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Topic : 04/17 Dangerous Kids

Number of Replies: 260
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Created on : Thursday, April 13, 2006, 01:12:18 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

What happens when a child you’ve loved and raised turns against you? Meet families who are afraid for their lives because their children are angry and incredibly violent. Thirteen-year-old Nick is so out of control, he has used an ax to destroy his home, often chokes his little brother, and has threatened friends and family members with a knife! His aunt, Tonya, fears for the family's safety so much that she calls every morning just to make sure her sister is still alive. Dr. Phil informs Nick's parents, Greg and Trisha, that they have a tough decision to make. Then, Laurie says her 14-year-old daughter, Mariah, hates her so much that she feels Mariah is capable of killing her. They get in knock-down, drag-out fights at least twice a week that don't end until Mariah is physically pulled off her mother by her stepfather. Laurie's husband, Don, is ready to call it quits because he can't deal with his stepdaughter's violent and rebellious behavior. What is behind Mariah’s anger? Talk about the show here.


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April 17, 2006, 12:04 am CDT

Definitely a subject I should chime in on

To an extent, I was actually one of those dangerous children. 


My sisters annoyed me so much when I was 12 that I scared them by stabbing knives in their bedroom door. 


I also hit my mother after getting so angry when I was 16. 


I had major anger problems back then.  At that time, anger was a blanket of protection for me--a blanket of protection for the ridicule I've taken from peers and the lack of understanding my family had for the problems I had.  Eventually, I had to do something which I never heard verbalized until I started watching Dr. Phil six months ago: give yourself the love you wish others would give you. 


Was there any excuse for any of my past behavior?  Of course there wasn't.  I have to live with the memories of these incidents for the rest of my life, learn from them, what's behind that anger (as Dr. Phil says, behind anger, there's always something else).  My mother didn't deserve any of that, and neither did my sisters.  I wish I never did any of those things, but that's reality.  


I'm not violent at all now.  In fact, I'm actually quite calm now, often a mediator for many disputes, knowing how little fighting solves and how much more problems it causes.  A lot of my positive changes over the years is because I'm now aware of some of the problems I had: ADD in particular, although my current counselor is looking into possiblities of Asperger's syndrome and depression, and whether any depression symptoms are because of true clinical depression or if they were a result of trying to cope with society's reaction to my various issues, which happens often with ADD/ADHD and autism spectrum disorders). 


I was in counseling twice during my teenage years: one for communication skills, the other for anger management.  My mom still insists, to this very day, that I got nothing out of these sessions, although I beg to differ (from her perspective, she was desperately looking for a solution, and was frustrated that dramatic changes didn't happen--I was only in these sessions for a month each: one at age 14, the other at age 17).  If I didn't get anything out of these sessions, I would have probably been in jail at various times in my life (and I currently have no criminal record, and no plans on having one).


I've also taken martial arts at age 14, which, unfortunately, made things worse, as, at the time, I didn't want a fix for my anger problems (again, it was a blanket of protection for me). 


So my advice goes to two different groups of people:


1) If you are a teenager with major anger problems, you need to ask yourself what's behind your anger.  Is it fear?  Is it frustration?  Are you afraid of someone within your family or something bad happening?  Are you frustrated because the ones close to you don't understand you?  Are you using your anger as way to dominate others or look tough?  If any of these things are true, then you need to talk to your school counselor, church pastor, or anyone you can reside confidence in so you can get whatever's hurting you under control and find some closure before you hurt the people you care about the most any further. 


2) If you are living with a teenager who has major problems with anger, then look at #1 above and ask this person some of these questions without getting angry and frustrated yourself.  In addition, you may also want to take them into counseling.  There can be other problems as well:


- Depression

- Bipolar Disorder


- Oppositional Defiant Disorder

- Conduct Disorder (which is often a sign of future Antisocial Personality Disorder, psychopathy, or sociopathy)


if nothing is done about their issues, it could lead into some grim possibilities:


- suicide

- homicides

- aggravated battery


Although, to be honest, if your teenager does have Conduct Disorder, then I think everyone here should be saying prayers for you, as psychopathy is some really bad stuff: your son/daughter has no conscience, no ability to learn from his/her mistakes, and no remorse when hurting others.  Some say there's no cure for this.  I personally would like to find out if there are any reformed psychopaths, sociopaths, or people that have had ASPD...

April 17, 2006, 5:38 am CDT

Doesn't Happen Overnight

Quote From: usafmomx4

I agree it does not happen overnight.  Unless there's head trauma, seriously, this is a learned behavior.  As for the spanking?  It works when they're little to get their attention but at 14, LLCOOLT yes, it is probably extreme at that age.  I feel for you but it had to have started a long time ago as it has to have happened for all the kids on the show.  I'm not an expert and I'll never write a book on parenting but I haven't had any problems with my kids.  Knock on wood!!  But we're open with all our kids, they know there are consequences to all their actions.  You can't "talk" to a 2 year old on the hows and whys an oven is dangerous or going to close to the edge of the street can mean being squished by a car. But after a couple of "no"s being ignored a swat on the butt gets major attention.  Then talking, timeouts and privileges revoked as they get older puts everything in perspective.  But love is the basis for it all.  Our kids fight, like all kids.  Cats and Dogs, as the saying goes!  But not everyday.  Tempers flare like normal families, we've just gotten creative.  When our "twins" (boy/girl") fight we've written down the "names" they've called each other and when tempers cooled down we had them read it to each other.  Let me tell you it works.  When you're not mad and you have to read aloud all the mean things you yelled at the table with the whole family watching it doesn't make you feel like a winner.  The kids realized how hurtful they were and are truly sorry and especially embarrassed for acting "dumb".  It ends up in a laughfest because the names were really made up on the spot. We haven't done that in a long time because they haven't wanted to "read" to the family.  When they were younger and they liked to "hit" each other, we taped they're arms together.  The had to work together with 3 arms.  They cried and whined but they stopped fighting and there was no more hitting!  You can't run when you're victim is within arms reach.  Is this extreme to you?  It wasn't done maliciously and we warned them. NO One was hurt and it showed them that family will always be there.  Discipline can be funny just as long it proves that you love them over and over and no matter what.  Even when they were mad at us we could make them smile (which made them madder).  We even had them watch Mom and Dad act out one of their fighting scenes to prove how dumb the subject matter was.  It's a lot of work but it does work.  Kids are an investment.  If you can't handle the ups and downs don't trade the chromosones!!
This is the first time I posted a message - but I thought some of my experience might be helpful to others. I currently am teaching a 3rd grade classroom that is at a special needs school in Florida. All of my students have severe emotional disorders and are all 2-3 grade levels below their 'age appropriate' level. I get through my days and school years by having a plan for each child - and the plan is clear to everyone, inlcuding the child. I use what is called an ABC method to identifying behaviors that would help the child to be more successful at both home and in the community. I usually try to identify only 1 or 2 things at a time, because sometimes their behaviors are 'linked' and once they have one under control others disappear. I agree, it hasn't happened overnight, but if you have children and you're like me it's hard being in the middle of the forest to look at each and every tree. We get busy, caught up, whatever - and all of a sudden - what happened?! ABC is awesome - and very behavioral in nature - here's how it works - A= Antecedent; what happens right before the behavior occurrs? Write it down. B=Behavior; what is the behavior (be careful - use decisive words - yelling, hitting, biting, self-injury, etc..) and then finally C=consequence. What is the immediate consequence to their BEHAVIOR? Which means, what or how did you react or do. My theory, which has worked for many years is - I'm only in control of my behavior - and sometimes can tweak the Antecedent. I cannot control their behavior - but, I do everything in my power to eliminate antecedents (especially if it's regarding a communication style) and make sure that the consequence for inappropriate behavior is not rewarding or gratifying. Anyone can try this -- and hey, if you're looking for ways to change your communication styles - I use a lot of silent prompting, i.e., writing it down, simple sign language or a physical gesture, things I work out while the desired behavior to change is NOT occurring.
April 17, 2006, 6:16 am CDT

Oh, please...

These parents are attempting to rationalize psychotic behaviors.  There is NOTHING loving about allowing this child to act out. This child is an active danger to himself and others, and as such he should be actively detained and psychologically evaluated...

Locking this child up for the duration would be an act of charity for all concerned.

It's amazing how parents will lie to themselves and the world in order to retain the belief that they have a 'normal' familiy.
April 17, 2006, 7:00 am CDT


If there is no event or series of events that point to these kids problems, or medical/psychological diagnosis, is there a possibility that these kids might be possessed?

April 17, 2006, 7:08 am CDT


This is an age old hit or not to hit...I do love the way Christian are put down for OUR PHYSICALY punish....I was spanked as a child I deserved everyone I got and the fear of getting a spanking helped me remember that i didn't want another..But It has to done properly..FEAR is not a bad thing....KIDS these days don't fear nothing!!!! you me the Police....My 14 Yrold got up in my face ONCE!!!  Oh I'm 5'2 130 lbs...she is 5'5 150...I grabed her by her sweat shirt and let her know real fast I wasn't scared of her!!!! and if she enjoyed having teeth she was never going to do it again...and Yes she said she was going to call Social Services...I sad NO...let me do it.. you go pack you clothes...I made that call she didn't want to go...that never happened again....she and I Love each other Dearly..ITS NOT MY JOB TO BE HER BEST FRIEND AND I BELIEVE I HAD TO DO WHATS BEST FOR HER NOT BECAUSE  I  WANTED TO PASS THE BUCK ON FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH HER!!!!

today she is 25  with kids of her own...and we have respect for each other as Mother & daughter...also I don't believe you  just snatch a child up and spank them !!! thats you getting your release from frustration...that does not teach a thing!!! Corporal punishment is a real thing in alot of states...and I expect YOU!!! to do something with that KID before he leaves home...Because here in the country where i am from most peoples moto is ....WE DON'T DIAL 911...that means we will shoot you....and you know if these kids are treating there own loved ones like this what is going to stop him from comming after someone else once heshe leaves your home.....Its your job to (teach) these kids that there will alway be PUNISHMENT in the real world..And before some of you get upset about the spanking from us Christians you need to  know some of us don't beat our kids...but we do let them know you will ALL WAYS be punished and I AM GOOD for my word...Kids need to KNOW that with out doubt...

Annette Mother of 3

April 17, 2006, 7:15 am CDT

Dangerous Kids

Quote From: susanpear

Hi Groovy, it's Susanpear.


How are you?  I'm good.  Upon reading your response to Busterss, I feel led to comment.  I am torn between the two sides "Spare the rod, spoil the child" and "Violence begets violence".  With all due respect to you, I would like to share something.  I realize you may not be a Christian, so I don't mean to offend you in any way.


I attended our Good Friday service.  The subject of  Jesus' death started out as "why would a Father allow this to happen to His Son?"  Jesus was obedient unto death on the cross.  Of course He is God's Son and created solely for our redemption.  No other person is born for that purpose, of course, which includes children of the past and today.  The rest of us are born with a sinful nature.  Jesus was sinless.  He made the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and He is alive again so we can triumph over death.  God does not want us to live in fear or be inconsiderate, spoiled brats  But He does expect a healthy respect in our attitude toward Him and others.  There is a balance that needs to be achieved here.


Now,  I am NOT advocating violence at all!  The spanking issue is controversial, I agree.  There are many clever ways to discipline our children.  Sometimes, parents like me do not have anyone to talk to or get advise from in the heat of the moment.  Since becoming a mom in 1988, I saw that many kids are too aggresive, spoiled, contradictory, interruptive and show poor manners.  I did employ spanks when they were very young after they were warned first.  I did not do it the second they acted up or disobeyed.  I agree that Busterss came across more extreme.  However, he does have a point.  Kids take over and become little tyrants if we stay passive.  My girls were very good at the baby and elementary school age.  I knew the physical discipline had to stop AFTER THEY WERE OLDER, and learn to impose more effective consequences instead.  It's about getting a grip on the children while they are very young.  Sometimes spanking backfires and the effects depend upon the temper of the parent employing it.  I remember how much more respectful kids were to their parents when I was a kid.  Kids did fear their parents more, but the parents also showered them with love when they were behaving respectfully.   A firm hand is needed for kids of today.  That does not necessarily mean spanking, but somehow the children need to know that the parent is to be obeyed - not disrepected!


Thanks for listening.  Hope you are healthy and happy. Susan



Very well stated Susan...I enjoyed your post...Thank you.....Annette
April 17, 2006, 7:24 am CDT

watching today;s show is like watching an instant replay of what happened with my daughter. After they system failed up several times, we finally put her into a Mental Health Hospital ourselves. She was diagnosed with Paranoia Schizophrenia. While there i

April 17, 2006, 7:28 am CDT


NEVER, NEVER NEVER should an animal be brought into or kept in a home where it is being abused or may be! Give this dog the peace and security that it deserves! Not to mention the other members of the family. Letting this situation continue the way it is and not taking action only makes you the abuser also!
April 17, 2006, 7:30 am CDT

to spank or not to spank that is the question

Quote From: groovy

Topics like this bring people like you out of the woodwork.  The "spare the rod spoil the child"  we're not spanking our kids enough crowd.  Often these same people claim to be speaking for God implying that God wants us to spank our children.  Society would be fabulous if we brought back to the good old days of spanking, paddling & hitting children with switches.  This IS violence & violence begets violence.  We don't teach a child that violence is wrong by modeling violence.  Spanking is a euphemism for hitting.  Just as it would NOT be okay for your boss to spank you it is NOT okay for you to spank any other human being, including your child. 

People Like you !! now thats rude!! they have the right to discipline the way they want to....But  YOU just LUMPED us all into one big Bible thumping  They don't hand out a manual at CHURCH on how to beat your Child....Some Christians don't Beat  childrern ....a Spanking is done ONLY on the BUTT...not legs not back not head...those are Psychos not loving parents...

Sign....People Like YOU....

April 17, 2006, 7:59 am CDT

Why bring a dog into an already bad situation?

Quote From: chadsmom

NEVER, NEVER NEVER should an animal be brought into or kept in a home where it is being abused or may be! Give this dog the peace and security that it deserves! Not to mention the other members of the family. Letting this situation continue the way it is and not taking action only makes you the abuser also!

I agree whole heartedly that the dog certainly doesn't need to be living with this family. Having a dog is a privilege and the kindest thing they could do is to find it a new home; though it sounds like they've let things go so far in the ditch that the dog will need a considerable amount of work to make him adoptable.


We recently adopted a dog that had been abused and neglected. Fortunately for us she was still fairly young and has made great strides in her behaviour. Still, she is afraid of any loud sounds and was very slow to let his snuggle her or rub her belly. it just breaks my heart to know someone was so mean to her.

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