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Children Who Hurt Themselves And Others

"I blame the parents"

"This is obviously a cry for help."

"If the parents were just held responsible - this kind of thing would never happen."

"The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree"

"Teach a child in the way he should go and he will not deviate far from it"

Chances are you've heard one of the above phrases more than once in your life. You may even have said or thought the same thing yourself as you watched some child behave in a way that suggested that their parents had little or no control over them.

It's just common sense isn't it? Bad parents produce bad kids.

But if you are a parent of a personality-disordered child, those words do not sound like common sense. Those words echo with condemnation from a world that never considered, can't imagine or refuses to believe that children can suffer from the same personality disorders that afflict adults.

After all - we don't blame the parents when a child gets the measles - or a life threatening illness. On the contrary! We extend our support our sympathies and our prayers to parents whose children struggle with physical ailments. Why should we blame the parents when a child gets a mental illness?

But we do.

Who is the Personality Disordered Child?

She is the schoolgirl who teases a weaker child mercilessly.

He is the playground bully.

She is the friend of a child who turns into an enemy overnight, with no warning and no reason, only to become a best friend again the next day.

He is the child who breaks windows.

She is the pregnant teenager.

He is the boy who brings drugs to school.

She is the child who slaps her sister.

He is the kid who they call delinquent.

She is the sweet little girl who took a pill overdose

He is the quiet kid who is cruel to animals.

She is the 10 year old who shoplifts.

There are many forms and shapes of personality disordered kids - and there are many kids who misbehave who do not have a personality disorder. These examples are given as an illustration - not as a diagnosis.

Parenting a Child with a Personality Disorder

Contributed by jrrr

There are extraordinary facets to parenting a person with the traits of a personality disorder.

Whether our child is - by chronological age - an adult, an adolescent, or younger, there just isn't some magic manual for dealing with the frustration, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and all the other states of mind that can overwhelm us and our lives. Then, of course, there is love - always love... even when it seems it may be all dried up, it's not.

One doesn't have to be a biological parent or have the 'traditional nuclear' family to find camaraderie, support, knowledge, and solace in the Parenting section of Out of the FOG [fear, obligation, and guilt]. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, adoptive and foster parents, step-parents, caretakers... all spectrums of those who are responsible for nurturing a child with personality disorder traits can benefit while also contributing to these conversations.

Here we find an opportunity to express ourselves in a special give and take. It's all good...

Links to relevant books:

New Hope for People with Borderline Personality Disorder: Your Friendly, Authoritative Guide to the Latest in Traditional and Complementary Solutions, by Neil R. Bockian, PhD; Nora Elizabeth Villagran; and Valerie Porr

Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Coping When Your Adolescent Has BPD, by Blaise A. Aguirre, MD

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD, by Robert O. Friedel, MD

Borderline Personality Disorder by John G. Gunderson, MD

Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and Families by John G. Gunderson, MD

Other informational sites:

The DBT Clinical Resource Directory of Behavioral Tech LLC, founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP.

TARA - The Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorder, headed by Valerie Porr.

DBT Program at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Belmont, MA.

An article from Psychiatric Times, February 1996: Antecedents of Personality Disorders in Young Adults, by Joseph M. Rey, MD.

A comprehensive overview of BPD in the Pediatrics portion of eMedicine, by Elizabeth A Finley-Belgrad, MD (last updated May 3, 2006).

The Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking from "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, MD.

Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking, also from "The Feeling Good Handbook".

Recommended Links

Here are some books and links that might be of use.

On Line Support

There is a section of our Support Forum dedicated to supporting people who find themselves Parenting someone who suffers from a personality disorder.


For More Information & Support...

If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.

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