By GreatSchools Staff
Child's Age: 10
Child's School Level: 5
Area(s) child struggles: Dyslexia, AD/HD, ODD
In spite of months of work with a family therapist, and a dozen different behavior modification contracts and charts, our 10-year-old son's angry, aggressive behavior in our home was getting worse. He has AD/HD, dyslexia, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He had put holes in our walls, thrown and broken furniture, and destroyed several pieces of his own artwork. At the peak of his rages, he would threaten to hurt my husband and me, and we'd had to physically restrain him several times. We were exhausted, our nerves were shot - and we were afraid for everyone's safety.
Our family therapist had been telling us for awhile that our son needed to know in no uncertain terms that we would do whatever was necessary to keep him and us safe-including calling 911 if he physically threatened either of us. At first, we were horrified at the suggestion. We felt ashamed and embarrassed at the thought of having to call on outside help, especially the police. We felt that we'd failed as parents. But one evening, our son demanded that we go to the store immediately because he "needed" a particular brand of shampoo. We refused and he began to ramp up. When he picked up a heavy pan and threatened to throw it at me, I hesitated for a split second, then called 911. Within five minutes we had three police cars in our driveway.
When four police officers entered the house, two asked for our account of what had happened, while the other two went to our son's room to talk to him. The officers who talked with our son for 15-20 minutes were friendly but firm, and asked repeatedly for his assurance that he'd calmed down before they left. One officer confided that they responded to several similar calls every month in our upper-middle-income neighborhood, and that his own son had had problems with anger and aggression. Our son calmed down, expressed remorse to us about his behavior, and did not escalate to that level of violence again for many months.
When you're parenting a child with complex needs, it's easy to become more and more tolerant of what "outsiders" would clearly view as extraordinarily aggressive behavior - thinking all the while that you should be able to manage it. Our therapist's focus on "keeping everyone safe" became the mantra that allowed us to bring the police into our home and our lives. It wasn't comfortable; but when we finally took the step, we wished that we had done it sooner. Individual police officers vary greatly in their empathy and people skills, so don't assume you'll be 100 percent thrilled with their intervention should you decide to take that option.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.