Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Children.

All about anger in families and how to manage it effectively.

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My boyfriend's parents are abusive. What can I do?

See also Child Abuse and Child Protective Services.

More about male anger and the Biblitz Anger Management Method - how to diffuse anger and calm an angry parent or child safely.

Hey Leo,

My bf's parents are abusive. They lock him in his room with no food for days. They hit him and scream at him and ground him for no particular reason. He has a mom and a step dad and five siblings. They are not abusive to his siblings, and he feels like nobody understands. He is the oldest and 15 years old. His parents don't know that we are together. They expect him to be perfect. He has to get all as in school or they will lock him in his room and call him names. He fells like he is completely worthless and is depressed every time I call him. He even asked me why I like him! I don't really know his parents that well, but have met them once or twice. They did seem nice, but why are they so cruel to him? And what can I do to help him and stop this? I'm the only person he'll talk to, and nobody else knows.

Biblitz replies:

Call a youth crisis line to find out what resources are available in your jurisdiction to assist in these circs. Gather as much information as you can before you encourage intervention. Sometimes the fire is worse than the frying pan. Only BF can make that choice, but it's a big help if he's got a few phone numbers, Web links and a list of counsellors who'd be willing to see him to help him come up with a coping strategy/intervention. You MUST leave it to him, although it's helpful to reassure him that this sort of parenting is considered abusive and would indeed be actionable by authorities in child protection. If they get wind of these goings-on, they may in some jurisdictions be legally required to intervene, so don't discuss the matter! Let BF make his own inquiries based perhaps on info you provide.

About child abuse, when and whether to report:

What happens when I tell?

When you tell a child protection worker of suspected child abuse, and when you call the Helpline, you are making a report.
If you call the Helpline to report child abuse, you will immediately talk to a child protection worker.
The worker will ask a lot of questions to make sure that he understands what is going on.
The worker will decide if an investigation is required.
If the worker does thinks that it is not abuse or neglect, but there are problems that need to be fixed, he may telephone your parents or go out to meet the family and offer services in the community or through the Ministry to try to fix the problems.
If the worker thinks that there may be abuse or neglect, he or another worker will investigate. ...

Do I have to tell?

If you have a reason to believe that you or friend is being hurt, you have a responsibility to report it to the Helpline or a child protection worker.
It doesn't matter if you believe someone else is reporting the situation, you still have to report.
It doesn't matter if you know that child protection worker is already involved. All new incidents must be reported as well.
The legal duty to report overrides any duty of confidentiality.
Time is very important in ensuring the safety and well-being of children. Report immediately.
If you suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, you are responsible for making a report.
TinyTeaman90 Do not contact the alleged perpetrator. This is the responsibility of the police, or the child protection worker. (From the B.C. Child Abuse Prevention Website, accessed online March 15/10)

My grandaughter was sexually abused by her stepdad, started when she was?

9 yrs. old he has been charged with 4 felony counts. trial is set for may. what i want to know is can friens attend this ? all our family will be there hoping the perv. gets the maxium sentence. thank you

Biblitz replies:

Courts of law are supposed to be open to the public as a matter of jealously-guarded course but in sexual abuse cases, the witness (grandaughter) may apply to the court for closed proceedings and this is usually granted ... in some jurisdictions, anyway. Sometimes, too, the accused is in danger so the court then may in that case limit public access. Best person to ask is the prosecutor.

About open and closed court proceedings:

Publication bans prohibit the publication or disclosure of certain information in otherwise open court proceedings. For example, a ban might prohibit the publication of any information that would identify a particular witness or victim in a criminal proceeding. A ban might also prohibit the publication of any details or evidence disclosed at a bail hearing. Publication bans may be ordered by a court pursuant to either statute or the court's inherent jurisdiction. Some publication bans do not require a court order and are in effect automatically by operation of statute. A publication ban may preclude a court judgment from being published on this website until the ban expires. It may also require that a judgment be edited before it is published on the website, which may cause delays in posting.
It is the responsibility of members of the public who attend court proceedings or access court judgments to inform themselves of the circumstances under which publication bans may be in effect and to ensure compliance with those bans. (From the Courts of British Columbia About Publication Bans, accessed online March 15/10)

Mom getting mad at family?

I live in Canada I'm a 15 year old boy. My moms been going crazy lately. According to her im a dumbass.. I've been put into essentials math cause I don't understand math and it hurts my head. I've went from essentials from all my subjects to applied except for math which i'm really happy for. My mom was happy too. But then now she starts putting me down and cussing at me. My brother also has been getting trouble a lot at school. So my moms been beating him up and he's been pissing me off. I do track and field so I have to train 3 times a week. I have to go to tutor as well. My mom goes off whenever she sees my dad doing little mistakes same thing with my brother and same thing with me. Sometimes I just want to ******* go break my head against the wall. She just yells so hard it feels like my head is exploding :'( It hurts so much I always go to track and try relaxing and train my hardest then when I come back I am put down. At school I get a bunch of ******* dumb asses hitting me for no reason. Please help me.. I swear I'm going to explode at someone soon. And I don't want that to happen. My mom is yelling this very ******* moment.

Biblitz replies:
You have self-knowledge and persistence, a real will to win. The best way to solve this is to ask mom when she's relaxed if she would set some time aside to talk with you about a few personal concerns. Get her to commit to a time. She'll probably faint, but when she recovers and the time arrives, say very calmly, 'Mom, I want you to understand that it makes me very angry/sad (name a feeling) when you (act in some way/ say such-and-such (be specific). Was it your intention to injure me in this way?' Then sit calmly and listen. If she didn't get it right, try again calmly to clarify your position. Before you know it, you'll be having a truly adult conversation with someone who has been taking you for granted. Presenting your case in such a clear and grown-up way will no doubt scare the pants off her - probably enough to get her treat you with the respect you deserve. This is the only way to change this kind of dynamic, I'm afraid. Very liberating, actually, for all concerned. One can never learn negotiating skills too early!

My nine year old is has been crapping on my bed, how do I get him to stop?

He keeps on taking dumps under my pillows and under the blanket. At first I thought it was our cat, but I put a camera in the room and it was my son! It is clearly on purpose (he laughs hysterically while doing so and mutters things like "this will show her" and "teach her to take away my video games.") How do I confront him? I was thinking about putting mouse traps on the bed. Good idea?

Biblitz replies:
He's as mad as hell at you but just saying so didn't get your attention. This is actually quite serious. Instead of mouse traps, you need to make time to find out quietly what's making him so angry. Listen, paraphrase, then listen again. Explain that there are no wrong answers and no penalties for this expression of rage, as you read it. You might even surprise the hell out of him by apologizing for having been so unapproachable that he felt compelled to resort to this. Show him the approachable you. Stay calm. If you can't do this calmly, consult a professional. Again, this is a serious anger issue and it's bound to escalate if you don't address it ASAP.

About managing anger:

Explain situations. Help the child understand the cause of a stressed situation. We often fail to realize how easily young children can begin to react properly once they understand the cause of their frustration. Provide reassurance that feelings are quite temporal and usually pass quickly, including anger, even when it seems overwhelming or o/w frightening. Explain that in the course of locating the cause of anger, there are no wrong answers. Calmly ask lots of questions, paraphrasing child's responses. Persevere until you're clear. You'll know you've succeeded when the child no longer feels compelled to demonstrate angry feelings. Once you've acknowledged the anger and located its source, the solution most often presents itself.

Teach children to express themselves verbally, especially about angry feelings. Talking helps a child have control and thus reduces acting out behavior. Encourage the child to say, for example, "It makes me angry when you act by removing something I consider to be mine w/o fully explaining either your reasons for removing it or the terms of the removal. Will I see it again, I wonder?" Tell the child that you accept his or her angry feelings, which we all have from time to time, but offer other suggestions for expressing them. Teach children to put their angry feelings into words rather than fists.

Model appropriate behavior. All adults should act with awareness of their powerful influence on a child's or group's behavior. When expressing anger, always link the anger to a particular action rather than to the person. Never, "What kind of a jerk does this?" But instead, "I feel angry and hurt when you use opprobrious remarks to describe your sibling."

Provide physical outlets and other alternatives. It is important for children to have opportunities for physical exercise and movement both at home and at school.

Manipulate the surroundings. Aggressive behavior can be encouraged by placing children in tough, tempting situations. We should try to plan the surroundings so that certain things are less apt to happen. Stop a "problem" activity and substitute, temporarily, a more desirable one. Sometimes rules and regulations, as well as physical space, may be too confining.

Deliberately ignore inappropriate behavior that can be tolerated. This doesn't mean that you should ignore the child, just the behavior. The "ignoring" has to be planned and consistent. Even though this behavior may be tolerated, the child must recognize that it is inappropriate.

Use closeness and touching. Move physically closer to the child to curb his or her angry impulse. Young children are often calmed by having an adult come close by and express interest in the child's activities. Children naturally try to involve adults in what they are doing, and the adult is often annoyed at being bothered. Very young children (and children who are emotionally deprived) seem to need much more adult involvement in their interests. A child about to use a toy or tool in a destructive way is sometimes easily stopped by an adult who expresses interest in having it shown to him. An outburst from an older child struggling with a difficult reading selection can be prevented by a caring adult who moves near the child to say, "Show me which words are giving you trouble."

Similarly, be ready to show affection. Sometimes all that is needed for any angry child to regain control is a sudden hug or other impulsive show of affection. Children with serious emotional problems, however, may have trouble accepting affection. Take frequent recourse to positive reinforcement with expressions such as, "It's not at all what one has come to expect from a charming and generous soul like yourself to keep the purple crayon from your beloved siblings. It's simply not like you! I just knew there was something behind such extraordinary behavior and it delights me to know you possess the superior wit to name it, which is the first and most difficult step toward resolving the matter! How shall we celebrate our good fortune?" Careful, though, not to withhold affection as a precondition to good behavior! The idea is to locate and resolve the source of the angry demonstration so cheerful relations may resume as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Ease tension through humor. Kidding the child out of a temper tantrum or outburst offers the child an opportunity to "save face." However, it is important to distinguish between face-saving humor and sarcasm, teasing, or ridicule.

Appeal directly to the child. Tell him or her how you feel and ask for consideration. For example, a parent or a teacher may gain a child's cooperation by saying, "I know that noise you're making doesn't usually bother me, but today I've got a headache, so could you find something else you'd enjoy doing? It's just for today. You haven't done anything wrong, and I'm not angry at all. Just sensitive. Shall we put the timer on for the estimated during of my strange sensitivity or have you got an alternative venture under your cap already?"

Use physical restraint. Occasionally a child may lose control so completely that he has to be physically restrained or removed from the scene to prevent him from hurting himself or others. This may also "save face" for the child. Physical restraint or removal from the scene should not be viewed by the child as punishment but as a means of saying, "You can't do that." In such situations, an adult cannot afford to lose his or her temper and unfriendly remarks by other children should not be tolerated.

Encourage children to see their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Help them to see that they can reach their goals.

Use promises and rewards. Promises of future pleasure can be used both to start and to stop behavior. This approach should not be compared with bribery. We must know what the child likes - what brings him pleasure - and we must deliver on our promises.

Say "NO!" Limits should be clearly explained and enforced. Children should be free to function within those limits.

Build a positive self-image. Encourage children to see themselves as valued and valuable people.

Use punishment cautiously. There is a fine line between punishment that is hostile toward a child and punishment that is educational. DO NOT use physical punishment. Use time-out instead. (From Dealing with the Angry Child at the Child Development Insitute, accessed online March 15/10, along with additions, deletions and re-ordering by Biblitz as required)

Children Learn What They Live

By Dorothy Law Nolte and Rachel Harris

If a child lives with criticism
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance
he learns to be patient.

if a child lives with encouragement
he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise
he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness
he learns justice.

If a child lives with security
he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance
and friendship he learns to find love in the world.

Suffer the young 'uns unto old Biblitz, who cares for 'em like billy-o even if their crazy, undeserving parents in our all-consuming culture don't!

Fragonard's Allegories of Love

By Andrei Molotiu


As early as the 1770s, Fragonard represented the ideal state of the new bourgeois family in a variety of genre scenes such as The Happy Household, Happy Fertility, Young Couple Contemplating a Sleeping Child and The Visit to the Nursery (above). Such images can quite clearly be read as idoologically prescriptive, representing the ideal behaviors of fathers, mothers, and children in the very midst of the new bourgeois household. (-- p. 80)

Alas, not all parents share M. Fragonard's generous views of the matter with the consequences we see, sadly, in the news every day.

What do I do about my mom?

My mom and I always fight. She doesn't abuse me or anything like that - it's just we always fight. She says, "You're such a nasty girl," and "all you care about is looks and boys" - stuff like that. I'm 12, btw. Oh, and please dont say, "Go talk to her." It's not that easy.

Biblitz replies:

Take control of the relationship by asking her when she has some time for the two of you to talk. Don't reveal the subject matter; just get a commitment. When the time arrives, sit quietly and calmly and say something like, 'I want you to understand that it makes me angry/frustrated/sad/unloved (pick a descriptor) when you act/say (be specific). I feel this way because it seems to me (explain) .... Was this your intention?' Then sit back and wait for her paraphrase to show you she understands. Press calmly on until you're sure she understands your complaint. Usually, if you make it this far, the solution presents itself. One can never learn these important negotiating skills too soon!

She'll probably faint, of course, but when she recovers, she'll see that she's been treating you with less respect than one might show a dog. Certainly the old habit of misogyny is widely embedded in our sick woman-hating culture and her comments relfect this. Show her you're better than this by acting as any grown-up would or should. Explain calmly that while you're willing to entertain criticisms of your performance at school, in household chores and maintaining domestic rules, such as curfews and so on, her comments must be limited to acts and issues that pertain equally to boys and girls alike. Calling you 'nasty girl' is another of those slurs that mysteriously has no male equivalent. If she has any questions, get her to accompany you to the public library to explore the feminism section. Biblitz recommends the work of Dr. Mary Daly, who provides a fascinating account of the European witchcraze, from whence a lot of this nonsense comes from. Here's a compelling excerpt to get you started

At 12, it's time to find out all the interesting stuff schools don't teach!
Above all, remain calm. If she shouts, whisper. If she gestures wildly, sit quietly with arms, shoulders and hands fully relaxed. This is how you control a contentious adult exchange.

Does my mom still care about me? Or is she happy to be rid of me?

She's refused to help me pay for college at all (which I feel is normal for most kids.. and my college choice carries a pretty hefty price tag) And has been angry a lot with me this year, despite all my academic achievements. And has been yelling at me to "graduate and move out already!"

She has been a great mom for 18 years, though not the huggy-cuddly type. She's beat me for getting grades lower than a B, though that's understandable coming from a Chinese family, and swears she does it out of love.

'Though you are surrounded by ice, you will soon be conquered by fire!'

But just these past few days I have told her I considered enlisting in the Military (I probably won't be able to pay for college on my own) and I don't think she's been happier in her entire life.

So question: Is she simply happy for me that I've chosen to do something honorable or am I being paranoid that that she is so "enthusiastic" about me signing up to get killed?

Biblitz replies:

WOW! She has certainly given you some strange ideas about women, mothers and family love. You would be well advised to take these issues up with a professional counsellor/psych to discuss your feelings about her. The fact that you've omitted them here despite a description that would give most of us reason to be not just angry but furious suggests you've learned to stuff your feelings away. Not good. They will come back and regale you with a force that could topple a large building, sabotaging relationships and opptys for years unless you deal with them. Soon is best.

Happily, an over-achiever like you who has learned to get by with so little affection and support will find the challenge easy as pie!
Cautionary note: At the end of your sessions with adviser, you may discover you no longer wish to see mom at least for awhile.

I can't live with my stepdad anymore, but I can't hurt my mom. What should I do?


I'm a 19 year old college student and my step dad feels like he still has limitless power over me. I didn't clean my room one day and while I was at work, he took all my clothes. Not just the clothes on the ground, he got everything out of my closet and dresser and put them in bags outside. 2 weeks later my mom finally snuck them from him and gave them back, but by then they were moldy and ruined. Clothes that I BOUGHT with the money I work for. That's just an example. Every day he uses his "power" over me like he does with the younger kids. I would ignore it, but its hard to ignore when its physical, not just verbal or emotional.

I cant afford to move into my own place, even if I got a roommate. I'm working minimum wage and paying for college. I think I could move in with my dad who lives 10 minutes from my mom, but my mom is the most fragile person I know. My step dad has worked her down to the bone. She is a mess. He treats her like crap and does that same power thing on her. How can I tell her I dont want to live there anymore? She's an emotional wreck, and I would just make it worse. But I cant handle being controlled anymore. I'm ready to explode.

Biblitz replies:

WOW! What a smelt! It sounds like you're needed not only by mom but by younger siblings.

This is too much responsibility w/o authority. Best advice is to consult youth crisis line to see what resources are available to handle this bully. You need someone to give you an overview of your legal rights and responsibilities in this situation. If youth crisis doesn't know, ask rape crisis. They will! Sounds like a LOT of what's happening is stuff guys do to women. That's the rape crisis lookout.

Obtaining information will at least give you some control. Someone at one or the other will help you devise an effective strategy to explain to mom that while she's free to choose her own partners, you're nobody's doormat and you're prepared to take steps against Mr. Scary to protect yourself as necessary. Remind her at the same time that while you're a grown-up and able to take care of yourself, she is not entitled to neglect her duty to protect the younger children, who are clearly in peril if she stays with Mr. Scary.

Don't let her bully you emotionally. YOU are not the author of her misfortune - she is. You have no power to 'make things worse.' Honest confrontation is required. If this injures her, then the msg is clear: To her, injury to you is preferable to facing the ugy truth! Don't buy any of it.
You can do this! Biblitz is rooting for you!