New Member... Hoping I’m Posting in an Appropriate Place


New Member
My preteen stepson yelled, ”Maybe I’ll break Jane‘s head!” (Not my real name) a little over a week ago. Complicating matters, I work for the state, in law enforcement. Therefore, I immediately assessed the threat level, noted complicating factors, and knew that the wellbeing of our entire family is in danger.

Because of the scant security measures I take whenever he is present, our life has radically changed. I stay in my room except for at meal times or important social events like trick-or-treat and going to weekly religious services.

I’ve informed my husband that I will not supervise the child, though I do love him. I’m sure that if he lashes out I don’t want to be alone. I would not use force on him unless he was attacking another person with potentially deadly force, or hurting himself. Because he’s my stepson and not my son, I would never want to have to put my hands on him even if he was attacking me. My husband left the house to run an errand yesterday, and didn’t take the boy. As soon as I realized I ran to my bedroom, shut the door, locked it, locked the top (secret) lock that I insisted be installed immediately after the threat, call my husband, and demanded that he return immediately.

My husband just doesn’t think the little dude’ll follow through on the threat so I stay in my room. Today I looked up the matter, and saw that my threat assessment was correct and all the following are indications that the threat is serious:

He has a history of hitting his mom, and his brother, attempting to choke his brother, kicking and pushing smaller children.

He threatened to kill him self four or five years ago.

He has threatened to burn down another family member’s house, and stated his plan of how to do so, and it was a plan which may well have worked.

He has been stealing for years from stores and multiple family members, and the stolen items were all discovered recently in his room with a note hidden in the middle of them all, “I HATE JANE” was scratched angrily in two colors of ink, one over the other.

Everywhere I go I always have one eye on him if he’s with us. My hands are ready to block an attack. I am not safe, and all his dad has done is make a consultation for Dad and Mom where they will presumably get a referral for the child.

In the interim, if you’re out there and can send some words of advice or encouragement, I’d really appreciate it.


Well-Known Member
As usual, I am up in the middle of the night and just read this.

You are in danger and if this were me, and my husband did nothing, I would pack and leave until such a time that the boy lived elsewhere. Even then, depending on how much access he still had to the house, I might not go back. It would not matter how much I loved my husband.

Nothing is worth your own bodily harm or your life. I will pray for you to be safe.


Well-Known Member
Are there other children or pets in the home? You might want to get a journal and write down incidents and threats so you have a documented record.

I don't have any experience with what you are going thru. In our state, there is an SED Waiver. It's called different names in different states. "Severely Emotionally Disabled". If the child qualifies for the program, based on their behavior and needs. It is a state insurance, but it's not based on the parents income. It would cover things that most private insurances do not. Like a case manager and respite care.

Our adopted granddaughters qualified based on their behavior, cutting, running away, drugs, alcohol, suicidal thoughts. They met with a social worker once a week and spent an hour or two together.

I hope you can find the help this child needs. He must have gone thru a lot with his parents divorcing. Could he have been abused at some point? Could his mom have used drugs or alcohol while pregnant with him? Is there a family history of mental illness? Does he have a difficult time at school with his behaviors? He really needs a team of experts to help navigate the system.

I'm sorry that both of you are in this difficult situation. You are an adult professional...imagine how hard it must be for him with less coping skills. I hope the adults can get him the help he needs. In the meantime, is he able to participate in after school activities? Community sports or groups like Boy Scouts? Church youth activities? Is there an interest you can encourage him to do? Like putting a model car together? Cooking? A hobby? Something to occupy his time?

Keep in touch and give us updates. Ksm


New Member
Thank you both. I, personally, have lived through, survived, and overcome domestic violence. Therefore, seeing his behavior in my home after so many years of safety is rightly alarming enough to have made me consider leaving. But he is a child. I have two stepsons in the home (the other is a bit younger boy), and I have an adult child who is well out of the house. They are all my children, and I love them dearly.

Of an adult in my home threatened me my life, one of us would would be permanently out of the house. If an adult at work threatened to break my head, he’d be in cuffs. But this is my child, barely a preteen. Yes.

I will start journaling the incidents. I was thinking about doing that, and your encouragement solidified me resolve.

They do have good insurance, and both parents are active in their school, and I believe they will research and make available all programs offered. Both boys are active in many of the programs type mentioned, but lately the older one has gotten in trouble at school, scouts, camp, and around the neighborhood... due to assaulting smaller, younger, or female children.

The divorce certainly was horrible. I think kids believe everything parents tell them, and then just as they are beginning to understand their place in the world, everything they were told, all the most important things, seem like they were just lies.

I suppose mom could have used alcohol or drugs. He’s always been small for his age, and has several chronic but fairly common physical illnesses.

I have seen her become very upset and yell at their father during custodial exchanges even though he has always been conciliatory during the ones I’ve viewed. I just wouldn’t pin it on her though.

At this point, the child must begin accepting behavior for his own responsibility. Otherwise, he will end up incarcerated at some point in his life, and he’s so bright, charming, and usually fun to be around. He just gets enraged.

I’ve made an appointment with an LISW tomorrow so that I can get some professional insight on this situation and on what I might do to help. Perhaps I’ll have a journal of behaviors by then. I have nothing else to do, sitting here safe and lonely in my room. I’m wondering if retreating is right. I feel like it may be rewarding the behavior.


Well-Known Member
This is just me again. My two cents and just disregard it if it is not useful to you. Take what you need and leave the rest. That is what we all do here.

I don't allow my own daughter into my house because she got violent with my son. If she had done it at 13 or 16 she would have had to live elsewhere such as residential treatment. You can not fix this situation and if it were me I would not try. But then domestic violence was new to me and I felt it was shocking and not about Kay but about the safety of her possible victims, myself, my husband and my other kids. I love Kay, but if she sees us it has to be at a crowded restaurant. Not going to give up my health even for a beloved child. And at least for me age doesn't matter. How tall and strong is your stepson? Could he hurt you? Can he shoot a gun? Choke anyone? His threats are scary. Many kids who bring us here do end up in jail. Do you think he takes drugs?

Now this is just me and all of us are different and I am concerned for your safety. If God is in your life, pray, pray, pray for the solution best suited for yourself and those you love.



New Member
I agree. I am considering leaving, however I believe with the security measures I’ve taken I will not be gravely injured by him. He is small, does not know how to fire a gun, and I do not keep guns in the home ever. With hops father present I am sure we can defend ourselves and his little brother in all events except if he set a fire while we were all sleeping. I am also concerned that his little brother does not have a better lock on his door. We noticed on a recent vacation that little brother (the one who was choked -though as hood father reminded me it didn’t leave bruises) always locks his door, but the abusive one knows how to pick those easy locks.


New Member
I admit I am terrified to think of him burning the house down with us in it. I really think it’sa big deal that he threatened to burn his mother’s house down, but apparently when they went to a psychologist for referral, the mother said, “it wasn’t really that big of a deal.” The psychologist gave referrals, but mom and dad decided not to follow up at that time. I’m wanting to be compassionate for the parents, but I don’t understand why neither of them have insisted that he needs serious treatment. I feel like I’m the only one who is taking this seriously.


Well-Known Member
Somebody we know casually (business acquaintance) had an ten year old foster boy who actually did burn the house down. I hesitated to tell you this because I didn't want to sound too dramatic. He also kept threatening to do it and they thought he was just talking trash because of his difficult life before being removed from his parents. But he did it and it was big local gossip and the kid told the investigators he had been mad because his foster parents wouldn't buy him something at the store. He would not say if he was sorry or not.

The boy disappeared, the family lived in a hotel for months and that's all I know about it.

Please be careful.


Roll With It
You are right to take precautions the way you have. So many parents don't understand how vigilant they have to be. Your post catapulted me back to when my own son was a preteen. We were not safe at all. Only my husband was safe if my oldest son was in the house. The best help we got was 3 months in a psychiatric hospital (locked ward) when he was 12. Why? He tried to choke his sister to death. She was sound asleep and woke because his hands were around her throat. Our cat insisted I wake up and led me to them, of all things. Her door was locked but he picked it. He came close to succeeding.

Two years later we were all way past sick of it. He just kept getting bigger and more violent. He would come at me because he knew he had to get through me to get to his little sister. The last time he was living with us, he beat the holy heck out of me and then threw me into the bar that separated our kitchen and living room. I had the most awful bruises across my back from hitting it with so much force. I called the cops and insisted that they take him somewhere. I was NOT going to live in fear any longer. He went to the local Youth Shelter for 2 days. Why 2 days? He wouldn't follow their rules either. I got a call to come get him. I said NO. My parents live close by and went to get him before our court date. Eventually I agreed to let my parents have a chance to help turn him around. I warned them of the violence. But they insisted.

We got lucky. Somehow he managed to mature enough and listen enough to not get himself in any more trouble. My parents actually apologized - they thought I was grossly exaggerating his violence and attacks. Then he backed my mother up against a wall (NOT easy, even my own brother has never managed that one) and on another occasion punched my father. My dad punched him back. Twice. Long story short, my son is 28, amazing and wonderful. He has worked HARD to repair our relationships, and we are so proud of him. But during those early years, I wouldn't relive those for anything.

My son started with hurting his little sister (3.5 years younger). By the time he was in first grade, we were not letting them spend even 60 seconds alone together. If we did, she ended up bruised. If only one adult was home, we couldn't use the restroom alone. I took my daughter in with me and had her stand in the tub, and my hubby did the same with our oldest. Some days I really NEEDED that break from my kids while I peed in peace, but I never took it. It wasn't worth having him do something to my daughter.

I tell you this so that you know you are NOT alone. Push the local domestic violence shelter to help you. Don't be alone with him. Stay on top of this. You are not alone.

Start a Parent Report. The info is in the link in my signature. It is a report that can help you get the right help and put the pieces together to figure this out. Try to get him in to a good counselor. See if the local DV center has a program for abusers that he can take. Sure, he is young. But he is old enough to light a match or get a knife and use it.

Guns, if you don't have them at home, are not the big worry. Knives are. Lock up all the knives and scissors in the house. It will make cooking a pain, but being safe is worth it. There are a LOT of websites that will tell you how to kill someone with a knife. My son found directions online while he was at school. Make sure there is monitoring software on any computer he uses and that you check what he is doing often.

This is a great place. Keep coming back because people here not only care, we have been there, done that.


New Member
:grouphug:Thank you BusynMember for sticking it out and encouraging me these last two days, and thank you susiestar for relating your experience which touches ours on so many points. I managed to get an emergency appointment with an excellent psychiatrist this morning for my husband and myself so that we can hopefully begin to work better as a team on this. He keeps saying, “He hasn’t actually attacked anyone with a weapon yet, and he hasn’t left bruises.” And I believe the second is untrue because his little brother is tough as nails (cool kid) and is very careful not to get the assaultive one in trouble.

Anyway, before I go I have that journal list to put the rest of the way together. Then I also have an afternoon appointment with an LISW. I’m sure I’ll be back here to process the events of the day.


Well-Known Member
I think his mom might have an anger problem that he seems to have inherited, or maybe it is learned behavior. You mentioned she can be argumentative. Kids take after their parents sometimes. The part about breaking your head sounds like something he picked up from his mom. I also think he's very angry about the divorce.


Sending good vibes...
Welcome Jane,

I would agree with much of what Busy related. Good advice. Specifically with logging information down daily to show the history of things said and done.

The only other thing I may add (because not quite the same scenario as you but with my own son as an adult) is that at some point it's possible he may start to create false lies about "you". Create false stories that could hurt your reputation.

I love my adult son dearly (and we have had a lot of issues with him from 15-26 yrs. old) but he created some stories, I feel due to his own mental ill health, drug addiction etc. that wreaked havoc with our lives.

We were put out of our own home for 3 months while our son lived in a house that we were paying the mortgage on. We faced charges and it was a nightmare. This was 3 yrs. ago and my life and husband's at the time, hung in the wind waiting to see if the Courts would see the story for what it was. Luckily, they did. I will not to this day allow my son in my home. It is heart-breaking because he's living in his car. I have to protect myself, my job and my reputation.

Just another piece to think about. You don't know what's going on his mind. If your husband doesn't see this as big of a deal as you do could it be possible if something like this happened that he would not "back" you and rather believe what his son says? I would hate to have to find out.

Keep posting. Others will have more helpful suggestions.