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Worried about this child - please help (sorry, long)

(46 Posts)
worriedaboutmynephew Fri 02-May-14 11:56:14

Really worried about my DN and my brother’s family. Sorry that this is long, but I have got to the point where I am genuinely worried and don’t know what to do.

I am posting here for traffic and also as it will be taken down after 90 days. I don't feel entirely comfortable posting about this but I am desperate.

MY DB has 4 children, the eldest son is 9 and has had continued behavioural problems – since birth, really.

I feel awful for even posting this – I love my nephew and what I am about to say about him will make him sound dreadful. He has good points too – he is very generous, always buying little gifts for us all and can be quite funny. Acquaintances of the family and friends who don’t know him very well all rave about him, as he is ‘entertaining’ and very articulate. When he speaks, he sounds really intelligent, almost adult-like, although I believe he is average in the core subjects at school.

OK so here goes. I don't know where to start but I am going to give a few examples of his behaviour:

Since he was a toddler, he has been hugely difficult and (sorry I can’t think of another word) different. I can never put my finger on what it is about him. He has a sort of “streak” in him and says and does very peculiar, destructive and seemingly vindictive things.

Last year I gave him a watch for Christmas. He opened it and expressed his disappointment and said he hated it. Later on I caught him breaking it - he thought I wasn’t watching him. He had this mad look in his eyes as he was doing it.

The other week he locked my 20 month old toddler in the garden (on his own), when he thought I wasn’t watching, and hid the key in a slipper. Walked away as if nothing had happened and left him out there.

He locked him mum in the garden so that he and his baby sister were locked in the house on their own. As she watched in horror he hit the baby in the crib.

I caught him pinching his baby brother’s nose closed whilst covering his mouth (basically smothering him) when he thought no one was looking.

I caught him pressing down hard on the soft part of my new born baby’s head when he thought no one was looking.

He got hold of a razor in the bath and cut open his sister’s leg with it.

He threw a metal spade at the back of his little brother’s head (his brother was running away from him at the time) – resulted in A&E and multiple stitches.

He regularly rips up photos and treasured pictures, recently he cut out his mother’s face from one particular photo.

He smashed and destroyed the flat screen TV with the remote control because the batteries had run out.

He is violent and destructive and speaks to his patents in a horrendous manner. He is disrespectful (to an extreme) and acts as though he utterly hates his parents. He name calls and says things to family friends to (seemingly) purposefully embarrass or hurt them. Yesterday he picked up the spaghetti from his dinner plate and threw it in his mum’s face, all because she ate a bit of his left over easter egg.

He lies all the time.

He makes all the right noises when he apologies (he doesn’t always apologise) but I suspect (I can’t be sure) that he is not being genuine, and that in fact he really doesn’t care.

He has what his mother has referred to as “gender issues” – he has always stated that he was born in the wrong body and that he is really a girl. He is very ‘camp’, flamboyant boy who is at his happiest when dressed and acting as a girl. I think he is being teased at school because of it. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, but the other day he started coming out with some “gay hating” – saying it was wrong and against nature…he was so vehement about it I was really taken aback. While he was saying all this, he was standing in the kitchen wearing a pair of my high heels!! grin

The other day he said he could hear voices. This is so alarming but at the same time he lies all the time so its hard to believe anything he says.

Anyway, look, I could go on. But this is already too long. The parents have tried everything. Rewards / punishments / ignoring / shouting etc etc etc

Every single day there is an episode and the other children are suffering too.

He is also like this in school.

Last week the mum saw a GP about him, and he is being referred to a psychologist. She is keeping a diary.

However, I am really scared he is going to do some real damage and hurt himself or someone else. Last week he talked about suicide. It just all feels so wrong and scary.

I don’t know what to do. I feel sick to my stomach. Please help.

Thank you if you got this far!!

Kewcumber Fri 02-May-14 12:02:36

I don’t know what to do

I don;t understand why you feel you need to do something. It sounds like his parents have accessed support and he will see a psychologist. The only thing you can do is support his parents and make sure they have anything you've seen noted in their diary and keep your children safe when they are around him.

WowOoo Fri 02-May-14 12:05:15

Crikey, what a worry and how scary for everyone involved.

I suppose the next step is the psychologist and her/his assessment and decisions on treatment.
Wish I could help.

worriedaboutmynephew Fri 02-May-14 12:06:06

I feel panicked and worried, sorry that was all a bit of a ramble.

I know there is not much I can do - I guess I just wanted to see if anyone on here has had any similar experiences with children and if so, what was the outcome, how did they handle it.

NigellasDealer Fri 02-May-14 12:07:38

nothing for you to do at all really is there?

WowOoo Fri 02-May-14 12:12:04

Try not to panic as your brother has taken action and all they can do is wait and ensure they attend appointment. It's a step in the right direction.

onetiredmummy Fri 02-May-14 12:16:09

Sounds like the boy & the parents need intervention & support. I'm glad she went to the GP to get it. Although if his behaviour is the same in school I'm very surprised they haven't intervened!

There's nothing you can do, if you still have a baby then vigilance is vital when they are in the same vicinity. Ditto if you have a pet.

starfishmummy Fri 02-May-14 12:18:17

Sounds like his parents are doing what they need to to get him the help he needs.
I think what you can do into support them and be there for them to talk to - it must be very difficult all round.

mrsbug Fri 02-May-14 12:21:31

crikey, I was going to ask if he had seen a psychologist and then I read to the end of your post and saw that he has just been referred. I don't think there's much else you can do.

I would keep a careful eye on him when he's around your baby. You could also help your DB by offering to babysit their other children, if you are able to.

SugarPlumpFairy3 Fri 02-May-14 12:23:01

I can see why you're worried sad. I think the best you can do to help, as a sister and an auntie, is to show the family your continued love and support. I really hope they can get some support for him x

worriedaboutmynephew Fri 02-May-14 12:28:20

hello everyone cheers for replying, especially those of support. I think my OP was cathartic for me to write down and appreciate there is not much I can do. I just feel so worried I can't think straight.

I think I was hoping to find someone who has had a similar experience, really. Maybe I should have posted in the special needs section.

I do babysit him and his siblings whenever I can, and I am a shoulder to cry on for the mum.

However I worry too that they will not follow through with the psychologist. My DB is already mortified that his wife went to the doc about their son and has expressly told her not to tell anyone that she has done so. He is unsupportive at best, and damaging at worse. He refuses to admit there is anything wrong.

ThePriory Fri 02-May-14 12:31:33

For the time being I would actually ban this child from coming to your house, or being in direct contact with your own children. This sort of behaviour is terrifying and I would want to protect my direct family first and foremost.

DoItTooJulia Fri 02-May-14 12:32:06

Oh dear, that sounds bad.

If I was you I would keep my baby away from him and proof your home before he comes, so keys, knives, anything dangerous locked away.

Agree with pp, offer to babysit the other kids to give your db some time with his son. And keep being supportive to your db and his wife, this must be awful for them.

I hope he gets the help he needs quickly.

ThePost Fri 02-May-14 12:32:10

Support your DB and SIL, they may be on a long, difficult path with him. Be there for them to talk to. Avoid leaving your DC alone with him if you think they are in danger from him.
Apart from this, I don't think there is anything else that you can do. His parents are trying to access intervention and support.

DoItTooJulia Fri 02-May-14 12:32:52

X post. You need to encourage your db to do the right thing.

Best of luck OP.

Edendance Fri 02-May-14 12:33:00

Oh my god! That sounds awful!

Check out the blog- my family my village and listen to this American life's podcast bad baby if you can.

Those behaviours are not normal, that poor family! Keep writing things down yourself, and remember- if you believe the children are at serious risk then there's always social services. Calling the NSPCC will give you extra advice on this.

ThePost Fri 02-May-14 12:34:21

Just read that your DB is not happy with your SIL asking for help. In which case, what you can do is back your SIL. You need to tell your DB that you agree with SIL that something is wrong and that your DN needs help. Emphasise that it will be your DN that ultimately suffers if this behaviour goes on.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Fri 02-May-14 12:36:57

Gosh, this is scary. I may be being naive here, but do 9 y/o children normally know about suicide and homophobia? It seems very strange to me that he would understand these subjects.

The physical harming of others is very concerning too. I would not have my child around him I'm afraid.

mummytime Fri 02-May-14 12:39:18

If he does something extreme again eg. cutting his sister's leg with a razor - they need to take him straight to A and E. That can be the fastest way of getting help. They need to stay there until he has been assessed.

Unfortunately they may well have minimised the issues, because they love him.

Maybe you can tell your DB that if his son doesn't get help now, when their son is a teenager he could end up in a secure unit or worse. What is your DB going to do when his son is bigger and stronger than him? This behaviour is not going to suddenly just going to go away.

ThePost Fri 02-May-14 12:40:04
RiverTam Fri 02-May-14 12:41:47

all you can do is back up your SIL. I would be more concerned about your DB's attitude - I am guessing he could be the reason why this has gone on unaddressed for so long? It doesn't sound, from how you've said they've addressed it in the past, that they've ever tried to get to the bottom of why he does it, just treating it as something to be punished.

How do you think your DB would react if your DNephew got a diagnosis of some kind of SN - would he be ashamed? What if he comes out as gay in the future - ashamed again?

SpringBreaker Fri 02-May-14 12:42:26

There isn't really much you can do other than support your sil and back her up towards your brother. Your brother cannot bury his head in the sand as this child sounds incredibly disturbed and it can only be a matter of time before he seriously hurts or even kills someone if all you have said is accurate.

I certainly wouldn't have him anywhere near my children.

worriedaboutmynephew Fri 02-May-14 12:47:48

DB is a big problem. I believe he is slightly homophobic himself and has commented that he only really has "one son". He is already ashamed of his son. He would be further ashamed if he was to be diagnosed with a SN.

I do not have the first clue how DNephew knows about suicide or homophobia. He talks like an adult. Its very unnerving.

I do not like to get too involved in their relationship but have recently been speaking up when talking to SIL. She is so lovely and is basically having a nervous breakdown.

shouldnthavesaid Fri 02-May-14 12:48:19

My younger sister is the same - she's severely autistic, and shows a lack of empathy most of the time. She has been violent - has threatened to kill me several times, tried to throw me downstairs, has threatened my mother with a knife, tried to throw her in front of oncoming cars.

She also started at a young age - the first I remember was having a bath with her when I was 4, she was sitting behind me and clawed my back from neck to bum with her nails.

She's also thrown her dinner (several times), poured a glass of juice into my handbag, has thrown a coffee table at my mum.

She's also threatened suicide, and claims to hear voices and see things.

My mum's had a difficult time accessing support at all. Have had varying involvement but there's now a psychiatrist involved, and my sister takes anti psychotic medication (despite not having a definite diagnosis of psychosis or schizophrenia).

In terms of medical - nothing you can do.

However, as a sister and SIL in there's a lot you can do. I'd keep up with babysitting any other DCs, give them a break from him occasionally. You could maybe offer practical support e.g. food shopping, transport to appts etc smile

Baby proof the house when they visit as others have suggested - keep him under constant supervision (as we have to with dsis).

It's difficult and it won't get any easier soon I imagine, unfortunately, but things can and will improve eventually. Once he has the right diagnosis and the right support, things will start getting better.

worriedaboutmynephew Fri 02-May-14 12:48:36

thanks for the links...will take a look

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