was not the main target of DS1's violence, though he was pushed, shouted at and stolen from) is still sometimes angry with me for failing to stop it earlier, a year after the last violence, and still wants a lock on his door to protect his things.

3. Support your son to learn to control himself
I understand how it feels impossible to control a boy-man who has grown bigger than you. It is impossible: that is why you need the police. He must learn to control himself, but until he does, you must call the police to control him, if - and every single time - he is violent. You should understand that calling the police to control him if he can't control himself is a responsible and loving thing to do. He may be frightened by his own loss of control - my DS1 was - and although he's likely to be angry in the short-term (my DS kept saying "I can't believe you called the police on your own son!"), he clearly needs someone to step in and may later be grateful. My son, a year on, sees me as having supported him through a period of him "being a shit".
Certainly, long term, we owe it to our sons to help them learn to have loving relationships, not abusive ones.
You need to talk to your son, probably almost constantly, about how he's behaving. The chances are his 'moral compass' has gone awry. You need to give him clear, consistent moral messages like "It's not ok to hurt people", "You need to control yourself now", "Stop, change what you're doing, that's not ok", and "It's great when you do the right thing!" Ask him questions, too, that make him think and take responsibility, like "What do you need to do now?", "How can you do the right thing here?"
Your DS would probably benefit from counselling but, like my son, he will probably refuse. It may help him (and you) to understand why his behaviour is abusive... But first the priority is to stop it.
If there are other factors you can see interfering with your son's ability to control himself - e.g. drugs including steroids, anger about something, being abused himself - then you may have other problems you need to deal with too.

4. Get support for yourself
You need more help, advice, strength, confidence and practical back-up than you have had. There isn't enough support for parents of teenagers, and it may be hard to find, but try to seek it out. Take it from anywhere and everywhere you can get it: your husband, family, friends, GP, schools, camhs, police, youthwork service, social services, anywhere. I know it is especially hard to ask for support when you feel that you have failed, but I can tell you from experience that it is a relief when you do, that it helps (usually), that you will find other people have had similar experiences, and that services will see it as a good thing that you recognise your limits and can ask for help.
Also look after yourself. You need to be strong to deal with all this. You also need to give your children - and especially your DD - a role model, and teach them that individuals deserve respect and care and joy in their lives.

Good luck.

MadBusLady Thu 25-Jul-13 09:58:22

Very helpful and compassionate post, flow.

Hope it went ok last night, OP.

Helpyourself Thu 25-Jul-13 10:15:02

Thank you Flow4

SirBoobAlot Fri 26-Jul-13 11:07:50

How did your talk go OP? I hope your daughter is okay.

DoctorAnge Sat 27-Jul-13 07:39:24

Wow what a great post from flow.

flow4 Sun 28-Jul-13 16:28:34

How's it going, womanofthehouse?

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