The Harsh Reality

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
There have been a couple of disturbing threads over the last week regarding inappropriate sexual behavior between siblings.

It's a terrifying reality to the parents who brought this problem to And there were many many responses & suggestions for these distraught parents. Unfortunately, many of those replies & ideas were panicked in nature as well as pushing for an immediate intervention for that difficult child.

As husband & I have lived this I'd like to offer some education for the parents here who haven't lived this. Haven't experienced the shock, fear & loss of what to do for that child.

Many suggested calling CPS immediately; I agree with that – it's a good thing to report this type of behavior; to have it documented. In the same right, do not expect CPS to come out to the home & pull that child for the safety of the rest of the family. It's not going to happen – it would happen if it were adult on child abuse going on. Not child on child.

CPS will document, they will even offer suggestions, however it's not likely they will jump into action. If the child is 12 years or older you will see more concern, more action on CPS's part because of the onset of puberty & the hormone thing.

The next route would be county mental health & starting the same reporting & documentation with them. You may be assigned a mental health case manager & the CM may get the ball rolling. Again if the offender is 12 years or older you will see more action & options.

In the meantime, as a parent, you go hoarse repeating yourself time & again; asking, begging for help for your child, knowing that this is above your head. Inside, as a mother you fear for your other children's safety & you fear for your difficult child. You are torn. You feel you can do it all & it isn't physically possible.

The reality is that the professionals do not want to believe this in our children. Especially children under 12 years of age. If they do believe it, they most likely will not want to take on the case because of the difficulty of finding help for these children. It's easier to try to find support for the home & the family then it is to find intervention & treatment.

The other “roadblock” is that there are few programs, fewer beds & far fewer therapeutic foster homes that will offer a bed to a child with a hx of sexual aggression/offending.

If you think about it, it's difficult to find treatment for adult sexual offenders. Adult sexual offender treatment isn't set in stone, there is no real plan or criteria for the treatment of these offenders; very little support after treatment is “finished” & the prognosis is abysmal at best. Treatment for adults is generally in the prison setting & these prisoners can refuse treatment. Once the adult offender is released it's even more difficult to find a place for that person to live.

Now think about our children.

Think about our children who are “caught” up in this behavior (for whatever reason) – how little there is out there for them. In my state, my son cannot be assessed for the possibility of this problem at the one clinic I located until he is 15. In my mind, that's far too late.

The only way we rec'd help was to jump through the offers of in home help. Utilize every service that was thrown our way. Prove to every professional that we were keeping our children safe, document any & all incidents & report them to everyone involved & push our concern over the safety of our daughter, our entire family as an entity.

In home we changed our doors to solid doors, put locks on the outside of his door, installed video cameras in all the rooms with monitors in the kitchen, husband's office, on my desk & in our bedroom. Along with all that we utilized PCA's; one for kt, one for wm. wm's behaviors were redirected on a continual basis.

wm started truly receiving help when he became physically aggressive with the entire family & then self harming. Crisis team was called & I transported wm to the ER. He was admitted in 7 short hours to the children's psychiatric ward based on his physical aggression toward his family & on his self harming behaviors. Our mental health case manager met us at the ER to help speed things along. wm's PCA rode along in the car to keep the ride to the ER safe.

It took almost 3 years to finally get in patient intervention for wm. However, during that time I was reminding everyone as to wm's unsafe behaviors & documenting everything along the way – I walked into that ER with a 3 inch binder of every report, incident, evaluation. It included his bio home history, mental/emotional history, social history, school history, services & how those services played out & documentation of every incident.

The sexual aggression & behaviors were finally addressed “seriously” once wm was in the hospital. It took 7 weeks of hospitalization to “stablize” wm enough to be transferred to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Note I say “seriously” - that is because there is little known treatment for these children. Given these children have been evaluated to heck &back & sexual aggression & predating needs to be addressed the next question is how? What treatment plan is used? So at that time it was hit & miss treatment.

With 3 hospitalizations & 2 very long Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placements & now therapeutic group home at the age of 13, wm's sexual aggression is seriously being addressed. NOW. And the professionals (at least at the quarterly staffing this past Tuesday) are still not sure how to address it.

All in all it's a frustrating & scary time. I both love & fear my son. Since the age of 6 wm has been sexually abusive/aggressive. I fear him; I fear him for kt & do my darndest to keep her safe. Even if that means my twins will once again have their birthdays apart. Once again have no contact for the next 6 months. If that is what it takes.

And it took me 5 years of begging, documenting, arguing & beating my head against a wall that just wouldn't move.

Now we live as a family of different addresses. Because of wm's lack of impulse control & his blatant sexual behaviors I doubt he will ever live here again. It's for the best for all of us. wm feels cheated; that's something I cannot help or change. kt misses & fears her twin; again that's something I can't change. She will have to work on that with her tdocs & I will support the treatment plan.

I hope this makes sense & doesn't ramble to much. I hope this helps some of you parents understand that there isn't going to be an immediate response or supports for families. It's not the way the system works. These families that come here need our support & understanding & not to feel judged because they cannot get the help that is so urgently needed but not available.


Well-Known Member
Thank you Linda. As a parent that hasn't been there done that, it's hard to believe our society wouldn't provide the quick assessment and find effective treatments for children with these behaviors.


Well-Known Member
That is terribly distressing. I do not know how you have survived it all.

Ugh! It should not be this difficult to help a child become a good adult.


Well-Known Member

thank you for posting this information for families in the midst of that nightmare.

I think, with the agreeance of the other mods, we should change the title of your post so it is clear that subject matter and put it in the general archives.

Again, thanks for taking the time to share this important information.



Active Member
Might be good to combine the two threads (original and update) and add this post of Linda's. It would be helpful to a lot of people to see everything that's being suggested, along with the dead ends.


member since 1999
I agree, Sharon. This needs to be archived.

Linda, thank you so much for sharing this. I really had not grasped the difficulties involved in getting treatment. Like TM, I assumed that if the flag was raised, services and treatment would be implemented immediately - it just seems like such a no-brainer.

Pondering it a bit more, I think most of us on the board probably relate to the challenge of finding appropriate treatment more than we realize. How many of us were sent to parenting classes or given behavior management charts, or just patted on the head and assured he/she will outgrow it or it's "normal", in our first efforts to obtain treatment for our children?

Thank you so much for putting it into better perspective.

Sara PA

New Member
Keep in mind too that institutional settings -- RTCs, hospitals, detention centers, etc -- rarely have 24 hour supervision/observation. Nights, when the kids are suppose to be asleep, are too often only superficially monitored. There is an sexual activity -- by consent or not -- going on in those facilities. Not only does putting children into those environments carry the potential of exposing children to sexual activity, it many cases it actually enables those children who have problems.

Until the system acknowledges the problem, figures out what to do and how to do it, putting a child in just whatever facility has a bed available could make things worse, not better.


Active Member
I usually do not reply to posts about sexually aggressive kids because I have in no way been there done that, and I have no idea what to say. It has to be horrible, and I wish there was more help available.


Old Hand

Thank you for this post. While we have not gone through what you have entirely yet with my difficult child, my middle difficult child is displaying very mild displays and such (hard to describe here or talk about). It is a big concern.

Since I previously worked with families in the past I have knowledge of others who went through this. One family in particular, like you, who had a horrendous uphill battle with their little boy. He was very very young when it all began and they did like you and got no where.

The little boy had been molested by his biological father and uncle when he was extremely young (which is partly where they believe some of this started) but also carried a diagnosis of bipolar and schizophrenia (which was given when he was all of 9 years old). He was placed in numerous foster homes to which he acted out and perpetrated acts on both little boys and girls in the home. Then they placed him in a home where he was the only child and the placement failed. He was in and out of hospitals (which really didn't want him because of his sexual offender status but had to take him because he was a danger to himself and others for other reasons).

At one point he actually acted out and tried to sexual be aggressive with his mother and his step father inappropriately. The state tried to find a placement for him to no avail for residential (this was PA). No facility wanted him. It was a big battle to then try to get them to PA for out of state placement and have him placed there. That didn't work.

It took about 2 years and finally the child did get a placement in state. He stayed there for his term (I think it was 2 years) and then released to a group home. He was failing in the group home last I knew and then I lost contact with the family.

The heartbreak I saw them go through and feel (at the time the mom had become a personal friend of mine by extension) was unbearable. Her heart broke over and over and I watched her die a slow painful death as friends and family isolated her because they were afraid of her child. She eventually did loose her new husband too. The very last I had heard from her was that she herself had many health and mental health issues now relating back to all she was going through and not doing well at all (this was through a third party).

Sad. I would have gladly been there for her but I got the feeling she also pulled away from me for fear of all that was going on.

The best thing I think any of us can do too is continue to offer our support to these families. If we sense a pulling away, try to reel them back in. It might be self preservation or fear (as it was in her case). They need all the support they can get.


Well-Known Member
Thank you, Linda.
I am not surprised at all that there is no early intervention. And I totally agree, that 15 is too late.
Once kids have been preyed upon, it's almost like an "imprint" where that's all they know. It takes the work of a thorough, intelligent, experienced, persistent therapist to get through to such kids. And parents like you. Sigh.
Many, many hugs. {{hugs}}