How do I handle this - I think this child is a danger to mine - really difficult(39 Posts)
My parents have fostered my whole life, I absolutely support them in this. They currently have two foster children who have been with them for 4 years. They have come from extreme, traumatic abusive circumstances and are very damaged emotionally, intellectually - though over the past four years have made tremendous progress. The boy though now entering teenage hood is probably around 5yrs old emotionally. As he has gotten older he has developed an increasingly controlling streak which I would now say is turning malicious. I have witnessed a number of incidences now where I feel his behaviour crosses the line from play to obsessive control/ bullying. My children are 2 and 4. Such incidences have included holding my children's arms behind their backs and marching them places, pretending to slice throats open whilst the children are forced to kneel in-front of him, pushing them if they are not doing what he wants etc. I suppose can't explain it further other than having a decade of experience working with vulnerable children and recognising how aggressive behaviours manifest themselves, body language, looks, eye contact, watching for whether adults are watching before making a move etc.
Now I have no problem ensuring my children are not left alone with him until we as a family (mainly my parents but accept our role as wider family) help him work through this and we all support him in this stage of development. alongside these characteristics he is a lovely, sweet child trying to make sense of a world which until 4 years ago treated him very badly - so of course he will have issues. My problem is my mother, who is an extremely experienced foster carer but seems to feel that this boy is entirely under her protection, never does anything on purpose and is entirely innocent. I do think he is a victim but if she cannot recognise the potential risks here I feel my children are in potential danger in wider family situations. we spend a lot of time together as a family and my parents help us with childcare. Though of course when I am there its fine, but it does seem that this is a potential area of conflict between my mother and I, one we have already come to blows over. However when we have spoken about it has been in moments of anger when I have witnessed something and had to pull my children out of the situation. I don't want her to demonise this child, (my children adore him btw) but I do need my mother to recognise the potential risks he could present whilst working through the issues of a very traumatic early childhood.
Any help? AIBU in trying to get her to see this risk?
Gosh that's a tough one. You mentioned both parents though. Where does your Dad fall in all if this? Is he in agreement with your Mum or is he a little more objective about the child.
She has a SW I take it. Could you speak to him / her about your concerns. In confidence (going behind your mother's back) not nice, but if you're not comfortable you have to do something. Your responsibility is to your children.
Also you said you speak to your mother after an incident has occurred, so not when you are at your calmest. Try talking to her at a time when nothing has happened recently and you are both calmer. She may feel that she is the only one fighting his corner however she is not helping the boy by ignoring any issues he may have.
I'm not an expert by any stretch so may be talking rubbish here.
Thanks, should have said - my Dad is more in keeping with my view of this and much more objective about him.
I do think it's important she recognises the risk and I would stop her looking after your children until this is resolved. Of course he will have issues and he is not to blame for that, but the situations you describe are incredibly disturbing things to do to such small children.
As mom2twoteens says, I wonder would it be worthwhile having a chat with her (or both of your parents together) when it's not topical, when none of the kids are around and ideally on neutral territory. Explain you love your foster brother (is that the correct term?) but for his sake and everyone else's, you feel that there's a little problem that you all need to work together on to help him sort out. Tell your Mum you really admire her loyalty to him and how she is fighting his corner but on this occasion there seriously is no fight. You're on HIS side. You want him to be ok and well able to handle the world so you want him to get through this difficult phase.
I'd find alternative childcare.
You should always trust your instincts.
I feel very sorry for you all as I see what a difficult situation this is.
However, I'll be blunt. My child would not be there without my presence. Ever.
This is the problem really, the incidences I've listed have resulted in me getting very protective of my children, and admittedly angry in the moment, being very firm with my foster brother and then my mother often wading in after the event and defending him and me snapping at her. None of this is helpful - I recognise that. I now think we have set up a situation where she thinks I am not on their/his side. But I do need her to recognise my concerns. Her response last time was then don't bring my children round, which I know without doubt she doesn't mean but sets up a non-constructive environment to then talk.
We've all had a lovely day together where all was fine so know it's not long term affecting our relationship but two days ago I witnessed him almost push my two year old down some steep steps - not cause he wanted to hurt him but he was in his way so he wanted to make him move - he doesn't consider the consequences. I keep wondering whether I am just an overprotective parent but would never forgive myself if I don't listen to my instincts on this - right now I feel he is a potentially spiralling and struggling to deal with things, and as such is a risk.
No adult is doing him any favours allowing him to behave badly to small children. I would try tackling your mother from this angle. Point out there will be a massive family row if your kids get hurt. Reassure her there's no question of blame, but explain it will help if she steps up.
If your DF thinks the boy is worrying, as you do, take heed. When all 3 kids are together, be there too.
It's not about taking sides - it's about managing risks. If he presents a risk to your children (or indeed any young children), he shouldn't be left alone with them.
How is she defending him? Is she saying that the incidents haven't happened or he didn't mean them or what?
how old is the FS? teenage years....
i'm an adoptive mummy....i know the trauma some children go through.
i would not leave your children without you there.....visit yes, leave them no way.
your mum will be blind to his faults, will want to see and believe the good in him.
Yanbu to be concerned, I don't think. I wouldn't leave my children there if I couldn't be there too.
Why is it your mum can't be objective about this boy in particular? As an experienced foster carer she must have come across similar?
Do not ignore your gut feeling. Your children are young and need to be protected from this behaviour and your Mum sounds unlikely to be up to this.
I understand he has problems but your first duty is to your own kids.
Op - so not BU - do whatever you can to protect your children / people will have way better advice on here ---- but a damaged child like this (and bless him ) could well cause further damage - without demonising of him do whatever you can xx
If anything serious did happen to your children, your foster brother would likely never recover from it. So in order to protect him from making a life changing mistake, your dm needs to work with you to ensure he is never in a position to do that while going through this difficult stage. Your fist priority is your children and you simply can't take risks. Even at the expense of your relationship with dm.
but I do need my mother to recognise the potential risks
You don't though.
I don't see this as a big dilemma. Don't allow your children around this boy while you are not there.
Plenty of us manage without childcare from grandparents.
OP,my children would never have been be there without me.Please listen to the gong beating crazily inside you.
As a gran I could not imagine putting my grandchildren at any risk.
Your responsibility is not to change your mother but to protect your children.
After these incidents mine wouldn't be there without me for one second.
You need better child care.
YANBU or being overprotective to be concerned. You must find alternative child care and your children should only visit your parents home with you there to protect them. Your mum's job is to care for her foster children, your job is to care for your children. Your mum isn't able to care for all the children together, that's fine, you just need to recognise this - its no-one's fault, its just a fact.
Good luck with finding new childcare and getting your relationship with your mum back on track.
How much of this is tied up with your need or desire for your parents to continue helping you with childcare?
It sounds like a very difficult position to be in and reading your Op actually made me cry because of the fact such damaged children exist in such numbers. Your parents are doing very valuable work. I can see why mum feels someone (her) needs to be on his side and TBH, my DCs play in the way you describe - although much smaller age gap, so not the same.
If you make alternative childcare arrangements, there is no issue, as Dc won't be there without you. I don't think you're going to get your mum to see your POV.
in order to protect him from making a life changing mistake, your dm needs to work with you to ensure he is never in a position to do that while going through this difficult stage.
I read this thread yesterday, and wanted to say something like this, but didn't know how to phrase it without being absurdly unbalanced.
It sounds like a case of protecting him from himself.
No I definitely would not trust your mum to look after your kids whilst he is about, I woukd look for different childcare, your first interests are your children. You have to protect them. I would stick to visiting whilst you supervise.
The boy is about 12/13 as op has said he is entering teenage hood, he has the emotional development of a very young child, does not understand fully the consequences if his action, because of his size, çoukd seriously injure your children. No childcare at all, your mum has to understand this.
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