Yesterday, my wife took our two younger kids and left because my 9 year old daughter (not hers) is exhibiting sociopathic tendencies. She had asked the pediatrician about it, and the ped. told her not to leave the babies (ages 1 and 2) with her unattended. I took her yesterday to a psychologist, who wasnt' sure how to proceed because he doesn't have a full time practice. He further said the kinds of behaviors she's exhibiting are very hard to undo once they're ingrained in a child. She wants me to send her back to her mother, who is likely a sociopath as well. That's why I got custody of her in the first place. For one thing, her mother probably won't be honest about issues with a therapist since she herself isn't honest about her own issues. Also, having overheard the huge fight we had, if I now go to my daughter and ask how she would feel about living with her mother, she will obviously know the reason and probably feel like no one wants her. I don't know what to do.
Oh my goodness, what a sad situation. I'm sure this is heavy on your heart. I'm afraid that your daughter would not be safe at her mother's home as that is why you took custody. Is that an option, realistically for her safety?
I understand your wife's fear as her number one job is to protect the younger children. But you also have a responsibility to your older daughter. You are in an awful spot indeed.
I believe I would get a second opinion about your daughter. I'd go to someone that specializes in children and make sure it is a psychiatrist.
Has the girl done things to the little ones? Is it impossible to think that your 9 year old could not be supervised? Honestly, my pediatrician told me not to leave my newborn unattended in the same room with my 1 year old. I didn't flip out and think I needed to seperate them forever even though he was not to be trusted alone with the younger child.
Again, I understand how your wife feels but as a father, you must do what is best for your 9 year old. The younger ones have their mother, the 9 year old seems to have no one but you in terms of healthy adults.
I feel really bad for you and hope that some resolution can be made so that the best happens for all the children involved. good luck
The problems have come and gone in phases, but we've had a lot of issues for the last 4 years, really ever since my wife and I first moved in together. My daughter would be extraordinarily mean and hateful to my wife when I was at work, then be completely normal when I was around. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, my daughter elbowed her in the stomach, totally out of the blue for no apparent reason. There was constant disobedience, too. A year later, when my wife was pregnant with our second, my daughter tried to trip her. She also tried to trip my father once when we were visiting his house. We moved into a new house, and after awhile there, she killed a bird in the driveway. Then started the disobedience again, this time with constant lying as well. We took her to a couple of therapists, both of whom she was able to lie to and manipulate. Things got okay for awhile after she visited her mom for a few months in the summer. But recently, attitude has started back up, and trying to make my wife angry or annoyed on purpose, trying to start fights between me and my wife, etc. Also, during a visit to the grandparents' house, while playing outside with her younger cousins, she stomped on a toad they had been playing with, then buried it to try to cover it up. When we ask her why she does the things she does, she just says, "I don't know. I have no reason, I just do it." She isn't bothered by any consequences we mete out at all. Maybe being with her mom is the best thing, but I just worry it will make her worse, and maybe being with us can help her, at least somewhat, counteract her natural tendencies. Unfortunately, it seems now she can't be with "us". My wife can take no more, she is afraid for the babies' safety.
Well, honestly--------- you have a two year old and a one year old and you mention no attempt to hurt them. You had a very long list of things and they are not on the list once. I gather that your wife finds her unpleasant and unruly and would like her out and you feel like she causes problems in your relationship?
Well, I don't really think it is an option to send her back to her mother's as her mother has serious problems and the two of them together would be a disaster. I don't think you could live with yourself as you feared for her enough to gain custody already.
So, I guess live seperately from your wife and visit your other children as much as you possibly can. This is really sad and I'm sure you are really torn. But your daughter has no healthy adult to look after her. You are in the position of having to do it.
And as she has had bouts of this vs. constant from your description, I don't think it is accurate to say that this is her make up and the behavior is "ingrained".
I understand the risks with the other kids and of course she should be supervised----- but must she go back?
Anyway, I feel terrible for you as this is quite a difficult situation. You are between a rock and a hard place. Best wishes for a peaceful resolution.
Well, she is not outwardly aggressive. But she has purposely left scissors right next to the babies' toys before, and just recently, when she and my other daughter were coloring, gave her a box of crayons with scissors right on top of the crayons. When swimming, she was calling our younger daughter toward her, away from us, knowing they can't swim. And she should know better, her older brother drowned as a child. As far as it not being constant, it really seems that she just temporarily straightens up to get us "off her back" if you will. She is a very gifted actor, already, and can even turn on fake waterworks at the drop of a hat. The fear has always been that she might turn out like her mother in spite of everything I and my wife do, and that seems to be the case. Her mother, admittedly, has settled a tiny bit with age, but she's still not right. But she is married to a seemingly stable man, and perhaps my daughter might relate to her more than me, since her mom might understand her better. I have left out a lot of details, as this is a veeeerrry long story. Another little tidbit is I am not the biological father. Found that out when she was about three. The bio. is in prison for manslaughter. About five months ago, we told her about me not being biologically related, but that I'm still her dad, and I still love her, etc. Didn't mention the bio. to her at all, and she didn't ask. She didn't seem fazed by it at all. She said, "That's okay. I don't care. You could have told me a long time ago." I sometimes wonder if she didn't already know. Not everyone is careful about they way they talk about things, you know. In any case, we are trying a little experiment. She is leaving tonight to spend the rest of the summer with her mom. My wife and I are gonna get a sitter and spend a couple days together with no kids, and then have the rest of the summer to see how we all feel when she gets back. Not real sure what's gonna happen at that point, but I jumped on it, because I do not want to divorce my wife. I love her very much, and she honestly has tried very hard with my daughter, and done a lot better than I or my family ever did. But the harassment and antagonism are wearing at her. I honestly can't say I blame her, but it still *****.
Well, I know what the starred out word was and it was a good description. Yeah, this is a really hard situation. I can totally understand the dilema you are in. I feel for your daughter though. She's just a girl and if she does have mental issues, she will have much to deal with her whole life. That she had you to count on was a good thing in her life.
You have the rest of summer to ponder this. Although it sounds like you've already made up your mind. It's hard because I think you are torn. I think you'll always wonder if you made the right decision in sending her away. I wish you luck. Very difficult and painful situation.
Came into this kind of late. But you are stuck in a no win situation. Your wife has two very young kids. She has no experience yet dealing with older kids. The two little ones certainly would take up all her time. Even if the 9 year old was kind of typical, it wouldn't be easy given the situation.
I believe that you and your wife will have a lovely summer - well, as nice as you can have with two little ones around.
Everything will change when your daughter does come back. If you want this to work, all of you will need counseling. And I don't mean by someone who," doesn't know how to proceed because he doesn't have a full time practice." Frankly, you either commit to that or end it now. One reason I say that is that if you go through and read the posts in this community, your daughter is not that bad or unusual. And its utter nonsense that once something is "ingrained" in a child, it can't be changed. It can, but it takes knowledge and work. Try buying, "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark and reading it before she gets back and see if that will also help. Good luck - you are in a tough place, I feel for you.
OK, so here's the option. We change the custody arrangement to shared parenting with her mom being the residential custodian, and us having her with us for the summers. See, shared parenting normally would have been a no-brainer if her mom didn't live four states away. My wife is very firm about this, she absolutely will not risk the babies' safety. I don't like it, but I'm not absolutely opposed to it, either. I just would like to get her in therapy first to see if anything helps. Unfortunately, this is not an option with my wife. Theoretically, I could possibly get it worked into the custody agreement that I am to have an active part in the therapy, via telephone, or whatever. Might be complicated with it being an inter-state custody agreement, though. Thoughts and opinions?
Ok, my honest opinion.
First you are really stuck in the middle. You've got a kid who does't like the new situation is trying to mess it up. She is not "sociopathic". Every thing you have posted is somebody's opinion of what might have happened. Oh except when she was 5 or so and elbowed your wife. Heck, my son nailed me in the groin right after my vasectomy, and I didn't think he was a socialpath. What you have is a lot of expectations based on the not so nice behavior of a kid who is being passed around. Read other posts on this forum. REALLY. I can give you 4 or 5 fairly recent ones for kids of that age. She not only is not that unusual, There are kids a lot worse.
One question we haven't asked is how is she like at school? If she has no problems at school, then this is directly related to her home life and is solvable. If she has these problems at school - then you need to look at something like ADHD perhaps.
The point is (in my opinion) your wife hasn't bounded with her. This is very understandable. Her hands are very full - I mean back-to-back kids! That takes every ounce of her time. And I am guessing that she has not yet had a lot of experience dealing with discipline - ya, that will be coming later on, but for now -no way- and she is the one at home dealing with the day to day situation.
In many ways, I would think that if you did custody arrangements that having her during the school year when she was not at home all day would be easier.
Anyway, as I said in my first post. You and your wife need joint counseling. She needs to understand this can work with the proper procedures. You need it so that you are not stuck in the middle - and you need to understand what is going on with your daughter. Frankly, if you cannot get joint counseling - I would kiss your daughter (or your wife) goodby. Ok, thats too brutal. My guess is that your daughter will spend a lot of time with your ex. Do all you can to be a part of her life. Skype is great! phones, email, twitter, facebook. Maybe as everybody matures - she can once again be a part of your life. Good Luck!
Couldn't agree with Sandman more. Very sad. There are times in our life that we have to do the more uncomfortable and difficult thing. Your wife knew you were a package deal. I think you are taking the easy route out and your daughter will suffer for it. I'm not sure you will ever be able to look at your wife the same way-------- I know I wouldn't. I'm not trying to be harsh but your descriptions are not that of an out of control kid. Every little thing she has done, you extrapulate out to some evil intent. I think your wife would like to not deal with her and wants her gone. That is my honest opinion. I hope it works out for you all but this will not have a happy ending if she is sent away. You will always live with a road block between you and your wife, you will lose some of the contact with your daughter that she desperately needs, and I think there will be even worse consequences down the road with your daughter's behavior. Heck, your little ones may get the point that if they are bad they get sent away.
Again, I'm really not trying to hurt your feelings or upset you but telling you how this looks to an outsider. If you said she was putting pillows over their faces in the middle of the night, that is scary. But leaving scissors in the room with them . . . heck. I've done that. Not exactly evil.
I do wish you luck--------- you are in a very difficult spot.
Thanks everyone for your comments. Just want to clarify a couple things. One, my wife has had a lot of experience with kids even before having her own. Also, this stuff has been going on for four years, now, and I've only provided a partial list. My wife really has tried and tried. She loves her, and it's killing her to admit she's not strong enough to deal with it anymore. You all are right, I am very torn. I see my wife's point of view, and feel bad for my part in putting her in this situation, but I also feel the way you do about some things. One other thing, which you all will probably take with a grain of salt, but I know to be true, is that my wife has a rather uncanny knack for being a judge of character and sensing things about people. Once, a long time ago, upon meeting a man one time for less than five minutes, she knew he was a *********, and warned the people who had introduced her to him not to let him around their kids. Sadly, they didn't listen, and some time later discovered he had been taking inappropriate pictures of their daughters. That is just one example. Anyway, though she may be a little clouded by fear right now, she really believes something is wrong. And while I appreciate the comments to the effect that my daughter is not as bad as we imagine, and that we can deal with it, I partially agree, however, in your responses you don't mention the animal killing. I'm pretty sure that's not normal, and is in fact a pretty bad sign. Combine that with the fact that her mom was a firebug during her teen years, and her biological father is in prison for manslaughter, and I'd say we have some pretty valid concerns. Like I have said in a previous post, I have always feared she will turn out like her mom despite any thing I or anyone else may do for her. That appears like it is going to be the case, and maybe worse. I love her, but I love my wife and other kids, too. At least if we change custody, I still have her in my life, and don't lose the rest of my family in the process. You all are right, I am very torn and heartbroken over this. I want to do the right thing, but unfortunately, I don't think there is a "right thing" in this situation.
Still very curious - more so now - what is your daughter like in school? Has she been sent home for bad behavior this year or any years in the past? Have her teachers complained about her behavior? If so, does her behavior change once the year is going on - or are the teachers still complaining at the end of the year? What are her grades like? Do her grades go up and down? How does she test on standardized tests?
I have always feared she will turn out like her mom despite any thing I or anyone else may do for her. That appears like it is going to be the case -- your words
Shagdaddy - Saddly, I agree with you. I feel that this child does not have a conscience and could very well be a sociopath. I think your wife is correct in trying to protect her children and her family. I know it is very difficult to see a child in this light, but, unfortunately, they do exist. That does not mean you do not "try", but I feel your first obligation should be to your wife and your babies. If, in fact, this child is a sociopath, you will not be able to change her, control her, or cure her.
I suspect the case for your daughter being similar to her mother is very strong. Our ex-DIL suffers from many mental health issues. I had so hoped with proper intervention, therapy and medication that our granddaughter could be "saved". But her father has said for the past couple of years "she's just like her mother" and I'm afraid that the genetic pull is just too strong. The onset of puberty has a tremendous (usually negative) effect on mentally unstable children and your daughter is almost to that age. I still have hope for a miracle or new research for our granddaughter but ...
I feel for you because as you said "there is no right thing in this situation" -
Well, I'm old school. The best thing to have done was to consider these things before getting into an impossible situation with a new wife and additional children. I know we are entitled to a life but you were dealt a child that has issues and one that needs you. Just because you moved on and started a new life, she gets the short end of the stick. There is no right in this situation now, that is true. I just wish that the adults in this situation had thought things through before it got to this point.
I just feel so very sad for this little girl. And honestly, for you dad as well. I think this will be a haunting situation for a long time. I don't mean to be harsh, I really don't------- I feel bad for all involved. I have young kids and I must protect them. But then I think ----- what if one of them had an issue and I put them in a situation where it was no longer okay to live with me. That makes me feel terrible. Wishing you luck and peace.
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