Psych Central

My 10-year-old said she will kill herself

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I was single parent before I met my fiance. My daughter was with my parents for 8 years and I was working out of the country for a while. I go home on vacations maybe once a year to be with her for a month at most. When she was eight I finally was able to get her paperwork to join me in the united states. my daughter had a tough time adjusting to america and being away from the philippines and the family she had for eight years.

My fiance never had any kid when I met him. he was very stringent in his ways with discipling my daughter. he would yell at her and has called her names like stupid or ignorant or drama queen. we fought and every now and then still fight very bad about how he disciplines my daughter. one time my daughter had to call 911 because we were fighting really bad.

my daughter is scared to make mistakes. she has recently been not opening up her feelings to me for fear that me and my fiance would fight over her. my mom has been with us for a few months now and my daughter has expressed her emotions to my mom. she told my mom she would kill herself because we keep fighting over her. she said that maybe when she grows up she will run away.

i dont know what to do. i blame myself and my fiance. but in other things my daughter is very well taken cared of. my fiance provides all of our/her needs. she is pampered with everything to toys, clothes, school needs and family vacations.

everytime I correct my fiance about the way he disciplines my daughter he says that he loves my daughter like a real dad. he would do everything for me and my kid. he only wants my daugther to succeed in life and to have the best. he is very strict with education. he said he doesnt want my daughter to grow up a bum. but that he never had kids before so he also acknowledged that maybe he doesnt know any better. but I am also worried about how ugly and bad our fights are. I think it is ruining or if it hasn’t ruined my daughter’s life already.

i now have a 3month old baby with my fiance. I am at a point where I am trying to save my family for the sake of the kids I want to keep us together. but what if my fiance and I can’t reconcile our differences. everyday we try for things to change. but how long should i keep trying and know when to give it up for the sake of my daughter? is saying she wants to kill herself normal for pre teen years? is this something I should seek a family or my daugther for counselling? what should I do? I am very sad right now and torn apart…

A: Thank you for writing. You are understandably torn apart by this situation. No, it’s not normal for a 10-year-old to be talking about killing herself and running away. Absolutely, you should be seeking some family therapy. If you and your fiance could fix this on your own, you would have done so long ago. Your fiance needs to learn how to parent without threats and name-calling. You and your fiance need to learn ways to settle your differences without fighting, screaming, and scaring your little girl. Your little girl needs help making sense of why she was pulled from the family where she felt loved and secure to be with a man who treats her badly. Of course she has had trouble “adjusting”!

I’m glad your mother is currently with you. She seems to be someone your daughter feels safe with. A therapist will also help you figure out how to honor the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter without feeling threatened yourself.

Please follow through and find a counselor — for everyone’s sake. The current situation must stop if your children are to be okay.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). My 10-year-old said she will kill herself. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/15/my-ten-year-old-said-she-will-kill-herself/