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What do you say or do when your child says "I will kill you?"


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Anonymous January 30, 2009


My nephew is only 7 years old and yesterday he told a little girl that he will kill her mommy daddy and grandma. The little girl told on him, and he received 2 days in school suspension. I spoke with him and he said she did not provoke him or anything, he just said it. He didn't mean it. I am so confused on what to do. As this is totally out of character for him. He is such a sweet and loving boy, timid at times. And when he is in trouble he really just draws in and won't talk he just cries. I just don't know what to do or what to say now. Should I be worried?

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healthy11 January 30, 2009


Unfortunately, in this day and age of school violence, many schools take a "zero tolerance" approach to any threats, even when it doesn't seem likely that they could be carried out. I'm guessing you must babysit your nephew on a regular basis, in order to know how he normally responds to trouble. I don't know if you are his legal guardian, but otherwise the school won't speak to you about details, and I would recommend that his parents be the one to address the issues with him. Personally, I do think it warrants a consultation with a professional, like a child psychologist. His normally being so quiet and timid, and then saying something of this nature, sounds like he may have difficulty expressing his emotions in an age-appropriate way, and the sooner he can learn to deal with them, the better things will be.
You might have your nephew's parents ask their pediatrician for referrals, or the school social worker might be able to give them names.

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lysanchez35 January 30, 2009


Thanks for your honestly, I totally agree that he needs to see someone. I am around him more often than not. I don't have any kids of my own, but have helped my sister since they were little. She is a great mom, but in the past few years they have been through alot. I have tried to tell her starting with her 16, 8 and now the 7 year old and one on the way...they all need to get some counseling. They have seen their father act in violent ways when he is angry as to punching a whole in the wall and I am scared that with this behavior my nephew will only become more angry. And yes, the school takes a "zero tolerance" as they told us that if he were 10 the family could press charges. This made me even more sad. Thanks for your advice.

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healthy11 January 30, 2009


In view of the additional information about his father, I don't think there's any question your nephew needs counseling. Truthfully, it sounds like your sister should consider family counseling, and her husband probably needs anger management training, or maybe even an evaluation for an issue like bipolar where he goes into rages. Several mental health conditions do have hereditary links, so the children could definitely be affected.



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