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

  1. Toni J says:

    Yes it is very hard to deal with these issues.. and it looks like you may need to track down some resources as it is not easy to get the right resources.. I would start with an assessment clinic that also does evaluations..Only because i have dealt with some of the same issues.. I know that some clinics will just hold the child in limbo.. Too long with therapy that is not working.. and suspect it is for the insurance. removing visitation while dealing with the crisis and in the meantime I would use some play therapy at home to allow him to express anything he wants to say without taking it personally.. Just remembering he is young and only feels hurt therefor taking it out on everyone.. He has to be able to express it at some point

  2. tonia says:

    Hello. I have a 6 year old little girl who has ADHD, ODD, and possibly autism on the spectrum, I am waiting on results. I am struggling because she is sweet child who has frequent angry outbursts that are getting violent. I was told by her doctor to take her to the hospital but I don’t know if I should because the tantrum may stop by the time I get her there,. So I guess my question is when do I take her and does she have to be in the middle of an outburst in order to go. I live in Ohio. Thank you

  3. Bob says:

    We have found that it is very helpful to pull out a camera and record the child during their anger tantrums. Let them know that you are doing it so you can share it with people who are going to help them. Seems to calm things down with our foster son and you really do have something to share with professionals if the tantrum continues.

  4. Abby says:

    I’m an emotional wreck tonight. My 6 year old who is extremely smart, funny, silly little boy. However he has extremely bad outburst and is very rough with his brother. We have seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, evaluation after evaluation. He has aspergers. He’s so violent at times of tantrums. Tonight he tried to throw a brick at his brother being only one it scared me to the fullest. Hes calm now and doing well. What should I have done? Do I have to have him admitted? My heart is aching.

  5. christi says:

    hi,I need some help.I know this doesn’t belong in a comment box but I’m desperate.I have a 16 year old boy in 11 grade he’s on resperidone daily .5 mg morning and night.well all of a sudden two days now. he’s weird.sleeping a lot stares at you with a blank look he looks drunk and keeps saying he feels really weak.took him last night to emergency room and they just say he’s dehydrated maybe but seems totally normal.tested his blood ad well and it’s all negative .wat should I do. lost he also keeps scratching his body really bad. plenary someone give me some advice what to do.

  6. Hi Christi,

    I’m the blog manager here as there is no blog author for this blog at the moment.

    I would recommend consulting your psychiatrist (or whomever prescribed the medication) immediately. He may not be reacting well or even having an allergic reaction.

    There are many medications and this may simply not be the best for your son.

    - Natasha Tracy
    - Blog Manager

  7. Eris allen says:

    I need to find to help for 15 yr that alway s in troble and school.and at home
    He trying to make prblem in my life my faimly and boyfriend I put him a bunch behaiver housp and he getting troble with laws for something he always mean to younger bother to I need some ideals where mit can put in housp that keep in more then a mouth and how get something court to place him so he can some help

  8. Tanisha Dimiduk says:

    I read your story and completely understand. My son (now 8) has had some of the same issues hating his family, trying to hurt himself, meds, therapy, & 2 7 day hospital stays only to keep sending him home to continue the behavior. He attempted to kill his 3 year old sister & still nothing. A year & a half of therapy & NO change in behavior & not 1 person can explain y he has anger issues or hate his mfamily. He suffers from depression & no one has done anything to help him. 2 therapists, 2 psychiatrist, 2 Dyfs cases & a case manager & no one has yet to kno anything more or even suggested temporary out of home placement. What can i do?? I believe I’m becoming depressed myself.

  9. Cassi T says:

    My son is 6 and out of control. We havent got to see a psychiatrist yet and its over a month until his initial appointment. I cant go like this another month. My son is abusive towards me and my 10 year old son. He wont try to hurt his dad just destroys the house when he is home. Today alone since school got out(2 hours ago) he has thrown a glass bowl at me and shattered it, hit me with the broom, hit me with a metal flag holder and found a knife saying he was going to kill himself. He threw a pair of scissors at me this morning and threw the phone at my head this morning as well. He has also thrown knives at me in the past… The doctors office suggested we go to the hospital but it scares me that they will keep him. His dad isnt on board with taking him either. We are his parents… We should be able to help him shouldnt we? Im scared of how my child is turning out…

  10. Eris allen says:

    I need some help for my 15 yr boy bramden allen he out of control he been in alot of behavior hosp and meds he been in troble with and school amd home he mean to his 12 yr borther all the amd even my bpyfriemd he has a consherl that see him omce a week he want to be in control of the house and break me up with my boyfriend he also tore my car up I had pay 580$ in the last mouth to get fix he breaks in the house went im amd bring kid un my home without asking he in probtion also does any kmow where in can get help with him amd placed somewhere more then a mouth

  11. Rita says:

    My son was getting aggresive spells as well. I stopped giving him sugar and he got back to almost normal. Sleeping early also helps.

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