Near breakdown with 12 year old AS

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Life has always been challenging with our AS, not least exclusion from mainstream aged 7. However his behaviour on sunday reached new levels of violence. We managed to get our AD (age 8 to our neighbour but he was threatening both me and husband with knife, climbed out his bedroom window and generally trying to destroy the house. Once calmed down he told me he wants to die. My husband thinks we cannot go on like this but want options do we have, We've been seeing services for years and he's now refusing to engage in any therapy. We're both exhausted, i'm on max dose anti depressants and it's destroying our marriage. Other moments can be fine! When the bad times come they are escalating beyond what we can manage.

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(((HUGS))) I have no answers but just wanted to say you are not alone.

Have you thought about a therapeutic residential school for your son?

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I think you need to take this back to Post Adoption Support as it is now a safeguarding issue if your younger child is at risk.

There are lots of options - as Vester has already said a residential placement may be better for you all - you are still his parents but there is some distance which enable you all to stay safe.

If the professionals are not able to take you seriously, then maybe turn to the police - many adopters have found them to be very supportive if a child becomes violent and aggressive and they will pass details on to SW which in turn gives more weight t your requests.

ETA: Remember this is nothing to do with your parenting - you are doing a great job but sadly much damage was done before you even met your son. Do make sure you find ways to look after yourselves. ((hugs))

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Mega hugs from me.

I know that it can sound unpalatable but my experience is that the police are the best resource out there in this sort of circumstance. I would really recommend calling them if and when things get out of hand or you feel that you or any member of your family is being threatened or abused. If you feel that any family member has to leave the home because of the threatening behaviour of another then some sort of intervention is required, in my opinion.

We have not had to call on the police often but when we have we have found them the kindest, most professional, reassuring, practical, non-judgmental support for both us and our young person. And, their response is pretty much immediate. And then they follow up with other professionals and practical advice from them themselves.

I don't know how old your AS is but a bit of a wake-up call about the real social consequences of his actions may be very helpful to him in the long run.

I really feel for you in this situation and hope that things get better for you.

More hugs.


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In the mean time make your house as safe as possible by removing all pointy knives and scissors. Put an alarm on his bedroom door if you not already have done so. Instead of you being medicated, it might

be an idea to medicate him if he's not already, otherwhise medication review.

Give your daughter a safe place bij putting a hook on her bedroom door what she can close from the inside. In a real emergency like fire you can always kick in the door, the hook will break.

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Have you tried NVR?

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Hello double decker im sorry to see you are in such trouble. On first sight, it appears you are in a similar position to when We could not longer contain blossoms violence. She moved into a therapeutic community aged 12. It broke my heart. But it was right. It protected our other children and all we had put in and tried to access for her just hadn't been enough. TBH family was simply too hard. You need a meeting with health, social care and education plus any other supportive agencies

Work out in your mind what you think he might require eg specialist therapeutic school placement (?)

Go see the invitees before the meeting and explain what you think is best and why

Get auk's leaflet on a placement support meeting and consider those points.

It might be that your son needs a time in respite s20 before long term decisions are made

It's heartbreaking but I think your husband may be right, I don't think things can continue as they are

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Thank you so much for all the comments. I feel much less alone- and it's a very lonely place. I contacted all the agencies involved on Monday morning and am still waiting to hear back from the SW and psychiatrist (main workers). The MASH team (duty SW from sunday) called back today and hoped things had 'calmed down'. Bit speechless- she was just looking to close referral down. I'm a bit shocked that so many of you are suggesting we may be heading down a residential placement option. I have huge respect for this community as you have lived it so totally understand. I really appreciate the comment about it not being our fault- it so feels like it although we know it's not true.

The Melatonin advice almost a year ago was wonderful (from these boards) and we've FINALLY got on prescription. The internet purchases SAVED us for many months.

Has anyone been successful in securing any respite funding for their traumatised children? I know the ASF can't be used for it. Much as I have resisted the idea I'm starting to think he might help us carry on for longer.

I noted the comment from Pear tree about a therapeutic community . The thought appauls me but I have taken the message on board. He already attends day school for boys with social, emotional and behavioural problems. Not therapeutic though. Feel our 'therapy' is piece meal and not effective (mainly as he now won't attend due to a terrible session (more window climbing and running off)). Beacon House has cropped up in FB but not near us.

Fortunately the trauma of the weekend has calmed the situation for a bit, this isn't a one off- just the worst we've had so far. Once again- I feel so supported and listened to from you guys.


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In the meanwhile, please do as Pluto suggests and proof things as much as possible. I remember when things were at most violent here with one of my kids, when things blow over it so tempting to just want to forget the bad times for a while, in order to de stress, so you don't take any action.( like locking knives away, etc) but the next time it kicks off, you are kicking yourself as it happens again and it's worse this time.

You might want to investigate a safety lock for his windows like they have in multi storey buildings.

One thing that helped us for a while, there was a teaching asst from school, mother of a disabled boy. My son knew her and liked her. she offered that, if he felt the need to escape for a while, he could come to her house. A couple of times he did run along and she de escalated him and brought him back once calm. Is there anyone he knows and trusts nearby that he could have some "time out" with.

With NVR one ropes in accessible people willing to just " turn up" Sometimes the presence of someone outside the core family helps cool things a bit. And it is extra support for you. Strongly recommend NVR or at least some of the strategies.

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Something else, not sure if helpful but it helped me.


Here goes.

If my family came from an affluent background at the age of about 12 you would send your child off to a very good private boarding school. As a mother this breaks your heart, but, you know that doing this gives your little darling a great big leg up opportunity in the world. So you do it.

Now, my daughter blossom needed a chance at getting a leg up in the world. Otherwise her outlook, and that of our family, looked bleak.

Further, children who have been traumatised tend to do rather well out of adoption, it's the parents that don't. Vast generalisation I realise but actually when I think of the many families I've known through here and in other adoptiony things, those kids are amazing survivors. They really are.

One more thing, when your child is under section20, its voluntary. You hold parental rights. You are parenting from a distance, visiting, chatting, emailing, buying stuff, meetings etc are all in the mix. In effect you are asking the local authority to care for your child because they cannot manage family life (not because your family can't cope) in the same way you'd ask a friend to have him for a few hours.

I'm not saying it's immediately the right thing for you to go down this route, but I do think at least some respite and space could help.

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Hi Doubledecker and everyone

It is a long time since Ive been on the forum years in fact.

We adopted 2 boys almost 8 years ago. now 4 years apart .

We are in a similar position to you but father along our oldest AS is almost 14 now. It has always been hard but the last two years well since the transition from primary to secondary school has been a nightmare. There is so much to say how does one get it straight.

As above have said you are not alone and I read your post to my husband who is actually in the same line of thinking as yours.

Our oldest is damaged - always was but carefully hidden by the Social services of the county we adopted him from - gosh where have I heard that before.

K came with a full repetoire of swear words and restraint over the years became the norm, For us I look back and think why did we accept this. I realise that slowly K did change the family dynamic and the way we lived became the normal and over the years we got used to the abuse that occurred and accepted all the trauma that he gave out. Slowly you become increasingly isolated and often living on his terms. It is insidious so I think you dont realise it fully and accept it. You are grateful for the calm times and build up your resilience and your resources in those times which in the end are there and create memoriies that keep you goign to the more challenging times. At the end of the day just like and Autistic or ADHD child K cant control it he has neurodevelopmental trauma - if his brain could be scanned I do think they would show some physical brain damage.

I reflect about Pear Tree's comments. My son is now under section 20 for almost 3 weeks and believe or not he is in a private boarding school. I would love to say to you that things are going brilliantly but they are not - how could they be really he is a 13 year old boy with severe reactive attachment disorder, developmental trauma PTSD, anxiety and depression - going through puberty with homesickness and what techinically is his 4th placement. And Im sorry guys but we have social services back in our lives again.

I feel upset becuase this time last year we begged for help and we got nowhere we asked for help in August Septemebr time for some help respite anything - they rang us in February offering us a lacement I wish we accepted now but at the time K was on sertrlien and risperidone and things were ok he was going to school and the incidences of disregualtion were back to manageble levels for us. However a down hill turn from when the psychiatrist stopped the risperidone because his prolactin levels went up. I remember sittign in her office internally begging her not to change this medciation K was HAPPY those last 3 months goign to school we were going out as a family again he was relaxed that medciaiton had been a god send. But 6 months later after aripiprazole and quetiapine we were in a mess again - K not goign to school from Easter rading the kitchen extreme violence swearing because of puberty a new level of sexual mimickery show his younger brotehr pornographic images. Knives threaats to jump out the window self harm thoughts and acts.

The psychiatrists kept putting his quetipine up such that he was gettign involuntary movements in his legs.

It took 3 visits to A&E and an admiission and 5 days livign in A&E because no-one knew what to do. Social servies said that A&E would call the police if we didnt leave. We didnt leave it was awful for K and for us and for the staff who I may say were brilliant and very caring.

We were then provided with x2 specialist teams to look after K in our home till he fell asleep. It was a strange 30 days. They could not find anywhere to place him till this private boarding school where he was accepted. Social services are depsarate for this to work, I want it to work the stats for my mixed ethnic child not attending scchool is something like 80-90% he will end up in the prison service my lovely boy who can be so amazing at times. I am not religious particularly but I pray that this will work and that with more help we can get him through this time in his life where a lot of children struggle to cope with life - the teens and they go off the rails even with secure attachment but majority come back and right themselves. Have we helped K in part to hold..

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To something in the end. Im not religious but i pray that he will manage somehow with support he can make this work. That we can move forward in the new dynamic but still as a family. We are still there for him.

We are safer he is safer I think. I hope so

Things are strange at home nice strange I think.

Our youngest J is more relaxed he was never with his bith family and has always had differing needs that we can focus on now. K took so much of our time and energy J was neglected at times

Wearing headphones, palmef off to protect him we thought to family, neighbours and friends. NVR has a shelf life by the way.

Gosh we can wash up clean the kitchen floor do the laundry. I may even have a night out if our marriage makes it. We were traumatised we were hypervigilant walking on egg shells, eatching our tone facial expressions movements

This was normal for us

We forgot what being ok was, we createf our own prison. We didnt realise. So grateful fir the peaceful times but always mindful if too quiet alert for changes in tone of the children never relaxed.

Thongs are different peaceful in a way we have a 9 year old boy who likes his xbox what can I say. K left 16 days ago now

Will he be ok I hope so will we be ok ditto.

How do I feel I honestly dont know still anxious calmer guilty happy with my youngest. All emotions. It still goes on

What is the answer. Doubledecker I dont know

What I do know is that keeping all your family safe is paramount, meeting their needs and yours as best you can. It may be you need a new dynamic, a family that doesnt live together but stills see each other but not a family. Ive heard tgat it does and can work.

For us watch this space. J is going to bed on time in his own bed, nit hiding wiyh his Mum in the loft bedroom. He has been getting to school on time. He isnt hearing every swear word under the son or listening to the sound of breaking furniture

He isnt witnessing sexually explicit behaviour being acted out or seeing his patrents being hurt. One cild and two parents are safe fir now.

I hope you Doubledecker and all the rest that live with this day in and out are safe tonight. We have to speak out Demand help from the services. Speak to our MPs

When time allows stop suffering in silence make ourselves heard.

I am an educated person in fact Im a Dr and I still struggled to get the help we needed. It really took us seating and not moving out of A+E to get some help but that surely isnt right.

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my goodness Keijah. you made me sob. I could recognise so much of what you said. We've hardly entered puberty. The incident I described on Sunday isn't everyday. (as your situation developed?). When the 'moments' do come they seem to be worse than before. I am in slight denial and you're right about the impact it is having on the younger child. We spend so much time and energy on son there is less left for the other trauma-effected child in the house. We do have some better support from SS but we're sceptical that any 'therapy' once every few months and weekly art therapy is working. there is no fix I know that.

His school has just done another safe guarding referral as he wrote that he is going to kill himself and been hurting his arms. May help escalate things.

It must be very odd for you all. It makes me sick to think of my poor boy being elsewhere- us parents of traumatised children just want to protect them from further trauma.

I think there is a good case for single children only ever being adopted. Managing one traumatised child MIGHT be feasible and get you the odd break..

thank you for your time Keijah, this community understands where you're at and why.

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Wishing Doubledecker and Keijah strength to carry on till the situation is sorted.

I understand what you are going through and send positive vibes your way.

Johanna xx

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Keijah, I can identify with so much of your story (((hugs)))

Doubledecker, I also share your feelings over my son going away. I can't make that decision and yet to carry on as we are is also unbearable. My younger child is always stressed around my son, on her own she is a chilled out happy little girl.

I have no answers, I do know life would be calmer if my son wasn't home all the time and if the professionals involved thought it best for him then I would have to deal with it but I worry it will make his trauma worse.

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I think child to parent violence, especially for children of trauma ( and the way that ties into ability to cope with family life) is not really recognised much , at the moment. It is improving, but the SW system for children, is set up to protecting kids from abusive and neglectful family situations All the options for coming into care are related to protection of the child concerned.

The knock on affect that the early traumatic experiences have , once the child has transferred to another family , especially an adoptive one with its more intense commitment within the family than foster care, is an area many social workers were not trained to think about. They are trained for child protection and are looking for that. If they can't find that they are stuck mentally. Even pasw are not yet very experienced in this although I think the realisation is growing. Our pasw was telling me last year about the high problem rate with adopted teenagers in our county - anyone on these forums could have said that was no surprise !

The only things adopters can do is make sure they protect themselves from accusations, implied criticism, etc., while urging action "in the interest of the child/children" There is so little money for intervention that the early stuff rarely happens , and the SW sitting on your sofa has to justify all expenditure to her boss, who has to keep within her budget or she is out of a job.

There needs to be a no blame option that recognises the problem comes from the child's trauma not the adoptive parents. Things do need to change but if and when that will happen is another question. So take care out there folks !

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Thank you for the support.

I think we have to try to keep up the pressure to those in power and the purse strings. By all accounts our SS are throwing money and resources to try and make this boarding school work. K is not making it easy. Listening to him crying tonight was hard.

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Keijah - Despite ( or maybe because of) their reputation , Independant schools and particularly boarding schools generally nowadays seem to make a big thing about their pastoral care, so I am sure he is being well looked after, if that helps at all.

My sons independent school do boarding as well as day, and I have seen that it's not just words in the prospectus, the staff really do seem to care about the kids wellbeing. And because it's a school there has to be a level of routine and rules and that is actually helpful to many traumatised kids who feel safer with clear boundaries , even if they rail against them. Some traumatised kids can handle school discipline better than parental , and these benefit from boarding school during their teens. Specialist boarding schools are really hard to get places in, or so I have heard, but we realised when my son moved to his present school, that even regular ind. schools ( the non selective ones, that is) may be used to a lot of pupils with extra needs as people often send their kids there because they feel the kid would not cope so well in the huge comps.that seem so prevelant nowadays, or the highly pressurised academies.Many get bursaries so it's not all rich kids and anyway it is surprising how many of the rich kids have issues of all sorts ! So even if he is not in a specialist school , the staff may well be used to coping with high levels of need. ( mine has a school nurse who is a qualified counseller, helps anorexic teenage girls and goodness knows what else, and is wasted sticking plasters on knees !!) Give it time for them to get him realising that there are people there to help him when he needs it. And that there are things he can do to help himself when feeling stressed ( workout room, etc)

Double decker - hope you can find a solution that works for your family, whatever that may be.

Best Wishes


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It sounds as though you need a children and families assessment. It’s the assessment that should be done by social care to determine what support is required/safeguarding issues. Not only are there the safety issues with your son, but the risk of family breakdown. Threshold is certainly met in my view. I work on a MASH! Sometimes, the police reports can be brief and written as matter of fact which doesn’t fully capture what has been going on. I think you need to contact mash again (if they’ve closed referral!) and explain the situation/ his history, the behaviour he exhibits (write all this down before so you’ve got it clear) and the fact that you do not feel you can go on much longer. I so hope they do offer support x

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