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What would you do if your child threated to kill you? (And meant it)

MathGirlRITMathGirlRIT Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2010 in Parent Cafe
My sister's youngest son, 16, has been having a lot of violent outbursts. He gets upset over small things and flies into rages. He tears stuff up, puts holes in the walls, slams his head against the wall, and threatens to kill my sister. The last time it happened she called the cops. They took him to the ER and the ER refused to treat him because he was so violent and because they don't have insurance. The nurse said he had "cold" eyes and she believed he really wanted to kill my sister.

I've been concerned about my nephew for a while. For a few years I've gotten a weird vibe off of him and I've wondered if he might be a sociopath. AFAIK he hasn't killed or tortured any animals, but he did cut the whiskers off a cat "just because."

He lived with his dad until a couple of years ago (court ordered). Once he was old enough he went to live with my sister. At that time his dad basically self-destructed and succumbed to alcoholism, quit or lost his job, and now sleeps on his sisters couch and has zero contact with them.

His dad was also given to violent outbursts, which is why my sister divorced him.

My sister is trying to find some way to get him treatment, but without insurance it is basically impossible.
Post edited by MathGirlRIT on
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Replies to: What would you do if your child threated to kill you? (And meant it)

  • PAVenturerPAVenturer Posts: 487Registered User Member
    Call your local health department. Maybe he can be committed for psychiatric care?? Scary.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,511Registered User Senior Member
    Call police, get him out of house, one way or another. Who is going to help him if parent is dead, anyway?
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Posts: 5,828Registered User Senior Member
    Does he attend public school? If so, the school system may be able to provide a psych evaluation and make referrals for treatment.
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    DougBetsy is right - the public school should be of help. He could qualify for state run insurance Blue chip or even medicaid.
    There is mental health help availabie for juveniles. I don't understand the hospital not treating him. they should have transferred him to a mental health facility.
    What state is he in?
  • MathGirlRITMathGirlRIT Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
    They are in California. When my sister applied for medicaid they said she would have $1400/mo share of cost. She only makes $14/hr.

    I'll mention trying to get something through the school system.
  • intparentintparent Posts: 12,411Registered User Senior Member
    Agreed that the school system could be a place to start. Per PAVenturer's comment, if he threatens her again she should call the police. If he appears to be mentally ill AND is threatening her, then they probably could put a 72 hour psychiatric hold on him so he could be evaluated. It is hard to get that psych hold without a threat to himself or others, though. My two cents from having been through trying to get a psych hold for a family member (and having it denied, with the person later committing suicide) is to call the police RIGHT AWAY when a threat occurs. If your sister waits a day and waffles (because they are a family member, etc.), the police are less likely to take the psych hold action if they are called after the fact.
  • Worrying MomWorrying Mom Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    Go to the emergency room. Or call 911, and they will bring your child in for an evaluation
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    intparent is correct -

    If he is a threat to himself or others (your sister) then the police need to be told that. If he threatens your sister she needs to make it clear to the police and/or the ER that he is threatenng harm.
    This is very scary and lots of well-meaning folks don't like the thought of "locking up" their loved one. It is very difficult to do but must be done.
    This will start the wheels turning so he can get the mental health care he desperately needs.

    At the hospital - the police will take him there, not jail - they will evalutate him in the ER. He will then go to the mental health floor or building. He will be treated by a psychiatrist and may or may not have visiting hours right away. The psychiatrist should involve your sister.
    Once he is in the mental health system he may be eligible for medicaid or other state help.

    If this child is currently attending school - I am sure there must be issues there. Your sister should contact either the school nurse or guidance counselor. There are placements for students who have mental health issues. From what you describe it sounds like he should be hospitalized first.
  • ghostbusterghostbuster Posts: 1,590- Senior Member
    Go to ANOTHER ER Hospital who WILL admit him and treat him. He likely needs counseling on anger management and some drug therapy for depression or other problems. Only a PHYSICIAN can help him. DO IT TODAY.

    Be compassionate to him. Tell him you want to help him and to relieve the pain and hell he is living with now.
  • PhotoOpPhotoOp Posts: 1,096Registered User Senior Member
    For health insurance in California your sister should check out Healthy Families. A state run program paid for with tobacco taxes. Income Guidelines - The California Healthy Families Program
  • younghossyounghoss Posts: 2,582Registered User Senior Member
    If I had what I thought was a serious death threat from my child, the school would not be my first call.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    It differs in different states, but in most, the best way for the parents to get the kid help, i.e. get him out of the house and into a paid for program, is through the family court system. So unfortunately, they need to keep calling the police and have the kid arrested for his threats and actions. It's certainly tough love, but sounds necessary here.
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    younghoss - mine neither.
    However - how does one know, even from one's own child if a death threat is serious or not.
    The mother took the child to the hospital who for whatever reason refused treatment.
    That sounds suspect to me, if the mother told them she was threatened. Perhaps the mother was too frightened to tell them she was threatened.

    If he is having mental health issues but not making a *serious* threat - the school is a place to start. Many times parents don't want to involve the police. they are afraid they will take their child to jail. Public schools today have counselors and health care professionals who can help a parent navigate the red tape in getting state aid and treatment for their child. They can also arrange proper placement should a child need in-patient treatment.
  • younghossyounghoss Posts: 2,582Registered User Senior Member
    The only way I know here if it is a serious death threat here is that it is "a given" here. We are told in the Op's first sentence that "the kid means it", and that the belief it was a serious threat was confirmed by a nurse.
    If the Op's real situation is different than what the Op told us, then certainly advice/comments here may be well-intentioned, but way off base.
  • MathGirlRITMathGirlRIT Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
    My sister believes the threats and the nurse also believed them. I'm not there, so I can't really just for myself. It looks like she might qualify for the health families program linked above. I will email her that info.

    He's not like this all the time. He will be fine for a few weeks, even a couple of months, then freak out. His dad was/is the same way.
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