I am a single father of a 9 year old girl. The last couple of months she has really been acting out. She always got into trouble since she could crawl but lately it has gotten out of hand. She has been through so much, things no child should ever have to deal with. When she was only 4 months old, her mother and I split up and she lived with her and I got her every weekend. Her mother got moved in with her boyfriend and they had a child when she was 2 yrs old. The mother and boyfriend were smoking pot in front of my daughter and when I confronted her about it was told I was over-reacting and it was no big deal. They constantly fought and argued in front of her and would have people over partying at all hours of the night, I know this because I would call and talk to my daughter every other night and she would tell me. When she was 4 yrs old her little sister(through her mom and the boyfriend) died in a accident and my daughter saw the whole thing. The children were in the front seat of a pickup and her mother and bf were loading a engine into the back. The truck had a bad clutch that would slip and it was parked on a incline. The truck started to roll and the youngest child was sitting in the drivers seat and when the mother opened the door to stop it from rolling the child fell out and the truck rolled over her head. She did not die right away but stayed in a comma for 2 weeks. I got a call while at work saying there was a accident and to come to hospital. When I arrived, not knowing which child was hurt was told it was the other child and not mine. I picked my daughter up and she had her sisters blood on her clothes. I convinced her mother to let her stay with me while they mourned. A few days after the funeral I got word from someone on the boyfriends side of the family that they told my daughter that it was her fault her sister was dead and that she had killed her. Needless to say I wanted to kill whoever said it but the damage was done and to this day I do not know. What kind of sick vile person would tell a 4 yr old that she killed her sister when in fact if anyone was to blame it would be her mother.
I was going to have her evaluated to see just how badly this trauma had effected her. For awhile she would talk to herself and when she played she would talk to herself. When asked who she was talking to, she said her sister that was in heaven. I should have taken her then but I guess I was afraid talking about would make it worse and I thought she was so young that she would eventually not remember the event. After enough time went by she stopped talking to herself so I figured she was in the clear. In the years that passed, her mother had 2 more children. They moved about once every few months and once moved out of state which thankfully did not last long. About a year ago I got a call from her mother saying she was leaving her boyfriend for another man and wanted me to take care of our daughter. That was the best news I had heard so she came to live with me full time. While she was in the care of her mom, she struggled in school with D's and a couple of A's and she was always getting in trouble for her behavior. The first few months of living with me she was able to bring all her grades up to a B average and there were no more behavior problems in school. The ex-boyfriend has since turned into a crack-head and is constantly leaving his 2 children with family to go get high. My daughter has only been to her mothers once in a months time. She says she does not like going over there and cries when her mom makes her. She tells me that the other kids(the new boyfriends kids) are mean to her and not to make her go. I apologize for the long winded and depressing story but I did not want to leave anything out because I don't know what is causing her problems. Last month my daughter cut her hair off by herself. She had hair down to her waist and now it is above her shoulders. She decided to cut it when she got out of the bath and just walked up to me and said "you like my new haircut dad". I was completely shocked and amazed that she would do something like that. I severely punished her and tried to talk to her as calmly as possible to find out what she was thinking. Last Friday I was at the bus stop waiting for her like everyday and the bus came but my daughter did not get off the bus. I was going door to door in my neighborhood thinking she may have gotten off with a friend to play with when another child said she was not on the bus. I then call the school hoping that she just missed the bus and she was waiting on me. The school could not tell me where she was or what had happened. I call her mother to see if she or anyone had checked her out, but once again no luck. As you can imagine I started to really freak out by now and start thinking of the worse. The school then calls and says they found her so I flew out of there on my way. When I arrive they tell me a lunchroom worker found her walking on a major highway trying to walk home and we do not live in walking distance. She knows not to get into a strangers car but luckily this time she did because there is no telling what could have happened. When asked what she thought she was doing, she only said she wanted to walk home that day because she had a classmate that walks home. I think she didn't realize how far it is when you are walking. I tried to explain how dangerous and stupid what she did was. Once I calmed down I severely punished her again. I have done everything I know to do, I have spanked,took away all her toys and took away her time to play on the laptop,video games, and playing outside. Basically all she can do now is her homework and read a book or draw. I am at my witts end and have an appointment with a counselor next week to see if we can figure this thing out. I just don't know if its everything she has been through or something else. I would imagine she is still having issues about her sister. I asked her yesterday on the way to church if she was upset about her mother or not seeing her other 2 siblings but she said no. When asked if she was sad about her sister dying,she hid her face and started crying. She didn't want me to see her cry for whatever reason and I just could not stand to see her hurt that bad so I didn't question her further. If anyone has any ideas I would greatly appreciate any input you may have and once again I am sorry for making it sooo long.
don't worry about it being so long- I think we needed every bit of that information-
The counselor is fine for you both, although I have a few insights- I was a single parent too at one time....
what you have done is great- taking on the role of a single parent and there is definitely no question in my mind that she is better off with you.
1. Get full custody and only supervised visits with mom- a mom that drugs out is bound to have had at least one arrest- that should be enough for a court to decide she is an unfit parent. I don't care who said you were overreacting- YOU ARE NOT.....
2. you are a bit too emotional- Single parents have to take on both roles as mom and dad you see- it will take time but just remember the mom is the heart of the family the dad is the head- and you are having to be both/ you are playing emotional mom and disciplining dad- it will take a bit of work but you will get used to it- both times I see that you disciplined her severely whatever that means- I think if you were to honest with yourself- you were emotionally upset-
WITH AN EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED CHILD YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HAVE A BAD DAY- Will you? probably- but work on it..... practice staying calm and unemotional when you discipline- I have some notes in my journal if you are interested. It will give you some guidelines.
I have worked in public schools for over 20 years and at least half of the children have cut their own hair or the cat's whiskers or sister's hair----when they found out how scissors work- that was a bit of an overreaction. You can't go back but you can tell her you were out of line.
I would cut her a lot of slack for now- this whole ordeal has been devastating-
I see one huge plus- she is doing well in school. The best news thru this entire drama- besides you getting her to live with you- is that she is self disciplined at school- That is ONE HUGE DEAL! believe me- society wants and needs self disciplined people and she is "already there"
You are her emotional anchor now- if she acts out at home it is because it is a safe place she knows she can have her real feelings- because for the first time in her life she feels stable enough to have those emotions.
At age 8 there should be a fully developed conscience but EVEN THEN she should not be held accountable for actions that are silly or mistakes or forgetfulness or odd. Only defiant disobedience and disrespect.
I see you all go to church- I have some ideas of how that can help you all too but I will wait to see if you even want that advice-
I have an eight year old daughter who has witnessed violence from her father against me. She has seen more than a child should, although not nearly as much as your daughter. She doesn't need punishment in my oppinion. She needs to talk about what she has been through. Going to a counsellor is the right move.
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