Very Torn

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by walkingtheline, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. walkingtheline

    walkingtheline New Member

    I'm very new to this group, and haven't done this before. My 7 year old difficult child is currently in a residential facility here in Montana. He's been diagnosed with severe conduct disorder, reactive attachment disorder, adhd and dyslexia. I'm his adopted mom, his bio mom was abusive and neglectful, and left him when he was two with his father, who is now my husband. I have a 7 year old girl from a previous marriage, and 2 and 1 year old girls with husband. This is difficult child's second stint in residential treatment. He has tried to kill his sisters on several occasions, physically attacked me and his father, and is now provoking his peers on the unit he resides on until they snap and attack him. (He does love playing the victim.) He's expressed no desire to come home, or work on his treatment. He's been in residential for 3 months, and has refused to participate in group therapy, individual therapy, or journal writing. I'm not sure how long our insurance will cover his stay as he's made absolutely no progress, and we're all terrified of him coming home any time soon. He came home for a visit over Thanksgiving, and I had to take him back to his unit a day early because he was violent and disruptive. He spent the drive to the facility trying to talk me into killing myself so that I would be dead, but he wouldn't have to kill me and then get into trouble for it. He has repeatedly said that when he comes home, he will do everything in his power to kill me and the girls, so that he can have his father all to himself. He has no empathy, no love for anyone or anything besides Legos, and will try to kill people in order to get more Legos (trust me, he's tried.)
    I guess I'm just wondering if there's anyone here that's in the same boat. I can't really talk to anyone about this, husband shuts down and will try to change the subject, and no other parent I know understands and seems to blame our parenting -obviously we must be doing SOMETHING wrong to have a child this disturbed. I've even had "friends" recommend parenting classes to better serve difficult child. Even though all the other children are well adjusted, happy kids. They seem to think that since I'm the step mother, I must be doing something to cause these behaviors.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Sorry you had to search for us, but glad you landed here. I don't have any experience with the issues you describe with your son, but there are plenty of warrior parents on this board who will follow with support and advice.

    One thing I know for sure is that this young boy CANNOT, without a shadow of a doubt, return to your household. Your, and your husband's, primary responsibility is to keep the other children safe. If having the 7 year old there prohibits that..... I would begin finding out what alternatives there are (speak to his psychiatrist or the administrator at his current facility) when the insurance money runs dry. Maintaining separate households might have to happen if he is sent home without a plan.

    Many hugs.

  3. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Hi there, walkingtheline, welcome to a group of very supportive parents. I am stepmom to a 9 yr old boy. He can be very violent, but he is not as verbal about it as your son is. He has told our 3 yr old that he will kill him in the middle of night with a knife, but he told the little one to keep it secret. He says he wants to kill himself sometimes when he is in a rage. I suspect Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), also. I am currently in the process of leaving my SO after 7 years because I have to keep my little one safe, and I do not feel he is safe around difficult child. SO has his rose colored glasses on 24/7 and has never been supportive or protective of us and defends difficult child in most things.

    I wish that I had some advice for you, dear, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, even if difficult child here is not as outright about his anger as yours is. Hugs to you! Others will be along to give you their support soon!
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Since your son has been in residential more than 90 days, he will qualify for SSI and Medicaid (your income no longer counts). That can help with some of the bills of keeping him there.

    Is CPS involved at all?
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to our little corner of the internet. We are all supportive here.

    First I just want to say that this is NOT NOT NOT your fault. I hate when other people tell you that you must not be parenting him correctly or he would not behave the way that he does. That is just not the case! Do not believe that this is somehow your doing. I was told that for a very long time and it took way longer than it should have for me to get help because at every turn I was told that I needed to be a better parent and everything would be fine. That's just not how it works sometimes. A parenting class is not going to help a child like this.

    I think that JJJ's suggestion to get CPS involved if the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) sends him home if a good idead. I know it sounds very scary, but they may be able to open up resources that are not available to you otherwise.

    You say that his bio mom was neglectful and abusive to him. I'm guessing that she and your husband were not together when difficult child was little and she left him with his dad? Did he ever seek treatment or counseling for him when he was younger?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is incomprehsible to most people, even many here on the board, although they are excellent parents in other areas. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a scary, scary disorder that is not caused by current bad parenting and is usually not fixable. Let me tell you my story. by the way, ignore ignorant "friends" who have no clue what Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) really means. You can not parent a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child. They won't be parented. Plus you have many others to parent as well. If he were an only child...but he's not.

    We adopted a child who was like your son. There was no happy ending...turned out he was killing our pets and sexually abusing our two youngest children, actually having sex with the girl. He wasn't safe at home. My advice for parents facing this, especially who have younger, helpless children, is to keep the child out of the home because he is a danger to your children. Don't believe you can change it. Help him from a distance, but don't let him live with you again. Unfortunately, he was so damaged so early that he doesn't want to be fixed, doesn't have an attachment to anybody, and probably never will. It is unsafe to leave him unsupervised even to go to the bathroom so since you can't watch him 24/7 I would keep him in residential. He will likely get worse as he gets older, not better. If his bio. mom used drugs and drank during her pregnancy that could have made things even worse, causing organic brain damage, such as fetal alcohol effects. I wouldn't even try him at home. He needs a safe place to heal, if he can, and your other kids need your protection.

    First hand knowledge speaking here. We always hope love will conquer all. Attachment disordered kids are repelled by love and don't understand it or want it. It only makes them worse. They are the nicest when they want something. And they are the meanest when Dad and Mom aren't looking. Watch out.

    Our adopted child is out of our lives. We did not want to see him after we found out what he did to our younger two kids, and they were TERRIFIED of him, although they did not show it or talk badly of him until he was safely gone. They knew that if they told Dad or Mom the things he did, there'd be reprecussions from him. I'm convinced my youngest two would not be normal if we had kept him in our lives. They would have seen it as a betrayal. You don't even know if this child has acted out on your other kids. Attachmen disordered kids are good at shutting other kids up. Since our adopted son never even spoke of sex, we thought he was immature and never thought about it. The joke was on us! I would not be a bit surprised to find out this child had killed somebody. Or many people. Your child sounds as dangerous as this one was. He could seriously hurt somebody.

    Sorry I can't give you more hopeful advice, but I shudder thinking of keeping a child this disturbed and dangerous in the home, both for your family and the community of other kids he will interact with. You took on a lot with him. Sadly, we can't save every child.

    If your husband won't agree to keep this child out of the house, it may be best to take your other kids out of the house (not easy, of course). I guarantee you something bad will eventually happen if your other kids, especially those babies, remain living with that child and your husband needs to get his head out of the sand. He also has other kids to think about. Oh, yeah. Take your pets with too, if you have any. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids start out hurting/killing pets and move on to people. I wish I were exaggerating.

    Gentle hugs...I'm so sorry
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Glad you found us but sure sorry you needed to seek us out. I have not walked in your shoes but I can asure you that at least a couple times a year someone new posts a similar sad story. Most of the time the bioDad is a good quiet man who is delighted to turn over the parenting responsibilities to a fine woman who can raise his child and put together a happy home. Almost never is the bioDad actively engaged in receiving counseling, reading books, attending sessions with the therapist or the psychiatrist etc. I am not "anti" Dad but repeatedly when thre are big problems the Dads run for cover and expect their wives to solve the problems. It can not work! You have three birth children who, evidently, have not yet been sadly impacted by your stepson's mental illness. To the best of your knowledge I assume he has not sexually harmed them or physically harmed them but chances are great that he has harmed their sense of self confidence and safety. It is not fair for them to live in fear.

    I hope you have kept a dairy of his behaviors, medications, treatments, out of home placements and evaluations. It is vastly important that you be able to state "this child can no longer live in my home as he is a threat to all of us". If a long term placement is not available for him...he and his Dad will have to live somewhere else. I know this sounds harsh and unfeeling but it is my honest opinion. Soon you will receive other opinions. This is a wonderful site and not all of us agree on each set of problems. I hope you find the best answer for yours. Hugs DDD
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree. He can not live in a home environment. Any home environment. Too dangerous. It really is even the best thing for him to have him stay in Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, around this board, nobody is going to point the finger at YOU.
    SOMEBODY did something wrong, to have a child this disturbed.
    It would have been... whoever the caregivers were for the first two years...
    Those first two to three years are so absolutely critical in human development.

    If it's any consolation... most "experts" don't even understand it. (tdocs, psychiatrists and such). Not unless they have specific training and experience with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Walkingtheline.

    No you are NOT at fault. I hope you do not believe people who say you are the one at fault. If he is that defiant in Residential, where most kids at least pretend to obey the rules, you can bet he'll act out 100X more at home.

    I agree, call CPS and try to get more services. He sounds like he needs total supervision. I would not let him near the other kids, especially the very little ones.
    I am so sorry that your husband has his head in the sand. Now, if anyone points a finger, that's where I'd be critical. I understand that people only have a certain amt of coping skills, but by burying his head in the sand, he is endangering your family.