When no amount of discipline and rewards seem to work?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ehlena, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    My difficult child is my 13-year-old stepson. He is currently in the juvenile dependency system because of false accusations he made against my husband. Although those have now been cleared up, difficult child is refusing to return home – he wants to be returned to his mother, who he has not lived with since he was 3, and who has a fourteen-year child welfare history (four sons, none live with her). She came back into his life on a regular basis when he was 11, almost 12. She is a relapsing meth addict and has been diagnosed with NPD. Currently, because of a history of inappropriate interactions, all of her contact with difficult child is closely monitored. She was the one that goaded difficult child into accusing my husband of abuse.

    Right now difficult child is in a level 12 group home. He had a brief honeymoon period since he was moved there over Xmas break, but now keeps getting into trouble at school. It’s something new every week.

    He was caught in possession of marijuana, and has a notice to appear for that. The group home has referred him to a 12-step program, where he will be drug tested every week, but we are still waiting to hear back on the intake for that. The p-doctor took him off his medication because of his substance abuse. difficult child claims he was taken off of it because it stopped working.

    So the marijuana possession was two weeks ago. A week ago he was making disturbing threats against another student, and that student’s mother called the police, so they came and talked to difficult child. This week he got into a fight with another student and was caught stealing tardy slips from the office. From the vice principal:

    “We asked him to put them back and he tried to take 4-5 more as he walked out of the office again. He received another 1 day for theft. Once again his response was “What’s the big deal it is only paper.”

    So he’s been suspended again and we have an emergency meeting with the faculty as well as the assistant superintendent of pupil services. Apparently he’s been getting more aggressive and has been wandering around campus during class time (the tardy slips he stole…).

    There are consequences and rewards in place at the group home. If you’re on level 0, you get no privileges. You can work your way up to level 1-5 through good behavior. Not only do the kids earn more privileges, but they can earn quite a bit of money.

    Of course, now difficult child wants to go to the county’s community school. He’s heard that the teachers don’t care what you do in class, that they don’t give out homework, and that they smoke pot all day there. He’s told the group home director that he will “do whatever it takes” to go there. This phrase just raises my blood pressure. It’s the same phrase he used in April of 2009, when he decided he didn’t want to live with us anymore. He was going to “do whatever it takes” to go and live with his mom. It was when he made the first abuse allegation against my husband. Right now he can come home whenever he decides he wants to, but it has been over a year of him in the system and he is still holding out for his mom to get herself together (she relapsed AGAIN during the course of this child welfare case).

    No one involved has ever encountered this level of willfulness. His school is doing everything they can (seriously, they have gone above and beyond – best school in the district), the social worker is doing everything she can, we are doing everything we can, the group home director is doing everything he can, and the CASA worker is doing everything he can.

    difficult child is so so so lucky that he has so many skilled, caring, and intelligent people who are fighting for him. But the only one who isn’t doing everything he can is difficult child. We’re spinning our wheels here. And I feel like the social worker isn’t quite there yet in terms of ‘getting it’. So here we are attending workshops, etc. on parenting. Yeah, it’s a good idea, and I’m going into it with an open mind, but I also know it’s going to be a repeat of what we did when he was living with us. The Explosive Child? Check. Parenting with Love and Logic? Check. Parenting Teens? Check. Transforming the Difficult Child? Check. Divorce Poison? Check. She’s also encouraged us to be more verbally and physically affectionate. We are doing this, and my husband always tells difficult child that he is always going to be there for him, no matter what he does…I’m getting fatigued. I’ve spent years throwing everything I’ve got at this kid, and things just seem to get worse instead of better.

    And we just got an email a couple days ago stating that the CASA worker had talked to difficult child and difficult child was willing to put more effort into his school work. As my husband told the social worker, the influence of these talks tend to last as long as the talk does itself. Numerous people have “talked” to difficult child, and felt they have reached him. And they always come to us saying they are disappointed and that they thought they and difficult child had an “understanding”.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or has been through something similar? I don’t know what else to do anymore. We are taking him on a tour of juvenile hall this weekend, and the group home is taking him on a tour of a prison next week – I just don’t know if this will even help. He’s back on level 0, and has even had his guitar taken away.

    This is the kid who, while we were all meeting with him to discuss his misdemeanor possession ticket, started asking the social worker to contact the former foster family because his iPod got stolen while he was living there, and he wanted them to replace it. I feel like I’m slamming my head against a brick wall – the brick wall doesn’t move, and I’m only hurting myself.
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey! I only have a quick minute to respond (the demons busses are approaching!) - has he had a full neuropsychologist done on him? This is way more that simple adhd in my humble opinion. There seems like there's a lot of manipulative behavior going on here and that isn't necessarily associated with adhd.

    Just a thought!

  3. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    Right! I need to update my signature. I don't have the report on me, but he was also diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder, avoidant attachment style, processing difficulties (scores very low on this, but he has accommodations in place at school and at home), emerging schizoid something or other...I think that was it? It also emphasized the unhealthy relationship he has with his mother. He sees her as almost god-like. This was a full year ago though, and his behaviors have gotten much worse since then.

    I don't think he's had a full neuropsychologist evaluation - that was something we were talking about before they removed him from our home. I'll talk to my husband and bring it up with the social worker at our next meeting. Right now he is regularly seeing a therapist and a p-doctor. He was exposed to meth in the womb and as a baby through breast milk, so we already surmise there is some organic damage there. His mother also neglected and abandoned him, and from his behaviors as a young child, it seems as if there was also some abuse going on.

    Where would we go from the neuropsychologist evaluation?
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You may want to investigate reactive attachment disorder. It will SOUND like lots of kids and disorders, but shoudl ONLY be diagnosis'd when there is significant trauma as a young child AND other disorders have been ruled out. It is an incredibly difficult problem to treat and the therapy requires much intense work by the child, parents and tdocs. Given the meth exposure and neglect/abuse from his mother, it IS a possibility.

    The neuropsychologist evaluation is crucial, in my humble opinion. It will tell you what is going on and that will tell you where to go from there. Given his behaviors, I would be reluctant to have him come home, personally. I am not sure I would feel safe, but that could be my own PTSD. Also he may try to lay abuse charges on you since they did work to get him out of the house even though he wasn't believed in the end.

    As far as all the poeple who talk with him and "reach an understanding", they are right. They DO reach an understanding, just not the one the adults think they reach. They reach the point where he understands what they want to hear to stop yammering at him and leave him alone and he says it so that they believe he means that he agrees with them and will "do better" from that point on. Seems like the adults need to reach the understanding that he is telling them what they want to hear with NO intention of actually DOING anything they want him to do. Pretty common in difficult children, sadly.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im sorry about your step-son but I would have to go with my gut here and say he is plain and simple conduct disordered. Honestly he sounds very similar to my son as a teen and what I went through with him back then.

    The story almost brought chills to me. A whole team of people working for him but he isnt working. Yep. I think that was when I gave up.

    Id like to say it gets better but for mine the only thing that halfway keeps him in line is the threat of prison. He attempts to keep himself out of there. He has been in trouble with the law numerous times. He really doesnt like cause and effect.

    Thankfully mine isnt violent. He is just rather stupid.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I'm so sorry. I wish I had some answers for you.

    The thing is...

    So much of what we do and how we behave comes down to our feelings for others. We obey our parents because we love them and we want their approval (whether we are willing to admit it or not). We listen to our teachers because we want to please them. We follow rules because we want to fit in. We respect others because we want that same respect in return.

    Some of our difficult children do not have feelings for others....whether you want to call it "lack of empathy" or "no relationship skills" or "poor attachment to others" - it really boils down to the same thing. And if we don't have those feelings, that awareness of people around us - then there is no motivation to conform.

    And how in the world would one explain, describe or rationalize a reason to follow the rules of society to a person who lacks those feelings?

    I think for some - the only real motivation is avoiding jail.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    How invested is your difficult child in his own treatment? Does he believe any of what is being done on his behalf is benefitial?

    I've come to the conclusion that unless our difficult children are invested & aware of their own diagnosis's & resulting treatment plans they will do little to nothing to work on their own issues. I know that medications can/do come into play but once medications are stabilized there has a willingness on your difficult children part to participate.

    You're not the only one spinning wheels; your difficult child is as well. Rewards & consequences have little to no effect on my difficult child wm. He is simply not invested about his treatment nor is he interested in a different "way of life". That is wm however. kt is invested, learning & working her behind off to make things better. She's studied her diagnosis's, her medications & her treatment plan. She's invested in her own life. AND that has come with maturity.

    It's not time to throw in the towel, so to speak. in my humble opinion, you need to find your difficult children passion ~ just one thing that he is excited about. Art, music, skateboarding.....???? Something outside of the small world in which he is existing. It made a difference in kt's life when that happened.

    Please keep us updated.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have to ask some uncomfortable questions. I've adopted four kids and your step son has a lot in common with foster kids who have lived with abuse and drugs and also have been tossed around, yet rejected by an incompetent mother.

    In his early years, did he get handed around from relative to relative? Did he ever end up in foster care? Did his birthmother (this is IMPORTANT) use drugs and alcohol while she was pregnant...if so, this could cause permanent brain damage which may be why he can't seem to get it together. Alcohol is even worse than other drugs. I adopted a child who was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. The kids all have problems to varying degrees. Also kids who are tossed around in their early years often have trouble attaching to other human beings. Has your stepson got a history of cruelty to animals, peeing and pooping inappropriately and/or being fascinated with/playing with fire? by the way, a predisposition to drug addiction is inherited. I am not sure the residential center will be able to help him beyond keeping him from harming himself or others. It all depends on how much is behavioral and how much (and I suspect there is a lot of this) is due to things that were out of his control. If he has a limited ability to attach to people, that causes a whole list of problems. If he is alcohol or drug affected, ditto. How does he do in school? Did he have early problelms/delays? Does he act like he loves you and his dad or is he just nice when he wants something?
  9. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I tried to post this last night, but my modem died. ;)

    [FONT=&quot]My son was very much the same way. There was no consequence that ever changed his behavior, and no reward that was worth it for him to jump through the hoop. Rewards, when he rarely earned them, provoked negative behavior, while any kind of negative consequence just seemed to reinforce the negative behavior. It was absolutely maddening. And he was so smooth - he talked the talk with- every counselor and teacher and psychiatrist. Goodness, he was good. He had it all down, knew exactly what he *needed* to do to finish school, return home, etc., etc. Didn't follow thru on any of it, and ultimately blamed his lack of follow thru on us because of our rules (which basically consisted of no violence, safe behavior, basic hygiene, period). We had a couple of teachers and SWs who got sucked into his manipulations. I learned just to bide my time, work the program and do what they expected me to do, and wait for thank you to do his thing - every single professional involved in his treatment eventually got it. I would warn them and they would say "Oh, no.... thank you's changed." Much easier to wait for him to prove them wrong. But also, I think I probably also held out the hope that eventually he would prove me wrong. Never did, at least not while in treatment.

    He spent 6 months at home between the age of 9 and 18; the rest of the time he was in various Residential Treatment Center (RTC) programs. And of those 6 months, probably a good month and a half was spent in the hospital due to violent outbursts. He dropped out of school at 18, lost funding for his Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and was off on his own. Not a happy period of time.

    I've done a lot of thinking since he hit 18 about what we could have done differently, what might have gotten his attention and prevented him from throwing his childhood away. I'm still stumped. He's stumped as well. He was just so focused on doing things his way and on getting the most negative kinds of attention that he could that he just couldn't see past it. He was a very violent kiddo. Was arrested at 16 for possession - that actually did seem to have a bit of an impact on him, which surprised me because he'd had innumerable run-ins with- police before. Maybe it was because they actually arrested him, finger printed him, the whole nine yards. Because it was his first arrest, it was deferred so long as he stayed out of trouble until he hit 18, which he did.

    I guess on a happier note, I should tell you that while he's not employed, is still on SSI, and is living a kind of nomadic existence right now, he's actually a heck of a lot better off than my husband and I expected at this age (almost 20). He hasn't been violent in about 4 years (that I know of). He has not been arrested as an adult (that I know of). He's put himself in some really bad situations, but... it seems like that is the only way he learns. A counselor told us many many years ago that thank you wouldn't change his behavior until it became too expensive for him to continue on as he was. Unfortunately, being separated from his family and living in institutions for half his childhood wasn't expensive enough for him. I shudder to think what his life has been like on his own - I don't ask questions. I am grateful that he is alive, not incarcerated, and seems to be making better choices (comparatively speaking). We have a good and loving relationship. He stops by for dinner occasionally, just spent 2 nights here (funny, he can't stay in a place by himself - has to have someone else there - and since his roommates were out of town, he asked if he could stay with us). He is respectful, follows our house rules, and is honestly a pleasure to be around now (I *never* thought I would be able to say that). I don't know what the future holds for him, whether or not he will ever get his act together and get a job, contribute to his own life, but... he's definitely not the adult I thought he would be based on his childhood/teen behaviors - he's come a very long way.

    We cannot make our kids make better choices. They have to do that. Some will finally decide to jump thru the hoop; others will fight tooth and nail to go around it. I think the only thing you can do is stand back, let the professionals do their thing, remind them that it's one thing to spout off appropriate answers to therapeutic questions and a whole other thing to actually follow thru with appropriate actions, and wait. It's very hard.[/FONT]
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    There are RTCs that are locked and do not use levels. That may be what your SS needs. In a locked ward, the docs can use the medications because the risk of street drugs is minimized. And without levels,. there is nothing to fight against. Kanga spent 6 months in a level-free unit of her current Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Everything was immediate feedback and only a very few things (HTS, HTO, AWOL) earned more than the immediate consequence. Constant 'fresh starts' all day long. It kept a kid from throwing in the towel when they knew they'd lost enough points that they wouldn't 'make' their day.

    I agree with everyone else -- a full and complete psychiatric (preferably neuropsychologist) evaluation is in order: personality testing, reality testing, functional testing, complete social-history. Without a better grasp on what is going on, it will be difficult to treat. It may come down to -- like my Kanga and Sue's thank you -- Residential Treatment Center (RTC) may only keep everyone else safe from them.
  11. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    I feel like difficult child has some empathy, but I also notice a huge disconnect when trying to get him to understand how others feel. Using “Well, what if you lent your favorite toy to a friend and he broke it…” or similar results in answers like “I’d beat him/her up” “I’d burn his/her house down” etc. I just can’t get him to connect it back to him breaking someone else’s things. He often justifies his poor actions with “She deserved it anyway”, “I’ll bet no one would care if he died”, and on and on.

    He didn’t used to talk or act like this. He always had difficulties as a child, and he was difficult to raise, but never to the point of being unmanageable. He used to be a sweet kid. I still see it sometimes, but less often.

    He loves to play the guitar, and we are encouraging that as much as possible. My husband knows how to play, as does his CASA worker, so they have been teaching him and helping him find the songs he wants to play. Unfortunately, he also now insists that he is going to be a rock star and doesn’t need school.

    He was definitely exposed to meth in utero, and as a baby. He used to do well in school. He’s actually a really smart kid, and was in honors English last year because he tested so highly. No history of cruelty to animals, etc. He did do the pulling wings off of insects thing, and is too rough with the dog (small breed), but nothing else – more a curiosity thing I think than a cruelty thing.

    He had speech delays, and has moved from house to house. First he was with his mom, then she had her children taken away from her because of neglect and drug use. Since my husband was in another area of the state attending university, my father-in-law took custody of difficult child. Mom cleaned up and took him back (half a year later I think?), then relapsed seven months later. She dropped her kids off at her mom’s and told her she’d be back to pick them up when she cleaned up. Didn’t come back. So her sister called my father-in-law and let him know what was going on. My father-in-law took custody of difficult child from then (I think he was 3 or 4), until difficult child was 10. My husband visited and took care of difficult child for long stretches of time when he was older (up to a month, while my father-in-law traveled). This is when I came into the picture, when difficult child was 9.

    Unfortunately, my father-in-law has heart problems, and difficult child was becoming more and more oppositional. He could no longer take care of difficult child, so my husband and I took custody of him. Things were ok for the first year and a half. It was hard sometimes, but once we got the diagnosis of ADHD and started some intensive work on that, things got better. We eventually ended up having to put him on medication after trying all other interventions, and difficult child really blossomed. He was getting mostly As, some Bs. His teacher told us she wished all of her students were like difficult child. He was really happy and doing better socially.

    Somewhere in there two things happened. difficult child’s mom had another baby and was able to keep it, and my husband filed for child support. We went from mom calling maybe once every couple months, to calling every day. She filed for custody, and a short back-and-forth court thing ensued. Mom settled, out of court, for once/month weekend visitation. Since she had been clean for a year, my husband agreed to this, but supervised by her mother (which we now realize was useless). A few months later, mom got custody of her eldest son, and made sure to tell difficult child that it was because he had been acting out, was depressed, etc. Her eldest son’s dad and stepmom finally told him he could go live with mom because they didn’t feel like they could have a relationship with him with the way he was acting in their home.

    difficult child has admitted that he started acting out because it worked for his older brother. He became completely unmanageable. He’d go on these rants about how he hated us, hated living with us, never wanted to grow up to be like us. Also some weird stuff that we now realize was fed to him by his mom – financial things that he shouldn’t have known about. Became destructive and aggressive. His grades plummeted to straight Fs. He started an intense campaign to reject me as a parental figure. Calling me names, leaving me nasty voicemail messages, even going so far as to throw things at me on one occasion. Up to this point we’d had a really close relationship. His mom wasn’t around so I’d done my best to step up. I’m actually kind of surprised, given the way difficult child was treating me, that he chose to latch onto my husband as the “abuser”.

    It all blew up about a year ago when the police showed up at our door and arrested my husband. CPS took difficult child, and when he was told he was not going to go live with his mother, got angry, and was quoted as saying that he wanted to call his mother because he was mad at her because “the plan didn’t work and this was all for nothing”.

    First foster home was temporary. He got kicked out of the second foster home for racial slurs and aggression towards the younger children. No one wanted to take him after that, but the respite care home decided that since his behavior had improved, that they would take him. This place was a joke. No consequences imposed whatsoever. We’d call at night, after dark, and no one would know where difficult child was. This is when he started drinking and smoking marijuana. He started skipping classes and being chronically late to school. The foster agency eventually decided they could no longer accept him as a liability because he was showing up to his visitations with his mom stoned, and was making disturbing threats against the foster parents. The foster parents were also no longer able to control him – he came and went as he pleased.

    He was moved from there to the level 12 group home.

    This morning, due to his behavior, he has been moved from his current school to a different one in the district, in hopes that a “fresh start” will have an impact on him. The teachers were no longer able to exert any control over him, and he was becoming a disruption and a danger to the other students.

    He has a behavioral contract instituted as of Friday with clear consequences, in addition to the points and level system of the group home. If he continues his poor behavior, one of the staff will be attending school with him, and his guitar will be removed from the group home permanently.

    difficult child has told us that if “something happens” then he will hide the guitar so no one can take it. And if they find it, he will hold onto it and they will have to call the police to take it away from him because the group home employees can’t touch him – and he was going to get them into trouble if they touched him, etc. Although my husband I tried to point out repeatedly that it was up to difficult child whether or not he got into trouble, he couldn’t seem to connect this with him having any control over his life and actions. He could only seem to focus on avoiding the consequences.

    Thanks for the advice and support. He’s had a full psychiatric evaluation, but we’ll bring up the possibility of a neuropsychologist evaluation with the social worker at the next meeting. I'm anxious because there is an expectation of him returning home in four months, and his behaviors just keep getting worse - we don't have the manpower here to supervise him 24/7.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd seriously be looking into Reactive Attachment Disorder. He may not have the entire disorder, but I'll bet he has attachment issues. His back history is almost as fragmented as any child in foster care and he lost his one stable caregiver (Grandfather) when he had to move. I'll post a link. I would also consider drug use of his own. in my opinion ADHD is way simple...it is probably more than that. A lot more. Here is a link to attachment disorder so you can check it out. We adopted a kid who had it. It wasn't fun and it didn't work out. I am sorry you re going through this. Trust me, I get it:

  13. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    I'm familiar with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) - did a lot of reading when we were trying to figure out what was going on with difficult child. His psychiatric report says that he has an avoidant attachment style, but that it did not rise to the level of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). That was a year ago however, and since then his behaviors have gotten much worse.

    My father-in-law still stays in frequent touch with difficult child, however, he can't do overnights with him anymore. The last time difficult child was on an extended stay at his grandpa's, he threw a fit when my father-in-law refused to drive him to his mother's place. He called my father-in-law names, stole a diamond ring from him to "teach him a lesson", and deliberately broke the glass refrigerator shelves. My father-in-law and his wife still take difficult child on day visits though.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, this kid sounds like he could turn seriously dangerous. Our adopted son was diagnosed as normal by a psychiatrist...it's not an exact science. Be very careful and take care of yourself. Making false accusations against people is a serious behavior and with a potentially terrible outcome for all of you. This kid has moved around like checkers on a checkerboard plus he was exposed to meth and alcohol (she probably didn't say no to that) in utero. I have no answers, but I do urge you to be very careful of your own safety and keep watching the pets. I think pulling wings off of insects is kind of a red flag considering the rest of his behaviors. With our son, we found out that he was animal and small child abusive, both in the home and in the neighborhood. We had no idea the extent of what he was doing until he left and my two other kids stopped being afraid to rat him out. I still feel guilt over what he did to my other kids (also adopted...don't want you to think I dislike adopted children...I don't). It's just that we learned you can't save every child...good luck and take care.
  15. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    Thanks. I am doing my best to protect myself. I used to take him on individual visits, but I just don't feel comfortable handling him on my own anymore. He's almost as strong as I am now, and this makes me nervous. On the practical side, I know I am doing everything I can.

    On the emotional side...he can be so unpredictable. Sometimes he's such a sweet kid. Making drawings for his dad and I (still does this), made me breakfast on my birthday without any prompting from dad, used his allowance to buy a t-shirt for one of the younger kids in foster care - I can think of a lot of examples where he's been a really good kid.

    But then he turns around and is being aggressive towards the same younger kid, commits sexual battery at school, steals, gets suspended, smokes pot and drinks...I mean, how do you reconcile all of this? I sometimes feel like he's a good kid trapped in this cycle of misbehavior. And it's like he genuinely can't understand why what he's doing is wrong. Ugh.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our adopted child who should never have been placed in a family, used to be so sweet that I never suspected the damage he was doing. I'm sure that he was sweet on purpose, to make us trust him and it worked. Rarely did we see his other side and only did we hear about the extent of it when he left. My kids were terrified of him and never told us that he was abusing them or killing animals or setting little fires in his room or pooping in the closet (we thought it was our dog). If this child has ever been arrested for sexual battery, watch your younger child! This is not a kid who is EVER safe. Don't trust him. His "nice" part may be an act...you just don't know. It' s not worth the risk. He's not a bad kid...he was screwed up before he was even born, sadly. But you can't change what happened to him or what he is today. His early life and maybe some genetics has made him in my opinion a very unsafe person to be around. (((Hugs)))
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Depending on the part of his brain that was damaged by the alcohol and meth, he truly may not be able to understand why what he is doing is wrong, or to make that connection between someone destroying his things or hiting him and him doing that to someone else. He may not have whatever part of the brain that makes those connections in proper working order. Or it may come and go - he might grasp it at one time and then lose it later, etc... It is impossible to know, and of course with the traumas ine arly childhood and his mother's dirty tricks, the poor kid may not have had a chance.

    I would make it quite clear to your husband that you do NOT want him back in your home, that you don't feel it would be safe for you or for difficult child if he came home. I am sorry things are so hard.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree this is way past ADHD of any kind. Even if he has any problems with attention, those are the least of his worries. There are two really good books out by a guy that are never mentioned on here, Jonathan Kellerman. First one is Helping the Fearful Child and the second is Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children.

    They are very good. Most people know Kellerman has a fiction writer but he received at Ph.D. in psychology at the age of 24, with a specialty in the treatment of children. He served internships in clinical psychology and pediatric psychology at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and was a post-doctoral HEW Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at CHLA.
  19. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    I admire you and your family for enduring. This is a very troubled young man. He clearly displays a lack of an ability to feel empathy or remorse. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to be abandoned like he was without any motherly bond.He seems to have developed quite the defense mechanism. I'm no expert that's for sure, but the environment he's in now doesn't seem to be working - It's almost like he needs to go to some sort of "boot camp" where he can get some very entense counseling.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually in my opinion only he probably needs attachment therapy. in my opinion again...that may be the only thing that may work. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids, and I think it's safe to assume he has SOME attachment issues if not tons, do not react well to love. They don't want it. It makes them even worse. IF this is an attachment problem, these kids learn early that nobody will care of them but themselves and others are mainly to get what they can for themselves...money is a huge one. If untreated for the attachment disorder, these kids often turn into versions of psychopaths. My son was already one at age 13. It wouldn't shock me to learn that he killed somebody.
    Again, I'm not saying that this is what he has, but with his background...there are probably some attachment issues, at least. Other stuff may be mixed in too. It rarely stands alone. I'm guessing t hat somwhere down the line he was also sexually abused, maybe by a boyfriend of mom's. Who knows? Poor kid, but some things make a child dangerous...in my opinion it's best to keep him out of the house at all costs.