Admitting a Child to Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment: A Parent’s Perspective

Four years ago, I admitted my then-six-year-old son to an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Much has changed in four years, but reading my thoughts from the time brings it all back. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on any parent; one I hope I never have to live again.

From my personal blog, January 2008:

11I have a call in to a local children’s psychiatric hospital about admitting Bob on the acute-care unit in the very near future.

Things have been getting worse over the past couple of weeks. The last time I picked him up from (his father’s), he was a snarling, angry, hateful little boy who kept talking about his dad going to jail and it being my fault, and he was going to hit me in the stomach for it. He started repeating the same annoying sound over and over again and when I asked him to stop, he gave me a mean laugh and said “daddy told me to do that.” And so on and so forth.

The weekend was rough. He spent a good part of it in time out for one transgression or another. He frequently growled and yelled “I hate the world!” and “I hate all humans!” and “all mommies should shut up and go away!”

Yesterday, the principal called at noon. Bob was being suspended for the day. When I got there, he was pacing the office like a caged animal. He refused to come with me. It took both of us to remove him from school and get him into my car. I then had to physically hold him in his seat for 45 minutes to keep him from getting out and running off. He kicked me, tried to bite me, and slapped me (hard) across the face. I took him to my office where he snarled at me until (husband) came to take him home.

21Today, he said he was ready to go back to school. We met with the principal and he apologized and said he was ready to do better. I emailed his teacher around 1:00 and found out today hasn’t been much better, and the other kids in his class are becoming afraid of him. I suggested he not go to art class (he doesn’t like the teacher) and got a reply back that he’d slapped another kid and was back in the office, and wouldn’t likely be going to art.

I don’t know what to do. Therapy hasn’t helped. The courts haven’t helped. Psychiatry hasn’t helped, because you can’t spend 10 minutes a month asking a 6-year-old how he feels and expect to get the whole picture. There’s only so much I can do, because in Bob’s mind, I’m the problem. And he cannot go on this way.

Which is why I made the call.

The thought of taking my baby somewhere and leaving him, even if only for an overnight or a few days…Jesus. It’s killing me.

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101 Responses to Admitting a Child to Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment: A Parent’s Perspective

  1. daisy says:

    Wow. I have a 5 year old who displays almost exactly all these behaviors. I have a 3 year old as well and he copies his brother at the most inopportune times like in public. I cannot go grocery shopping or anywhere actually with them because only 5 min or less after being inside a store my 5 yr old out of nowhere will grab something off the shelves throw it at me then run. Most times because i cant find him and everyone in the store is staring at me when im yelling his name fighting back tears, i resort to yelling bye then standing just by or outside the doors so he will come. Most onlookers give me bad looks and even threaten to call child protective services on me (some have!) I have been kicked out of stores when he was only 3 because he was out of control. Their father has been absent for their entire lives up until this past year. I let them see him and eventually started letting him take them overnights and then weekends. Then their dad and his girlfriend called cops and cps on me one day because i couldnt be at my house on their demand cuz they wanted to drop them off. They ended up obtaining a emergency court order to take my boys and kept them from me for a whole month until i finally was able to afford the response and take them to court for parent alienation among other things (a child in their home was inappropriately “playing” with my boys when they were left alone with her). Anyway judge ordered my kids immediately returned home to me and their dad not to get any contact with them until further court order or mediation and that he had abused the court process and was harmful to our boys. So since theyve been home over a month now, my 5 yr old says things like “youre not my mother, your a bitch daisy. C****** is my step mother” and “fuck you bitch im going to call the police on you bat” etc etc terrible things to hear my boys say to me. They had a problem with f u. And the b word for a short time that good old fashioned soap and everyone practicing watching language and showing nice verbal around them helped stop. But since being back especially my 5 yr old is out of control and im the bad guy. I end up sobbing. Strangers have had to return him to me from him running so far off and down the busy streets impossible for me to chase him.down with having a 3yr old in the car or house etc. I am positive dhs will take them if i try any inpatient or hospital intervention and their dad is just waiting to discredit me more with lies so my son being out of control only works in his favor. I want to get them into play therapy for the abuse they suffered by the child at their dads but because the stste health plan dropped us all last year without notifying me i cannot afford to pay it and having hard time getting help getting back on health care. My house is disgusting because of them throwing everything and anything on the ground and i cant clean (at least not when theyre awake) because they dump out their drinks or the milk one time i caught my son peeing on the floor. Im almost at my wits end. Im tired of being so depressed and hopeless alone and exhausted. Im tired of crying everyday or every outburst they have.

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