This is new to me

by Susan

Hi There,

My 11 year old daughter was just diagnosed as PB/OCD. The Dr. did not recommend medication at this time and suggests therapy. We are still looking for a good therapist that we can somehow manage to afford.

My question actually is about anger. When she was a toddler and I would brush her hair, she would get angry when there was a slight tug of the brush. She would yell and hit the counter or sometimes my leg (she was short). I don't think she meant to hurt me -she just didn't know what to do with the pain / anger. Now at 11 she still doesn't. For example, last week we were camping and she was in a bathroom with her friend brushing her teeth. Her younger brother walked in to get supplies and she got angry. She ended up kneeing him in the crotch. I didn't see it but my son told me about it. I sat my daughter down and calmly asked her what happened. She admitted getting angry and eventually came around to admitting that she "May have hit my brother". I asked for specifics and she said that she didn't remember. I told her what he said and she seemed really surprised. She didn't remember (or so she says). Is that possible? I know that she has these emotions that she doesn't know what to do with - specifically anger. I told her that hitting her brother isn't the answer. Her response was "Next time I will just hit myself". What do I say to that? I obviously don't want her to hurt herself. I told her that next time she can hit a wall or something that won't break. I honestly at that moment didn't know what to say. She needs some sort of outlet for the anger. As a parent, what do I say? What IS ok? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Susan

OCD and bipolar often overlap. If she has OCD she will need exposure and response prevention and many professionals are not appropriately trained. Although that was not your question, it was important to address.

Children who get angry quickly like that often have emotional regulation and impulse control problems. They need extra time and attention to learn the skills to handle their anger. There is almost always a trigger, and if it can be avoided, sometimes it should be. In therapy work should consist of building those skills by learning to recognize her triggers and preparing herself to react to them in another way.

I would also want to know what made her so angry about her brother walking in?

Good luck!


Kristen McClure

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