I need help with my daughter.

She screamed in my face, she tries to block my way when I try to leave the room, she's tried to pull my hair, and she ripped a shirt I was wearing trying to keep me in place when she doesn't want me to leave.

I've tried to talk to her several times and tell her how she's hurting me and how she is hurting our future relationship. She will not listen. She always says she's sorry and she will turn around but it hasn't stopped. It's getting to the point that I don't want her around me because it's so painful.

I have been separated from her father for over seven years, for the first four years she lived with me the majority of the time. It's only been within the last two years that he wanted shared custody of her. Her father has extreme anger issues that he is now on medication to control. He displays all signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has displayed his anger with her in the past to the point she did not want to go to his house. But thanks to a program called "For the Sake of the child" he has her 50% of the time.

I want to take her to counseling but I need his signature to see a counselor with her. Did I mention he is a control freak that will use anything he can to make me look bad in front of her? He's also trying to get total custody.

I am truly at my wits end and want things to get better. I love her so much and I don't want to see our relationship deteriorate to the point we can not talk to each other when she gets older.

She does not do this at her father's place. She does not do this with her friends, or anyone but me. She talks about the frustration she feels with her friends and family including her dad. She is the most loving and caring child most of the time, but if I look at her wrong or say anything she takes offense and she shows a state of anger that alarms me.

I've tried talking to her tell her how she is treating me is wrong and that she is actually being a bully, but she turns it around on me that I'm always blaming her and that I take no responsibility for my actions.

What can I do? I need help.

  • Can you provide more details? Specifically, what seems to trigger these episodes? Does she do this with her father? Please add this information to your original post.
    – Marisa
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 19:42
  • Are you sure you need the father's permission to take her to counseling (who told you that?) Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 2:54
  • The judge in all Heath issues we both need to agree
    – Michelle k
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 3:09
  • 1
    It looks like you answered part of what @Marisa was asking for, but it's still unclear in what kinds of situations WITH YOU she acts the way you're describing. Can you give one or two specific examples?
    – MAA
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 3:47
  • 2
    Just as a side-note, although this might not apply to your country, if you feel strongly about counseling and her father disagrees, you can approach the court and ask for counseling. Talk to your lawyer about it.
    – Xander
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 6:49

4 Answers 4


I am sorry to say this but you're getting abused by your child - which is unacceptable.

Sadly it's not easy to pinpoint the cause of this behavior without proper therapy but some underlying factors can be poor boundaries, poor copying skills or psychological conditions (e.g. ADHD or conduct disorder). Or at the very least, learned behavior. You mention your ex-husband has anger issues, she could have easily picked up something from his behavior.

In order to stop this abusive behavior, you need to take a few steps - which is hard as a parent but you need to fix it and soon or it will only get worse.

  • Communicate boundaries It seems that you're already trying to do that but you need to be consistent about it. You need to communicate with her that it's not OK to yell or hit you. If she does that you need to follow through with consequences.
  • Communicate consequences Once you set the above boundaries, you also need to make sure you follow through with your threats. Come up with punishments that you're prepared to reinforce. If you threaten to call the police but never do, then she will know that it's an empty threat (extreme example).

  • Get support Parental abuse is a form of domestic violence. It's very serious and can eat away at you. I would suggest to talk to your family and friends to get support, or even talk to a therapist.

Hope this helps.

  • I will try anything I just want it fixed, it's very good advice thank you
    – Michelle k
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 15:32
  • +1 for support -- you may need co-parent's permission to take your daughter to a counselor, but you don't need anybody's permission to find a counselor for yourself.
    – Acire
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 19:28
  • I got in touch with her school, they are looking into if they can help with a counsellor
    – Michelle k
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 20:13
  • @Michellek That\s good to hear! I hope you resolve these issues fast.
    – Xander
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:15

Your comment:

"When we get in an discussion about how I don't listen to her and I don't understand her, when I try to explain myself to her she gets mad. She bears her teeth at me and will start to yell. When I know I'm loosing my cool and I'm getting mad, I try to leave she will grab my arm and try to make me Tay. I remove myself from her and try to leave the room where she then runs in front of me blocking my way making me push her out of the way, not to any degree of real force on my part."

Especially if this is the only situation in which this happens, I think you've found the key: your daughter feels like you do not listen to her and understand her. This cannot be a conversation that YOU are choosing to start, which means SHE is making a serious attempt to communicate with you, and it sounds like your response is to first shut her down, and then to leave. I would say that for an 11 year old, just the act of starting such a discussion with you is pretty remarkable, and you may want to cut her some slack on the fact that she may not be going about it in the most constructive way.

Even if you feel that you always do listen, and that you understand, clearly that is not your daughter's experience, and her experience is valid, even if it is different from yours, and even if it doesn't reflect reality.

Here is my suggestion: 1) YOU bring up this topic with her. Not her behavior, but her feelings about being ignored and misunderstood. Say, "you remember when you told me that I don't listen to you, and we got into a huge fight? Well, I was wondering if you still wanted to talk to me about what was bothering you, because I'm ready to listen."

2) whatever she says, DON'T respond until she is completely done. Make sure you listen the whole time, and ask follow up questions if you don't understand. When she seems to be done, ask her: "do you feel like you've said everything you need to? Because we can take a minute if you feel like you might have more to say."

3) when she is done, say: "this is what I'm hearing you say (insert here). Is that right?" If it isn't, let her clarify, then try again.

4) when you've really got a handle on the nature of her complaint, if you understand the problem and you understand what about your behavior towards her has contributed to the feelings she has, say, "I understand that you feel (x), and I can see why (y) has made you feel that way. In the future I will try to (z) so that doesn't happen anymore." If you DON'T understand, say, "ok, I hear where you're coming from, and I'll have to think about this for a little while. Can we continue this discussion tomorrow?"

5) once you're completely clear about her feelings and have finished addressing them and figuring out what she's objecting to in your behavior, then and only then can you say: "are you willing to hear my feelings about that fight we had? Because I want you to be able to understand me, too." Likely she will be more than happy to listen. But do not make it about her behavior - this is your chance to explain your behavior, your feelings, as she has just done for you.

My guess is that, given your description of her father's temper and the fact that you two were married for some unstated period of time, you have some built-in defense mechanisms against displays of anger that make you want to avoid/ignore them. You also may have classed all angry displays as abusive in your mind, and therefore leaving seems better to you than becoming angry. You may instinctively feel fearful and helpless in the face of anger, especially if you've felt victimized by a more powerful angry individual in the past. This is all just a guess. But whatever your feelings are, it is important for you and your daughter to both understand them, so that she can be sensitive towards you, and so that you can observe your own behavior and act, rather than react, when the two of you come into conflict. Because it's bound to happen at least a few more times through her teen years.

Edit: Of course her manner of dealing with her anger is unacceptable and needs to be addressed, but it should be addressed separately, and after you have resolved the issue behind the anger.


First of all I'd like to praise you for seeking help as this clearly isn't easy for you.It shows that you truly want a positive change to occur. I work in a group home with youth whom have a lot of behavioural concerns, even violent outbursts. So I am not a stranger on what you are describing.

As a person whom deals with this kind of stuff on a daily basis its hard to know the underlying factors that may cause this. Environments can play an important role. In my professional opinion there is a very good chance that she has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). If the biological father will not sign a consent form, there is a few loop holes to go around it. One way to seek professional help if taking your child to the e.r to admit her into a child and youth psych unit. I know what you may be thinking, no I do not believe your child is crazy. I think she needs some actual help. Taking her to a place like this can greatly improve her in dealing with what she may not be able to say. reading up about this may also be a great deal with supporting her. It sounds like certain needs she feels are not being met and she shows that physically. I know this can sound silly, but asking "What can I do to support you?" when she is putting her hands on you can actually help a great deal. I have had great successes with this myself. Teaching her to communicate her feelings appropriately is also of very great importance. I know you may not believe me when I say this, she would not be in behaviours if she would not be comfortable showing you this.

From personal experience I see this all the time. I work with a 13 year old who verbalizes that he wants to hurt me quiet a lot and for him its a sign of anxiety. Its his way of saying "Hey, pay attention. I need help and I don't know how to ask for it." In this situation what I would do is simply ask "Hey what's going on. You seem upset. Is it something I can help with?"

On another occasion with another client: He pokes into people's ribs all the time. Its his way of asking for a hug.

In any case there is a few things you can do to help your child. Establishing clear every day rules is a good idea. You can even go as far as writing them down for her to see. When she comes back from visiting her father, it may be a good idea to do a social story. Explain to her exactly whats expected. Give clear instructions. When asking her to do something try and make it sound positive. Lets say she likes to game. In this case it can go: "As soon as you are done helping me clean the dishes, you can teach me how to play a game on your xbox." Rather then "You cannot play xbox until the dishes are done." Have a set in stone routine. Do things every day the same. She's lived with unpredictable, this way she knows what will happen. This is why consistency is of utmost importance. What my clients do for a routine: -Wake up and hour to an hour and a half before school - Take their medication -Eat breakfast (sit down meal at the table) - Shower -Start the laundry for the day -Put on shoes, take a lunch and head to school - Be home for supper at (Lets say 5-6 pm) - can go back out until an hour before bedtime (If bedtime is 10 pm, have to bed home by 9 pm) When asking her to do something give her the reason behind the request and stick to it. Make logical or natural consequences. If she doesn't come home at the time you told her to, the next day she will not be allowed to stay out after supper anymore. Make sure she is aware of this.

Be very cautions of how you talk about her father. You and him may not get along or agree on a lot of this. But remember that its her father for her sake. Throwing him under the bus would not help at all and can make her resentful towards you.

On top of that what can trigger is also how her father used to treat you. Did he put his hands on you? Did he yell at your or was unkind? Did she see any of this? Not sure if this is the case here. However if it is, she grew up thinking it is okay. And that needs to be reversed. I do not actually want you to answer any of this. You can just ask yourself these questions because it will give you insight you need.

To the point about the counselling, always do whats best for your daughter. If she needs it bad, bring it up to court. They cannot legally ignore it if you make a case with your lawyer. The court acts in the interest of your child and if they believe that she need professional help, professional help she will get.

But more then anything, stick to everything. Be consistent. Let her know you are acting in her best interest. Remind her that you care about her that as a mother you want to support her. Eventually she will open up. Sometimes giving her time to let a point you made sink in becomes your best tool.

Try to put yourself in her shoes in a behaviour. Its not easy and often time exhausting. Picture yourself wanting to say something that you know you need to say but wont come out. Never try to tell her something when she is upset. Unless its related to you're or her safety. Learning happens when everyone is calm and collected. This includes yourself. Practice self-care. Step away when you need to and tell her why. For example : She's screaming at you. Tell her you are going into another room because you are getting mad and you do not want to get mad at her. This models appropriate behaviour. But also make sure that once you are calm and she is calm that the relationship is re-established. This is where the conversation takes place of why her behaviour was not okay. And do not be afraid to tell her your feelings. Its okay for her to know you are human. This would also be the place where you tell her how to change her actions. You can even say "What do you think you can do next time to make this situation have a different outcome?".

Just to clarify, everything I described here is what I do with my clients daily. It's not easy for anyone in situations like this but it can help to remind yourself of why you are wanting to deal with it. I would do all of this with my own child if I had one. I have worked in this field for 2 years and it's my true passion. I would even do it if I wouldn't get paid.

I hope this helped you out and I sincerely wish you all the best with working this out with your daughter.

Another piece of advice: Your daughter is not a bad person as I am sure you know. Its okay to get frustrated just don stay that way. You are allowed not to like the behaviours. It's not easy to deal with. BUT ALWAYS KEEPS YOUR HEAD HIGH.


One word answer: Meditation.

One line answer: Schools are now replacing Detention with Meditation; references below.

We are all troubled by negative feelings and emotions.

Would it not help to find a better way to manage them instead of pouring them into life interactions and hence add that flavor to those interactions?

Everything that you are outlining is a symptom. The root causation and the place where it can be nipped in the bud is the Mind.

A calm & clear mind is a source of joy and understanding. A shaken up mind leads to all sorts of things you outlined above.

Kids have boundless energy and if its not well managed then it goes out in wrong ways.

They are "ultra sensitive & intuitive" sponges in that they will pick up your "stress" vibes & energies without you doing or saying anything to them about it. These can accumulate in them too causing short & long term "impressions" in their psyche.

My father still has anger issues and they were in some ways genetically passed on to me as traits.. but meditation practices have made me way more calmer in being able to handle his venting. He as much later recognized the benefit, but still does not practice it, but I do and that has helped.

Imagine what it would be like if all 3 of you were meditating regularly and dealing with "your portfolio of life issues & challenges" from a different calmer space.

The impressions and memories of me as a child with his anger troubled me for a long time. Do you wish such impressions have an emotional hold on your daughter and your psyche?

Meditation helps them (adults & kids) managed their physical, mental, emotional energies. Same for you.

Do it yourself (your practice will show committed dedication) and find a way to teach and have her continue the practice. Will also, help you handle your stress and responses to her, and life.

Medication is the way most "medical fraternity" has been going about this in the US etc, but its a failed Pharma lobby experiment; kids do not have ADD, they have excessive & bubbling creative & curious energies that needs channeling.

Counseling/ conversations will not compute if the mind & emotion are not sorted and at rest. So, you can add that or get that to sink in, after things are calm and settled.

Do you know what it feels like to listen to someone when you are internally "emotionally upset" at someone or about some scenario? Some says, relax/ chill out and it just aggravates you more?

The ears may "hear", but the mind-intellect will not "listen" because emotions are surging and take over your being.

Some articles & research around school(s) across the US who have introduced meditation over detention and in various other ways.

Here's a program which I have personally experienced few sessions and here's kids testimonials in a video here.

Same video, I've marked points where kids are testifying:

There are plenty of organizations, foundations and techniques that are offering similar programs and techniques to help the children manage their energies, so pick another one if that seems more your flavor.

But, do give them this gift as its the greatest gift I received as an adult and I wish I had something to manage my emotions as a kid.

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