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Now Available! Dr. DeFoore's New Book GOODFINDING

Why Do You Have To Be So Mean?

by Misty

The title of this article is our theme song in our household. My daughter who is 8 yo lost her dad around 2 years ago.

At first she thought her dad would walk through the door at any given time, but a year later she has so much anger that I don't know if we will make it through. She screams, throws things, and hits her sister and myself.

She has been in counseling for close to a year and has had a psych evaluation to check for mental illness, and it stated she is diagnosed with separation anxiety.

She thinks everyone is mean to her, but she is the one that is constantly verbally abusive to her sister and me. I believe that she is so hurt inside that she wants everyone else to be just as miserable.

I know life is very hard, but I just want some peace in my house. I don't know what to do because discipline just seems to make things worse, but in order to survive there has to be something that works. Please help this single mom and her kids,

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Misty, and thanks for telling your story here. It sounds to me like there is definitely some unresolved grief in your daughter--and I assume her father was your husband, or ex husband? If you experienced the loss as well, it's important that you do your own grieving if you want to help her do hers.

I suggest that you have low-key, friendly conversations with her about her dad. She needs to be able to work through her feelings about the loss, in order to let go. I'm not saying that is the only reason for her anger, but you just need to cover that base as part of your solution. This page on grieving might help. You may also want to do a search on children's grieving exercises to better help her.

I also strongly encourage you to check out the audio program below. You can listen to free previews right away, and get your copy through download or buying the CD.

You also may want to get into family counseling, instead of just focusing on individual counseling for her as if the problem was all hers. When children have emotional problems, the family always needs to be part of the solution.

Your daughter is not bad, or mentally ill. Assume there is good reason for her anger, because there is.

Believe in her, and believe in yourself as her mom. You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Apr 02, 2012
by: KP

talking, writing, exercise etc and just be there, which I'm sure is hard because you are probably grieving too. Love her and let her know it and teach her of the Invisible String ( it's a book) but the message is that we are connected forever to those in our hearts for eternity, even if they are in heaven. Tell her she has a special angel (daddy ) watching over her & your family always, let her talk/ write etc; tell her he is physically gone but always alive in her heart. When she puts others down/ is mean: take it as a red flag; she is feeling down and stepping on others to feel "bigger/ better" and that she is frustrated/ hurting bad. Reward the good/ ignore the rest EXCEPT damage/ hurting self/ others. Try loss of privileges for these times. I wish you much love and healing on your journey and hers xxx Oh and ps, if there is a grandpa/ uncle she trusts, try to let him be the male role model she needs xxx K

Apr 02, 2012
I really feel for you and your daughter x
by: KP

Hi there, I just read your post and felt so sad as I realised that I'm still that angry little girl, mean to others because my heart is so broken, at age 30. I'm writing because I wanted to share a few things with you in case they may be any use to you.
Firstly, maybe she is angry because she is so confused and full of rage as to how her dad could be taken away, just like that. I lost both my parents (not to passing away but my mother to severe alcoholism & schizophrenia & my dad to moving a long way away and remarrying a woman who didn't want his children in their life), at age 7. My sibling & I were fostered and never reconciled. Anyway, back to your daughter; could you imagine that maybe she is a little sensitive and that her sense of safety (mum & dad) has been shattered, that maybe she lives in fear of losing more (maybe you to grief or she may fear any number of "bad things" happening) and this makes her angry (at her view of God/ the world/ those closest to her) as no one could "save" her from the unthinkable? Her rage is not essentially unplaced (ie, she has every right to feel this fully due to what happened), BUT her behaviour is only worsening things. I acted out for a long time trying to be noticed and heard as it felt that no one "got" my pain. So, let her know that you "get it", it's ok, will take time etc, that it wasn't fair but that it is life, and that she will feel ok again. Make sure her diet is good ( Failsafe is great for kids), MAKE SURE she gets some exercise as much as possible, to elevate her confidence, mood and to burn off the anger (trampoline, boxing great!), teach her to journal or paint how she is feeling, give her something of her dads (a shirt, a book anything with significance to her) to keep all to herself, tolerate her grief but be firm with behaviour; ie message being its ok to hurt, feel angry/ sad but not to hurt others. Re her hurting others, don't make her a "monster", family scapegoat or get her assessed to quickly, of course she is anxious/ depressed/ lashing out/ has rage issues- but so would many people after such a loss. You need to get her to feel but not get too caught up, get the feelings OUT- cont :)

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