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Adult child has trashed younger child's bedroom.(18 Posts)
We are survivors of DA. Younger child and adult child fight, usually over younger one using her things. But older child is also abusive towards younger, swearing and winding up etc. Adult child has mental health issues but still holds down a job etc.
Today adult child couldn't find an item of clothing, thinks younger child has it so has trashed younger one's room while I was at work (fortunately child wasn't in the house either). Broken glass and stuff everywhere. Been through that enough times with exH.
I knew adult child was upset so I cancelled evening work to be at home together.
Get home and find this...
What do I do?
Is she remorseful and is she willing to clear up all mess, replace broken things and apologise to her younger sibling? If the answer is yes to all of these things then I think maybe it’s possible to move on from this, if not I would be reporting her to the police for criminal damage and asking her to move out this evening as it is completely unacceptable to behave like this.
She's not home yet. I don't know if she'll be sorry. This is the worst it's been apart from sweating and horrible insults.
I can't tell her to move out as that means a) rejecting her when she is already terribly insecure, and b) sending her to exH who is the reason she's like this, in my opinion. He treated her (and me) apallingly and I was too afraid to stand up to it a lot of the time. I did shield her when I could and still do too much for her probably. She hardly lifts a finger at home really. But it seems almost as if she sees the younger one getting a different life and, although it's completely unreasonable, she subconsciously wants her to have harsh treatment 'to be fair'.
The horrible thing is I left him, eventually, to give them a better life free from crap and I am worried it was too late for her. She says that temper is 'genetic' - I think that's bullshit.
Does she have any support for her mh issues? Could she be persuaded to visit gp? If she has grown up in an abusive atmosphere it may make her perception of the norm skewed. Has she been in contact since?
Temper may be genetic (or inherited/learned). How you behave when you lose your temper is not genetic. Everyone gets angry. Some people scream and shout. Others walk away/do relaxation exercises/go for a long walk/whatever.
You can tell her that she can carry on believing that she has no control over her behaviour, and she can carry on being a victim for her whole life, or she can accept that she has a problem and seek help. Anger management courses are widely available and good.
It is completely understandable if she has a lot of anger locked away inside and it is entirely understandable that she lets it out in a place where she feels safe. But she is allowing herself to direct it at the wrong person, and to direct it in a way that harms her and harms the people closest to her. That's not good - but she is young enough to deal with it now, before it destroys too many relationships and screws things up for her further.
She has a lot of anger doesn't she? Has she had counselling to work through it?
I've no idea about a hot temper being genetic or a learned behaviour. It does run in families though. Many people in mine are hot heads. I was pretty bad but I've learned to manage it, it can be done. She needs to own it though and not act like it's something she can do nothing about and has no responsibility for.
The swearing and insults I wouldn't tolerate. I think you need to lay out some ground rules and tell her she has to leave if they are not followed. She doesn't have to go back to your ex; you could help her find her own place. I have a niece in a similar position who lives with her Grandma.
How old are they both?
Is there nowhere else the eldest could go?
Just because the elder one was emotionally abused, it does not mean that it's ok to do it to their younger sibling.
Sit her down. Explain it wasn't acceptable. Ask her to apologise and tidy it up. She will need to replace anything broken. Then move on. I bet she knows she was in the wrong and is scared of what you will say. Don't give her a fight. Stay calm and let her know you still live her but at the same time won't tolerate her behaviour.
I'm concerned more than angry - upset of course. I intend to have a calm talk with her - she seems to always turn it into 'oh so now I'm the bad one just because I've lost it??' And yes, it is about this particular
unpleasant behaviour, rather than the petty spats which are six of one and half a dozen of the other usually.
She has had involvement with support for mh, most of it useless then found a private counsellor who was fantastic. That's a story in itself but she stopped going and now says she's too embarrassed to go back...
I don't know if she's ready to live on her own - she says she wants to but then doesn't do anything about it. I think I will offer to help her find somewhere.
They are 20 and 12. Yes, I think the abuse has coloured her behaviour - she hates her dad for it but doesn't seem to see that she can change, just justifies it. They do see him. It's always unpredictable. Now, he doesn't discipline the younger one AT ALL so I can kind of see where the older one's coming from. I am NC with him.
Encoyrage her to go back to the counsellor. Could she email/message rather than call if the initial contact is likely to be awkward . Moving out at this point may just feel like rejection and favouring younger dd, and she will be vulnerable. Does she attend college or work ft?
It's not going well so far...she's come in, isn't at all sorry, feeling very hard done by, gone out again.
I'm sorry, but I think it may be time for some tough love.
Your 20 year old is an adult and needs to behave like one. At the moment she is being abusive towards a child. Just because they are siblings doesn't make it ok. Would it be acceptable for your adult daughter to lash out at a 12 year they disagreed with in the street?
It's hard but it is not a normal sibling relationship when there is such an age difference. There is 12 years between me and my sister, we had a pretty grim childhood, I spent a number of years on the at risk register, but I would never have treated her like that. There is just no excuse.
I too am a survivor of DA, it's not your fault and your daughter needs to come to realise that. Yes she needs support to do that, and to heal herself, but not at the expense of your 12 year old, who cannot make choices for herself yet. Your adult daughter can. Set some ground rules, counselling, anger management, no aggression towards her sister... She either chooses to stick to them or leave and face the reality of being a grown up.
If I came across this situation in my job as a teacher, I would have no choice but to raise it as a safeguarding issue with the child protection officer in school.
I really hope you mange to find a way of resolving this and moving forward happily together xx
Thank you *@grownupteenmum*, good advice. She has surprised me by suggesting a contract for us all and offering to pay rent (she really does want to stay here, then!) And offering to go to counselling with me, which is a start. And I'm going to look into a parenting programme for support with the younger as well as the older. I do think she is scapegoating the younger one as an excuse for her own bad behaviour and that that level of anger is cause for concern
She's angry with you for protecting the younger child when you wouldn't protect her (by leaving her abuser at a younger age). She is angry that you won't tolerate her abuse toward the younger sibling when you tolerated abuse towards her. She's jealous of that and jealousy isn't rational.
I certainly do understand how it panned out the way it has, I'm not a twenty year old from a traumatised background. However she sounds truly remorseful and asking for counselling is an excellent step.
Your 12 year old needs a lock while you sort - agree with the counselling space for the older but she needs a safe space and if it can't be guaranteed by behaviour rules she needs to know her room will be the same when she gets home as when she went out to make sure she isn't stressed about going to school or other normal outside the house so spaces.
Be very careful here.
You have a child - trashing a child's room is abusive. Your 12 year old must feel safe in her own home.
If the behaviour happens again the 20 year old needs to leave to protect the 12 year old. The 20 year old needs to know this and know it now. She needs to apologise and replace everything and clean everything up and grovel.
No matter much the 12 year old winds up big sis, big sis cannot lash out. She's older.
You left to protect your kids from domestic violence, don't let the younger be a victim of it from her big sister.
When talking to the 12 year old - don't make excuses for big sis. It was not ok, she has a right to be mad and scared and it won't happen again. The 12 year old needs to know this.
Unfortunately the oldest one is now committing DA against your youngest one. Strict rules of behaviour and counselling is a must. If she does not follow things to improve her behaviour she has to leave so you can protect your youngest one. She would feel rejected, be vulnerable etc but she knows this behaviour is bad through seeing and experiencing it from your exH