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Melissa in Australia

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I am after some advice please. I need help with a bully. Please do not quote as I have too much detail and will have to delete.

 

This child has recently come to live with us. He continually uses very manipulative bullying towards any child that is within reach. He especially targets younger children, like the twins and the little girl next door. He also tries it on ds13, but only with limited results as ds13 defends himself or walks bullying manipulative behaviour starts within moments of a younger child being around him

 

We have tried explaining to him, demonstrating to him, talking calmly, telling off, calling him on it .... basically anything we can think of. We now have tried to seperate him almost completely from twins. He is outside for an hour and the twins are inside then swap for the whole day. This is working very well for new arrival inthat he can demonstrate that he has the ability to play quietly by himself for an hour. The twins feel completely punished and are telling me that it is completely unfair to them (which it is) This is only a stop gap temporary fix. We cannot keep up segregation permanently in a family.

 

He also harms animals in a similar way. We have been told by dhhs that he may not have the ability to feel compassion or have a conscience.

 

I am really hoping someone has some suggestions that we can try. We are desperate for some sort of assistance with thisproblem.

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It is not "nasty" in this circumstance.  There is trauma involved.  That doesn't mean it's acceptable, but this is not like dealing with the average kid's self-centeredness or obliviousness.

 

I don't want to get too specific for your privacy reasons, but this is a matter for professionals to help with.  There's a reason there are so many documentaries and news stories talking about these situations.  They aren't typical family struggles.  They're not fixed by love, alone.  The usual methods aren't effective. You need the help of someone skilled and experienced in this area.

 

:grouphug:  

 

 

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Thanks. This child has seen psychologists in the past in other placements and will again in the very near future. I really need help very quickly or some suggestions of something else to try. We cannot continue on the way things are at the moment.

 

 

I have yet to meet a psychologist that was of any help with anything

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I mean if he can't/won't talk about what happened at previous placements, then those he was placed with ought to fill you in. You need some information to work with. And he deserves closure. If he's blaming you for taking him, for example, when it is really that someone else rejected him, well that's not nice but it's better to deal with truth.

 

Have you asked why he wants to hurt everyone? Asking unexpected questions often yields useful information.

 

 

Of course I have no idea about RAD kids, so hopefully those around here who do will rock up overnight.  :grouphug:

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I have dealt with children who had/have this inclination, but not with children who cannot be either motivated to stop or reasoned to stop (or at least to moderate the impulse as well as their age/impulsivity allows).  For the kids I've known with this tendency you do have to be sort of constantly on watch and corrective, but they respond pretty well to "if you continue to act in this way around this person you must leave the area (while the person being bullied gets to stay, of course)."  

 

That is sort of what I meant by asking whether it was something in the child's control or even his awareness.  If it is neither in his control nor his awareness, your options get very limited very fast.

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We have tried that...

 

We have also tried did someone bully you...

 

But that assumes an understanding of what bullying is/means.

 

Going a little hypothetical/generic, let's say we have an elementary aged child who has been, at various points, neglected, shuffled around, etc.  Somehow, he knows his former world was wrong, but he's spent years figuring out how to survive it.  It's what he knows how to do.  Then he's put in an entirely different situation without the skills this one calls for.  He's told that his coping mechanisms are wrong, but he doesn't have other ones.  And it's likely that he doesn't believe it's safe to drop them, because it hasn't been before.

 

As a layperson, I fear that any advice I would offer could be even more damaging (to him or to the rest of the family.)  But there is a lot of advice to be had on RAD issues from experienced parents and professionals online.

 

I hope the hive RAD parents pop in soon.

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Check out Nancy Thomas Parenting if you haven't. She deals with the toughest of the tough kids.

 

He is likely thrying to control/hurt anyone and anything smaller/weaker than he is as a survival technique. Typical parenting just isn't likely to work in these cases.

 

That said, knowing the whys behind it doesn't really help you survive it.

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He wants to control his environment- by force. Any child or animal who can be overpowered by him is in danger. He may or may not be able to recover from his past trauma. He may not be able to bond with people at all in a normal way.

 

What you are doing is necessary in order to protect smaller more vulnerable children. You may be able to gradually train him to have appropriate responses for short periods. But if you can't, it isn't your fault or his. There is a reason why some children have a "not suitable for a family with pets and younger children " label on their files. In that case you might not be the best placement for him despite the biological ties he has with the twins.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I have some experience with this and only limited success from my efforts. I wish that I could help or tell you that it will get better, but I can't. It's truly heartbreaking. Feel free to PM if you'd like so details aren't on a public forum.

 

An experienced counselor is essential. I can also recommend the book Brain Based Parenting by Johnathan Baylin. It gives helpful insight into parenting a child with trauma and attachment issues. Also, The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel.

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This sounds like RAD to me. We had a child from Haiti for a year and he targeted my younger children, especially my son. He was removed from our home by the supporting agency who sent him to us when they realized how bad it had become.

 

In our situation; the boy with RAD was trying in his own way to remove our kids so that he could have all of our time, attention, love. To a kid with RAD, isolating your twins so that he can alone might be exactly what he wants and is rewarding for him.

 

The constant vigilance to keep everyone safe is exhausting. I suggest you speak to someone who is a RAD expert to give you advice with what to do. From what I know, kids with RAD should only be placed in homes where they are the only child or all the children are several years older.

 

My heart goes out to you. I will pray.

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I suggest you join an online forum for parents of kids with RAD. I think there is one called the Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN). There is also a yahoo group called attach-china. I think it would be linked from the website attach-china.org. It was started by people with Chinese kids, but others have joined too. There are some incredibly wise parents on that list, but it is not terribly active these days, since the original kids aee doing better mostly and/or growing up.

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I wonder if you could videotape his behavior and then have him watch it and discuss it, when everyone is calm?

 

I would pick one specific behavior at a time to work on.  It seems unlikely that an 8yo would understand the concept of manipulation, even though an 8yo manipulates.

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I remember Denise saying that the hardest thing about RAD was that the child not only did not want to bond with her... the child did not want her bonding with others at all. The child did not even want her to play with the family puppy. I remember reading a book about a woman and her dh who had adopted 12 children and one of them was like this 8yo. That child eventually had to go live somewhere else, they would always hurt someone and the other adopted kids were too fragile to endure her abuse. However, the child went to live with a couple where she was the only child and there were no pets and she was perfectly fine, even though she had been so violent she tried to kill one of her adopted siblings with a broken soda bottle. There is an element of a RAD child not wanting anyone else to be happy. That was an issue with my oldest who had a very difficult first four years with her bio mom. She didn't like the rest of the family to be happy. She often pitted others against each other and as much harm as she could, although she was super sneaky about it. It was hard to catch her. 

 

I almost think your problems might be easier for a counselor to address because his behavior is so overt there is no pretending things are misunderstandings. 

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You don't have a bully. You have a broken child who probably has no idea why he's doing what he does.  There is a difference in your average bully and the problem you have. 

 

He might have RAD, but he also might have a ton of other issues. He could have been abused at the place before you. I know you are trying to get help from your agency/government (not sure how it works there) and struggling with that, but force them to help. Scream for help. Ask for him to be placed with someone else who doesn't have smaller children and/or animals. I really don't mean to sound harsh, and I think what you are doing for all of these kids is amazing, but he needs more. He probably needs to be an only child at this time. I can't imagine how you can work through this and keep the two you have safe and bonded. Maybe there will be a way to work with him some in a different environment for a period of time. 

 

I am truly sorry that you and your family are dealing with this.

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I'm sorry - as I see it, you're between a rock and a hard place.  I understand the advice to send him to be an only child elsewhere, but for a child who's been moved around so much already, that doesn't seem likely to heal.  Seems likely to be counterproductive for him - but keeping him at home is hurting the rest of the family, and there's no way to know how long that will last.

 

Here's another thought though - is there any chance of getting a sort of one-on-one coach to work with him in the home as he interacts with the others?  I realize that you are very rural and this might be an impossibility.

 

Thinking way outside the box here - what about a college student (mental health intern or special ed student teacher) doing an extended stint with you?  Or, would he be entitled to a special ed aide working at home with you since you homeschool?

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Thank you everyone for your advice. It is greatly appreciated. Basically you have all told me what I already know. This is not working and most probably will not work no matter what we do. We are not even trying to bond anymore, Just in constant damage control.

 

 

I am so sorry. 

 

:grouphug:

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I'm sorry - as I see it, you're between a rock and a hard place. I understand the advice to send him to be an only child elsewhere, but for a child who's been moved around so much already, that doesn't seem likely to heal. Seems likely to be counterproductive for him - but keeping him at home is hurting the rest of the family, and there's no way to know how long that will last.

 

Here's another thought though - is there any chance of getting a sort of one-on-one coach to work with him in the home as he interacts with the others? I realize that you are very rural and this might be an impossibility.

 

Thinking way outside the box here - what about a college student (mental health intern or special ed student teacher) doing an extended stint with you? Or, would he be entitl to a special ed aide working at home with you since you homeschool?

He will be attending school, and is aided for 9 hours a week at school. The school year doesn't start until February. We are still in summer holidays.

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Based on what you have shared here and in the past regarding this situation I think there is a high probability that you will not be able to resolve the behavior issues as long as he is in your home. I am very sad for him as he is not of course responsible for the damages that have occurred in his young life. I do think the best thing for your twins is probably going to be to move older brother to a different home; that may allow you to at least provide for them the stability they need. I realize that is one more hurt the 8 year old will have to absorb. I wish there were a way around that, and a way for him to truly heal.

 

I am so sorry.

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