new to site looking for any advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by areinert, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. areinert

    areinert New Member

    So i am a step mom of a 10 year old boy, in the past he has done everything from killing animals to setting a house on fire.
    in may 2010 i married my husband and while we were on our honeymoon my SS tried to drown my rabbit he was unsuccessful, so later after school he snuck into the basement took the rabbit and put it in the washing machine and unfortunately turned it on and killed it. He was then evaluated and hospitalized until we returned home. this past july he set my mother in laws house on fire, not just a little but he nearly got trapped in the room and the house was unlivable for 5 months. He was hospitalized again because he shows no remorse for the things he does. He does afwul things at school as well from punching to spitting on kids. He has been caught multiple times trying to look inappropriately at his half sister who is 10 months old and when caught he admits to what he is doing. Recently after i made him fold his laundry(as a punishment), my husband overheard him saying when he gets older hes going to get a gun and seek his revenge... Obviously i do not want to take this lightly so i call the therapist we have been working with and he said if we feel unsafe we have two options 1 we get child services involved where we will be charged with a form of neglect or 2 we can let his biological mom have him. He sees his mother 2 times a month supervised, due to boyfriends sexual abuse and she is unstable.

    Neither of these are right i love him as he were my own and i dont want to get rid of him so to speak i just want to help him and understand why he thinks and acts this way. We need to do what is right these are all major signs and i need to protect my daughter as well.
    The hospitalization hasnt done anything he has fun and get to play explosive video games and doesnt want to come home from there. therapy hasnt done anything at all.
    No one we haved worked with seems to try and help at all so if anyone has any advice it would be appreciated thanks
  2. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I dont have any advice.....just want to say welcome!
    Sounds as if you are a very loving and brave woman!
    Did he have any psychiatric assessments....any diagnosis, any medications or therapy?
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there, and welcome!

    You will see this over and over, and it's very true: I am glad you found us, and truly sorry that you needed to.

    I, too, have stepkids. Let me tell you - kids that have been abused are a whole entity unto themselves. They have special needs that those of us "normal" people just can't even begin to grasp.

    We'll ask lots of questions. We're not really prying... But for advice purposes... The last thing we want to do is tell you the wrong thing based on assumptions!!!

    Does your SS have any diagnosis at all? You mentioned that he is 10 - has this been going on for more than a year? The fire setting, cruelty to animals and other stuff is just downright SCARY. His threats, etc. are, too.

    As far as CPS goes, they can be a royal pain, but let me tell you something - they really, really do not like charging people. They'd rather help. Their help is somewhat lopsided, but can open the door to services being provided. FACT: He has looked inappropriately at his sister - I'm going to guess he's trying to poke around inside her diaper? - and this is a danger to HER. The fact that he admits it is even scarier, to me.

    You are right about protecting your daughter (we've had to do the same with my stepson). If visitation with biomom is supervised, there's probably a court order. That will be helpful for him, too - when you call CPS.

    Your therapist sounds like he/she doesn't know CPS all that well. If a child is in danger, and it is reported, and CPS finds that it is another child in the house, and the parents are trying to protect the endangered child, they aren't going to charge you with neglect. They will look at the situation with bio, too. They will try to place him with family, but in this case he is a danger - to others AND himself. Not knowing the whole situation, I cannot say for sure, but I can say simply that you and your husband will have to be insistent, and coherent - a team.

    I question the value of a hospitalization scenario where they allow violent video games at all. Mario Kart, maybe. But are we talking Call of Duty or Halo? Grand Theft Auto?

    If your husband is on the same page, he can do what mine did - and others on this board - and refuse to bring him home. Of course, we also called CPS ourselves, and begged for help (they were called about an incident, and we took that ball and RAN with it). We've jumped through a LOT of hoops. Onyxx is now in a behavioral Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and honeymooning... We're already seeing signs of her M.O. popping up again, but this one's court ordered, and we actually have a chance now, where before it was living in lockdown, cell phone and keys at the ready... ALL THE TIME.

    :hugs: Sorry that wasn't supposed to get so long, but you sounded very worried about your little girl AND your stepson... You're right, he needs help.

    Again, welcome!
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Sadly, this boy has some very severe issues. Please, please have a very strong safety plan in place to protect your baby. It sounds like he will hurt her if the opportunity is there (and sadly, 15 seconds is long enough).

    While it is very expensive, it you could find a way to fund it, a Residential Treatment Center might help him. It will keep the rest of you safe while he is there.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I agree with Step. CPS may be a help rather than a hinderence in this case. I'm shocked that they are not already involved after he killed animals and set fires. Those are HUGE signs of violent sexual abuse.

    I'd suggest calling the local office and asking for a meeting with them. They often know of resources that others do not.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Your step-son sounds very disturbed and obviously needs special help. Your family also obviously need to be protected. I do not know enough to be able to say what the prognosis is for a child like this; can he still be reached, still be helped? I would really like to think so but I do not know how you go about getting that kind of help. At the very least I presume he sees a psychiatrist at the moment?
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I don't have a chance to read all of the other responses, so hope this isn't redundant.

    Did your stepson have a very chaotic infancy and toddlerhood where perhaps there was more than one caregiver or he was handed back and forth from person-to-person...or his caregiver was unstable and did not give him consistent love? Has he been thrown around a lot by maybe biological mom...from person to person? Abused? I read fast...did mother's boyfriend sexually abuse him? If so, he is a risk to his act out on her and please never leave them unsupervised in the same room alone.

    I agree with Malika. This is a very disturbed child. Without going into the sad history, I know a lot about kids who have serious attachment disorders and lack conscience/attachment/ability to act in a socially acceptable way. There are three main red flags for children who are heading for antisocial disorders: 1/peeing and pooping inappropriately and in inappropriate places 2/ fascination with/playing with fire 3/cruelty to animals. Your stepson has at least two of these symptoms. I am in too big a hurry to have finished (so sorry!) and don't know if he pees or poops inappropriately, but it is scary enough that he does these other two things.

    Do you feel safe in your house? Can you give us a history of this child? He sounds like he could be suffering from serious attachment problems due to perhaps a very chaotic early life...????

    Hugs...hang in there. We care and will try to help.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi and huge hugs. This sounds like a very very broken child.

    I am so sorry for him and for you. The kinds of things you describe are symptoms of full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder, though of course we dont know him or his full story and are not professionals who diagnoise that kind of thing, just from experience and to offer you some insight (you said you wanted to know why he thinks this way) for why it MIght be happening.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is often talked about in context of adoption but it can happen with any human who has any kind of disruption to his normal bonding time...the time when we learn fundamentally trust and love others, between birth and three (and some say older... things that happen with older kids often do cause serious issues too, but if there is a basic developmental attachment that had taken place at some time then therapy can be a little easier).

    See what you think:

    Reactive attachment disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It takes a very different kind of therapy and some research to find those who can do it. It often takes residential care because these folks do better without the pressure to have to bond and feel the perceived rejection they have in their hearts. They can actually sometimes do really well in an out of family placement because they can keep what they fear could be potentially the most hurtful thing ever .... the possibility of rejection from those who love them most.... further away. Not in their every day life.

    You would still parent, but in a different way. many of us may face this or already are facing this with our kids. it is hard and will be tough to wrap your heads around maybe....but ask a million questions. It is perhaps your biggest shot at help for him. he needs professionals who understand the serious inability to connect with the feelings of other human beings. The level of deep rage and hurt they feel inside. There are people out there who get it. It is worth a try! You seem like a truly caring and loving person, he is blessed to have you.

    you do not have any more pets do you??? HUGS, Buddy
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Buddy, bless you! You have such good resources!!! (((Hugz))) You are a blessing to this board.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Now isn't that funny, MWM, because I was thinking the same thing, in almost the same words, after reading Buddy's post!
  11. areinert

    areinert New Member

    Thank you for the info, we do have a dog but have had to get rid of all the others due to him choking the cat etc.. :( we limit the interaction between him and the dog and his little sister its all we can do to keep everyone safe. we have looked into treatment facilities but we are being told the only way he can go is if we pay out of pocket and financially we cant..
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    How is he at school?
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We ran into this too, until we got help (CPS+juvenile court). We pay child support to the court now... A lot less than we expected to pay.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. How I wish I could suggest something that you could do in your home to help your SS as I am positive that you sincerely love him. Frankly I just can't. I'm sorry that you are facing such a dire decision but I have no doubt that he should be removed from your home and placed in a therapeutic foster home or residential treatment facility.

    I have never faced your circumstances but there are others here who have had to make that difficult decision. Believe me, they too loved their chldren very much. If I were in your position I think that I would have to rearrange my thinking and focus on what's best for your SS and the family. Staying in a family setting has already proven to be very dangerous for him and others. I don't know if the mental health professionals will be able to help him...but I feel confident that he will be relieved to live in a setting where temptations won't abound. Likely he will become far more at peace with himself under those circumstances.

    I hope my response comes accross as intended...caring support. Warm hugs from me to you. DDD
  15. areinert

    areinert New Member

    he dosent know how to approach others in a friendly way. and often acts younger then is for instance when he sees a water fountain he jumps up and down saying drink, drink.
  16. areinert

    areinert New Member

    our juvenile court wont help unless a judge issues he go there and a judge wont see his case because he is too young, and isnt breaking any laws. Its one brick wall after another
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Do you have a county mental health department that can help??? Sounds like you have tried everything so I suspect you already have checked this, but it is how i get services for my son. I just got his waiver passed for the new year... his therapies cost over 94thousand dollars and it was all approved. having him in residential would cost more so he has a waiver that is increased to an "NB" level which means neurobehavioral due to his traumatic brain injury, autism and attachment disorder.

    Money is tighter now than when he got on it but even if they say there is a waiting list... this kid will probably always need help so get on the waiting list. you will be surprised how in 10 years you will say I wish i had gotten on the list. Also once on the list there are emergency spots. My son's classmate, who I did some pca work with, had our home psychiatrist come in to evaluate for services. couldn't do it because of a mismatch in funding but he wrote a letter to the a private psychologist and said, if anyone fit the need for a waiver it is this child and her mother. Two weeks later htey had a forty thousand dollar waiver. This girl is very violent too. really small but strong and can be very destructive.

    just sharing stories in case there are any ideas that you might not have tried. public health nursing is who case manages us but the other waivers and any other funding is run by the mental health social workers and the developmental disability workers.

    The other services to ask them about are respite, PCA, Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) (independent living skill) etc. sometimes they can use a pot of funds separate to just provide those services. There are other grants that are not income dependent so really worth asking especially right now because counties are all starting over for their fiscal years. Once one agency is involved, they often can pull strings to get you into other agencies. here's hoping for you. I know what it feels like to have doors slammed. for every service I have, I fought very very hard. some things just dont work out and it is so sad.
  18. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Animal cruelty and arson are very serious crimes. If the JJS is the best way to get help in your area, I would suggest a meeting with an ADA.
  19. mazdamama

    mazdamama New Member

    I want to welcome you but I am sitting here in fear for you and your baby girl and trembling. I don;t know how you sleep at night with such a dangerous siuation in your home. After my 11 yr old son recently killed our puppy I called the crisis hot line, I spoke with the woman and then he spoke with the woman but I could hear his side of the conversation. He was telling her that he was so afraid that he would hurt me or his younger brother in our sleep and did not know how to stop doing these things. When she got me back on the phone she asked if I had heard the conversation on his end and I said yes.....she then told me to call the police and have him Baker Acted. He could have been charged with a felony for the death of the puppy but no charges were filed due to his mental status. He went to the Crisis Stabilization Unit in handcuffs. Hard thing to watch this happen to a child you love but necessary to protect the other child you love and yourself.
    Actually that helped push through the residential treatment center for him. My insurance on him covers him for 60 days but during that 60 days work is being done to get him on medically needy medicaid because his stay can last 6 months.
    With what he had done I was scared of him. I am disabled and although I get around okay he is more powerful then I am at this point. The pne time he pushed me to the floor and tried to choke me he managend to tear a ligament in my knee that cannot be repaired without causing more arthritus there then I already have. Difference is he shows remorse. When he killed the puppy he was inconsolable.

    His one therapist had mentioned anti social personality and my therapist when told this said that a child of his age should not be given that diagnosis because it was basically saying he was a sociopath and that because he has remorse for his actions he could not be that.

    I admit...I am an avid Criminal Minds viewer an on one episode there was a young child killed by his slightly older brother that turned out to be a sociopath. He had gotten mad at his younger brother and got him down on the floor and stuffed the plastic plane parts down his throat while the parents were upstairs asleep. This older boy could care less his brother was dead.

    I am going to be praying for you and your family and I am praying that your son gets the help he needs, tough love is sometimes the best love we can give a child.
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In looking for help have you reached out to the ARC group in your area? Honestly I don't know if they could be of help but it sure sounds as though there are developmental delays as a big factor too.

    My main suggestion for you (and all parents of children with special needs) is to use a spiral notebook and record everything that has happened each day. Did your chld have a meltdown? Write down approx. when that happened and make sure you write down what was going on prior to the meltdown. This documents events, triggers, reactions etc. and can not only help you parent by sometimes showing "warning signs" but be of invaluable help to professionals.

    Just as important is to write down every single person or agency or service that you contact looking for the help you need. For Ex: 1/5/12 10 AM called ARC (phone number) and spoke to Jane Smith (title or secretary etc) asked if they could help me. Asked who they might know who could provide support from another department or agency. Jane Smith suggested I call Al Roker (XYZ @ phone no) as he might be of help. Next entry 1/16/12 called Al Roker (xyz @ phone no). He was not there. Left a message "Mr. Roker my name is xyz and Jane Smith from ARC suggested I telephone you to see if you could help me find help for my child. Please return my call at your earliest convenience. My name is xyz and my phone number is 444444444. Thank you."

    I approached my searches like they were mysteries and I had to write down every clue to find the answer. Having all your info in one book is huge. Recording each person you speak to and their specific suggestions begins a network. If you keep you inquiries short and sweet chances are you will be able to comprise a sizable master list of people involved in your community. Sometimes just getting to the right person leads to the help you need. Hugs. DDD