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Violent child - advice please

(11 Posts)
hurryup Sun 12-Jun-11 11:13:30

I asked my H to move out 9 weeks ago after years of emotional, verbal and physical violence. Life was great until 5 weeks ago, it was such a relief and I felt safe. Then my 12 year old son started the same behaviour although far, far worse. The name calling is horrific, I have been lying on the floor with him hitting and kicking me, I've had chairs thrown at me and all of this in front of my other children. It's happened every few days. He's been referred to child mental health and is being seen in 10 days, however it feels as if I've jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. It was easier accepting this from my H, and now it's made me doubt my decision to leave him. Has anyone had a similar experience?

Ripeberry Sun 12-Jun-11 11:21:35

Has your H still got contact with his son. Do you think he is trying to tell your son to hit you?
Maybe he feels that he needs to 'step into' his dad's shoes and carry on the abuse, which proves that kids are very badly affected by what goes on in a home.
Sounds like he needs a LOT of counselling to realise that his dad is WRONG at that NO-ONE should be hitting anyone.
What a horrible situation to be in sad

hurryup Sun 12-Jun-11 11:27:53

No, his dad's been great at helping to stop it. It's just so awful walking on egg shells again. He's angry we've split up and says he's going to stop me having any new boyfriends. I'm so tired of being bruised and bullied.

Ripeberry Sun 12-Jun-11 11:32:45

You need to nip it in the bud as well and he needs to realise that you are a human being as well and you will do what you want. Sounds like a good idea that he is being referred and on your other thread you mentioned that the dad has been telling him that it is wrong.
Maybe deep down, your son thinks it's all his OWN fault and is taking it out on people he loves.

NanaNina Sun 12-Jun-11 12:55:20

Hurryup - firstly, you must stop walking on egg shells again. Your son has seen you doing this for a long time and knows that his father was in a position of power over you. He may not know this consciously, but at some level he has internalised this dynamic. You have to remember he is a child and you are the adult.

Clearly your son is angry that you have split up and his behaviour is of course connected to this. He is too young to process his anger, so is taking it out on you, as he obviously sees you as the weak person, who is unable to control him - again not consciously - this is scary for him as well as you. He has to be helped to talk about his feelings re the split up and you need to listen to him, only asking things like "how does that make you feel" - and the answer might be revealing.

There are many children living with step fathers and it isn't always a happy experience for children. Maybe your son knows of other kids who are having a rough time with the step dad and he is scared that is what will happen to him. However you must not let your son dictate to you - this gives him more power than he knows how to handle - quite a dangerous situation.

Can you say what your son's behaviour was like when you were living in an abusive situation. The problem is that children who live in these situations are often ver damaged by it all and this comes out in anger in boys and sometimes depression in girls, though that is rather a sweeping statement.

I suspect you have been referred to CAMHS and to be quite honest I have quite a low opinion of them (they are the old child guidance people) though I know it depends on the specific counsellor. Can you or your ex afford to pay privately to see a clinical psychologist which will probably be more helpful. Really you need family therapy as this involves all of you and your ex - any chance of paying for that.

But No. 1 and I know it won't be easy you have to change your behaviour towards your son. You can't change his behaviour but you can change your response. It is a tough call because your son has seen you being a victim for so long...........but try as hard as you can to gather some emotional strength and stand up to your son. At the same time remember he is angry and confused and approaching adolesence and you need to make time to listen and talk to him.

Hope things get resolved for you all.

madmouse Sun 12-Jun-11 14:10:42

It is not much use your ex telling your son not to do what he has seen H do for 12 years of his life. Your son, on top of the normal anxieties involved with parents splitting, has a totally warped sense of power relations. He is the man in the house now H is gone (believe me boys as young as 5/6 feel that way) so he carries out what he has seen all his life, taking the role of the man in the house...

Please try to stand up to him - tell him no matter what happened between H and you he is your child and he is not to behave like this. If this is too hard (and it probably is...) make sure you tell CAMHS how hard you are finding it and ask them to refer you for appropriate support too.

madmouse Sun 12-Jun-11 14:12:04

By the way unlike NanaNina I have had good experiences with CAMHS professionally - as in I've seen how much they can achieve with youngsters that I have been involved with as a lawyer.

cestlavielife Mon 13-Jun-11 14:21:47

depending where you are there are other agencies that can help you and DS speciifcally, like womens aid and other centres - CAMHS might know or call womens aid locally.

your Ds is reacting to the situation but bringing your abusive H back into it is not the answer

cestlavielife Mon 13-Jun-11 14:23:32

for example www.annafreud.org/pages/services-child-psychotherapy-service-161.html

Hunterswish Tue 14-Jun-11 15:00:52

Hi smile
So if you DS did that to one of his siblings would you stand back? I only ask because he needs to see you defend yourself, parent him and reassure the other dc that they are safe with you or you could be giving permission for your DS to do it to the others?
I fully understand your low self esteem and the fact that you are extremely fragile because of what you have gone through with H, however you have proved how strong you are by asking for a divorce and by splitting up with H.So therefore hun, you are a lot stronger than you have given yourself credit smile

So now the child, he goes to hit you , you restrain him. I would go one step further, as an idea I think if you could speak to your local police, a community officer and ask if you can call on them when he starts to hit you again, so he can have the police come round and give him a stern talking to .I know you might all think this is over the top, however he has learnt this behaviour and therefore needs to be shown very quickly the repercussions for using that behaviour.
By allowing him to hit you , his Mother, then you are sending him the message that it is ok for him to hit his siblings, children at school, his teachers, his grandparents, any of these people he hits would not stand for it, there would be serious repercussions for his actions, so you nip it in the bud now.
I appreciate you can't take back what he saw, but use this lesson to see what your DS has learned about you and how to treat you and possibly women in general.
You can do this and with a lot of hard work, you and your children will get through this.Keep growing stronger each day and make sure today is the last day anyone lays a hand on you ...
Wish you all the very best
Take care

adewonder Sun 19-Jun-11 21:29:19

As cestlavie said, Some women's aids have children's outreach workers or run groups, working with kids who've witnessed domestic abuse. Counselling does help, and lots of kids do react like this and develop aggressive behaviour traits. However, they can be helped and I have worked with families where the child's behaviour has improved wholly through intervention from a counselling type therapy.
Also, you could access outreach for yourself, just for some support?
If no support available through WA or Camhs, then how about school? Pastoral support has got better over last few years. School may have play therapists, horticulture activities, counselling etc, Depending on area he could access diversionary activities where there are youth workers attached, boosting his self esteem and giving him the opportunity to talk outside of family unit.
If his behaviour gets uncontrollable then do call police, sometimes doing this is enough to bring things to a head, or may assist you in seeking assistance from Camhs.
Hope it gets better.

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